Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Predictions for 2015

This year my predictions were not bad. A little conservative but not bad. 
On December 31, 2013 I said the Dow would go to 17250 and it went to 17823.
I said the NASDAQ index would go to 4600 and it went to 4736.
S and P I said it would go to 2000 and it went to 2059.
I predicted a good year for Microsoft and it went from 35 to 46.

Drum roll please. Mr Mustache predictions for January 1 2016:
Dow 18500
S and P Index 2100
Microsoft will retreat to 40
Eagles will get in the playoffs but lose in January.
Obama will make overtures to Iran like he made to Cuba but Congress will not go along with the deal, no treaties or normalization.
Unemployment will go down to 5% and oil will go up to $60 
Middle East will stabilize a tad but the EU will be in the doldrums.
The New York Post will start the drumbeats to impeach the mayor of NYC.
Overall another middling year. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas bellyaching

One of the nice parts of the holiday season is it gives us all lots of reasons to complain and bellyache. For the occasion, I let Aunt Agnes write a guest column.

The rain: This crummy rain puts me completely out of the Christmas spirit. Just an inch or two of nice white snow would do a world for my spirits.

Having to go to work on the day before or after Christmas. The roads have almost no traffic and here I’m cavorting along to work. Yuch. Humbug.

Having to put up with other people’s children at work. Daddy is off, the kids are off from school but instead of spending some time with their adorable children the fathers bring them into the office to have lunch with their poor mothers, who are chained to their desks.

People who put 20 foot high statues of Homer Simpson in their front yards. 

The scales. I put on five pounds! Too many Christmas cookies.

Christmas music. Humbug! I’m tired of hearing about poor old women getting run over by reindeers!

Trying to do other people’s jobs. The customer wants to know something that I don’t have any knowledge about. I should route her through to the cell phone of the lady, sitting in an airport, who would know.

The seven fishes. I hate having to cook seven fishes. I have enough trouble cooking one fish. All night I was refilling the water of the bacala. Humbug! I think we should open up a can of sardines and be done with it. 

Humbug. Listening to Italian Jingle bells again!

Editor's note: May you all have a happy Ukrainian Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why the U.S. may recognize Cuba

The conventional wisdom has always been that the the United States can never have normal relations with Cuba because the politician who proposes such a thing will lose Florida in a presidential election. Yesterday Jeb Bush indicated he will run for president. If he runs he will probably get the Republican nomination. A popular former governor, as a candidate he will probably win in his home state, Florida.

President Obama must figure that for years Democrats have been afraid of proposing normal relations because of a fear of losing Florida in an election. However, in 2016 there is no need to worry about making Floridians mad since they are going to vote Republican anyway. In the electoral college system, losing by one hanging chad or 20 percent is the same. So why not lose Florida in a big way rather than a small way and have an ambassador in Cuba.

It's like the kid who knows he is going to get yelled at if he arrives home ten minutes late or two hours late. He figures he might as well get home two hours late and have a good time. In for a penny in for a pound.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I guess my nails are too long

This is the time of year when you start getting Christmas gifts, or in my case, this is for Christmas and your birthday gifts. Today I got a package in the mail. The sender is a total mystery. It is a fancy manicure set.

I have always thought of myself as the dapper, well groomed man. Once every season I get a haircut. Once a month I cut my toenails and twice a month I even cut my fingernails. Once, when I had an encounter with a podiatrist I had a pedicure. 

Is this a hint? Do I need to cut my nails more often? Is one of my female admirers making a statement? Or is it just a nephew out of ideas. I love the holiday season. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Of loosies and podcasts

One thing about the recent New York police incident is that the term "loosies" has now entered the vocabulary of middle America. I can only remember two times seeing loosies for sale. Once was at a sale barn (or animal auction) in Texas and the other time was when I was treated to a visit to a cock fight in Oklahoma. I remember they sold "loosies" there for a few cents.

Yes I am now following the podcast, Serial. There is also the Slate review of Serial and the posts on Reddit about Serial. It is an interesting series, although I am skeptical of the veracity of the show. I suspect that things are included for dramatic interest. Who dunnit? Hard to tell.  Jay seems the most guilty but he has no motive. Perhaps it was one of the girlfriends and the men were being gallant.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Charley Chan

I don't know about you, but I seem to find slim pickings on the tv nowadays. Too many crappy cop shows, comedy shows, amateur hours, etc. One alternative I have discovered is watching Youtube. You tube is also educational in that it teaches one about other cultures.

For example, I now know what life is like as a lesbian in Canada. Thanks to Pillow Talk, I now can watch two women sharing a bed discussing the intimate details of gay women's lives.

I remember the old Charley Chan movies on tv and much to my delight, there are plenty of old Charley Chan movies free for the viewing on YouTube. Here you get an accurate depiction of Asian life and wisdom. I read it is even popular in China.

The movies always start with a mini adventure, sans Chan. There is a murder. Someone always wishes Charley Chan was there. Soon we meet up with Chan, only too happy to get away from his humdrum life and nagging wife. For the next hour we solve the mystery alongside the learned detective.

I do notice there are certain formulas to the movies. Number one (or number two) son wants to help out but is in the way. The chauffeur, played by Eddie Anderson, is always lassoed into going into a cave or a dark basement and is terrified. There is always a beautiful woman. At some point a  man with bandages around his head makes an appearance.

Yes it is wonderful meeting up with the great heroes of childhood. And to be enlightened with an accurate recounting of traditional Chinese philosophy.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pictures of domestic life

Just saw some swell photographs of motherhood you might enjoy.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The five stages of life

The first stage of life: Infancy and childhood

The second stage of life: Adolescence: This stage begins when you sneak your first cigarette in the woods

The third stage of life: Young Adulthood: This stage begins with your first job and your first apartment. These are  the fun years.

The fourth stage of life: Adulthood: After you sign your divorce papers and start paying child support you are now a mature man

The fifth stage of life: Old age: This begins the first time you walk through the doors of the cardiologist. Above the door is the quotation from Dante's Inferno. "Abandon all hope ye who enter here". "Golly", you laugh,"everybody looks so old". Soon come the EKG, the echo cardiogram, the stress test, the double heart bypass surgery, the triple heart bypass surgery, the stent. Then you are sitting in a nursing home breathing out of an oxygen mask. Then they cart you off to a cemetery. 

The five stages of life. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

That Ebola nurse who likes to ride a bicycle

Aunt Agnes wanted to do another debate as have many of my readers, so here she is debating the omniscient liberal on the topic of Ebola and nurses who like to ride bicycles.

My heart gives out for those people in Africa but we have to take care of ourselves first. Americans have no business going to Africa to solve other people's problems when we have enough problems at home. That nurse, she was working for a group called Doctors without Borders which is nothing but another name for Médecins Sans Frontières. Now that name is French and we all know the French mean no good for Americans. 

Okay she goes over there and then comes back probably full of that darn old 

Ebola and wants to be free as a bird back here. If there is one thing that governor 

of New Jersey did that was smart it was to send here up to Maine so she can 

spread disease up there. 

O.L: But dear Aunt Agnes, all developed nations have a responsibilty to work to 

wipe out that disease in Africa before it spreads to the developing world. 

Aunt Agnes: Well the best way to keep Ebola out of here is to keep our gates 

shut. Ebola, Obama, they even rhyme. We never had Ebola til we had that 

African as president. 

O.L.: And now that she is back in America she should be free to travel as she 

wants as long as she is healthy. 

Aunt Agnes: While she gets on that bicycle spreading the disease through New 

England near and far. 

O.L. : She should be applauded for her heroism.

Aung Agnes: Well a dignified lady keeps away from Africa and bicycles. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What it must be like to be retired

The other day I had a vacation day. What with the air conditioning man coming and the rain I ended up spending the day doing not much of anything. I was thinking this is what it must be like being retired.

The first thing you notice is the activity of your neighborhood. With all the busy people off at work, the retired people come out and gossip. Then the stay at home parents come out with their toddlers and their dogs. One mother seems to make a lot of noise when she walks by. I wonder if they all are cleaning up after their canines. These are the types of thoughts retired people must have at 10am in the morning.

The air conditioning man came and put in the part. I guess I'll know if it's working on Memorial Day of next year. Got the see the maintenance man for the complex come by in his tractor.

The phone rang about every half hour. Guess they've been waiting for me to be home on a weekday. No I don't have a bag of clothes for the vets. Sorry I gave my used clothing to Lupus last month. "No I have my own charities" I told the cop on the phone. Hope I don't get a ticket for speeding next week.

Finally I drove off for a nice diner breakfast. Boy, all the construction they don't do during rush hour they do on weekday mornings. The diner was half filled. I ordered breakfast. Luckily they do late late breakfasts. Nice place, all the retired men seem to go there for coffee and transfats to wash down their Lipitor.

Early afternoon I listened to Leonard Lopate. Whenever he has a guest he always lets you know what he (Leonard) knows about the topic. The guest is explaining how Napoleon's family moved to America. Yes, we know Leonard that Napoleon's brother lived in Bordentown with a mistress. Now let the guest talk.

Leonard reminds me of the person who works in a library when she is taking a class in library school. She knows more than the teacher because she is a page in Plainfield.

Finally I turn on WXPN radio. They are playing the 885 greatest records of all time, as voted by the listeners. Right now they are in the 300's. I'm hearing the Allman Brothers, the Moody Blues, the Who, and Ten Years After. Sounds like they are playing the record collection of the the guy up the hall from me at Davidson freshman year. It will be interesting to hear the list in a few years when all us baby boomers are dead or on ventilators.

Well the day is about over or at least is about the time I usually get home from work. Tomorrow I get to enter the working world again. Thank god it will be Friday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I was watching the new TV show, Selfie. I find it to be a most enlightening television program. It is giving me new insight into the world of the millennial. Last night I saw a man text a woman with the one word term "sup". I thought he was inviting her to sup with him (ie. have supper). Later I googled the word and now I know it is shorthand for "what's up?" You learn so much from TV.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

You don't know what you've got til it's gone

Last year I noticed when I started my desktop computer that I got a tapping sound. Sounded like the hard drive. I soldiered on, occasionally having to start the computer from a CD. The computer was bought in 2006 and ran Vista, but I liked it and, like a beloved old car, planned to keep it til it died. 

Well, the hard drive died. Knowing it was time to get a new desktop (I know --- I have a laptop but a home office wouldn't feel like a home office without a desktop) so I bought a new one from Dell.

The new computer runs Windows 8.1. With a few troubles along the way (it was a bear getting Quicken to read my old Microsoft Money files) I have got everything running, more or less. My boss asked me if my scanner worked. I had forgotten about the scanner but low and behold, I did get the scanner to work.

Then a friend asked me if I could read a floppy disk. I took the floppy disk home. Holy moley. I didn't realize it. I no longer have a computer that can read floppies!

My first home computer, an AST 386,  had two floppy drives. A big one and the 3 and a half inch job that I have known and loved. I have so many memories of saving files to my floppies for safe keeping. I can remember many a happy Saturday morning, when I would back up my computer onto thirty floppy discs while listening to Car Talk. I thought for sure my old laptop that I seldom used had a floppy drive. It didn't. For the first time in my life since 1992 my home was floppy-less.

Yes I know there are CD's, flash cards, the cloud, portable hard drives. Even my Apple i pod can hold data. But I no longer own a floppy drive. Life will never be the same. I'll especially miss snapping the metal thing on the floppy back and forth. I won't miss getting the floppy out of the machine with a paper clip when it became stuck. (Although when I did this at work it made me the hero for the day).

At work, my computer has a floppy drive that I was able to read the disk with. The story has a happy ending. Happy though somewhat poignant. 

And so I now must learn to live life without a floppy drive. Floppy drives and Windows 3.1. Those were the days. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

A happy man

Today I saw the happiest man I have ever seen on television. After forty years of television viewing I saw the true utter complete happiness of a man who has finally been shown to be right and suddenly becoming important again.

It was John McCain and he was explaining how he knew all along that America should have left ground troops in Iraq and that now he has been proved right.

America now knows what we need. We need ground troops in Iraq. Ground troops in Syria. Ground troops in the Ukraine and just to show we are also humanitarians, 30,000 ground troops in Africa to fight the ebola virus.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Office potlucks

One of the great things about having a job is getting to go to office potlucks. Today we had one at work, it was football oriented and was called a tailgate potluck. People were expected to show up in football jerseys or t-shirts and bring food to share. I brought chili. I realized now I was supposed to put the chili in a crock pot and not just microwave it. I had to warm it up twice.

My chili was dwarfed on all sides by better offerings. Fortunately, one of the office managers pushed the chili. "You should try Mr. Mustache's chili" he exclaimed. "It has a real bite to it!" That helped it along but there was still a lot left. Tomorrow I guess I'll be eating chili.

The purpose of potlucks is not just to give the staff indigestion. The purpose of the event is to allow people from other units to socialize and get to know each other. It worked out that way today. The Mom's talked toddlers and soccer games. The older men talked about their golf games. Luckily, I travel, so occasionally I can mention my recent trip to Ireland or LA although I didn't get a chance today.

One thing I hate is people who grab food and run back to their offices to eat. They miss the point of the thing. It's supposed to be a social event. Nobody is that busy.

It wasn't a bad potluck. Now, next year, to make it a real tailgate potluck we should have it in the parking lot and there should be a keg of beer. That would be a real tailgate party

Monday, September 22, 2014

the Roosevelts

Just saw six of the seven programs on the Roosevelts. I've been to a few places mentioned in the show. Hyde Park is worth seeing. On display is FDR's wheelchair, a rather primitive thing, a chair with wheels attached. I also went to the Teddy Roosevelt home in Oyster Bay, a nice visit, especially if you like bear rugs and lots of trophies. You can get to Oyster Bay by the Long Island Railroad, if you don't mind a walk.

On a trip to Georgia a few years ago, I went to Warm Springs. Nice place and up the street I ate the best southern fried chicken I ever had.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Americans lack ambiton

According to a recent report by Career Builder employment agency. Ambition, like acne, is one of those things most of us leave behind by age forty. The problem is ambition leads to supervisory jobs and since most people lack ambition, supervising people can drive you batty. As I was told in the break room years ago, "If they see you are a hard worker, they'll just keep piling on the work and nobody ever gets promoted around here."
So let's get out there and ACHIEVE!

Editor's note: Someone gave me a whole book about having no ambition. Pete Jordan has made a career out of being a layabout. I guess that's his ambition.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back to school shopping

When I was in school I would go down to Modell's and buy a few pens and pencils, a few notebooks and I was finished. The next day my mother would take me to the mall where she would buy a couple of plaid shirts, a pair of slacks and I'd be all set for school. The whole expedition came in for under fifty dollars.

Today things have changed a bit. Nowadays, kids have to have Kindles, computer pens, IPads, and other high tech necessities. Of course, children learn a lot more in school than we did. It's amazing how erudite kids are today.

Editor's note: I wrote a new blog on the Sixties about clams.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The bucket hysteria

Unlike most mass hysteria's in history, the bucket challenge comes from the top town. The head of the organization does it then he challenges his minions. Then the minions do it and challenge their minions. For those of us low on the totem pole there is the hope that the hysteria will have played out before it reaches our floors or God forbid, our offices.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

So what should I do now with my portfolio

Well now the market is going down. As of Friday afternoon the Dow was $16493, lower than my prediction for the year ($17,250)  although the Dow peaked at $17.151 not long ago. I predict we're still going to hit my prediction but there will be rough riding ahead. So, I recommend,  if you are brave, keep your money in stocks but take some profits too.

I'm ultimately optimistic because the market today is scary enough to discourage most middle class Americans. Only people with great pensions or significant resources can play the game now. That means times will be good. Like restaurants, tourist resorts, stores, music venues and parties, the best things in life are only accessible for the few and not the masses.  "Oh yes, as a boy we had a summer place in the Hamptons, before it was discovered."

Friday, August 1, 2014

Being lousy at sports

I have always been lousy at sports. As a kid, no one wanted me on their team. I blame that on the fact that I had very few friends as a kid. At summer day camp I had to sit on the bus with the mentally disabled kid who also sucked at sports. As an adolescent I listened to the radio for hours with my poor coordination and skinny frame.

Now I am an adult and I don't have golfing or fishing buddies calling me up on weekends wanting me to make up a  foursome. I still suck at sports.

I drive around the area and suddenly come upon traffic jams in front of the high school. Everybody is watching their kids who are playing sports, and presumably, are good at it. After the game there will be barbecue and beer for the parents and baseball for the kids. Later the parents will engage in a little wife swapping  while I'll be at home watching Turner Classic Movies.

Today I sat down with a group of babyboomers and found out that people who shine at sports when they are young get arthritic and decrepit after they hit forty. At least that's what the lady drinking a Pinot Grigiot said. Apparently, if true, people who sucked at sports look better and have better health, at least comparatively, as they get older. That knowledge put me in a much better mood. Look I can sprint to the mailbox to retrieve my Netflix dvd. I'm so happy I always sucked at sports.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Guilty pleasures

It's summer and time to enjoy some guilty pleasures. My first one is Til Lease Do Us Part. It is a mildly amusing web series about two lesbians who break up but share the same apartment. Sort of fun. I like Eduardo.

Another guilty pleasure is a mainstream comedy on CBS, Mom. It seems this show has been getting a lot of airplay this summer. It shows the modern American family. Three generations of women live in one household. Mom and Grandmom are recovering alcoholics and the daughter is pregnant. The episodes of the AA meetings are fun. Sounds weird in concept but it is sort of endearing.

I originally thought Last Tango in Halifax was about Canada but it is about an extended family in rural England. It is also a show about a December to December romance and the troubled families that both oldsters have. Unless most shows, the women are all pretty homely, an unusual feature in tv. At heart a soap opera, but I find myself getting drawn in to this series. Nothing like a guilty pleasure when it is too hot to go out.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

American teeth

Lately I've noticed that whenever French or British novels bring up American characters, they always bring up their teeth. Apparently, one way Brits distinguish themselves from Americans is by those symmetrical white monuments between our gums. In Peter Mayle's A good year, the character identifies a long lost relative as American simply by looking at her teeth. Apparently no matter how hard an American may try, the locals in foreign countries can spot them simply by looking at their bicuspids. Americans, at least Americans who travel abroad, visit the dentist more than our international friends.

Are we obsessed with our teeth? I always knew we Americans were obsessed with b--bs. Now I find out Americans are also known throughout the world for our dentifrices.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Well, us Democrats are starting to get close to the hour of decision. Will it be Hillary or the un-Hillary. We almost selected her last time then we went for exotic and got behind Barack Obama. Why not Hillary? One reason is that we know her too well. Most of us were first introduced to her when she made the remark that she had better things to do than sit around baking cookies. Then as a new first lady she threw a plate at dear Bill, not that he probably didn't deserve it.

We know her as the estranged wife, the feminist, the smart stock picker. The woman who went on a listening tour of New York. She went on to be a Senator, then a presidential candidate, then a Secretary of State. Her record isn't that bad but among men of a certain age, she doesn't pass the likability test. She reminds us of the sister-in-law who doesn't allow smoking in the house or the school teacher who keeps our sons from playing sports because she gives them C's instead of gentleman's B's.

There's also the question of which is the real Hillary. Is she the sincere but competent  person we see in her new book or is she the sarcastic boozer displayed in the New York Post favorite new title. The sarcastic boozer seems to be more fun than the dull narrator of her own book.

Oh what are we to do? Republicans like to nominate dull people, although Bob Dole and Mitt Romney never made it through a general election. Nixon did, but then that was the "New Nixon". He seemed so nice when he played the piano on the Jack Paar show.

The Republicans have some new faces. Christie and Ted Cruz come to mind. Rand Paul would shake things up. Democrats could live with them as opponents.

When we were in high school we didn't want the girls we knew from Kindergarten, we wanted the mysterious new girl who came in from out-of-state.  We don't usually buy the same model car. We want new.  I suspect this is because so many of today's problems are intractable that no normal person can solve them. Barack knows that by now. We want a wizard and one requirement of a wizard is they are new enough to us that they appear to have magical powers.  

The Democrats may well nominate Hillary. But if they are smart they will package her as the "New Hillary".  Dye the hair! Become a Seventh Day Adventist! Ditch Bill!  My political advice. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Warped tour

 I have a great memory for old rock and roll songs. Yesterday I went to an oldies show and I could sing along with almost all of the songs. I guess that's because when I was a youngster I listened to AM radio so much that the songs got drummed into my brain. I can remember all the lyrics to "Poison Ivy" but then why can't I find where I put my keys?

Memories aside, I am also curious what it is like being young, in an age where top 40 radio is in it's grave. In an attempt to try to keep up with what the younger generation is up to, I have been following the day to day adventures of Piddleass with her daily Youtube updates as she travels with the  Warped Tour troup of traveling rock and folksy singers through the country.  I get to watch the crummy bus she sleeps in, get to wander around the huge lots with food stands and outdoor concert venues. I get to see the backstage commissary for the "talent". Piddleass apparently is intoducing acts and talks to fans in the Youtube booth.

I suppose it would be fun being a traveling entertainer walking around in 90 degree fields full of young millenniums. Yesterday there was a dust storm. I guess the ghost of Woody Guthrie was there.  Some of the music isn't bad, but I don't recognize anybody.  I don't envy Piddleass the bus she has to sleep in or the dust, but I guess it is one of those experiences she will always remember.  I wonder when she will have an affair. It is inevitable, as inevitable as hangovers.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Father's Day is one of those minor holidays people don't really care about but celebrate anyway. You have to buy your father something  (a tie, deodorant, something for the garden) and your mother slaves over a hot oven and cooks a meal. Recently on the radio they were talking about what they learned from their fathers. I thought about it and came up with a few pointers I learned from the old man.

1) Working class Italian expressions: Hey gumba!  Capacole! Marone! "Gabbly gots" "Gots on gool". Well actually I picked up some of them from my summer job.

2) Gardening  My father liked to garden and I learned how to till soil, remove rocks from soil and how to garden. The secret of gardening is you have to water when you are tired and don't feel like doing it. Like having a dog, you have to take care of the thing even after the novelty has worn off.

3) How to avoid giving rides to people at work. I remember picking up my father with the Ford Falcon at his job in New York. He noticed one of the secretaries carrying a large plant. He grabbed me and brought me to the Audubon collection then we left after the coast was clear. My father was perceptive to the fact that his co-worker, carrying a large plant, could use a ride back to her home in Jersey City rather than having to deal with said plant on the subway and PATH train. He mentally added how long he would have to spend in Jersey City traffic if he was a nice guy and that is why he took up a sudden interest in Audubon. Learning to avoid giving rides home to people at work is something I became quite adept at over the years.  I stayed in an apartment in Watsessing for years in order to avoid moving closer to where the rest of the staff lived to avoid that task. Thanks, Dad.

4) Going to work when you don't feel like it. Watching your father trudge off to work every morning has a great impact on how dependable we will become in later life. People who's fathers ditch work will do the same when they have a job.

5) Learning that leadership involves negotiation. For a brief  period, my father was president of the Hackensack Democrat Club. 1968 was a divisive time for political parties. The New Democratic Coalition of Bergen County supported Eugene McCarthy for President and sat on their hands during the 1968 Presidential election that ultimately elected Richard Nixon.

The following spring some of the members decided to join the Hackensack Democratic Club. As a kid I got to listen to some of the phone calls the old man made. I remember he called people like Tony Andorra and said, "Well we've decided to let some of these young people join the Democratic Club but I thought it would be nice of some of the 'old timers' came to the meeting too." They would let the liberal wing in the club but he wanted a good showing among the old guard.

6) You should try to keep the family together even if it means visiting  sons and their new wives after they have eloped.

7) Men don't cook, do laundry, vacuum, shop at the grocery store, wash the kitchen sink or make beds.  Most men have had to change with time times on domestic chores but I still don't make my bed.

8) Don't spend more than you make. Driving an old car and not buying the latest gadgets may make you seem cheap but you'll be happier in the long run.

9) Driving a car. Most of us learn to drive from our fathers and that includes good as well as bad driving habits.

10) Picking up the check. Sadly, the oldest male at a table of relatives still has to pay for dinner. Among friends, the Dutch have great customs, ie. every man to himself.

Editor's note: My grandfather, father, and aunt.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Aunt Agnes on the Taliban exchange

I asked what Aunt Agnes thought of the Taliban exchange for Bowie Bergdahl.
Aunt Agnes: Well I needed to take another Demerol to get to sleep last night I'm so mad about this Taliban business. Here you have a traitor, Bowie Bergdahl or something like it. He got high on drugs, walked off his base and decided to seek out trouble in Afghanistan. Well I guess he thought those Taliban would hand him a medal but instead those old Taliban arrested that man. Served him right. For my money he made his bed and should have stayed right where he was and let the fleas have at him. 

But no, our president turns around and frees five terrorists from Guantanamo and in exchange we get that flea bitten patriot. Now Obama thought he was going to be a hero. Parades all over the place, good publicity but it backfired on him. Now everybody is mad at him. Well one good thing, we won't have to feed and clothe those prisoners anymore. They are off our hands now.

I'm sure in a few weeks Bowie, his parents who look like they never went home from Woodstock, and maybe a few of the Taliban will turn up on the Today show. I can see it now. Koda and Bowie like old friends. Not a barber in the house.

Editor's note: It's nice to hear from dear old Agnes again.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Old t shirts

Last week I got a phone call from the Lupus Foundation. They didn't want money. They wanted me to put out a bag of old clothes for them to pick up. Sounded easy at the time but it forced me to choose among my most prized belongings. My old t shirts.

After throwing in some old pajama tops I never wear and some socks with holes in them I came to the t shirt containers. I have two large storage containers I got at KMart a few years ago and there they were. In forty years of buying and being given t shirts as presents, surely I had a few hundred I could give away. 

It turned out to be not as easy as it sounds. Matt Nokes in a Detroit Tigers outfit almost made it to the Lupus bag but I thought "One day it might be valuable". Perhaps he will do something noteworthy in a few years and I can sell my t shirt for hundreds of dollars. All of the trips I've made over the years were represented in the loot. Tokyo, Nova Scotia, Scotland. My title Data t shirts from when I lived in Denver stayed. A t shirt saying "President Bill Clinton salutes the can-do spirit of East Texas" stayed but Bodacious barbecue from Austin got tossed. I almost tossed my Weird New Jersey t shirt but it too stayed put. 

A Bud lite t shirt from the eighties got tossed. So did a bright orange t shirt from the Butterfly Festival from a few years back. I was always afraid to wear something that loud. Still a lot of my old t shirts got saved. A good session in the machine and they'll be good as new. And I promised myself to put some forgotten shirts in the rotation for the summer.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Louie CK

As most of the TV seasons are coming to an end, Louie C K is just starting up. Last week he had a show that got a lot of attention,  It was the show that asked why middle aged guys with beer guts never ask out overweight women. I dunno. Maybe we're afraid they'll say yes.

With most of TV aimed at hip young (or at least young) people it's nice to see a show aimed at middle aged men with beer guts. He sort of represents an every man. He has the whiny, annoying daughters, the crummy apartment, the out of style pants.

Of course we really don't all have the life of Louie C K's that is portrayed on the show. He does have a cushy job. How easy it must be to go to a nightclub every night, tell a few jokes, and have earned enough money to live in Manhattan. He also gets to hang out with celebrities like Sarah Silverman and stay up late, go to bars, play cards, and have enough money to eat out for breakfast.

Still it's refreshing to see someone who's not young, or pretty, schlepping around sort of like a normal person. You can pop open a can of beer while watching the show with the feeling Louie is doing the same thing after the show.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's day gifts

As we get older our mothers start dying on us and we feel a bit of remorse when we realize that we don't even have to send a card or buy flowers at the supermarket on Sunday morning. People who buy flowers at the Shop-rite on Sunday morning are what my mother used to classify as "last minute Joe's". It's like you couldn't deal with Mother's Day until the last possible minute and then you combine it with buying dog food and hot dogs for work.

I remember when my father bought my mother a washing machine for Mother's Day. Mother was actually quite thrilled to have something she could actually use, would make her life easier, and wouldn't give her hay fever. Last week I helped a friend buy a refrigerator and it reminded me of when Mothers got refrigerators and stoves on the second Sunday in May. Sears had prices on the machines that were higher than what they had on their website but they matched the price. A lesson to be learned. At any rate, for the mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tea taste test

Idle hands being the devil's workshop, yesterday during coffee break I noticed I had two different kinds of tea bags. I had Shop Rite as well as Lipton. I never noted any real difference between them but always assumed the Lipton was a tiny bit better since it was the name brand. Yesterday I did a taste test. I microwaved two cups filled with water and the two tea bags. I sampled the two teas. 

The results? I could not tell them apart.  The tea bags looked the same. The amount of tea in the two bags seemed to be the same. The flavor seemed to be the same to me.  The color was about the same. Perhaps next time I'll try a more exotic (and expensive) tea. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014


One of the questions besetting modern man is the question of leggings. Who should were leggings? When are leggings appropriate? Recently a school banned leggings. People throughout the world are debating the issue of leggings. In Britain, there is a movement afoot to sell leggings to men. I would show the pictures but this is a family blog. Probably the safe way to deal with leggings is to wear shorts over them. Leggings and only leggings? I suppose in the right settings. Casual Fridays? Perhaps in banks and insurance companies but I would avoid them at wakes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Deep in the heart of Texas

I spent the Easter weekend visiting kinfolk in Texas. We got in the Buick van, equipped with two child seats, and plenty of other seats for the grownups and dogs, and we were off. We traveled about two hundred miles, passing farms and cattle ranches throughout Texas. The signs are different in Texas. In addition to the religious slogans I passed a store with the name "Condoms to go". Never remember seeing one of those back east.

In Texas they aren't afraid of fracking. They have it in public parks in Dallas and even below the runways at DFW. Oil derricks pumping oil are a common sight in the parking lots of shopping malls. Yep.

The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Tyler Rose festival museum. Here we learned the history of the Tyler Rose Festival, especially the crowning of the queen and got to see dresses with trains that extend about one hundred feet. I guess they do things big in Texas.

The food was good. Nothing like barbecue with pinto beans and cornbread. Still it's nice to be back where they know how to make a decent pizza and don't say y'all every two minutes.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter thoughts

Easter is a major holiday in the Catholic church. Although not as eventful as Christmas, the ending of Lent, the new suit and the dinner spent with relatives in your new clothes make it a special day. Or at least, a day a little bit out of the ordinary. Lent is the period where you are supposed to give up something (like candy) and put your extra dimes in mite boxes. After Easter you can stuff yourself. The altar at church is purple during Lent but white on the big day.

Good Friday is a day off from school. If it is late enough in the year, it is traditionally a good day to plant gardens. My mother said she was taught that whatever goes into the ground on Good Friday will come out of the ground. I guess that is why grumpy relatives are never buried on that day.

Holy Saturday I remember decorating eggs with the Paas kit. I notice now they recommend coloring eggs using the Internet. Well in my day... I also remember hiding eggs around the house. One fall day my mother discovered an egg under the couch when she was vacuuming. It was getting a bit gamy by then. I don't remember public Easter egg hunts like the kids get nowadays. They seem like fun. Easter Sunday you put on your new suit. I remember walking up and down Kaplan Avenue with my new suit and tie. Never again would the suit be so clean.

The weirdest Easter I can remember is when my aunt died. Uncle Joe and a forlorn looking Philip showed up at the house. The relatives tried to look cheerful. Another Easter I remember we didn't have that many people, maybe a bachelor aunt or two. By the afternoon I was starting to yawn. Then I looked out the window. Black clouds were everywhere. Frankie's market had burned down again. We all ran to see the fire. That saved the day for me.

Editor's note: Yesterday I passed a rabbit on the way to work. I wished it a Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Windows XP

I remember working in a public library on the  Y2K project. It was a really big deal. The head of technical services insisted on disconnecting all the computers from power sources in case there was a power surge. The theory was that at midnight, New century's eve, fires might break out, destroying all the library's computers. It was a scary time. I think he would have turned off the hot water heater if the door to the maintenance room wasn't locked.

Now we are in a somewhat similar situation. Many of us, due to complacency, poverty, or just procrastination,  still have XP on at least one of our computers. Yet we all have been told that on April 8 Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. It has not risen to the level yet of people unplugging their desktops in case their computers catch fire on that day. Still, it is worrisome. Oh My, what are we going to do?

Microsoft wants us all to buy Windows 8. Unfortunately that costs over a hundred dollars and older computers oftentimes don't have enough juice to run the thing. One suggestion I have heard is using Ubunto and switching to Linux. That may work but some of us are afraid of Linux. What happens if we can't get email on the thing? Linux. Oh My!!!

One thing I heard is that if you use Google Chrome as a search engine and ITunes to listen to audio you may be okay for a while. That seems the easiest, if not the safest solution. Sort of like taking aspirin to ward off a heart attack.

Editor's note: I have installed Ubuntu on an old notebook of mine. Seems to work, but it's a liitle klutzy. I like the way it gives you jungle drums instead of beeping at you if you do something wrong.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Final thoughts on Los Angeles

This post will end my California quintet, five posts about life and travels in L-A. Here are a few things  I wanted to mention.

  • The Getty Center. It is really bigger than life. On the top of a mountain, you have to take a train from the parking garage to get there. It is huge, several buildings and the walkway has beautiful views of the surrounding area. It is hard to describe but it has a very large collection and is totally different than any museum I have ever seen. Since I was there on a Saturday, I missed the sacrifices, but otherwise it was a fascinating visit.

  • Most American bars will have a few craft beers but the places I went to in L-A were almost entirely dominated by craft beers. Also a lot of bars are beer and wine only. A few meat items on the menu, but lots of vegetarian dishes. I have never ate a quinoa dish in a bar before my trip to California. As expected, there are Asian and Mexican restaurants of infinite variety.

  • Roads are actually quite good in L-A. Having a GPS makes a big difference though. Just because I said the roads are good does not mean they are not overcrowded. There is free parking on most of the side streets, but they limit you by hours. I did see a lot of buses and even a train line so it is possible, though not necessarily convenient, to get around without a car. Lots of bicycle riders and they seem to be of all ages.

  • The beaches are beautiful, have surfers and thousands of young people, and are crowded. Nice trip but not cheap. The only thing that is free are the beaches (but not beach parking).  Bring your wallet if you go.

Editor's note: On my last day I was woken up by an earthquake. I guess somebody wanted to make sure I didn't miss out on anything.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cassette tapes

Yes, admittedly records are hip again. I will probably never be able to get rid of my record collection. Now, my eyes have wandered over to my tape cassettes. Perhaps they can be given the heave-ho. No, now cassette tapes are hip again. I can understand, old cassette tapes, especially the home made ones, can be full of untapped mysteries. Who knows what is on them? Yes the label may say the Kinks, but how do we know the cassette is nothing but the Kinks? How do we know I didn't talk into the microphone at the end? Perhaps Aunt Lizzie sneezes at the end. The only recording of Aunt Lizzie still extant.

It can be fun to play old cassettes. Most of them are still playable. It was the first medium where average people could make their own mixes. The more adventurous of us also used the microphone to tape voices, our cars and our pets. Tapes from the radio. Tapes from our singles collection. Tapes from television shows.  I just discovered I had a tape of a radio show dedicated to the life of Ernest Hemingway which featured Lil Abner's Al Capp giving a critique on the man. Theoretically I could transfer them all to CD but the amount of work for a non-retired man is too great. Cassette tapes are part of  the flotsam and jetsam sum of our lives. They may be irrelevant but they are our flotsam and jetsam. 

Editor's note: I just found the Hemingway show on YouTube. Maybe I can give some of my cassettes the heave-ho after all. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Neville Chamberlain

I guess I'm a Neville Chamberlain. Accommodate people. Live and let live. Let Russia have the Crimea. We don't want it. Can we do anything with Crimea? No. Do we want to pay more for gasoline because of Crimea? No. Do we want to pay more taxes for the sake of Crimea? No. Let them have it. 

Yes, if you haven't seen it yet, Broad City is worth a look. Good fast paced fun.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Actually it's great to be home. Home in the ice and snow, away from all the warm weather and surfboards and bicycle paths that is Southern California. It's great to be back home in my own bed and dirty sheets. Making my  own coffee and gulping it down because I'm late for work. Yes it's great to be your own man in your own unkempt  home.

The thing about hotel rooms is you have maids. Before you leave the room you have to clean up so the maid won't think you're a slob. Then you come home at noon and the room still isn't made up. You leave again at three and by four the maid has cleaned the room. I remember I had an aunt once as a kid who had a maid. She complained to my mother that on the day the maid came she had to wake up early and clean the house so the maid wouldn't know how sloppy her family was.

I think the thing with servants:  ie gardeners, maids, chauffeurs, valets, etc. is that to pull it off you have to grow up with "help". If you grow up in a house with "help" you learn not to worry about what the servants think of you. You don't care, they are there to serve you, not the other way around. When my mother got older she had a maid and a gardener. I was visiting once and made a mess in the bathroom. I got yelled at because the maid had to pick up my towels and mop up the water I spilled on the floor. I left a bad impression on the maid.

I guess we all want outsiders to think we are better than we really are. It's like sampling the wine in front of the waiter in a fancy restaurant. As if we could really tell if the wine was lousy.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hollywood thoughts

Just being a tourist on what was my first real stay in L-A I got to go to Hollywood, saw Grauman's Chinese Theatre and took a tour of Paramount. It actually was fun and I learned a few things along the way. Paramount Studios is huge and was the sight of many memorable films, including Sunset Boulevard and some of the Crosby Hope pictures.  Each sound stage has a number and a list of all the television and movies filmed there. Sadly, a lot of the glamour is gone as it is mostly used for television today. As a treat I got to see where they tape the Doctor Phil Show. 

I always thought they filmed beach scenes on the Pacific Ocean. Now I know many beach and water scenes were filmed in a blue parking lot at Paramount after the water tower was emptied. Nice to see Lucy's cabana. 

Grauman's Chinese theatre is on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" in a neighborhood that reminded me of Times Square. Sort of seedy, with a mixture of pan handlers and Chinese tourists. I wonder if Sid Grauman realized how many real Chinese people would visit his faux Chinese movie palace. Seeing the real footprints was a treat, though. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What it's like to be in a studio audience

About two months ago I was checking my email and I got a notice from my regular airline saying I had until June to redeem my frequent flyer miles. Turns out that after some searching, I figured out I had sufficient miles to go practically anywhere in the good old USA as long as I was real flexible about dates and times. Well, trigger warning, I decided to go to L-A. I've always wanted to see Groman's Chinese theatre and thought it would be fun to warm up after all the New Jersey winter warning. After more Internet browsing I thought, "maybe I could see a tv show". Soon I was signed up to see the Maggie Waggie show. I was real excited now.

Truth to be told, I did see a tv show once in the sixties. I was walking with my mother on Broadway one school holiday after seeing a Radio City movie with the Rockettes. Out of the blue, this man came up to my mother and said, "Would you like to watch the Merv Griffin show? We are starting in a few minutes." The next thing I knew we were in the Little Theatre and Arthur Treacher walked out onto the stage and told a few jokes and explained that the laugh sign meant you had permission to laugh if you thought the joke merited a chuckle or too. Soon Merv came out. I seem to remember Tony Randall was the guest.

Forward forty eight years and I was going to see a real tv show from L-A. It was very specific about what I could wear. Dark clothes, "casual hip" I think it said. No hats. No writing on your tees.

On the big day I got there early, having checked out of the hotel. It was quite hot out and I was a bit worried about the no hats rule. Luckily when I got to the Maggie Waggie wait line there were nice benches, awning to protect us from the sun and a fan blowing into our faces. I guess they didn't want an audience that had heat prostration. A few very tall and beautiful damsels talked to us we were marched to the door and told to go to the bathroom.

After a long wait, (there were a lot of long waits that day) the doors opened and literally where you would expect a lobby to be was the set of the show. There were lights and loud pop music and we were directed to our seats. After a while I realized the pretty people had been separated from the older, fat grumpy looking people. I did not sit with the pretty, young women and their boyfriends. For another very long wait the set was decorated with shamrocks and pots of gold. Apparently there were three consultants whose job was "set dressing" (I've become so L-A) and they put coins around the stage. Then somebody took a picture and walked backstage. After a few minutes (I suspect Maggie Waggie had some suggestions) they re-dressed the set and put gold coins on the stage floor. I guess they had trouble filling seats because people kept strolling into the audience well past the allotted time. Apparently due to this shortage of bodies the dress code was rather lax. Well it was St. Patrick's Day.

Finally the audience pumper came to motivate us into laughing our heads off and applauding like we were on Benzedrine.   Apparently TV show directors have never heard the expression, "I'll laugh when I hear something funny".

Finally, the show began. I noticed there were no speakers in the studio so you had to listen to the show real closely. The audience all laughed and applauded shamelessly. I almost had a sore throat as  I had laughed so hard during audience rehearsal. Now I know why jokes that aren't that funny get such a great response from studio audiences. After the show they did some promotions. One bit was funnier than the show had been.

Well that was about it. Having a plane to catch I missed the meet and greet with Fernando but that's life.

Editor's note: When they blip a word on tv it's the one you imagine it is.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I can't believe it's product placement

Watching the Oscar's I thought it was fun to watch something completely spontaneous, with stars getting into the fun. I'm talking about the pictures Ellen took from the audience. It made me feel warm to watch a genuine "moment" in live coverage of the Oscars.

Turns out I was bamboozled.  It was all payed for and planned by Samsung to sell cell phones. It wasn't just Ellen taking pictures on a whim. I was so naive.

Friday, February 28, 2014

A theory about bathrooms and icy windshields

I have a theory that may change the lives of working adults throughout the world. Potentially I have made a great discovery.  For years every morning I have walked to my car in the winter not knowing whether I'll have to scrape ice off of my windshield. Although the likelihood increases as the temperature decreases, it is not always the case that low temperatures mean icy windshields. This morning, for instance, it was below 10 degrees outside but there was no ice on my windshield. 

Other mornings it can be 34 degrees out and I have to spend five minutes getting the car so I can see well enough to drive. The fact is that it is not just the cold it is also the humidity that causes this condition. 
I have a theory that you can tell what the status of your car's windows will be when you take a shower. If everything is steamed up after a shower and it is below 35 degrees out you will need your trusty ice scraper. However if you can look at your mirror in the bathroom and there is no steam, you can have an extra cup of coffee because you won't need to scrape any ice off of your car. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A modern day Anna Karenina

The story of the Ukraine is a modern retelling of Anna Karenina. Married to staid old Count Karenin, Anna gets natural gas at a discount, a place to sell her goods, limited freedoms yes but security and comfort. Alas she is unhappy. She wants to be part of the West and live with Count Vronsky. She wants to sing, be free, swim with the swans, and travel to Paris and eat oysters and drink Cabernet. Count Vronsky loves Anna but cannot afford to support her extravagant lifestyle. Should Anna go to  Count Vronsky or stay with Count Karenin?

Editor's note: Looks like Count Karenin is playing a little rough.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Women's Olympic sports

This past week we have all been watching (or in my case grazing) through the Sochi Winter Olympics. We have watched women do the skeleton, the luge, curl, ski jump, and ski downhill. We have even seen the biathlon where they cross country ski, take a few pot shots at the crowd with a rifle, and then go back to skiing.

Curling I haven't figured out yet. Two women hover over what looks like an old model of a portable cd player and blow on it and scrape ice off in front of it. Some sports are best viewed in a bar.

Luge looks like a fun if dangerous sport. The Americans were cute when they waved at the cameras.

I'd like to see a few Olympic sports celebrating domestic life. In my view, women should engage in the Olympics to showcase their domestic skills. The sort of skills that would be useful for a future husband. Cooking competitions, baking contests, dish washing competitions would fill the bill. I envision stains on a huge arena floor. Contestants from each country would go out with mops and cleaners and compete over who could clean the stains first. Perhaps an ironing competition or a folding competition. Life affirming skills that would celebrate women's contributions to family life.

I guess I'm low on blood sugar from too much snow shoveling and ice scraping this morning. Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Beatles 50 years later

There's a lot of hoopla over the 50 year anniversary of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Here's what I wrote a few years ago. Every once in a while they thaw out Ringo and put him on tv.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pussy Riot falls apart

A few weeks ago I wrote about Pussy Riot. Now freed, I envisioned them doing a world tour, being on Saturday Night Live, opening for the Stones. From criminals to stars, soon millionaires going about in their Rolls Royces singing protest songs. Now, however there is a new wrinkle. The two most prominent members of the group, freed from the dungeons of Siberia, now have been expelled from, well, Pussy Riot. Apparently the more idealistic of the group back home want nothing to do with the commercialism afoot in the twosome and their recent public appearances.

The old battle among liberals returns. Like Trotsky and Lenin. Or Pete Seeger and Joan Baez on one hand and Bob Dylan after he plugged in his guitar. Pete and Joan saw music as a tool for a wider goal. Music was there to instruct the audience on liberal causes, the unions, the civil rights movements, the opposition to the Vietnam war. Bob Dylan and most of the stars that followed him saw music as a way to have a few laughs, make some money and maybe one day do a car commercial on the Super Bowl.

I remember once seeing Utah Phillips in Philadelphia and he commented that John Lennon was an s-o-b for not speaking out for union causes. It is the old schism that hinders liberals. Idealism vs. wealth and fame. Now the two lassies will have to tour as the artists formerly known as members of Pussy Riot. It's a god darn shame.

Update: Now they were arrested and released apparantly in Sochi. I guess some people seek out trouble.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Gap years

Recently I was listening to a podcast that discussed the current trend for young people to have gap years between high school and college. Apparently the idea is that the parents pay $20,000 to a non profit agency and their young scholars get to volunteer in a third world country and apparently, learn about life. When I was in college I heard about classmates who spent a few months in a kibbutz, or for the more politically active, a time helping Cuba with the sugar crop. It seemed like fun and I suppose it taught my acquaintances about life.

I guess I took a gap year after college, albeit involuntarily. After college I was supposed to get a creative and interesting job in New York but with the recession and all, I ended up selling hot dogs at Two Guys and working as a paraprofessional at a library thanks to CETA and family connections. I guess it was good, although it didn't seem so at the time. I also took a trip by car to California where I found my identity.

After I couldn't find a librarian job post librarian degree I again drove out west where I  worked for a data processing company in Denver. I guess you could say I had a gap decade before entering my exalted profession.

I suppose volunteering in Ethiopia is more interesting than selling hot dogs but both experiences can teach one about life. Even college teaches one about life, if you think about it. As Dick Cavett once said, "college teaches a man how to drink". So I suppose gap years are okay but some of us are probably too immature to take one on at the tender age of seventeen.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bad weather

One of the features of living anywhere but southern California is that you get to experience a few rotten weather days every winter. You have to shovel snow and drive to work or go to work and you get dismissed an hour after you should have been let go. You brave your way through snow and ice and navigate slippery left turns. Finally you are home and you rush to turn on the television so you can experience the schadenfreude of seeing how much worse people have it in New York or Connecticut. Living between two television markets I can watch New York as well as Philadelphia street corners with news people gleefully reporting on miserable drivers and pedestrians in their not so fair cities. 

When the snow dies down, they go right into the next big thing, the cold temperatures. If the real temperatures are not scary enough they trot out the wind chill factor. Wind chill factors are terrifying but are really only true when you get a gust of wind. Sometimes even a pleasant but brisk day can scare the pants off of you if you believe the wind chill factor. Of course the people on tv don't want you to go out. They want you to stay in and watch them.

Well, the early predictions are in. No blizzard for the Super Bowl but it will be very cold. Especially if you factor in the wind chill factor.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Have a blessed day

I've noticed about once a week on the elevator at work I'll hear someone say "have a blessed day". I guess it's sort of like a Christian version of "have a nice day". 

I was sitting in a bar when I heard this story. Apparently the woman sitting next to me was a landlady and she was telling her "have a blessed day" story. She had a tenant that made a mess of the apartment she was renting, was always late in paying rent but always said "have a blessed day" when she met the landlord. Finally, the landlady had her evicted, had the sheriff's officer come over and remove her and her belongings from the apartment. The next day the landlady emailed the former tenant and said, "have a blessed day!"

Sitting in bars is a great cure for writer's block. Have a blessed day!