Friday, March 27, 2015

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Thought for the day: The only journey is the one within.  [Rainer Maria Rilke]

Back in the sixties, a lot of people expressed an aching need to find themselves. There were plenty of self-proclaimed gurus around, too, who scrambled to serve as tour guides for anyone interested in taking an introspective trip or two. (Psychedelic drugs extra.)

Who am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle. [Lewis Carroll]

I never fooled around with all that navel-gazing stuff, because I was too busy doing what I had to do to wonder why I was doing it. Besides, I wouldn't have known what I was supposed to be looking for in there. Lint? The lost colonists of Roanoke? Some kinda weird voodoo vortex of self-validity? Yeah... lint.

It is necessary... for a man to go away by himself... to sit on a rock... and ask, 'Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?'  [Carl Sandburg]

Maybe ol' Carl had it right. Maybe I should go into isolation and stare at my belly button for a while.

Nah. I can't go away... who'd clean the litter boxes? Besides, I kinda like hanging around with Smarticus, and ya know, sitting on a rock doesn't hold nearly as much appeal as it once did.

Oh, I'm so full of it. The truth is, the only thing I'm going away from for a while is... blogging. Just as I've done the past couple years, while a bunch of  you are participating in the A-Z challenge, I'm gonna be doing my thing... whatever the heck that may be. No sweat. I'll figure it out. Hopefully, I'll get some writing done, but there's no telling. The only thing I know for sure is I won't be paying any attention to my own belly button. (The poor neglected thing.) Maybe I'll just enjoy life, rearrange a dust bunny or two, and take time to admire every rainbow.

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.  [Franz Kafka]

                                            Solitude?  Obviously, Kafka didn't have any cats.

Before I go, how about some stuff to tickle your brains and funny bones?
  • A Buddhist monk walks up to a hot dog stand and tells the guy, "Make me one with everything."
  • Did you hear about the paranoid dyslexic? He always felt like he was following someone.
  • If it's zero degrees outside today, and it's supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it gonna be tomorrow?
  • If a Jewish man marries a Catholic woman, what song should be played at their wedding? Simple... Oy Vey, Maria.
  • The first testicular guard (AKA cup) was worn by players in a hockey game in 1874, but hockey players didn't start wearing a helmet until 1974. Can you believe that? It took 'em a full century to decide their brains might have some purpose, too.
  • Have you ever wondered why people with closed minds open their mouths so much?
  • It must be very difficult to explain puns to a kleptomaniac. They always take things literally.
  • A Roman walks into a bar and raises two finger. "Five beers, please."
  • Sartre was in a French cafe and asked for a cuppa coffee without cream. The waitress said, "I'm sorry; we don't have any cream. Can I make it without milk?"
  • Know how to tell the difference between a plumber and a chemist? Ask them to pronounce unionized.
  • A Higgs-Boson particle walked into a church, and the priest said, "Sorry, but we don't allow Higgs- Bosons in here." Puzzled, the particle says, "But without me, how can you have mass?"
  • A programmer's wife says, "Run to the store and get a loaf of bread, and if they have eggs. get a dozen." He came back home with twelve loaves of bread.
  • Did you hear about the jurisprudence fetishist? He got off on a technicality.

 All of you A-Zers, have lotsa fun with this year's challenge. I'll catch y'all on the other side of the rainbow.

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, March 20, 2015

... Clap Your Hands!

Thought for the day:  It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. [Charles Spurgeon]


Know what today... March 20... is? International Day of Happiness! How cool is that? Don't feel bad if you didn't know about it, though, because it's fairly new. This is only its third year, since the United Nations General Assembly established it in the summer of 2012. (Following Bhutan's initiative)

Its purpose? To recognize the relevance of happiness, and to promote it as a universal goal and aspiration in the lives of human beings around the world. 

So what better topic to talk about today than (ta DA!) happiness?


What's happiness to you? To me, it's more a state of mind than anything. An attitude.

Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be.  [Abraham Lincoln]

Have you ever known people who hang their personal happiness on some future event... like when I get married... when the kids go to school... when I graduate... get that promotion... publish that book... retire... and on and on. What if those things never happen? Wouldn't it make more sense to work on being happy with right now?

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling. [Margaret Lee Runbeck]

Does it require a bunch of money to achieve happiness? Depends on who you ask.

What's the use of happiness? It can't buy you money.  [Henny Youngman]

People who say that money can't buy happiness just don't know where to shop.  [Kathy Lette]

Money doesn't make you happy. I now have fifty million dollars, but I was just as happy when I only had forty-eight.  [Arnold Schwartzenegger]

Do you need stuff to make you happy? Fancy cars? Jewels, furs, designer clothes, around-the-world trips?

True happiness cannot be found in something or some person, because as everything changes, that level of happiness is bound to be temporary.  [Sharon Salzberg]

After years of happiness research, one thing in particular has proven to be fundamentally important to achieving a sense of well-being and happiness: connections to other people.

Friends. In-person friends, Internet friends, on the radio friends... doesn't matter. Just a connection to other people. Connections to other people can diminish our sorrows... and multiply our joys

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.  [Buddha]


I am happy. On just about any given day, I am disgustingly happy. Matter of fact, sometimes it makes me feel guilty: Is it horrid to be happy when so many are so sad? Is it heartless to have peace inside when war's all some have had? (start of one of my poems in Old Broads Waxing Poetic) Is it pathologically nuts to be happy when there are so many problems in the world? I say NO. It'd be much worse not to seize and appreciate each day. (It ain't gonna be here tomorrow!)

Be happy for this moment. This is your life.  [Omar Khayyam]


I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstances but by our disposition.  [Martha Washington]

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  [Dalai Lama]

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is just beyond your grasp, but which is you sit down quietly, may alight upon you. [Nathaniel Hawthorne]

I'm gonna do something I haven't done in a while. Tell you a story. It's a story I recently read on the blog of the loverly L.D. Masterson, and with a wee bit of alteration, here's my version:

Once upon a time, a woman looked into the mirror and saw she only had three hairs on her head. 'Oh well,' she thought. 'I can braid them.'

And so she did. It was good, and she enjoyed a very happy day.

The next day, she only had two hairs left on her head. 'Oh, well,' she thought. 'I can part my hair down the middle.'

And so she did. It was good, and she enjoyed a very happy day.

The next day, there was one lonely hair left on her head. 'Oh well,' she thought. 'I can wear a pony tail.'

And so she did. It was good, and she enjoyed a very happy day.

The next day, she had no hair left at all. She smiled at her reflection, and thought, ' YAY! I don't have to fix my hair today!'

And she enjoyed a very happy day.

It's all about attitude. Being happy doesn't mean your life is perfect; it means you've learned how  to appreciate all the wonderful things you do have, and how to look beyond the imperfections.

*** Mysteries for Myeloma--- Here's a heads-up on a way you can do some good simply by buying a book. (Or as many books as you'd like!) On March 22, all proceeds from the sales of author Nancy Lynn Jarvis's books will be going directly to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. You can find out more about her books via her Amazon author's page... here. And you can find more background info about this worthwhile fund-raising effort on the lovely Yolanda Renee's blog.

                                                      Happy Happiness Day, y'all!

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
[courtesy of the blog  of the lovely Pixel Peeper] 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Know News... or No News?

Thought for the day: To look at the paper is to raise a seashell to one's ear and to be overwhelmed by the roar of humanity.  [Alain de Botton]

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a newspaper junkie. Matter of fact, it still bugs me a teensy bit that I had the darned measles when my elementary school class took a field trip to the massive Baltimore News Post building. While my classmates were watching and hearing that huge press in action, I was stuck at home, scratching like a monkey with fleas. Oh well. The newspaper folks made a nifty metal press of each of our names, and I still have that memento, anyway.


Ever since I was a young girl, I've devoured newspapers, and somewhere along the line, I developed the habit of tearing out articles that pique my curiosity, something I continue to do to this day. In recent years, journalism has changed, almost to the point where I'm beginning to fear Mark Twain was right when he said, If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed. 

Still, it's a lifelong habit I'm not likely to change. Today, I'm gonna share four stories I've saved from the past year or so.

For most folks, no news is good news. For the press, good news is not news.  [Gloria Borger]

Not true. Some news is good. Or at least, it's entertaining...

** Eating with a degree of dignity can be very difficult for people who suffer with severe tremors. The constant shaking makes self-feeding a challenge at home, and pretty much out of the question in public.

Until now.

Google... yes, THAT Google!... has developed a special spoon that can steady those tremors. Sounds like science fiction, doesn't it? But it isn't; it's technology at its finest. The technology used in Liftware spoons senses how a hand is shaking, and makes instant adjustments to keep the spoon balanced. Shaking is reduced by an amazing 76%.

** Amsterdam has a rather unusual government-sponsored program aimed at alcoholics. The logic behind this program is to offer alcoholics a better option than sitting on a park bench drinking all day, so they're offered a job cleaning litter from the streets. And paid... in beer. Typically, their mornings start with two beers... then two more at lunchtime, and another one or two later in the day. Oh, they don't just get paid in booze. They also get half a packet of rolling tobacco, free lunch, and ten euros a day. (About $13.50) The program is so popular, there's a long waiting list of chronic alcoholics who are eager to join the beer-fueled cleaning teams. So what do you think? Is this is good idea?

** In God we trust. Those words are proudly printed on our paper currency, and on some of our state's license tags and/or flags. So it should come as no surprise that the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in Florida decided to have those words printed on their new carpet. A fine carpet it was, too. Forest green, with the sheriff's yellow badge on it, along with those sacred words. 'Cept for one thing. After being in place for a couple months, a sharp-eyed deputy (or at least sharper-eyed than the rest of the folks around there) noticed a slight misspelling. The rug said In Dog we trust. (Oops!)


** Isn't the monarch butterfly gorgeous? Its wings remind me of delicate stained glass. Did you know their population has experienced an astounding 90% decline in recent years? Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hasn't placed it on the endangered species list yet, the federal government has pledged 3.2 million dollars in an attempt to save this iconic North American beauty.  Some of the money will be spent on the restoration of natural habitats, including more than 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator, and gardens, and the rest will go into a conservation fund that will provide grants to farmers and other landowners to conserve additional habitat.

Yeah, I'm pretty enamored with butterflies, especially since this one paused to poop on my head at the butterfly festival we attended last year. (Not really... he just stopped by to say hello.) 

But here's the thing. I learned at the butterfly festival there's something each of us in North America can do to help these beautiful creatures right in our own back yards. (Or front yards; I'm not picky.) Plant milkweed. Really. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed plants, which provide the nourishment developing larvae need. Because of development, and the widespread use of pesticides, milkweeds and other nectar sources are becoming increasingly scarce throughout North America. Less milkweed equals less monarchs. The simple act of planting milkweed can transform your yard into your very own monarch habitat and way station. (A fantastic project for kids and grandkids!) You can even get it certified, although I must admit, there's no guarantee that an official sign beside your garden will draw a larger number of butterflies. (shhhh... they can't READ!) However, it MIGHT inspire others to follow suit. Wanta make a difference? Here's your chance. For more information, please see this site and later, how about posting a picture of yourself with a monarch butterfly sitting atop YOUR head? (If they DO poop, it's so small, you'll hardly notice... and besides, it probably smells like flowers... )

Time to flutter off! The eye doctor awaits. Have a super weekend, y'all.

How about some other newspaper stuff to keep you entertained while I'm gone?

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

P.S. Are any of you having a problem posting Youtube videos? Up until a few weeks ago, I could do it easy-peasy, but now? Not. The video will embed on the draft, but NOT on the preview or published post. It just POOF! disappears. Any ideas? Thanks. Ciao!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Poly Ticks

Thought for the day:  No man's good enough to govern another man without the other's consent. [Abraham Lincoln]

Since the beginning of recorded history, politicians have been both revered and reviled... revered by themselves, and reviled by the rest of us. Heck, even before the start of recorded history, I'll betcha a handful of cave men considered themselves to be in charge, while the rest of 'em went along, simply because they didn't give a jolly damn who did the leading.

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.  [Plato]


I dunno. Maybe that's how so many clowns end up in office. Maybe voters just don't care.

What spurred this head-scratching line of thought is the recent re-election of a fella named Joseph D. Morrissey. This guy has such a long history of getting into fistfights, being in contempt of court, and getting thrown in jail, his nickname is Fighting Joe, and because of his habitual unethical and inappropriate behavior, he lost his license to practice law more than a decade ago. In 1992, voters had no problem electing him when he was in jail, so I guess they figured it was no big deal to do it again.  Yep, he is currently serving time for contributing to the delinquency of a minor (for having sex with a seventeen-year-old employee), but courtesy of a work-release program, the scoundrel is spending his days serving in Virginia's General Assembly, and his nights cooling his heels in the slammer.

Now, I don't mean to pick on the voters in Virginia. It isn't as though that's an isolated case. Nope. Unfortunately, voters all over the country seem to have no problem putting ethically-challenged people in office... over and over again. Are our choices that bad that a mayor who's been put in jail for cocaine use can get re-elected as soon as he's freed? To show how intelligent and capable that D.C. mayor (Marion Barry) was, he actually asked, What right does Congress have to go around making laws just because they deem it necessary? 

Are our choices that bad that a politician who's repeatedly lied to the public, cheated on his family, and used taxpayer money to fly off to South America to be with his mistress is later forgiven, not by his wife, who divorced him, but by the voters, who accepted his mea culpa and happily put him back in office?

Georgia's no different. Most voters don't even raise an eyebrow about the shady ethics and even shadier backroom deals conducted by the good ol' boys who run our state. Business as usual, I guess.

Remember Gary Hart? When he was trying to capture the Democratic nomination for president, he was captured on film with a very curvaceous young lady... to whom he was not married, if ya get my drift. Know what he said? The attractive lady whom I had only recently been introduced to dropped into my lap – I chose not to dump her off. (What a gentleman!)

At least, he had the decency to drop out of the running and into obscurity. Can't say as much for plenty of other politicians, who continue to get away with improprieties out the wazoo. Somehow, I don't think Ted Kennedy was even offended by his nickname: Tyrannosaurus Sex. Massachusetts voters must not have been offended by his drunkenness and womanizing, either. They elected him to term after term, even after a pregnant young lady died in his car when he drove off a bridge in the summer of 1969. He swam to safety.

So what qualifies someone for political office these day? Evidently, it's not ethics, and I don't think it's brains, either. Must be MONEY, and lots of it. Name recognition helps, too. Voters seem to mark the ballot for the person they kinda sorta remember hearing something about... even if they can't remember what it was they heard...


Oh well, I got that off my chest. Now let's make fun of some of our past politicians, shall we? (They make it soooooo easy.)

In the category of I don't think this is what they meant to say:

  • This President is going to lead us out of this recovery.  [Dan Quayle] 
  • A zebra does not change its spots.  [Al Gore] 
  • It's no exaggeration to say that the undecided could go one way or another. [George Bush, Sr.] 
  • Rarely is the question asked "Is our children learning?"  [George W Bush]
  • That low down scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass - and I'm just the one to do it! [Texan Congressional candidate]
  • Traditionally, most of our imports come from overseas. [Australian minister Keppel Enderby] 
  • Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. [George W. Bush] 
  • Things are more like they are now, than they ever were before. [Dwight D Eisenhower] 
  • If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign!  [George W Bush] 
  • I stand by all the misstatements that I've made. [Dan Quayle]
Ahhh, V.P. Dan Quayle. He deserves a category all to himself. (Bless his heart.)

  • One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.
  • I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix. 
  • It's wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago. 
  • I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people. 
  • We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe. 
  • The global importance of the Middle East is that it keeps the Far East and the Near East from encroaching on each other. 
  • We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world.
  • I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change. 
  • We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur. 
  • The future will be better tomorrow.
Our two Presidents Bush said so many cockamamie things, there have been whole books written about Bushisms. This is what a couple other politicians had to say about them:  He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth. [Ann Richards, former Texas governor, about the senior Bush]  If ignorance goes to forty dollars a barrel, I want drilling rights to George Bush's head. [Jim Hightower, former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, about the younger Bush] 

Oh what the heck, thanks to our colorful politicians, political cartoonists are never lacking for a topic. Talk about job security. The only thing wrong with political jokes is... they keep getting elected.

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.  [George Orwell]

A politician thinks of the next election – a statesman, of the next generation. [James Freeman Clarke]

Yep, that's what we need. More statesmen, and less politicians. We need more people on the scene like Winston Churchhill. But just wait a minute... before you Brits get all high-and-mighty because your leaders don't get involved in as many scandals as ours here in the upstart colonies, I heard your Prince Charles was recently caught getting down and dirty. Uh-huh. That's right. Way down and dirty. Heh, heh, heh.

Um, never mind. My bad. Turns out he was 250 feet underground to mark the 150th anniversary of London's sewers. 

                          Big deal! Our leaders generate plenty of stink all by themselves.
[source: the lovely Pixel Peeper's blog ]

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.