Thursday, October 30, 2014

The perfect haunted house


Isn't it simply divine?   The perfect place to pass out candy on Halloween!  It just screams Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

This dear reader is not a parody, or a piece of photoshop art, but was the Taylor Residence, built in Washington, DC., at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue NE, and 3rd Street NE. (We are looking north northwest in this picture.)

I first learned about the house some 30+ years ago when I lived in DC and it graced the cover of the first paperback edition of Capital Losses by James Goode.  Capital Losses was a book that really made a huge impact on me.  A social history of the destroyed architecture of Washington, DC, the book tells you something about the structure, and then tells you about the people who built it, or are most closely associated with it.

Goode called the Taylor House, built in the 1870s, an exuberant cottage.  Evidently it was well known that stereoviews of the house were sold in gift shops.  The Taylors also owned the lot next door on the Massachusetts Avenue side, leading me to believe that this fanciful mish-mosh of everything American Victorian was the start of something a bit larger, but it never made it beyond this stage.

Alas, what made it charming in 1876 didn't age so well - much like our opinion today of 1960s "Brutalist" architecture - and the Taylor House was razed for the Congressional House Apartment building in the early 1920s.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Well, Christ on a Cracker: Cousin Genie with the light brown hair, and cousin to "THAT Woman!"

Folks, I am here to tell you that in 35 years of genealogy I have never encountered a truly infamous and famous person, in one.  Cookie is so over the moon at the moment.  I have had a true "well shut the front door" moment. 

As I have said before, Cookie knows where all the bodies are buried, and which closets contain which skeletons. But today I made two rather astounding discoveries and I am here to share them. 

First off, all, save one or two, of my dearly departed Mother's genealogy lines pretty much are concentrated in Pennsylvania or Maryland prior to 1800.  This is a documented fact.   

So two weeks ago, BS (before surgery) I sat down with the next door neighbor for a glass of wine and a get to know you chat.  Both of them are very long in Maryland's better known names, so when I said I was a descendent of the Dorsey family, she said that there was a very good reason to assume that we're distant cousins.  And in fact we are! Ninth cousins once removed to be exact.

Now think about it.  We know no one in Baltimore, we move here from Ohio, buy a house in hurry and end up living next do to someone that I share, not a shirttail relationship (like a second consin to the man that her great great aunt married once because a shotgun was pointed at both of them by her pa) a blood relation with.  Next door!

But wait, there is more.

Cousin Bessie, on the right. 

As I discovered for myself, both she and I are also distant cousins of one of the most notorious women of the 20th Century - A woman so notorious that that she was better know as THAT Woman, for years: Balmore's own Bessie Warfield!

Seriously, Genie, Wallis and I, we all go back to the same couple.

I would ask how did this happen, and the answer is easy. Get seven generations of people descended from the same man and woman to start having coitus with reckless abandon, add in some third cousins getting married, a few wars,  sooner or later you are bound to be a cousin of someone who did something so socially scandalous that are buried at Frogmore.

If my mother were still alive (it will be four years this November) she would have an absolute kniption fit.  "Did you simply ask an Eight Ball and go with that answer?  It's real?  You can't tell anyone - we'll be outcasts at WalMart.  Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to end it all and jump out of the basement window in shame..."


Cousin Bessie, excuse me, I mean Wallis,  married this guy named
David, who had just gone on unemployment the day before.  Figures. 
Now, I have to say that I am related to Bessie Wallis a bit closer than the next door neighbor, as I am related to both of her father's mother and father.  Well HELLO cousin Bessie and Howdy Cousin David!

So if you need me, I will be right here, bursting with all sorts of wonder, and gas, because after that surgery, I am very gassy.

Cookie

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yes, the pieces parts are all falling into place.



As I said yesterday in my brief filing, I am home and I am healing.  Moreover, I am looking forward to being able to sleep on my side tonight.

Surgery was on Monday at half past crack, and before hand my doctor asked "What is your greatest fear?"

The temporary colostomy, my reply.

"But that is not in my plan," says he.  With my feelings of fear assuaged, they wheeled me into the room, which was a lot nicer than the surgical suite in Columbus, and I saw the stirrups, and a man said, you may feel sleepy and *POOF* the next thing I know a nurse is telling me to wake up.

The scariest thing that I saw was a Foley catheter.  And the mother fucker hurt.   But other than that, no colostomy.

So essentially, I had the catheter because they illuminate your ureters so they don't injure them during the process of rerouting the body's poop pipe by snipping them.  Mine hurt plenty because the stents used got to delicate tissues. In any event, they pulled the catheter on Tuesday and pee fest began - 24 hours of almost constant peeing.

But that was not the worst.  Nor was my first shit with the new poop pipe.

The worst was bland diet dinner Tuesday - manicotti alfredo.  I won't go into the details, but it was beyond vile.  It was almost on par with Cream of Dyke soup.  So bad that I asked for an injection of dilaudid to forget.

And oh my God did I love the dilaudid.  Now I understand how easily it could be to get addicted to something like this.  Eugene O'Neil made immediate sense to me.  Within seconds of it coursing through my body I felt like a cross between a slut and a boll weevil. I nestled into my bed and slept for hours.  Delicious.

Anyhow, Wednesday morning, my Doctor's practice partner made rounds and I was told I could go home.  And here I am.  I do not like the Ultraset.  So I am managing with Aleve.  Feels good to be off that junk.

So over the next month, I'll learn to monitor my body's new rhythms.  Bland diet until then.  Lots of soup.  Next Tuesday, Doctor will pull out my staples and then the next phase of recovery starts anew!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The quickest of updates.

Surgery went well, everything fell into place.

Now I am home.

More to come as my strength returns.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Name of The Game is Operation.


Good morning blog-o-sphere!

It is now 8:00AM and as you read this, I am on an operating table in a good hospital, and have been under anesthesia for approximately an hour if we are running as scheduled.  My surgeon, however is Italian, and will be the first to admit that he runs "15 minutes to a half hour late - "Continental style" - in his words.

So an hour into this, the bottom two feet of my colon has been removed, and hopefully, they are beginning to reattach it to the end of the poop pipe.

You are asking, no, really saying, how vile! (if you are easily offended) and other wise, if you are MJ, you are saying "Cookie is having his Hershey Highway widened.  Well, not quite.

Let's just say that in a grammatical fashion, my colon is being turned into a semi-colon. ~rimshot~

Tough crowd.

As you all know, I have been living with, and managing diverticulitis for a very long time.  And over the years the attacks have become more frequent, and over the past two years my ability to bounce back from them has become much harder.

So what is diverticulitis you are wondering.  It is God's punishment for not eating the vegetables that my mother insisted that I needed to eat.  Essentially, the sigmoid colon weakens, and the walls are prone to small bulging sacks, called (diverticula) .  As foods that humans can't digest easily (sesame seeds are enemy number one) make their way through the colon, they can drop into these sacks (diverticula) with crap, fester, cause an infection, and amazing pain.  The more frequently this happens, the sacks weaken and microscopic bits on the infect matter can get out through teeny tiny holes, and they make you really sick.

After talking to my doctor, and the Italian GI doctor, we have all come to the conclusion that now is the time to fix this before it potentially kills me.

The doctor explained it thus, in his heavily accented English:

He: Through laparoscopic incisions, I will remove the bottom two feet of colon...

Me: TWO FEET?!

He: Not to worry, the colon is over six feet long.  So you will retain and use the four feet that remains.  So it is like a dryer vent, and can be extended easily.  In essence, the colon is what you would call the clown car of the human body.

Me: Clown car?  Wouldn't that be magician handkerchief? You keep pulling it and it keeps coming out...

He: Oh, no.  The small intestine is over 18 feet long.  So it is more like a magician's handkerchief - unending, but without the bouquet of flowers.

Me: Yeah, right...

He: Just a little gastroenterologist humor.

So, if everything goes according to plan, then the plumbing will start right up and I should be eating solid food by tonight, and home by Wednesday or Thursday.

HOWEVER, if things do not go well, then he'll go with plan "B", which is a temporary colostomy, and surgery in April or March to reconnect everything then.

And plan "C"?  Not even thinking about that.  But we will get through it because I am too young and beautiful to do otherwise.

By 10 or 11 or I should be awake, scratchy throat and ready for an afternoon nap because of the pain meds.

So say a little prayer and if all goes well, you should hear from me in about a week or so.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The detritus of life

Why? To accumulate stuff

This has been a heavy week for Cookie.  My mother and father's birthdays were this week, a day apart.  Mom would have been 90 and my father would have been 92.  The old man has been gone for 18 years, while mom has been gone four years this coming November.

This week also marked a month since  "Dad" the husband's father has been gone.  Friday we flew to Boston and today, Sunday, we are home. 

Mom has been moved to assisted living and, given her ills, is doing fine.  She is much more perkier than she has been in that big old house. 

We spent most of time at the house, cleaning it out so it can be sold. 

Brother in law got a dumpster delivered and they were able to clean out most of the garage before the dumpster was full.  We were able to get their closets cleaned out and the clothing went to Goodwill.  This included the boxes of "Haband" brand clothing for old people. No buttons - instead velcro for that easy to fasten and unfasten convenience.  They once sent us Haband clothing for Christmas.  We put it on, took a picture and stripped it off.  Its the sentiment that counts. 

All the real antiques are out dispersed to the four winds of familydom.  And this weekend, all of the personal "stuff" - the photographs, the good cookware, the silver, the jewelry, computers and real art left amongst the four children. 

What is left is the detritus of life.  

This includes "little things" that were cute, dust catchers, furniture that was good in the seventies but is unremarkable. Dead plants, fake Royal Doulton and of course those blasted Hummel figurines that no one wants.  Notes - piles and piles of notes, the meaning of which are now unknown to the ages. Odd pens, dry with age, boxes and boxes of staples, paper clips and rubber bands so old that they crumbled.  And greeting cards bought in advance of some birthday, anniversary, death and new baby, all unused and brown with age.

And we found every bill that Dad ever received.  All marked paid.  But he kept them neatly filed in drawers of filing cabinets.  For a man who lost hearing aids without any problem, this was a shocker. 

In the kitchen, we found food twenty years out of date food stuffs, still sealed in its original boxes. When was the last time you saw a bar of Sweetheart Soap?  For me its been 25 years, and in that time this stuff turned to powder in its paper wrapper.  In the basement fridge that has been turned off for the last ten years and kept closed.  The smell was horrid. 

I worked on Dad's household desk - almost five hours of going through every page he filed away, just to see if he socked away any dividend checks - he did - about fifty, totalling about $20 in dividends in long merged or defunct companies.  

I did score the most fabulous Corning double boiler.  But at the same time, who is going to want the rest of all this stuff?

And their house wasn't cluttered, and it wasn't as if they had lived there the whole 67 years they were married, either.  This was just the stuff that accumulated as they grew older and older.

What is sad about this is you are not only disposing of the "stuff" of someone's life, but you are reminded of the quickly passing minutes of your own life.

And you have to keep reminding yourself that these things left behind are not your loved ones.  They are in your heart.  So it is OK to throw out that Building 19 5/8th's picture on the wall, because it was just there to take up the space.  Still, its not OK to throw out that tiny loving cup because its sterling.

And now that we are back home, I am looking around, making a list and checking it twice of all the things we need to get rid of ourselves. 




Saturday, October 4, 2014

Quickie Quiz....


Where could this be leading:

a) A father and son bonding moment, not unlike Andy Hardy and his wise father Judge Hardy.

b) To a spirited discussion on the merits of Munsingwear undergarments, and the choosing the correct fit for your age and life style.

c) Something that makes me tingle the longer I wonder about it, but I don't know why.

d) A deep, dark place that I have locked away deep, deep down and have suppressed by focusing on defense of marriage work and only having sex with my wife for the purpose of procreation.

e) That's not the type of pipe smoking in a locker room that I am familiar with.

f) I would rather talk about the "granny panties" that Arianna Grande wears during performances and why they look silly.

Extra credit, compare and contrast the underwear ads of today with this ad from the 1930s.



Sunday, September 28, 2014

There ought to be clowns, redux


"The Mime in Me" by that genius, "Tabitha"  Part of Cookie's
collection of bad art. 

So I was going through some old papers today at the house, and I came across this pile from my former life as a consultant for a statewide trade association in Ohio.  I left in 2005 because the leader was turning into a bunker mentality, and it was hurting a lot of good people as they were shown the door and summarily fired.  I got out on my own terms.

ANYWAY, in that pile I found all this "stuff" on his big plan to corral the Human Resources market in our field in Ohio.  His idea was to use this program to stuff F.O.P. (Friends of "Pete") into leadership roles in the BIG powerful member organization.

To do this, they hired a consultant who would sell a program that was basically an Executive Search and Policy manuals.   The person who they hired had no experience in our field, but she seemed very nice.  For the purposes of posting, we'll call her Amy, which really isn't her name.  Seriously.

So Amy moves into her (real) office over the weekend and on the following Monday she invites us into the office for a little house warming and my coworkers and I walk in to find two bookcases, not holding books, but dolls.  Not just any dolls, either.

They were clown dolls.

Thats right, the HR expert filled her office with her collection of very expensive, very valuable, yet still kitschy clown dolls.

To say that we were shocked is an understatement, as we all got a good case of the creeps.

Successories, I would have expected.  Not clown dolls.

The conversation kinda went like this:

Me: "That is quite a collection of..."

Co-worker 1: "CLOWN DOLLS."

Amy chortles and says: "I have always loved clowns and I thought they would cheer up the office."

Co-worker 2: "Well thanks for letting me have a look, but I gotta get back to my desk...."

Me: "Been collecting them for long?"

Amy: "My grandpa made me that one on the top shelf when I was little, and the collection has grown."

Me: "It's good to be surrounded by the things you love.  It's nice."

Co-Worker 1: "I have worked with clowns before, but this is a first."

Amy: "Yeah, thats why I love them."

And love them she did. Eventually the collection grew to include a couple of those white clown masks, that some people would hang on their walls in the 1980s.

Funny thing is that about a year into her job she asks me to go to lunch, and after we are seated, tells me that she doesn't feel like part of the "team".

Amy: "I just feel isolated back there.  I love being out on the floor with the rest of you, but I feel like there is something keeping others from finding me accessible."

Me: "Amy, did it ever cross your mind that there could be something that is keeping people from feeling at ease in your office?"

Amy: "Well I know that some people are uneasy around human resources people."

Me: "I don't think its you."

Amy: "Well thats good to know."

Me: "It's your clown collection."

Amy looked stunned.  "But clowns are such happy people," she countered.

So we talked and the following Monday, the clowns were gone.  A month later, so was Amy.  She wasn't happy in her job, and I think she dismayed and disillusioned with co-workers that couldn't love clowns as she did.  Truth be told, she went back to work for her former employer, International Amalgamated.

The boss decided not to replace her.  Instead they went a different direction and hired a firm to do the work for us.

Finding that paper folder today made me wonder what ever became of Amy, and then I threw it out.  I already have enough clowns, like "Pete" in my past.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kevintime

Don't even think about taking my Jawa.

Kevin the Wonder Mutt was bedding down last night.  Got up, went in the hall, got his stuffed Jawa, trotted back to his bed, decided all was well in his world and plopped himself down for the night.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

That delicate balance



Tonight Cookie has to walk that delicate balance between forced enthusiasm and a charitable event.  A workplace group that the Husband belongs to is hosting an event at a one of the better, actually that should be trendy-toney-artful, restaurants in Baltimore.

The group is all men, all gay, and thats good, but they are the husband's workmates at International Amalgamated Inc., and they will all be talking shop.  Delightful.  But I am not in much of a good mood for it.

Still, this is the life of a spouse - supporting your husband as you would want him to support you.

As a personal rule, I never drink at work events.  Not even a pre dinner cocktail.  Nope. I have seen too many people at work events do stupid things or say stupid things.  I will ask for a club soda and lime and force a smile and fake my interest.

So there I will be, pets, hidden behind my invisible Kabuki mask, going through the motions while a dish filled with food will be presented for my meal not so much for my enjoyment as it is formality sake.  Yeah.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Is he, or is he not dead? UPDATED



Now I know what you thinking.  No, this isn't about my father in law, so you can unclench your hand from your pearls.

I received a Facebook message last night from someone I know back home.  His stepfather, who is really his father - thats another story from a small town that I will tell at a later time - went to the Little School Reunion and heard that my Uncle Demon had died.

You read that right, Demon.

So this man came home and told his stepson - who is really his son - that he had heard that "I heard that Cookie's Uncle Demon died."  So my friend sends me this message.

He wrote "I thought you would know, but then again, I know that you two aren't speaking.  Can you get back to me on this?"

Sooooo, I did what anyone on my mother's side would do - I messaged my third cousin and her first cousin, because Demon's children are their first cousins, on their mother's side, and none of use really communicate with them.  Got that.  Demon is my uncle on my mother's side and their mother's are related to Demon's wife, Aunt Crabby, so we share first cousins.  Actually the woman who is my third cousin is a third cousin to her first cousins, but thats a story for another time. Understand?

So I get this message back that says "Oh, no!"  That came from the first cousin.

My third cousins who is also their first cousin writes back and says "Wouldn't they have called us?"

Her first cousin who is no cousin of mine, answers back that "They are still on metered phone service," which means my cheapskate uncle Demon pays $9.95 per month and .25 for each outbound call, so everyone has to call him, because he's too cheap to place an outbound call.

I asked him, my uncle that is, after my aunt (she married him and into my family, if she was already family and married him that would a story for a different time) cracked her head open on the icy stoop because she had nothing to grab onto, because he's too cheap to put up a railing, when she slipped reaching for the paper one February morning, "you must have used the phone to call 911."

"But that was a free call," says he.

So my third cousin who is also the other first cousin's first cousin says "Maybe we could email them."

And you can't email him because he's too cheap to buy a computer.  "Does Demon have a computer," asks the other first cousin who is my third cousin.  "He don't," (you read that right - she speaks the native tongue of the people back home, which includes the ever popular "he got" et. al.) have one.  Too cheap.  Says he can use the one at the library for free."

So much for that idea.

Anyhow if you want something from him, you have to call him.  And he's such a sourpuss, none of us want to call him, so the phone doesn't ring that often.  And he's angry that he has to pay for a private line, since party lines went the way of the dodo.

Why is (or "was" - we don't know yet if "he is" or "he isn't") he a sourpuss?  Well, that's a story for another time.

So this morning, not seeing anything in the paper, or on the funeral parlor web sites, we all assumed that Uncle Demon is still among the living, for now, until we hear otherwise, we guess.

So I called my friend from high school, Clem, who now goes by Clement, if he had heard anything.  "Well the shades are drawn at his house like they always are."  Thanks Clem for solving that riddle.  None of think that sunlight has been in that house since "the Sputnick" went into orbit.

Yeah, my Aunt and Uncle are the types that place "the" in front of words that do not require it.  To hear them tell it so and so "got the cancer."  The problem with this, besides being wrong is it confuses people.  My mother once asked my aunt if said aunt had asked her son "WB" to pick up another five pound bag of sugar for the cookies they were making.

"You know, WB got the sugar," says my aunt.

"You mean he has it already?" says my mother.

"Doctor said that lots of young people are getting the sugar because they are overweight.  He don't have to take the insulin, yet."

See what I mean?

But back to our uncle, who either is or is not dead, the Demon is so cheap that he probably instruct our Aunt to bury him in the back yard.  So if the police show up, because the neighs saw something like an 80+ year old woman digging a grave for her husband, or see her dragging his body outside, then it will make the newspaper for free.

But that'll be a story for another time.

UPDATE - We are, for now, assuming that the uncle is still living since none of us have heard otherwise.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Summons to Boston


Where has Cookie been you may be, or not, asking since it has been a bit of time since the last post.

Well, last week we were summoned to Boston.  And it has been a life affirming and draining week plus.

Last week, were told that my beloved father in law had chosen to receive hospice care.  At 93, his body, well worn with medical woes, was just worn out.  Without going into the actual diagnosis, lets just say that there were internal issues from which even the healthiest of people couldn't survive.

I asked the Husband if we needed to go up there and he said, in typical practical New England fashion that it would be best for them to get him settled at home with hospice than to add to the confusion.  And according to his sister, he was resting as comfortably as he could.  We would go up when the dust settled, as it were.

The next day we kicked around the house, we ate dinner and that evening while working on unending genealogy projects, the husband came up, and with the greatest certainty and authority and announced that Dad had taken a turn for the worse. We were flying to Boston first thing in the morning.  OK.  That was easy.

We rounded up the dogs, packed one suitcase with clothes, the other with our suits, and left the next morning.  The dogs were dropped off at the Ritz to share a room, have different sittings for dinner, and have play time with their friends and then we encountered traffic like no one could have imagined.  BWI is on the other end of town and there is no easy way to get there.  It's only a half hour drive, but an hour into this my heart sank, certain that this was going to be a sign of things to come.

Thank God I am wrong a great deal of time.  I would make a lousy medium.

The minute we hit the airport everything clicked - ticket, TSA, the gate was close, and thankfully the plane was delayed in getting there.  We waited ten minutes and we were off.  Seamless flight, our bags were the first on the carousel, the right rental car was waiting and no traffic in the Ted Williams Tunnel or on the Mass Pike.

We arrived at the hospital at 11:30 and he looked very bad.  He had lost consciousness the night before and his heart rate and respiration were irregular.  My sister in law was sitting by the bed.  She told us that Mom had been there and said her goodbyes.  Brother in Law (BiL) #3 had just left with her to take her home, and even though her health issues present problems, she was in the minute and understood that the end was near.

His medical team of Dr. Li and Dr. Le (Dr. Li was a young woman, and Dr. Le an even younger male) came in to speak with us and explain everything.  "What we are part of is something very rare and special.  Seldom does a patient received a diagnosis, tell us that they wish to end life, and undertake it upon themselves as your father has done.  Most get a diagnosis, and days or weeks go by before they pass.  But he was very certain that he did not want to continue given the prognosis."

The hospital brought us coffee and muffins, and we sat a short while.  BiL#2 and his husband showed up to see Dad at a quarter of two, and he had his time to say good bye.  I noticed that Dad's head had moved backwards some, but everyone else thought that I just saw him jaw flex. His IV bags were going to changed and monitors gave their indication that the bags were running dry.  The nurse came in, turned off that alarm and went to retrieve two more bags of IV food and fluids.

At 2PM we were feeling hungry and wondering if the cafeteria was open, when I looked at Dad and before my eyes, his color went from pale to yellow.  I said so to my husband.  He looked at the respiratory and heart rates.  Both numbers were greyed out.  The nurse came in and went right back out and came back in with Dr. Li.

Dr. Li explained that she believed that Husband's father had passed, and peacefully.  She explained what she need to do next, which was a prolonger listening for a heartbeat, and the checking of pulse.  She called his death at 2PM.

This is the second person that I have been with when they have died.  It's an honor to be there.  And it was so like my father in law, henceforth known as dad.  Though sometimes befuddled by age, he was a very kind man, a gentle soul, and always the gentleman.  He was a very dry sense of humor, and a brilliant man who accomplished so very much - some of his accomplishments are things that you know about, may use, or have friends or family members may use.

While I was the most task driven person there, it's only since we've arrived back home that the magnitude of this event has reared its head.  Intellectually, I know Dad is gone.  But there is in my mind this image of him standing in the kitchen of his home, arms wide stretched and ready for a hug, that I cannot let go of.  That is how I choose to remember him.  I will miss my father in law more as my father than an inlaw.

And this is going to take some time to get over.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

There is nothing but trash on the television!


Cookie is simply vexed by Comcast.

Because we just barely live in the city of Baltimore, our taxes are double those live in the houses across the street.  Our insurance on our cars and home are double what we would pay if we just lived 300 feet north of here in Baltimore County.

And we would be rid of our Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, who is a wretched excuse for a mayor and sterling example of a micromanager and control.  On the other hand, Baltimore County has this yutz named Kevin Kamenetz, and he's just bullshit rip off artist shyster.  But, if I had to be stuck in an elevator with the two, I would have to pick Stephanie because bitch would get us out.

Anyway, we are stuck with total trash on TV because we can only have Comcast television in the city of Baltimore. And that sucks, because it is nothing but trash TV.  And it's outrageously expensive.  When I called today to complain the price and the selection, do you know the Comcast employee said?  

"You could upgrade to the Premium Sports Package with the NFL, NHL, MLB and,"  he says moving in for the kill, "Tennis Network."

Bitch, what?

At least with the UFC channel I get to watch sweaty men humping each other.  Who the dickens watches Tennis anymore?   The last tennis match I watched was a game of PONG on a Magnavox in Marion, Ohio when Jimmy Carter was President.

And contrary to what Mr. Peenee says, at some point too much porn gets terribly rote.  Unlike like the days of Joe Gage's classic art films that told a story, we have reverted to the pre-Gage era of two men meet, take out their dicks, give bad oral sex to one and other (Thank GOD Al Parker isn't alive to see the bad fellatio that permeates modern art films) and then they have coitus, that goes on f...o...r...e...v...e...r in a fashion that makes Henry Ford's assembly lines look terribly inefficient.  Cookie is terribly bored by an art film that is nothing "butt" homosexual coitus.  Hell, at this rate, an Operating Engineers training film on pistons and pistons sleeves has more plot to it than anything starring Colby Keller or that vile Dale Cooper.

So here I sit, nothing but trash on the television and yammering away.  Such is life, no?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The one where I have a "genealogical orgasm"



Yes, your read that right.

Cookie is basking in the afterglow of orgasmic success in breaking through a brick wall in a genealogical line.
As we have discussed, one of my great grandfather's first cousins - the financial tycoon, as it were, sat down and wrote a 1,000 page book, which my mother called the Kennel Papers.  That book got me my start when I was a young lad of 14 into the dank and musty corners of family history.

My attention to the hobby has ebbed and flowed over the past 35+ years, but since 9-11, genealogy has been my form of personal therapy.  It preoccupied me so much that when we moved to Baltimore, COOKIE, not the moving company, moved the papers 400 miles.

In genealogy, though, you come across those people who seemingly have no past.  The inability to get beyond a point with such a person is called a "brick wall" because its stops you from going any further.

When the Tycoon wrote his book, he recorded "Eleanor", the wife of his cousin by her first name and the name on the marriage license, and that was all.  Problem is that when I went looking for Eleanor's place of birth, I could not find her in the censuses.  In fact, I could find nothing at all on Eleanor. That was in 1978, and since then, I have periodically washed her name through the online databases that the LDS church has at www.familysearch.com and through Ancestry at www.ancestry.com or even google without any luck.

So I tried again for giggles, this time through Google and low and behold it brought me to a site that had held no promise for me before - One Billion Graves.  And son of Eleanor there was her tombstone, which meant I had a date of death.  Then I discovered that the LDS Church had Colorado and Nebraska marriage records, which shocked me because neither state is known for its openness when it comes to public records.  Colorado is second only to Indiana when it comes to making it impossible to leach out a death certificate.

Still, one thing led to another, and another, and each time, the clues kept coming faster and faster and each lead held more information and within two hours I had to muffle my pleasure at the advances I was making on ELEANOR!

YES, I found her maiden name!

YES, I found her place of birth!

YES, I discovered that her previously thought maiden name was from HER FIRST MARRIAGE!

YES, YES, YES!

Reader, if I smoked, let me tell you that after all that, I bet that cigarette would be the sweetest one I smoked in a long time.

And in the post genalogical orgasm's afterglow, I pushed through that wall and I found everything that I could ever hope to find...

And more.

The thing is with these finds, you get your questions answered, only to find yourself with more questions.

And that is why I love this hobby.  You never know what you will find. But keep at it, because there is always something new around the corner.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The one where I sit at the computer in the nude and...


...create a blog entry is this post right here, right now.

Why am I nude you might want to ask.  Perhap you don't want to know, either, since Cookie is resembling the Sunshine Chef of late.

I am sitting here in the nude, and by nude I mean tastefully, not salaciously because, well, its my house and I can.

There is something to be said about sitting around in the nude for us non-nudists, but I am not here to make a political statement.   So here is what is on my mind:

1) We have returned from the Charleston, West Virginia taping of the Antiques Roadshow.  Yes, we got tickets and we went.  Charleston is only six hours from Baltimore, so I figured it was just a hop in the car and go.  I was mistaken.

To get to Charleston, we had to take I-70 to I-68.  Driving on I-68 means you have to cross over Negro Mountain, I kid you not.  That name makes me cringe.  Anyway, I have a terrible fear of heights and I-68 is a terror filled ride for me.  But that was not the worst.  In Morgantown, we had to go south on I-79, and let me tell you, those three hours felt like ten.  Three hours of nothing more that mountains and trees. Swear to God.

We got there and had a good old time. We were staying at the same hotel that the appraisers were staying at and Cookie got to meet Kevin Zavian, who is, in person, devastatingly handsome when he isn't in a sharkskin suit and dripping with gold.  There I stood slack jawed while he cordially chatted with us for a minute.  Absolute heaven!

Two of our appraisals went well, and two of them went nowhere.  Ken Farmer (Folk Art) took one look at what we brought and said "These are folk art, but they are too well done for folk art."  Evidently people like their folk art crude.  The other appraiser that was a real dolt was Noel Barrett, the toy appraiser.  Barrett took one look at the toys we brought, which are original vintage 1960s, and 9 out 10, and sniffed like we had put a dead 'possum on his table.

On the other hand, the art we took both surprised us ("It's worth how much? Someone would pay that much for that thing? Well shut the front door and call me Maudine.") , and made us very happy.

If you have the chance to go - DO IT.  It was fun.  But keep away from Noel Barrett.  He's grumpy and not worth the two hours we spent in line to see him.

2) Work at the Beef House and Strip Club continues to grow more interesting every day, and I am learning new things.  We are all being trained on loss prevention because the home office feels that is the topic of the day.  I am appalled at what I am learning.  Cookie has a background in auditing, but the creative ways that people steal these days is appalling.  "People really do this?"  yes, they do.

We are also short staffed and and pretty desperate to find people to work.   I don't think I could do it full time.  "What do you mean I can't return this lap dance and silver tea service?  It hasn't even been a year!"  No, I could not deal with that without losing my mind.

3) We think we might just get an uninterrupted weekend to ourselves this week, so we are doubly excited.

Whats up with youse guys?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Attention Ladies, Women, Girls, Females, Bitches...



We feel that this should also carry a warning about trampolines.

What do you think they left off the list?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The old woman, that N****** Obama and me




So, Cookie was sitting in a the Timonium, Maryland Best Buy yesterday, waiting for the phone rep to come back with my old iPhone (which I was trading in), when an old woman using a walker meandered near me.

I found this odd, because Best Buy is not usually a place where the old and the decrepit congregate - that is a Rite Aid thing.  And she looked like she was wearing what could have passed for Stella Toddler's clothing.

But she slowly was walking around looking at all the technology that she never imagined in her life.  She had to be 90.

So I sat there playing with my new iPhone, and she comes up and says:

"I think Dr. Ben Carson is a good man to run our country, not like that n***** Obama."

At first I looked up at her and then around to see who she was talking to.  No one else was within 20 feet.

She was talking to me.

Since working at the Beef House and Strip Club, Cookie has been on diplomatic autopilot.  Because our clientele can be pushy and condescending, you have to have control of yourself and your mouth.   Because it really is easier to smile at these assholes than it is to engage in their lunacy, which you can't change with your outrage, so conserve your energy, right?

So my immediate vocal reaction was to say "I'm sorry," with a healthy dose of sarcasm, and return to my phone.

But she took that to mean I didn't understand what she had just said, or perhaps she wondered if she had said what she wanted to, or something else, or whatever, and she started to repeat the offending statement.  I stopped her in mid "Cars..."

I explained that I was "sorry, but I don't care to hear about your politics," since that was the nicest way I could think of to tell her to shut the fuck up.

"Well," says she in a huff.  "I have a right to speak my opinion."

Bottom line, she does.  That is what makes this country great.  We all get an opinion.  And she is entitled to it, no matter how racist, how hateful or stupid it is.   And the Constitution protects that opinion, in the right she has to criticize the government without fear of retaliation.  The down side to this is that she has a Constitutional right to her offensive and bigoted opinion, no matter how unwelcome it is.

So in forming my response, I did a couple calculations in my mind:

1) This was not a teaching moment on the offensiveness of the term "nigger" to African Americans, or my ears.  Why, because at 90+, this decrepit old woman, who spent her days sitting in front of FOXNews wasn't going to change.  She also looked like she wasn't going to make it to the 2016 primary season, either.

and 2) Causing a scene would make it look like Cookie was giving this woman a tongue lashing for being sweet (which she was not) and old (which she was) in that order.

So my response was "I don't care to listen to your political opinion, good day."

With that she tottled off.

And then a Best Buy employee came up and asked if the Old Crazy One was with me.  I said no, and he started towards her to help her.  I wonder went on in her mind when a six foot man, dark as midnight, walked up to her see if there was anything she needed help with.

Cookie knows that we live in troubled times.  And Cookie does live south of Mason Dixon line, so technically, Maryland is in the south.  And old habits die hard for the ignorant. But Cookie is also glad that the old woman will naturally go to her reward, and when she meets God at her reward, I'm hoping for her sake that God is a black man or woman.   Because that is the moment she will cower.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Never buy a Simmons mattress, ever. Seriously.



So a few months ago the husband and I decided to replace our aging mattress which was giving up the ghost. We read Consumer reports on where to buy a mattress, and we went to the highest rated seller.  We tried many mattresses - some as much as $4,000!

Seriously.

And while we are trying this mattress, the salesman (mattress salesmen are just an inch or two higher than discount carpet salesmen in my version of the food chain of life) says "this model comes with a twenty year warranty."

For $4,000 it should also come with magic fingers, says I.

After bouncing around from one end of the store to another, we settled on a Simmon's Beautyrest that was very firm, but had a thick tufted almost pillow top.  It came in almost two grand.

So we buy the mattress, it arrives five days later via deliver.  They took away the old, looked at the bed frame (wood, two steel cross members, each with two legs), set up the mattress and the new box spring and they leave.

The bed was heaven for about a month, and then we both started waking up with sore backs, which were caused by the divots formed by our torsos in the middle of the bed.  We also discovered a nice ridge developing straight down the middle.

So I go back to the mattress store and have a talk with the salesman and the manager.

They send the bed warranty specialist who comes out, measures, photographs and dismantles the bed, and tell me that I will get a letter in a week with what to do.

The letter arrives and says that there is nothing wrong with the bed, but that we have voided the warranty by not providing the proper support of said bed.  The writer, Miss Smith enclosed a warranty card with teeny, tiny type, that said our two steel supports are not allowed.  A wooden bed requires five wooden slats.  So I call the manager and ask, why weren't we advised of this at drop off?

"Because," says he, "Our delivery people aren't mattress professionals.  They just offer a convenience of bringing the bed to your home."

Then why didn't the salesman point it out when he sold the bed?

"Oh, because it never comes up."

So we put in the five slats, photographed that, sent it in and we get another letter that says "That's nice, but three of those slats need feet on them."  And how do I do that, asks me.

In a return email she says "You'll have to either build them OR buy a new bed."

Now I ask you, when was the last time that bought a new mattress and box spring and found out AFTER the fact that you either had to re-engineer the bed or have replace the whole thing to be in compliance with the warranty?

So today, we get the feet built - and we really outdid ourselves by adding in adjustable felt padded feet to the legs - and photographed them and sent them in to the warranty people.

And we get ANOTHER email saying that the new feet are OK, but that the bed slats really aren't perfectly spaced and that "we can't do anything until the slats are precisely spaced..."

Thankfully, the husband was home, and he is a whiz bang at algebra, and he actually gonkulated the precise measurement down to the centimeter so our slats were perfected for the Fuck Ups at Simmons.

And now we wait.  And will they next tell us that they don't like which direction the bed faces? What about just telling us to move?  I beginning to feel like I am dealing with the Dragon Lady who keeps taunting me with "snatch this pebble from my hand," while laughing diabolically.

So my advice to you is to never buy a product that ends up costing you your sanity.  And frankly, if simmons were building these correctly, they wouldn't need to have their customers upend their lives to retrofit a perfectly good bed to work with their inferior engineering and second rate product.

Simmons bedding stinks. Simmons warranty claims also suck.  If it were built right, this wouldn't have happened.  Go buy a Sealey, a Stearns and Foster, and if you have money to spare, then buy a Tempur-Pedic.  But steer clear of Simmons.   Or you can go buy a Simmons, see what I care.

I will tell you that if they come back and turn down this claim, that Cookie will be having a bonfire in the front yard.

Monday, July 28, 2014

What to serve MJ for dinner...



Sausages sound so common.  Would she prefer the Burns & Co. "Spork"?  Or should throw caution to the wind just go for the Burns & Co. "Speef"?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Features tell, benefits sell


But does it come with its own "answering cervix"?

Cookie often wonders, not who comes up with these ideas, but who buys them.

And then uses them.

And I mean uses them beyond the once or twice that they seem goofy fun.

And why doesn't the real phone look like the advertised phone?

Is this an objet d' art, or art that should be objected too? 

And where is the stunning detail, the highlights in her hair.

And, according to this image, one does not speak into her secret lady place, but into the leaves betwixt her knees.

And shouldn't her absent nipples flash red when an incoming call is announced?

And Cookie wonders who has more money than sense to plunk down $350 for it on eBay.

Yes, Cookie wonders.

Because, you see, if Cookie could find one, he would send it to Mr. Peenee as a NOLA housewarming gift.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Through the pain, I think of weird things

Cookie is the middle of another bout of his pesky acute disease, diverticulitis, a chronic condition that has ruined my life for the past 15 years.  The pain is unbelieveable, and once you take the antibiotic it takes about two days for everything start functioning.  I'm so familiar with it that they have me stocked with $30 a pill antibiotics, twice a day for day.  On top of being in pain and unable to stand up, its an expensive condition.

Anyhow, one of the pills that I take when this beast is taking over my colon is an antispasmodic which is like a muscle relaxant for your colon. (Once the infection starts, your colon loses periostatic function.  Which means you can't crap, even though you need to, and it cramps up, which is painful. )   It makes one terribly sleepy, and I for one have very weird dreams and waking thoughts.

One of my strangest was me in court, on the witness stand, unable to move.  The attorney grilling me wanted to know why I insisted that products be named for what they are, nothing something prosaic and detached from the item itself.    But I was unable to speak, and then when I told to step down, my legs felt like lead weights, so instead of stepping, I skated away with the greatest of ease.

This morning, my friend Deb posted this picture to her Facebook account:


Now, since this speaks directly to my dream, I am sharing it.  Both men are wearing something of polyester knit.  It's called the "Palm Springs Suit".   I see not a thing about this get-up that even harkens to Palm Springs.  I mean I know its been 40 years since I was in Palm Springs, but really - did this type of thing go on there?   Did Sinatra wear this?  Do they still wear this, only made of better materials?

I think its a sham.  No man would choose to wear this in Palm Springs.  Or anywhere for that matter.  Even these two guys were paid to put the thing on and even so the guy on the left is being held in place by a woman who, if she is still alive, is some person's grandmother.   Still, if they ever do a sci-fi movie about Palm Springs, here's your futuristic outfit.

Then there is this:





The irony is not lost on Cookie.  But except for the guy asleep on the doorstep, no one in this establishment is dreaming about gentlemen, and I think that the closest you could get to a Gentleman entering the establishment is the sign telling you the establishment is for gentlemen.

It's like those VIP lap dance clubs, where women parade around in high heels, a smile (or a grimace indicating that she is a wild hot bitch in heat), but there never any VIP's in the club. Don't believe me? Look at the parking lots.  No VIP would be caught dead in a 1999 Dodge Stratus with a bumper sticker reading "My kid beat up Honor Student", or "Every Child Matters at P.S. 89."

Now, if y'all will excuse me, I need to nap.  This pills have exhausted me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jury "UGH" Duty



Greetings.  Cookie has been hereby notified that he is to report to Baltimore City (County) Jury Duty in downtown Baltimore.

Ugh.

When you live in the city of Baltimore, which is both a city, and its own county, you get called to jury duty just about every other year.  And they do it so fucked up here.

In Ohio, you get called for a two week period, Monday through Friday.  You report each day at 8am.  If you aren't called, you go to lunch at noon, return at one, and if you still aren't called, they send you home by 3PM.  On your second week, if you aren't called by Thursday, you have done your civic duty, you get a get out of Jury Duty for three year certificate and your life

You serve for one day in the pool.  If you are not chosen for a jury, you can get called again next year.  In other words they can call you every freaking year and disrupt your life.

UPDATE

Looks like I dodged a bullet.  My number was not called.   So I can still receive ANOTHER summons this year.  UGH.

Maybe it will be after Labor Day and I can freak the defendant out by wearing white shoes after the holiday.  "Fashion has changed."  You know...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Its a terrible thing when love dies: Peaches and Daddy

It is a terrible thing, when love dies.

My mother was her father's daughter.  She never had very many memories that she shared about her mother, who I adored, but she had many fond memories of her father.  I loved my grandfather, but I was terrified by him, despite the fact that there wasn't a mean bone in his body.

One of the pieces of advice he gave my mother when she moved to the big city to enter nursing school was not to become "Some Daddy's Peaches."  I learned of this in one of those moments when Mom would tell a story about when she was younger when I was a child myself.  It didn't make any sense.  "Some Daddy's Peaches?"  Was it a riddle, or code?

Well, as I learned in my teens, it was neither, but rather an allusion to the 1920s scandal marriage of one Edward Browning, a New York Real Estate Investor and Developer, to one Frances Belle Heenan.   What made it initially so scandalous was that Frances, aka "Peaches" was only 16 at the time of the marriage to Browning's age of 51.  That's an age difference of 36 years for those of you with slow calculation abilities.  

And that's not all.  Browning began courting Peaches when she was either 15, with the consent of her mother, and 37 days later, on June, 23, 1926 - Peaches 16th birthday - the couple wedded.  Nevermind that Peaches mother was about the same as the gray faced Browning.  All was well now that New York's child protective services was off his back.

One of the conditions of the marriage was that the eccentric Browning, aka "Daddy" allow Peaches mother to live with them in their luxury apartment.

And then nothing, really, nothing.  The public assumed it was wedded bliss until until Peaches surfaced in the White Plains, New York, divorce court at Christmas time, a mere six months into the whole marriage.  All Daddy wanted to do were things that Peaches, who professed to be a good girl, thought were perverse. Oh, you know, coitus and such.   And she had been aggrieved.  Yes, that too.

Had Daddy simply just bought her out and set up Peaches in a nice pad in one of his buildings facing Central Park, this would have been the end of it.

But Daddy was having none of it.  Peaches had, afterall, left him.  And Daddy really wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.  So he wasn't giving in without a fight.

This is when the New York Graphic, the Weekly World News of its time, got involved.  The Graphic was notorious for lots of enhanced (read as doctored) pictures and lurid facts.  And the Graphic sent reporters and its very own court stenographer to the divorce trial to get every juicy fact during the proceedings, and with some creativity brought the whole circus to life with images such as...



Evidently what came out was that Daddy was a sex starved pervert who fancied himself a sheik, and wanted to act out scenes from Valentino's movie of the same name as an homage to the world's great screen lover who died in August 1926.  

It also came out that Daddy had a pet goose at his home in Scarsdale and Peaches was scared to death of thing.  So the goose made the pictures as well.  Why not, right? 

But it was something Daddy said to Peaches that made him a cultural icon of the 1920s and beyond: 


That's right.  Peaches - who answered "Positively" on the witness stated that Daddy told her "Don't Be A Goof!"  And with the publication of that factoid, Daddy Browning started a 1920s fad that is still popular with children to this day.  (We are, however, at a loss to explain what a "BONK" is other than the Graphic felt the need to rhyme "HONK" with something.)

And then there was this - my favorite of the Graphic images - and the most nonsensical:



And then there was an acid attack to poor Peaches face, while she lay sleeping in her bed, a couple days before she married Daddy.  She always felt that Browning was behind it, but the only one in the house with Peaches at the time of the attack was her mother.  Odd.

In the end, the courts ended the marriage, and Peaches got $6,000 for her trouble.

For his trouble, Browning got nothing, but wealthier at an alarming rate through savvy real estate deals.  One of the brilliant master strokes of his was to sell off half his portfolio in the summer of 1929 and invest in gold.  He barely noticed the collapse of Wall Street in 1929.   Browning did, however have a serious stroke and spent his waning days rambling about his Scarsdale mansion yelling at inanimate objects, ranting about peaches being served with his meals, before finally dying in 1934.  Find A Grave erroneously notes that Peaches got everything when Daddy died, but in actuality received a token sum of $6,000, with the rest of his estate going in various directions, including one of his adopted daughters.

And Peaches?  Peaches took to the stage and played Vaudeville for a number of years.  Evidently she could sing quite well.  And she married again, divorced again, married again, divorced again - you know.  She died in the mid 1950s when she fell in her own bathroom.  And who found her?  Her mother - the only person out of the mess to survive everyone else.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Her catharsis was not my epiphany



Cookie's work capers at the Strip Club and Beef House continue and despite some assholes, I am finding that I do enjoy the job.

Despite the fact that I received far more smiles that snarls, one woman - decided that I was THE WORST EMPLOYEE IN THE HISTORY of the Strip Club and Beef House.  Yes, the worst.  Ever.  And the more she vented, the louder she got.  And at one point in her tirade, she looked at Cookie and said "You don't even care, you are just standing there with your mouth open."

Yes, I was slack jawed, but honestly, I have never heard someone torque off like an air raid siren.

But what can you do?  She evidently needed to get something out, I thought at first.

Then she yelled "You aren't being very nice to the merchandise!"

Hello?

Since the Beef House and Strip Club doesn't sell any living being, this was an odd statement.  Something was off.

And what was off was her inability to see the merchandise as something inanimate.  A plant is living, yes.  And so is a pet, a person, family members, friends.  But a paperweight?  She couldn't even name the object, it was merchandise.

Having been around older people a great deal, I know the signals of dementia.  Easy excitability.  Inability to find words, names or recognize faces.

So just letting her go off on her own was the best thing for her.

And despite her tongue lashing, I hope she is OK.  Seriously.

But it makes me wonder.  Cookie is twenty years from his seventies.  Will I be the one screaming like madman and not making sense in a few years?

In any event, life is for the living and I plan on being around for a great many years.  To quote a friend, "you're too ornery to get old."


Monday, June 30, 2014

You can never tell when or where Tropical Storm (Uncle) Arthur will turn up



Well, it seems as if Hurricane Season is upon us, again. Fudge.

The first tropical storm of the season is Arthur, and Arthur is bound and determined to louse up the Fourth of July Weekend, which is Christmas time for Marylanders who lead charmed lives and can head to the beach, while the rest of us poor suckers are sweltering 100% humidity.

Its not Arthur that has me blue - its just with tropical depressions, come rain and wind, and that leads to power outages, which Cookie despises.  BGE did raise our supply lines up by 20 feet, however, the line for the neighborhood feeds along the side of our house from the street and there are plenty-o-big old trees that are just waiting for operatic finish in a big old storm.

Bother.

This years names are as follows: Arthur Bertha Cristobal Dolly Edouard Fay Gustav Hanna Ike Josephine Kyle Laura Marco Nana Omar Paloma Rene Sally Teddy Vicky and Wilfred. If we go beyond this motley lot, then the storms are named after the greek alphabet, if needed. So evidently Uriah, Xerxes, Yolanda and Zasu will have to wait it out another year. Pity.

So I pose the question: If you could rename an entire storm season, from A to Z, what would it be, and which alphabet from the languages of the world would follow?