Tuesday, December 11, 2018

So what's with this Christmas thing, anyway?

Not the Little Drummer Boy, but close


Stolen from Ann Marie

What do you hate most about Xmess? 

Commercialism, and the waste it leaves behind.

What is your least favorite piece of Xmess music? 
The Little Drummer Boy, because - and believers will tell you this - there was no Little Drummer Boy in the manger.  It was a SILENT NIGHT for Christ's sake.  And percussive instruments are not soothing to a woman in labor.  And they certainly are soothing to a newborn babe, either.  AND the fucking song goes on and on and ends around the beginning of the Annuciation

What traditional Xmess food OTHER THAN FRUITCAKE (too easy) is being sent down the garbage disposal? 

Homemade anything from a person I don't know and like.  "Why Jerri!  Homemade Quince Jam?"  And there is always a cat hair in Jerri's homemade jam.  So into the trash, it goes. 

Which animated TV Xmess special leaves you wanting to rip the wallpaper off the walls? 
Anything animated by Rankin - Bass, EXCEPT "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer".  Even as a kid I hated them.  Have you ever looked at their feet?  They look like irons.  And there are a total of 18 specials.  

What was your least favorite Xmess gift ever? 

ANYTHING that comes from an "EXECUTIVE" gift selection provided at stores, by their checkouts.  This includes puzzles made of wood or chrome. An old timey locomotive mad of wood.  A basketball net and a nerf ball.  You know, the gifts you by someone when you don't know what to get?  HATE THOSE!

For whom on your Xmess list is the hardest to shop? 

I only shop for my husband, but even that's hard because we have a $50 limit. 

How would you spend this time of year if you weren't caught up in all the "holiday" madness?

But we are.  And that's what I hate about this time of the year.  You can't escape it unless you a Ba-zillionaire.

But if we win the MegaMillions, the Husband I would move to Pasadena in October and return home in March.

Anyway, we're less than sixty days to Ground Hog Day, so spring is just around the corner. 

Merry Christmas, Bitches!

Monday, December 10, 2018

God Damn it: Jury Service



One of the BIGGEST things I hate... HATE about Baltimore (city of) is that it is its own county, separate from Baltimore County which surrounds it on three sides.

And because of this being the City of Baltimore, where everything is - and if it isn't, just wait - fucked up, is their jury service policy and procedures. 

Back in the Midwest, jury service is a two-week term, that you can only be called on to serve every two years.  What nice about that, after the initial aggravation, is that you get a rhythm two it. If you notice says you are to report Monday, June 1st, you go on Monday, June 1st.  And if you aren't called by the second Thursday of service, noon, they let you go.  And when you walk out, if you serve on an actual jury or not, you get a "Certificate" that gets you out of jury duty for the next two years!

IN BALTIMORE, however, it's one day, and you can be called once a year. Only if you are selected for a jury do you get a one year exception to serving again in the a one year period.  Furthermore, after getting the notice, your life hangs in the balance until 5PM the day before, because that is when you call in to see if your "Block" of numbers have been called. 

So let's say that you are assigned draw number 5312, for Thursday, December 27, 2019.  You don't report until you, and hundreds of other people, all call at the same time.  You have to listen to this gawdawful recording, that goes on and on and on.  Then they get to the numbers "If your jury number is between muffle muffle muffle and 8000, you will report tomorrow at 8:00am..."

So you have to call, and go through the same bullshit again and hope that the record doesn't get mucked up.   And you listen and the voice says 5500 and 8000 - YOU ARE IN THE CLEAR.

But if the voice says 5000 and whatever fucking number is greater than you, THEN you go.

And parking is a hassle - because they don't have a decent mass transit system here - and the traffic and the security, and on and on.

Most of the time they don't select me during the questioning.  But you still have to report to the court to be part of voir dire, or selection process.  Sometimes you can be in there for hours with nothing to do but watch the judge and the lawyers talk and ruffle papers.  If you get selected, then great - you know what your purpose is.  If not, you have to return to the Jury room and wait to be called again. But the absolute worst is being chosen an alternate.  Because you have to be there, paying attention to everything, without being able to decide the outcome. 

I usually don't get chosen.  My father was a lawyer, my brothers are lawyers, my cousins are lawyers, my best friend is a lawyer and represents the alleged defendant in capital crimes trials.  I have been to paralegal school. I have worked as a paralegal.  I have gone into juvenile prisons to interview the "yutes" about their conditions of confinement and give them information on the progress of their early release petitions.  (More than usual, they don't get out early unless they have made enormous strides in their treatment and in their education.)  And I have a bias; which is, if someone has prior convictions on a crime of opportunity, then they more likely to re-offend again.  Its a fact of psychology - past behaviors are a good prediction of future behaviors.

Is that fair to Defendent?  It is if you get it all out there during your voir dire, then you have been honest.

I also cannot serve on juries involving sexual or physical abuse of a child, because I was one as a child.  PTSD and all, Defendant may be innocent, may be guilty, but I literally had too much skin that game.  And besides a victim of a crime should never be asked to determine the guilt or innocence of someone accused of that crime because the chance of projecting yourself as the victim is way too great.  In my mind, they are guilty until proven innocent.  And that doesn't mean a fair trial them.

And for your time, effort and expenses, you get paid an amount less than the parking rates.

It's not that I mind jury service, just tell me how many days, and what day to report so I can make life plans.  But this one day a year lottery that they run is not only a drag but its stressful.  I could get out of it by unregistering to vote.  But given the way things are going, in this nation, that isn't a smart move.

So sometime in the next 30 days, I will be locked up in a room awaiting someone to call my number, and then pay an outragous amount to park my car.  No fun.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Some changes at DHTiSH




Back in November, I came to the conclusion that after eight years, it might be a good time to call it a day with DHTiSH.

Blogs on Blogger have pretty much run their course, and I had launched Krab With a K on Tumblr.  And let's face it, Tumblr is a great source of "artistic" images.

But then, last Monday, Verizon, which bought Yahoo! and Tumblr in 2017, and then folded the two into a holding company called "Oath:" to keep it separate from its ungodly expensive cell phone business and its landline business, and its FIOS cable business, finally forced Tumblr to eliminate all of the adult content on the platform.

Here's my problem with that.

Verizon knew what it was buying when it bought Yahoo! and Tumblr came with the deal.  Even at the at the outset, market and industry watchers said that Verizon was going to address it.   They could have spun off a platform for the adult Tumblrs, but no, they wanted everything.  Well, on December 3, 2018, they "fired" every Tumblr contributor, artist and community member that contributed to the adult community.

What does that mean?  EVERY Tumblr member was given two weeks notice that on December 17, the site was taking down everything identified that contains sexual content.  We were all given two weeks notice.  Since then, images on my Tumblr's had been flagged, and that includes Krab With A K, which is a "G" rated Tumblr.

We weren't given a month, we weren't given an option, everything is going if their bots and people find it to be of an adult nature. 

What brought this one?  Apparently, it was child pornography found on an APPLE app for Tumblr, which was then banned from the Apple Store. 

Now, let me be perfectly clear - Child Pornography has no business being anywhere or existing at all, period. There should be no safe haven for that at all.  I even get uncomfortable thinking about a couple of nude pictures taken of me when I was a toddler by a professional photographer hired by my parents. Never mind that the guy penciled out my "stuff" so I looked like a sexless childs toy baby doll.  I don't want some creep buying those at an Ephemera Sale in the future.

But pictures of adults, who pose for those for that media, is not legal to own in the U.S.

So what happened, in a nutshell, was that Apple got a complaint, dropped the app, which gave Verizon the reason to ban the LEGAL adult content. 

But also what happened is that Verizon, Oath, and Tumblr have killed communities.  There were groups of men and women, in the leather communities, in the S&M communities and other fetish groups (did you know that there are people turned on at the thought of being in a dental chair?) have been sidelined. 

These communities have to find a new place to go because Verizon got its knickers in a bunch.

Now think about this.  White Power and ProNazi groups weren't banned.  Pictures of mutilated bodies, murder victims lying in pools of there own blood, big game animals being slaughtered, pictures of war, starvation, and Tumblrs that are hate groups that target LGBTQA, races, religions and people from other nations weren't banned. 

But adult nudity was.

ALL of this means that we all have to rethink what an online community is, and who owns that ability to congregate online.  If you have a community on Facebook, that means it exists only through the benevolence of the people driving the platform.  They, not you, have the right to flip that switch and destroy your online community.  You have no say in it.

So, for the meantime, DHTiSH will continue to be online.  And it also means that I am heavily involved in helping several of these communities and their members stay in contact with one and other as new platforms are developed.  (And for the record, Cookie is not turned on by any Dentistry Fetish.  Just not my thing, but if it yours, go knock your socks off.)

Is Tumblr going to reverse itself?  No.  You can send all the petitions and all the communications you want to the evil empire that owns and runs it.  Nothing is going to change.

What I do know is that something will fill the void and provide the service.  Who and what that is unknown and when it will be up and running, no one knows. But it also presents one heck of an opportunity for someone. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Event That Moved the Goal Posts Down the Road

That bowl of gruel that they are cheerfully passing off as Oatmeal?
It's a $400 bowl of porridge.  At least that's how much you'll get billed for it.


On Tuesday evening, Cookie found himself in the middle of an event.

And it's not the type of event anyone wants to find themselves in.  It was not the Met Ball or some such.  It was a cardiac event.

I had been feeling a little on Tuesday, my left arm just ached all day.   Mentally I was feeling dull because of a change in my SADD medication (remember, this time of year is a period of pure dread for me) and the election had me going.

So, as I said in the post from that day that I ignored the election day coverage, I thought I had myself in a good place.  Win or lose, we would endure.

I posted that to the blog.

About ten minutes later, however, my chest began to tighten.  I stretched, turned on the TV and went back to editing pictures.  With the sound off I couldn't hear anything but the pain in my arm distracted me.  Then I looked at the TV and saw the faces of some people who looked concerned.  I turned up the volume and Nate Silver said that "this district appears to be turning red and this was the one that we said if it went blue, the Big Blue Wave was coming and right now it isn't looking good..."

And then I got horribly hot, followed by a cold sweat.

Left-arm hurting.  Chest tight. Clammy.  Pale skin.

I went downstairs, the husband looked at me and he said that I looked like I was going to go pass out and went to the ER.

I was crying the whole way.  I wanted to go home.  I was in pain.  I thought I'd never go home.

We got to the hospital, they got me in immediately.

They couldn't find a vein on the first attempt, or the second and by the fifth, my arm was black and blue and the triage nurse pushed aside the youngin and found a vein on the seventh time.

Now my arm hurt, and it looked like leaches had attacked it.

After about twenty minutes we all figured out that I was not about to go into cardiac arrest, and I did not have the jaw pain aspect of it.

So they got us back, I took off my clothes as instructed, put on the hospital gown, got on the horrible stretcher, which wasn't too bad, they brought me a hot blanket, which was pure heaven, and they took more blood.

By this time, because you can't get cell coverage in an ER, we turned on the TV and the Blue Wave was nowhere near the Senate beach, but the House beach was about to get it.  My spirits lifted.

 The doctor came in and said that my EKG was perfect, and compared to the baseline EKG that I got in July.  The blood work showed no sign of the enzymes produced in a heart attack, however, it was now Midnight, and they needed to do another in a couple of hours and they wanted to admit me.

"Was it a heart attack?"

"We can't call it that, yet.  But you definitely had a cardiac event.

Cookie was relieved, and concerned.  If the numbers were good, save for my cholesterol and my blood pressure, and they weren't calling it a heart attack in the least, then what was it.  And I wanted to go home.

But the doctor was insistent and brought in another doctor to tell me that they need four hours to six hours for valid third enzyme reading and they wanted me to do a stress test to see if they could replicate abnormal activity.

And my adoring husband was there, and I just wanted to go home, but I agreed that I would stay on two conditions.  If it wasn't a heart attack, I wanted out by noon, and I wanted the stress test first thing in the morning.

The husband wanted to stay, but the dogs were home alone, and he had to work in the morning and I just told him that I would be fine, and to go home and let these nice people take care of me.

I was admitted and wheeled to my room, and unceremoniously dumped at the door of what had to have once been a broom closet.  No, I am told.  "This is the standard room for (name of the insurance company that paid for the fittings) members."

I thank God for being alive, and that said company is not my insurance company.

While I will not name the hospital, I was shocked by the condition of the room.  So I must have been feeling better.  I have visited elderly people Medicaid nursing homes that were better than this.  And this hospital has more money than it knows what to do with.

By now it was 2:30 and I was dog tired, but the bed they assigned to me was a cruel joke.  The "mattress" was much closer to an elementary school tumbling pad, hard as a rock, and about an inch and a half thick.  The pillows were the cheapest fiber fill models.  You know the kind, $2.99 at Target, and filled with a material that would not yield its fluffy shape.  You can't be comfortable with these because they push against your head to return to their shape, you need to exert downward pressure to keep from having your neck snapped into a 45-degree angle.

They took more and more blood, and they wired me to the heart monitoring device, which I wore in a pocket on my chest.  Now, remember, they port the IV port in my right hand, which is my dominant hand, so it hurt more than my arm.

At some point, I drifted off into an uneasy sleep of exhaustion, punctuated by my nurse, Caroline, coming in, waking me up to take blood oxygen reading, stab me in the stomach with blood thinners, poke pills down my throat, and draw more blood from my now ragged, and black and blue left arm.  All the while the TV control was on in a low murmur telling me over and over that the blue wave was indeed securely taking the house back from the Republicans.

At some point, I conked out until 6AM when Caroline brought in Mary, my day nurse to introduce me.  I could barely get my eyes open when I went back to sleep.  At some point, Mary - who sounded exactly like Regan's speech writer, Peggy Noonan, came in and said that she needed to take my blood pressure.  I was laying on my right side, and instead of getting up, remember shooting my left arm up into the air.  I remember the tightness of the cuff, and Mary saying "Wow, that really went down from last night" (which was 156/100) to 90/70.

I conked out again.

When I did wake, I looked at the clock and saw it was 7am.  The hospital did not come and get me by 7:30am, or 8am, or 9am or 10am for my stress test.  And because you can't have any liquids before the test, my mouth was like corduroy.

Muscato texted me and said, "You have to be your own advocate."

In walks Mary and I start advocated on my behalf and told her that they were running out of time to give me the stress test, I was leaving at 12 noon.

And Mary kept saying "now we can't have you stressed after your coronary event, blah, blah, blah..." and I kept saying "Mary, it's not you, but the goal post keeps getting moved down the road."

Mary responded that "our computers were down until six so we couldn't get the stress test scheduled until 8 for 10:00 and that the stress test will take two hours..." and again and again, the goal line kept getting moved further and further down the line.

Finally, they got me, and I passed the stress test without a blip.  They even gave me a can of Diet Pepsi.  I was in HEAVEN!

I'm talking to Nurse who assisted in the stress test and I said that I expected to do it earlier, but that Mary told me the computers were down...

Nurse says, "I came on the floor at six and the computers weren't down.  Most likely the doctors were in a meeting and didn't come out till seven and then you test was ordered at 8AM."

So...

Back in my room, I started putting my clothes and called my husband to come to the hospital and in comes Mary who says that "the doctor wants you to stay in bed...and they may want to keep you a second night..."

"On that bed?  No, no. Not going to happen"

Then she leaves and comes back and says "the doctor will be in, but she wants you to eat something first."  Again, the goal posts are moved further down the field.  I am forced to order something heart healthy.  Something that I didn't want to eat.

The thing about hospitals is they are pretty easy to get admitted into, but they are Hell to get out of and on your way home.  So to get Mary on her way and to get the show moving, I ordered Oatmeal.

"And fresh fruit?"

"Yes, fresh fruit would be nice."  ANYTHING to get the ball rolling.

This one was no different.

The husband arrives and he wants to know what was up, and Mary comes in and tells me that the doctor will be in about 40 minutes.

I thanked Mary, but I make it clear that I know she is doing her best, and that she can't give orders to a hospitalist, if this was as serious as we thought, I would have seen a doctor long before this, save for the cardiologist who did the stress test.

She leaves, and a young doctor comes in, and he stresses that I needed to be careful after the "Cardiac Event" that I have been through, everything on the surface looks normal, that I need to take this seriously.

I nod and agree.  I promise to contact my doctor right away and schedule an appointment to discuss my "cardiac event," which I have decided was not a heart attack, but a panic attack.

But I also point out that if the hospital really wants patients to be patient, that they need to provide clear communication and stop forcing people into something that isn't a bed by calling it a bed.   But I also point out that everyone keeps telling me that I need to take this seriously, but no one around me makes me feel like I am a priority or that this was serious.

Oh, says Doctor, somewhat surprised.  "Didn't you have your My Health app up?"

No. 

"Well," says he, "this app tells you everything we are doing and scheduling for you..."

Huh?

"You mean they didn't tell you about that?"

No.

And sure enough, there is the whole battery of messages going off in the app.  Like 30 of them.

I had no idea because someone never bothered to tell me.  It could have been a nurse at my doctor's office.  It could have someone in ER.  Or it could have been one of the many volunteers that came in to smile and have non-commital comments.  But NO ONE told me that I WAS RESPONSIBLE because they put it in an app!

Anyway...

I mean, there could be something to this, and there will be most likely something that I learn when I see the doctor this coming week.  And yes, I am not getting younger.

The bottom line is that the event was most likely a combination of a lack of sleep from the drug change over, a pinched nerve in my arm and two years of extreme stress culminating in a major, yet minor health event.

A hospital is not a spa, the nurses are not your personal caregivers, things happen in scheduling.  But clear communication, a bed that doesn't hurt you, and a goal should be something that for the amount of the bill should be afforded you.

If something is wrong, then let's address the matter.  If you don't know, say you don't know.  But third rate care at a first-rate institution shouldn't be the outcome.

I can't wait to see the bill for this adventure.

Because I am not paying for that bed or for that $400 bowl of oatmeal.

And I know when the bill comes due, there will be no moving of the goal posts, then.










Thursday, November 8, 2018

Ann Coulter gets some tough love


I feel bad in a way for Ann Coulter.

Remember her?

She used to be the go-to CONservative for nastiness.

You know, the bully who mocked the 9-11 wives and said "they don't deserve to be compensated for their loses because their husbands, had they lived, would divorce them all." 

If the host said, "Ann, aren't you being a little harsh?"  he comeback would be "Oh, come on, I'm joking!  Lighten up."

So like a really abusive bully, right?

How many of us remember having the living crap being beaten of us and the bully says "I was just kidding, lighten up," or "Hey look, you're hitting yourself, why are you hitting yourself," while they punched and slapped us black and blue?

So then imagine being Ann Coulter, today.

Trying desperately to be relevant in a world of Trump.  You know, the Donald Trump, right?  The 73ish old Man-Baby President.

Uses every tactic of Roy Cohen without Roy's brains or charm?

I mean who needs Ann Coulter shitting on the nation from her New Jersey condo when Donald Trump shits on this nation, daily, from the White House or his KKK Rallies I mean political rallies, right?

So when Ann Coulter, said she was done with Kansas because they came to their senses after EIGHT BANKRUPTING YEARS under their previous governor who was too Chicken Shit to stay around for the end of his term, Ann felt aggrieved.

Bravely through, she tried her best to fire off a quick quip about really done with Kansas she was:



Such tsuris.  "That's really hurtful to write," said no one in Kansas, ever.

The problem is, Ann doesn't know that she isn't relevant.  So...

It wasn't long before Ann Protnoy's complaint got this response:

 


Ken didn't zing you without help, Ann.  

You walked right into that buzzsaw without paying attention to cultural references.  

The judges give KEN a TEN!  GO KEN!

And look at Ken, who isn't a professional asshole and he has an astounding 3.6k likes, to your measly 5.5 likes. 

How are your PR dollars being spent, Ann?  Maybe you should try milk cartons to get noticed.  Oh, wait, the dog is telling me they don't have missing children on milk cartons because everything come in plastic. Like your face. 

Ann gets a certificate of participation and a ride home, on the political commentators' short bus. 

You lost Ann.  Why?  Because you're "brilliant, not very bright."  But keep trying.  Why look at Pat Robertson.  He's still trying, despite having dementia. 

C'mon Ann lighten up.  Get a sense of humor.  It was a joke, Ann.

After all, you still have Nebraska.  And I understand that you have a couple fans in upstate Idaho, too. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Spending Election Day With the Ladies Who Lunch

So how did Cookie spend his Election Day?   

I have no idea what these women's names are, but they all need more champagne cocktails.


Well since we voted ten days ago, and since I didn't have to work today, I spent the day with the Ladies Who Lunch.

A little art therapy was just the ticket to get through the stress of the day.

What I know about this picture is it was taken either in 1961 or 1962 and its either the Brith Emeth Temple's Sisterhood or its a meeting for the coming year's JFC drive.  (BTW, you never renege on your you JFC pledge.  Because if you do and you don't have a good reason, let's see who doesn't get tickets to High Holiday Services, right Norma Desmond?)

Brith Emeth, which was in Pepper Pike, Ohio, was our temple, designed by Edward Durrell Stone.  The congregation folded years ago after a wealthy, wealthy man yanked his endowment from the temple.  But it was a lovely place to worship.   Alas, in 1961 or 1962, the building was a dream in the eye of the Rabbi, so the congregation met in other temple's, a Unitarian church, etc.   You can still see the building off of I-271 at Shaker Boulevard.

What was "the Sisterhood"? Think of it as the workhorse of the Temple, made up of the wives of members.  Mother was President of it once.  Anyway, the Sisterhood raised a lot of money in those days and provided a sorority-like atmosphere (absent of the pillow fights) that you would find in a town's Women's Club, or the Junior League.   The Sisterhood met once a month and it was a big thing back then.  Hats, nice knit suits, the best handbags and matching shoes, white gloves, you know, all the things that used to show that we were a civilized nation, once.

I *think* that this was taken in the multipurpose room at Park Synagog' first post-war building by Eric Mendelsohn.   ANYHOW, the point is moot because Park merged in Brith Emeth, so we are one big happy family.

Mom stopped taking slides about the time I came around because the Ektachrome film wasn't as good as the more expensive Kodachrome.

One of the problems with Ektachrome is it used crappy dyes and it fades to a horrible magenta.  So I figured that today was a good day to work on pictures.  The original (top) had OK color, but the slide was covered in a million flecks dirt that had stuck to the emulsion side.   Though it may not look like in the layout format for the blog, the whole thing was bespeckled and needed to be "debespeckled".

Since I am not great with photoshop, it took hours.

Hours spent in silence.  No TV, no Facebooking, no contact with the outside world, except the Dentist who gave me the best news today: "You need a crown and your insurance for the year is used up."

What did I care?  It wasn't about politics.  And it beats having a tooth pulled.  You know what I am saying?

Come Hell or Highwater to tonight, we'll live.

Hopefully, the outcome is good, but it may not be so good.

Just remember that if things don't go the civilized route tonight, we can take Wednesday off to lick our wounds, but we HAVE TO start on Thursday getting ready for 2020.  And things go our way, then we have to start getting ready for 2020 TOMORROW.

Just think of the Ladies Who Lunch.  They got prettied up, had social engagement, and then went home to care for their children and their homes.   Life can't always be about white gloves and the good times.  You got to fight for what you have, and you have to fight to keep it.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Now is not the time to be tilting at windmills

On this Tuesday, we go to the polls.

We're coming down to crunch time, and I am going to be as clear as I can be:

The midterm election is Tuesday, November 6th. 

YOU have to vote.  And you have to vote straight line Democratic Candidates.

Why?

To free this country of the tyranny and lies of our President who is unchecked by a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate.

To address the ballooning deficit that Trump and the Republicans are creating by their reckless spending and padding of their own pockets.

To ensure that pre-existing medical conditions are protected by affordable insurance.

To end the threat to steal our hard earned dollars paid into Social Security.  We paid for it, we are entitled to it.

To end the wave of violence rocking our world.

To stop white supremacist groups.

To protect freedom of religion and the people who practice their religion.

To protect all family values, traditional and emerging.

To protect the rights of transgendered people.

To make sure public education stays strong.

To protect a woman's right to "choice".

And to hold the President accountable for every word out of his mouth and in his tweets. 

Look, I know that some of you are thinking "But democratic candidates don't support everything I support."

Adults know that real life is about making compromises. 

And at election time, we get the candidates that we get because the majority of Americans are not engaged at the local level of politics.  They don't attend meetings in the city where they live.  And they pay attention to party politics. 

So we have to make do.

We know exactly what it is that we have to look forward to in 24 months more of Trump and the Republican House and Senate because it's going to be like the last 24 months, only worse.

So think very hard before you vote.  Because your life, my life all of our lives depend on getting this right and electing one or two chambers that are going to be able to hold the President accountable for what he says, what he spends, what he signs, and what he either threatens or promises to do.

Now is not the time to be chasing unicorns and dreams.  Now is not the time to be tilting at windmills.  It's time to adult.

This is the election that determines our future. And it determines your children's future and your grandchildren's future.

Nero is fiddling and we need to put the fires he's created out.

Simple vote Democratic. 


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The More Things Change in 50 Years...



The election is a week away.  Vote for the 93% and send a message to the President.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Oh, what is this, a curse on me?



Tonight, Cookie was getting ready to check in and I took a look at the comments on the Vildya Chaya post.  And what should I find by an "Anonymous" commenter?

"May you die an interesting death"


Look, eleven innocent people were gunned down in a temple in Pittsburgh today, and you have the nerve to place a Yiddish death curse on me?   

My response?  I deleted your bullshit.  Guy kokken effon yam.  And may you live to be 100.  

Cookie, Out

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Vildya Chaya




Well, my self-proclaimed year of respect for the dead stepmother has ended.  I made it, but I only did it for the sake of her children. 

May her memory be a blessing to them.  

But yesterday, Cookie was sitting here pondering what I could write about my stepmother, Vildya Chaya*.  And I was struggling.  Do I lay it all out, or do I drop her and her crimes like a hot brick?

Thinking that I would just like to lay it all out there, and enumerate the sins, the torture, and the malevolence.  I put together a post and, and then pulled it all down. 

Frankly, it made me feel like she made me feel whenever she was around.  And that wasn't worth it.

Look, the bottom line is that she was a cruel, malevolent, petty and crude being.  But me pouring out the stories about how she dicked over my father, and our family isn't going to undo what she did.  It isn't going to teach her any lessons and it's not going to settle the score or retrieve any real property.

On the other hand, God knows what she did, our family remembers what she did as well.

Because of this, I can lay a curse out there on whoever inherited her money:  May the money, property, bonds, stocks and real estate she stole out from underneath us bring the heirs nothing meaningful.  She tainted the money, so it should never bring them real happiness or good fortune, unless they donate it to a charity, because its the right thing to do. 

I have visited the cemetery, however, because I needed to settle the score and close the book.  I spat on the grave and said: "You threw me out of the house I grew up in and now I am going to do something you will never do, leave this cemetery."  I got in my car and drove out.  I have no reason for driving back in.

For the record going forward, I will call her what we in the family called her: Shark.  Should I feel the need to tell a Shark story, you'll know who I am talking about.



* "Not Her Real Name" but accurate.  In Yiddish, Vildya Chaya literally means "Wild Beast, Malevolent, Unredeemable."

Friday, October 19, 2018

If you can't say anything...

I am sure that no expense was spared. 

Next week will mark one year since my father's last wife passed away.

In the Jewish tradition, the eldest child of the deceased will read the final Kadish, a prayer that they are supposed to read every morning for the date of death until the anniversary of their passing.  This is done in their mother's name.  In hardcore Judaic terms, the gravestone is unveiled, a life remembered, and life for the living goes on.

The woman, who was his final marriage, meant so many things to all of us.  Because she did so much, that we cannot forget her.  And her actions left an indelible mark on all of us.

Despite our history, I vowed that I would respect her passing for that year, not so much as mourning, but as the polite convention that my parents would expect of me.  I am, after all, their child.

In other words, I would refrain from saying anything.  That's right, anything. 

And for the most part, it looks like I am going to get a gold star on this one, folks.

Read that as you will, there is as much in what is written as there is in what is unwritten.

For now.

On the anniversary of my father's wife's death, I am released from that vow. 

I will be in Baltimore, observing that day with an exhale of gratitude that one has when you out swim a man-eating shark.  Perhaps I will treat the husband and myself to a good restaurant.

Send me your good energy.


Friday, October 12, 2018

You all have been warmed, Cookie is getting a mother fucking cold



Well, the husband came down with a cold two days ago cold, and it stands to reason that my cold is beginning. 

Today has been spent with watery eyes, sneezes and my body temperature has had a few spikes, tonight the snot is running.  My body is letting me know that I am about ready to become a miserable burden to mankind.

When a man gets a cold, we all turn into our version of Camille.  Misery loves company, but when we are sick we want ALL the attention.

I have been called for jury duty on Tuesday, and there is nothing I would love more than to show up in the jury pool, eyes red and weepy, hacking a lung up, harvesting lung butter into a tissue.  That to me is an automatic "Challenge!" from serving the system.

Be forewarned, if this a cold coming on, it ain't going to be pretty.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

And now a word from Melania, FLOTUS

I am not posing, the photographers make me look like I am being insouciant to mock me.


As I return to the country I love best, I Melania Trump do so as a woman who is the most bullied woman in the United States. 

Even, perhaps as the most bullied in the history of the nation.

I have been the target of shaming during my husband, your Maximum Leader's ascension into the office that the Founding Fathers had the foresight to create for a national savior like Donald Trump.

And yet, even with his powers growing as the mutant Super Hero that he is, I and persecuted unlike any other wife of a leader in the history of the world.  And here is my proof:

1) I have been mocked for my "Best Best" campaign's name and mission.  People ask me not about how to stop bullying, which is not the point, but how to Best Best at being bullied. 

2) People have laughed at my accent as if I am Zsa Zsa Gabor playing someone named Eva Gabor playing someone called Lisa Douglas on some sill American TV show called "Green Achings".

3) Unlike Eva Peron, who doesn't return my calls,  I speak eight languages and am taking a Berlitz course on "Mastering Conversational English."

4) I have been taunted for stealing Michelle Obama's speeches, and yet when she took the words from a dictionary to write those speeches, no one criticized her in the Fake Media for using words from the books of Webster's or Mr. Funkinwagnalls.

5) And I am attacked every time people say that my husband, a very smart man and with a godlike body modeled after Zeus himself married me for my looks and beauty.  Do not hate me because I am beautiful.  Hate yourselves by being best.

6) Following my most recent trip to Africa, I did not model or posed for the picture takers like you see here on this image.  This is the look that I have on my face, all of the time.

7) Like Vladimir Putin, my next husband, says "It is harder to govern when you have to watch your back," so the Donald will eliminate all resistance so he can maintain leading his nation.

And yet for everything I have been through, Anna Wintour has never had the courtesy to pay a call on me at the White House, or the Trump Tower building to beg me to return to my modeling to appear on the cover of Vogue.  Mrs. Wintour is a hateful, malevolent woman for not paying me the respect I am owed.

Let me reminds you that I was named "Muse" by the Secret Service for a reason.

In closing, I plan on being best First Lady of the Land, all of the land.  And once we catch and imprison people for not showing me the respect owed to me, my naturally pouty lips, flawless skin, and my MENSAesque great brain power, I can promise that America will make Melania Again.

In The Donald We Trust,

M.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Postcards from the Edge of Allentown

Margery would live here


Well, we have returned from prosaic Allentown.  So much better than Perth Amboy, but the same love of Jersey Barriers.

What Can I say but the Allentown Book and Paper Show lived up to its promise.  The Agricultural building was everything that we were promised, and more.

First, we stopped by a booth staffed by my friend "Squid" mother.  Squid and I go way back. 

Way, way back. 

Way back to January 1983 when we met one and other in the Journalism Semester program at American University.  That's how she got the name "Squid".  We were all sent out to do a story on something happening in D.C. (and who would ever imagine that Reagan era could be called the good old days) and she covered an exhibit opening at the Smithsonian on the Giant Squid.  The name stuck. 

I last saw Mrs. Squid at Squid's wedding 34 years ago in Allentown, so it was a warm reunion.

Then we were off to find fun stuff.

If you have never gone to a book and paper show they can either be fabulous experiences when you find something good for cheap (Original copies of "Drummer magazine from the 70's for THREE dollars apiece), or they can quickly turn into vicious elbow fights, where collectors of postcards jostle for position. 

I collect my 2nd hometown and/or the "Millionaire's Row" era of mega-mansions along Cleveland's famed stretch of Euclid Avenue that once had a higher per capita tax base than Fifth Avenue in New York.  The husband collects postcards of his hometown. Like me, he is "Bi-Collectible".  Unlike me who loves collecting period era gay porn, he is into stereopticon's from the Victoria Era. 

All was going really well until we came upon Mrs. Topogrosso and her motorized wheelchair which was lugging her up and down the aisles with her metal shopping cart in tow.  In the metal shopping cart were all of her postcard binders, and crumpled paper bags.  Because if you need assistance getting around, then you need to haul an additional 300 pounds of paper, too, right?

We encountered her on row one where she hogged the middle of aisles calling out to other shoppers to "hand me the second box on the right," which some unwitting idiot, me in this case, who was trying to be polite would do only to be told "This is too heavy for me to balance, hand me the third box from the left."  Doing so, because again, I was trying to be a good sport, she wheezed "No, I wanted the third box on the left of the second shelf." 

I returned the box and started to leave when Mrs. Topogrosso ordered an elderly woman. who was about to take the chair I was sitting in so she could look through the Alabama cards in their box, to vacate said chair.  "You know, I am disabled and if you sit there I can't see whats in that box in the rear row..."

Two rows later the husband and I were burrowing into some really good boxes when again we heard the whine of an electric chair and a rattle of a cart when Mrs. Topogrosso met up with us again. 

"EXCUSE ME!  I'm DISABLED and I can't reach for boxes, so I need someone to hand me the Kewpie Doll postcards."  This time I didn't even flinch, because the cards were nowhere near me (I was in "states and cities", her's were in "topicals and artists" when she wheezed loudly  "I NEED THE MAN IN THE GREEN SHIRT TO MOVE BECAUSE I AM DISABLED AND I NEED TO SIT AT THE TABLE."

I didn't even look up because my shirt was chartreuse, not green.

A woman got up to leave, finding her sense of smell offended by the rank of unbathed flesh, and she offered the woman her place.

"I CAN'T SIT THERE BECAUSE I AM DISABLED AND I NEED TO HAVE EXTRA SPACE FOR MY CART."

The woman left and again, she barked an order for me to move and again, I ignored her.

"I NEED YOU TO MOVE BECAUSE I AM DISABLED..." two more men got up and left, leaving her plenty of room for her and her cart, "...and the man in the green shirt needs to move."  Now the dealer entered the fray. 

"I can move these chairs and..."

"NO!  I need to sit where that man is seated because that's where I always sit when I come to your booth."

Ah, finally, the real reason. 

It's not so much that she was disabled and pulling something akin to what Ricky and Lucy lugged around in the Long, Long Trailer.  It was because she wanted her way.  Like some drunk who claims the same bar stool every afternoon at the same bar while they get soused, she just wanted to sit where she always sat.

I picked up my ten cards - a steal at $24, as some rare enough that I could sell them for more - and got out her way. 

Three booths later the Husband leans in and says "she's creeping on you."

This time it wasn't the booth we were at, but the one behind us and off went the foghorn of "EXCUSE ME!  I'm DISABLED and I need....and I need the woman in the black top to move so I can get my wheelchair up and ..."

A woman cleared her throat and said clearly "Margery, you know my name.  And for all that I am concerned, you can wait your turn like everyone else.  Every show it's the same thing and..."  The gist of the verbal smackdown was that Margery evidently does this at every paper show, the woman said that pouting doesn't work for a three-year-old and it's going to work for her, here or at any show on the east coast.  Also, Margery could shit in her Depends for all this woman cared.

We heard the whirl of an electric motor as Margery continued down the row.

Later on, I encountered the woman, who was neatly dressed, had a Louis Brooks bobbed head of silver hair peppered with a few strands of black, and her reading glasses hanging from her neck in a wonderful beaded chain, who took on Margery and I asked what the deal was.

"It's not you." She put on her glasses and grabbed for another chunk of cards from the box. "It really is her. When I first started coming to these shows," she said while looking over the top of her reading glasses while flipping through postcards of 1939 World's Fair, "I used to bend over backward to try and be helpful, I felt bad for her.  But after six or seven years of her wanting that box and no, this box, and no, and never looking through them, I just had enough.  She uses people and her disability for attention.  All of us here, and at the New York City Clubs have had enough." 

What about New York?  "I mean it takes a lot to get banned in New York, right?"

"She always has that damned cart in tow and she keeps food in it.  The vendors don't like you eating Marshmallow Fluff from a jar while you finger the merchandise - I'll take these three.  Can you do ten instead of fifteen?  Twelve?  Sold - and it's unsanitary.  They would like to sell cards to pay for the booth rent. and not have her sticky sausage fingers all over their goods." 

She told me her name was Nell and she paid the vendor who bagged her cards in a vintage unused popcorn bag. 

"Are you going to York," Nell asked. "Margery goes on Saturday, so you'll want to go on Friday to avoid her."

She asked what I collected in postcards and I told her.  "I collect World's Fair, 1933 and 1939.  My sister is around here and she collects Oberlin, Ohio because that's where she went to school."

What does Margery collect, I wondered?

"Pure Misery: postcards with cats.  Anything with a cat.  Real photo, offset, linen, chrome, and 3D." Nell smiled and chuckled.  She went on to tell me that Margery really threw a fit a couple years ago at Brimfield according to one of the dealers because another person had his box that had 3D cat postcards and was going through them.  She barked out that she might want ones the man had taken out of the box. "I think he was doing it to vex her."

"She asked for Kewpie Doll cards at one booth."

"Then she's already been at the booth and knows that there are no cat cards that she wants. It's her second pass, and Rose O'Neill is her back up category."

How does she get around?

"Her husband.  He' sitting outside chain smoking.  His name is Darl and I'm amazed he hasn't left her behind at one of these shows and run off to Baja to get away from her.  He used to come in the show halls with her, but he stopped years ago because of her behavior."

For a moment, I envision that Margery and Darl Topogrosso have a relationship almost like Mr. Joyboy and his mother, Mrs. Joyboy, but instead of mother and son, its husband and wife.  I get a bit queasy.

"OH! There's a booth on the third row, and I think he has Ohio.  My sister Sally always has good luck with him.  Hopefully, we'll see one and other in York next month."  I thanked her and we went our seperate ways.

I found said booth, and while I didn't anything I didn't already have, I did find a category named "MISERY" and great fun going through that. Two-headed calf's, horses caught in floods, caskets that had floated to the top of the shores of reservoirs built over cemeteries.  Then I found the most brilliant card ever.  One to memorialize my encounters with Margery Topogrosso.  Not from Ohio, but of the "Home For The Friendless."  Bought it.

Evidently the York, Pennsylvania, show is even bigger than Allentown.  Forward and forewarned, I am going on that Friday, not Saturday. 

After all, I would HATE IT if Margery had to order me from the chair I was sitting in because it was in her "spot".


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Angry Young Computer

Read more About THIS Angry Young Computer, HERE


In the midst of the horrible national upheaval, Cookie has decided that now would be a good time for a computer.

Who am I kidding.

There is NEVER a good time for a NEW computer, right?

And being at my age, I find comfort in the lack of convenience that a desktop gives you.  But for an introvert, such as myself, a desktop, in your own home office, it gives you a chance to get some much needed "Me" time, and some peace and solitude that I require to recharge.

But this has not been an easy time.  No. It should be.  How hard is it to go to a store, drop a lot of money on a computer, come home and set it up.  Right?

It should work that way, but it didn't:

1) Cookie goes to the store that he trusts and buys a computer that he has been watching because the computer will be phased out because the new processors are coming out.  Cookie wants a deal.  There is the computer, there is the price and a dear, dear, long-suffering man named "Duke" has been patiently waiting for Cookie to buy the computer.   The months tick by and Cookie pulled the trigger and bought the computer, realizing a $900 savings that if I would have bought it in February.

2) Cookie gets the computer home, where it sits for a week because Cookie really doesn't want the trouble that comes with a new computer.  However a week later, the box is opened and...

3) ...it is not the computer model that Cookie and Duke have been working towards.  Not only that, it is not the computer that matches the model on the box!

4) Cookie takes the wrong computer back, Duke checks stock and they are out.  The store outside DC has the computer but Cookie is not into DC traffic.   Duke offers Cookie a deal:  Cookie can but a returned, reconditioned model of the computer in the back, at a substantial discount.  Duke promises that the computer, which has a 256 SSD for the operating system and a 1Tb for everything that is Cookie's to store on it is warrantied exactly as if it is new.   Cookie accepts Duke's proposition, happy that he has been able to get an additional $300 off because it offsets the feeling of owning a cast off.

4) Cookie brings the new computer how, loads the AV onto the system, begins a week of setting up the main programs.  BUT Cookie is confused as to why the SSD is labeled drive "D" and the SATA drive is labeled "C".  So Cookie calls COMPUTER COMPANY TECH SUPPORT PRO, which cost Cookie and additional $300 so he is not shoved into a long queue in a Bangalore.  So the technician in Barbados looks at the computer, and in his wonderful accent says: "I believe that your computer has a significant issue."

Quelle horreur!

What indignity will be cast my way?

Technician says that the previous windows installation didn't happen completely, so apparently, someone who wasn't doing their job didn't reformat the SSD "C" drive.  INSTEAD there swapped the drive names and installed the system on the SATA drive - but here is where it gets scary, peeps: they left all of the previous owner's information on the computer.  This is why I can see all of "MrMatt" and his docs.

"If it were me?  I would take it back," says the support person.

5) Bother.

6) With our chest tightening, our blood pressure climbing and two steps from the ER, we return the computer - nay, we return the BAD computer and this time, Duke brings his manager in, Hottie.  Now Duke is adorageek, but the manager is ripped, young, melt in your mouth adorbs.  Manager has conferred with Duke, and he would like to get this fixed for me...uh huh...and we'll find something equal or better...uh huh...and the angels sing.  I ask Duke, who by this point the Husband and I are planning to adopt if he's cool and he is.  But I made sure that management knows that Duke has been a prince, and my issue isn't with Duke, my issue is with the employee who screwed the pooch on the computer reinstallation.

7) Manager find a terrific machine, but alas it is not a business machine, but a consumer machine, which means it is loaded with all types of crapola. He gives me $750 discount on this machine meaning that I am getting a $2,100 dollars machine, for what I paid for the first machine.  AND it has the latest processor.

I could drone on, but suffice it to say, said the new computer is up, and its running and we seem to be on the way towards some sense of normalcy.

As my husband said, "Your personal Mars is retrograde this week."

This morning I awoke to find that "Angry Young Computer" has transferred over a terabyte of my work and imagining files.  So it's feeling more familiar.  We'll get through this, eventually, and then we'll forget the pain and angst.  We have to install a third hard drive and we are home free.

Mr. Husband and I have a full weekend of events which involve sharp elbows, lots of ephemera, some old friends and fine dining.  AND some of it involves travel to the Toledo, Ohio, of Pennsylvania, in a madcap escapade.   And let me tell you, Allentown did not disappoint us.

Will touch base when I rest and recover.

Cookie

Friday, October 5, 2018

Quickie Post

Warren Beatty, 1968.  He was a god.
I threw Warren up because it has been a week since I last posted, and tomorrow I shall tell you why.  So just look at his perfection and thank God for creating someone so perfect.  Jesus, I almost want to have children with this Warren.  Not the Annette Benning Warren. This one. Toned body, nice biceps, strong hands, and that face!  Those eyes, and those lips.  Can lips on a man, aside from Englebert Humperdink, get any better??????

BACK IN REALITY, the Blue Angels are roaring over our house, an indicator that Baltimore's Fleet Week has started.

Adventure and madcap escapades await!  Sailors are in town and Cookie must go.  The racket is terrific.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

I need a diversion

DHTiSH's official Geisha, Shigecko aims for the sweetspot.

It has been a grueling day.

It really has.

Yesterday it was that Trump Shit Storm in NYC where he bragged that Chinese think that he has a very large brain.  Where he called the Turkish Ambassador to the UN "Mr. Kurd".

As my mother would say about my father, "Don't pray for any harm, just a little stroke.  One severe enough that it makes his arms useless and his ability to speak melt away.  It's the humane thing to have happen."

Today, Orrin Hatch called Dr. Ford - during a break from her testimony - "a very attractive witness."  He then had to clarify that statement.

But come on people.  HE MEANT JUST THAT.

It's Orrin "Funny Underwear" Hatch, for the love of Joseph Smith.   He's been wearing his collars to damn tight for too many years and that raisin of a brain he has still is stuck in 1901.

Calling her attractive simply means that Dr. Ford is not a real person with feelings, but an object.

Cookie is disgusted.  Cookie will go make himself a Nespresso, and stir the coffee in the cup with a zenlike "TING" of the silver spoon striking the side of the teacup.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The things you remember while the world changes around you

I have instructed the husband to put a bag over my head to keep from this from happening to me.


Look, let's face it, with this fakakta President in the White House, and people angry and just so fucking ass rude, sometimes, Cookie is one to sit back and stare at the T.V. set like they are here at Shaker Heights Haven Rest Home and Final Stop.

I remember the house on Sherrington Road, and digging a hole in the flower bed with Jeffery Landau.  We wanted to make a swimming pool for ants. Two problems, the ants didn't want to swim - drown actually - and the soil was a rich loam that sucked the water right down.  This meant if we weren't scooping ant's towards their watery deaths, then we were filling the hold with the hose.

I remember the time we were driving in my mothers 1965 Impala, and I was maybe four years old, and the hubcap (my father felt full wheel covers were a waste of money because someone would just steal them and then you had to waste $20 for a set of four) flew off the car while we were going someplace.  It was the left front and for someone so young, I was certain that this was a badge of shame, a sign of impending bad thing.  People would think we were those kinds of people.  You know - the people who don't take care of their nice things, people who were poor.  I would ride on the floor next to the back seat lest anyone see my face and feel sorry for me. 

I remember when my father went to stay at Grandma Bess's apartment when Grandma Bess went to visit her younger daughter in California.  Grandma Bess never came home - she died out there.  Grandma Bess was my half brother's maternal grandmother.  She wasn't my grandmother by blood.  But she loved me and she took good care of me.  Anyway, my two brothers went with Dad to live in the apartment.  Things were peaceful, and then my father came home one day with the brothers.  What I didn't know was that my parents had divorced, they kept that from me.  They also kept that they reconciled from me as well. 

I remember that when after Dad was back from staying at Grandma Bess's things were OK, for a while, then it pretty took on a Hellish reality for the next 30 years until the old man died.  They divorced within five years or the reconciliation. But until he left the earth, it was pure Hell for everyone.

I remember my father taking me to vote at Lomond School.  They were wooden booths with orange draping.  He asked me who I wanted to vote for and being maybe three, I started listing off every adult I knew of.

I remember the horribly long visits with my father's parents, who I loved, but I was so young and there wasn't anyone my age around, and everyone was ancient.  My grandfather loved watching the Wild Wild West.  I didn't like it but I was transfixed by Robert Conrad with his shirt off.  And I knew it was shameful and naughty for me to stare.  I was maybe four years old, and I also wanted Bat Man's uniform to rip open.  I didn't understand why.  I just did. 

I remember the simple joy of dragging my wagon - again with Jeffery Landau, to the top of Glencairn at Newell, and then riding the wagon down the biggest hill in the world, the hard rubber tires hitting every bump and dislodged slate slab that forms the famous sidewalks in Shaker.  We would do this for hours, jarring are innards, first Jeffery and then me.   Eventually, our four-year-old bodies were simply too tired to make the trip again, and we would look for other things to do, like climb the hill behind our garage and find rocks to throw in a bag for our rock collection, which was nothing more than a sack of unspectacular rocks.

And then, after the rocks were too heavy to carry, we swing, run up to Jeffery's, run back down to my house, and then we would go back to doing stupid stuff that kids do, like making a swimming pool for the ants.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Where Cookie goes to a fundraiser


We were shocked, shocked I say by how we saw people behaving!


Last week, Cookie and husband went to a fundraiser for a good cause.  It was held at a very chic mansion in a very chic neighborhood.  The husband and I more beer and pretzel guys, so I have to admit that we encouraged to come by Nancy, our hostess, I bought the cheap tickets because I felt that they were reasonable.  The suggested donation was $1,000/couple - way out of our league.  But when you made the suggested donation, each of you received a gold pin and a private audience with some Broadway star that Cookie has never heard of or could tell you what plays she starred in.  Whatever, but unless you had that glint of gold said "Star" wouldn't talk to you, which I found silly.  I mean we forked over a few hundred dollars, she could have at least said "Hello," right?

The cause is dear to our hearts and we were looking forward to seeing how the other half lives - as our hosts are both straight and well to do old money.  But raising funds for this organization (Women's Reproductive Rights) is something that I must do in the memory of my mother who schooled me well on what happens when abortion becomes illegal.  And this whole Trump in charge of the Supreme Court scares the living daylights out of us on several levels.

Anyhow, each of us dressed in suit and tie went, parked, went through security at the said mansion (you never know what looney is going to try something stupid at an event like this) and signed in.  We received some slight directions for what was in which room and a briefing on the where certain foods could, and could not be taken because of the Kosher/Non-Kosher thing.

In the Drawing Room, there was a string quartet playing soothing music.  The conservatory there was the gentle murmuring of a fountain and a place for us to leave raincoats, umbrellas, etc.  Kosher Food was being served in the Living Room (on blue rimmed Lennox, which could not leave the living room) and the real food was being served on the gold-rimmed Lennox in the dining room.

This is important because 1) this was held during High Holidays in the Jewish Calender, 2) This is still Maryland and all manner of shellfish is always served.  The bar/cocktails were being served in the "Dressy Kitchen," while the Messy Kitchen was used for the Non Kosher food prep.  We noticed that the guest house was being used for the Kosher food prep "because the family doesn't keep Kosher and the Rabbi could bless the guest house after it was emptied of furniture."  We learned by listening in that the furniture had to be stored in the pool house,  and the structure scrubber from floor to ceiling.

For the love of chopped liver, right?

Being raised in a Reform Jewish household, and being that maternal grandson of a farmer known for his fine Poland China Hogs, this Kosher thing to me always seemed like a big to-do.  I mean really - with Donald Trump in the White House, Hurricane "Flaunce" wreaking havoc, that monster typhoon in Asia, Global Warming, etc., does God really care if you eat bacon? Or a crab ball?  God is bigger than that.

But at $1,000 a couple I guess you go the extra mile. Especially when you have 100+ people at an event.

Anyhow there were was chattering couple everywhere, but alas, Mr. Husband and I knew no one, and Baltimore freezes you out when you don't know people, or have the gold pin on the lapel.  We got looks, and cheap social smiles, but no one engaged us.

But Cookie was APPALLED at the table manners of some of the these Hottentots and Poobahs because I witnessed men and women shoveling food into their mouths over the buffet table. Try and imagine people at a salad bar reaching into the food in with their fingers, and then eating it over top the platters and bowls! 

Who raised these Rottentots? 

Dr. Ph.D. was eating stuffed mushroom caps over the serving platter like it was his personal feeding trough!  This man had to be in his 60s, and he should have known better.  And it didn't stop there!  We witnessed others stabbing food with a toothpick, eating it off said toothpick and jabbing another in the chafing dish with the same pick!  Another woman could under why she couldn't take her gold-rimmed plate into the Kosher room and get some chopped liver.  Did she not get the tour?

At one point we were called outside where chairs had been placed in a semi-circle to hear Miss Broadway thank us for being there, especially those in the gold pin club who shared her "passion for the cause" (Really?), sing a song from her show, tell her personal story about choice and ask us to dig deeper and give more.  The husband leaned over and said "Katherine Hepburn did it better in Stage Door. And with calla lilies." The Host and Hostess thanked us.  A local politician talked too long about themselves, and when it was over, we decided that it was time to leave despite our host's plantive calls to stay around and engorge on the food: "everyone stay and eat, we have plenty of food and the bartender is here till midnight!" We all stood up, thankful that was over.  I went into the house to get our umbrella, and Husband to stuff a couple fresh scallops into his mouth.

The husband pointed at the worse offense of the night - people had stuck their name badges to the Hepplewhite buffet like it was a trashcan.  They were also stuck on the door jams, fireplace mantles, and the marble fireplace mantles.   There was a young woman who worked for the organizers trying ever so carefully to remove these tags.  The husband and I gathered a few very carefully, and the hostess who invited us thanked us and took them.

"People are such pigs," she said, her breath hot with cigarettes and scotch.  "And it amazes me how these name badges won't stick to suit jacket but refuses to lift off a hand polished French commode."

We agreed - not that we have any antique French commodes with hand polished marble tops, mind you - in solidarity and sympathy.

"But," she continued sotto voce, "when you are shaking them down for money like this, you can't police them on the little shitty thing unless you see them stealing something."

Really?  Stealing something?

"Oh, yeah, We lock up the good stuff for these events now.  Just because they have money," She scrunched up face smiled and gave a kitten wave to an old woman waddling our way, "doesn't mean they are honestLY ANNETTE! I was afraid I wouldn't get to thank you for coming. I want you to meet Cookie and his Husband..."

After a minute or two pleasantries, Annette, who was huffing and puffing from her walk from the buffet table to the doorway where we stood froze us out and stole Nancy from us when she found out we weren't really Baltimorians.  ("So, you really have only lived here six years?"  Well, Nancy, I wanted to ask you...")

And with that, Umbrella in hand, we left while the diehards stayed behind.

Sometimes its good to do what you can.  Sometimes its even better to see how the other half lives.  But the only thing I would ever take from a part is maybe a mint on the way out and a few good stories tell.

And Annette really needs to eat fewer meatballs and go see her cardiologist.



Friday, September 14, 2018

Damn, Damn, Damn!



In Cookie's line of work, most of the time you are just performing a family "audit".  Person A is related to people B and C, themselves the children D & E, and F&G.  That's the way it works.  Pretty straight and forward delivery of the promised package.

"You mean I have no one interesting in my family," a client will ask.

They have plenty of interesting people.  What they want is SST: STARS, SCANDAL, and TITLES.

While we are all related to someone who is famous - Cookie is the fifth cousin four times removed from Bessie Wallis Warfield, but then again, ANYONE who has family that lived in or around Baltimore or Anne Arundel Counties in Maryland before 1750 can most likely claim he as blood kin - the simple fact is that most families are interesting, but not "James Michener" famous.

Huh?

James Michener, the late great fiction writer (Tales of the South Pacific, Hawaii, etc.) would write these huge sweeping narratives.  In Hawaii, when it was published, the inside flaps included a family chart, which you needed because of the marriages and intermarriages of the families.

Most people have interesting stories in their families, but a lot of people want bragging rights.

I met a woman once - an optician - who asked what I do, and I told her - and then she said "WELL!  You never guessed that you would be fitted for glasses by a direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln, did you."  It wasn't a question - it was a statement.

No, and I wasn't at that moment either.  This idiot had never bothered to look at her family, she just relied on stories told and passed down.  This was in the olden days, before the internet.  When you had to crawl through libraries and courthouses like a cobra looking for documents and indices that told you which book the documents were in. 

That woman's problem was that Lincoln's last surviving direct descendants at that time were old men with no children to pass it on.  Today, I could have asked this woman if she had DNA proof of such.

Then, yesterday, I came across something not good.  Not good, at all.

"Client" is someone close to me, someone, I am protective of,  and it is an adoption case.  I am, by professional standards and respect for said Client, unable to tell you what I found.  Suffice it to say, and no - this in no way involves anyone in the news - was one of those moments where you say to yourself: "damn."

Breaking bad news to someone is hard.  Breaking to a loved one that you have known for most of your life is really hard.

Damn!, Damn! Damn!

The news was don't go a step further on your mother's line.  Just don't.  You don't want to go further on this lead. Nope.  Just don't.

What was there was bad.  What I found just made it worse.

The news on her father's side was a bit more like Elizabeth Montgomery on Bewitched trying to explain something and it began with "Well...."  And it ended with "I can't tell you if you should move forward with this, or not.  It's up to you and you have my support."

Its all been verified, we just need to pull the legal documents.

That's the upshot of it.  Sometimes you don't find a winner.  You find what you find, and that is a win. And sometimes you don't find what you thought, and there is a win on that level, too.

In this case, just one of those things that have you uttering then yelling "damn, damn, damn!" like you are Florida Evans finding out that James has died.

I'm taking today off.  I need to get my shit together after what we found yesterday.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Your Kipplet, the Jewish Festival of Sand



Being the product of a mixed marriage, and being the half-breed, that's all I ever was, the whole bit of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur has always perplexed me.  Why, I would ask myself, as a five-year child in Sunday School at Brith Emeth Temple (since disbanded), do Jewish People celebrate the New Year, and then pray to God to make it through the New Year on Yom Kippur?

So the holiday shakedown is this:

1) Most Jews have no idea when Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur will happen unless they read the Temple Bulletin and are DUES PAYING MEMBERS to get their seat tickets for the functions.  Yes, the High Holidays are ticketed events.  You just can't walk into a temple and get a seat.  The Holidays are set by the Jewish Calander, not the calendar that we use in the Western World.  So like shifting sands, one year to the next, the dates move about.

2) Rosh Hashanah - New Year's Day, Sunset 9/9/2018 through Sunset 9/11/2018.  This is a celebration of the close of the old and the opening of the New Year.

3) Yom Kippur - Sunset 9/18/2018 - Sunset 9/19/2018.  This is the day of atonement - the day that you atone for your sins and ask God to write your name in the Book of Life.

Here's the thing I never understood - you have two homework assignments, one in a class you hate - say Algebra, and another in a class that you love, say history.  To me, you get the Algebra done first and out of the way, then you start on the History because you can happily lose yourself in that?

So for me, I always thought that you should start off with Yom Kippur - atoning for your sins over the previous year and making peace with those who you have sinned against - and it's going to take at least ten days or so to track everyone down, and then slide into Happy New Year?

But that is not the way it works.  And as the days clock down to Yom Kippur, the angst runs higher and higher.

By the way, I should add to my non-Jewish readers, Yom Kippur is a very solemn day.  You can give someone a Rosh Hashana card - it's a nice gesture, but a noodle pudding would be a nicer Happy New Year gift, but who am I to argue - but it's unnecessary.  But never a Yom Kippur card.  It's bad form.

When I worked in Ohio, one of four non-blonds in the small company I worked for came up to me and say "Shelia in accounting tells me that your father was a "Hebrew" - and we are off to a bad start, thanks, Shelia! - "And a Jewish couple has moved in next door, and it's their New Year. What do I give them?"

I would say "It's enough to say 'L'shana tova'.  But a card isn't necessary unless you own stock in American Greetings."

They would get a confused look on their faces and say "Why am I calling them L'Shana Tova?  Their name is Brian and Sandra Appleman."

I would explain that "L'shana tovah" meant "may you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for a good year to come," which always gave the Baptists a look like they had gas, and they would nod off with their basket full of good intentions ready to deliver a wish on a concept that they couldn't grasp.

(In Christendom, Jesus does the heavy lifting.  When you are Jewish, what you are carrying around isn't heavy enough.  Here, have some more guilt.)

Then in nine days or so that same woman hunted me down and "Well, I said Shania Twain to the Appleman's and they gave me a funny look.  I am in damage control mode thanks to you.  I have looked all over town for a "Your Kipplet" card, but Hallmark has never heard of that holiday, and you people have so many."

You know us Hebrews!  When we aren't running from the Cossacks, we're being chased by Nazis!  So let's have a holiday.  Right now.  Are you with me?

So I explained to this woman that "Your Kipplet*" was the Jewish Festival of Sand and it comes sometime while the wise men are wandering in the desert trying to find the Baby Jesus ("They traveled over a lot of sand in those days.), but that Yom Kippur is the holiest of holy days to all Jews.

"This is the twenty-four hours when you look back over the last year and tone for your sins in hope that God will write your name in the Book of Life for the year to come."

*Blink*

 "It's about reflection, and asking that God forgive you..."

"You mean they are accepting Jesus and he's saving your collective soul?  Jews are born again?"

No.  No Jesus. No.

"And we aren't born again. It's prayer for healing and renewal.  And no, you do NOT exchange gifts.  Hallmark should never create a card for this.  Not that kind of holiday."

I explained that should she happen to see the Appleman's that it was perfectly polite to say "I'm not quite sure what this Holiday means to Jews, but I hope you find the meaning and answers you seek."

Three days later Darlene hunted me down.

"You are the best.  The Appleman's thanked me with a smile, and Mrs. Appleman is going to teach me Mah Jong!  I just love playing that on the computer...."

Oh, boy.

"Darlene, just whatever you do, do not call her a Hebrew.  Hebrew is a language, not a person.  When you call a Jew a Hebrew, it's an insult."

"Got it!"

I didn't stick around to see how the Mah Jong lessons went.  Instead, we moved to Maryland.  I know if I had to explain robbing a Kong to go out that my Jewish head would explode.

And if you should run into a Darlene and they ask you when Your Kipplet is, tell them its sometime after Tisha B'av** and that you'll get back with them on that.


*This isn't a holiday.  It's nonsense from The Onion.  But we live in interesting times.
**A GREAT Drag Name for Jewish Drag Queen, pronounced "Tish Above".





Saturday, September 8, 2018

Hurricane "Flaunce" is on the way



Cookie is a bit perturbed.

It's hurricane season, and we all know what happens during hurricane season.

Plans get ruined.  The wind blows. Tree limbs come down.  There is flooding.  And people die.

That's what really sucks.

People die because they think they can ride it out in places too damn close to the shore.

The Husband and I will watch House Hunters where "Allison and Dick are looking for that very special forever home on the beach."

And?

We all know that "Forever Home", a term that Cookie thinks sounds childish, and "on the beach" are two phases literally at war with each other.

"Allison" is the one who wants to kick off her shoes and go from bed to beach to shower.  Dick wants a dock for their boat.

State Farm sure as hell isn't going to insure them if they do this in Ocean City, Maryland.

Inevitably, Dick or Allison will - at some point in the future - be shown on the national news, picking up the waterlogged pieces of their lives and saying things like "It's all gone." And "oh, look, a picture."

And the worst part for Dick and Allison?  They voted for Trump because they too don't believe in climate change.  In their hearts, they know that Hillary did this to them.

No, they did it to themselves.  They bought the dream without even a clue that the reality could slam into them at 100mph sustained winds.

So Cookie gets angry because he understands the lure of sunrises over the Atlantic and the carefree beach lifestyle.

But Mother nature really hates it when you get in the way.  Remember Jennifer Lawrence in Mother? She wants you out of her house.

But I also dread hurricanes because they also wreak havoc with those of us inland.  Trees come down - in reality, most of these trees that come crashing down are the trees that are only standing out of habit - they are all rotted inside, and are a hazard.  Wires and poles come down as well.  And the dogs hate going outside to a pee.

I can't blame them.   I wouldn't enjoy taking a poop in fifty miles an hour winds either, especially if I were nine pounds.

The biggest inconvenience for us will be the run in the grocery stores, usually the 48 hours before the storm.  People panic buy - they are like a plague of grasshoppers on a grain field.  They will strip a grocery store of everything but Tang, pine nuts and capers.  Ugh.

And "since you all now live in the south," our neighbor Eva Mae Makenzie pointed out today at the market "it's not Florence, like the city; its Flaunce, like a lady, do."

Seriously?

"Y'all worry too much, and the weather after a storm is always delightful," she reminded us.  "The sky's are their bluest.  Hurricane's are Lady Nature's way of clearing the miasma of summa for crisp fall days to come."

Well, if you insist.

I'll have to haul out my favorite Hurricane movie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which means I get to spend time with Sister Woman.  Sometimes, you have to find the silver lining in every miasma choked cloud there is.

Then there are the people who will start with "Oh, LAW! Surely 'Flaunce' is a sign of end times!"

Still, my troubles are nothing compared to what all those Dick's and Allison's are expecting.  I hope they have enough sense to get out as soon as they can.  For as much as I love to hate them, I don't want to see anyone gets killed in this storm.

The second reason why I am perturbed?  because my favorite writer of all time, Florence King is dead and won't be around to enjoy this storm that shares her first name.  Miss King, a spinster and proud of it, would have enjoyed this moment.  "Spinsterhood," she insisted, "is powerful.  It is why men name their motorcycle's Virago, their luxury cars Cressida." 

Just remember folks: Things can be replaced, people can't.

Miss King, This is in your honor: