Monday, October 11, 2021

Those automatic washer ads from the fifties tell a story that is over looked.

Cookie has noticed that increasingly young know-it-all - the ones that know nothing about history, herstory, ourstory - have been dissing 1950s and 1960s appliance ads.  Some complain that these ads, promising appliance happiness are:

1) "Nothing more than the consumer indoctrination of archetypical females constructs designed by men."
2) "Machines designed to enslave the housewife" while "burying her under the weight of consumerism."  
3) "Products designed to transfer wealth from families to corporations..." and so on and on. 

If you want the long history of laundry and the caustic chemicals that people tried to get their clothes clean, look it up on Wikipedia.  Suffice it to say that it was a labor-intensive, often-dangerous, back-breaking affair.  That is unless you were well off enough to have a laundress on house staff or at least a laundry you could send your clothes to. 

"Electrified" clothes washers started emerging as commonplace after WWI.  They were nothing more than tubs, with wringers attached to them. 

If we speed up past the 1920s, and 1930s and into the late 1940s, most U.S. women were still using these beasts, that looked like this: 

Quaint, looking, ain't it?  But for those of you that never saw your mother, grandmother, or who otherwise used one of these beasts, let's go over what it took. 

First, laundry was done on a day of the week, usually by everyone changed with the duty.  And in most places that was Tuesday.  Why? People didn't burn their trash on Tuesdays, so the air was clear for laundry.  (And yes, Cookie remembers being at his grandparents in small-town Ohio and seeing people burning trash. But never on Tuesday.)

So a housewife has all day to do laundry, but at the same time, she has to cook, tend the children, and the husband.   So in the morning, the laundry got lugged to the machine.  These washer ringers were just that - they washed and they had ringers to squeeze the water and dirt from the fabric.  But they had to be manually filled.  So either that involved buckets of water or a hose run from the tap. And there was no cold water washing back then because there was laundry soap, not detergent, and you needed the hot water to melt the fats in the soap.  Once the soap was dissolved, the clothes were added in and the machine switched on, and the person doing the laundry would have to shut the thing down after a period of time was passed. 

All of this had to be timed because unlike modern detergents, laundry soap was harsh on fabrics.  And - this is important - at some point, the water starts to cool and the dirt that had been washed out could re-adhere to the cloth.  So you get careless, busy with something else, and get down to the basement with soap scum floating about and your clothes would need to go through the process a second time. 

Once the wash cycle was done and the machine turned off from just the washing, our housewife would remove one article at a time and run it through the wringer to squeeze out the water because these tubs didn't spin the water out - remember they have one speed, on and off.  The clothes were transferred to a dry sink basin or a basket.  A lever was manually thrown, and the tank drained, the drain closed and freshwater added, and the process repeated one or two more times, just for that load. 

But wait!  Grandma or great-grandma wasn't finished!  There was hand laundry - delicate that had to be washed, lest they get chewed up in that machine.  And poor grandma or great-grandma now has to lug the laundry to the line IF it isn't raining.  There could be snow on the ground and the laundry would still go out and the cold would freeze the clothes.  If you were lucky, you had your own basement to run a few lines for bad weather. 

And I haven't even brought up the cloth diapers that needed to be dunked and washed.  That was it's own nightmare.

Finally, while you are using this beast, IF it had four legs, you had to watch it to make sure it didn't tip over from the messed-up center of gravity.  Some manufacture over cam this by selling machines that five legs. 

Now imagine having to go through several cycles of this each Tuesday.  It literally robbed women of the day because it took all day.  And Cookie hasn't even brought up the ironing because none of these clothes were wrinkle-free.  It ALL hand to be pressed - nothing was wrinkle-free in those days.  Luckily, Ironing could be done the next day, because dinner back then had to be made, and cooking takes time. 

Now that we're exhausted by laundry, imagine what you will - in a post-war world where laundry could be compressed into a few short hours of one's time, without having to babysit the process and a fraction - not half, but a fraction - of the physical labor.  Sounds good, right?  That sounds like a freaking caprice! 

Well, this is what automatic washers and dryers brought to the housewives.  As advertised in the 1950 - even today, automatic washers and dryers delivered freedom from wash day drudgery.  Now laundry could be done any day of the week, or over the course of the week.  The machines took care of filling and draining the drums, agitating the clothes, and in some models (but not all) they would dispense bleach - something unheard of in their mother's day.

And now, with the advent of modern detergents, and multiple cycles, anything could be washed or dried.  On the Whirlpool model above, the gold buttons on the fronts of the machines were pushed to open the lid or the dryer door.   Fancy. 

And as tract houses went up, houses without basements, where did the builder put the laundry machines?  Some in mild climates went into the garage, while others went into the kitchen, on main floor utility rooms.  Hence the beautiful pastel colors.  I mean if the family is going to have to look at, why not make it as lovely as the rest of the kitchen.  And as technology improved, so did the features of the machines. 

And Cookie is just old enough to remember when his mother bought her mother her first fully automatic washing machine and my grandmother cried.  For the first time in her adult life, she had a day when she could do just about anything while the machine was doing the work for her. 

So while we may look over these old ads, trust me - may seem amusing - if the appliances seemed glammed up, there was a good reason: they were buying their freedom from the drudgery of the washday blues. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Oh, the Angst...


All is normal on Facebook, as you see.

Did you hear it, last night before 8PM EDST? 

Facebook came back online. 

For better or worse, it has become the dominant communication platform.  Cookie uses it for work, others depend on it far too much. 

But the ANGST!

And the loser through all of this yesterday? 

Zuckerberg, sure - he lost about 5% of his net worth, on paper.  And institutional investors started dumping the stock, too. 

But it's his flying monkey, Sheryl Sandberg who is really on the hot seat.  

If Zuckerberg is King, Sandberg is Machevelian Cardinal.  He has the ideas, and she executes the ones that will reap the greatest profit. 

Her latest idea? Instagram for little girls.  Weeks after learning that Instagram is affecting the well-being of millions of teens, they want to sew doubt, questions of body image, and make the lives of children harder than they are now. 

The leak from a former employee charging that not only does Facebook fails at the job of stopping the bull shittery by allowing the bullshitery, because the bullshitery engages more people.  This may explain why the profiles that get reported as spewing false news, insults, and thinly veiled threats are never dealt with. 

Then there was the Wall Street Journal coverage of the whistleblower, the interview on 60Minutes last Sunday, and her testimony in front of the U.S. Senate today.  

Then the system went down yesterday faster than a hustler earning money from a trick.

And it stayed down. 

And Facebook had to use Twitter to get the closely guarded, carefully worded statement out that "Some people" couldn't access the platforms affected. 

It really is time for the government to step in a break this monster up.  

The public wants it.  

But the collapse yesterday of Facebook, Facebook Messenger, What's App, and Instagram proves that Facebook is in trouble, and that spells out trouble for every user. 

Break it up.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Dude! Put that away!


If you know me, and I mean really know me, then you know that there is one thing in this picture that I "just can't even" over. 

The guitar. 

Cookie has a morbid aversion to guitars. They imply that one never knows where the evening will take you.  Even when you don't want to be taken for an impromptu troubadour's journey. 


Not a guitar in the hand of someone who knows what they are doing with it.   Not a guitar in the hands of Lady Gaga, or Sting, or any number of talented people. 

I am talking about the casual strummer-type guitar.  Strum, strum, strum-strum, CHORD CHANGE. Strum, strum-strum...

The guitar that sits in a stand-in some home who is learning guitar.  

The guitar sits unused in someone's house until a guest asks about it and the host says "It's probably so out of tune..." and then the guest decides to tune it for them. 

The guitar that a coworker whips out a staff meeting and says "Let's all sing Micheal Row the Boat Ashore..."

The guitar that a neighbor takes out on their porch at night and starts to play Lay Lady Lay and instead thinks it is a song about Lady Elaine (Fairchilde) and butchers the words of differing worlds. 

The guitar that gets named "Michaela", "Jonie" or "Rose" and played as if the finger of the chords is to bring it to a musical orgasmic outcome. 

The guitar that a person who cannot sing "Pilot of the Airwaves" tries to play while they try to sing that song. 

So yeah, dude.  Put that pony where it belongs; put that pony in the barn.  

You are ruining my buzz.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

If it's October, it means the Pumkin Spice Girlbots are back

Be forewarned, they are ALL Libras. 

As is tradition, its that time of the year!  We have to get this image out and name everyone in it! (Girl Squeals!)

So this year its: Jane, Janey, Jean, Janette (who didn't check her Instagram to know that she should wear a *fun* hat), J.J., J'anne (he say, idn't day, read ray, nstagram Iay, ither eay), Jan, Jhanne, Jo Jo, and Joan. 

Conversation snippets:

"OMG, where did you get those boots? They. Are. So. Cute."

   "Aren't they the cutest?"


   "Hey, those look like the boots I lent you, but they are so much cuter on you!"

"Your baby bump..."

  "I know, but I am so ready for 'Hannah' to be born."

  "So ready."

  "And Devon will have a baby sister!"

  "So excited!"

"J'anne, did you know that Tyler has been sleeping with their gardener."

  "We all warned her not to marry a younger man."

  "Shhh...Hey Joan!  How's it going, girl!  What were we talking about? On the QT, what to get Janey for the baby shower, of course..."

Friday, September 24, 2021

Current Mood: SADD

That's me, on the right. 


It's the first couple days of Fall, the earth is now headed in the direction of the Winter Soltice in eighty-seven or so days and Cookie is having his annual onset of Seasonal Affective Disease Disorder or SADD for short. 

My version of SADD tends to begin in the waning days of August, picking up speed just in time to crash into November, the most dreaded month of months for Cookie.  Yes, I know that fall clothes are supposed to be the funniest, sweaters (jumpers) and all - including the scourge of our lifetimes, Pumpkin Spice - but to Cookie, fall will always mean the onset of the "grey" - that filmy cloud that descends over my senses and makes me feel horribly alone, blots out lasting happiness, and ennui strikes to my very marrow. 

It's not my first time in this rodeo. No, this has been going on since childhood.  1995 was the worst.  That was the year that I was being set up at work by a lousy boss who had me believing I was the problem.  That was the year that I almost drove my car off the road at a high rate of speed to end it all, and that was the year that a medical professional listened for once and gave me a diagnosis that made sense. 

There are many of us with this affliction.  But it strikes at different times of the low sun months, and at different levels of intensity.   As I said, my worst month is November.  Then I start climbing out of it.  By the Solstice, things are looking up.  My MLK Day, I know I can get through it, and by Ground Hog Day, brother it is s spring in my book because that is the season I love the most.  I have a family member who does fine until January and then drops into the abyss, only to reemerge in April.  A friend goes over the edge in October and then struggles until March.  It's different for everyone. 

Still, it's not a disability for me, like it can be for many.  I just become very bear-like. So I am more fortunate for most. 

Anyway, if I post Hood's poem, "November" you will know that I'm not in a good place.  I will summon up the will to be happy in a few days.  After all, November IS the month for dressing balls and other home-cooked delights.   So there are some good things to look towards!

You only need to be alarmed if I post a picture of me eating the turkey-shaped candle so traditional with Americans of my age.  

Friday, September 17, 2021

The trouble with a friend of friend, a friend of your cousin...


In this book, Hardy Boys examine it very closely.  "Sniff them, Frank," said Joe.

Is it me or is Nicki Minaj just fishing for attention?

My mother would play a similar game.  In it, whenever I did something she disapproved of.  So while she never compared anyone's balls, she invented a "friend" who was saying the awful things she was thinking. 

So, when I grew my goatee in the 1980s, it became "My friend saw you in Columbus and said she saw you and wondered why he would ruin his looks with the facial hair."

Mrs. Passive, meet Ms. Agressive. 

But back to Nicki.  

You know that your a bull shit artist when you tell a whopper about an unnamed friend of a cousin Nicki.  And your music sucks, too. 

Now, Cookie is going to sit back and ponder balls...

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The one where you can't schedule an appointment


So Cookie had a wee fall a couple weeks ago.  It really was my fault.  I was coming down our main staircase, I was pondering where, if anywhere, I could find membership records for the United Commercial Travellers organization from the 1890s, my gaze fixed through the front door at the dog playdate happening on our front yard and thought I was going to step off the stairs, and...

...the next thing you know I am "ass over kettle" falling towards the floor.  

I landed on my feet, and then legs.  The bottoms of my feet didn't touch the floor.  No, the top of one foot smacked the floor, the other foot touched with my toes curled under, followed by the crash of my left knee.   The nose was terrific and my husband came running in from the kitchen. 

Nothing was broken, thankfully.  A lifetime of being a milk drinker paid off.  But unbeknownst to either of us, the nail on my big toe must have drive into the flesh around it resulting in what became an infection near the edge of the toe.  So I went to my doctor over the weekend when Mr. Toe looked angry, and the doctor put me on antibiotics and then sent a referral over to the recommended podiatric medical practice.  

That was Saturday.  I made three calls to the practice, no one answered.  On the third call, after forty-five minutes on hold, I left a message with a callback number and explained the problem in the message.  

I was not surprised when the crickets of the evening, instead of the call, emerged. 

So "lather, rinse and repeat" I started anew today.  

On the third call, someone answered.   

"Are you an old patient, a current patient, ar a new patient?" she asked. 

"New.  Dr. Hemoglobin should have sent over a referral on Saturday," says I.

"I don't have that."

"Perhaps someone else has it," I asked.

"No. I get those but I was out yesterday," says she.

"Then perhaps someone else has it," I asked.

This went round and round before she asked me why I needed to see a doctor.

"Injury to a toe, infection along the nail line."

"Are you in pain." It wasn't so much a question as it was a perfunctory statement. 


"The soonest I can get you in is the first week of November at our Havre D' Grace office," she stated. 

I pointed out that if I wait that long, I could have lost my toe if the antibiotic alone doesn't fix it, hence the reason for needing to see the doctor sooner.

"I can do Columbia the third week of October 18th at 8:00am," she pronounced.

What about something that isn't an hour in down and back in rush hour traffic. 

She got me to Carney, then Eastpoint, but I stood my ground.  There is an office not 20 minutes away. 

"Fine. I can get you in tomorrow morning."

I took the appointment. I am grateful that she got me in. 

But why is it so damn hard to get an appointment?  I know, understaffed, overworked, blah, blah, blah. I know I should feel blessed that she finally went looking for something, but somehow I feel as if I was belssed*.

But there is something else - this sense that an urgent matter can wait.  If I were someone who treats a podiatrist like a chiropodist, well then fine, my toenails could wait a week or two.  But when someone states that they have seen an MD, they have a referral, they have an infection and are on antibiotics, a light should have gone off somewhere that this person has something that won't wait six weeks.

So tomorrow, most likely said the doctor will look and say "you have an injury to your toe..." or they'll be sticking needles in my foot and cutting away to get the puss sack out. 

I will survive, mostly intact.  But the scheduler won't be getting a thank you card for not doing her job.

*When someone finally comes through after wasting your time.  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Deep thoughts, #37 A Better Way

 At some point in your future, you may encounter a situation that has no accepted solution.  It's the clever person who thinks in creative ways, as long as you remain on topic. It's the shrewd thinker who can sell an idea to someone who can make it come true.  Above all, do be open to new ideas. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

No, really, you can't go here again.


Horseshoe Lake,1909. The wee house in the distance was built in 1908-09.

Let me take that back.  You can go here, but aside from the house in the distance, it's now, in the eyes of the government agency responsible for its upkeep, officially gone.

One of the draws to the land once owned by the Shaker sect east of Cleveland in the early 1900s was the series of man-made lakes created by members of the sect to drive their gristmills.  They dammed up Doan Creek and flooded the lower lands and created these magnificent lakes.  When the land was bought up, the City Cleveland got the lower lake and on, Horseshoe Lake.  Taking the lakes, the city promised to maintain the damns and care for the lakes, forever. 

Horseshoe Lake was first threatened by Cuyahoga County Engineer Albert Porter - a sociopath, without a single redeemable quality.  In addition to being an A-1 creep, Porter hated the heights area up on the plain to the east and south of University Circle.  Porter felt that they were too stuck up to accept a low life like himself, so he plotted to destroy Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights by running freeways through the area.  Had porter had his way, there would be a giant cloverleaf interchange where this lake was. 

Shaker housewife fought him back and the old creep (Porter was a bully within the Democratic party, he bilked his own employees for kickbacks on his wages, AND was accused of sexual harassment back in the 1960s) and Horseshoe Lake had a fifty+ year reprieve. 

The end of the lake started two years ago started when it was drained by the sewer commission that oversees Cleveland's sewers and drainage, including creeks, streams, rivers, and other bodies of water.  It was only a "temporary" drain to fix the ancient dam created by the Shakers almost 200 years ago.  But the damn was never "fixed" - studies they said - and the lake bed, once twenty feet deep was never cleared out of the sediment muck.  Residents in the large old homes - that paid good money for the view and their taxes started demanding answers. 

They came this year.  Evidently, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District board or commission in charge of the money, has decided that removal of the dam will take place and the stream bed naturalized.  "You'll love it - it's so much better for the community!"

Never mind there is a legal agreement that says that they have to maintain the lakes.  

Never mind that there is no funding to support a wetland with native species and with removing the invasive species.  

Never mind the generations that enjoyed walk around the lake.  

Never mind the Van Deusen Nature Center built on land that made Horseshoe Lake look like a vague horseshoe. 

Like the carnies they are, they claimed "but we're going to maintain the Lower Lake and dam."  Between the lines, it read more like "we love Shaker and Clevland Heights, and we're only robbing you of one lake,"  the greedy little piggies around the table claimed. 

The cost of removing 20+ feet of muck and replacing the damn to return the lake to a LAKE will run upwards of $36m, and they won't pay that.  So instead, they are willing to pay $28 to remove the damn, naturalize the area, claiming flood benefits.  The upkeep would fall to Shaker.  The downside to this is, of course, Cleveland remains in control of land that they have failed to maintain.   

There is more here at Cleveland dot com, and Shaker and Cleveland Heights both could rehab the lake on its own.  But what happens when Cleveland pulls the plug on the lower lake or some other shenanigans in the future.  You know where there is vacant land, there is someone, somewhere who wants to develop it. 

The other question is what is it going to go to the values of the residences whose laws overlooked the lake.  Yes, I know they have plenty of money, but the real estate was worth more because of the houses, the huge lots, and the lake view.  Are the people in those properties going to see a reduction in their taxes, which are extraordinarily high, even by Shaker standards? 

What Albert Porter couldn't achieve with the Clark Freeway is being done by the sewer board.  

It's all a sham, as well as a shame.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Ruining the moment

 So my friend Dee Dee tells me that he is cruising around Chaturbate and comes across this man of his dreams, not for a lifetime, just for ten minutes.  Dee Dee's dreams are of lean, rough trade type in their 30s and 40s, with pickups and ball caps.  

Dee Dee and I never fight over the same men.   

And he finds this one guy who will do, and Dee Dee gets his groove up and ready.  "Oh, girl, let me tell you this guy is everything you can hope for online.  I mean I can find hundreds of younger guys online, but finding a guy like I like takes some effort, and this guy had it all."  

Then the guy moves off-camera. 

And Dee Dee sees the canister on the dresser that was behind the guy broadcasting. 

And the mood is broken.

"Oh, girlfriend, I had to disconnect.  I was beside myself. Crushed!" exclaims Dee Dee, who is six-four solidly built and centerfold material himself. 

"But when something like that appears, even on a video - and thank God, not in person - but still - yuck."

And then Dee Dee sends me a screen capture, and I see the canister and my stomach gets queasy.  


Ick, indeed.

Yes, the mood is indeed ruined.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Joey Porn Actor

It's Friday the 13th.  We all know that something is in store for us. 

And instead of telling you what a freaking fun day it has been (in the six hours I have been "UP" and got the car in for its emissions testing), this message for me on my Find A Grave account popped up. 

Go ahead, read a second or third time.  I sure as fuck can't figure it out.  I have discretely covered over the names of identifying people, although, I can tell you that I can't find anyone on that site with those names.  

So Cookie has questions.

I am curious as to who "Joey porn actor" is.  I mean I have never uploaded a face image of any porn actor who worked under the name "Joey".  

Is Joey their screen name, or a street name?   I thought there would be a "Pornactor" family in New Jersey, but for as plausible as that sounds, no dice. 

I am curious about what "my day" is as well.  I get what a "bey" is.  So is "day" short for "daddy"?

Pyramid scheme?  Huh? 

And what about finding out everything on their own at 50? 

No fucking clue. 

I almost get the feeling that someone has found out a family secret and got hammered, and just fired off messages.  

Still, Cookie doesn't quite understand why, if they have seen ("all"), why am I needed to interpret what they have seen?

I did send a reply explaining that I would love to help them, but they needed to provide some concrete names or memorial numbers.  I also kindly told them that if they need more help than I can provide that they should contact the site administrators. 

But I also sent the message to the site admins.  "Anonymous" has shown as a member of one day for three days now.   If they are in distress, or they are beyond the help I can provide, and the site admins are better able to handle that situation. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

What do Snake Handlers and Anti-Vaxers have in common?


I was talking with my friend Coranell from back home.  She called to me "on the cellular" to fill me in on some hometown gossip, something rare these days of people keeping to themselves because of  COVID, and she mentioned someone who we had gone to school with who died of the virus. 

I asked if there were calling hours, and she said no. 

"The family decided to bury him fresh in some cemetery by their home church in Kentucky.  I think it was St. Maudine of the Rattlesnakes or some such.  I wouldn't be surprised if they loaded him into their minivan and drove the body down themselves."

Can they do that?

"Cookie, are you supposed to cart firewood across state lines? No.  Do people do that?  Yes.  Does it matter to them," she asked  

Only if they get caught.


Coranell's people are from the hills of Kentucky and moved north to north-central Ohio when she was about ready for the first grade.  When her father died, and her mother decided to move back, Coranell, then beginning her senior year, balked. 

"I will never go back there," she told the judge at her emancipation hearing.  

One of the teachers at the high school saw a spark in my friend in classes and offered to let her share her house for her senior year. The teacher told her when we graduated that if she could put herself through undergrad, that she would pay for her masters.  Coranell graduated from OSU, went to grad school at an "Ivy" and then moved back home and taught in the city schools.  Eventually, the teacher died of old age and left the house to my friend.  Coranell lives there with her husband, Merle, and their pet dogs.

"I wanted a pet pig," she said once. "But Merle told me that I'd bond with it, then you have to 'take them to the farm', and I can't do that.  And the 'Ladies of the Club' would talk about swine 'On the boulevard?' I am not giving them anything to carp and crap about."

But I digress. About six months ago, Coranell started calling the had core anti-maskers snake handlers.  I asked why.  I mean Coranell is brilliant while I have a dull aura about these things.

"Well, think about.  How do those churches work?  They are run as personality cults, with a charismatic Preacher whose credentials usually come to them in a dream.  And they handle those serpents in front of idiots who believe that the spirit of JEZZUS is protecting whoever gets the asp."

Wait, don't you mean Jesus?

"Jesus has nothing to do with them.  These people are old school, primitive, rock by the waters of JEEZUS worshipers.  To them, their diety is glorious but punitive. Their savior doesn't wash the feet of the downtrodden.  'You know where the creek is, go on and do it yourself,' is their way of life. And the snakes met out the punishments.

"But here's the thing, if the snake doesn't bite the handler, to them, it's JEZZUS that protected that person.  And if the snake attacks and makes them ill it's JEEZUS again bringing the cure.  But if that snake strikes and the person dies from the venom, it's JEEZUS that called the dead person home to their reward.  

"It's the same with 'the COVIDS' - people know that it's deadly, but they handle the chances like the people in the hollers handle those snakes.  If they avoid getting bit, it's JEEZUS protecting them.  If they get it and recover, then it was JEZZUS that healed them.  But if they die, well that is a shame, but at least JEEZUS took them home to glory.  They have an explanation that makes sense to them everything.  Science? Pish. 

"But the morons don't understand is that they are getting the virus from anyone at any time.   I mean you can see a snake, but aerosolized virus particles, or hell no."

And there you have it.  It's ignorance, alright.  But it's also a sick and twisted form of Ingnornace Roulette.  

Doubt me? Look at that batshit insane Congresswoman Bober, she's got that look in her eyes like a snake handler.  Marjorie Taylor Green?  She has that look too. 

They are all wrestling with serpents.  And they would kill us all by spreading COVID if they could. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Lighting: getting it right is essential.

It used to be, and bloggers of a certain era will remember this, that buying light bulbs was an easy task.  If it was general use, it was a 60-watt.  For a three-way bulb, you had a choice - 50-100-150, or 50-200-250.  For special uses, there were 40, 75, 100, and 200.  About the only fly in the ointment was the dreaded MOGUL base for floor lamps. There were candle bulbs in texture and smooth, and floods and spots!  These bulbs lasted, burned out and you moved on.  I won't even go into fluorescent lighting, but you get the idea.

ANYWAY, the reason why I brought all this up is that the bathroom lightbulb in our "en suite"- a phrase that makes it sound lovely when it's just a bathroom - went out this morning.  When we moved in 2015, we switched every light but two antiques over to LED bulbs.  And all this time we've been using those LED bulbs and evidently they are beginning to fail.  

But now, with LEDs, you have choices. GE branded, FEIT (whatever the fuck that stands for) these odd-sounding brands, or store brand.  Do you want a HARSH blue hue light or a mellow soft light?  Do you want a bulb that changes colors?  Do you have to rewire your house to accommodate a light fixture with FOUR wires instead of the normal two wires?  

And then there are those God-forsaken steampunk-style bulbs that people just love, and Cookie abhors.  

Bare bulbs look like skid row decor.  Yes, I know, they are fashionable.  The last time bare bulbs were in were in fashion, it was the 1920s when standardized electric lights were becoming the norm, but the quality of light was poor.  Then bulbs got better, and they could be hidden by frosted glass and shade.  Well, it's 2021 for God's sake and we all have electricity.  Do we need to see your bulbs? 

There used to be an antique market in Pasadena, in the Paseo, that had an entire display of those monster bulbs.  You walk into the room that housed the display and it was hotter than Hellzapoppin.  The intensity of the coming off that display must be like what a menopausal heat flash is to a woman going through the change.   

So, back in the present, in Balwimore, Cookie went today to load up with all manner of new, efficient, bulbs for the house.  I get to the Large Mart and they have moved the bulbs to a different aisle, closer to the mundane lights they sell.  

And, son of a bitch, guess what. 

Irony of ironies, that aisle has the worst lighting in the store.  


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Catherine's Bible

It's not what you would call a fancy bible.  It's small, maybe 6x3½, covered in a dark greenish-blue leatherette.  It's a thick book for its size.  

The pages are small and the type is even smaller.  The pages are stained with brown foxing, much like the age spots we get on our hands are we grow old.  In the back, Catherine wrote in the information about her parents and their dates of birth and death.  Inside the front cover, in her hand, is her full name - First, Maiden, and Last.

The date on the title page is 1846. 

Our family has few and far between personal mementos that have survived the ages.  Cookie has always placed a value on the photos because we can see our ancestor's faces, where they lived, and such. 

A couple years ago I found myself in every genealogist's dream - presented with hundreds of family images, given to me by third cousins from their grandfather's collections.  For as much as I loved them, I scanned them all, and we found a repository that would preserve them, and make them available for any researcher to use.   

I had a pang of reluctance to deliver these items. At the last minute, I just looked around and loved them with all my heart.  But I packed them lovingly and delivered them in Ohio to a place where we all could access them.  350+ images, online, for anyone - family, researchers, historians, students - anyone could have them.  

And in the end, I breathed a sigh of relief.  They belonged to all of us and needed to be accessed IF they were going to be of use.  I scanned them - all into hi-res files, blown up so we could look at the detail.  Doing that and the donation was the right thing to do. 

But two weeks ago, another box arrived with daguerreotypes, more papers, and this bible. 

The daguerreotypes are scanned - even the one that had ghosted came out marvelous.  Included was an image of Catherine from the 1850s - one that I never believed I would see.  So young - she had only had five of the twelve children that she and her husband would have. 

But this bible kept me up nights. None of Catherine's descendants own these items.  Nor are we collectors.  But we are connectors.  We hold these items until they can be passed onto the next generation.  So the bible passed from Catherine to her daughter, to her grandson, to her great-granddaughter, to her great great-granddaughters, and then, to me, her great-great-great-grandson - that's an average of 35 years at each step in the chair, excluding my possession.   

The problem is, I have no children.  There is no chance to keep it in my line. 

The question is, where should it go? 

And the problem with that question is that I am having a hard time parting with it.  

Cookie believes in God, is a member of a religion, or two, can accept communion, is a lapsed Catholic, and certainly is still partially Jewish.  People who say you can't do this if you are blah, blah, blah, need to look in the mirror and remind themselves that there is no linear path to believing in a Supreme Being.  

But Cookie is also not one to sit and read a bible.  Even Catherine's.  But I marvel at how she turned the page to mark a psalm, or two an important verse ("To every season...").  She was a woman of immense faith.  But I am trying very hard not to imbue an object with magical powers.  It's simply my connection to her having a physical token to hold that makes this hard. 

In the end, I will take some photos - which will be hollow pictures of an inanimate object, but they have the connection that this book has.  Then I will box it up, and send it off to the next connector, a third cousin in Utah.  I chose him because he is a member of the LDS Church, he has daughters, and the continuance stands its best chance.  He's not my first choice.  

He is the book's best hope.  

And I have to let my head guide me that his faith will do what is best for Catherine's memory. and her  bible.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Stand Guard


Cleveland's baseball team will officially stop being the Indians at the end of the 2021 season and become the Cleveland Guardians.   

This is great news for a myriad of reasons, front and foremost because it ends the use of native Americans as a baseball club name.  The team, which dropped Chief Wahoo years ago as a mascot has settled on a wonderful name - one that homage to the city and its skyline and traditions: The Guardians. 

So what is the relationship between the name and the architecture?  The Guardians of Traffic are four pylons - two on the Cleveland side and two on the west side of Cleveland, at each end of the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, renamed the Hope Memorial Bridge.  Bob Hope's father helped carve the pylons, and Bob Hope grew up in Cleveland.

Each pylon has an art deco east-facing "guardian" and a west-facing "guardian".  Each holds a different means of transport - eight altogether.  Erected in 1932, the vehicles include pioneer wagons to automobiles and trucks.  At 43 feet tall above the roadbed, and 100 over the Cuyahoga valley below, they are among the largest pieces of public art in Cleveland.   The easternmost pylons are about 1,000 feet from Jacobs Field - which now goes by Progressive name, strangely enough, an automobile insurance company. 

The homage goes much further.  Cleveland has fought and struggled to maintain that which is our own.  People have stood guardian over our art museum, our beloved Browns, our ethnic communities, and our surrounding communities.  And we accept change but push back hard as hell when something of merit is threatened.  And we worked hard to reclaim the Cuyahoga River valley as our own after that last burning river incident 50 years ago, too.  (Cleveland also has the Guardian building.  Built-in the early 1920s it was the second-largest office building in the nation.  Still huge by anyone's imagination, it's slated to become condos, event space, and offices by 2025-27.)

The symbolism of the bridge is also deep and important. It was one of the new modern high-level bridges to link Cleveland east bank with the west, designed for automobile and truck traffic.  That may not seem like much, but the Cuyahoga river valley is a wide and deep gorge, and it splits the city into two distinct places - the west side and the east side. At one point, Cleveland was on the east bank, and Ohio City, its own municipality, was on the west.  While Cleveland assumed Ohio City, that gorge was still there.  So the bridge unified one with the other, just like our sports teams do.  And each side has four Guardians facing each direction with their winged helmets.

And if you have read this blog, you know how much Cookie loathes one Albert Porter, the Cuyahoga County Engineer who tried to ramrod the Clark Freeway into and through Shaker Heights, and how that plan thankfully failed when people pulled together to thwart that plan.  Well, Porter also wanted to remove the Guardians of Traffic for his own monument: a modern freeway style bridge in place of the Lorain Carnegie.  Cookie is hoping his remains (location unknown) are spinning in their grave, or in its urn, or whatever happened to it with this wonderful news. 

There is nothing worse than a sore loser, and plenty of people are bitching up a blue streak because they don't like "Guardians" as a team name.  (I, personally, would have preferred the Cleveland Kraken, but Seattle beat us to that in NHL Hockey this year.)   But I am embracing this change because it's as far away from the nonsensical team names like "Crush", "Krunch", and the "Power" - as one can get.  (A personal non-favorite of Cookies is any team named the Predators, which makes me think of child sexual deviants. Ick, right?)

Now there are plenty of people bitching and moaning about how "the team will always be blah, blah, blah," and "no one is going to take this Chief Wahoo* cap off my hat blah, blah, blah.   And buster, no one wants to. 

But I can guarantee you that once we make the playoffs because of great playing and the curse of Wahoo behind us, you'll stand "Guard" with the rest of us, too.

CBS NEWS and SPORTS articles on the symbolism of the change. 

*Totally Racist graphics at that, too.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

With a wink of an eye and for $20


There used to be a show called Tattletails in the 1970s.  The idea was a hi-tech game show for three sets of celebrity couples based on the premise of the Newlywed Game.  That is to say, celebrities and their spouses would play Question, Answer Match.  Along the way, there would be funny banter and clever repartee sprinkled with drama.  The drama was along the lines of "Gee, I don't what Marmaduke will say," or, "Hesperia will kill me if I don't get this right..."

In the older days, like the fifties, the spouse being sent away would step into an isolation chamber, put on the earphones, and asked a question: "Othello, can you hear us?"  Well, of course Othello wouldn't answer one way or another - that was part of the fun.  In the sixties, one-half of the couple was taken off stage.  Well on Tattletales, the one-half of the three couples were taken and placed out of sight, in a soundproof chamber, given earphones, and then covered by a camera.   The camera would then carry the feed to a monitor facing the audience built into the panelists' desk.

And the couples were the likes of Ken Berry and Jackie Joseph, Bobby Van and Elaine Joyce, Phyllis Diller, and her husband Sherwood. But, then again, it could have been that guy from, err, you know, and his wife, whatever her name was.  Missing from the slate were couples that really could have been a hoot.  James and Pamela Mason, Liz and Dick, ZsaZsa, and any of her former husbands. 

INTO THIS came game show favorite, Fanny Flagg,  and Dick Sargent best know at the time as Second Darrin on Bewitched.  As a couple. That's why I posted the picture.  

Flagg is a wonderfully funny and witty multitalented person.  Dick was beloved by those who knew him, save for Agnes Morehead who reportedly gave him the cold shoulder when he joined Bewitched.  Agnes wanted off the show, she considered it fluff.  Dick York's health no longer permitted him to act.  Seeing that as a possible out, in came Sargent, meaning the show would go on.

ANYWAY, the hook for Tattltails was that the studio audience was divided into teams, based on the color of the desk section.  The left side was blue, the middle yellow, and the right side was red.  As the couples answered correct questions, that translated into money for each studio group, which I believe wasn't much.  But it kept the audience in the game. 

So for this episode, Patty Duke Astin and her husband actor John Astin were the blue team. Actor Bill Daily and his wife were the yellow team, and winning money for the red section, Fannie Flagg and "her guy" Dick Sargent.  

Here's the show so you can enjoy it for yourself. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Follow up: The Dishwasher That is Finally Repaired


Some of you may remember in May when our dishwasher arm stopped moving and we had to deal with "Twiddle Dee and Twittle Dummy" appliance repair

The two from Twiddle Dee showed up twice, baffled, and more or less shrugged their shoulders.  "We got no idea what's wrong with that," they said leaving our house, but leaving their body odor behind. 

To use the dishwasher, because the arm was stationary, we had to load it carefully, making sure the worst of the dishes and silverware was centered exactly over one of the three wash heads on the arm.  

That worked until the arm started moving on its own, and that lasted about two weeks, then we were back to square one.  

Not repairing this unit wasn't in the cards.  A dishwasher uses very little water compared to running water through a faucet.  And water in Baltimore is horribly expensive because our water department is totally fucked up.  So we had to get the machine working.

So Cookie put on his best "I demand satisfaction" attitude and went back to the warranty company and filed a third claim. 

They want to send the feckless duo out a third time, but I explained - this is wasting my time, their money, and nothing is getting fixed because those two can't even tie their own shoes.  When I said my next call was to the Maryland AG's office, they snapped out of it, went off-script, and scheduled a factory service warranty guy. 

This man was organized, prompt, took twenty minutes, and came back and said "When you gave me the model number over the phone and told me what was going on, I knew exactly what it is."

Well, what was it?

EVIDENTLY, the inverter - that piece that drives the impellor that moves the arm was fried - a common problem with these dishwashers with the advanced armature models.  That was the good news.  The bad news? "It's a really expensive repair, but it's under warranty."  Then he showed me the video he took with his phone of the motor just whirling away, but the inverted shaft doing nothing. 

What to do? 

"I'll file the paperwork, if you hear from me, they are replacing the part.  If you hear from them, they are replacing the dishwasher." And with a wink and a smile, he was on his way. 

And you know what, I didn't hear from him, or the warranty people, but a big ass box showed up on our doorstep with the part.  We scheduled a time, he showed up and fixed the damned thing.

It's been running fine for the last couple of days.  Now I have to drive that heavy-ass broken part to the dump.  Do I care? Not one wit. 

One thing he did recommend was to stop using detergent in gel packs. 

"Stick with the powder or the liquids."

Sir, yes sir.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Something for almost everyone...

 ...who has a foot fetish, or loves correcting grammar.

This spooled across my Amazon ad feed, and what Cookie wants to know is, why? 

Cookie is not a foot fetishist. Cookie is not sexually into women.  I mean, Cookie does not view woman as the object of desire. Cookie does not visit such sites.  In fact, Cookie is horrified by feet.  I mean they're there for a purpose, but I just don't understand how a foot in one's mouth is a turn-on, or hygienic. 

And yet Amazon gives me this item. 

Go figure.

What I want to know is, why are the suggestions written in a manner that suggest that these piggies deserve extra special attention?   "...after the item dried apply some talcum powder evenly on the skin surface in order to care for the item and generate a good touch feeling."


And like real skin, the limit direct sun.  It may not get creppie, but it can age the material.

AND the material that is so life-like, IT MAY FRIGHTEN YOU.  As if I am not already horrified by this enough.

If I need to "bendedfreely" a toe, it will be mine, that you very much. 

As for finding shoes for this item, I bet you'll be the waggle of the storeroom in the shoe salon at Nordstrom's when you take these "foots" in for some cha-cha heel action. 


Friday, July 2, 2021



David Sedaris has been professing his love of culottes.  In interviews, my favorite author tells of his love through words such as "stylish" and "comfortable".  The garments aren't new - the term was used by the French in the 18th century refers to breeches that buttoned at the knee, according to Wikipedia. 

Being born in the early 1960s, I remember culottes as a clothing staple that girls and women wore in the 1965-1970 era.   Back then, the culottes I remember were garments that were above the knee, but the shorts were hidden behind an apron of fabric in the front (and sometimes the back) of like material.   

More freeing than a skirt, but more formal than shorts, these skirts were especially popular with the mothers who were you, who golfed, or played tennis.  The store, to the pool and to watch Ed Sullivan. 

I saw them everywhere but two places - temple, because you always wore your best to temple, and at school. 

Shaker, like most public schools, had a dress code. And ours at our elementary included the then-standard "no jeans" rule.  But for girls, culottes were a big no-no in kindergarten and first grade.  That was spelled out on the ditto sent home to parents, and lectured by Alice Van Dusen, the beloved principal of the school. 

And back then, no meant no. If some said no, you didn't do it. Unless you were a certain girl with a first name of "T" who was clearly the bully in our classes.  

One of my friends was a girl named Mary Beth Healy, and Mary Beth rolled out of your mouth as "Marybeth".  I loved her because she was kind, but she was her own person. If so and so didn't want to sit next to Mary Beth, then someone else was happy to do so.  She always had friends. 

We made it through Kindergarten, but because I had been tracked into a regrettable whole language experiment called ITA in kindergarten, our first-grade classrooms had the same children as the kindergarten classes that were taught by a wonderful woman named Mrs. Bauter.  Mrs. Bauter's children were funneled into the class of another saintly woman, Mrs. Smiley.  Her job was to get us back onto English leave the whole language behind. 

Mrs. Smiley was a dear, and no one dared to say a word else wise.  She never had to deal with anyone sassing her. 

So when the year was winding down were told at the beginning of the last week of school that since it was mid-June, on the last day of school, we could wear shorts.  

And that was a big deal. 

Then on the second to last day of school, Mary Beth Healy showed up in culottes.  Deep pink culottes.

And they were the type that had a front flap only. 

"You aren't allowed to wear them," we said - as if she had just committed a high crime of some sort.

Marybeth was non-plussed.  Ever the cool cookie, she simply said "We're moving after school."

For the rest of the day, all eyes were on her.  In those days, Shaker students in grade school went home for lunch.  When I got home, I told my mother "Mary Beth Healy wore culottes today, and they're not allowed at school!"

My mother took a drag off her Kent cigarette, blew the smoke up into the high kitchen air, and said "People aren't supposed to speed, but everyone drives a couple miles over the limit." 

Since I was and still am a literalist, the whole comparison was lost on me. I ate my bologna sandwich and soon became engrossed in what Pixie and Dixie were doing to Jinx the cat. 

Back in school, Mrs. Smiley told us to "come sit on the floor Indian style" - a term that no one uses anymore, but that was what she said. And we gathered around her, and at that moment, she caught a look at the shorts under the material flap on Mary Beth's Culottes.  

Mary Beth stood, as directed, turned around, and Mrs. Smiley said, you can sit down - they look more like a skirt.  She had won in our mind.  I don't think it was ever her idea to be a rebel - I think that there was a lot going on at her house in preparation for the move and she wore what she was going to wear. 

"I knew she wouldn't send me home," she reasoned. 

At the end of the day, Mrs. Smiley reminded us that we could wear shorts (no cut-off or anything ragged) and we all went home. 

The next day, which was a half-day, there was no Mary Beth.  Evidently, when she said her family was moving after school, they were moving after the second to last day of school. 

And it was also Mrs. Smiley's last day of school as well. She was ending her teaching career.  I don't any of us had an idea in our head that we would never see her, or even Mary Beth again, but that's how six years old sometimes think when they are insulated from the finality of a goodbye that won't be undone.

I often wonder what happened to Grace Smiley, I hope her time after teaching was full and enriching.  She was by far my favorite teacher.  After first grade, the affection I felt for my grade school teachers declined every year.  The last, an old battle-ax named Maxine Brown was a horrible old yeti, and that feeling is evidently shared by a number of us that year. 

But Mary Beth Healy remains an utter mystery. 

If you are out there Mary Beth, you have been missed.  Let me know how you are doing.  We have a lot to catch up on. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Boob, and there is nothing salacious about it.

 As I am want to look for people who pay me to look, sometimes you run into something a bit unexpected.   Thus I give you, this:


NOTICE that his wife never changed her last name.  Sometimes, you come across that, and there is usually a reason. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Local gossip


So the girls are I were outside gossiping.  A family around the block sold their house for an obscene amount of money earlier in the month.  How obscene? Seven digits, two commas, not counting cents.

Part of the deal was that they had to vacate in 21 days. 


"No one knows," remarked Maribelle. "But for that money, I'd bark like a seal and catch a fish in my mouth." 

"When you are dangling that many dollars in front of someone, you do what you have to do.  Cookie, aren't they moving to Columbus?" asked Delphine.

"Not Columbus.  New Albany.  The same and not the same."

"It should have been you guys," said Maribelle.

Damn right.  

Anyhow we wondering about who these people are moving in because not one house in this neighborhood has gone "for that much money, evah," said Candy.  Candy grew up here and her great grandfather was a founding member of the community. 

Some of the girls wondered if they would have children.  Would they have teens?  Could they be empty nesters?

Please, don't be a Trumper, was something I am sure we were all thinking.

I wondered out loud if it was two men who "look better in shorts, enjoyed working outside in the sun, and wouldn't mind the ogling."

I was expecting to get a rise out of Delphine, the neighborhood prissy pants, but she just looked at the house and said "Alright by me."

This got many an arched eyebrow.  Delphine is never one to cheer on skimpy clothes. Usually, she wants to pass petitions about TV shows with too much skin. 

"Why I started watching it because I thought it would be about people playing games in costumes," she said once passing out slips of paper with an address for an online petition to clean up Game of Thrones as if Kings Landing were the red light district downtown.  "But all I see are bare-breasted women and men waving their swords."

Blue Tesla Kaitlyn (not to be confused with White Tesla Kaitlyn down the block) asked what had gotten into her.

"Ladies, It's what hasn't gotten into me. I have been cooped up in a house since March 2020 with my husband, and three teenage and 'tween girls.  That's a lot to deal with.  And let's face it, I love my daughters, but Gary isn't what he used to be."

We all agreed to that.  A lot to deal with, that is.  

Frankly, I don't know how she could let Gary even be in the same room with her.  I mean, he's nice enough, he gives me the willies.

"Was Gary anything to look at in his youth," Candy asked? 

Delphine said "kind of. I guess. Well not much. A lot happens in 20 years."  Her eyes were following one of the moving company employees.  The one with the biceps.  

"I listened to my mother and married a good Christian man. After sixteen months on lockdown and restricted access, I need some eye candy."

"Sixteen months of looking at Bill and asking what's for dinner, and were just tired of everything," said Kaitlyn.

"The husband and I are at that point.  Nothing sounds good," I added.

"But would be refreshing would be some eye candy," said Delphine. 

It certainly would, Delphine.  It certainly would be. 

But we'll see.  And if it comes true, Cookie will let you know. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Going through the motions

Nothing new to report today.  Even after a good gossip session with my neighbor Gert, not much to report.

Life has been a "Going through the motions" kind of day.  Me, puttering about.  The Husband working for The Man.  Even the dogs have a "Meh" attitude. 

Too muggy to be outside, too sleepy to go anywhere, and meatloaf for dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy. 

Tomorrow, it's the grocery, and frankly more of the same.  

Friday, June 18, 2021

Men of leisure.


Well, it had to happen.  

After 16 months of playing by the rules, and after frustrations - and the walls - were closing in Cookie and Husband.   

Something needed to be done.  

And that was...


We made a very brief trip to Ohio. 

How brief? 

An overnight in Cleveland to see Cookie's oldest friend, and a lunch with a sibling, then down to Columbus for a brief bounce around to attend two dinners, and a high school graduation party for the what used to be the child who grew up next to us.  

GOD!  Does Cookie miss O-H-I-O!  And so does the Husband, too. 

And we ate all of the best from the memories that we could.  No five-star dining, we. 

We dined at Cap City Diner with friends.  We ate at Hudson 29 with friends because it was next to the hotel.  We ate at Corky and Lenny's because Cookie needed his chopped liver.  We at Culver's for lunch and enjoyed coffee and pie at Bob Evans during a torrential downpour and electrical storm.   And Pizza - Pizza - Pizza!

Some of you may be shocked that we didn't eat at better places, but you know what - we do that here in Baltimore.  When we go home we want what we want, and what we can't get here.  

So when Cookie wants Romano-crusted chicken in red pepper cream sauce, the craving has to be observed. 

The other thing about being home is that cookie could breathe without having his rescue inhaler at the ready.  What a treat!

While we were back, we worked on a "Walking" of a cemetery.  A "Walking" is when you go to a cemetery and walk about, and record what you find.  

This was a rural cemetery that is disintegrating because of air pollution and the anhydrous ammonia in the air.  Anhydrous ammonia is used to soften dirt for no-till planting.  But it's applied in a spray form.  And once it's airborne, either during the spraying or in environmental water cycling, it attacks marble and dissolves it.  It's destroying rural cemeteries in this country.  

So we walk these cemeteries from time to time to keep an eye on the tombstones to see which ones survive and which ones have broken down, and which ones have disappeared.   And that important. 

There is an old saying that you are never truly dead until people stop saying your name.  So during these walks, with the camera and clipboard, Cookie says the names of all the stones that are encountered.  

No one lives with the expectations that their life and name will vanish at some point, but that is happening.  So this is Cookie's part to keep those names, alive. 

Other than that, we also relaxed, saw familiar places, and loved every minute of being men of leisure. 

On the way back to Baltimore, I looked at the husband and said "only six years until we retire and can move back home."

He squeezed my hand and said, "I am counting the days."

Sunday, May 30, 2021

(L)One Star out of Five ain't good: How does Memphis Hatwrks see itself

By now you have most likely heard about asshats at a store in Nashville, Tennesse, who think it's merchandising a Star of David patch to advertise their callous position that being an anti-vaxer in America is akin to being a Jew in Germany during WWII.  And then the alleged owner, took a photo - pleased as punch mind you - wearing that star which now reads "NOT VACCINATED". 

Evidently, said woman, thought this was a good idea.  Other articles talk about that and how she is defending the creation of the symbol while attacking those who find it offensive.   

That's a bit like a car theif claiming to the court that they are innocent because there are people out there murdering people, "so ignore what I have done and be outraged over something that is worse than I have committed." 

Doesn't work well as a defense, does it? No.  The fact remains that you still stole a car.  At best, its a Red Herring fallacy. 

She didn't name those other more outrageous things, she just uses them as her shield of self-righteousness. 

And you'll have no problem finding an image of said owner proudly wearing what other people know is an outrage. After all, she is entitled to her opinions, and we are entitled to our opinions.

But Cookie was curious - what else do they sell that demonstrates their profound lack of skill about the world around them.  After all, stealing a symbol of torture and slaughter for your own deplorable purpose doesn't happen in a vacuum.  It's usually an accomplishment, according to the Peter Principle.

First, we need to clarify something. Nashville Hatwrks seems to revel in the fact that they have a "Lone Star" attitude.  You know, that school of thought that leads people to say things like "Don't Mess with Texas" and remind others that Texas could, if it wanted to, break up into umpteen different states if it wanted to.  Something akin to me saying that I could put on a Maga hat IF I wanted to, but I don't because 1) I would be supporting someone I don't support, and 2) What would it give me of value?   

To the owner, the Yellow Star of Anti-vax is just another example of that "Lone Star" pride, never mind the six million Jews murdered by Hitler.

So Cookie went to their site, TODAY, and found something that is quite common - a company branding piece of appearing.  After all,  L.L. Bean sells tee shirts with their logo on them, so do other companies.  So why wouldn't these people?

My search criteria were simple, just the word "shirt". 

If you want to verify me and the finding, go ahead and copy the following link to said piece of merchandise is: 

Evidently, even day-to-day irony is lost on the people running this store. They think that this shirt calls attention to the fact that they are the Lone Star Store. 

But isn't a "lone star" an ALONE star? 

Not a star that is different from the others near it. 

There are no other stars near a Lone Star because it's supposed to be alone.  Even Merriam Webster breaks it down for us thus:

1) LONE - "having no company: Solitary."
2) STAR - "A conventional or stylized representation of a star, typically having five or more points."

That one star is not alone.  They are four stars to the left.  Empty Stars.

So the shirt says that Nashville Hatwrks is a store that only ranks one out of five stars.   

That's right folks: they are selling shirts with what looks like a terrible rating on Yelp.  

And the irony? 

They are the ones giving their own store and their brand, one out of five stars rating.

Now imagine the people walking around wearing the said shirt, or said ball cap.  Well, they are a hat store so they have to advertise on a hat.  

The only star that is alone on that shirt is a pure WHITE star. 

And the irony of that? 

That's their mindset and their misplaced point of pride. 

UPDATE:  News sites are telling us that Stetson Hats is dropping  Nashville Hateworks, I mean Nashville Hatwrks as a client. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Family is stranger than fiction:


Cookie has had nights where he is just so overwhelmed that his brain feels full.

As a genealogist, I come across some really odd news items and head-scratching stuff.   You never know where someone's line will take you. 

And as any genealogist, professional or avocational, you really hope that you uncover something meaty, something really interesting.   I have in the past. 

But reader, let me tell you, the line that plopped in my lap three weeks ago is beyond anything I ever imagined.  Methodism. Intrigue. Adultery. Money. The Gershwin Brothers!

This tree has taken me from Ohio to Nebraska, to Los Angeles, around the world in a boat, Spokane Washington, Cleveland, London, New York, Florida, and Mount Kisco!  Multiple marriages!  Multiple Divorces!

And a stolen child. 

Yes, you heard me - a stolen child. 

But the most amazing part of all of this is that two sisters in the middle of all of this, both marry well, and one becomes the husband of one of the most powerful men behind the American Songbook era.  So now they are involved with both Gershwins, Lerner & Lowe, Rogers and Hart, Rogers and Hammerstein, etc., and so on.  

Things finally normalize, after 1940, but a wow. 

Unfortunately, I can't tell much more than that.   And my brain is so full that I cannot see to organize any of this.  I have taken to writing everything in snippets trying to put my professional hat on.  But the hat is way too small at the moment and my head is so full of facts. 

AND I don't have a release from my client. 

So now I start looking for the stuff that wants to really remain hidden.  I can't get my hands on the hearings regarding the stolen child.  Even though it happened in the 1920s, it's still a sealed juvenile record.  But the other stuff is out there - I just have to figure out where to look.

But wow.  Wow indeed.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

A day of celebration!

 Dear Ones:

Today the anniversary that the husband I observe.  24 years ago today, we became a couple.  And 22 years ago today, we celebrated that couplehood with a big party, all our friends and immediate family. 

In August we have two more observations: Our 13th wedding anniversary.  We were one of the first couples from a state that forbade same-sex marriages to get married in Massachusetts after they ditched that horrible law that was based on mixed-race marriages.  And then in the third week, we will have known one and other for - and get this - FORTY YEARS!

In all those years what I have learned is that your forever happiness is whatever you make it, and whomever you choose.  But as a couple, I needed my compliment to find my equal and realize how damn lucky I was. 

Big doings? 

Fillet's for dinner, and British mysteries for entertainment tonight. 


A dishwasher update: 

They came, they saw, they fiddled, and then admitted it's beyond their skills.  The washer arm is is "on" but not securely.  So we'll see.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The dishwasher that isn't getting repaired


For a second, lets think back - way, way back to the days when Kitchen Aid Dishwashers were made by the Hobart Company of Ohio.  Built like a tank - they worked for years and years and year. 

Then they were bought out by Whirlpool and they are now total crap.   Our Kitchen Aid, a high line stainless steel number, is five years old, has stopped working.  And the Warrantech extended warranty is useless. 

So far, Warrantech has displaced the appliance repair equivalent of the keystone cops to our home, twice.  Make that once.

They were here last Tuesday, ostensibly to fix our super deluxe impeller which stopped rotating at Easter.   Tweedle dee and tweedle dee'er came in - they were nice guys - and they fiddled with it for the better part of an hour, they got it back on, but it wobbled.  Off they went. 

Well, it turned alright until it flew off again, and again. 

So I called Warrantech for a second appointment.  Do I have to have these guys back?  Oh yes. Fine.  When? Tuesday.  All right, Tuesday. 

Tuesday they didn't show, and they didn't return the call.  After multiple attempts, I got an answer: "I didn't go into the office to check emails today.  But it at your house today.  I'll call tonight."  

When he didn't call back, I called the warranty company.  The operator in Texas said that they couldn't transfer the service because that company had started the procedure.  "Call us back tomorrow if he doesn't show up."

Cookie is a team player, because Cookie wants this remedied. 

Well, when they didn't show up today by noon, I called the repair company.  Their answer?  "We'll get you on Friday."  So back to the warranty company.

"They what?" the next operator said.   "No, they have to be at your house today."

Well, they aren't coming today. 

And so it goes.  Now we wait until Friday. 

But I did tell them that they had a problem. Look, I pointed out, these guys don't know what they are doing.  And if you keep sending them here and they aren't fixing the damned thing, they could be breaking it - and that replacement is on you.  You don't want to have to replace it, but under the terms of the contract, you will have to.  And they aren't doing you any favors, because they are taking your money and not doing the job according to the contract.  They make you look bad."

Cookie has options. And they know it. And they won't win.  But it could take some time. 

Still, if you have the money to spend and you are replacing your dishwasher, do what we didn't do - talk to a rock-solid repairman and find out from them which dishwashers never need service calls.  And for God's sake stay away from Warrantech. 

In the meantime, we have a lovely dishwasher and it isn't working. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Cookie is fully ripened.

 Per the experts, it has been 14 days since my second COVID shot in my protocol.  Therefore I declare that Cookie is fully protected to the best ability of my vaccine type, Pfizer.   So I guess I have ripened.

Of course, Cookie isn't stupid.   The vaccine is only 94% effective from full protection under the current risk set.  So I am STILL going mask, when outside of our home, unless I am in a small group of known fully vaccinated people. 

There are seven homes on our block and ALL of us will be fully vaccinated in two weeks.  I am thrilled!

It isn't that I don't trust that vaccine.  I do, and so should you.  But Cookie has no need to press my luck, either.  And you should do the same. 

Get vaccinated.  Be smart.  Play smart.  Live to see another day. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Cookie on the edge of a nervous breakdown


Pepa, what is in this gazpacho?  "Tomats, pepinos, cebola, barbituatos..."

Sometimes, Cookie thinks that he is trapped in a nightmare, not of his own making.  I do wake up from these, which is better than the alternative, which seems like a bad way to go.

And then there are the nightmares that he finds himself within life.  In Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown, Pedro Almodovar examines the issues of farce and circumstance.  How we hang ourselves waiting on the whim of possibly getting something reasonable from someone we need to get approval from because we played by the rules. But in reality, we hold the cards by hanging in there.

Case in point, the nightmare haunting me day in and day out since the third week of January 2020 has been the New York City Health Department, a Byzantine bureaucracy screwier than any Almovador movie.

In the 1930s, the State of New York passed one of the strictest adoption privacy laws in the United States.  Unless specifically stated, all New York adoption proceedings were locked down, and they went BACK in time and locked down adoptions that happened beforehand as well.  Whether it was through a government agency, institution, or private agency, the information was locked down tighter than tight.   They would not avail records in cases of emergency, or medical issues, or even end-of-life requests.  Oh, you might be able to get an abstract, but no identifying information.  Ever.  Millions of adults went to the graves without knowing who their parents were if they had siblings.  

In 2019, the state finally passed a law granting access.  The state government would handle the applicants from outside New York, but it fell to the New York City Health Department to fulfill their requests.

A word about the City of New York's governmental bureaucracy regarding vital statistics: it is an impenetrable fortress of unwillingness to do anything for anyone. They follow the law, but they do everything not to cooperate with the spirit of the law or its intent. 

I do not joke about this, reader. There is case law to back up my claim.  The city of New York has repeatedly refused to turn over information that falls under the State's sunshine laws.  They refuse to even issue the indexes! 

Well, if you twist their arms, but they are going to try and bill you tens of thousands of dollars to compile that which they already have on file. 

So in January 2020, we filed for the pre-adoption birth certificate of a deceased member of our immediate family.  That was sixteen months ago.  And what was supposed to take 4 to 6 weeks went something like this:

January 2020: Did you get the application?  "We don't know. If you sent it in, we have it and we are opening them in order that we receive them. 4 to 6 weeks."

February 2020: Are were being processed?  No.  We are handling birth certificates for living people first because they need them. The immediate family will have to wait 4 to 6 months.

March-August 2020: Shut down for COVID.  The website contains no updates. 

September 2020: "Thank you for contacting the Mayor's office...when processing resumes..."

October 2020: "Yes we found your application, it's all in order, but your uncashed check is stale and we need another to move your application forward..."

November 2020: Our check clears.  "4 to 6 weeks..."

December 31, 2020: "Well our systems in customer service can only see back 60 days, if you claim is older than that..." and yet later that day "Your requested information will be ready to be reviewed and will be mailed next week...


January 22, 2021: "Well I don't know who told you that.  It's fifteen to seventeen weeks for processing."  From when?  "When you apply." That was a year ago. "Well then from when we cash your check.  And remember, there are people who have real emergencies so they go first."

Second call on January 22, 2021: "Who did you speak to?  Is that the name they gave you because we have no one here who has that name... And no, we have no way of knowing when it will ship out..."

This, dear reader, was when I started to feel like I was cracking up.  One person says one thing, then someone else says something reasonable, then that person doesn't exist.  But wait, there's more:

February 1, 2021:  "Well, we received your second check in early October, but we didn't cash it until November so 15-17 weeks from the date it was cashed."

March 1, 2021: "It hasn't been assigned for review."

April 1, 2021: "Well let me send a message to the director's office..."

April 16, 2021: "Your application is complete and ready to ship...."

April 23, 2021: USPS Informed delivery has the document, and it's scheduled to be delivered...

April 26, 2021: The paperwork arrives, BUT is missing our original documents.  "Oh, we'll mail them right out to you!"

The good news is that we got the documents. We hung in there and we got them!  My tension head is gone, and Sunday, the day I was so worked up over where the documents were was spent puking.  All worth it. (But that was a lot of world-class projectile hurling.)

The bad news is, the people of New York City have to live with this.  No one should. 

Today is warm, the sky clear and gazpacho sounds good.  Just not Pepa's recipe with the barbituates in it...