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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


It's the season.

Yeah, yeah it's the beginning of the flu season.

Every year I can't wait to track down where I can get a flu shot so I don't have to fork over a co-pay to see my GP, who usually doesn't have the vaccine in the first place.

This year I found that lists tons of clinics, some even with after-work hours. And get this, the shots are $18, $7 cheaper than at most other clinics. Imagine that!

Now, if only researchers could discover vaccines for the common cold, bronchitis, upper-respiratory infections and all those other ailments that make you feel, well, crappy.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Right now, this picture I got off an e-mail illustrates how I feel about my new computer.

Well, not so much about the computer, but the programs.

With a wireless system, the firewalls and security-protection programs are driving me crazy. Just when I get one to accept the other, Comcast changes their e-mail format and who knows where my e-mails are going now. If you get one of mine, let me know.

On top of it all, I'm trying to learn how to scan and put together a PowerPoint presentation for a talk I have to give at Brookdale this Saturday. I've known about this presentation for months.

You'd think I'd have prepared for it during the summer.

You'd think at $2,500, I'd have a cooperating computer.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Wouldn't it be nice to be invisible sometimes?

You know, like a fly on the wall that can see who's doing what behind your back. Wouldn't it be great to be able to disappear when you see someone approaching you'd rather avoid?

Well, it seems scientists have developed a way to cloak things at Duke University. It works like a mirage, where heat causes the bending of light rays, to block out the road ahead behind an image of the sky.

Then again, nature has done a pretty good job of letting some species blend in with their surroundings, like this stick bug (I guess that's what you call it).

Sometimes it's good to blend in, staying under the radar of hungry predators wanting to end your existence.

OK, Capt. Kirks, what would you do if you could be invisible?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I decided to take a risk and bring up a touchy subject ... like the "manholes, utility cavities, subterranean areas and underground pockets" filled with body parts recently unearthed at ground zero.

Is it just me or is everyone refraining from calling it the sewer system?

Not being an expert on underground infrastructure and having seen horror films where manholes only lead to the sewer system, am I out of line to wonder about this?

I know no one wants to believe their loved one ended up dying in the sewer, but how long are we going to sugar coat the facts out of the fear of being insensitive?

And, are we overly sensitive to being insensitive?

I think it's time to call a spade a spade and focus more on why those places (whatever they're called) weren't checked for bodies before now.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Sooty shearwaters taught me a lesson.

The 1.7-pound seabird flies 40,000 miles in 200 days in search of food, following an endless summer of abundant sea life in the southern and northern hemispheres. They never experience winter or touch land once they leave New Zealand after breeding.

They cover the Pacific Ocean in a figure-eight from New Zealand to Antarctica to Chile to California, Alaska or Japan and back again. Some have been logged to travel 565 miles a day.

And here I complain about having to go less than a mile to the corner grocery store. Then again, the sooty shearwaters don't have to deal with the mad rush to get that No. 1 parking space or run-over-your-heels shopping-cart bumpers inside the store.

Monday, October 23, 2006


All it needed was another coat of paint.

My classic Corvette was that close to being creamed during Friday's windstorm by a falling tree that used to sit on a paper street next to my house.

By the time I got around to taking pictures, my man already had the chain saw out and was cutting it into pieces to remove it from our property.

But here's my dilemma, there are a lot more trees, even taller than the one that fell, on the same piece of township property. They are leaning straight toward my house.

So, do I call the township and insist they be removed? Should we remove them ourselves (at our cost) or should we put the spare truck Spud uses for parts next to the trees and when another falls, collect the insurance for damages to the already damaged truck?

Since the insurance scheme sounds a little bit like fraud, the township red tape most likely is where we'll be snarled.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Life is too serious.

We get all caught up in trying to do things we think makes us happy.

We work until exhaustion at a job we think is fulfilling. Then the job description changes.

For years, we try to cultivate trusting relationships with those we believe are in our corner. Then they deliver the knock-out punch.

We slave to pay off our bills, then we break a crown or the dog needs anal gland surgery!

But just when you're fed up to your eyeballs in serious stuff, out pops a wonderful moment that takes your breath away and makes you realized what's really important ... like a grandchild's beautiful smile.

Spend this weekend doing something that makes you truly happy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


300 million Americans! Egads ... we need a plague!

I was hoping the spinach E. coli would at least thin out the multitude of irate drivers on the Garden State Parkway, but the scare pooped out in California.

Now we have 300 million people in this country (and another upcoming baby boomer generation) to contend with.

You tell me what good will come from having to provide services for so many people, and why are they all in front of me in line at the grocery store?

I may have to move to one of those square states in the Midwest to get away from everyone. Then again, I was here first ... let them move.

Hopefully, at the very least, this new generation will be paying through the nose into the beleaguered Social Security system just about the time I need it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


My 6-year-old dinosaur computer finally died.

Because I do a lot of writing at home for work, I had to replace it ... fast! So, off I went to Circuit City to buy another.

I already knew which computer I wanted because - when Bessie was fading - I did a little research to prepare for her demise. And, a wireless network was high on my list.

When I got home with the wireless system, I found had more wires to contend with (plus two extras at $80 each) than a good electrician with a booming business.

At this time, the media center still has no TV reception, which means more wires will be coming from the cable company.

Don't ya just love technology?

Monday, October 16, 2006


I turned into a pumpkin.

And, so did everyone else who attended Spud's 30th high school reunion after it was over.

Women put away their ball gowns and men their suits. Everyone went back to being who they really are instead of the person they hyped themselves up to be.

Even I got tried of explaining that I was one of many editors at the Press, and finally (after my third glass of wine) just said Asbury Park Press editor when asked what I did. They all thought I was THE editor (sorry about that Skip).

Which is why the woman whose backside I took a picture of was thrilled her tush was going to be featured somewhere.

All in all, it was a great time, and fun to watch the older version of those one-time young friends get acquainted all over again.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Another astute reader, who shares my warped sense of humor, knew I'd appreciate this clip and sent it along. In which paper or where it ran, I have no idea.

It put things in perspective since I'll be attending my man's 30th reunion with him tomorrow.

I've been a little anxious preparing for the big soiree because Spud is seven years younger, and I don't want to go looking like I could be his mother.

In doing so, I had to find just the right dress (which I did) that would give his old girlfriends a run for their money.

My luck, everyone will be casually dressed in jeans.

Maybe I can wear the sexy little black number again when I go to Wal-Mart
for doggie wee-wee pads.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


After the horrendous killings of five Amish young girls in Georgetown, Pa., my heart ached for the families of the slain children. It was an unconscionable act committed by a very disturbed man, and I wondered why God would bring such public pain into the private lives of those so devoted to Him.

I was angry, and couldn't understand why Charles Roberts didn't just kill himself instead of taking the lives of those innocent children, too.

Then I read how thousands of dollars were being sent to the Amish community. In the next paragraph, I read Amish leaders had set up a fund from that money for the killer's widow and his children.

And it hit me. It was pure and simple.

God used those "who so trust in Him" to edify the simple act of forgiveness.

But, if it had happened to any one of us, could we forgive? I'm not so sure I'd be such a divine example.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


When this photo arrived in one of those You're-a-redneck-if ... e-mails, I laughed out loud.

Then I realized that this doorbell most likely is the rear-end of a real deer that
was gunned down like Bambi's mother and cut to pieces.

Now, I can understand the logic of hunting, even though I would have a difficult time killing any animal. I also understand that most hunters eat what they kill. And personally, I'm grateful for the folks at Perdue who do the dirty work so I can enjoy eating chicken.

But looking at this photo again, it sort of made me sick, like the deer heads and antler sets that hung as trophies in my grandfather's and father's homes.

OK, so maybe it's just the thought of what kind of sound that doorbell makes.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Yes, I had let my new refrigerator door go while stocking its shelves, and it hit the side of the unit so hard that it creased the front of the door.

But despite being told to live with it, I marched into Lowe's and told them the truth.

This is what I didn't know. The appliance specialist said the delivery man most likely had neglected to put the stop on the door when he reversed the handle. And he was right.

That was Saturday. Sunday, I had a new door. The Lowe's fix-it man also said the bottom piece covering the wheels was cracked, and they would replace that too.

I've got to say, you all were right! Squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Lowe's hears the squeak better than most big home-improvement stores!

Friday, October 06, 2006


It was off balance.

The delivery man didn't set the legs right on our new refrigerator to keep it level.

I didn't find out until he left and I was putting condiments on the door. When I turned around to get jars and bottles, the door swung open and hit the side of the unit.

Now, I have a crease in the front of the door.

Like looking down flights of stairs, I was dizzy with rage.

Who's at fault? Should I call Lowe's and demand a new door? Or should I suck it up and put a magnet over the crease?

Maybe the magnet should read "Scratch and dent sale."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


OK, if you read today's column you know how I feel about pit bulls.

Like I mentioned, dogs are dogs, and the majority of the time it's the training they receive from their owners whether they become vicious or not.

The most disturbing thing I found in my research on pits is that unfounded fear (mostly due to media hype) has perpetuated lawmakers in many communities to ban owning breeds that fall into the pit-bull category. And, there are many different breeds considered to be pit bulls.

So, what about German shepherds, Rottweilers and other breeds known to have been involved in fatal attacks?

Should they be banned, too?

Where do we draw the line ... at Chihuahuas like "keet killer" Pinkie?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


It's a handy dandy always sharp knife that can cut through steel.

And, I bought three of them one day when a fast-talking saleslady was giving a demonstration in Sears.

I also bought two sets of steak knives, five paring knives and a filet knife that
will skin a tomato without marring the meat.

My excuse? I have dull knives.

But what the heck am I going to do with two more steel-cutting knives, five paring knives, and TWO sets of steak knives. And, why would I want to filet tomatoes?

Guess my Christmas shopping is finished.

Monday, October 02, 2006


It's that time of year when the sandals are put away and out come the long pants.

I struggled all weekend rearranging my closet.

I have too many clothes to begin with, so shifting the warmer stuff up front and shoving the capris to the back was a real pain.

Organizing the long sleeves and the mid sleeves in front of the short sleeves finally got the best of me, so I threw most of it in a bag for Goodwill.

Now, I can go shopping.