Monday, March 31, 2014

Buddhist Bullies?

Okay, do I not understand Buddhists?  Let me show my ignorance. Aren't Buddhist peace loving? Meditation, "awakening", seeking wisdom - Buddhists, right?   

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

While shopping and running errands, a few interesting signs caught my eye and I thought I'd share them with you.  I'm thoughtful like that;  I'd feel bad keeping this all to myself.  

First of all, there was this intriguing graphic ode to the conventional banana.  Or perhaps it was a slam; maybe the bananas just weren't trying that hard or pushing themselves like other fruits.  But having seen the sign, all I could think was "where are the unconventional bananas?" If I was having guests for dinner and I'd planned a fancy fruit salad, I've got to tell you - I'd want the unconventional bananas.  Perhaps they come in more interesting shapes.   At the very least, my guests might be impressed at the fact that I am not peer pressured in the fruit department.   

This was not the last weird signage I saw, however.   A local restaurant had the sign below displayed prominently in their window.  First, I want to remind you that someone paid to have this sign made because they thought to themselves, "Wow, when they find out we have chicken livers, we'll be rich." Well, maybe not in so many words, but you get my meaning.  

The business owner thought that chicken livers would pack 'em to his establishment.   Not only that, they were NEW chicken livers.  Does that mean the liver was from a new chicken?  I can see that, because once you take the livers from the old chicken, you're really pretty much done with that chicken in the liver department.  It really IS time for a new chicken.

Or was this a scenario where they had tried to sell the OLD chicken livers for weeks on end, unsuccessfully.   There they sat under an industrial strength heat lamp as their hopes and dreams faded with the slowly degrading little chicken livers;  soon they looked like chicken raisins.  Why did the public reject them? What is happening to the society we know and love?   Finally, the owner approached the bank for a small loan...the future of his business depended on finding NEW chicken livers.  The old ones just weren't working.'re brought up to speed.  Hence, the sign.

Enough about food!

Lastly, I want to submit a theory to our military. Is it possible that when we were looking for weapons of mass destruction, we might have not expanded our search wide enough?  We should have thought outside the box. Because author John Austin has helped me understand that there can be mini weapons of MASS destruction.   Perhaps our units of top notch soldiers needed this information. They might have been looking at large chemical factories and underground bunkers, when it fact they should have been checking purses and fanny packs.

And if we can, in fact, make mini weapons of mass destruction, doesn't that make a big impact on our military budget?  Someone needs to study the efficacy of this approach.

On a completely different note, my son will not stand by me in a store if I have my cell phone in hand.  Weird.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rap Invades Breakfast

No, no, no!  This is the kind of trend that really gets my attention - in a bad way. Did I just see rapper Nelly on a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial?  It hurts my eyes!  It burns, it burns!   It's all Nelly's fault that I'm on this particular rant.

Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr., better known by his stage name, Nelly, has claimed fame as an American rapper, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, investor and even as an actor.   Sure seems like he has a solid career.  So, why for the love of M.C. Hammer did anyone let him appear on a cereal commercial with his "homebee?" The Honey Nut Cheerios' sugar buzzin' honey bee should assume an air of embarrassment, too - it's only fair.   Doesn't this guy have an agent?

I personally haven't felt so embarrassed for the rap community since they started calling their boyfriends and girlfriends "my boo," slipped the word "Yo!" into every stinking conversation and added a dash of "holla".  Don't defend this as just urban culture, pay attention here.  Heck, I've apologized for "cool beans" a million times.  Recognize.

Rap is invading breakfast, people.  Word.

Breakfast is for plain, old boring people.  What am I to expect next?   

Let me confess my innermost first-meal fears:

  • Puff Daddy Poptarts - Courvoisier flavor
  • The Notorious P.I.G. Sausage
  • Jay Z O J
  • Kanye Western Omelets
  • Eggs Easy E
  • Snoop Oaty Oats
  • Cheeri-Yos
  • Lil Waynffles

All of a sudden, I'm worried about the whole East Coast/West Coast rivalry - first thing in the morning.  Which rap breakfast items can be eaten together?  Do I need more than one plate to keep the peace?  Can I eat these rap breakfast items even if I don't live in a 'hood?

It's all about the Benjamins with these guys.   I'm back to "just coffee, please."   

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Toddler Time Epiphany

Oh, peeps, it's another epiphany;  I'm learning new things everyday.  Today, a mini-lightning bolt hit me.  See, I tell myself that I love kids (it's basically true-ish)...but the days of infants, toddlers, booster seats, diaper wipes, disposable diapers and the multitude of body fluids a parent carries about on their skin and clothing - I don't really miss that anymore.

Like observing animals in the wild, you have to stand back and take in the entire habitat to appreciate the full spectrum of the mom-of-toddler experience.

Visiting a friend with young children of her own, while she was also babysitting a sick friend's toddlers, made me see the light.  To start with, I'd forgotten the noise.  The volume erased all memory of toddler names, so I must slide into a default mode of just assigning gender, generalized growth and developmental stages and numbers, where necessary, for the purpose of clarity.

Ever the gracious host, my friend juggled a hungry and unhappy male toddler unit 1.  He had just been bopped in his noggin by another unhappy male toddler unit 2.  While her hands changed a diaper (label that diaper full of #1 and #2), her mouth corrected the aggressive bruiser male toddler unit 2 as he wailed at the punishment - no Mario Cart.  He had no reason to live, at that point, so the crying continued till it started to remind me of donkey braying, only wetter.

In an effort to help, I tried to coax the toddler units to sit with me, tell me what their toy's name was - all the standard middle aged ploys for interaction.  Not. Happening. Ever.

My friend commented,  "This will probably be in your blog."   Naw...I'd never do that.  Oh, yeah...what was I thinking?  It will.  All the crying made me forget who I was for a minute.

Meanwhile, back on the couch with Cherdo, one of the female toddler units (I think she was evil female unit 1) smiled sweetly and then hit me in the head with a cell phone, immediately dashing around the corner.  Soon, a tiny demonic arm slithered around the couch and snatched the projectile phone. I made eye contact. Slowly, I shook my head from side to side to indicate it was not a good idea to fling that cell phone my way. Correct that - I only got one "side" in before she threw it again.   She ran out of the room again and I heard distinct digging in the toy box.

Within minutes, female toddler unit 1 returned with the most annoyingly loud laser gun I have ever heard.  You know, the kind I buy my granddaughter to get back at my son, Juggernaut, for a prolonged high volume guitar amp phase he went through as a teen.  Reality check:  I could barely hear the laser gun over the other kid noise, anyway.

Cutie patootie male toddler 3 picked up a piece of pineapple.  He was sweet.  I praised him when he ate his fruit;  that sent him in a spiral of pineapple eating praise-gluttony.   If that kid got home without a lap full of regurgitated yellow triangles, I'll send my nursing license back.  He put three cups of fruit in a stomach that held about a quarter of a cup.  I know that math.

The rest of my explanation could be ditto marks with different numerical assignments and children.  

Throughout the activities, we tried to carry on a conversation.  I remember several nouns and a verb that I may try to string together forensically once my headache goes away.

That was when the epiphany really kicked in.  Clearly, I am overlooking one of the biggest advantages to being a flipster:  I don't have to do that whole baby rearin' thing anymore.  While early forty-somethings lament the last child at home and wistfully tear up at each newborn they see, I'm smiling at the fact that my youngest is 16 - and I had him late in life.  My oldest two boys are solidly adults.  Even my grandchild is in middle school.

These younger women are going through a phase I dub Uterus-Still-New-to-Us.  They are bringing forth life.  Crying, screaming, eating, weeping, plastic pants and elastic clothed life.  It all looks normal to them;  child rearing is what they live and breath.  God bless 'em.  

I, on the other hand, was absolutely thrilled to allow my favorite gynecological surgeon to cut that biological reproductive mess from my worn out self.  Bye, bye uterus.  It's purpose fulfilled, it became like the garage of a person with no car.  I wish someone had thought of it years ago.  And "life without Utie" (my uterus' nickname) suits me just fine.

Coming home after my visit, I discovered that everything looks different.  Better.  My house is so quiet.  My husband is twice as handsome.  My dog is so well behaved.  The television is at a normal noise level and my sixteen year old talks softly as I write that surgeon a heartfelt thank you note and tuck in a cheery origami uterus/fallopian tube craft.   Everything is back to normal.  Ahhhh....

Monday, March 24, 2014

Snarkasaurus in the Checkbook

Oh no he didn't.   Make sure you wrote that life insurance check, buddy.
Over scheduled + over 50 + over-heated (menopause) = Snarkasaurus.

The Snarkasaurus is a close cousin to Momzilla; for the purpose of this story, Snarkasaurus may be more scientifically accurate. Both of these entities are well known to me lately, as they are my alter-egos.   

In fact, my snarky Snarkasaurus-side raises its head much more often lately (which is really saying something).  The triggers for this transformation vary and cover a broad range of subjects.  With my family, I've got a lot to work with as far as snark fodder goes.  It's almost a physical transition once the process starts. I soon recognize the familiar feel of my arms getting shorter and shorter, while my fingers curl up in unnatural tight clawlike forms. I know that slowly I am beginning to look more and more like a T-Rex.  Should I fling my head back and let out that familiar Jurassic Park T-Rex roar or keep biting my own tongue for all its worth, trying to hold the snark in?  That is usually a tough one.

My husband was doing the checkbook the other night.  Actually, I love that he loves to balance the checkbook.  As far as that particular task goes, I can take it or leave it. But good news!  It's an unexpected nuptial score!  He wants to do it.  Most willingly, I surrender the chore to him. He won’t leave the task if there is even one penny unaccounted for.  He practically cheers when he is done:  “Balanced!  Huzzah!”  If ever I wanted to cause him to totally stroke out, I'd just forget to write something in.

But the whole time he is balancing the checkbook on this particular night, he is mumbling under his breath: “Dang, Cherdo.” No actual voiced question;  just the whispered chastisement and displeasure. 

Finally, he comments, “You need to write neater,” with a pointed emphasis on YOU.  
Ahem...I’m 55 years old. My handwriting is what it is - and by the way, it's not bad.  I've worked with doctors;  they don't even see handwriting as an actual communication tool. Furthermore, at no time do I consider purchasing penmanship books, working all the excercises, trying to get third grade super A + + cursive with a gold star handwriting. That ship has sailed; that helpful hint is wasted on this old bird.   But I bite:  “Pardon?”  
“I can’t tell if this is an S or a five,” he continues.

Where in the world is the checkbook alpha-numeric?  Is there a third choice - I'm just asking?  He is an intelligent man, really…my arms begin to shorten and I think I'm growing a reptilian tail.

“It’s an S. I spent thirty-S dollars. While we’re at it, there’s a hundred and Z that is not even written in.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Vacation Put Me in the Hole

My life is pretty hectic by design;  I just like to do a lot of things and I'm not that great at saying no - unless I have a pretty good reason. I have a short list of good reasons, apparently, but I'm practicing "no" in earnest lately.  As the weather improves and everyone is getting excited about Spring, I'm worn down by activities and work that needs done around the house, in the yard, for the kids...whew, now I'm tired again.

I'm thinking you'd be shocked to know what I'm doing this week for relaxation and fun: I'm mining.  

To all of my peeps who know I hail from the great state of Almost-Heaven-West-Virginia, just stop right there.  I didn't come from THAT part of West Virginia.  And who yearns for coal, anyhow?  Like the only thing missing from my life was black lung disease?  No, thank you.  I'm talking about gem mining and rock hounding with others of my kind.  You know what I'm talking about: geology nerds.

Living near the Great Smoky Mountains, there's just tons of opportunities to go geologically ga-ga and who am I to pass that up? The last thing in the world I want angry with me is a mountain that felt ignored.  My family and I have stalked rubies, panned for gold, drooled over possible deposits of sapphire and hunted fossils.   Why not?  I'm amazed by nature below the ground.  On top of that, literally, the scenery is beautiful, you'll most likely meet some new people and critters always show up. All the things I love.  Plus mud.  

We keep expanding our treks farther and farther away, and this week our target was emeralds in North Carolina.  We drove to Hiddenite, NC, with a supply of old clothes and nasty yard shoes.  The name should tell you something, too - HIDDENite.  The hills are full of awesome gems and minerals... somewhere out there.  You pay to get permits to search existing mines (if they are open to the public), sluice or grab your big tools and dig in an open pit that puts you closer to gem theory.  We decided to be lazy and sluice this time...hey, it's a vacation!
Sluicing is a big trough full of moving water.  After getting buckets of soil brought out of the mines or the pit, I play weak female and get my hubby to carry it for me.  This is the only time I do that - I've got a bum shoulder - but man, am I glad he will do it.  A five gallon bucket of dirt and rock is heavy!  Then, you slowly pour the dirt into a square screen and start to carefully wash it.  Gems look like rocks, mostly.  It's a slow, tedious search.  The water is icy cold, I actually wonder why it's not frozen, and this is the point where Gonzo shouts, "Yow!  Did you say you had plastic gloves?  Give 'em to me, give 'em to me."   He fake shivers to stress the point.  I supply the gloves (I knew he'd need them!) and go back to my task of finding our fortune.  

Two minutes later, he asks: "When are we eating lunch?"  Ever ready, I had a Mom Glare on deck waiting for him.  It hadn't been an hour since he last ate.  Speaking of which, this kid is eating me out of house and home - I need to find a lot of gems!

My husband takes his time and works slowly, while I sit nearby going over each tiny bit of stuff on that screen while saying my rock hound mantra: "Rock...rock...dirt...rock...rock...rock...ooooh, what's this? Put him in the special pile.  Rock....rock....rock....dirt...dirt...rock..."

When we start finding things, we get excited and compare our haul.  Gonzo did find about seven low grade emeralds, I found a garnet and lots of cool quartz.  We were excited about one crystal clear piece that was just beautiful.  Gonzo also found the best piece of the day - a clear, stunning piece of smoky topaz.  

Oh, I keep forgetting to mention the fifteen to eighteen gallons of rock and dirt we sorted that was basically your garden variety of rock...and dirt.  A portion of that was on shoes, legs, derriere and pants.  It was a good day.  Good work - you get food again, son.

So, I'm not rich yet (if I pretend I do it to get fancy gems, it gets me more respect)...but I may be the stuff of legend as the person who carted rocks from all over back to Knoxville and started a hundred kids' rock collections.  It's how geology nerds create more geology nerds.  My husband won't keep carrying these buckets forever; I need back up.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sweet, Sweet "Got ya!"

Moments of cool are fleeting on the flipside, which is why it's so darn annoying when they are snatched away.  After a long day of adulthood, I was heading back to the house and feeling like all the planets had aligned and for once everything was going according to plan.  Usually, I note these on my calendar;  they're few and far between.  A sweet cloud overblown contentment and satisfaction hung over me.  My "to-do" list was now empty and I was ahead of schedule.  My favorite song was on the radio!  It was a beautiful day and supper was in the crock pot.  This is adult nirvana.

Just then, a carload of teens nearly swiped the side of my happy-mobile!   Instantly, I got the jolt of adrenaline that originated deep inside my fight or flight mode.  Looking ahead, I noted that at least five boys were gawking out the back window of a very nice, fully loaded Cadillac and rudely laughing.  

Slow learner that I am, it finally occurred to me that they might have tried to side-swipe my car on purpose, or at least tried to shake me up.  Nihilism on wheels...(I heard a growling sound escape from my innards). 

The jerk-o-meter was almost at 100%, fueled by a feigned mooning, slobbery tongue wagging and vulgar gestures from the "gentlemen" - and I wished that a large pot hole would appear in their path and knock a few heads together.

At that moment, I had my own epiphany:  There is no way that car belongs to a teenager.  It screamed upper management or "my Dad is a CEO!" but nothing about it said this belongs to a teenager.  I wonder what Dad the VP would think about this little journey in his fine ride.  Both of our cars slowed to a stop at a red light.  Reaching into my purse, I pulled out a large marker and began to write the license plate number in a giant script on my clipboard.

As the guys continued their taunting, I held up the clipboard with the license plate number in full view and pressed it against the windshield.  Immediately, all their faces assumed a look of sheer terror, and a few of them were tapping the driver's shoulder so hard that I actually saw him turn and angrily mouth the words, "Hey!!"  The boys very animated as they pointed out the back window of the Cadillac toward my upturned clipboard.

An evil, mirthful grin expanded across my middle aged face.  Silly miscreants.  I've still got it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In Search of: Testosterone-Crushing Headphones

After many years of being the foil of a houseful of boys, I'm down to my last son in the nest.

Gonzo is an easy keeper.  He gets up on time.  He's extremely clean, hygiene-wise.  When I assign homework (we homeschool), he does it.  The bed gets made without asking - after all, I asked him when he was about four...why would I have to ask again?  Armed with a supply of frozen pizza, chicken nuggets and the occasional ride to an activity, he basically has all he needs...well, almost all he needs:  the boy is like a black hole for headphones.

I shouldn't complain.  He uses them to listen to decent music (constantly) and when he uses the computer, if any audio is involved.  Really, that is pretty nice;  our computer is smack dab in the middle of the kitchen/living room area. Anyone watching television or reading will hear the computer. Extra credit given for manners.

So what's my gripe?

At the beginning of the electronic era (here at Cherdo-land), we each had ear buds.  The kid who never breaks anything ever came to me and said his ear buds were not working or had started to decline in performance.  No problem, son - use mine.  At that moment, they ceased to be mine, whether I realized it or not.  

Soon, those cheapo ear buds started to problem, son, I just bought another pair - use mine, I cheerfully offered.   I upgraded to headphones;  I never really liked the ear buds that much, anyhow. This was the beginning of the audio jockeying that is my life.

Because he listens to books and music as we travel to activities, too, Gonzo started stashing his ear buds in the car...he could conveniently use my headphones in the house.  In fact, soon I could never use my headphones - they were attached to his head every time I wanted to use them.  Mentally, he owned was like Spy vs. Spy and the goal was getting to the headphones first and I was losing!

Taking the high road, I gave him my headphones.  Now he had ear buds for the car, and headphones in the house.  I knew someday, one of those would break, so I planned my next move to head off problems.  In short order, I got another pair of headphones - but with a twist.  I know Gonzo's Kryptonite is anything that looks girlie.  Truth be told...I don't like girlie all that much, either, but I put that preference aside and I went shopping specifically for headphones that looked like they belonged to a female and found some purple ones with multi-colored polka dots.  It should have been dude crushing.  But I noticed that his old headphones replaced the ear buds in the car...and guess what he was using?  The purple polka dotted headphones.

Inquiring about the newly "acquired" gear, I asked Gonzo if the headphones weren't a bit...dare I say?...GIRLIE?  A tad bit feminine?

"Naw, it's fine," he replied.  Having now secured headphones for the cars and living room, he was pretty well set.

About now you're asking yourself why she doesn't just tell him he can't use the headphones.  Because I'm trying to be a nice Mom, however fictitious that might be, but unfortunately I am basically wired the same way HE is - I like my stuff "just so", conveniently located and handy.  I like consistency.  If I like music, I want it everywhere.  It kills me that I TOTALLY GET HIM.   Which also kinda makes me perfectly poised to be his audio equipment nemesis...

But there's the rub.  I'm the Mom who wants to teach him to share - in theory - and it makes me feel selfish even when I just want my own headphones...then the little devil on my other shoulder speaks and I think about how many pairs of headphones I buy and never get to use.  Soon my thoughts turn to inner rants. They cut that kid from my body, the least I deserve is a pair of headphones!

Lurking in the electronics department the following day, I saw a bright hot pink pair of headphones with a black and white polka dot band.  The ear pieces also sported a ring of rhinestones and the cheery message:  BE YOU TIFUL.  Bingo!!  An estrogen victory.

The very next day, the car headphones broke.  Turns out he is secure enough in his teen manhood to wear the hot pink ones.  Game, set, match.

I'm gonna read.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Exploring the Mysteries of St. Patrick's Day

During the fourth century, the man who would come to be known as Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain. Legend says that the sixteen year old Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken back to Ireland. As a slave, he found his faith while tending sheep and decided to stay on the Emerald Isle. Apparently, it's enough to drive a good man to drink - or at least that is what I am led to believe by the customs and traditions that have come to be associated with St. Patrick's Day.  

I've been thinking that there has to be more to this story to explain what evolved into the modern day celebration.

As a child, I learned about the evangelizing Patrick and how the clover was used to represent the Holy Trinity. That made perfect sense, and I could appreciate how Patrick was resourceful - and don't forget saintly. I just couldn't see him wearing a shiny green foil top hat with a clover on it. He was the helpful guy. I've been told there are no snakes in Ireland, because Patrick banished them. See what I mean? Well played, Pat-o. I mean, the Irish have many needs, but snakes aren't one of them, am I right or am I right? We get a good idea of the character of our old pal, Patrick.

Which brings me to my main point of writing: what's with all the alcohol? As Patrick shepherded sheep in the beautiful Irish countryside, was he thinking "I suppose I could encourage the Irish to drink more...that would be helpful." Of course not!  I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that was someone else's idea and Pat would have had none of it. Maybe one of the Irish raiders (with a name that foreshadowed his impact on history, like "Sean the Obnoxious Irish Party Lad") came up with the idea to drench this holiday in pub juice.

I'm sure that Patrick would frown on much of the St. Patrick's Day mayhem and tried to talk some sense into the young raider. I can hear Patrick now, questioning the validity of Obnoxious Sean's promotion of alcoholic excess.

"Sean, what are ye thinking? The men will soon fall out with one another, use harsh language and start shouting 'Go Celtics' and the like. Stay away from the drink, it could get out of hand!"

"We're not Scots, so quit acting like me ancient grandma! You Romans are the life of the party - not! I'm off to discover Boston," Obnoxious Sean snapped snarkily (hey! I made an adverb!).   

So the wee party lad filled his knapsack full of cabbage and potatoes, corned some beef and off he went to settle in the new world and turn the rivers of Chicago green.

If you consider these extra nuggets of legend and their historical ramifications, modern St. Patrick's Day celebrations might make sense. At the very least, it won't make LESS sense.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

[If you have additional St. Patrick's Day info to share, please comment below... leave leprechaun lore for later.]

Friday, March 14, 2014


This is pretty amazing to me, for all the wrong reasons.

A US Airways plane blew a tire while taking off in Philadelphia, forcing a bumpy landing and emergency evacuation of all passengers.  Imagine the fear and horror as those people had to pull their self together and slide down the emergency ramp (is that what you call it?).  In the background, smoke pours from somewhere in or on the plane and you know that this big old sardine can is full of jet fuel.  Your feet his the ground and you raise yourself to a standing position and run for your life toward a safe spot in the distance, but you know that plane could still explode like a giant firecracker. Your life is flashing before your eyes...

This is a good time for a selfie?

Wow!  That is just unheard of!   WRONG.  Apparently this also happened on Dec. 11 when a routine tour flight took off from Kaluapapa Airport in Hawaii and ended up in the water.   Passengers were advised to put on life vests and jump in the ocean.  There are fish in the ocean that outweigh me, people.  Also, they were faced with a significant unknown - like, how long will I be in that shark infested ocean, captain?  Was the last instruction, "Cameras ready, everyone...jump!"

Selfies are something I don't understand.  Maybe it would help if I look up the definition when it is added to the new edition Oxford Dictionary (oxford=smart). As I created pages on social media sites, I had to search high and low to find a picture of myself - I tend to use one taken of me by someone while I gave a seminar on (of all things) discipline because it doesn't induce as much nausea as most of my impromptu sightings caught on film by others.  My second string pictures are from toddler years or a grainy costumed carnival shot of my brother Sam and I looking decidedly civil war era-ish.   

Forced to find something for this site, I took my first selfie and confirmed what I already knew:  I don't want a picture of myself, I see me every morning.  I want to see pictures of other people, other places and other things.  Things that won't cause me harm or death.  Things that won't eat me in the near future.  Or maybe just a picture of the thing that will eat me...without me.  The less time I spend confronted by me, the better.

If I did want a picture of myself, the last thing I'd want to remember is a moment of sheer terror. What's that about?  Who is that picture for?  I could understand if there was a message, like "Mom, it looks like I'm not going to make it, so take care of Lassie and tell my boyfriend I was never going to go to prom with him; I was planning a relationship escape mid-April...don't cry for me, Argentina..." or "Joe Bob, this is all your fault for making me take this flight."   Then the selfie has a purpose, I suppose.  

Unfortunately, after a few of them make the rounds from the same people over and over again it starts to feel like "Hey, look at me!  Good news - more me!  Nothing to say - just want to give you a chance to look at me.  Have you had a chance to see how fabulous I look today?  Everything about your life needs more digital me!"   

Kardashian ladies, do you think there aren't enough pictures of you floating around - you have to help the paparazzi?   Miley Cyrus - trust me, they have you covered in the photogenic sense - obviously not the clothing type coverage - did you need to post 121 selfies (according to Mashable)? 

All good things come to an end, and I'm hoping this is one of them.  Future genealogy researchers of my family, please use the stick figure above on the left to represent me.  Close enough.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Brit Lit from KR

While glancing through the news, I thought I saw a picture of a raisin wearing an earring, so I stopped to read the article.  Only it wasn't a raisin, it was a celebrity. No intro, no chit-chat;  let's get right on it: Keith Richards is writing a children's book.   

In my mind, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were the bad boys with swagger of rock and roll in the 60s...and then the 70s...and then the get the picture - and these guys are still on tour.   Everyone, including the dearly departed ex-band mate, Brian Jones (God rest his soul), says "what in the world?"  

Keith Richards is the man who made me think the name of his band was The Rolling Stoned for many years. Smoking, drinking, drugs, women, hard living...still rocking at 70.  As in the musical genre, not the chair of grandpa fame.

Here are some future children's story titles that might clue you in to a Keith Richards' children's book:

  1. Goldilocks and the Three Beers
  2. Goodnight, Keith Moon
  3. James and the Giant Paycheck
  4. Where the Wild Chicks Are
  5. Oh, the Places You'll Play!
  6. The Lorax Prescription
  7. A Wrinkle Onstage
  8. Some Cat in a Hat
  9. Alice's Adventures on a Tour Bus
  10. Green Eggs and Ham - Yes, Ma'am!

On a related note, the minimum age for a library card has been raised to 21.

[Little, Brown Books for Young Readers announced that it would publish Mr. Richards’s “Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar.”]

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lie # 103: "No outside food in the movie"

Basically, I'm a rule follower.  I figure there has to be a perfectly legitimate reason for creating a rule in the first place, even if I don't know it and even if I disagree.  I can usually empathize and understand why the rule is in place.

As far as "outside food" in the movie theater is concerned, I get it.   Though I complain of the cost of a night out at the movie, the news media has enlightened me to the financial burdens on theater owners (by distributors) and the need to use the concession stand sales to actually make money.  
When I see 8 cents worth of popcorn on sale for $8 a bucket, I don't like it but I do want to stand up and clap for capitalism.  It's a phenomenal feat that any business person can get the public to pay $8 for 8 cents worth of anything;  we all claim to be so frugal and savvy.  Score one for capitalism.

Which brings me to this observation, and the reason for I dub this Lie # 103:  You wouldn't believe the outside food I've seen in movies.   

Three guys had about three feet of sub sandwiches at the last movie I watched.  Where did they hide that, they don't even have purses?  Even the projectionist could see that feast.  I saw a lady pull can after can of soda out of her tote bag and pass it down the line to a baker's dozen of children or dwarfs, I'm still not sure which. There were some really low voices inquiring about the availability of Mountain Dew.  Then I got to hear another guy chastise some kids about the package of chocolate chip cookies he dropped - apparently, they were fully committed to forming a search team on the floor.  The big guy was going all lab tech on them, thankfully.  

It made me think two things:  1) These people are too hungry to go to the movie.  2) Golden Corral needs to start showing movies.

This is a bit of a sour grapes confession.  There is one person in the world who is more of a rule follower than me:  my youngest son, Gonzo.   I didn't make him this way;  he arrived out of the box in rule follower mode.  At a young age, he asked me to spit out my gum before we went into a movie (no joke).  

"That's outside food, Mommy - see the sign?" he reminded.

Oh, how I'd love to sneak a $1 box of candy from the drug store past the concession.  It looks the same, and I'd have that added high that comes from not paying $5 for the exact same box that the concession sells.  But there he stands, the greatest hero a theater owner ever had - and I don't mean the Iron Man and the other Marvel characters pulling in viewers:  it's Gonzo, the Fearless Defender of Overpriced Concession. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Men through the ages, from Louis XIV to Uncle Si, have found comfort in sporting any type of facial hair known to creation without regret!  Women lag for behind.  All female facial hair is uniquely regrettable.

In fact, the most unwelcome discovery for all womanhood is the goatshee.  The goatshee is the female version of the ever popular goatee (on men).  Nothing will send a gal digging through her personal hygiene tools of the trade faster than finding the dreaded one-hair-beard:  the goatshee.

Somewhere out there in internet land is the genius who will one day explain to me, with great clarity and patience, why one hair would suddenly decide to just spring forth and go nuts?  I've heard theories about hormonal fluctuations that attempt to explain it away, but here's the thing - don't you have those fluctuations all over your body?  It's a pretty small fluctuation if it just occurs in one hair follicle, wouldn't you agree?

Can anyone think of any use for this? Is it the reverse of the story about the appendix - that the appendix once served a purpose but now is just a vestigial organ?   Could the goatshee be a new addition to the body with a yet unrealized function?  If so, how do we let it do it's thing without freaking us out?

I've tried to imagine a positive spin for this.  A one-hair bow or Swarovski crystal might look nice, but I just see those things landing in soup. Mistletoe would be okay, if you didn't mind a random nut kissing your trachea.  If the hair got long enough, you could put a fishing hook on it - "teach a (wo)man to fish..."   You know how the saying goes.  Somehow, I just see a fish flopping on a woman's blouse, and no good can come of that, either.

What can you do besides destroy it?  After a frantic yank, why does it come back?  Are there women out there, over 35, who do NOT have a goatshee (or one in the making)?  Are they chin-bald? Should this be treated or not?

You're thinking I seem to know a lot about this.  It's just scientific curiosity.  Quit looking at my chin (I own excellent tweezers).  I'm just hoping it wasn't adaptive human Wi-Fi;  I'd hate to miss out on that.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Algebraic Diet

Since everyone has to take Algebra in high school, I consider it the great equalizer.  Likewise, every kid in high school says the same thing, "I will never use this."

Youthful ignorance aside, there are some of you for whom that may be true.  Since we are obsessed  with diet and health in the good old US of A, I thought I'd give you a reason to learn Algebra:  The Algebraic Diet.


A = amount of food ingested            
T = amount of time
F = the function of the diet

You can change the order by properly applying the distributive property,  so I chose F=AT.

Now, using only those diets who state they are tested and proven by solid science (they claim), I have formed my diet approach to determine which foods and amounts I plug into F A T.

If one diet plan is good, then two will be definitely better.

Accessing the key components of The Carb Lovers Diet and Atkins, I came up with a nutritious lunch of potato chips.  Delicious.

Impact on weight:  15 lbs....gained.

Granted, there are a few bugs that I have to work out...I'm gonna log activity points just for saying "work out."  I'm told you need to get workouts in where ever you can.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Ham on Nye

In February 4,2014,  Mrs. Nye's bouncing bow-tied bundle of joy, Bill, and Ken "the biblical thunder from down under" Ham got together to debate.   It was the big night for  Evolutionists versus .Creationists

I'm told this was about education.  I look at this totally different than anyone else, I guess.

Have I missed something?  Does a science book and a book of faith match up - ever?   Don't they both have totally different goals and stories to tell?  I know that without a science or theology degree.

Bill Nye, the Science Guy, made an effort to stress the need for science in the classroom.  Ken Ham pointed out that all theories about Creation - by virtue of being labeled "theories" - would have equal time, side by side, in education.

Where was the snappy Bill Nye theme song?  They should have played that before every Nye comment.   This might not have been fair, because I don't think Ken Ham has a theme song.  But he did have a whole museum.   It's a hard one to call.

We have a way we that solved this in high school (Go,Fitch Falcons!  Class of 77!)  that might be enlightening.  The kids that were all about science and wanted to study it further took a lot of science classes.   If you took a science class, and you didn't like it, you didn't take those kind of classes again (aside from the mandatory, you gotta do this or not graduate kind of stuff).  Kids that were very involved and connected to their faith were involved in a lot of Youth and church related activities.  Not only that, I can recall that I took classes that I was required to take that had a whole lot of views I didn't agree with and I sort of thought, "Well, it's good to know where they are coming from."

College is even more clear:  you chose your major. You chose your path.  People of faith use prayer in that decision making process.

This isn't about debating - gee whiz, as debates go that was not a true debate.   This is about a whole country full of people who believe different things, and they all inhabit the same space in a society where we wave the personal freedom and freedom of religion flag every waking moment.

So be free.  It comes with the burden of tolerating other beliefs.

I put all the Ham and Nye views under the heading of "knowledge" and I don't have a problem with it. It even works with my educational philosophy:  obtain all the knowledge you can and use it accordance with what I believe.  Education shouldn't be fear based or something you sling at someone else.

Don't make me go all Rodney King on you.   Okay, I will:  CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

In the end, both of these guys went home unconvinced of the validity of the other.  People are like that; they're rigid and just get way too keyed up about what other people think, as if there is any chance that we all will be on the same page.  This wasn't about education, and didn't impact education.

Here's some of my educational concerns (just a few):

  • The Internet, that bastion of all correct knowledge and statistics (ahem) informs me that 20% of American teens can't identify North America on a map
  • There are teens walking around who are unaware who The Declaration of Independence declared independence from
  • People believe in fairies.  Really.
  • There are those who think the lottery is a great way to get rich
  • The fact that I would pull a statistic about 7000 students dropping out a day from Oprah's website.
  • All critical knowledge deficits in the graduating teen that come after 12 years of schooling.
Here's another one that concerns me that is not educational:  the general lack of passion in some of our youth. Ham and Nye were at least passionate about what they believed and wholeheartedly thought it was valid to stand up and defend it.   Believe what you want, because you will anyway, but be passionate and know what that is.  

Someday, someone will ask you seriously - not to argue the point, but to truly understand what you believe and you need to be ready to give a good, clear answer of the what and why of your belief.   When that magic moment occurs, you can actually connect to someone else and share information in a way that may impact them or change the way they think.

I believe in moderation in all things, even moderation - because you have to be passionate about something.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Typo? What tpyo?

If you've been following my blog all along, I must tell you something shocking: English is my primary language.  As a matter of fact, when you factor in four years of German, a couple of years helping in a Spanish class, attempts at helping my son with French and three years of teaching Latin, I still come up speaking only English. Additionally, I did take keyboarding in high school.  I have all the prerequisites of a person who can communicate.

Why can't I type a full blog post without a typo?  I mean, really, people - I can read my own typewritten words - or is this just a delusion?  It's baffling.  I proof, and proof a second time and still I find a mistake later on after someone else has read it.

Maybe this is a new syndrome that needs a support group?  I catch other's mistakes in print all the time, so I know I'm not the only one (not that it lessens the frustration level).  I wonder what we all have in common.  Is it a weak connection between my wildly dysfunctional, bifocal laden eyeballs and my inattentive brain?

Once, I typed a church bulletin for Sunday worship and I misspelled the word "pray" - which turned out to be pretty awkward when the printed instructions to the congregation were to receive communion and then "go to the altar and pay."   It would have been terrible, if not for the extra donations they found on the altar (my pastor was not sure if we really needed to correct it immediately).

Perhaps it is an alien presence monitoring my blog posts.  Like a mouse in a maze, they might be monitoring my every move, removing letters - like a variable in a science experiment.  Each time, they collect the data on how we respond.  What does Cherdo do?  What does the reader do?  Why does she say "holy moley" as she corrects things and is it an Earth based code word?  That could be a way for them to learn how to mess with our technology, or interfere with communications.   I'm not paranoid, but that doesn't mean they aren't up there, hovering in a spaceship, watching everything I do.

All things are well and there are no aliens watching this primitive pointless form of communication. Be calm and do not investigate this claim.  Google all things with rapid finger motion for your enjoyment.  Thank yuo.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ukraine, I Salute You

Massive military budget cuts are on the way according to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, in the president's upcoming defense budget.  

How massive is massive?  Well, how about reducing our Army to pre-WWII levels (from 522,000 to 420,000) and cutting pay and benefits?

Do you know who IS getting money, though - like a billion dollars?  The Ukraine, that's who. Their leader was ousted less than a month ago, and pre-emptively, we want to rush in and help them face new economic issues in their fledgling government.  

How did their new economic issues cut in line in front of our old economic issues?

Secretary of State John Kerry remarked, “Here in the streets today I didn’t see anybody who feels threatened, except for the potential of an invasion by Russia.”   He added that the the money is supposed to cushion the impact on households.  

Cushion my impact, man!  Doesn't everyone fear the potential of an invasion from some big nation somewhere?  That's sort of why I thought we needed strong armies.  Like 522,000 thousand or more, but I'm just throwing that number out there.  It's that tricky little word "potential" that makes your army prepare for the possibility of defending some place like, oh, I don't know - the United States of America, for example.  

I have nothing against the Ukraine or any other country; I don't pretend to understand all the intricacies of foreign policy (please don't email me a detailed, didactic explanation...I'm comfortable in my moronic state).  My desire is that everyone would thrive and prosper.  But I have to tell  you, my first thought is that my tax dollar might help our country thrive and prosper.  

My second thought is that we keep giving the military the short end of the stick, and I don't know why we don't return their loyalty and service with an equal measure of loyalty and respect.

Washington, you deserve this tirade because you've held our budget hostage and threatened shut downs and cuts in the past while politicians wiggled and squirmed their way through the process of balancing the budget.  But this billion dollars is whisked away within 30 days of the event.  

In Tennessee, government shut down of national parks caused communities around the Great Smoky Mountains to lose revenue during the peak tourist season in 2013.  Get out your pencil and do this math, junior accountants.  The cost of keeping the whole park open was $60,100 per day - but the impact to tourism and businesses surrounding the park was $3.1 million per day. Don't forget, those businesses pay taxes.  Some businesses closed, and now their employees are in this shaky job market - potentially with 102,000 ex-military, if the military cuts happen as proposed.  Where's a Ukrainian when you need them! 

So, Ukraine, I salute you!  You managed to grease the wheels that move the almighty dollar when they were all but stalled for Americans who sought help.  

Here's another question:  Isn't this where we used to step in and try to help negotiate first?  What is Henry Kissinger doing this week?  If he still has the knack, it shouldn't matter that he is 90 years old.  He'd appreciate the company.

Ukrainians everywhere should sleep easy knowing I have no political clout, because that is where I'd start - with the peace talks!  To help it along, I'd spend about $150 on a bathroom door to put between the two leaders.   I have solid experience with this method. Once you are on the other side of a bathroom door, everyone starts talking to you.  

I could potentially save the government $999,999,850 and give Kissinger something to do.  Sweet.  Send those dollars right over to the Pentagon before it gets whisked away again. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Good Deal!: The Village Mercantile

frugal:  economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful;  careful about spending money or using things when you do not need to : using money or supplies in a very careful way.

smart: very good at learning or thinking about things;  showing intelligence or good judgment.

I'm not sure if I am ever either one of these things, but I try.  If I could be both of these things simultaneously, I'd be the bomb.  The thing I'd be bombing is my grocery bill and I would be a super hero called Fru-Gal.  My costume would be a consignment purchase, and the legs would zip off, just to make it useful year round.  Of course, I'd try to cut my own bangs (ha ha ha).

I'm frustrated with groceries.  As I try to eat healthier, the cost of produce goes up.  Cut down carbs, increase protein?   Bad timing on my part as the price of meat rises daily; someone must think that the meat has a gold coin wrapped up with it (based on the cost per pound).   Companies keep messing with sizes, too.  A pound of coffee isn't a pound, but it appears to be in the same container.  Wrong again!  This is not news to anyone, it's just that I'm still mad about it.

One of my luckiest finds has been that my friends, Monica Lauber and Amy Perkins, are both smart and frugal.  They opened a little store called The Village Mercantile in Fountain City just north of Knoxville.  Their ingenuity and business sense is my gain.  

The Village Mercantile is a surplus and salvage store offering a wide range of dry goods and groceries for the budget minded consumer (i.e., me, me, me!). You never know what great finds will appear on their shelves, because they are always on the look out for a good deal to pass on to their customers.   

Mark and I stopped by to check out the deals and loved it!  Name brand cereals for $2.00?  I've been singing the blues about the price of cereal ever since my sons decided the big boxes were single serving sized.  Nonni's Biscotti for $2.00! Protein and meal replacement bars for $2-4.00!  It was FruGal's dream come true.

Since I figure I'll be hanging there like Kilroy, I thought I'd share it with my Knoxville peeps.  It's a great idea, it's local and it's a small business on the rise.  We need more of that.  Stop by and see Monica and Amy, and give their business a boost - so we all can benefit.

[Visit The Village Mercantile located at 5014 N Broadway, Ste 6, Knoxville, Tennessee 37918 Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.   Don't miss it - the store is toward the back of the plaza.  Check out their Facebook page and find out what is new in the store each week. Tell them Cherdo said hello!]

Monday, March 3, 2014

Comedy Night

Vienna Coffee House

in Maryville, TN Proudly Presents:

“Comics, Coffee & Chaos ”

On Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

The stage at Vienna Coffee will come alive with 

local comics and their relatively “G” Rated Acts.

No Cover Charge: Just enjoy a coffee and snack.  

Scheduled for the Evening:

John Cherry, Josh Dudley, Elizabeth Large, Cheryl Massey (aka Cherdo on the Flipside), 

Tim Richardson (aka Ida B. Wright), and your host for the evening, Jeff Hutchinson

For directions visit:

Oscar Questions

The 2014 Academy Awards were last night and journalists from Tinseltown will be out in full force working hard at commenting and speculating about every single aspect of the broadcast before we have scrambled our eggs for breakfast on Monday.

I'm just going to represent the flipsters and moms-in-comfy-chairs.  Throw some glitter and confetti in the air, and I'll just imagine I have popcorn (Atkins...fiddlesticks).

These are just a few of the questions that come to mind:

The Audience:

  • Social media mentioned Leonardo DiCaprio 88, 963 times as of Sunday at midnight.  Okay, make that 88,964. I think he is a talented actor with a great body of work behind him.  Still, I'd like to know how many of the comments mentioned that Leo has potty mouth in a lot of these films.  I know, I know, he doesn't write the screenplays...but with all that star power, you could maybe get them to trim that down a bit? You're a great actor - you're totally equipped to show shock and anger by acting.  As I put out new soap balls by the sink tonight, I consciously said "this one is for Leo" just in case he needs help cleaning that up.
  • Steve McQueen stepped to the microphone to voice his thanks when the picture Twelve Years a Slave won.  The camera scanned the audience as he mentioned his dear mama - and she was in the nosebleed section, for sure - like the second to the last row!   Is that the way you treat the mamas, Oscar?  That lady needed oxygen and a Sherpa up there.  Really, how many potential mom seats are we talking about?  There were only nine nominees for Best Picture - save nine seats for the moms.  After all, they're gonna be telling this tale for a looooooong time.
  • I wonder if anyone ever gets turned away at the door because they aren't fabulous enough?   Do they have something like an Oscar bouncer - with a background in fashion or PR?  When an actor's Aunt Bubby does a last minute fill-in for their Mom (who got way too excited and got a migraine), does anyone stop her and say, "Oh, no...we do not have any sequined jogging suit sections, ma''re sitting this one out.  The exit is over there to the left of Ben Affleck and fifteen feet or so beyond Jared Leto."
  • With all that high powered Hollywood hype in one room, I've got to ask:  Are you the ones I need to blame for the cost of going to the movie?

The Fashion

  • When I watch the red carpet, I want everyone to look like a movie star old Hollywood-style. Sandra Bullock - wow!  Charlize Theron - glamorous!  Angelina Jolie - sparkly!  Love, love, love the beautiful gowns.
  • Pharrell...I don't have it in for you buddy, but what is up with the short pants?  It's the Oscars, man.
  • Liza satin pajamas posing as evening wear.  Even if you're still Liza Minelli. 
  • Johnny Weir...tell the truth:  Are you related to Loki from Thor?
  • I don't know anything about fashion, I look for funny in most situations.  I do know I don't want to be the actress in the dress that just didn't work.  Fashion journalists will be slamming them in print and online.  Plenty of people feel the need to do that...which is why I won't.  I'm a rebel.
  • My expert opinion is that there's a lot of taped couture on the runway.  When your neckline goes to your waist, you just have to turn to the Duck Tape people for security, I guess.  I'm grateful for modesty taping.
  • After hearing the high price of glamour, I want to know:  Are you the ones I need to blame for the cost of going to the movie?

Top movies:
Did you notice that all the movies were about situations you don't ever want to find yourself in?  It's not all Cinderella and Working Girl pictures this year.

  • American Hustle:  I don't want to be hustled or to hustle someone else.  I never ever wanted to dance the Hustle, but I was forced to by a terrorist line dancing group during the disco years.  It wasn't pretty.
  • Captain Phillips:  Now I don't want to be on a ship anywhere near the coast of Africa and my feelgood image of Johnny Depp as the default pirate persona is forever tainted.
  • Dallas Buyers Club:  The obvious worst case scenario in this movie was the plight of the characters who had AIDS and struggled to find hope in the form of medication.  But when I think of Matthew McConaughey losing all that weight and having to wear a cowboy hat plus Village People mustache...well, that is just tragic.
  • Gravity:  Floating around untethered in space gives me the shivers.  I've felt that way in Costco.
  • Her:  A man is hyper focused and in love with his phone's operating system.  Hmmm...I do love my Samsung...we'll get back to this one later.
  • Nebraska:  An elderly man wants to go to Lincoln, Nebraska,  so badly that he's willing to walk there from Montana when he thinks he's won a million dollars.  A son sacrificially drives him there and soothes the elderly father's wounded pride when he realizes there is no million in his future.  My son has a learner's permit, so this one just scares me when I think about it.
  • Philomena:  A woman's child is taken from her by nuns;  years later, she goes on a search to find her child.  Reminds me of picking my older sons up at school at the end of the day.  The doors open, a thousand kids pour out and all you can do is hope you can connect with yours.
  • 12 Years a Slave:  Well, that's just 12 years too many.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street:  Sure, there's money and power - but again with the potty mouths.  Is that required in the mover and shaker business?  None of my bosses ever did that.  I didn't do it when I was a boss.  We all managed to get along without it just fine.  Is that why no one made a movie of our work day?
  • I've seen enough commercials, interviews and trailers on all these to know the plot and outcome of these movies.  I've only actually seen three.  It seems like half the budget is thrown into the advertising:  Are you the ones I need to blame for the cost of going to the movie?
The Stage:
  • Where do you go when you need an army of clear, 12 foot high Oscars?   That store made a killing on Sunday night.  
  • What do you call the guy who screws in the thousands of light bulbs that decorated the stage? That fellow will need an anti-inflammatory med and carpal tunnel surgery soon.  In the meanwhile, kudos; it looked marvelous.  That's a lot of electricity.  Are you the ones I need to blame for the cost of going to the movie?
Congratulations to all the actors and actresses, producers, extras, make up, wardrobe and mystery jobs (what is a grip?) on your big night.