Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hump Day Happy New Year Haiku

We all shall admit
That the old year is over
Need desk calendar.

The new year is here
Time marches on your torso
Heads up: we're older.

Russia in crisis
Ukraine in decline, I fear
Europe next in line

Intruders visit
Just stroll into the White House
Thanks, Secret Service

Pharrell sang "Happy"
That Ebola was crappy
Bieber delinquent

Rodman's Korea
They are so glad to see ya
Stay there, idiot

Independence, Scots?
Kilt that idea quickly
Back to complaining

Terrorists out there
Your internet isn't safe
Sony can tell you

Bye, Afghanistan
Our soldiers are coming home
Silent phone? It's us

NFL, you say?
Sure it's not a baseball game?
Lots of real hitters

Ice bucket chillers
ALS is in the news
No one will stay dry

Perhaps travel or romance?
(Don't fly Asian Air)

Plans for the next year
See you on the Flipside, peeps
Wish you all the best

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas-to-New Year's Crunch Week

Holiday travel happened all over the country last weekend. Family members from all over the map are pulled by mysterious forces to their mother's (or mother-in-law's) house to celebrate. We are no different than those anonymous traveling masses; family visits are wonderful - but so is walking through your own door when you return from that little jaunt.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Stephen Christmas Present

"But I still want a snowman...dressed like Batman..."  Stephen T. McCarthy

"Never let it be said that I don't grant Christmas wishes."  Cherdo

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Reason for the Season

Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Have a wonderful holiday, be safe and blessed.
Love, Cherdo

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Let's Make Snowcone-men

Why haven't I thought of this before? This idea was right in front of my face, yet I didn't make the connection:

  • The endless hours I spent in the snow as a child...
  • My mother telling me to "go outside and play..."
  • Countless snowmen...snowwomen...snowdogs...we built them all...
  • An insane love of snowcomes.
A drenching of fruity flavored goodness, bendy straw arms and I could have easily have had enough reason to stay outside for hours: the Snowcone-man.

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Favorite Christmas Memory Bloghop...Cherdo-ed

Janie Junebug and I (Cherdo!) would love to hear your own Christmas memories - it's not too late to sign up!  To join us, sign up below and then post your personal favorite recollection on December 22. Share the Christmas memory that has stuck with you through the years, and a little bit about what made it so special for you.

Was it happy, funny, sad, enlightening, or just plan weird?  Who am I to judge? It's your memory!

Ring the bells, write to Santa, put up the tree and wrap the presents early!  Our first bloghop won't be the same without our buddies - and we'd like you to invite as many of your own blog friends as you can! We want to blanket blogdom with holiday recollections, reflections and retrospection. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

"I Will Not Go Forth Unto Christmas Week..."

It's crunch time and I've told myself that I will not even start the week of Christmas without every, single thing on my voluminous to-do list completed...and it is so close. It's happening today.

Thank you to everyone who is participating in our Favorite Christmas Memory Bloghop on December 22. It's not too late to sign up. Look to the right...the green square...yes, that's it. Click and join us. Our only purpose is to share our favorite memories and spread some Christmas spirit among blog land. Janie Junebug and I thank you!

Happy Holidays, and see you on Monday, peeps.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What Makes a Holiday Icon?

Just a quick thought today: how DO they decide what becomes a holiday icon? Is it a ballot? That's an election I want to participate in. Can I mail it in?

Some possible questions and choices:

  1. Santa:  Jolly or Vain? Smoking a pipe or curling his beard?
  2. Snowman, Pinkman or Rainman?  Frosty, Bad Business Partner or Mathematical Wapner Watcher? 
  3. Holly, Pinecones or Snowcones?
  4. Festive Elf, Troubled Troll or Frozen Fairy?
  5. Give presents to the birthday child...or have the child be the gift to everyone.
The Christmas holiday will have a few short posts as I spend a whole lot of time away from the computer screen!

But, don't forget, we want to hear your favorite Christmas memory!:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Put My Christmas Goodies in WHAT?

I'm spending the eight days before Christmas thinking about traditions and where they originated. Googling isn't enough information; it's pretty canned. Sure, it will tell you the history of St. Nick, various holiday hypotheses about the origins of the Christmas'll run into a few debates on whether or not the pagans contributed to it - does it taint the tradition? (Spoiler: No kid thinks that.) 

I ain't about that life.

The meaty bare-bones information that I seek hinges on the rationale behind the initiation of these traditions. When did they really start? What was going on in that moment?

First up: Who decided that it would be cool to get goodies stuffed in your sock? 

Let's examine that holiday favorite.

So, the general public of a bygone age becomes aware of old St. Nick. At some point, he is not just the red attired Bishop Nicholas - he is a saint and Big N has done wonderful things. All over the globe, people know his name. Towns and ports are named after him. Parents tell their children stories about him and the legend grows. 

Good news, children! St. Nicholas will be coming down the chimney tonight and he's bringing you "something" if you're good! Ah...we arrive at our historical catalyst; the great unknown. Let's speculate without facts - like the news channels. 

With wonder and amazement, anticipation and excitement at its peak, what kids said: "Hey, I've got an idea. Let's hang an item of clothing up so St. Nick will stuff it with presents."

I want to know the name of that kid, and you know it had to be a kid. Truthfully, I want to be a fly on the wall at the moment that happened, because no child's conversation is linear. Every kid in the family had to chime in and battle for air time. How did a sock win out?

You know that Rolf or Gretchen had to mention that underwear was much bigger and held more items. Gretchen might remind him of his poor bathroom hygiene and even infer that underwear could never, ever be clean enough to suffice. Of course, long underwear would just be a sign of greediness and mess with your Santa street cred. There's a possibility that the term should be "sled cred," but I don't have the research to back it up.

Jorge and Hans might have suggested tying up the sleeves of shirts, but they would have to be low hanging and a fire hazard. What do you do with the neck hole? Sew it up? Long pants would be the same hazard. 

As one of my brilliant co-workers used to say, "You don't want to wake up dead." 

They promoted her, but I'm not bitter. 

Back to our story...

Surely little Brunhilda might have thought about a bucket or a cup?  What was wrong with suggesting that their nighttime visitor put their gifts on the front porch, thus saving time and avoiding that pesky breaking and entering charge?

Lastly, did these trendsetting Teutonic kids lack parental guidance?

Well, you all know the end of this story...because we're all hanging, stockings. With ingenuity and holiday spirit, one brilliant child whose name is lost to us led the way as he (or she) nailed their stockings to the fireplace mantel that first time. Foot odor, be darned! It's Christmas! A fat man is on his way.

Then, the children must have gone to bed, blue toed and giddy. You know they didn't have a lot of clothes back then and they just gave up 50% of their foot coverings.

Meanwhile, as Rolf lay in bed - he could have kicked himself in frustration! All that talk of undergarments made him forget he had perfectly good luggage that could have been placed on the hearth and that would have held a motherload of goods.

Too late smart, Rolf. Go check your sock.


Don't forget to join the
DECEMBER 22, 2014
Your ho-ho-hosts: Cherdo and Janie Junebug
It won't be the same without you!  

Click on the graphic on the right...that's it...go ahead...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Just a 'Toon for Tuesday

Maybe you are one of those people who think you just can't mess up a snowglobe, it's everyone's perennial favorite - the king of the holiday table knickknacks.

You'd be wrong. Anything can fail. 

Although, I have to ask - with the amphora flying, Roman statue heads rolling and columns crashing, what's not to like? It's my personal favorite eruption decoration.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Christmas Crab Needs to Go!

Does anyone still say "crabby?" It seems to have fallen out of favor, but I propose that we slap a little more mileage on the term before it's fully abandoned. The crowds are becoming virtual lobster pots of crabbiness as we get closer and closer to Christmas. You may as well let it flow, folks - the arrival of Christmas has nothing to do with whether or not we're ready.

In fact, your Christmas attitude and behavior will magically become someone's Christmas memory. It's never too late to kill the crabbiness before the holiday arrives.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Have Yourself a Tarantino Christmas

Our bloghop hosts, MOCK! and The Armchair Squid, are proud to present Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society.  

Each month, on the second Friday, we shall host a bloghop devoted to a particular movie.  We invite others to watch the same film and post their own reviews.

Today, our society convenes with Pulp Fiction.


Sometimes, you just want to throw something in the hat for the folks who have already seen this hot mess, rather than explain detail after detail. 

Pulp Fiction is a collection of tales and colorful characters that all criss-cross and merge, indifferent to the chronology of the actual events portrayed. One thing that all the characters have in common is that there's no classic hero in the bunch; there's just the people who end up dead and the people who live to see another day. It's a carnival of low-lifes, and you're along for the (brief) ride.

This award winning film is not for everyone, especially if you don't like glorified self-indulgence, criminal activity portrayed as "just another day," characters who curse with every single sentence, or gratuitous gore.  

So, how can we make it more festive and "flipside-able?"

Sung to the tune of 
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas*

Have yourself a Tarantino Christmas,
Quentin's neo-noir,
Jules and Vincent eating burgers in a car.

Have yourself a foul-mouth-fiction Christmas,
Brett is going down,
Vince and Mia have a night out on the town,

Lance, please help, Mia overdosed!
Vincent's butt is toast - he fears!
Butch wants his watch, he just threw a fight
Crazy Zed's a pain in the rear.

Have yourself a zip-your-lip-Butch Christmas,
Shoot Vincent and go -
Jimmie's worried Bonnie has a fit to throw!
Jules gives Pumpkin and Honey Bunny cash to go.

[*all apologies to Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine. Parody is not for wimps.]

Want to join us? Sign up! Chime in! Get your feet wet - we'd love to have you along for the ride.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The B Tree

December snuck up on me. And yes - I realize "snuck" is not an acceptable word; I've told you I'm not a writer...right? Let me continue to make it apparent with every post. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Humpday Haikus

Chilly Tennessee
Forcing me to get a coat
I feel so betrayed

Winter wonderland
Where have you gone? Where, I cry?
Everything is wet and muddy

Friendly, welcoming blog friends
Cherdo and Janie

Join us, we exclaim!
Blog your Xmas memories
Belong to the ages!

Computer junky
Don't be selfish at Christmas
More give...less receive

But wait! Don't despair!
Others will share their thoughts, too
It is a win-win

Our Christmas Bloghop
Our gift to the Universe
Real secret Santas

Hint hint hint hint hint 
Hint hint hint hint hint hint hint
Hint hint hint hint hint 

Will they quit asking?
Gee...they are so persistent
I sign the Linky...

The haiku now ends
I won't mention it again
...unless you don't join...

 My Favorite Christmas Memory Bloghop Dec. 22


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

No Snitch on My Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf is a children's book explaining the story of Santa's scout elves, who are sent to be Santa's eyes and ears in homes around the world! Hurrah, for Santa! Uh...wait a minute...the scout elf is doing what??

You heard it right. Santa's watching you, kids, and he is in league with that snitch on the shelf. As if it's not creepy enough that "he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake."

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Favorite Christmas Memory Bloghop Dec. 22

Cherdo and Janie Junebug want YOU to carve out a wee bit of time to participate in 


To join us, sign up below and then post your personal favorite recollection on December 22. We'd love to read about the Christmas memory that has stuck with you through the years, and a little bit about what made it so special for you.

Was it happy, funny, sad, enlightening, or just plan weird?  Who am I to judge? It's your memory!

Ring the bells, write to Santa, put up the tree and wrap the presents early!  Our first bloghop won't be the same without our buddies - and we'd like you to invite as many of your own blog friends as you can! We want to blanket blogdom with holiday recollections, reflections and retrospection. 

Sign up below to join us!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Daily Painting

Creative people run the gamut from the crafty hobbyist to the accomplished artists, yet they all could benefit from the simple, practical advice of a pro as explained in Carol Marine's new book, Daily Painting: Paint Small and Often to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Artist. As intuitive as it seems, we all need reminded from time to time that there is no secret recipe for improvement - sometimes, you just need to dive in and stick with it. Don't be fooled by the title; there's so much more to this book then just a call to paint more often.

In 2006, Marine discovered the daily painting movement that encouraged artists to paint one small painting  daily and sell that work online. Unencumbered by perfectionism or preconceived notions about the right or wrong way to paint, frequent studio time leads to small completed works. Finishing a project can clear your mind for the next project; you get a sense of satisfaction with the daily completion - and results in hand. Marine saw her skills and enjoyment of her craft improve dramatically and I believe anyone would! It is, after all, the practice that raises a novice to a pro.  

So, what to do with all these small paintings? Put them in the hands of the public by selling them online. Marine even addresses blogging as a tool to market your art and sell those daily masterpieces. Helpful insight into the process of creating an online presence is straightforward and easy to follow with clear descriptions of the benefit of such an endeavor. 

Daily Painting contains much of the technical side of painting and drawing that you'd find in any painting book: supplies, color theory, proportions. Beginners would feel right at home following the creative process of the artist. What I really loved most, however, was the number of fine paintings used throughout to illustrate or just for the love of painting.

Carol Marine practices what she preaches with beautiful results. If you're considering purchasing some of her work - I'd start with this book.

[I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review, and I'm happy to oblige. I loved it, and it's MINE! All MINE!]

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Muppet Fail: Have a Hairy Joe Holiday

Once again, we address the sad saga of the Muppets that didn't make the cut, the overlooked creations that were tossed aside with no regard to how felt...felt.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Remember the Alamo...the Delicious Alamo

If you have young kids, here is a warning: there are only so many days in a child's life that can be legitimately called childhood. You'll miss those days in ways you can't even explain when they are gone. 

(Hopefully, you won't have an abundance of days where you just consider your progeny "childish." It's not the same and you don't get the same feelgood feeling. And remember, homicide is a crime - everywhere, people.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cyber Month Cynic

There's a curious similarity between Cyber Monday and plain old Tuesday. In fact, Tuesday feels so similar to Cyber Monday that I suggest we go ahead and admit that we are at the start of a full-on Cyber Month. December is all about retailers getting every last dollar we have before Christmas arrives. The push to sell, sell, sell doesn't lessen to any measurable degree and you will kick yourself when you see the same deal or better in the coming weeks. Let's expose Cyber Monday for what it always was - it's not a real part of Christmas celebrations. 

Be on the lookout; there are other ways to get your hard earned bucks, too. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Post Thanksgiving Menu

Oh, you were so looking forward to it. It was going to be something special that you shared with your family and friends. If you're really skilled at it's preparation, you'll be their host year after year - because it's important that it comes out right. You know what I'm talking about: the Thanksgiving turkey.

Now, it's Monday and that same group that cheered me on to local roasting fame is catching on to how I am trying to put turkey in every meal to get rid of the leftovers. It's been going on all weekend.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse

Once again, it's time for the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, an online gathering of bloggers who love books. If you're interested, please sign on to the link list at the end of this post. Thanks to our most excellent host, my friend, The Armchair Squid.

This month, I flung my collective neurons into an old favorite that I hadn't read for quite a while: I Sing the Body Electric: And Other Stories by Ray Bradbury. Holiday cleaning required removal of all books on my shelves and there it was...hello, old friend.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving Table is Set

Dashing around yesterday, I made a little "me" time to re-visit a hole-in-the-wall antique shop. Hubzam and I had stopped there three or four days ago and as I wandered through the little shop, I spied a set of goblets on a shelf. Instant heart glitch; I squealed with delight! It was a set of vintage Libby Silver Leaf glassware that goes perfectly with my china pattern. I know this because I have some water and juice glasses, and these were the same type.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

Twas the night before thanksgiving, Mom is tied to a cart,
Battling with others who didn't shop smart.
Dad thinks he is helpful (though I want to choke ya),
Gonzo's loafing in Starbucks with his vente Mocha.

My brain, it was clouded with requests and dislikes
Of those headed toward me on various turnpikes.
At times I would waver and think I might quit it
(This meal looked so easy when my grandma did it).

All at once I saw purses and coupons a-flyin'
And I ran to the aisle to see what chicks were buyin'!
What's the excitement? I don't mean to be crass,
But these couponing wenches are tight with the cash.

When what to my bloodshot, tired eyes should appear?
But a turkey - on sale - twice the size of my rear.
"We don't need that turkey," said Dad, "it's absurd!"
I just blocked out that nonsense - I'm fixing that bird.

The underpaid butcher stood there at his post
And I noticed most turkeys looked tired and sclerosed. 
With one hand on top and one hand on the bottom,
I grabbed that big turkey and yelled, "Hon - I got 'em!"

We can't roam,
Let's go home,
This bird must defrost.
I'm cooking,
Then baking,
...I best not be crossed.

I'll whip up the stuffing that you all call "dressing,"
You'll wear a nice shirt, and you WILL say a blessing.
My sons and my man will proclaim, "What a mess!"
Who's cleaning up after?

 I'll give them one guess.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Newsday: Look Closer

The news that catches my eye merges together in a huddled mass and forms Tuesday Newsday. Let's look closer:

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Christmas Shopper

Last week, my focus was on a craft fair day. Before, during and after the craft fair - when my tired old self recovered. Bending over a table from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. will separate the men, er..women from the ... oh, never mind. This cliche is useless to women. You can separate the men from the boys, but the women just have to cluster and maintain, I guess.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

End of the Week!

You know what's better than Friday? Friday vacation days with Hubzam! Put your feet up and enjoy your day, too, and I'll see you on the flipside of Monday.  Everybody have a great weekend.

This Old Spouse: Weather Report

Cold weather is upon us in my neck of the woods and I've lost the immunity to cold that I brought to Tennessee from northeast Ohio. How did this happen? My idiot savant ability to ignore low temperatures comforted me. In past years, I've complained of the lack of adequate seasons in dear old Tennessee. Basically, the years starts out just wet and yucky, then moves on to Pre-Spring (anything can happen), Spring (anything can happen), Pre-Summer (hot), Summer (hot), Early Fall (still pretty warm and just about perfect), Fall (anything can happen...but a lot of rain) and "Winterish."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keepin' It Clean...One Line at a Time

I'm sure I'll get all kind of grief for this post, but I have a favor to ask of my Flipster friends. It's not difficult and it doesn't hurt at all (good news so far). It doesn't cost anything (yay) and it won't take any time at all - it may save you time. You'll probably think my request is either unique or totally unacceptable. 

My outlandish request is thisHelp me keep nasty language off my blog. 

I don't want to delete anyone's post, because I welcome them all and want to encourage you to put your two cents in even more often! 

See, the thing is that I spend a lot of time with young people and therefore, they wander over to the land of the BIRDDOGGING flipgeezer. Granted, I address a lot of the world's craziness in my observations but I'm always going to try to be creative rather than vulgar (see colorful substitutions). Believe me, it's not easy some days but it helps that I try to keep that out of my day to day conversations (note I said "try"... Lord knows, it can be hard and I'm not an older version of Pollyanna; the flipchick has been 'round the proverbial block).

I'm contemplating the responses, so I'll address a few:
  • You! Quit making that face! Don't you know it will stick that way?
  • "Young folks have peers who may be cursing a blue streak daily." I'll be the yin to that yang.
  • "This is AMERICA and I have freedom of speech." I'm asking you to tap into your freedom not to say things, as a favor. 
  • "Media - particularly entertainment - is just saturated with it. Young people will see horrible language in print and online anyhow."  ...just not here. 
  • "What's the big deal?" It's such a small amount of effort on my part. I can do that. I'm hoping you're willing to help me.
  • "You've reviewed some DINGO books and movies with language!!" Yes, I have reviewed books and movies that have a disappointing amount of bad language, I see and hear it everywhere. I'm not on a one-woman crusade here because I know it would be futile, I'm just talking about my one little blog-o-sphere... 
  • "You're not talking about my CURLY FRY blog, are you?" What someone writes on their blog is their business. It would be nice to have a co-hort in my quest, but I only ask for one favor at a time, once every fifty-five years. I hope you're around for the next one in THAT one is going to be a doosie.
  • "Delete the comments, I don't give a CORNDOG if you do!" I believe most people will help you out, if you just ask. Please? Help me keep the nasty language out, and if there is a slip, I will say "oops" and delete it. Don't have hard feelings, should that occur. It's not condemnation - just clean up.

Thank you, in advance, if you choose to join the Flipside Ecological Team: Keepin' It Clean-ish!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Newsday: What Was That About?

This week has had it share of bad news, good news and frustrating news. I'm not going to address any of that, of course. 

Tuesday Newsday is all about the news that should never be reported in the first place. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Taylor Swift Went Pop and I Don't Care

Taylor Swifts new album (1989) hit the stores recently, scoring record sales and closely behind that: Taylor haters. 

Now, I'm sure that there were those who didn't like her music before and there may have been others who like her music - then changed their mind. But the main flap I'm hearing (and it has to be prevalent to get on my useless - nay, near oblivious - radar) is that Taylor has gone pop and abandoned her country roots.

I don't care. That sounded a little cold. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mock Squid Soup: Space Battleship Yamoto: November 14, 2014

In every lifetime, there comes an opportunity to open the windows of your venture into areas previously embrace the new. And so, weary of my complacent existence, I signed up for Mock Squid Soup: Space Battleship Yamoto.

Each month, The Armchair Squid and MOCK! host a bloghop devoted to a particular film.  Use those links to see the other members of this blog hop, because I didn't get the code this month. Perhaps they guessed my movie review outcome. Clever, clever...

This month's film was: 

Title: Space Battleship Yamato
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Original Release: 2010
My Overall Rating: Oh, Squid-san, please don't make me watch it again. I don't have the stars...

Favorite translated quote: "Suffocation doesn't hurt."  

Not that I think it's the truth, because this movie was painfully long as it sucked air and all the will to live from my body. Spoiler alert: you'll learn nothing of value from my review.

My gut response to any review attempt is to get a mental outline of the pros and cons, find some of my favorites and some things that didn't work, and proceed. Unfortunately, my mental outline looked like this:
  • cannon fire...who is fighting with who?...
  • Why are they so excited...
  • Look, it's Halley's Comet...oh, nevermind...
  • Why are they wearing navy-like anyone named McHale-san or Gilligan-san?
  • What is the main conflict?...
  • If the Gamilas are wiping out some, why didn't they just wipe out all of them, so I can make a cup of coffee?...must aliens throw their message capsules? Aren't they just a wee bit more advanced than a space-fling?
  • Hey, is that ship a space submarine? That might be interesting. "In the town where I was born, lived a man, who sailed to sea, and he told us of his life, in the land of submarines..." Oh, wait, I'm still watching this movie. Shazzbatt.
  • Oh, dear Lord, Kodai had a son?? Please don't do a sequel.

Takuya Kimura, I agree you are a fine looking man and I can see that you'd be a hit with all the ladies of the land of the rising sun. It's just the movie that I despised. That's all. 

Squid and Mock...I still love you and I'll be 'round next month.

To my friend, Hiromasa Tetsuya of Japan, I ask this question: 
Naze, kono eiga wa totemo subarashīdesu?
廣政徹也:   なぜ、この映画はとても素晴らしいです?

Crafting Whirlwind!

Though I said I wasn't crafting this season, a few nice opportunities have come up and as The Godfather, Michael Corleone would say: "Every time I get out, they keep bringing me back in!"

So... today is a crafting in overdrive day and I'm putting aside the cartoons and blog lovin' for 24 hours. Just to prove I'm not fibbin', here's some of the charms and lockets I'm putting in my shop-on-a-table under my Crafted by Cherdo biz name (a logo...and an efficient). 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Muppet Fail

I saw a something on a sidebar that said "rejected muppets." The link failed to provide the twisted pleasure I expected, but it started me thinking about what a failed Muppet might look like. To be blunt, not everyone is a Kermit the Frog or Miss Piggy. It's the hard, sad truth - competition must be fierce. Are there long lines of puppets who want to take that next step and be muppets? It's surely a marionette mash-up, a virtual hand-all-up-in-there smack down. 

Muppet Fails must be the lost souls of the Muppet World. I wondered: why would a Muppet Fail? Is there a prevailing puppet prejudice against hip, continental and ecologically aware felt creatures promoting education, or at least the first letter sounds? 

Time for some investigative journalism...

Ásbjörn the Icelandic Foreign Exchange Student seemed like a winner from the start. Obviously, the backstory was that this kid was a go-getter who valued education. As a foreign exchange student, he had committed to a challenging change of pace for a year as he studied alongside American students. Surely he had wonderful stories to share with the kids about his homeland. 

With his pale, ethnically confusing pallor and jaunty Icelandic coat, you had to ask yourself: what's not to like? Even with the alarmingly realistic details about his lunch (sheep head, fermented shark, bread that's been buried near a hot spring to bake...and smells like sulphur), test audiences loved him. Observers imagined the smell of mackerel every time they observed his audition - he was that good.  

So what went wrong? I'll tell you: Ásbjörn had a sidekick, Hairy Joe.

Hairy Joe never clicked with audiences. You either love  yellow demon eyes or you don't; it's a polarizing look. The twisted horns reminded people of...well, you know who. The look on his face never changed: yellow eyes, staring ahead, mouth gaping open...steam rising from his lips. Hairy Joe never met a comb. He had an odd smell, more like a real mountain goat that a felt covered prototype.

Ásbjörn tried to cover for him, but the constant awkward attempts were embarrassing and contrived.

"Hairy Joe is very pleased to meet you" or "Hairy Joe is so glad to be here in the greatest country in the world" proved useless. Come you think the casting staff was björn yesterday?

Ásbjörn and Hairy had to go. They were MUPPET FAILS.

The next wave of potential muppets brought The Tube Sock Brothers, twins Jerome and Reuben. Their backstory was that they were boxers.

Everyone went nuts! Lawyers got involved. Apparently, you just don't tell people you are boxers unless you are underwear. It's confusing to impressionable youth and and the next thing you know, you have the lawsuits piling up. Kids and pre-teens start wearing socks for underwear while claiming they were misled and confused by Jerome and Reuben. It seems to me that when the kids were dressing they would be left with a pair of underwear that didn't have a job; perhaps that might even clue them in to the fact that the socks had another purpose.

In the cut-throat muppetry world, the sharks smelled blood. Ugly comments were directed at Jerome and Reuben daily:

"Hey, locker room, where's your brother?"

"Why DON'T you admit de-feet? Isn't that what de socks are for?"

"Oh, for crying out loud, it's just a pair of tube socks!"

"Sock it to him and put him out of his misery - he'll never be a muppet."

Prophetic words; they never were. Another case of MUPPET FAILS.  

Abby Crabby, Two-headed Monster, Count Von Count, Aloysius Snuffleupagus, Tiny Little Super Guy and Stinky...there's a sock that wants to BE you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Bathtub Post...Jump In

A whole segment of society has gone unnoticed by yours truly. Bathtub lovers, designers, and H20 enthusiasts are everywhere. Prior to yesterday's research, I strongly felt that the only questions that needed answered about bath tubs were:
  • What color?
  • What shape?
  • Jets or no jets?
  • Shower or separate?
  • Single unit or cast iron/tile?
I've never been so naive. Let's examine some options. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Is Geezerdom on the Horizon?

How do you know you're a geezer? If I had a nickel for every time I was asked this, I'd have a...oh, never mind. 

I can only address my own personal journey to self-awareness of my own geezer potential.  This doesn't cause me alarm; I've been preparing for the rocking chair since I was a tot. Lately, however, I've had several clues that indicate geezerdom may be nearer than I thought.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Politician Upgrade: A Brilliant Two-Step Process

While discussing the somewhat disappointing world of politics this morning (yikes!), my friend - who I shall call BB - had the two best ideas I've ever heard. His ideas have the potential to improve our political process and allow us to regain some confidence in the people we elect. Call it a politician upgrade. 

Dumbstruck at its simple brilliance, I literally looked at him and said, "You are a genius and I'm going to blog that."

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Stuff That Christmas Stocking with Creativity and Frugality: Woodshop 101 for Kids

Nothing baffles me quite so much as the electronics addiction that is prevalent amongst today’s generation, and believe me, I’m not electronics ignorant – it’s not a “sour grapes” analogy.  Much of my childhood was spent doing things, rather than looking at things that do things.  

Craig Stevens has the cure with his book Woodshop 101 for Kids.

From the standpoint of a seasoned craftsman, Stevens reveals the steps to awakening the time honored – and long lost – craft of woodworking in young people. Simple, easy to complete woodworking projects will captivate your young craftsman. As an experienced Dad, Stevens has road tested woodworking projects on his own brood.  There’s some great photography of his own children, woodworking whizzes Katie, Nick and Jack. The crafts portion of the book includes fun items such as the Peg Game, Marshmallow Catapult and Doll Cradle. The girls are not forgotten here!

These ultimate teaching moments are packed full of plenty of background information about topics such as tools, wood grains, and the skills of accurate measurement. Apparently, I’m using a hammer incorrectly, but that is going to change now that I’ve seen Stevens’ diagram of the proper technique. Admittedly, I’m also a bit frightened by power tools, but the book made me feel like I could handle it safety and efficiently. No extra charge for confidence building!

You don’t have to know the difference between coniferous and deciduous trees to do the crafts, but it sure doesn't hurt. The end of each chapter includes added activities really make this book the gateway to fun for everyone involved.

This is a great Christmas gift for the short people and I just checked Amazon - the paperback is only $13.49. That's a steal!

Got a great FRUGAL Christmas gift idea? 
Share it with me! If I feature it in the blog between now and December 25th, 
Santa will send you a little something, too, from your old pal, Cherdo!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things a la November!

We are Celebrating the Small Things - Friday, November 7 style!! Check out the awesome host - Vik-Lits Writing Blog - and her lovely co-hosts: 

Diana Wilder
LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge
Katie @ TheCyborg Mom
CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse

This week, I celebrate:
  1. Feeling productive! Don't you hate when you just drag yourself through the week?
  2. Making some decisions about what to keep on my plate, what to turn away from and what to let pass me by. 
  3. Still loving FALL! My favorite season (that allows me to keep long pants on...well, actually, I can always keep pants on, no worries there. I just can always wear long pants).
  4. Finished my latest review, posted it and I'm moving on to another book.
What's up with you, peeps?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Pizza Bible

"I want to get you all the way to five-star, killer-pizzeria-quality pizza. I want you to 
master any style you love- whether it's Chicago deep-dish or cracker-thin, a big, 
fluffy Sicilian pan pizza or a classic Neapolitan margherita with that authentic char 
blistering  the edges - right in your own kitchen with whatever you've got." ~ Tony Gemignani

Tony Gemignani has opened his vault of pizza knowledge for all in The Pizza Bible: The World's Favorite Pizza Styles, from Neapolitan, Deep-Dish, Wood-Fired, Sicilian, Calzones and Focaccia to New York, New Haven, Detroit, and More. 

Focusing on the intricacies of the craft of pizza making, Gemignani provides everything from equipment checklist and tools of the trades detail to pizza theory. Though many of the methods were new bits of information, the explanations were easy to understand and in a clear, step-by-step process. 

Chapter by chapter, Tony reveals the depth of his experience and expertise. As an 11-Time World Pizza Champ, he has tackled and triumphed over the top pizza chefs on a global scale. How many people can say that?  

Under the Volcano (p.184) told of the gold standard - the pizza of Naples - and the tedious attention to detail required to win the prestigious World Pizza Cup. Inspired by the delicious instruction in the art of the pizza margherita, my son and I tried Gemignani's recipe at home. The average home chef might have difficulty finding the exact ingredients, like San Marzano tomatoes, in every local grocery store. Substitutions may have to be made, but use of high quality ingredients is key. It's totally worth the extra effort. Our results were far better than anything called "pizza" that previously came out of my oven.

Remember that they don't call it a Pizza Bible for nothing! This is for true pizza worshippers who can't get enough of the stuff, in all its forms. The photography by Sara Remington is so good, it's torture (you'll want to try one of the recipes the same day you get the book). Accompaniments like the Chicago Cocktail or "The Capone" are included to round out your meal.

Want to be a pizza pro? You have no excuses now; Tony has figured it out for you.

[I received this from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review, and I served the home cooked pizza to my family so they'd let me have the book back to do the review. I go the extra mile.]

Stealthy Selfie

From the social networks that birthed the "selfie" comes a new, exciting experience: The Stealthy Selfie. 

I fell victim to this mysterious phenomenon today, though I didn't realize it at first. While chatting with my good pals, hereafter known as Clippy and Jacklemas (to protect their...whatever needs protected), I was called away for a moment. 

Returning to our little chatterbox party, I was unaware that I had fallen victim to The Stealthy Selfie. 

At the end of the day, as I attempted to access the web from my not-so-smart phone, I found a new and enchanting wallpaper had replaced my hum-drum kid pictures. 

I chuckled to myself. Just then, an evil wind blew through the room. What can I do with these pictures? Do I strike you as a selfish person? Heaven forbid. This sort of windfall is meant to be shared. 

Stealthy Selfie:
 A Cautionary Haiku

Mysterious friends
Digital faces
Two beautiful smiles

I weep - they are kind
How can I deserve this gift?
I can't be selfish

Blog post for Thursday
Now to the back of the line!

"Why did she post that?"
"I can't believe she did it!"
Believe, friends...believe

Future prediction:
My lonely
Fear of camera

(Actually, my friends are beautiful inside and out... And sneaky; oh so sneaky. Love you anyhow.)