Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dear Edie,

Edie Windsor at IBM, 1965

Dear Edie,

Thank you.  Thank you for standing up for yourself.  Thank you for standing up for all of us.  Thank you for being full of life and verve.  Thank you for that smile on your face as you walked towards the Supreme Court Building.  Thank you for talking to the reporters afterward.

Thank you for loving Thea.  Though I never had the pleasure of meeting you or her, I imagine that she was quite a person, quite a woman and quite a good person.

Most importantly, thank you for being who you are.  Others wouldn't have pursued this.  You did.  Thank you and much love,


Friday, March 29, 2013

In all seriousness: The Agema Issue

Dave Agema: Michigan's Republican Ass Clown

Readers of this blog know that I seldom attack current issues - that I lovingly leave to Bob over at I Should Be Laughing.

HOWEVER, there are some things that really rankle me up, and one of them is the matter of Dave Agema, a member of Michigan's Republican National Committee.

It seems that Agema is drawing fire for a post on his Facebook Page that quotes from a "report" written by a "Dr. Frank Joseph" entitled "Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals".

The article claims many myths things that we used to hear back in the 1980s.  That Homosexuals spread AIDS.  That Homosexuals commit over half the murders.  The article claims that skyrocketing medical costs are directly attributable to the care od AIDS patients.  The only thing the report doesn't blame on LGBT people is the proverbial "ring around the collar". 

I could go on, but all of this is old news.

For his part, Agema says he has no regrets, and isn't going anywhere.  And the State Central Party, while not reprimanding Agema said that it supports "traditional marriage" and that is that.

Still, at a time when the GOP knows it is bleeding voters in the age groups and ethnic groups that it knows that it must speak to, something like this stings.

But what isn't old news is 70 Michigan Republicans acted swiftly and surely and called for Agema to resign his post. 

Grand Traverse County Precinct Delegate Dennis Lennox was reported by Associated Press as saying:

"You can't expect to get undecided voters to vote for you if you spit in their face, and that's exactly what he's done," Lennox said. "He has spit in the face of millions of American who would otherwise be inclined to support the party."1

So the question I asked was where in the heck did Agema get this Reagan Era Bullshit.  First its old hate propaganda.  Secondly, besides verifiable facts that dispute these claims, and a growing public opinion that LGTB Americans support marriage equality, did Agema just come across this "person" and who is the person behind the report.

I have no idea where Agema got this report but I am willing to bet that he went to a search engine and typed in "Gay People" and "AIDS" and it spat this shit out. 

But the report itself has been around for about 20 years.

The report was proffered up by an organization "Tradition in Action" (TiA), a LosAngeles based Catholic group that seems to hate just about everybody.  In addition to "Homosexuals", (TiA) also hates Jews and Masons, too.   One of the biggest things in its craw, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center is that TiA dredges up all manner of heresy and still holds grudges against Jews for leaving Spain in the 1490s instead of converting to Catholicism. 

Now that's someone who holds a grudge.

TiA was founded by a woman named Marian Horvat in 1995, and the SPLC also states that Harvat wanted to attract "counter-revolutionaries" to help save the Catholic Church from itself, so to speak, and return to its traditional teachings.

My second question then is, who is Dr. Frank Joseph, M.D., the author of this report.   And the simple answer is that I can find no "real" to validate as the author.  In other words, there is no real "Dr. Frank Joseph".  In fact, all major search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc. always return the same phrasing ("These were put together by Dr. Frank Joseph, MD...") and only return a limited number of hits leading me to believe that no such person exists.  And call me jaded, but the favored "cloak" of identity by wingnuts always seems to be the use of first names as first and last names.  My feeling is that someone wanted to give credence to their hate and created "Dr. Frank Joseph, M.D." as a straw man to bolster their irrational hate.

So what does this say about Agema's use of the report? 

It confirms to me that Agema is an idiot, quite possibly racist and a fool to promote "facts" that can and have been easily be verified as lies, in both logic and fact.

I know, I could have made that determination based on his use of these outdated wives tale.  But for those of you that know me, I like to be sure of these things. 

But It also tells me that the Michigan RNC has on its steering committee a wingnut who is too stupid to know what he is talking about, too stupid to check his sources and too stupid to be in a position where any political party would want an Ass Clown in their ranks.

Source 1
Source 2
Source 3

Monday, March 25, 2013

MORE Command Record Album Covers

Kevin's erection issues got me off schedule, so here are the other FABULOUS Command Record album covers!

We actually have this and the husband used in our old house to get the stereo sounding correct.

Again, the art is fabulous, and these are really under valued as collectibles.  Go buy some, enjoy the music and revel in the great design of these albums!

Friday, March 22, 2013

We live in fear of our dog's penis

I may have hit a new low with the subject line, but in matters such as this, it is better to be blunt.

Seen above, is Kevin, our 8.5 pound dog.  We love Kevin because he is sweet, funny and a cuddler.  The only problem with Kevin is that he has the penis of a dog ten times his size.  And no, I am not making this up.

When we got Kevin, we did a Wisdom Panel - genetics -  on him because we wanted to know what he was, because the dog pound had no idea.  And given his under bite and some other things the vet found, we had a pretty good idea that he was probably a puppy mill pup and those things never go well.

Three hundred dollars later, we had our answer.  Kevin was 50% Jack Russell (mother) and 25% Shih Tzu on his fathers side. The other 25% was just about everything else.  Plot hound.  Basset hound. More Jack Russell. Blah, blah blah, blah until you got to the smallest amount, .82%, which turned out to be the biggest dog of all: Great Dane.

Yes, it is possible for a eight and half pound dog to have some Great Dane in him.

The problem is, its all in his penis.

Now, I am not going to go into details, suffice it to say that when our Columbus, Ohio vet first examined him the day after we got him, which was four days after he had been neutered (which the dog shelter does with all males before they adopt them out), testosterone was still in his iddy biddy body.  So Adam, our vet, his giving him the once over the conversation went something like this:

"He's in great shape...and he seems to know that we're here to help him.  He has no issues with us handling him..." And this is when the vet placed his hand under Kevin's rib cage and picked him up, " and his skin is good and fur has good texture, and his eyes are bright and ...WHOA!  KEVIN, YOU STUD!"

And there it was, the policeman's billy club.  I felt like I was going to puke. 

This is when you the vet really suggested the Wisdom Panel because "Yeah, I'd say there is a very big dog in his not so distant ancestral past."

Think Wally Cox endowed with Long Dong Silver. The Great Dane rears its ugly head.

Anyhow, the further we got from the neuter date, the fewer his erections and the less freaked out we were getting.  Still, the thought of that monster makes us both queasy and we never know when it will poke its head, and looooong self out at us.

So last night the husband and I were reading in the living when Kevin ran into the sun room, twisted himself in a knot and began licking away.  Why?  Because that's what dogs do, that why.  And if men could do that, we probably would, although not in front of an audience, unless it enough were thrown up onto the stage as gratitude for the show.

The husband got annoyed first and called out to Kevin to "Cut it out."  Then like a school girl who had just seen a pile of earthworms, he shrieked "GROSS!"  Now you have to understand, the husband is a MAN - tall, good looking and not one to mince his words or mince about.  So if he shrieks  there is probably good reason to see what he is shrieking about.

I looked up and there was Frankstein's monster in all of its glory.

Now it was my turn to shriek:  "KEVIN PUT THAT AWAY!"

And what does Kevin do? Kevin had to twist his head around the monster so he could look at us with a "What?" kinda look.

Well, it was up and that was the problem.  Telling Kevin to cover up his penis or make it go away wasn't helping because dogs don't understand language, let alone the concept of social norms and modesty. So Kevin did what any dog would do and went back to lapping at his dog dick.

However, we can't have that going on, so we both, again - acting like parents will - called out his name to distract him.  Except he took it as our command to jump off the love seat and come towards us.  As he trotted out way, that donkey dick of his went into the rug and tripped him up and he did a somersault on his way to the carpet.  And not wanting him to jump up on either of us with that huge ass thing out of its hiding place, we got up and walked to the kitchen.  He followed us.  Back to the living room, and he (and it) came our way.  This game of follow the leader went on for a good fifteen minutes before he was distracted enough and "it" "went away."

Now, I love me my Kevin, but this isn't something you can go to the vet and have remedied.  There is no pill for this.  Its just that we are terrified of seeing it, even though we know its just his dick.  It freaks us out to know that in the people world, he would be Dirk Diggler.

So there, know you know.  We live in fear of dog's penis.  We love the dog, hate seeing the red rocket.

That Kevin, he is a stud.  But the Great Dane, we'd rather not see.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Command Album Covers

The husband has been collecting Command Record's albums for a few years.  Founded by Enoch Light, Command Records featured recording excellence and demanding standards from some of the top jazz artists of the day. 

Command records also are notable for their modernistic album graphics and titles like Persuasive Percussion, Provocative Percussion, and my favorite: Bongos, Bongos, Bongos - you think I'm kidding about the bongos, right?

And if you are a purist, then you'll enjoy:

See, I told you so. 

If you feel like dancing

Something more familiar? 

And my favorite:

Light's label also worked with Doc Severinsen:

And the one and only (white) Ray Charles...

To get you in the "mood"?

Or, another type of mood

Seriously, it is seldom that art on the outside and the art on the inside are this perfect for one and other.  

These are gorgeous albums.  Pick them up and give them a play!  (tomorrow, I'll post more!)


Now get out there and kick some ass!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Senator Portman, please pass the yams...

...and welcome to the table.

I say this because US Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) "came out" last Friday in support of Marriage Equality.  Portman was a darling of the Conservative Right.  And now he has taken his place at the table of Marriage Equality backers.

Prior to becoming Ohio's junior senator a couple years ago, Portman was also a Congressman and held a trade appointment in the Bush Administration.

Portman was, up until Friday, the kind of straight shooting family values kinda white guy that Conservative Republicans loved.  And he looked presidential, so his name was bandied about for the 2012 Presidential nomination.  Then his name was bandied about for Mitt Romney's Vice Presidential choice.  Then he kind of slipped from the radar screen, and became another Republican Senator.

Until last Friday, that is.

In a very personal Op-Ed piece in the consistently conservative Columbus Dispatch - the offices for which are located immediately east of the Ohio State House Annex - Portman "came out" in favor of Marriage Equality.

Portman said, in the piece - which few have read outside of the Dispatch's daily circulation, but many talked about - that as a supporter of "traditional marriage" the catalyst for changing his mind was Rob and Jane Portman's son, Will, coming out to them in 2010.

My first reaction was "shut the front door!"  Really?  A Conservative Republican from Cincinnati, Ohio - a place that has the same moral code as it did when William Howard Taft was elected to President in 1908 - admits to changing their mind? This cannot be.

My second thought was, this man has just committed political suicide.

The story was so big, it was the lead story on Friday morning's national news shows, for the same two reasons. Conservative, from a Conservative city - someone who signed DOMA - changed his mind?

Then the news started sinking in and people started thinking about this deeper than the immediate win for marriage equality.

Why, many, many people asked, did it take so long for him to change his mind?

And then some people wanted to know why he took so long.

Then there were the people who said "He's known about his son being gay for two years and NOW he comes out in favor of it?"

One young woman on Facebook, a straight Marriage Equality backer from Mt. Gilead, Ohio, even went so far to say that she hated Rob Portman because "Rob Portman hates the human race" because it took him too long to come to this announcement.

Portman hates the human race because you think he took too long to change his mind?  He hates the human race because he agrees with you?



And my response, in my head, to that young lady (maybe in her late 20's)? Oh, Bitch. Please!

But there is a truth in life that many of us prefer not to admit is true: Sometimes, not everyone walks in our shoes and sees the world as we see it. I know its hard to admit this.  But it is true.

I believe in a God, and that God is a loving God. You may not believe in God. Or you may prefer the vengeful version of God.

Not everyone thinks that cajun blue is the best color ever created.  You may love it, but I think its ugly.

Not everyone loves chopped liver. I love it, why won't you even taste it?

And not everyone thinks that Karl Rove really is a turd blossom.  I don't mean in the endearing sense about Rove either.  I am certain that Rove is simply a turd, but there are those people who think he is a good, caring man.  They exist, trust me. And these people can't imagine why anyone would ever think anything negative about Karl?

So why did Portman make the announcement when and how he did?

Simple: like every other human being on the face of God's green earth, he needed the time to think it over. This isn't how he was raised.  This wasn't the way the world was meant to work.  This wasn't what they preached in church. And it certainly wasn't the way his friends and work buddies felt.  So, Rob Portman had to think this through for himself, however he thinks things through, and get a place where he felt the right side needed to be. He needed to come out in support of it; that was the right thing to do.

"But his son has been out for two years," some are saying.  "Why did it take him TWO YEARS for him to support his son and support Marriage Equality?"

I'll tell you why.  Because when you really love someone, you want what is best for them.  But that doesn't mean that you understand this gay thing.  This isn't the way life was supposed to turn out.

And just as we have to come out, many parents too have to come out as well.  And that includes Rob Portman, father of Will, who also happens to be a sitting US Senator.

If you are one of those who is for Marriage Equality, but is angry or cross or vexed that Rob Portman didn't do exactly as you think he should have done, when you think he should of done it, you need to imagine how this could have gone down.  Portman could have cut all ties to his son.  Portman could have doubled down and pushed legislation for a Constitutional ban on Same Sex Marriage.

It could have happened that way.  But it didn't.  And we should be thanking out lucky stars that it worked out the way it did.   And I for one have more respect for Portman that I do of straight allies like that girl from Mount Gilead who doesn't know what really "hating the human race" means, or who in history (Hitler, Paul Pot, the American people for what they did to Native North American peoples) has tried to exterminate humans and prove it.

Now, put yourself in Portman's place. He's the outsider in his own world.  We know what that feels like, correct.  Are you going to castigate him when he has shown great bravery and honor in taking the "right" stance on an issue that the Conservative Right thinks is evil?  Are you going to mock him for his decision? He is alone and without allies within his circle of friends for where he stands on Marriage Equality. Who does he trust on this issue?  And will they reject him because of this new found principle. We've been in these shoes before, haven't we?

Sometimes I think that some LGTB people are so glad that their personal coming out is over that we forget what its like to be the person doing the coming out.  We don't want to go through their process because it reminds us of our own.  So we subconsciously just want people to get it over, already.  But we must not ever forget that it is their coming out, and it needs to happen on their terms.  And Rob Portman is coming out on Marriage Equality.

Don't question the man on why he didn't do it quick enough for you, admire him.  He has the courage to do what he did, support him.  This is his journey, not yours or mine.

And if his son Will has an issue with his father, then that is between father and son.  But I'd don't think it the case.

I, for one, welcome him to the table of Marriage Equality believers.  Rob, there is a seat right next to me.  Sorry you didn't get to savor the victories we've enjoyed to date, but your family now.  And I'm proud of you.  Now, would you mind passing those yams?  And help yourself to whatever we can do for you.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our Weekend

It has been a merry-go-round of fun in Baltimore this weekend at Cookie manner.

Friday night was spent Duck Pin Bowling with people from the neighborhood and patrons of Pinehurst Wine Shoppe.

For those of you who do not know what duck pin bowling is, duck pins are short squat versions of a bowling pin.  In each frame you get three balls, but the balls in Duck Pin are more like baci (or croquet balls) in size. You have the option of clearing your deadwood.

On my first ball, I scored a strike, and from there it was all down hill.  Still, a good time was had by one and all.

Saturday was sent on carpentry work on the bookcase project in the dining room.  For $50 we took an old, cheap assemble it yourself "wood tone" book case that we had, and primed it, painted it, and built out some simple moldings to make it look more like furniture and less like something that came out a box twenty five years ago from Meijers.

Today was spent at the house, being domestic, and doing laundry.  Oy the laundry.

So that, was my whirlwind weekend.  And the good news is, we get to start another week tomorrow.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We encase the furniture in plastic so we can have nice things

IF YOU ARE a person from the east side of Cleveland, and of a certain age AND JEWISH OR POLISH OR BOTH, then the piece of furniture will look familiar:

This, for your edification is a Rococo "Davenport".  To those of you in Canada, this is what your grandmother would refer to as a Chesterfield.  In current terms, something this would be called a sofa, but not a couch.  Or maybe you would call it a Settee, or a Love seat.

You could never call it a couch, but a couch implies a level of comfort. But there is nothing comfortable about this "Davenport".  From its design - which we call "Early Van Aken" - so named for the boulevard of the same name lined with posh apartments where your "bubbie" lived, this was all about the show - it was proof that you had made it in America, because you could have "nice things" like royalty.

Early Van Aken was a favorite of working class Eastern Europeans, especially the Jews who found Early American furniture too common.  And that modern stuff that the better educated Jews and Poles liked? Feh!  "There's nothing to it!  Its a board with chrome legs and they want a fortune for it!"

It seems if you came over from the Old Country, and had this furniture you no longer had to talk about "the Old Country" except to say things like "Such heartbreak!" or "Such tsoris!" - which was just another way of saying heartbreak.  And every chance they got, they reminded the grandchildren that their grandparents upended their so that their beloved bubulahs would never have to know of the tsoris of being a peasant and eat off a board with metal legs.

This was part of the Jewish children's catechism that their grandparents drilled into their heads at each visit with Bubbie.  "I gave up everything for you so you could have a better future."

You didn't need reminded of this every time you turned around.  The fact was, your grandparents had made it out of the Old Country.  This you knew.  BUT, they bought this rococo furniture because it meant they had made in America, AND they didn't want you to feel shame in their shabby furnishings, so they bought nice things.

And given what they had been through, they earned these nice things.  And since America was the land where you reinvented yourself, for your grandparents - former peasants - could have furniture fit for the Tsar, even though the Tsar was who they were escaping from.  That is the irony of America.  A man's home is castle, but no kings or queens unless its the person who lives in their home.

But its the plastic slip covers that set it all apart.  That's what kept the nice things nice.

You see, after outwitting the Tsar's Cossack's to escape conscription, sailing steerage, arriving in America and starting out on the American dream, and the hard work and the suffering by doing without (and its always about the suffering) our grandparents, Aunts and Uncles obtained "nice things" to be just like everyone else.

No Early American Maple for them.  No, they sought out anything that they thought Bach would like, and if it was highlight in gold, all the better.  And the Cherubs!  Oy the Cherubs!   Louis XIV would be mated with Louis XVI in incestuous design schemes that also incorporated Capodimonte lamps and candy dishes, to Real Rose Globes and nick knacks.

And what they bought had to last, because while they adopted the time style of the deMedici's, they didn't have their pocket books, so the stuff had to last because God forbid you should have to buy a second Davenport in your lifetime.  That would be crazy!

To keep them nice, they encased them in plastic, so their beloved family members wouldn't ruin the nice things.

The plastic that they used for these slip covers was a hard, clear plastic, custom made because no two pieces of Rococo furniture were the same, that let you look at the brocades, moire silk-like materials and admire them. But the plastic had no "give". So when you sat upon it it crackled and snaped like a certain cereal.  And it would pinch your tukis under your clothes, and your leg's underside.  Talk about your tsoris!

And if you had a fat cousin, or an aunt or uncle, they were always steered to a dining room chair, because those plastic slip covers would hold air.  So if the corpulent aunt wasn't diverted to a dining room chair there was a risk that she would cause a blow out of the plastic cover and it would "pop" with a loud BANG!

Worse, if you were shorts because it was summer, the plastic wouldn't breath.  But your legs would sweat and stick to the plastic, leaving them wet, and God forbid a leg mark on the covering from the sweat and skin oils.

In our family, this meant only one thing - furniture throws were deployed over the plastic.

Yes, they covered the plastic to keep it from getting dirty and yellowing from sunlight light and cigarette smoke.  At first they covered them with "miracle fabrics" which created a hazard.  Because the plastic was smooth like glass, and the fabric was man-made, you had to sit and not move for fear of skidding like a man walking on ice.  Or it you twisted to talk to the person next to you, it would case the entire throw to skate off the furniture into a clump.

Now you'd done it.  Because everyone had to get up to straighten the throw which was just going to  cascade into a pool the next time someone moved.   And this ramped-up the stress of a family visit because your grandparents got fussy, tempers flared and the visit got cut short.

"Going so soon?"

This, you were reminded in the car going home, THIS, was why, your parents said, they couldn't have nice things.


"Because you fidget," my father would say.

"But I thought they came from the Old Country so we could have nice things?"

"Who told you that?"

"Grandma did."

"What does she know," replied my father.  This was my cue to shut the fuck up.

So when they came out with foam back furniture throws, my grandmother and aunt rejoiced.  The puddling issue was solved.  And our visits grew longer, and more stressfull in other ways.

If all of this wasn't nonsensical enough, there was the code that said when non-related company was coming over, there was a rush to remove the plastic from the furniture, because no one wanted the guests to think that you had plastic on the furniture.  And getting the plastic removed was a great sign that you were important, like the rabbi was important.

Once, my mother and I were out running errands and my other had to drop something off to a friend, Sylvia Robroy.   Sylvia welcomed us into the house graciously, invited us into her living room and apologized.  "If had known you were coming over, I would have removed the plastic from the furniture."  She seemed genuinely embarrassed by the failure to do so, but my mother protested.

"Sylvia, we're friends.  And you never have to worry about it."  But now everyone knew that Sylvia kept her furniture in plastic, just like everybody else did.

We went to the kitchen were I was given a glass of milk and the adults had coffee.  Everyone sat down on vinyl covered chairs.  The adults kibitzed while I sat still and waited for the confab to end.  Mrs. Robroy didn't seem to mind the dinette set in plastic, I thought.

I asked my mother once once why we never had plastic on the furniture.

"Well, I suppose we would have if your father would have had a client in the business.  But frankly, life is too short for your thighs to stick to the cushions of life.  Besides, my old country is Central Ohio.  We sat on the floor when I was a kid."

"And you," she reminded me exhaling the smoke from her Kent cigarette, "can always sit on the floor like they did in my Old Country."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Living the Good Life in Shaker Heights

In March, 1963, Cosmopolitan Magazine - and this is the Cosmos before Helen Gurley Brown - did a feature story on Shaker Heights called "Living the Good Life in Shaker Heights."  I actually had to go to eBay and buy a copy.  Having read the article, I am aghast at some of the statements and how they made me howl with laughter:

"....North Park Boulevard and South Park Boulevard are the two poshest streets, however if you live on South Woodland Road or Shaker Boulevard you needn't feel ashamed..."

Having spent 1968 through 1972 on South Woodland, I can tell you that I felt no shame at all.  And I didn't need Cosmo to free me from that tsoris of not living in those huge house on North or South Park, either.  And let me tell you, most of the houses on Shaker Boulevard were nothing to sneeze at, either. Many of the big old Tudors came with third floor ballrooms, or elevators.

And the country club life style?  Please, only if you were WASP.  Neither Canterbury County Club nor Shaker Country allowed Jews to be members, and even when 25% of the population was Jewish, if you wanted to invite a Jew into your golfing fore-some you had to let the club know in advance.  If George Szell wanted to join a country club, he went to Oakmont in neighboring Cleveland Heights where the members were (whispering, and looking around to make sure that I am not overheard) "Jewish".

Looking at the article today, it reads like pure bullshit, but in fact, this was the world that I came from, albeit a bit more from the modest corners of town.

Said a friend from the old neighborhood on South Woodland Road "The day after the article was published and the magazine released, Ritchie Berger shows up at the bus stop wearing a ascot!  Our indoor pool was referred to the bathub."

Anyhow, enjoy - it really is a hoot.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Berry Bonbon. I think he went to Brith Emeth

In the midst of challenging our property tax reassessment.  Wish us luck: our argument is that you can't charge us more than we paid for the new house.  In tax happy Maryland, we'll see how far that gets us in this first round. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013


If it isn't snow its the stuff going on at our house.  Been a busy week folks:

Monday - Getting ready for Snowmegeddon
Tuesday - New window installation that didn't happen.
Wednesday - Snowmeggeddon AND our new refridgerator!
Thursday - Stuff.
Friday - Hunted down a new kitchen cabinet - BRAND STINKING NEW - for $5.
Saturday - Neighborhood party.
Sunday - Work in the house.

Hope to post more in the next day or so.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Snowmageddeon? Pffft!

So, in case you missed it because you live under a rock, yesterday was supposed to be Snowmageddeon (or Snowpocolypse) for the eastern seaboard.

Weather forecasters got as excited as a 13 year-old boy who had found a Playboy under his fathers bed at the prospect of Winter Storm "Saturn" which was going to "Jedi Mind-Meld" (you know how I love to mix my metaphors)  with another low from the south and the warnings of dire weather began to spew forth from their mouths with all the seriousness of an Baptist Evangelist reading from the Book of Jeremiah.

In the Charm City, we were told it could be rain or it could be snow, or it could be both, but whatever it was it was going to be all kinds of white death for our neck of the woods. And we were going to be buried under IT.

So naturally, I went to the store and bought a loaf of bread.  Because that's what you do here whenever the weather people warn about storms like this.  Buying a loaf of bread in Baltimore in front of a major storm wards it off, just like garlic does the trick with vampires.

Now the people that panic before a snow storm caused a run capers, clam juice and potted meat because, well, it could SNOW.  Me - I stick to the bread.  Bread goes with anything.  Keep it simple is my motto. Besides it would take nuclear winter for me to go near potted meat, clam juice or capers.

True to the weatherman's dire warning, it started snowing at midnight on Wednesday.  We awoke to some snow on the roofs, and some on the grass.  But none on the roads.  The husband took the dogs for a walk and said, even though they had closed the Baltimore schools, he was going to work.

But two things went horribly, horribly wrong for the weather forecasters.   First, the ground was too warm to "hold the snow" and secondly, it didn't really snow, it just rained and snowed or just rained.  But no white death.

Baltimore weather people are really excitable, but they aren't really all that good at forecasting the weather.  You see, to the west of Maryland, the Appalachian Mountains and their air currents tend to divert weather fronts moving east-west and push them northeast. What made this storm different was that it was going to meet up with a front coming up from the south and that was to create a big mess. Simple, huh?

And the local news, sensing something that could have be BIG (had this storm come through in January or February), decided to deploy reporters all over eastern Maryland for the big story that wasn't going to materialize.

One station cut into regular programming to bring us an IMPORTANT WEATHER UPDATE.  Mostly it was reporters reporting that their snow men that they were building in the heavy wet snow were dissolving in the rain snow mix.  Roads remained clear because MDOT brined everything in advance of Snowpoclypse.

News operations had two hours to fill on the weather and it just wasn't there to report on.

A reporter stationed outside a restaurant on York Road in Timonium reported that traffic was light because people were "sheltering" from the storm.

"Sheltering?" Really?

And the anchors back at the station kept warning us that something akin to white death was coming.  Why?  Because no one wants to be this wrong.  It looked like they were smiling, but I think there was a far amount of teeth gritting as well.  Snow? YES, SNOW!

But not here.

Not in March.

Yes, you can get bad snows in March, but they never hang around for long.  March is month were it snows on Tuesday, and then jumps up to 60 in a couple days (Sunday, for us) so the snow never has a chance to stay and make you feel like spring is MONTHS away.  Even before global warming, snow just doesn't last in March.  Even Mother nature is tired of it.

Now, all that it's all said and done, the weathermen are STILL warning us that the very tail end of the storm could deliver us a wallop today.  Yeah right.

TO THEIR CREDIT, though, a couple of the weather people started making fun of themselves for going all doomsday on us yesterday and sounding like Chicken Little.  Better to be safe than sorry.  I see their point.  But there comes a time when you have to look at reality and say "Folks, it looks like we dodged the bullet  but what we are now dealing with is a whole lot of water..." and then go into your whole lot of water spiel.  But somehow, yesterday they all seemed to be in denial that there wasn't even inched of snow, let alone the feet they promised.

Here at the house we got about four inches of precipitation, which can come out to 16" of snow had it been colder.  And since I went out and shoveled the slush from our walks, nothing iced up over night.  Our back yard is as soggy as a rice paddy.  And we've got bread - lots of bread to eat.  But we don't have snow.

Up in the mountains to the west of Frederick, they did get snow, so it wasn't all hype.  It just didn't happen here.  All we ended up with was a who lot of wet and a healthy dose of weatherman over-hype that we'll be digging out from under for a while.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cookie's Culture Corner: Turkish Oil Wrestling

From time to time, Cookie comes across something that, well, he finds interesting and shares what he has found for the good of mankind.

Today, that topic is Turkish Oil Wrestling.

And I have included pictures to help you come to understand this interesting, legitimate and exotic sport.  While fascinating, remember it is important for us to expand our world view.


Imagine, if you will, swarthy shirtless young men - and only the young men, because nothing grosser than an old Turkman - donning leather "capri" looking pants ("kisbit").

These wrestlers are just rocking their kisbits. 

The kisbit is a described as a leather "lederhosen", made of calf skin.  They used to do this in the naked strip, but once the Ottoman Empire converted to Islam, the kisbit came into being for modesty sake. 

The Kisbit ensures modesty.  Note the oil can on the left.

Before the festivities start, and in a ritualistic fashion, the wrestlers oil themselves and each other up head to toe with olive oil.  They even oil up under the kisbit, but we'll get to that reason in a minute. But it is legitimate.

It is important for Turkish heterosexual wrestlers to respect one and other by oiling each other up. 

Now the mutual oiling is a Turkish sign of respect.

Now, since everyone is slip sliding around, how does one win a match? This is where it gets interesting because it's hard to pin a man who's oiled up, and next to impossible for a man who is oiled up to pin another man who is oiled up.  The solution?  The men grapple to get into each other's "kisbit" (pants) and use the pants to get control of their opponent.

To win, you need to control your opponent. 

Holds include hand and arm down the backside of the pants, and hand and arm down the front side of the pants.

Don't believe what you see?  Let's try that again, shall we?

Try and focus on the tradition here, people. 
And since they are oiled up even under the pants, one assumes these things can get "tense".

And the man who loses the match kissing the hand of the man who just won.

How popular is this sport? It's the NATIONAL sport of the Turks.

Just like baseball is to Americans, Oil Wrestling is to the Turks

Imagine, being a young boy and growing idolizing these men?  Your parents buying you posters of them for your bedroom walls.  Even encouraging you to take the sport on?  Well, this is the reality for Turkish youths.

And how long has this sport been going on?

2013 will mark the 652 year of the main modern day tournament.

A scene from the 2012 tournament.   

Now for Mr. Peenee's sake, here's video of the national tournament:

Consider your world view of sport expanded.  And someone get Peenee some water.

From Cookie's Culture Corner, this is Cookie saying "Good Day, Good Night and Sweet Dreams!"

You can read more at:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bitter, bitter disappointment

Cookie is sure that Donna Lethal, Norma Desmond and MJ would share in his bitter disappointment.

Today, was supposed to be a day in which we got things done.  Instead, may day today was one in which I found myself vexed by others. 

Today I called the clock repair man who was to have restored our Riley Whiting Tall Case clock that "Uncle Roger should never get."  Said clock dates to about 1800, and runs using wooden gears.  It's a family piece, with a hand painted dial and chimes on the hour.  The clock came down through my mother in law's family.  Inside is a note with an envelope with a letter written by Husband's maternal grandfather in which he states that my mother in law's Uncle Roger "...could have had the clock, as it was offered to him, so he refused the clock.  If he asks for the clock, he is not to get the clock.  He could have taken it, but he declined.  So under no reason is her to get the clock."

Uncle Roger has been dead for a good fifty years, but still we remain resolute that if he asks for the clock, he may not have it. 

We paid the clock maker a cool $400 to get the clock (that Uncle Roger may not have) running and six months later he returned with the clock and it ran. It ran for 36 hours, and then it broke.  Something up there is jammed but good.  So I finally got a hold of the man and he says to me: "Well, what did you do to break it?"

I assured the man that we had done only what he recommended, and followed his instructions to the letter in winding it, but the man insisted that we had done something to it.  Just as Uncle Roger cannot have the clock, Cookie was not getting this blame laid upon my shoulders.  To wit the clock man said "Well it didn't break on its own."

I held my ground, but the crank can't get here again until Saturday, March 16th.  Can't wait.  I want to see his face when the two of us watch him when he sees the damned thing is busted.

My second vexatious moment came when the contractor arrived with the new windows for the sunroom. This was Husband's project.  We would remove the seven ugly 1970s casements, and replace them with Andersen Windows that matched the original casements.  These were ordered in DECEMBER, and we went through many hoops to get these windows approved by "The Review Committee".  

The installation has been postponed three times, but today the weather was lovely.  

We emptied out the room. 

The contractor showed up. 

And the factory produced the wrong color windows. 

Our windows were supposed to be Almond Sand.  Instead, the windows on the truck were "Clay".  And bless that installer's pea picking heart, he said "Mr. These own't look right and I don't want to install them if they won't look right."

So I called customer service.  They called people who called people.  At one point I was carrying a conversation with the installers, and a four way call with their home office. 

When the supervisor FINALLY made it out he said  "Your windows were supposed to be Almond Sand.  Instead, the windows they shipped were 'Clay'."

Thank you. 

So they are remaking the windows in the correct color.  Our estimated installation date is now May 15. 

Needless to say, it's been a day.  I wish I could have taken a message of inspiration from all of this, but tomorrow really is another day.  And our new windows will be the correct color, and that clock guy is going to make our clock right. 

In the end, everything will work out.  And if it doesn't?  I'll just be bitter again for that moment.   And Uncle Roger can't have the clock.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Golden Showers Postcard from Florida


Okachockeekissimi, Florida, March 4, 1957

Dear Beloved Grandchildren:

Your grandpa came home this afternoon and said that a neighbor lady in the trailer park had shown him something new and different. He wanted me to experience amazement that he had felt.  So he took me down by the lake, and my eyes saw something that I had never thought could exist!  Can you imagine the beauty of a golden shower?  It's trunk was so mighty, and it exploded in beautiful shimmering golden color.  I don't think I will ever be as surprised when he showed it to me!  Hope you can visit so I can show you a golden shower that your grandpa poked in my backyard.  Won't that be fun?