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.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Funny You Should Ask That Musical Question...

As a true lover of the radio in days gone by, I have found myself confronted with many musical questions. There's a time and a place for that sort of thing. 

The time: now! The place: the Flipside!

Firmly on the flipside, I have no fear of answering a few musical queries for the benefit of, womankind... Basically, anyone surfing the internet when they should be working. You know who you are (and thanks for stopping by).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Mom: The Fighter

My mother has been mentioned a time or two, so why stop now? On her recent visit, I remembered one of my favorite Mom stories (there are many've been warned).

My Mom and Dad used to dance: ballroom, square dancing - they did it all and often. They would dance every chance they had and my Mom kept her sewing machine in overdrive making skirts and what-not for their habit. Think "habit" like "heroin" because they were totally addicted. 

My Dad retired; more free time, in theory. 

But then my Dad got sick and needless to say, it didn't end well. After he passed, I worried about Mom. This was the time that they were supposed to have to do what they wanted; now retirement was something she was doing alone. What would she do with her time? For a while, she sat at home and grieved, as could be expected. But soon, she ventured out and started doing a few things but I still worried that she had lost a favorite hobby that she couldn't replace.

Forget that - she is never home and constantly on the go and she discovered "line dancing." 

One night, she went to a class on the other side of town. Truthfully, I didn't think it was a very safe part of town, but what do I know? I haven't lived in northeast Ohio for twenty-three years. 

She had purchased my van when we were ready for a new car and that was the vehicle she drove that night. Mom told me she parked by the far edge of the parking lot because she didn't want anyone to scratch her new van (used, Ma...used).

When class was over, she walked out to her van in the dim lights of the parking lot. She was just starting to get in her vehicle when a wild looking woman appeared and tried to grab her purse, shouting, "Give me that, you b____!"

Scared out of her wits, my mother held on to the purse. So did the nutty woman! The lady tugged and pulled at it and wasn't willing to give up. As she relayed the details of this fracas to me by phone, I was stymied. Why in the world did hang on to it? She could have gotten herself beaten to a pulp.

"Oh, my gosh, Mom! Were you afraid she'd get your wallet? Your money?" I asked.

"No," she replied. "Actually, my purse was locked in the trunk. It was really a shoe bag."

Okay, I thought. It was that monogrammed shoe bag I got Mom for Christmas. Dang it, I'd hate to think that she could have gotten hurt over some sentimental attachment to a gift. I voiced my concerns.

"No, it wasn't that shoe bag - I keep that one for special occasions. In fact, the shoes were my old dance shoes. I don't even like them. And my car keys were in my pocket, " Mom explained proudly.

"Mom, for crying out loud, why didn't you just let her have it??" I exclaimed.

"Well...she called me a bad name...I didn't even know her, she had no right to talk to me like that. There's no way I was going to let her have my shoe bag," she stated emphatically.

Eventually, the would-be robber did wrestle the shoe bag out of her hands and escaped in the woods. I can see my mother standing their, irritated, shrugging her shoulders and driving away. Oh, well.

A few weeks later, they picked up several young people for drugs and Mom said she recognized the girl in the newspaper and added, "I won't tell on looks like she has enough problems as it is. Plus, she had the disappointment of thinking she got a purse, but it was only my stinky old shoes."

Yep. That's my Mom.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Don't Take Fashion Tips from a Nudist (and Other Pointless Advice)

In our bumper sticker mentality society, we love those quick and witty sayings that stick with us and bring us ever closer to feeling much wiser and in control of our lives. A while back, I saw this posted by a Facebook friend (ah, you know who you are...not sure you'd want me to say your name, BR):

"Dentists make money from the treatment of bad teeth - why use the toothpaste they recommend?"

You know...that's a good point. There's not an abundance of altruism floating around. Add money, and there's even less. Professional people will always be given the benefit of the doubt, but nothing makes them more honest that the average guy. 

Be paranoid with me for a minute: would a dentist actually avoid recommending a really great toothpaste because it cut in to his/her bottom line? 

Shazzbatt, now I'm questioning everything.