Monday, February 28, 2005
  PSSST--The Blue Goose Flies at Midnight- Pass It On.

For the person who has everything, consider a gift certificate to a "Spies of Washington" tour. Several walking tours are available, such as "Spies of Capitol Hill" and "Spies:North by Northwest." Or you can opt for the all encompassing coach tour. Just be wary of midgets and albinos.

  Games Women Play

Okay. I'm on to you. You know who you are. All of you women who use the local supermarket as a daycare service. You don't like having them underfoot so you send them over to bother me. I am imploring you ladies. Please find your retired husbands a hobby! I don't know how much more I can take. It's never ending from early morning to the dinner hour. In and out, in and out. The same men making repeated trips to the grocery store. And no matter how often they come, they don't get any better at it. They don't know where anything is , and despite the fact that you have probably been using the same brand of pancake syrup for the last 20 years, they really don't know what it is. But you know that , don't you? It's all part of the game. Keep them guessing. Keep them occupied. Keep them out of the house.
Not only are they confused, but they are scared! One poor man was sent to buy a cake mix. His wife didn't give him a brand name but she did tell him it had a measuring cup on the side of the package. To give him his due, he tried. By the time he approached me he was panic stricken. He said he'd been up and down the cake mix aisle but none of the boxes had measuring cups on them. He was looking for a box with an actual physical measuring cup attached to it. I told him I was sure she meant a picture of a measuring cup as I had never seen what he was searching for. "Are you absolutely positive?"he asked. "I don't dare go home with the wrong thing."
Oh,how wrong he was. Of course you can take the wrong thing home. She's counting on it. Then she can tell you that you're wrong, send you back to return it and get something else .Double play! Do you people keep score? I've always wondered.
Also, in case you care to know , I have no more interest in the state of their health, their war stories, or their political opinions than you do. Can't you sit them in front of the TV for a few hours? You know, like you did with the kids when there was no school.

Saturday, February 26, 2005
  Your Turn

I saw this on Randomblings from Rich and decided to give it a go. Bold the states you've been to. Underline the states you've lived in. Italicize the state you"re in now. So here goes.

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C. /"

I've actually been to more states than I thought. Although, in 2 of them I only spent time in the airport. But, I did spend money there so I think it counts as a visit.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
  Save BLink 182...

or stop Ashlee Simpson. You can sign petitions to do one or both here. There are countless other burning issues to be addressed as well. If yours isn't there, start your own petition. After all, the 8545 people who signed a petition to save "Star Trek Enterprise" deserve to be heard! I think.

Sunday, February 20, 2005
  Word Association

I have worked in supermarkets for more than 20 years. I can't tell you how many I times I have thought, or said "I should write a book". I think most of my co-workers have voiced the same sentiment. A manager I worked with even had a title. He was going to call his book "Are You the Manager?", because nothing that follows that question is ever boring.
Probably, none of us will ever write that book. So I thought that from time to time, when my creative muse is on strike, I can blog some of the the tidbits I've been squirrelling away for my future manuscript.
Here is my biggest pet peeve. I think of it as "The Word Association Game". It goes like this. A customer comes in the door and right up to the first store employee he(or she) sees. They look right at you and name something you can find on supermarket shelves. Like "peanut butter". That' s it. Just peanut butter.
My coworkers and I all know that the customer is asking for the location of the peanut butter. The absence of sentence structure is meant to convey that he(or she) is in a hurry. They don't have time to look for the peanut butter. Or to read the four foot tall directory signs that hang in each aisle. They are on such a tight schedule they don't even have time to speak in full sentences. They take word economization to new heights by conveying their entire query in one word. Or in the case of peanut butter, 2 words. They don't say "Can you tell me where the peanut butter is?" Or "Hi. where's the peanut butter?" Just "peanut butter"
So here is the customer looking at me and saying"peanut butter"
It takes everything in me not to reply Jelly" !

Friday, February 18, 2005
  Stupid is as Stupid Does

When you see news reports of people being rescued from their vehicles after trying to drive through flooded intersections don't you wonder what they were thinking? Apparently the State of Arizona does. They have enacted The "Stupid Motorist Law" In this case "stupid" refers to driving around erected barricades and putting yourself and those sent to rescue you, in danger. I wonder if they named it that so it can be amended to include other inconsiderate acts seen on the road everyday.


1. The person who pulls out right in front of you in a big hurry who then slows down to way less than the speed of traffic.

2. THe person driving while sightseeing.Look at that! Look at that!)

3.The person who passes lanes of traffic patiently waiting to merge, and noses his way into the front of the line. (oh wait. that would be the ignorant motorists law)

Who would you include under the stupid motorist law?

Thursday, February 17, 2005
  That's All Folks

The cartoonists at Warner Bros. have given Bugs Bunny and cohorts an extreme makeover. Why? I have no idea. My kids experienced the same joy of laughing at Bugs and Daffy and Elmer some 20 years after I did. I look forward to sharing the Looney Tunes with my grandson. The following is a direct quote from

" All I can hope is that we, as responsible consumers of pop culture, revisit the classics often and try, the best we can, to view them with new, unjudgemental eyes. If not, I fear we run the risk of squeezing our cultural icons until they are nothing but the dried husk remains; and if you can't be concerned what that might eventually do to say, Beowulf or the works of Wagner - then think about the eventual fate of real-life pop culture prisoners, such as Paris Hilton and Kato Kaelin; if we drain them of their essential selves for our amusement and enjoyment -then what is the fate of mankind? "

She was discussing the classic movie "Casablanca" and Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein". Still, I think it applies.

  I Wonder if There Was Homework

I bet this science class paid attention.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

On I came across this article on parenting. It hits several nails right on the head. It is written by a Dad, but could as easily been penned by a Mom. If you are in any stage of parenting, from thinking about being one to being a grandparent, you should give it a read.

Sunday, February 13, 2005
  It's in the Cards

Or it might be in the wrist. Or maybe it has something to do with his degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Wherever it comes from it is quite a talent. Cardstacking. Bryan Berg holds the Guiness Book of records title for building the World's Tallest House of Cards. On February 11th Berg began recreating the skyline of New York City, in the ABC Good Morning America studio in Times Square. He is using 178,000 cards, each one representing a victim of the tsunami disaster. Good Morning America is asking viewers to make donations to the tsunami relief effort. More information can be found on their website. You can see more of Bryan's creations here.

Sunday, February 06, 2005
  A Moment of Your Time

It had only been 3 months between my first and second visits to Japan. In that short time , Starbucks seems to have opened up in every shopping area and train station. This was not as surprising to me as another symbol of Western culture I encountered. As I cleared the Immigration Desk at Narita airport in Tokyo, I was approached by a clipboard wielding survey taker! Her appearance seemed out of step in a place where people are careful not to intrude. She executed the interview in a most Japanese manner. She, walked up to me. Her request was tendered very politely and quietly. When I agreed to "give her a moment of my time" she thanked me most sincerely and apologized in advance for her self perceived lack of command of English.
The interview was being conducted for the Japanese National Tourist Organization. The questions were about where I had visited , what I liked and disliked and how much Yen I had spent.
The last question was" would I like to visit again and why?". The box was too small for my actual answer so I just said I would like to return because the country is beautiful and the people are nice. That was one big understatement.
A city is a city and as far as am was concerned Tokyo could have been New York. But if you want "shock and awe" I suggest you go to one of the 5 lakes surrounding Mt. Fuji on a clear day and just look up at the mountain. Truly majestic. Go to Nikko and see the lake in a crater, and, if you are lucky , as I was, the mist in the mountains will part and you will see an amazing waterfall.
The hustle and bustle in a Tokyo train station is beyond comprehension. Still a kind gentleman stopped and offered his assistance to obviously confused foreigners. If you ask for help from a station employee they will actually leave their booth if necessary to assist you. In the major metropolitan area where I live, I don't think I have ever seen a transit worker leave their booth. They sit behind heavy glass with little speaker boxes and grunt at you if you make an inquiry. Actual human contact is out of the question.
When you encounter employees in a store or restaurant they greet you. And when you leave they thank you, sincerely, and not in that "I'm paid to say have nice day ' mentality I see at home.
On a visit to Hakone which is a lakeside area in view of Mt. Fuji, we stopped in a small family-run restaurant for coffee. Also to escape from the bone chilling cold. My grandson needed changing but the bathroom was just a small unheated space with no amenities such as a changing table. We were wondering what the Japanese proprietors would think if the Gajin changed a diaper at the table when one of the Japanese women came and without any English indicated we should bring the baby over to their private area and take care of his needs. The women made a fuss over the baby and bought their own small daughter over to see him. She played shy with us until my son-in-law appeared. He got a smile and a wave.
Leaving Japan I was infused with feelings of the good nature of mankind. Cut to the Chicago O'Hare Airport where I changed planes en-route to home. While going through the security checkpoint, a woman a few people ahead of me asked a screener for directions to terminal C. The screener stopped what he was doing, turned towards the line and said as loudly as possible "Well lady you go down here and make a right and when you see the big"C" you'll know you are there." Then he shook his head as if to indicate that he couldn't believe he had to answer that question and went back to tossing peoples personal belongings down a conveyor belt. Welcome back to the States.

Friday, February 04, 2005
  One Team, One City, One Dream

Living in Philadelphia during the pre Super Bowl drama means I'm forced to see the world through green colored glasses. Eagles green to be exact. The promo for the evening news was just on and the lead anchor promises a story on what to wear to tour Super Bowl party. Hmmm. Guess there were no City Hall scandals or mob related trial news to report on today. I suppose those people are all caught up in the excitement as well. On the noon news the anchor cut to the sports guy who is of course in Jacksonville. He reported that banks had raised their ATM fees to $5 per transaction in the areas near the stadium,and each transaction is limited to $100, so if you are planning on coming bring extra cash with you. No reports on inflated prices for beer on the area.


In a previous post I blogged about not wanting to sit next to chatty people on airplanes
My return trip from Japan consisted of one 11 hour flight from Tokyo to Chicago, and then a 2 hour flight to Philadelphia. As I was waiting to board the second flight the effects of being up for 22 hours hit full force. Despite having treated myself to a grande white chocolate cafe mocha at the airport Starbucks , I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I actually fell asleep while the flight attendants were doing their safety pantomime. Before I nodded out I did take notice of the other person seated in my row. She was an asian woman, intent on looking out her window and there was a seat between us.
I woke up when we were about a half hour from Philly. The plane landed and as we taxied to the gate the asian woman leaned over and asked me if I knew if she would have to clear immigration again if she had done it in Chicago. Then she asked if I knew where to pick up the luggage. I suggested she walk with me as I was picking up mine as well. That simple offer made her so happy so clapped her hands and smiled. In the brief time we spent riding to the gate and deplaning I learned that her name was Cleo, and that she had traveled from Hong Kong to see a friend. That she had never flown anywhere before and found the airports a little daunting. That her impeccable english was a result of working with a lot of foreigners. Her company had originally had British owners and she used to speak English with a British accent, but now it was owned by Americans. That she was staying for 2 weeks and her friend who had moved from Philadelphia to New Jersey was taking her to see New York City and she was very excited about that.
Cleo's friend actually met up with us before we got to the baggage claim area .From the looks on both their faces I would guess that he is more than a "friend". I just waved a quick goodbye and kept going.
We met again briefly by the baggage carousal. Cleo introduced me to TIm. I wished them a good visit and we parted ways.
I am really sorry that Cleo and I didn't get to be chatty on the plane.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
  Clean Slate

One of the blog sites I check daily is Slate Magazine. Two recent articles caught my attention and I wanted to share them with you. First, another comment about the absurdity of those colored wristbands I blogged about here.
When you are done reading that, check out the link for the "Daily Dose of Doonesbury". Until yesterday I had never clicked on that because I get my daily dose in the morning newspaper. Currently however I am 6700 miles away from my doorstep so I decided to see what Mike and B.D. and the gang were up to. Not only can you view the day's Doonesbury, but you can see the one published on the same date,5, 10, 15,20,25 and 30 years ago! Thirty years! Can you believe Gary Trudeau has been pumping out strips for that long? (Although if memory serves he took a break along the way). What an impressive body of work. It chronicles the lives we lead and the times we live in as well as any textbook.

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