Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The latest news

Well, I wish I had better news than this, but situations change.   Things have become complicated. 

On the known cancer front, we are waiting on news of a genetic test.  This was done, in part because of continued large bowel issues that took an unpleasant turn last week, resulting in the cancellation of a colonoscopy, and an emergency CATScan and flexible sigmoidoscopy. 

Nothing looks cancerous (hooray!) but other things aren't right.  And I haven't heard from the colo-rectal surgeon that all is clear, either.  I am hoping for that news soon.

Bottom line (no pun intended) but the assurance of my colorectum surgeon eight years ago that I was good for a full ten years could have been deadly.  Get your colonoscopy today, people. 

I remain on all manner of caustic antibiotics and am pretty enervated, lackluster, and just feel pretty oogie. 

Sorry, it's not better news, or funnier, or wittier tales to be told.  But Cookie doesn't have it in him. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Killing time with Miss Marple, Miss Marple, Miss Marple, and Miss Marple


Ever since Covid struck, one of the things that I have become of a fan of are the ITV series, Marple and Poirot. 

Poirot took some time to get through because ITV started the series with several seasons of one-hour mysteries that took some time to cut through before getting to the mysteries based (sometimes loosely) on the books.  But each episode was perfection. 

Marple, on the other hand went by way too fast.  Two actresses played Marple in this series.  

In the second half, she was played by Julia McKenzie who I admired and enjoyed for years.   Her take on Marple was business like, efficient.  Unfortunately, to get enough material, someone of the scripts were based on non-Marple stories. Several of the episodes seem to have flashbacks, and I am not a fan of flashbacks.  Flash forwards are fine, but a flash back is usually unneeded if the dialogue is written correctly.

For as much as I have enjoyed McKenzie - I was first introduced to her as woman who made trousers for her cow on Cranford - the real joy came in the first twelve episodes of in which Geraldine McEwen played Marple. 

Unlike Margaret Rutherford's boisterous turn, and McKenzie's cool cookie, McEwen was as sly and she was charming, a softer Marple.  Observant, and gentle, there was a twinkle in her eye in every episode.  And she played Marple as a woman who was more than just as an inquisitive old woman. 

My understanding was that as Marple progressed, she found the process taxing and asked to leave after the 12 books were completed.  She died several years after she left.  I have been scrounging about for her other roles. 

BOTH of these fine actresses were enjoyable.   

AFTER we finish up with Ms. McKenzie (we have four episodes left), then we start what the Miss Marple's that everyone claims is the Ultra Marple - played by Joan Hickson.  

Hickson impressed Christie in a radio program in the which she read the part so much so that Christie told the actress that she hoped she would one day play the role in a film.  I was surprised to see that Hickson was part of some "Carry On" films.  I might want to see those as a primer of sorts. 

Even Queen Elizabeth reportedly so enjoyed Hickson's portrayal over Rutherford's that she complimented Hickson by saying that her efforts were exactly what Elizabeth herself Marfple would be like.  

We'll see about that.  


Monday, August 22, 2022

How many times I have told you No Credit Card Rate Reductions, EVER!!!!!


Cookie is an instigator.  Most of the time I annoy people, but when I put my mind to it, I can really get under people's skin. But piss me off, invade my privacy or try and cold call me on a scam you are trying and I don't play nice.

Take these fools who call our landline.  And yes, we have a landline because of the husband's job we need a phone system that works when the power is out. 

But we get a lot of calls that can get irritating, and mundane.  And I like to stir up the pot. 

We live in a hundred-year-old house without a furnace and no furnace ductwork.  (Boiler and steam heat.) but we get calls from people in India that want to sell us duct cleaning services. 

Caller: "May I talk with the woman of the house?"

Cookie: You're talking to him. 


What I have started doing for the month of August is reciting random lines from Mommy Dearest whenever they ask a question.  You know, just to spice it up. 

Male caller from overseas: "Hello, may I speak with *Cookie Blogger* about his credit card rate?

Cookie: "Don't Fuck With Me FELLA'S. This ain't my first time at the Rodeo."

Male caller from overseas: Pardon?

Cookie: "CHRISTINA, Bring me the AXE!"


There are also the times that we get these "keyboard" automated calls from some bullshit charity.  What you hear is a humanist voice that is being driven by a human at a keyboard chocking out prerecorded phrases.

Keyboard Voice: "Hello. Am I Speaking with Cookie's Husband?  I hope I have called the right number."

Cookie: "Helga, I am not mad at you. I am mad at the dirt."

Keyboard Voice: "I Can Call Back If..."



And just today I got to use this plum of a line:

Female Caller: "Hello, I'd like to speak with Cookie Blogger about ...

Cookie: "Why can't you give me the respect that I'm entitled to? Why can't you treat me like I would be treated by any stranger on the street? Why? Why?"

Female Caller: "Excuse me, this is Dr. Urologist's office calling about next Monday's appointment.  Can you come in at 7:30AM instead of 11:00AM?"

Cookie: My bad.  I thought you were trying to sell me something.

So I guess I'll have to give that respect line to someone else.  But I need a movie for September.  Perhaps Sound of Music?  Misery? The Wizard of OZ?

Thank God IMDB has an app for that. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

The report is in...


The report from the BIG cancer scan is in. 

It was a horribly uncomfortable scan. It started out with radioactive dye (delivered by a man in a radiation suit carrying a metal canister) injected into my arm, allowed to swirl around for an hour while it infiltrated every nook and cranny.  Then, after an hour, I was delivered to the PetScan equipment where I was told to lay flat, arms over my head for 30 minutes while the scan read the locations of the PSAT seeking dye.  "Hold that position!" and thirty minutes of agony later the guy had to help me bring my arms back down.  I was in a foul mood. Even the husband could see the pain I was in. 

The scan would tell us if any PSA was found in any other part of my body other than the previously known cancer in the prostate.  Anyway, it can spread, you know.  And that's the way the find it.

But the report results are officially unofficial - they haven't been shared with us by the surgeon, that comes next week. But the doctor leaked them, and the rectal colo surgeon seconded them (we were afraid that it spread to the colon.  More about that in September.

But results are in and they tell us that cancer HAS NOT spread.  It remains localized. 

Thank Baby Jesus and the Big One too. 

Now, I'll hippity-hop along until next week when we decide on a course of action on the prostate cancer, which will be sometime after September is my guess.  

Monday, August 8, 2022

So Much Drama: Movie of the Week


Love me some Uptonking.  

In leaving a comment for the last post, Uptonking reminded me of the staple of ABC television in that started in 1969 and ran to 1975: The ABC Movie of the Week

ABC promised us, not movies that were years old on TV, like The War Wagon, or Love is Many Splendored Thing, but "World Premiere" movies were 90-120 minute movies (with commercials) with original scripts "made especially for TV."  Or so the announcer said with great gravitas.  (The hidden meaning was "movies" that break for commercials with mini cliffhangers, instead of mid-scene.)  In actuality, these were 72 to 100-minute or so one-off TV shows. 

To build excitement, Harry Betts got the rights to use Burt Bacharach's 1969 composition "Nikki", rearranged it, and when combined with state-of-the-art graphic animation, the tune became synonyms with MOVIE OF THE WEEK.


Some were very good, like Steven Speilberg's Duel, starring Dennis Weaver and the demonic truck intent on terrorizing him.  Others were just awful, like Gidget Gets Married (see below). 

None starred Steve McQueen, Barabara Streisand, Warren Beatty, or Elizabeth Taylor, but the actors were TV staples and some slightly faded stars.  Dennis Weaver, Patty Duke Astin, Henry Jones, Stella Stevens, and Joseph Cotton.   

Some of the movies were just that; movies that were ends unto themselves. 

Then there were movies made as TV pilots.  Take Gidget Grows Up, with Karen Valentine as Gidget who is a tour guide at the U.N., which did not get picked up.  Starsky and Hutch started out as a Movie of the Week.  So now you know who to blame for the second coming of the Torino that swept up car culture in 1975-1976, and David's Soul's "Don't Give Up on Us Baby".

Then there was Gidget Gets Married, which was a *movie*.  In this, the last of the Gidget flicks, Gidget marries Moondoggie and moves to a Stepford-like community, where employees of a company are residentially segregated and socially isolated in their position with in said company, I kid you not.  And it was Gidget who was sick and tired of the Man bossing everyone around and fighting for social justice. The result was something so bad that evidently, the young woman who was chosen to play Gidget walked away from acting. 

While the Movie of the Week tried to rotate its genres, with ratings slipping, and towards the end of the run it became top-heavy with films that had a message.  Comedies, which were seldom guffawed out loud funny became fewer, and dramas and thrillers increased.  And the ratings continued to slide down, down, down.

But it was the 1975 season, at the end of the run that gave viewers its two best camp classics:

  1. Episode 246 was a cringe-worthy social drama called "Someone I Touched" which starred Cloris Leachman as a wife in a loving marriage who contracts VD from her husband who liked to fiddle around.  If that wasn't bad enough, Leachman's character - who had desperately yearned for a baby - discovered that she was pregnant.  Also notable is Lena Peterson, who plays the mother of Glynnis O'Connor.  O'Connor sleeps with Cloris's husband and you know what happens.  He gives Glynnis a social disease. In a tearful scene tries to tell her mother that something terrible has happened.  The mother thinks she is pregnant and comforts her daughter saying that there were ways to deal with the situation.  But O'Connor pushes on with the truth: Syphilis!  And Lena Patterson then begins one of the longest slap fests on TV, punctuated by calling her daughter a tramp, while play smacking Glynnis into the next part of the movie. Patterson was a noted actress, and a Tony nominee, but the camera is so close to both actors that the violence isn't at once amplified and muted.   And oh, did I mention that Cloris sings the theme song?
  2. Episode 247 is the cult favorite, and I am warning you that you need to put aside reasonable disbelief when you watch it.  Trilogy of Terror, starring Karen Black, in three unrelated mini films inside of mini made-for-TV movies where she plays four different characters.  I would try and explain it all, but frankly, I don't have the strength.  Suffice it to say that Karen emotes.  A lot.  And you can get this one on YouTube for FREE.
Now, of course, cable vomits whole channels like this onto our laps, movies with mediocre plots. For many, only the titles are entertaining.  (A personal favorite was Tory Spelling in "Mother May I Sleep With Danger.") For others, there is a cathartic release for SOME PEOPLE (Yes, you, Dee Dee) for watching movies where the psycho boyfriend locks his girlfriend away in the poorhouse while seducing her loved starved mother, or the new nanny sets out to gaslight the mother of quadruplets so she can send the children to a Swiss boarding school and do craven things to the handsome husband. 

But back in the day, it was a weekly dose of fluff, with a thin plotline, and a great fanfare, starring people whose faces were familiar, and whose names you needed a TV guide to ID. That was Tuesday night living in America. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Sugar, The COVIDS, The Cancer


She got the RONA?

Back home in north central Ohio, people for some reason or another like to put "the" in front of nouns when those nouns are names for diseases. 

"Estil is feeling poorly; he's got the sugar real bad."

"I told Louise to get the vaccine but she would stop listing to that Margie Taylor Green.  In the end, she ate that horse paste, and because that doesn't work, the COVIDS/RONA got her."

I asked a friend back home about another acquaintance and the conversation went something like this:

"How's Doreen?"

"It's a sad tale.  She got the woman cancer."

"Breast or uterine?"

"Up-top one.  We're all wearing pink hoping she recovers.  She's doing the radiation in Columbus."

Well, Cookie's family generally gets the cancer.  Prostate cancer.  It hit my grandfather, my uncles, and a couple cousins, all on one side. While I am not a gambling man, in the back of my mind, I knew it could come for me.  

And it has.

NOW before anyone says or thinks or does anything, no weepies, no "I'm thinking of you," and no I'm sorry stuff.  DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

I know you are concerned. 

We all are.  It's natural.  With cancer comes the world of the unknown.  The BOHICA aspect of cancers is scary stuff. 

But it isn't something I have failed at.  It's not a failing, its genetic, its tissue that mutated beyond your body's defense abilities.  So we face it head on and we deal with it.  

The good news is that we 1) found it early, and 2) the Gleason score (1 to 10, how they grade cancer, how bad it is, how aggressive, etc.) isn't good, but it also isn't above an 8, and that is really good news. 5 and below is really, really good news if it's caught early.  But I am not walking about, ringing my hands, wailing "woe to be me," through a veil of tears.   And if you are spiritual, God is giving me a "You got this," thumbs up.

So here is what is going to happen: I am getting a PETScan and that will tell us if it has spread.  That isn't for a couple weeks - insurance and finding time in the machine is a factor. The doctor will discuss the results with us, and  THEN the Husband and I will make the best decision for me, for us, and for our future. The more involved it is, then the more involved the treatment will be.  

The horse may be out of the gate, but we'll be on the horse when crossing that bridge, and we will get to it.  

We live in an age when healthcare is, for lack of better terms, a pain in the ass - no pun intended, but it does fit. BUT treatment options are far advanced over 70 years when you died of it, and fifty years ago they used to de-ball you. 

But that was then, this is now.  So Cookie is hopeful.  In fact, Cookie is going to recover. 

Still, I know that people back home will say that "He's got the cancer."  

True, but trust me: the cancer doesn't have me. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Couldn't I just stay at a Hilton instead?

Cookie will be having another trip to Ohio yet this summer, and we are looking at places for me to stay.  I will be hitting up the Tri-Cs of Ohio: Columbus, Cincinnati, and of course, Cleveland. 

The trip is all about cemeteries, being on the Board of Trustees for one, visiting others to record them, and then attending a memorial service for a dear friend who was like a mother to me.  She passed in the fall of 2020, and it was a blessing.  But oh, to have her back in her prime. 

In any event, I won't be staying at our featured hotel.  Instead, I'll be Hilton properties.  No nooks and crannies to explore, no drapes like a velvet glove, but they take points, and points are good.  

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Be safe this Fourth, darlings

 Have a HAPPY and SAFE Fourth of July!

And like Ms. Eden, think twice about setting off any fireworks!  

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Make this your mantra: Every Election, Every Vote, Every Level of Every Time.

 Cookie has been thinking, long and hard, about why Democrats are losing the upper hand, and the answer is a tough one, but its also easy to explain.

Dems have been lulled into three fantasies. 

The First is "One and Done".  Dems have fought in the past, and righteously so since the 1960s, to advance our causes and see them done.  Be it legislative, judicial, or election, and think once the job is done, it's done. 

The Second is that things of importance "Stand" for the ages and cannot be revoked.

The Third is that only Presidential year general elections matter and sometimes off-year elections matter. 

This is a recipe for two things.  The first is that this tact means we are always playing defense - ALWAYS.  And you cannot win any game if all you do is play defense.  Playing defense means you are trying not to lose and you cannot win with that mindset. 

The second is that our opponents are always going to be chipping away at our wins by being better organized, playing dirty, and playing to win. And if that happens away they have eroded the grounds of last win and we will collapse so they can storm ahead.

We have to come to understand that we can only gain ground by: 

1) Voting in EVERY ELECTION.  Every one of them. 

2) That EVERY VOTE - and I mean every legal vote matters.  And I just don't mean that showing up is everything.  This is about setting differences aside, and focusing on what really matters together.  This is about uniting people and getting them to vote instead of assuming the other guy or gal is going to carry your belief system. 

3) EVERY LEVEL of government is equally important.  The old adage is true - "all politics is local" is truer now than it was before.  We have seen everything from education, public health, city, and state governments turn on their ends because people don't see off year and midterm elections as anything they need to worry about.  

The next generation of leadership is forged locally.  Local governments control state and national policies. and we have to learn that, except that, and work with it.  If we control local government, if we control state politics, then it follows that we drive national matters.   And we have ceded that area in too many states, school boards, etc., and so on. 

Every election, every vote, and every level of government matters.    And once we regain that place, we have to fight on to maintain it.

And the next election does begin in the weeks leading up to cast your vote.  The next election begins immediately after you cast your vote.  The other side isn't sitting around licking their wounds, they are out there trying to figure out how to screw us in the next election. 


Friday, June 24, 2022

Fuck them all

Fuck Clarence Thomas.  

Fuck Samuel Alito.  

Fuck Neal Gorsuch.  

Fuck Brett Kavanaugh.  

And finally, fuck Amy Comey Barrett. 

May they all live long lives - long enough to see the damage that they did to this country undone.  Long enough to be held up as the worst justices to ever sit on SCOTUS.  And long enough to know that they're there to fully experience that legacy.  

We must not give up the fight to elect candidates to the Presidency, Congress, and state legislatures who will remedy this. We must insist that SCOTUS Nominees understand the law and will not push us back in time. 

Packing the court will not help.  Just as a pendulum swings in one direction, it swings in the opposite direction.  Nine jurists who understand that they must detach themselves and make rulings based on a number of things, just not their Catholic view of the world.

Don't give in to anger.  Anger never solves anything.  And anger will not undo this mess created today that will reverberate for years to come.  Complacency got us here.  Throw that cloak off your shoulders.  

Work hard so that this November, and every November afterward this doesn't happen again. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Too Many Balls

Old Cambridge Burial Grounds, 
Cambridge Mass.  Their husband has some 
people buried her.  But no Balls here. His
Balls are south of here. 

Cookie has been laboring over the Husband's Balls this past weekend. 

Get your mind out of the gutter. 

Cookie is crass, but never so crass as that.  Genealogy is a noble endeavor, and don't you forget it.

No, my husband's ancestry includes a line of people with the surname Ball.   And I have been trying to sort these Ball family members from another family of Ball's. The problem is that they are from the same town, but a different cemetery as my husband's Balls, and people tend to lump them in together.   And because of COVID, we did not travel to see the Balls, but the work is remote. 

Both are fine families, the problem is they aren't related in the American Colonies, or even in the United States, at least until Madelon Holden married one William Ball.  Oh, what a headline that would have been made in the society column.  "Holden-Ball Vows Trotted" or even "Holden-Ball Hymenial Celebrated".

And these are very early Balls that plug into the husband's line.  There is a letter that describes "Squire and Goodie Ball of an advance(d) age, and unpleasant demoeaner (sic)."   Just the verbiage makes me shudder, but the image in my mind of old, withered Mr. and Mrs. Ball - well you get the idea.

Thankfully, he is not descended from the Feltch family of Natick.  Cookie almost drove off the road when he saw that headstone.  

So what are your summer plans?


Friday, May 27, 2022

We all know a *Betty*...


Betty is cranky.  Betty is a pill. Betty can be the reason why we opted not to have children.   

And what Betty needs isn't a product, she needs a parent. 

What Betty needs isn't sugar.  

What Betty doesn't need a diet drink, either.  

What Betty needs is a nap. 

Betty will argue that she is too old for naps. 

No, Betty is overtired, cranky, wearing down her auxiliary battery, and she is working everyone's last nerve. 

But sugar?  No. Oh, no, no, no.

Not today Betty.  Not today.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

If Cookie could name the horses in the Kentucky Derby

 The Derby is this week.  As is tradition, Cookie renames the horses to suit his whims. 

Place bets at your own peril.   But my sources tell me that Elmers Bound is running scared, or coming to a bottle near you soon.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Don't fuck around with SEPSIS...


So, Cookie's Friday didn't go the way that he had planned. 

Thursday night I came down with a 100+ fever out of nowhere.   I took some Tylenol.  At 3am, it was even higher.  Friday morning it was still higher.  And this wasn't just any old fever, this was a full-on Mrs. Lovett's radiating heat fever. Like the Husband could feel how hot I was from two feet away.

Friday morning I got in to see the doctor, who looked at me fading in and out of a stupor (like an idiot, I drove myself to the doctor's office), and said, "Yeah, I am admitting you, right this minute."  I was put in a wheelchair and literally pushed to the ER. 

Long story short, I had two things wrong.  1st, a medical condition that we thought we taken care of in 2014 with abdominal surgery was back, and 2nd, they diagnosed sepsis and had I waited another day, could have landed me in ICU.

Here's the good news, they got me in, drained enough blood out of me for tests that I might as well have been being bled by George Washington's doctor, sent me through a machine or six, and then hooked me up to a battery if IV's.  Test results came back fast.  In some instances, I had the results before the doctors did.  Of course, I had no idea what was going on, but I have never had labs in an ER come back that fast, ever.

The miracle is that in 24 hours I got to come back home.  How?  The executive summary is powerful drugs and I responded almost as quickly as the whole event started.   I am still feeling wonky, I am on multiple anti-biotics, one of which is Flagyl - which makes your mouth taste horrible - but I am without pain. 

Why tell you this? 

Well, you hear about people going into sepsis (your body going into an extreme state to fight an infection), you don't know what it is or why getting to the ER fast is vital to prevent damage or even death.  I am providing THIS LINK to the CDC.  Look at it, read it, take it seriously.

What I experienced was a swift onset of fever, my blood pressure dropped, my heart rate became irregular, I felt woozy to the point of passing out.  

How they treat it depends on what triggered it.  Because mine was in the gut, it was IV antibiotics by mouth and by IV. 

In my case, it was the high fever, sudden and unlike any other, that was the red flag for ME.  I knew something was very wrong and I should have been at the ER that night, but I kept thinking it would pass and it didn't.  

I feel lucky and I know I got very lucky.   And I also know what could have happened had I tried to tough it out. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The things that are done

 What has gotten done in the Cookie house today?

Bitch, this isn't chaos for anyone but the guy in the wig.

1) The conversion to Windows11 is DONE.  And my recommendation to you is to do everything you can do to avoid it.  It is VILE and has left Cookie feeling defeated.  Jesus fucking christ, I hate what Satya Nadella and his wrecking crew have done to Windows.  And personally, he won't be getting any cosmic love from me. 

2) The TAXES are done.  And we get refunds from the Feds and our home state. 

3) The accountant's bills are paid for the taxes.  FUCK YES!

4) I told that bitch off in the genealogy group today who was whining about something that happened on a major genealogical website like 20 years. 
Bitch, "chaos" isn't what happened to that website just because it no longer finds it useful.  Chaos happens in an enemy bombing civilians trying to get away from a military attack.  Chaos happens when some criminal whips out a semi-automatic on a subway car.  Chaos is watching a highly sugared child running rampant in a meltdown while his parents do nothing to soothe that child and question their own abilities as parents.   What your problem is DRAMA, and nothing more.   And I am not buying a ticket to that show, is neither is anyone else.

So excuse Cookie while I go and take a valium, a couple of pieces of chocolate, and eat a nice juicy steak for dinner in my victory lap.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Before you clean up that tombstone...


...ask yourself, does it have to be cleaned?  Do I have a right to clean it? Do I want to be the person who destroys the tombstone?

Cookie is going down this rabbit hole because what used to be the history buff and genealogy nut thing to do is evidently becoming a "Pinterest" hobby for many people. 

And that scares Cookie. 

I have been a genealogy buff (aka nut) for 45 years, and in those 45 years I have seen too many examples of the "best of intentions gone horribly wrong."  Over time, preservation and conservation techniques change, evolve, and too often than naught, get discarded. 

And with the explosion of internet access, messages boards, Instagram, Facebook, Bloggr (yes, I know), and social media, there are way too many people watching videos and crowning themselves experts.   And many, many, many of these self-educated experts are doing real damage in our graveyards and cemeteries. 

It wasn't even forty years ago that people advocated tombstone rubbings as a way to preserve the writing on tombstones.  "Look!" they said, pointing at papers that they had dropped over stones.  "I'm persevering history!" 

But they weren't.  They were adding to the abrasion damage caused by chalking and crayons being scraped across the face of gravestones, which accelerated the decay.   Don't do it!

About three weeks ago, an attendee at RootsTech, the world's largest genealogy conference - which was free again and virtual this year - was pointing to all sorts of horribly abrasive and damaging technics that they claimed to learn about cleaning tombstones and then advocated making rubbings!

No. No. No, NO!

So if you find yourself with a bad case of the Tombstone Twitch, my best advice is as follows: 

1) Stop.  Seriously, don't act.  Don't do anything.  Really.  

2) Ask yourself "do I really need to do this?"  Are you the best person to do this? Are you professionally trained or self-trained?  Or are you just someone who watched a video and thinks that this is too simple to screw up?   Trust me, you'll screw this up.

3) Does the stone need to be just read, or is it imperative that it must be cleaned?  Many stones need to be recorded, but not all stones must be cleaned.

4) Should I be cleaning this stone?  Is that your family member?  Do you have the input of all of the people descended from that person and they have all given you all of the permissions needed?

5)  Can I afford this?  Can you afford the right tools? Can I afford a professional restoration should this stone break or be damaged?

6) What are the laws regarding this?  Did you even think that cleaning a stone could be classified as vandalism?  Will the cemetery association allow you to clean a stone?  If the stone is in a rural cemetery, is it owned by a local government?  Are you trespassing to get to the stone if its a private cemetery?

7) You've decided that the family has abandoned tending to the grave, or have they? Are you assuming, or do you know for certain?

8) Can you afford the correct tools?  Do you have the money for the soft brushes, the D2, the distilled water to rinse the stone?  (Never rinse a stone in chlorinated water!)


Cookie's bottom line: do NOT clean a stone unless you have received proper training, do not assume anything, and understand that even the slightest mistake could be destroying history for future generations.  

And one other thing to think of - do you remember that woman in Europe who destroyed a fragile fresco of Jesus with her handiwork?  You don't want to be her.  Seriously.  No.  And it is not funny, it is not that no one cares.  She ruined a piece of work with the best of intentions and it went horribly wrong because she didn't know what she was doing.  

Don't be that person, OK?

In other words, don't clean that stone unless it's got your name on it. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

This must be what Hell is like...

Cookie is aghast. 

Simply, aghast. 

Seriously, what the hell was in the water in Bryan, Ohio, that led the makers of Etch-A-Sketch down this path? 

The toy is not the issue.  It's a record player with an attached mic.  A white mic.   One that Mike Douglas would be comfortable holding. 

But the horrible sound quality of the commercial!  The stilted verbiage!.  The off-key singing!  The sugared-up children!

I mean what creative mind came up with "It's a record player with a microphone, but without the record."

Would it have been so hard to write "It's a record player with an attachable microphone," and at the end state "records not included"?

And in what pop tart powdered sugared world DJ need a Mike Douglas-styled microphone? 

Seriously, what the fuck?

Of course, now I must possess one...

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

They want me so bad. Well, their gonna have to wait, forever.


When we moved to Baltimore, we had to get a landline phone.  There were a variety of reasons, but it boiled down to two things.  First, the husband is on call 24/7 for work, so we have to have a guaranteed way for his coworkers to reach him.  The second reason is that we have owned two large houses, and Cookie refuses to become one of the people who carry their cell phones 24/7.   The cell phone only is in use when I leave the house for a period of time, or travel, period.  

As a result, we get all manner of whack-a-doodle robocalls all day long.  You learn to live with that. 

I also get a lot of odd calls from our old area code, which is where the cell phones have their numbers based, based in Central Ohio.  One caller, "Bob" from the "electronic company" that and that he was "coming to turn our power off in your Columbus abode unless you give me your credit card number NOW and pay the $3,000 balance this very minute."  I laughed.  "Thees is not humorous," said "Bob".  I told him I had a thick juicy steak to eat, and that he was free to knock his socks off while trying to cut my "electronic".

We don't get many spammy text messages because we don't give out our cell phone numbers. But this morning, which making coffee,  I got a very odd text message through the cell phone from a dealer who bills themselves as Ford Superstore.  And Son of a Tallahassee Bitch, the dealership is for real.  How about that?

"Mr. COOKIE COOKIE" it begins...
"We have buyers for your used Ford F-150..."

This gave me pause for a number of reasons.   First, they had my full name. Which I found odd.  Secondly, they had my full name with my correct cell phone number. Thirdly, I don't own a F-150. 

So I called said dealership and said: "Why am I getting these from you when I have no business relationship with you?"

The operator said she would connect me to the right person. 

Eventually, Mr. Right Person picked up and said "Mr. Cookie - Yes, we would like you to bring in your truck and give you a premium on your trade-in amount."

So she put me on hold and transferred the call to the person who was up next to be the Right Person. 

This guy explained that this was part of a batch broadcast fax (which I call SPAM) from customer profiles drawn from their service department.  "You brought your Ford F-150 in last fall to have the tires rotated. It had Ohio plates."

"Now that intrigues me," says I.  And then I explain to him why:

1) I do not own a currently own a Ford.

2) I haven't owned a Ford since 1982 when I junked a 1973 Ford LTD that the engine seized up on leaving me stranded at college.

2) I do not now own, lease, rent, or drive a Ford F-150 pick-up, now or ever. (I know who I am, and someone living in a big city has no need for such. Or for a fragile self-esteem reason that many men buy such trucks.) 

3) I have never considered owning such a vehicle.

4) Until today, I had never heard of this Florida town where said dealership is located.   And If I have never heard of it, it isn't possible for me to have been there last fall when we were in Baltimore - ALL FALL WITH NO TRAVEL because of COVID.

5) I would never take any vehicle to a dealership out of warranty and based on their text message said truck was way out of any new car warranty, for a tire rotation.

6) I haven't set foot in Florida since 2011 and have no intention of doing so in the future.

And finally: I haven't lived in Ohio for a decade. 

"So if  I have never been in the corner of the state where you are, or heard of the city where you are, or own the vehicle that I have never owned, leased, or driven, and thus I cannot rotate its tires, how did my name, and phone number get into your dealer's service logs on a vehicle that as far as I am concerned doesn't exist?"

Dead silence. 

Now, he did promise to take me out of their rotation of broadcast (SPAMMY) messages. 

Either this dealership has had a customer that used my name, my cell phone number, and someone else's VIN in their system. You'd think that would get kicked out, don't you? Or the person at the dealership made some fantastical (as in "I call bullshit") story up. 

Then the coup d' grace. I asked what number he had just taken out of the system.  He says "Well, the one you are calling from," and he rattles off my landline in Baltimore.  

"Guess again, son."

Now, I am not saying that this dealership isn't above board and all, but something here ain't right.  And had he just come out and said "Sir, I do not have any idea how this happened," it would be a closed book. 

But this story about me being someplace I was not, doing something that I did not do, and driving something I wouldn't drive, now that gets to me. 

And I will get to the bottom of it.  Because my question is, have other people fallen for this?  Or who in their right mind would want to be me.  (I should add that Life Lock hasn't ever sent me a warning that someone was trying to be me.)

But one thing is for sure, I'll never buy a car from them, new, used, leased, or otherwise made up.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

There two kinds of people. Which are you?

 Cookie begs the question, are you someone who looks at the obvious, or do you see the big picture? 

Because you could be missing out on the lie that tells the truth.

And someone could get embarrassed. 

Or Cookie could post the picture on his blog. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

A new computer means new angst...


Over the last several years, Cookie has been plagued with computer woes.  And its all my fault. 

Now, before you read further, do not comment by throwing Apple love at my bitterness. I too love Apple machines.  But they don't work well with what I work with. 

ANYWAY...In 2010 I built through Dell an amazing machine - in fact, I overbuilt it.  I did not want to go through the process of having to buy and then a couple years later, jettison a computer because it was struggling to keep up.  And this machine was the answer.  I loved it so much, I named it, Endora because it felt effortless, and like I could do anything.

I built it so well, that except for a bump in RAM, it ran beautifully for eight years - a record for me. Endora never let me down.  Alas, the processor was aging, and I determined it was time to say goodbye. 

So like an idiot, instead of doing my own homework, I listened to the sales reps at MicroCenter and bought a Dell that they had customized. (Normally, I love Microcenter, having never been led astray before this purchase.)  The operating system was on a small SSD, and the former C drive was repositioned as a "D" drive for my documents and pictures.  They claimed that I could load programs to the D drive and they would run just fine. Well, I had problem after problem after problem and the machines just locked up, so they replaced them. There were three replacements in a six-month period.   I was not happy with Microcenter and they were tired of me, but the fourth machine stuck, kind of.

First off, some programs didn't like being on one drive and the operating system on another.  Photoshop kicked up the worst fuss. But the other issue was that for whatever reason, there never seemed to be enough resources or cooling power.   And no amount of upgrades seemed to help.

Idiosyncrasies that we intermittent  - like the mouse freezing up for a second once in a great while, or the computer pausing like it had a momentary lapse in memory happened, but they were the rule, until...

Last year it started behaving wonky and when 32g of ram didn't help, we upped it to 64g.  But the performance was declining. It was like Esmerelda had taken control of the machine.

This past December things became dire, and we entered the AUNT CLARA stage right after Microsoft uploaded one of the pesky Windows11 updates, and I didn't install it.  That was when the mouse pausing went into overdrive, the screen started flickering and flashing, and Photoshop started crashing. 

We decided to replace it with another one built directly with Dell.  Then we would slip out the D drive and install it in the new machine.  Wouldn't that be easy? 

In the middle of February, New Dell arrived, shiny, nice case, and in a pleasant surprise, the 500mg SSD drive was upgraded by the manufacturer to a 1000tb SSD. 

Then I turned it on and there it was, Windows11 Professional.   That first couple of hours wrestling with the new operating system was pretty hellish. I developed one of my sick headaches, and we set the new machine aside. 

I started doing some homework and soon learned that Windows11 is a mother fucking pain in the arse, and I am not alone in my opinion.  So much so that a whole cottage industry exists making apps to make the thing work for you better, rather than you working on it as it demands. 

And don't even get me started on how "flat" (cheap) it looks.

One example is that Cookie does not "chat" through Microsoft, or other platforms.  I do use IOS messenger, but I have no need to "chat" unless you call me on the landline.  But you cannot get rid of the Chat button on the toolbar.  For that matter, the ersatz Apple IOS-looking toolbar takes up a bit of room on the screen, too.

But change is coming.  I have to get the new computer up and running, AND, I understand that Microsoft will be unleashing so many changes to meet with consumer complaints in the fall.  

Mid-March looks like a beast, but I'll make it.  Then after this machine is completely ended of anything usable, I reformat the C drive and take it to be recycled.  It's not that I dislike it, but no one else shall be burdened with it. 

Monday, February 14, 2022

"...Fauci wants you to be oxygen starved..." said the bird


Today, I drove up to Wegman's, Hunt Valley, to grab something for dinner.  When I came into the parking lot, and parked I noted lots of fluorescent orange fliers on the windshields of the cars.  And my first thought was the pre-pandemic "No! something else to throw away, damn it."

I park the truck, get out, mask on my face, and start walking to the store when the person (or one of the people) distributing fliers approached me.  Again, in my pre-pandemic mind, I said to myself  "Jesus just leave me alone."

No. Such. Luck.

The woman looked like a strung-out Blythe Danner, but she was wearing expensive clothing and a gorgeous fitted coat.  And into my hand, she pushed a flier.  And then she told me to "Take off that mask; you need to breathe."

Excuse me?

"You need to take off that mask and breathe.  Your brain is oxygen-starved for breath."

Yeah, someone is cuckoo for Coco-Puffs.

I continued to walk, her flier in hand.  And she continued to harangue me.  

"Talk off that mask and breathe.  Fauci wants you to be oxygen-starved so you will be complacent.  Vaccines are experimental.  They are rotting your ability to think for yourself.  You need to take off that mask and breathe..."

Oh, shit.  

By this point, people started starring and a couple people start yelling at the woman about the littering she was instigating.  

"You are big pharma's..." and I tuned her out.  She said everything to me and it was too much. 

I kept walking. 

She stopped before I crossed the traffic lane that separated the parking from the front of the store.  More people were starring at her. 

I went into the store, grabbed a cart, and headed for the front desk.  Then I thought, nope, I need to take this to the pharmacy.   Which is what I did. 

I handed it to the pharmacy employee - where customers can get a booster -  and told them what was up outside.  They said they would take care of it.  She called the store manager and was talking when I left.

I found my items, got in line, and paid for them.  

When I left the store the woman was nowhere near where I was walking, I noticed a security patrol for the shopping center out of his vehicle pulling the fliers from windshields. 

We have been going through this damned pandemic for two years because this virus is hard to smack down, and it's hard to smack down because of people like that woman.  Spreading misinformation, harassing people, lying, and spreading all sorts of conspiracy theories. 

And I thought about keeping the flyer to show others, but why?  To what end?   I mean I post a picture of that ransom note looking flier and it gets copied by someone and gets distributed, or worse I get a smackdown from Bloggr for distributing that crap.

On one hand, I am grateful she didn't touch me or try to go for my mask. 

On the other hand, FUCK HER, in the metaphoric sense only. 

But one thing is for sure if anyone needs Big Pharma, it is that bird. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Things of my youth: Petrolagar

Cookie is getting old, and there is a milestone birth ahead in the fall that reminds him of that.  

Cookie is so old in fact that most of the things from his youth no longer exist.  And that might be for the better, too. 

Take Petrolagar.  A medicine that my mother fed me each night before bed.

Well, I took it, not by choice.  But did any child who was fed it by their parents in the hopes of avoiding constipation in their children back in "then"?  The answer is no - your parents poured and you opened up until you were big enough to say "NO!" and not get spanked. 

Petrolagar was a children's laxative filled with mineral oil.   When it was new from the factory, it came emulsified and uniform in a creamy white liquid with an inoffensive taste.  Most kids didn't mind it in this fashion - we'll get back to this in a minute - and parents only had to give it a little shake before they poured it out. 

This was the only example of the bottle I could find.
The contents separated, but it wasn't gross, just white. 

The packaging was that of a milk or cream bottle - clear, wide mouth opening a white lid.  The label was sky blue with white.  I seem to recall that in the early 1960s, the font was different and the 'g' had one of those circle tails.  Anyway, it tasted better than that nasty crap Fletcher Castoria that children have been abused with for ages.

So this was part of my routine of early childhood. 


Until Mom brought home something different. 

First, the label said Cascara PETROLAGAR, according to my mom years later.  Secondly, the bottle was brown, the label orange.  And my mother said the dreaded words that children fear: "It's just like the other stuff, but in a different bottle."

So I opened up my mouth and in when the nastiest stuff in the world.  Christ that stuff was gross.  And if I could have verbally articulated it, instead of saying what must have been a BIG "Yuck!", the following words would have flowed from my mouth: "What is that nasty shit?"  

Reader, the taste was foul, the texture was off.  

It. Was. FOUL!

Well, the next day, I was getting ready for bed, and outcomes that nasty-looking bottle, and I refused.  Maybe I had a meltdown.  Who knows.  But no, I wasn't going to take that spoonful of muck. 

So my mother says, and even though this was 56 years ago I remember it clear as a bell, "Well I'll take a spoon just to show you it's good."  

So Mom opens up, that spoon goes in, and she spits it out.  

After that, the stuff in that brown bottle and the orange label went away and the daily dosing stopped. 

Now for the clincher - the ONLY place I could find an image of Petrolagar that I remember is this, which came from the Smithsonian's historic medicines collection. 

Now, the offshoot of all of this is that I continued to have gut problems for years, decades.  And then I had the lower third of my colon removed because of diverticulitis, and guess what? The stomach issues removed themselves. 

So there you have it.  Cookie is so old that his childhood medicine is in the Smithsonian. 

Friday, February 4, 2022

The beginning of the end for winter


Cookie is done with soothsaying and groundhogs. 

Look, winter is winter, and it's ALWAYS six month weeks of winter from Ground Hog Day to the first day of spring no matter how you slice it, right. 

So Cookie likes to find the silver lining wherever he can.  Well, here is something you can bank on: Today, February 4, 2022, is the first full day of the last half of winter. 

Come again? 

February 3, at some hour of the day, is the mid-way point for winter.  At that point, we cross over that mark that we are now closer to the Vernal Equinox than we are 2021 Winter Solstice.  That means that February 4th is the first day of that final half.  With each day, we get closer to Spring than we are the first day of this winter. 

Yes, Cookie is fully aware that Mother Nature is going to do what she is going to do.  But at least the beginning of Cookie's favorite season - SPRING! - is on the way. 

But Cookie, some smart ass is thinking, that only means that the first day of winter, 2022 is that much closer. Yes, true.  But you are not going to spoil this for me.  Spoil it yourself if you must.  But not me.

Cookie knows better than to wish away time.  So every day is precious.  Bask in the longer daylight each day delivers.  Do the winter things you have been wanting to do but have been putting off. 8

For surly, ten days from now is Valentine's Day. And March 1st is FAT TUESDAY.

And verily, the light is at the end of the tunnel. And before you know it, happy daisies will be here again. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

What we did to see them say "I Do"

So, you may be wondering how is Cookie and if he is still alive. 

Cookie is fine, and yes, Cookie is still alive. 

We made it to the Wedding in Cincinnati, although sporting events and the weather made it difficult at best.  And if you have every driven in Cincinnati you know that going from point A to point B is, except for downtown, twisty and turny, up and down. 

The reception dinner was in Northern Kentucky, in downtown Covington, which I guess is now a happening place. And the room was full of the most adorable young men in the world!  

The wedding was at this lovely Catholic church - and no, Cookie and the Husband were not struck down by lightning getting into the event.   Apparently this church as a big honking bell (nine feet wide across the open end) by seven feet tall.  They do swing this bell when they ring it because the vibrations during the first ringing were so strong that it caused damage to the church building itself.  So the bell is clapped by an external hammer for a less shocking effect. 

And let me say that the bride was radiant.  The groom, tall, lean, handsome. 

But it was the mother of the bride, one of my longest-running friendships (52 years) who stunned me with her dress.  

You know how frumpy a mother of the bride's dress can be?  

Not this one.  

Medium navy blue, beaded with a full skirt and tea length, the hem hit my friend's legs at the perfect point to slim and lengthen her legs.  The dress top hit her arms just at the top of her shoulders, and the straps did a wonderful cross in front and back.  Color matching pumps finished the look.  Made me want to tear up because while I have known said friend forever, this look on her was simply amazing.  And oh, the dress, custom-designed for her by her cousin's husband in his fashion house in Manhattan. 

The dinner reception was held at a building that Cookie first visited in 1985 - a former Passionist Brotherhood Monastery.  Back in the late 1970s, the monks moved on, and left behind was this former chapel and the ancillary building.  Back then, the ancillary building was being made over into offices, but finding a use for the historic chapel (I don't call it a church as it is not in the shape of the cross) was trickier.  I believe at the time we visited it was being used as a media studio.   Well, that didn't pan out, so the building owners struggled to find a use.  

Finally, it found its purpose as an event space.  And it was PERFECT!

During the dinner, the room was utterly breathtaking.  Lights up, shabby chic and all, the flowers, the well-dressed people (including this young Lesbian couple who dressed in the most incredible outfits that showed off their amazing curves.  Did  And the food, which I understand is prepared on-site was ungodly delicious.   Cookie had chicken and prime rib, and while I am a beef guy, that chicken was out of this world. 

Finally, the lights came down - see above -  and the dance floor opened up and the room transformed into a nightclub for the happy couple and their guests.

Thankfully, we took the wedding shuttle. Driving up and down Mount Adams at night isn't for the weak-hearted.  In bitter temperatures, and snow and ice, it was even more nail-biting.

The flights were all fine, Delta treated us royally in first class.  Normally we wouldn't bother with FC flying from Baltimore to Ohio, but we can no longer get there easily.  Thus was flew Baltimore to Atlanta to Cincinnati, and home was the reverse.  

Now we wait one more day to take our COVID tests just to make sure that we didn't catch anything. 

The only thing we didn't have at this wedding was a bridal flower toss.  Do they still do those?

Finally, we did not get the prize for the furthest travel to the event.  Not even close.  The winner was a friend of the family who flew from Germany to be there. 

So that is what we have been up to.  

Hope you all are well, stay healthy and safe, Cookie. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Ugh of the moment: of wardrobe, COVID, airlines and uncertainty.


That feeling of not being in control. 

You know that you are old when what was a blazer becomes a sport coat. 


The husband and I have a wedding that we have to attend this winter season.  We are friends of the family and we have to go.  The problem is, it is being held nowhere near where we are, and nowhere we would ever want to go.  So there will be flights - two in each direction.  Then there is the hotel.  Ugh.

The only good news is that we are flying First Class.   

And First Class makes everything better.

We were given a suggested wardrobe list, but given that we are traveling hundreds of miles, to a city that we don't know in frigid conditions, we are traveling light - two carry-ons, period. 

So the first thing to go was the idea of a suit of any kind.  Two reasons, one the last time we needed a suit was when my mother in law died, and since then, eight years and a pandemic have happened.  I love the bride and groom, but no, we aren't going to buy new suits for this.  

So we cleared the sport coat idea with the bride's mother and got the green light on that.  

But there is a problem - the stores have nothing in stock. 


I take that back.  I did find a sport coat for me, not the greatest, but it was in stock and it fit.  It was also on sale.  That's a win.

THEN we tried to find one for the husband.  We bombed on that.  Not one store had anything for him.  And it isn't like the old days when you could out and find locally-owned men's stores.  We did Banks and we did Men's Warehouse. Nothing. 

I did find him a gorgeous coat that would have fit at Nordstrom.  The problem is the price.  Macy's nothing. 

Husband has two fit challenges. First, he's tall. Secondly, we are no longer the lean young men we first met in college. 

Banks - two stores - had two coats.  Actually, one coat at two different stores.  A lifeless light grey coat that looked more like a misplaced suit jacket than a blazer or sport coat.  The material was poor, and it was uninspired. 

So this weekend we strike out again.  I sense bitter disappointment. 

And in the end, this may be for naught. 

With Omicron gathering steam and the airlines in a huge mess, and our inability to board our dogs, we may not be able to attend, realistically. 

What we told the mother of the bride is that if it gets to the point where one of us is sick, or my doctor forbids me to fly because of my lungs (severe asthma against the potential damage of Omicron), or the husbands work demands that he be on duty, all of this will go out the window. 

The good news is, we have had travel insurance.  So if the plans fall through, we're covered 100% less the cost of the jackets, is covered.

And the good news for the bride's parents is that listened to me when they booked the venues and bought insurance that would cover cancelation IF the COVID Crisis forces the event to be postponed or canceled and a smaller wedding is called for at a different time. 

The bad news is that a really sweet couple may not have the wedding the bride dreamed of.  And she is a wonderful young woman.  So we want all good things for them, and for her.

So send out positive vibes for the weekend.  If we can find a jacket for the husband, then we only have to deal with the uncertainty of travel.  



Thursday, December 30, 2021

1,800th Image

"Malcolm, Farnum, and Gilbreth - Walnut Lake, May 1920"
Where is this Walnut Lake? Assuming that these are last names, what are their first names? 
And which are which?  
BTW, this is not the 1,800th hundred image.  Just an example of what I have to work with sometimes.

There is an old saying that everyone dies twice.  Once when the body and soul cease to exist, and the second time, the last time your name is uttered aloud. 

Cookie believes that in the last 170 years or that photography has been a part of people's lives, there are also a third, and a fourth death.  

The third is when the person's gravesite is lost. 

And the fourth, when there is no longer an image of that person or their markers. 

Today, at noon, Cookie uploaded his 1,800th image to Find A Grave.  Of that, about 300 are tombstones and grave markers. 

And 1,500 are pictures of the deceased person.

I write this, Not to brag, but to observe.   It's that whole "fourth type of death" that cookie wants to undo.

So that has meant spending years, pouring over pictures, comparing photographs, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, then scanning, cropping, correcting, restoring, and uploading.  And when I couldn't find a memorial, searching records & census forms, looking at others family trees*, searching old books, registrations, and walking graveyards, then creating the memorials once they have been proven. Then I create the memorials for the descendants and upload that picture, or pictures, of people like you and me, people who never thought about fading from memory. 

Not all of the pictures are what I would call "winning" images.  Many were taken 100+ years ago using crude Kodak box and Brownie cameras, the film for which is horrible at the contrast.  Or they were taken with the color film other than Kodachrome, which presents its own horror as the dyes have long been broken down so that everything is PINK.

And to fix these, I have been teaching myself Photoshop CC.  No easy task because I was taught to use lighter-duty programs.  After two years I consider myself a beginner.   I still have a long, long way to grow. 

I should add that I have never once used an AI program to autocorrect an image, or worse, color it.  

For example, I just finished a photo album belonging to a long-gone cousin who made friends everywhere she went.  100 pages, 500 images of people, places, and events.  Only about 75 people be ID's right off the bat and found online.  Another 100+ had to be fully researched, traced, and their memorials created.   I still have approximately 175-200 people for which I only have first, or last names, like SMITH, TOUEY, McBRIDE, or SUSAN, AMELIA, JIM.  Some have nicknames like SPOTS, WINKIE, SIS, and something called the "The FARQUARTET" whatever that is.  The frustrating ones are the ones like this:  "My relative Suze" and "Liz's ex-husband, SPATS."

Not enough people named DUCKY, UNC, and SPATS.  Where oh where are you, SPATS?

I have a lovely photo of "Dickie in his new Nash" dated "September last".  Is it 1919, 1920, or 1921? 

DAMN IT, these people have names!  Help me, Jesus.  Seriously.  Enlighten me.

And so when I finish this post, I will dive back in, trying to jog something in my head between an early seen image and a later one.

My other push to do this is that while we live in a world of photography, the pictures are surviving as we think they are.  Polaroids are darkening, color snapshots are yellowing, their blacks fading, and CDV and Cabinet card images are slowly fading away for a variety of reasons.  So time is not our friend, my friends.

Mark those pictures, people.  Having something is better than nothing!

So I will do this until I can no longer do this. I will keep at this task.  

No one deserves to be forgotten.  And Cookie is doing his damnedest to make sure that I get through as many of these before the day comes when someone has to make a memorial for me.

Monday, December 13, 2021

The bestest present for a young Cookie


Children gather 'round.  The picture above is 1964/1965 PLAYMOBILE, the BESTEST Christmas ever for a young Cookie (I was but a dollop of dough in those years), and oh, how I loved it so. 

It served no purpose but to keep children with imaginations busy.  And how lucky I was to get one, one Christmas from my gentile grandparents (I had a set of gentile grandparents and a set of Jewish parents.)  

With batteries, you could make the turn indicators blink and I think the windshield wipers swept to and fro.   The dashboard was made from good quality Styrene plastic, which was stable, but the windshield was made from acetate plastic, which was the only fly in the ointment.  Acetate plastics over time warp - and like every other Playmobile set up like this I have seen since on eBay, the windshield developed a sunken sag along the top middle. 

Overtime, mine was tossed and I think my parents left it at our old house for the children of the buyers to play with. 

This is something that I never forgave my parents for.  

And I am not joking. 

Alas, now I am too old, and have too much fine art to accommodate one should I find one at an antique market. 

This makes me sad - not for me - but for children to come. 

Driving the Playmobile required a lot of imagination.  And that's something that I think children are being robbed of by all this new technology today.  On the other hand, I am sure what people in their sixties in the 1960s thought about those of us born in the 1960s.

In any event, whenever I see one of these, for a moment, I am again a three or four-year-old and I marvel at it.  And part of me really wants Santa to bring me one. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021



This is from an ad for the American Meat Producers Association.  

The message?  Do you want a party that people will remember for ages to come?  Serve MEAT.  And plenty of MEAT. 

Because only MEATiest pieces of MEAT can give your guests the energy to get through an evening of square dancing.  A night of Pictionary.  A night of Disco. 

Only MEAT can help you throw a real barn burner, metaphorically, speaking.  Because burning a barn is probably illegal, and besides, that is where you keep your beef cattle.  

So maybe not a barn burner.  

But be sure there is plenty of MEAT to go-go around. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Cookie is done with "SCOTT"...

We have all been there, right?

There you are: you are living your life, and the phone rings CONSTANTLY with people in poor countries pestering you with robotically dialed calls.  They tell you their name is something hard to believe because it seems unlikely that someone from that part of the world would name their child "Darrell" or "Betty", but we knew that isn't their real name.   And they are constantly trying to sell you something that no one would ever buy over the phone, like Medicare coverage.  

This morning, it was SCOTT, and it was a doozy of pitch: 

"Hello, my name is SCOTT, and I am calling from the FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF VISA AND MASTERCARD." 

As if.  A "Federal Department" of Visa and Mastercard?  Seriously? 

Cookie was tempted to just hang up - after all, I once worked with financial institutions rolling out new credit card programs.  

I know how it works.  From the accounting to the "online or batch" processing, to even designing the face of your card.

I even remember the cardboard wheel of "chargeback" calculators we used to use.

But Cookie is a picker.  Pick, pick, pick, pick, pick. 

So Cookie said: "my, you sound important?"

"Yes," says he, "and I am calling to tell you that you must provide me with your credit card number now or I will discontinue and have you arrested."

Oh, SCOTT, do you have any idea that this isn't the way anything is done?

"YES! You must do this now as there are security police and the FBI on their way to arrest you for noncompliance!"

Reader, do you know what Cookie did?   Cookie said: SCOTT, Isn't this a bit like a ten-year-old screaming a threatening 'My father is going to sue you for being mean to me,' to another kid on the playground?

I mean, really, SCOTT.  Security Forces AND the FBI?   But there was SCOTT on the other end of the phone getting ready to have a seizure over this make-believe acting gig.

So, I hung up on SCOTT, even as he continued screaming at me into the phone. 

Cookie is so done with these people.  SCOTT needs some weed and mellow, because, dude, it wasn't working. 

But if they are going to keep calling, I am going to be irascible. 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Cuomo Affair: Missing the point.


UPDATE: CNN Terminated Cuomo's contract and his employment on Saturday, November 3, 2021.

As Cookie continues to mourn the collapse of American society and education, there is a growing roar that is proving to men that we are no longer a nation of the Free, but a Confederacy of Dunces. 

The latest kerfuffle is the shockingly high number of social media who feel that Chris Cuomo should be reinstated at CNN.  CNN put Cuomo into a permanent suspension mode after it came out last week that Cuomo used his position at CNN to do background workups on the accusers of his brother, former Governor Mario Cuomo Jr. who is facing legal action for his sexual harassing of women, including those on the governor's payroll.

Cookie is a former journalism student, and Cookie is a former HR professional.  My view is that Cuomo should be told to pick up the contents of his office and the contract canceled.  Why?   Because he more than likely breached his contract with CNN.  

Normally employment contracts between BIG name talent and their employees (in this case, on-air talent) who have signed employment contracts have two clauses that are pretty constant.  Under the breech section, contract employees can be dismissed for a variety of reasons, but of those varieties of reasons, two are pretty standard: misuse of company resources for personal enrichment, behavior, or acts that cast the employer in a negative light.   In Cuomo's case, he did both, according to reports.  And if he did those things, there is a very real possibility that he could be charged with gaining information for illegal purposes, and/or witness intimidation. 

NORMALLY, in these forums, you find members of the political extreme railing against the other side's media outlets, real or imagined.  However, on this matter, I am seeing a lot of accounts (or sockpuppets) on the left (or pretending to be) railing against CNN for suspending Cuomo.  

Well, of course, there are those who love Cuomo.  And there are the people who hate him.  But Cookie is finding the flimsiest of arguments emerging: He was defending his brother so he should be allowed on the air. 

Now the Constitution does make a provision for the spouse of an accused cannot be made to testify against a legal spouse.  A wife cannot be compelled to testify agist her wife, or her husband, and the same for a man testifying against his husband or wife.  But the legal doctrine of this nation provides no shield for siblings of the accused.  Never has, never will. 

Yet these idiots find what he did (breach of contract, and any misdemeanors or felonies) acceptable and excusable because he was helping his big brother.

Never mind that aiding and abetting, or the perception thereof, tarnishes his reputation, they find what he did acceptable.  And Cookie is very afraid of that concept. The law makes no provisions that allow a shield of protection to those who willingly or unwittingly do stupid things that infringe on the rights of others, period. 

But Cookie also suspects that there are a good number of very twisted ideologues who are championing his reinstatement because then they get a chance to undermine CNN by employing the type of people like Cuomo who have no ethics.  

NOW, the other end of this is that because Donald Trump has made such behavior acceptable by building an entire administration around this concept of "the ends justify the means" doesn't we that it OK for anti-Trump people to stoop to that level.  And yet that is another argument why Cuomo should be reinstated. "But what about Fox News? They do things like this all the time!" they complain. The problem with that is it's a false equivalency.  

(And Cookie should put the cards on the table about FOXNews - its dishonest propaganda, and it presents a very real threat to any democracy, conservative, moderate or liberal.)

If we do not fight for what is righteous, if we abandon our principles, then we have nothing left to fight for. 

So Cookie thinks and knows that CNN has to off-load Cuomo.  Once legal reviews this, he needs to go. 

As a warning to others, as a punishment to him.  

It has to happen.  And since I wrote this originally, they have terminated his employment.