Monday, December 10, 2012

Manger Scene

Lest you may have interpreted my last blog to think that I hate Christmas, let me set you straight. It's not about tacky lawn ornaments or Christmas Specials in the stores. It's about friends, families, traditions, Baby Jesus, and memories. All of these are wrapped up in our ratty old manger scene.

It is made of paper mache, intended to look like Italian Renaissance porcelain. It was passed around in the family for years before we gave it a home. It had seen better days. The figures were ten to twelve inches tall if intact, but they weren't. None of the sheep had four legs, the camel's neck was broken, the cow had no horns, the shepherd had no crook. We made replacement parts out of plastic clay and painted them. The shepherd was happy to have a swizzle stick as a crook. Every year we had more patching to do.

Worst of all was the after-market Baby Jesus, who was way too big for his red plastic strawberry basket manger filled with pink Easter grass. He sort  of lay in there at an angle, and looked like a five-year old Eddie Haskell. One year I found a perfect replacement, the right size, in a believable manger, and he actually looked like a baby. However, you can't just toss the original in the trash, so we have always had two. Jason called them the Babies Jesi.

The original group took up about three feet on the buffet, arranged on a sheet of white cotton batting. We stuck books under it in the back that could have been sand dunes. The kids began adding characters from their toy box, so the display grew every year. Horses and cows seemed to belong, but there were no rules. A tiny train set, Happy Meal characters such as the Little Mermaid showed up. Santa Claus.
Little green army men. Lions, tigers, even a gorilla were welcome. The display got so large that there is no room in our down-sized house. We are hoping one of our kids or grandkids will give it a home.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Confusion

Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand much of this Christmas stuff. God knows, I try. I religiously watch the Macy's parade and hope to get infused with the Christmas Spirit, whatever that is. I watch Spongebob Squarepants and Spiderman balloons and wonder what they're doing up there. Maybe a Baby Jesus balloon wouldn't be quite right, either, though.

I go shopping, to see if that will help with the blahs. The decorations and gifts that have been there since Labor Day are looking a little dusty, and are already marked down. The gift guides in every magazine and paper try to convince me to send my loved ones socks or TV's. What do they have to do with Christmas?

Lawn decorations are a mystery. One neighbor had life-sized animated people, animals, and elves climbing all around inside their garage, to make it look like an old-fashioned department store window. There were so many cars and buses lined up that we were prisoners in our house. This year is all about wire deer, dolphins, locomotives and even a helicopter, lighted to look like they're moving. One neighbor has wired his lawn so that it changes patterns in time with Mannheim Steamroller on the speakers. The most recent addition to the scene is the life-sized bronze rhinoceros, all decked out in a leafy wreath collar. I guess a rhino is just as appropriate as Spiderman.

Once again, my family will receive virtual pigs and goats from Heifer, with the actual beasties going to third world families. I know, pigs and goats don't exactly scream "Merry Christmas" either. So I will be sending cookies and candy, which is what Baby Jesus would have wanted

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I promised I wouldn't blog about the election, because I don't want to sound like a smug winner.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will share the thoughts of another blogger, who expresses herself more eloquently:

I agree with her statements, and I wish some of my friends and relatives would take them to heart. I wish some total strangers would take them to heart. There is an undercurrent of hate in the air that you can reach out and touch. All 50 states have now submitted petitions to withdraw from the Union. There is a movement to impeach Obama floating around. The hope that Romney would win has turned into something really ugly. I suspect the followers of some talk radio and TV folks for whipping it up, but I have no real basis for that suspicion. People, sit down and take a few deep breaths. Go outdoors and feel the sunshine, the cool breeze, even the rain. Life goes on, for most of us.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lies, damn lies, and pies

Saw a yard sign yesterday, saying "Three more days to save the country." I don't need to tell you how many other signs and flags and banners were there too. There was an old couple working in that yard.

Now, I don't consider myself old, even though I turned 75 last week. But, some of our friends and relatives are getting to that category. One thing we have learned over the years is that this country can survive bad presidents. Lord knows, it has already, more than once.

No matter who wins, about half the folks will be disappointed. The other half will believe that they have a mandate to heap scorn on the losers. Life goes on. Nobody has cornered the market on virtue or wisdom or a simple solution to all the problems that need solving.

My first memory of political craziness was the Red Scare and the McCarthy inquisition, looking for
Communists everywhere, ruining many reputations and careers. "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?" These loyalty oaths were given to every public figure and job applicant. Would you lie to get that job? Don't be silly.

In this election, each side firmly believes the other party's presidential candidates are lying, It isn't a lie to change your mind, and it isn't a lie to fail to accomplish what you intended. In fact, a skillful liar will lie in such ephemeral ways that his lies can't come back at him like a pie in the face. That's the one that gets my vote.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Grits, mystery food

Shamelessly stole this from James Bell, of the Spartan Times Facebook page. 
Where did grits come from? Nobody knows. Some folks believe grits are grown on bushes and are harvested by midgets by shaking the bushes after spreading sheets around them.

Many people feel that grits are made from ground up bits of white corn. These are obviously lies spread by Communists and terrorists. Nothing as good as a Grits can be made from corn.

Others claim that the mysterious Manna that God rained down upon the Israelites during their time in the Sinai Desert was most likely Grits.

Critics disagree, stating that there is no record of biscuits, butter, salt, and red eye gravy raining down from the sky, and that God would not punish his people by forcing them to eat Grits!

How Grits are Formed.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction: Grits are formed deep underground under intense heat and pressure. It takes over 1000 years to form a single Grit. Most of the world's grit mines are in South Carolina , and are guarded day and night by armed guards and pit bull dogs.

Harvesting the Grit is a dangerous occupation, and many Grit miners lose their lives each year so that Grits can continue to be served morning after morning for breakfast (not that having Grits for lunch and dinner is out of the question).

Yankees have attempted to create a synthetic Grits. They call them Cream of Wheat. As far as we can tell the key ingredients of Cream of Wheat are Elmer's Glue and shredded Styrofoam. These synthetic grits have also been shown to cause nausea, and may leave you unable to have children.

Historical Grits

As we mentioned earlier, the first known mention of the Grits was by the Ancient Israelites in the Sinai Desert . After that, the Grits was not heard from for another 1000 years. Experts feel that the Grits was used during this time only during secret religious ceremonies, and was kept from the public due to it's rarity.

The next mention of the Grits was found amidst the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii in a woman's personal diary. The woman's name was Herculaneum Jemimaneus (Aunt Jemima to her friends.)

The 10 Commandments of Grits

I. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits

II. Thou shalt not eat thy Grits with a spoon or knife

III. Thou shalt not eat Cream of Wheat and call it Grits, for this is blasphemy

IV. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors Grits

V. Thou shalt use only Salt, Butter, and red eye gravy as toppings for thy Grits

VI. Thou shalt not eat Instant Grits

VII. Thou shalt not put ketchup on thy Grits

VIII. Thou shalt not put margarine on thy Grits.

IX. Thou shalt not eat toast with thy Grits, only biscuits made from scratch .

X. Thou shalt eat grits on the Sabbath for this is manna from heaven.

How to Cook Grits

For one serving of Grits:

Boil 1.5 cups of water with salt and a little butter.

Add 5 TBsp of Grits.

Reduce to a simmer and allow the Grits to soak up all the water.

When a pencil stuck into the grits stands alone, it is done. That's all there is to cooking grits.

How to make red eye gravy

Fry salt cured country ham in cast iron pan. Remove the ham when done and add coffee to the gravy and simmer for several minutes. Great on grits and biscuits.

How to Eat Grits

Immediately after removing your grits from the stove top, add a generous portion of butter or red eye gravy. (WARNING: Do NOT use low-fat butter.) The butter should cause the Grits to turn a wondrous shade of yellow. (Hold a banana or a yellow rain slicker next to your Grits; if the colors match, you have the correct amount of butter.)

In lieu of butter, pour a generous helping of red eye gravy on your grits. Be sure to pour enough to have some left for sopping up with your biscuits. Never, ever substitute canned or store bought biscuits for the real thing because they caused cancer, rotten teeth and impotence.

Next, add salt. (NOTICE: The correct ration of Grit to Salt is 10:1 Therefore for every 10 grits, you should have 1 grain of salt.)

Now begin eating your grits.

Always use a fork, never a spoon, to eat Grits. Your grits should be thick enough so they do not run through the tines of the fork.

The correct beverage to serve with Grits is black coffee.

DO NOT use cream or, heaven forbid, Skim Milk.)

Your grits should never be eaten in a bowl because Yankees will think its Cream of Wheat.

Ways to Eat Leftover Grits:

(Leftover grits are extremely rare)

Spread them in the bottom of a casserole dish,

Cover and place them in the refrigerator overnight.

The Grits will congeal into a gelatinous mass.

Next morning, slice the Grits into squares and fry them in 1/2' of cooking oil and butter until they turn a golden brown.

Many people are tempted to pour syrup onto Grits served this way. This is, of course, unacceptable.


Bless these grits, May no Yankee ever get the recipe, May I eat grits every day while living, And may I die while eating grits!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hallowe'en Thoughts

This business of decorating lawns for Hallowe'en is a mystery to me. If you are one who does, I'm not trying to question your motives or your sanity, I just don't understand it. Even Christmas lawn decor goes to excess, seeming to say "Look how rich we are!"

An older couple down the street doesn't bother taking down decorations for one holiday before moving into the next. Picture the angel with wings and a trumpet, tooting toward Saint Patrick, who seems to have joined the wise men and the baby Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem, with the Easter Bunny close by visiting with Grinch. Ghosts and goblins are dancing around a large Uncle Sam, who is smiling at a giant turkey. The Peanuts gang is all here, skating around on a sheet of plastic. They are all lit up and mostly animated. Now this isn't just slovenliness; the owners have to move them around to mow the grass, so they really want them all out there. Do I need to say music plays in the evening?

I quit Hallowe'en several years ago. The cute little angels and cowboys sent out by the parents to beg candy from strangers was bad enough. The teenagers with their pants at half mast had a hard time holding up their britches while smoking and begging at the same time. The last straw was the fat Mama with a gaggle of children who pushed them out of the way and scooped every last candy from my tray into her pillowcase. She actually said "There, you little bastards, that's how you trick or treat!"

If you're looking for us this year, we are sitting in the dark with the shades drawn, pretending we're not at home.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Inconsistent Prior Statement

Every trial lawyer looks forward to catching an adverse witness in a fib. The juiciest way to impeach a fibber is by catching him in a "prior inconsistent statement." Best example is when the witness testifies on the stand that the light was green when he started through the intersection. He had told the policeman at the accident scene that it was red, or that he didn't notice. Either way, you pounce with the "Are you lying now, or were you lying then?" zinger.

This is why election years are so frustrating for us spectators. Mr. Romney, you are telling us that you will not support laws limiting abortion? Didn't you tell us a couple of months ago that you would abolish Planned Parenthood because of its support for abortion education, among many other services? Haven't you shifted your position on many issues to attract more mainstream, less Tea Party voters?

We actually kind of like the new, moderate Mitt. But there's this uncomfortable feeling that we don't really know you. We're not sure if what you say is what you mean, or what you will mean tomorrow. Mitt, were you lying then, or are you lying now?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Undecided? I Can Help.

As we find ourselves little more than a month from electing a president, a fairly sizeable number of people refer to themselves as “undecided.” That may or may not include some who really mean “None of your business, pollster.” Some elections seem to be between Frick and Frack, so you can flip a coin at the polls and it really won’t matter. Not so this year.
Obama supporters liked him four years ago, and haven’t found any reason to turn him out of office with unfinished business. No, he’s made mistakes, he could have done things better, but he seems to be trying hard. On health care alone, he’s gotten some momentum toward real changes, and grudging acceptance that the old system is broken. He’s bringing our troops home from wars we should have never started, and it will take many years to heal the wounded and to heal the hatred from those invaded countries. It will take years to get us out of the Great Recession and to take steps to prevent a recurrence and to mend the economy. His supporters are not undecided.
People may be undecided about the best way to do these things, but there is general agreement that they need doing. Romney supporters do sincerely believe that he can do these things better. I have never heard less undecided people than Romney supporters. Even the lower-income and less educated voters who pay no taxes and reap the most benefits from the programs favored by the Democrats are Romney voters for sure. It’s not just because he’s white, they assure us. It’s not just because Obama might be a Muslim or might be coming after their guns. They are not undecided for a minute.
I have not heard a single soul admit to being undecided. Not that I’ve asked, but the TV interviewers and the pollsters have. Are they the apathetic, the ignorant, the angry? I wish I knew who they are. I’ll help them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Memories of Cousin Sara

I have fond memories of my late cousin, Sara Giles Moore. Her husband, Ray, was not as rich as a Rockefeller, but was by far the richest person I knew. Sara was a major contributor to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and loaned or donated many art works that she had collected during her world travels. She also had a biting wit. 
We had a cousins’ weekend at her home on Tuxedo Road in Atlanta. She had donated a huge silk oriental rug to the museum. The museum built a separate wing for it. We went to the opening, and the rug was surrounded by velvet ropes on stanchions so the guests could walk around it without touching. She leaned over to me and said “Wonder what they would say if I told them I wanted it back?”
On another visit, our daughter June was with us. I wanted her to really experience the house, which was a showcase. On a servant’s night out, we were getting ready to eat take-out lobster. Sara and went down to the wine cellar to select a proper wine while someone popped a try of rolls in the oven. When the smoke alarm went off, we ran upstairs and found that June had taken the burning rolls out the kitchen door, setting off a burglar alarm. After turning off the alarms, Sara came out back with us while the smoke cleared. June asked her where the garbage can was, so she could dump the rolls. She said “I really have no idea.” She had lived there for over forty years.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Things That Make Me Go "Hmmm."

Nice to have time to read the whole paper.

The Scott Peterson jury is confused. In the absence of any physical evidence, the legislature decided to let the prosecutors substitute hearsay, as in things his ex-wives said to other people. Not all ex-wives, just those who survived marriage to him.

The Nite Moves lap dancing and strip joint in Albany, New York, is appealing a decision denying them a tax exemption on admission fees under the dramatic or musical performance loophole. Might work.

The Secret Service is investigating a break-in at Mitt Romney’s accounting office. Missing are copies of Romney’s tax returns. the burglar wants $1 million to keep them hidden. Great idea, guys!

Vladimir Putin will wear a fake beak while piloting a hang-glider to lead a group of Siberian cranes on their migration path. Might work.

And, from Time magazine, quoting Obama, taxes are lower than any time since Dwight Eisenhower. Mine aren’t, but I was just a kid then.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Green Cheese

As I cannot say it better, I am borrowing heavily from Steve Benen of the Maddow Report. I have always said that I can't respect a liar who can so easily be called out.
Mitt Romney's aides explained why they love their ad accusing President Obama of removing the work requirement from welfare. "Our most effective ad is our welfare ad," said Ashley O'Connor, a Romney strategist. It's new information!"
The claims are "new," of course, because the Romney campaign made them up. Sure, it's "new information," in the same way it would be "new information" if Obama said Mitt Romney sold heroin to children -- when one invents a lie, its "newness" is self-evident.
I thought that campaigns can spin, slice, fudge, and distort the truth, but they couldn't literally make stuff up. The political fabric of our democracy tolerates a generous amount of duplicity -- so long as there's at least a kernel of truth in the claim somewhere -- but demonstrable lies are unacceptable.
My take-away is that if you're dumb enough to believe the moon is made of green cheese, and especially if you want to believe it, I'd better tell you it is.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Poor People

“God must love poor people, because he made so many of them.” I’d tell you who said this if I knew. Right now, poor people are the lodestar of the political differences. The Republicans paint them as lazy, dependent on the largesse of government for their existence, sucking the lifeblood out of the hardworking taxpayers. The Democrats view them as temporarily down on their luck, due in part to the recession caused by the Republicans and their wars and tax cuts for the rich. I see them as you and me, at least compared to the rich. Whatever happened to the middle class? 

I don’t understand why there is such animosity about this issue. Is it that we fear a world in which food, rent, health care are a luxury?  Don’t we know that no one chooses to live on the street or beg for basic necessities? There is just a basic smugness about the “I’ve got mine” attitudes that I see even among friends and relatives. 

This attitude is in play with those who are against universal health care. Is it not empathy and compassion for us to want to help prevent or lessen human suffering? Or is it sentimental liberalism leaning toward socialism? Ask the parent of a sick child if he isn’t worried about becoming too dependent on government.

Why are we the one civilized nation that is still ambivalent about this issue? Why is our health care the most expensive in the world, while the results are embarrassing? Why can’t a healthy population become a goal to be reached by reasonable people, not a cause for partisan bickering? Is it because we are afraid that the poor and lazy might take it away from the rest of us?

It can happen, you know. TB is on the rebound. Unvaccinated children or adults are a risk to all of us. Untreated bacterial or viral infections know no social distinctions. We are all better off in a healthy country.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Goodbye, Old Friend

My friend June died this morning, and there will never be another friendship in my life that lasts 65 years. We were friends from 5th grade, survived junior and senior high ups and downs, arguing over whether majorettes or cheerleaders were the coolest. We both won scholarships to Stetson, even though we had never heard of it. We roomed together for two years there, and then she married Dennis, who is very lonely today. We named daughters after each other, and in recent years sent e-mails to each other instead of our daughters as we intended.

That explains why she sent me her draft obituary and the script for her memorial service last week, so I forwarded it to the daughter. June picked the songs, the scripture passages and the persons to read them, even the dress code (No black, please.)

Her oldest daughter, Susan, sent the following message to friends and family. I don't think she would mind my sharing. "In the end she simply stopped breathing, gently and with no struggle, and shed the old coat of her body. She has left her fatigued and worn-out body behind to return to God, where she had begun her being."

Godspeed, June. You have set us a good example.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Who is John Galt?

I have been trying to reconcile some ideas for a few weeks. The issue revolves around the Tea Party and its Godmother, Ayn Rand, with the worldwide financial mess.  I read Kurt Anderson's editorial in the New York Times and he ties it all together with the unlikely link of aging hippies. Hey, I am one, but I never saw this coming.
“Do your own thing” is not so different than “every man for himself.” If it feels good, do it, whether that means smoking weed and watching porn and never wearing a necktie, retiring at 50 with a six-figure public pension and refusing modest gun regulation, or moving your factories overseas and letting commercial banks become financial speculators.
However, if you wonder about the rise of meanness enough to read one book, read Ann Rand Nation by Gary Weiss. He ties it together with Alan Greenspan as her loyal disciple. When the heads of  banks and other companies reward themselves at the expense of their customers and shareholders, it’s simply “enlightened self-interest” at work. Helping the less fortunate (the 99%) is not just weakness, it is evil. I think we have answered “Who is John Galt?” of the Tea Party placards and tee-shirts.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Truth or Falsies

No longer grumpy about lack of wheat. Grumpy about two weeks with no wheat, calories under 1500 a day but for once, went to 1800. Gained two pounds.

Nothing is more boring than someone's calorie problems, so watch this segue into my favorite realm: truth or falsies. Misrepresentations (big word for lies) are everywhere. I hardly ever drink Cokes of any flavor, but picked up a six-pack of cans along with a six of CJ's Dr. Brown's Diet Cream Soda. Yuck. Only by setting them up side by side did I notice that the Coke is now much smaller. 7.5 ounces to 12. What bothers me is that the new can is perfectly proportioned to look like the other. I still remember when the familiar pound of coffee dropped a few ounces at a time, and it only takes a quart and a half of ice cream to make a half gallon. The misrepresentation is the true fact: "New Price!"

Segue to the political ads, and find the same idea. True facts are snippets taken out of context to mean something new. Journalism teachers must cringe at these "factoids." The Romney ads repeat Obama saying "The private sector is doing fine" and showing hard-working people who are not doing so fine. The Obama ads showing the corporate-raider damage done by Bain Capital, years after Romney left there. Truth wrapped in blankets of misrepresentation.

Many people are being fooled. Remember George Bush's most endearing attempt: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and something else happens." He had the cutest little grin when he got in over his head. Bless his heart.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I am grumpy. I am without wheat for four days. No, I do not have the shakes or other withdrawal symptoms, just noticing that something is missing from my life.

Not just toast, but pasta, waffles, panko crumbs, Cuban sandwiches, even croutons. I just finished "Wheat Belly," recommended by our florist. Don't laugh. Our doctors have not recommended any reading matter during the 20 years we have been gaining serious pounds of belly fat.

Our doctors say things like "Eat less, exercise more." Duh. We have so many plastic parts that walking is not a good idea. Yes, I do stretch and bends, jog around in the pool, and CJ exerts himself every time he gets out of his wheelchair.

This book, written by a cardiologist, espouses the theory that the epidemic of obesity and diabetes is due to the industrialization of the wheat farming business. This has caused hybridization to produce wheat that is easier to harvest, but untested for human effects. The author is a cardiolgist, and has seen thousands of patients lose lots of pounds and intestinal distress by just giving up wheat.

I'll let you know what happens to me. Five days is not a good test.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Advice is Cheap

I'm forever reading these advice lists. "Thirty-five ideas from a ninety-year old woman." "Ten things you should never do." "How to stop being negative." I need some advice on how to remember these and put them to work. These things just don't stick in my head, even for an instant.

Some music acts the same way, like an earworm. The themes from Bonanza or Mash are permanently etched on the brain.  Grieg, Chopin, Gershwin, all stick forever. Haydn, however, doesn't stick long enough to remember a few bars. I don't think of it as a scientific fact, like a peculiar function of the memory cells. I think it's about what gets you in the gut.

I think that's the reason I can't remember all this good advice. It doesn't get to me in that visceral way needed to generate action or reaction. Politicians know this and know how to use it. What they say doesn't have to be true or logical because the message is not aimed at our brain, but our gut-level emotions.

That's why I could never be a politician. I don't know how to do that. I can, however give advice. I pass on all those lists, because all that advice is obviously meant for others, not me.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hedge Hogs

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, was in town this week to address the annual shareholders’ meeting. Despite losing 3 billion (and climbing) dollars of their money due to bad investments, he was cheered and praised. He gave a great “My bad” speech instead of blaming the weather, the regulators, or his pencil. Wait and see if that is his response to the FBI inquiry just begun. 
Why should we care if we aren’t shareholders or investors? Well, as taxpayers, we have a stake because we are guaranteeing those funds through FDIC, and Morgan has access to low cost capital from the Federal Reserve. For those of us who worry if our checking account is off by a few cents, how can we ignore this misuse of our money?
How they did it is not too complex. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Greed brings risk. Hedge funds are risky, and some people are willing to assume those risks. However, this risk was taken with ordinary deposits in their commercial bank, not their investment bank or a hedge fund.
Hedging is not complex. We do it every day. Buying more beans than you need today when they are on sale is a hedge against paying higher prices next time you run out of beans. Grandma said not to put all your eggs in one basket, so we don’t put  all our rainy-day money into some speculative investment. We stash some under the mattress.
This debacle is a prime example of why we need  more regulation of the financial industry. Next time a politician cries that regulation is killing business, think about a company “losing” 3 billion dollars by gambling away funds that we have insured. Mr. Dimon, incidentally, is on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank, thus responsible for more of our money.
Makes us want to stash a bit more under the mattress, doesn’t it? Now don’t ask me to explain credit default swaps. Nobody understands them.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dancing with Pigs

I have a strange admiration for politicians. I wouldn't want to be one, but they have a big task. Ever try to convince someone to do what you want, when they don't want to? Harder still is to convince someone to agree with you when they don't.

One reason is that we're all averse to change. We may think we like it, but what do we do on vacations? Go to different places and look for familiar faces, foods, bed pillows just like at home on the bed. Even those are easier to accept than fond beliefs.

We are attached to our own beliefs, and even more so when they are challenged. We accept statements that agree with our own beliefs, reject those that don't. Did you ever hear anyone, other than a recently  jilted lover, admit that their beliefs were all wrong? Say "How could I have been so stupid?"
Picture a rabid Tea Partier at an Obama rally saying that, in a conversion experience? Ain't happening.

I get e-mails from well-meaning but misguided friends, daily updates to prove that I, like all Democrats, are short on facts. "Obama sent all our money to Finland!" "Obama's Kenyan birth certificate found!" I either ignore them or thank them profusely. They will not stop.

As a wise person said : "Don't try to teach a pig to dance. It won't work, and it only annoys the pig."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

DIY Obits

Okay, I've started reading obituaries. Not looking for myself, or friends and relatives. Just morbid curiosity, I guess.   I'm sure that the obit writers never knew the deceased. I'm betting that they have some fill-in-the blank forms and they get the details from the funeral home guy, with maybe a few nuggets from survivors. These survivors may or may not have been fond of the deceased.

For example, they might start with name (Modine Gunch), nickname (Meemaw), age (97), (died, passed away, was lifted on the wings of angels,).  It would be more  interesting if they let the friends or relatives do the whole job. Name (Modine Wilson Jackson Smith nee  Gunch; she wore out and outlived a few husbands.) Nickname (Pooter, Old Yackety Yak, Klepto.) Age (no one knows, maybe they can count the rings during the autopsy.) lies a'mouldring in the grave. She spent her entire life making others miserable, and she did it very well. Survivors (she outlived them all.) Funeral arrangements ( if anybody gets around to it, we'll let you know).

Probably wouldn't hurt to write your own, instead of leaving it to the whim of some hack writer or your distant relatives who outlived you. Puff it up a little, like you used to do on your resume. Who's going to call you on it?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lighten Up!

Why is everyone angry? I don't watch much TV, but I do read papers and magazines. It's not just politicians. Have you read the Letters to the Editor out loud at the breakfast table? You can just picture the spittle flying as they type those letters.

I have read articles explaining this national mood. People are worried about jobs, insurance, socialism, yadayada. That doesn't do it. People have always had stuff to worry about, but worrying alone does not produce anger. I've been turned down for jobs because of my gender, my age, or being too early or too late. So did everyone I know. Those things are frustrating, but they go away when you go to plan B.

Maybe too many people are angry because they hang out with angry people, or listen tao them on the radio or TV, or just think it's expected.  Lighten up, people. Negative vibes make you get all frowny faced and you get ugly wrinkles. Banish those angry people from your lives. Block their gloomy e-mails.  Run from them at the grocery store.

Find the happy souls, gather them around you and smile with them. Smile at your dog. Go to the park or the beach and throw a frisbee around. Listen to music instead of the news. Get a jar of bubble stuff, stick the little wand in and fill your neighborhood with bubbles. Eat more popsicles. Get a double one and feed half to the dog. Smiling is contagious.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Put Money Here

The piece I posted about the lake place, together with a Smithsonian article about small towns, set me to thinking about the character of small towns. They are not all Mayberry, and most of us would go batty after a long spell there. That said, there is a quirky charm.

Hernando, the nearest town to the lake, got a stop light back in the 70's. Soon there was the "Stoplight Bar and Grill," next to the "Stoplight Bait and Tackle and Live Worms." It was a matter of civic pride. "Gone Fishing" was the sign on the door of any store if the owner took the day off.

Weekends are for fishing, so most stores are closed. Book store, hardware store, restaurant, even the police station all operate Monday through Friday. There was a Kwik-King, if your idea of groceries is a six-pack of HoHo's and a stick of jerky. They didn't have a rack of paperback books, what they called "reading books," just Auto Trader and such.

Signs are the mark of a real small town. Often more than one business has to share space or at least a sign. "Ceramic Tile and Wig Styling" was right next to "Guns, Ammo, and Notary Public." We liked "Leonardo's Pizza, Hoagies, and First Baptist Church." My favorite was a sign on a card table by the side of the road in front of a house with a few peach trees in the yard. There were sacks of peaches marked $1, $3, and $5. In front of the sacks was a cardboard box with a sign that said "Put Money Here." I did, and there was probably $50 there. The owner had probably just gone fishing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lake Trip

We've been visiting our lake place for over 40 years, and this view doesn't change. We bought the land in 1970, camped in tents, trailers, built a little cabin almost 15 years ago, put a big porch on the lake side so we could sit out and watch the lake. There's an island out in the middle that has some history to it.

Most every repairman, deliveryman, or neighbor sits on the steps and looks at the island and tells us how they used to swim to it, fish from it camp on it when they were kids. Our kids did too, but didn't sleep over because it was sort of dark and spooky.

Our neighbor, Bob, put some goats out there to clear the underbrush. When they were all done clearing, he found some big old gears half buried in the dirt. We all knew that the island was used somehow to turn train cars around when they were mining phosphate, up until they hit springs back on the 30's. Turns out, these old gears have swastikas on them, so they must have been made in Germany long time ago. Bob and his boys built a raft on some oil drums and floated one of the small gears to his yard. It's only about three feet across, but it nearly sunk the raft. Now it sits down there like a little coffee table,

The water is low this time of year, and the old trestles stick out of the water, but the rails are long gone. You have to wonder how hard they worked, many years ago, to dig and haul that phosphate. Now all is quiet, the water is clear, the fish are happy. Kids are still swimming out there, playing pirates, or Indians, or maybe Nazis.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What do you do?

When someone in your group of friends speaks out about blacks, gays, Muslims, Jews, Democrats, divorcees, nudists,  or whatever, in a derogatory manner, what do you do? Does it matter if you are at work in a friend's home, in your own home, in the speaker's home? What if they are a friend or relative, or both?

Well, the first thing you need to know is that you are not going to change them, or the world, by what you say or do. You may want to change your circle of friends or relatives, but, at 75, it gets harder. You can roll your eyes and shrug, looking around to see who else is rolling and shrugging.

You can stand up and shout "You Nincompoop!" or "You ignorant slut!" but what does that do? It makes you feel better, until you get home, and then you wonder why you did that. We need a signal, a universal signal, that shows less animosity. It needs, however, to allow you to vent, and to let others in your group know that you do not support the nincompoop.

I suggest something like a pocket kazoo, which will become a fad, and will come out of every pocket or purse at the right moment. The nincompoops will not understand the awful noise, but everyone else will. Toot, people, toot!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Florida: No Water Pistols

You may have heard a bit about the wacky Florida "Stand Your Ground Law," that lets you shoot if you feel threatened, even if you're paranoid. This law gives you a "Get Out of Jail Free Card" before you even have an arrest or trial, much less jail time. There's another one that tops it.

Florida has a law that prohibits local governments from enacting gun laws, much less enforcing them. In addition to penalizing cities or counties that try to regulate them, individual elected officials can be removed from office and suffer large fines, and cannot use the services of city or county attorneys to defend them. Take that, you elected official, we can clean your clock for the way you vote.

Add to this wild west mix the fact that the Republican National Convention meets in Tampa this summer. Protesters and counter-protesters are expected from all over. Since real guns can't be regulated, Tampa will prohibit water pistols, slingshots, sticks, string (!) longer than 6 inches, plus a disgusting list of things that might be found in containers. Don't you know someone will try to smuggle in a water pistol disguised as a real one? A stick disguised as an AK47? I am not making this up, as Dave Barry would say. Only in Florida.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Carol's Health Care Plan

Obamacare may go down, in full or part, by the Supreme Court's ruling this summer. There doesn't appear to be a plan "B" waiting in the wings. Well, wait no longer, because here's one plan.

First of all, most people hate, really despise, their health insurance companies. I know I do. They stand to make gazillions more money no matter what. They whine about the huge payments they grudgingly pay for our medical care, while passing out bonuses to their executives that would feed small countries, and cure their AIDS and malaria as well. Meanwhile, they flood us with unnecessary paperwork and demand the same from us.

Second of all, group insurance is the only kind that is affordable for most people, and doesn't ban folks with pre-existing conditions. But, group coverage is tied to our employers, for no apparent reason. Lose your job, lose your coverage. Transfer or find a new job, don't get sick during the waiting period for coverage. This is daughter June's pet peeve.

How about groups other than employers? Baptists, Elks, Jaycees, Sons of the Pioneers? Insurance companies could bid on these groups, only if they are non-profit themselves. Think of the promotions like, 10% off your premium if you tithe? Your Credit Union could offer discounts with each Certificate of Deposit. AAA could offer gas coupons if you get your health and auto insurance with them! Why not?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Strange Supremes

Something strange is going on in the Supreme Court today. This is the first day of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare by its detractors.The Obama team had argued at the trial courts that it was too soon to rule, since no one had been forced to pay a penalty yet. This "no harm, no foul" rule would keep the case from the courts until the first person was forced to pay a penalty for not purchasing health insurance, probably in 2015. If the Court wants to go with this, they can just kick the can down the road for a few years.

The strange part is that the Obama forces dropped this argument from its appeal some time ago, saying "Oh, never mind." The Supremes, on their own, decided to hear about it, and appointed a Mr. Robert Long to brief and present this issue. One might think that they would just as soon dismiss the case on this procedural ground, to avoid ruling during an election year. (Yes, boys and girls, they are political animals.)
However, once Mr. Long made his presentation, they jumped all over him. They almost made fun of him. He must have wondered why they had invited him to the party if they didn't like him or his theory

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Only a Flesh Wound

That famous cry of the Black Knight from Monty Python can be heard throughout the Republican primaries, How long will the candidates keep whacking away at each other? No one knows.

Too many egos are at work here huffing and puffing away, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Thanks, William Falkner. I am, of course, one delighted Democrat. However, a vigorous two-party campaign is a good thing. We need to question our assumptions,  and our directions need to be defended or curbed. We need to be hearing concrete plans for a sane energy policy, not "Drill, Baby, drill!" We need to address economic issues, because our Wall Street troubles are far from over. Health care is going to be too expensive, whether or not the Supreme Court upholds the current law. We spend far more than any civilized country in the world to provide mediocre care to a few, none to many. Let's hear some better plans.

Quit whacking away at each other and give us some solid ideas to solve these problems. Don't waste your money whining about contraception, for crying out loud. No one asked you to solve that non-problem.

What this election season may do is cast doubt on fortune tellers. I haven't heard Madame Sees-all try to call this one. Maybe the Horoscopes can help.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fun with Doctors

I retired from practicing law over ten years ago. I didn’t know what retirement would bring, but I knew the time was right to find out.  My husband’s health wasn’t getting any better, but we could still get up and go. He retired following a stroke in 1977, so he had a head start. I could keep our employer health insurance and not wait for Medicare to kick in. Seemed like a sign. 
It was really a sign that retirement is all about health, or the lack of it. Since I retired, we have both survived cancer, had body parts replaced with after-market parts, and spent many hours in doctor’s waiting rooms. I never met a lawyer that would keep clients waiting for 2 hours. We have fired a few doctors for that reason. One doctor, a lung specialist, decided that his patients could no longer use his restrooms, so they were directed to go to the end of the hall, take an elevator, then go to the end of that hall. Dragging an oxygen tank. Fired him. 
One problem we haven’t had is paying for all of this fun. I paid CJ’s premiums; mine were paid as part of my compensation, but not as a gift. Recent comments about health insurance, and what is covered, sound like some people have been living in a vacuum, like on Mars. 
No independent insurance is available for people with pre-existing conditions, if Obamacare fails. Even acne as a teenager can disqualify you. So forget about hanging out a shingle and paying your way. Pay your own medical bills? Our insurance was charged $34,000.00 for an outpatient scan, no treatment, no bed. One month’s supply of antibiotics for an infection picked up at the hospital? $3800.00.
Just saying, kids, quit moaning about creeping socialism until you have paid a few bills. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rush is Toast

Yes, I've tried to avoid jumping into the Rush Limbaugh conversations. The subject does not, however, want to die a merciful death. The conservatives seem to be more afraid of him than anyone except Grover Norquist, whoever he is.
Why aren't they calling him out, chastising him, speaking out? They are caught in a real dilemma. Do they risk alienating the members of his fan club, or the rest of the voters in this country? I suspect that their silence has spoken already. 
Santorum said that he thought Rush's choice of words was inappropriate. No, no, no. There is no appropriate way to demean a woman who speaks out for the right to choose birth control for whatever reason. It is not as though Rush has trouble finding the right words to express himself. 
I think that we will express ourselves in November. Not just women, not just liberals, but every single voter who want to distance himself from this type of politics. A vote for Obama will be a vote for a return to civil discourse and courteous debate.

Monday, March 5, 2012

That Old House

Our old house was full of leaks, noises, pets, kids and their friends. We never worried much about burglars because our neighbors' houses were much more attractive targets. They also had big stockade fences so no one could see the burglars working on the doors and windows.

One night, though, there was a really loud noise that could not be ignored. Our daughter and I woke up and went creeping around in the dark, toward the noise. Not too smart, but I grabbed a shovel and she grabbed a tennis racket, just in case of trouble. (I told you we had been sleeping.) Didn't see a soul, except for a couple of sleeping brothers. Just then we saw headlights on a car, and it was backing out of our driveway. We were crazed with courage by now, so we ran out the back door and chased it down the street. Then we noticed it was slowing down to toss papers in everyone's driveways. There we stood in pajamas, wondering what in the world we were thinking. "Here, Mom, I'll serve him up with my backhand and you swat him with the shovel."

It's easy to see why I don't want guns in the house. The noise was ceiling tiles falling into the washing machine. An everyday occurrence.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to Train A Posslq

This is an antiquated term for "persons of opposite sex sharing living quarters," which was used by the census bureau to define non-married roommates. The upside of this arrangement, besides tormenting your parents, was that you could work out your differences without the legal entanglements of marriage before taking the Big Step.

I am here to tell you that if it had worked, it would have. It didn't. Neither did getting married before you had to. After 54 years of marriage, however, I can offer a few suggestions.

1. Pick up after yourself. I had a friend whose husband kept dumping his dirty clothes on the floor. She started nailing them down. Socks, underwear, suits. Kept using longer nails. Didn't save the marriage, but gave her a lot of personal satisfaction.

2. Show some appreciation. Kiss your spouse, or at least hug 'em. Thank them for putting air in the tires, or taking in the mail.

3. Say "Gee, that was a great idea, (or movie, or restaurant" even if it wasn't.

3. Admit you were wrong. Hey, nobody's perfect. Say " I shouldn't have . . . but I did, and I won't do it again."

4. Tell them you love them, even if you don't, exactly, at that moment.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lake Memories

Spent some time at our lake cabin. We've been retreating to this property for over 40 years. There are so many memories there, in every tree, every dip in the path through the woods, every morning when the mist rises off the water when the sun breaks through the trees. I read an article in a science magazine to the effect that your memories change every time you visit them. I guess every visit leaves a mark, which asks the question of how much memory is real and how much is all marked up from visits.
Our trips to this spot began with camping, using tents and a VW bus with a mattress in the back. Over the years we added a mobile home (1953 New Moon, furnished with a working kitchen and bathroom, $150 plus towing.) Most of us still preferred the tent, until we added a big room and porch. We put a Franklin stove in the middle. If you stuffed it full of split wood and small logs and got it blazing it would last until about 4 AM. No one wanted to go find more wood at that time, so we shivered and added robes and coats to the blankets. Our memories filter out the mice and snakes that came and went during the night, the cranky toilet, the cranky guests. Our memories still include the whole shebang burning to the ground the night of our oldest son's bachelor party.
After wearing out a new mobile home, we built a little house on the same spot. Heated and air conditioned, same great view of the lake from the screened porch. We walk over to the thermostat, flick the switch to heat or cool, and never miss the wood stove. We don't take these things for granted. We don't miss the mice or the snakes, but we think we miss having noisy kids under foot. They would probably make us cranky now.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

White Men Carry Signs

I read "Beyond Pelvic Politics" by Nicholas Kristof in today's New York Times. He skillfully discusses the problems with the current battle between government and the Catholic bishops over including birth control in health insurance plans offered by Catholic institutions. It affects us all, and not just "poor women of dubious morals." Read it at

This is not a battle over banning contraception, which one of our candidates has hinted at. Nor is it even hinting at forcing contraception on those unwilling to participate, for whatever reason. (98% of sexually active Catholic women practice birth control.) It is balancing the rights of women's health against the beliefs of a few bishops.

Bishops are, or course, of the male persuasion. As are the most outspoken anti-abortion activists. Next time you pass a womens' health facility being picketed, count the number of women carrying signs. Driving at 60 miles per hour, you won't have a problem. What's this all about, guys? I don't understand it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


We drive an old minivan, has 130,000 miles on it. When it talks, we listen. The familiar squeaks and rattles tell us all is well. When the dashboard says "Service engine soon" it means we didn't tighten the gas cap enough. When all the idiot lights come on, it means we drove on a bumpy road. We follow our mechanic's instruction and drive on a bumpy road again until the lights go off.

Very similar approach works for raising kids. When the little ones fret, it means they are hungry, tired, or poopy. The same language works for teenagers, except you also have to listen for silence. Silence is harder to figure out, but sometimes it just goes away. Sometimes they just talk over it.

This morning I read that BMW has installed a sound device to make a pleasant, powerful roar. It seems they soundproofed their cars so well that the roar went away. How will you know if your Beemer meant to wheeze instead of roaring? It makes me uncomfortable to think my car is fibbing. On the other hand, there may be an after-market roar machine that would fit in the glove compartment of the mini-van.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ellmer Fudd: Darwin's Assistant?

These sandhill cranes were crossing the street in front of the post office, strolling along looking good. Their slightly larger cousins,  the whooping cranes, were almost extinct until a heroic effort was made to re-establish them in the wild. This has involved volunteers dressing in bird suits to hand feed the babies and guiding them in light craft from Wisconsin to Florida every year so they can learn to migrate. After a dozen years, many of them are making the trip on their own.

Some sandhills also migrate, while some just stay in Florida. The migrating ones had better learn to detour around Kentucky. That state has recently legalized these birds as fair game for hunting. I never knew the people of Kentucky were that hungry. I hope our human tourists will also shun Kentucky and avoid spending a dime there.

I know some otherwise normal people who defend hunting as "good sport," even though the game is unarmed. They also justify hunting as helping nature, by getting rid of the weaker of the species. I have a mental image of Elmer Fudd and his friends squatting in the woods, waiting for the weak prey to come in range. "No, Bugs! That magnificent buck looks too strong. If we wait a few hours, we can get a sickly one." Oh, please.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Did You Misspeak, or Was That a Factoid?

People, let’s say what we mean. These political commercials reek of lies of omission, quotes taken out of context, as well as big ole fibs. I wish I could talk back to those spooky-voiced announcers hinting at wrongdoing by all sorts of candidates. I would say “Where did you get that story?” and “Yeah, so’s your Mama.” Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary lists 34 synonyms for falsehood, but only two antonyms (truth, verity.) Are we so polite that we will say that someone practices sophistry or is delusional rather that calling him a liar? Mendacity is one of my favorites, implying repeat offenses of using factoids (my personal favorite synonym for lie.)
Other terms have taken over the political rhetoric and have morphed from our original common understanding. Not exactly lies, but overtones of evil. “Social mobility” used to mean the ability to better oneself, now it implies affirmative action and handouts. “Social inequality” is viewed as the opposite of socialism. “Socialism” has moved from a description of Europe’s economic system to a purely evil accusation. “Transfer of wealth” is used to criticize the graduated income tax, making it sound like a modern Robin Hood scheme. “Restore America” has become a buzzword for defeating liberals, moderates, even conservatives who aren’t quite conservative enough. Restore it to what? “Limited government” means nothing without an explanation. Limit schools, aircraft carriers, food inspectors, pothole fixers? 
I would like to limit government to being run by those who value verity. (When you learn a new word, use it in a sentence.) Shun mendacity, reject the delusional and deceitful, cast aspersions on those who feed us factoids.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Goofy for President

Well, we're in the midst of the Republican primary race, and it's not pretty. Usually it's the Democrats who beat each other up, leaving the Republicans to stand proudly above the fray. There being no Democratic primary this year, the right wing has the mudslinging all to itself.

Besides the usual fibs and innuendos, this season feels different. They are not only casting aspersions on each other, the candidates are competing for goofiness. Gingrich wants to do away with the judiciary, an entire branch of government. Well, it would save on bills for robes and gavels. Santorum wants to do away with homosexuals and abortion. How do you do that? No one wants to be seen as the darling of the Tea Party, not even Perry. Yet they all want to be the darling of the far right. Mitt Romney is seen as weak on immigration and health care, so the true believers don't trust him. Ron Paul is seen as goofy enough, but not electable enough.

As one of the old-time comedians said of the food in the Catskills hotel where he played, "The food stinks, and the portions are skimpy, too.'' It's predictable that Romney will carry the day, and then we can move on to the real race in November. Think Obama needs to add a touch of goofiness?

Monday, January 9, 2012

1940's memories

I was an only child when I was a kid. We moved a lot. Daddy was a Georgia highway engineer so we moved to be near the road job. The three of us and all our stuff fit into our two-door 1939 Chevy. We lived in boarding houses or small furnished apartments.  We never had books or many toys, or a washing machine. Mama never learned to do laundry, anyway, or cook. She would have loved TV dinners. She would find us a cook and wash lady first thing in each new town.
When World War II came, we went to live with my grandmother in Sparta. She subscribed to "The Confederate Veteran." My other grandmother lived in Dublin  so we could visit. she had turkeys and chickens in the yard. Most of my cousins moved in nearby with their relatives when all our daddies went to war. It was a fun time, shooting down enemies and watching for foreign planes. We would catch a ride to town on the ox cart the vegetable man drove.
After the war we moved to Jacksonville Beach,Florida, and lived in nicer furnished apartments. The beach was our back yard. My sister Susan was born with serious birth defects. They patched her up and she thrived. We still moved a lot, but still in the neighborhood, so I got to stay in one school, Fletcher, from grades 7 through 12. I had already been in 5 or 6 schools.
Daddy died of a heart attack when I was twelve. He taught me to drive before he died. That was a good thing, because Mama was kind of a mess, and I could run errands. The Chief of Police, Jimmy Jarboe, knew I was too young to drive, but he would just tell me to be careful. He was actually the only police, and he was loved. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Maya Calendar

I just read in Time magazine that there is no Mayan calendar, Maya is the correct modifier. The writer, Joel Stein, interviewed a Stetson professor who interviewed lots of Mayas and they never heard this story about the world coming to an end on December 21, 2012. 
What if they really knew but were going to keep it a secret? What if they knew that really the Maya are going to take over the world and that’s why they want to keep it a secret? We still don’t know why almost their whole civilization disappeared a few centuries ago and the dregs turned up wandering around Mexico? Maybe they have a big secret hidey hole that they don’t want to share?
Okay, so everyone who has predicted the end of the world so far has been wrong. Of course, that’s everyone that we know about. Maybe those who were right just scooted out of Dodge on a big time-warp and are pulling our strings from the next galaxy, giggling. 
Seriously, assume you had good insider information about this December 21st thing. What do you do? Clean out the garage? No point. Short some stocks? Silly. Eat more bacon. What’s the harm? Actually, that’s a pretty good New Year’s resolution. There was an old song that went “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think!” If the wildest thing I can think of is bacon, I’ve got a bigger problem.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sleep Through 2012

I slept in this morning. Not because of a New Year's Eve spent carousing. We watched the PBS broadcast of the New York Philharmonic tribute to George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein, and what a great combination and performance. Better than live, because you can watch the fingers flying and the lips pursing up close.

It was such a nice break from the snarky comments the politicians and "newsmen" and pundits (what's a pundit, anyway?) are making nonstop. Listen, if every voter or caucuser in Iowa and NewHampshire came to the Gator Bowl, there would be seats left over.  If you taped all the speeches together, page by page, they would reach from the Gator Bowl to the Rose Bowl. Taping them all together instead of making the speeches would be a good idea. We already know what they say, and we know none of it matters.

What matters to us will be finding a candidate who promises to be thoughtful, smart, compassionate, and somewhat rational. We want one who will not pledge allegiance to Grover Norquist or some other god or demon of the moment, but to the flag and the nation for which it stands. That's really not much to ask.

Sleeping late may be the best way to spend the year. I'll roll over and sleep 'til 7:00 any time I want. I'll sleep through every speech and every analysis of every speech. I will put my fingers in my ears when I'm awake. If something different happens this year, please wake me up and tell me.