Friday, February 27, 2015

This is What You Just Put in Your Mouth?

"If I Can't Believe It's Not Butter isn't butter, what is it?"

Good question; the answer to that query and many more can be found in Patrick Di Justo's new homage to all mysterious, yet common, foodstuffs and household products: This is What You Just Put in Your Mouth? What do you know about the staples of your diet and pantry? More importantly, are you brave enough to find out?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What is in My Brain Today?

The answer is: 
Eye strain! 
Cherdo is going to take a snow day and work on some projects? Meet you back here 
tomorrow when book lovers participate in The Cephalopod Coffeehouse with The Armchair Squid.
It's not too late to sign up and post your thoughts Friday, February 27, 2015
Hope you join us.

Cherdo has left the building.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tired of This Stinkin' Snow

The snow continues to make life difficult and schools are cancelled. By now, everyone has pretty much lost their fascination with the white wonder and we're loving the layer of ice even less.

This week, our gutters on the house are full of frozen water and the downspot had a solid block of ice protruding out of it like extruded toothpaste. Not much we could do about it with the weather against us.

I had a little bit of excitement when a trip to the grocery turned to a backward slip and slide while visions of my van's sticker price passed before my eyes. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Post 300: Giving Back to the Community

This is my 300th post and my third blog. It is by far the most fun for me and hopefully, it's been a little fun for you, too. Thank you for putting up with my smart-snark, haiku hang ups, dinosaur lovin', pop culture commentary, book & movie reviewing, blog hopping, juvenile drawings, and...oh, heck, it's all pretty juvenile. If you can't have fun when you're an adult then what's the point? You might as well remain an ovum.

In honor of the 300th post to CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE, I'm giving back to my community with some creative suggestions.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Snowmen Worth Building

Having done the required once-a-year sledding and made the obligatory snow ice cream, there's really only one reason to venture out: snowmen. Feeling frisky, I decided to look for some snowman inspiration on Ye Olde Internet, or as Juggernaut recently dubbed it, The Online.

The Online is rarely a fast look-see for me anymore. I'm not talking about download speed. Chat, Facebook, Instagram,'s too easy to get sucked in. By now, I'm sure you've all found yourself in the position of falling down the rabbit hole of the internet. If not, let me explain what it looks like.

Getting sucked into The Online goes something like this: 
       1. "Hey, look at that! That's cool; oh, look!"
       2. There's a link (click).
       3. Oh, wow! That one is even cooler! Come see
           this, Gonzo!"
       4. Go back to #1. Repeat the cycle until you
           have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Thankfully, I don't have to go outside to enjoy snow dudes. The internet search for inspired and creative snowmen was fun and I found more than one creator of unique snowmen who should get an award for cleverness. Where should I start? These chilly creations are my personal favorites - and I didn't have to put on gloves or go outside to enjoy them.

Let's look at some snowmen that are truly worth building and I'll make up my own awards along the way!


Snoopy reclining on your lawn would be a near perfect snowman. If you don't love this Charles Schultz's Peanuts cartoon, you're not American (stop right there...I know many of you aren't American). Snoopy is a national treasure, but we share. Start rolling that snow ball...


The amazing thing about the snowman above is he was only half that size 
before he started lifting and I'm told he never does a warm up. Sweet.


Why in the world would you trap your own kind in a cage? Why, why, why? 
How cold hearted! What did they use for bait? An ice cube?


Gotta ask this question: 
What would YOU think if you were driving along and 
saw someone building snowmen in a graveyard? 

That guy is a special breed.


Though I'm told you lose a lot of warm via your head, it never occurred 
to me to just wear a hat and shoes in the snow. But now that I know...


He's lonely and wants to invite his new friend in. Anyone 
want to guess the name of the kitty outside? I say it's Snowball.


When I came across this picture, I had two questions I wanted to ask.
 The first was "who did this?" and the second was "when can we hang out?" 

Friday, February 20, 2015


Let's go to the memory vault to find a tale that doesn't involve something cold or snowy.  Pretty please.

Everyone in our family loves pets, even the ones who don't admit it (Dad, Hubzam...). We've raised and loved every sort of creature you can imagine. At times, we partially raised dogs for my grandmother to save her the trouble of housebreaking a new pet. Cats were on our radar, but not as popular as dogs. The other critter we connect with is birds, especially parakeets. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snow Day, Part 2: Pay Back

My prediction was correct and today deserved to be called a snow day. In fact, my desk must be ten degrees colder than the rest of the room - so I'll make this short.

Never mess with Mother Nature. Don't mock her, challenge her, shake your fists at the clouds, kick her dirt, question her wind or joke about her "snow days." We've got snow, cold, icy roads and icicles to boot. We've got boots to boot, in fact.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Snow Day, Tennessee Style

Schools have closed today due to the wet roads that are quickly transitioning to ice skating rinks. As a former Ohio girl, when I hear that we are shutting down the city for a snow day, I expect to see...oh, I don't know...maybe SNOW? We've got a dusting, but nothing like the snow of my school days in Ohio.

When I first came to Tennessee in 1990, two of my boys were in elementary school. While getting ready for work one morning, I heard a cheer come from the living room. Both Juggernaut and Magoo were dancing about and singing, "No school! No school!" It was like someone told them we were having two Christmases.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Muppet Fail: Bad Weather Edition

Wet and wild comes to my neck of the woods this week...but it's snowy, icy wet and crazy driver wild. Why are there no muppets that deal with issues that surround bad weather? Aren't their helpful lessons that need taught to the public at large?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Saturday Night Live: 40th Anniversary Show

On Sunday night,  NBC broadcast a salute to 40 year salute to Saturday Night Live. Boy, how could that be? Forty years? But I'm only 29, and I remember the first episode. 

In my junior year of high school, my friends and I thought Saturday Night Live was the heights of comedic coolness. There was nothing on television like SNL at that time and each one of the original cast members would go on to do movies and other things - if they were lucky - but they'd always be remembered for the sketches and characters.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy V D 2015

This is a repost from V D 2014. It's still true.

Oh, come's a short acronym. What did you think I meant?

My husband believes, with all his being, that Valentine's Day is a coordinated plot perpetrated by business men who sell candy, cards, flowers and just about anything that hints at romance (on any level). Ditto for Sweetest Day. Don't get him started on Christmas, Halloween or Easter;  really, I'm doing you a favor with this preemptive warning. You're welcome.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mock Squid Soup: Napoleon Dynamite

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are the proud hosts of Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society.  Each month, on the second Friday, they host a bloghop devoted to a particular movie.  They invite others to watch the same film and post their own reviews.

Your old pal, Cherdo, is co-hosting with MOCK! and The Armchair Squid to discuss NAPOLEON DYNAMITE! 

"A high school misfit found a sweet spot, tapping into our inner dork."
Entertainment Weekly

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Great Springsteen Springfling

This post is in response to requests from my friends to tell "the Springsteen story." It's a tale that is too crazy not to be 100% true. The names are changed to protect the totally guilty and after I thought about it, I realized I couldn't use my real pictures. More about that later. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Favorite Songs...circa Today

The Valentine's Day countdown is at four days now. It's time to talk serious romance.

No, no, no, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about really knowing stuff about your main squeeze. What are his or her favorite songs? Come on now, you're not even ready for the weekend until you really know your love pup's musical preferences.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday Newsday: Grammy on Grammy 2015

One year ago, this blog commented on the music industry's night to shine with the first observational Grammy on Grammy post. In my defense, I was Pharrell obsessed, so I had to do it. 

But I didn't learn my lesson there, and I revisited the topic a few days later with the follow up Grammy on Grammy Grammar: Macklemore. It was tag poppin' fun (and I still wash your Granddad's clothes, by the way). 

Let's review a little of this year's event, shall we?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hack Stack: Valentine's Day Style

Attention! Fall in line. In just six days, your main squeeze, love, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or standby date will have certain expectations of you. I'm talking about Valentine's Day, peeps, that most Hallmark of holidays. Ignore it at your peril. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things, Feb. 5, 2015

It's Friday and time to Celebrate the Small Things. Welcome to our wonderful oasis of mini-celebrations. A big thanks to the new host, Lexa Cain, and her wonderful co-hosts: 

L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge         Katie @ TheCyborgMom.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday...A Little Big Story

Throwback Thursday is when you break out the old memory or picture, brush it off and share it. This memory always makes me smile...or bust out laughing. The picture above is yours truly, taken about 1980, I suppose. I'm leaning on one of my Mom's projects.

She purchased plans for a dollhouse that was an exact replica of a saltbox-style historic home in New England and went to work. For weeks, the smell of sawdust lingered as she ran her new jig saw most of the waking hours. When Mom does a project, she pushes till she is done. 

When it was partially finished, she concentrated on the inside: wallpaper, furniture, wall sconces, floor coverings. Curtains hung in each and every window. It really was beautiful and realistic. Sticking my camera inside, I took pictures; when my friends saw the pics, they all thought it was of a real, life-sized house.

On the outside, she later added red siding and cedar shakes on the roof - the house even had cute shutters on the windows. 

Mom wanted to take my picture with her dollhouse to show her progress. As I leaned on the dollhouse, though, I had one question for her:  "Did you notice that this is bigger than the door frame? Way bigger?"

The dollhouse remained a giant presence in the sewing room until my Dad put in sliding glass doors several years later. 

Oh, well. Go big or go home...Go big home...Go make a big home...Don't fill your home with big homes.... 

There's a catchy saying somewhere in this story, but it eludes me. And that, my friends, is why I'm not a writer. 


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Last Son Gets License Limericks

It's a wonderful week for being on wheels (insert smirk). 

Juggernaut was stuck in Connecticut in the middle of a blizzard and horrible roads. Magoo was in a car that got t-boned. You didn't ask, but of course, the person who hit the car didn't have insurance...or a drivers license...or a green card...or seat belts for the half dozen kids in the car... Last but not least, Gonzo became a licensed driver.

I'm too old for this much excitement. I suggested to Hubzam that he consider it a bonding opportunity and take Gonzo for his test. He took a vacation day and off they went. Soon, I got a text that simply stated, "There he goes..."  Even that made me nervous, no joke! After three boys, I can barely scream, "Look out!" anymore. I held my breath till Hubzam texted me to say he passed.

So, in honor of this historical event, I feel a limerick or two coming on...

All my sons had to learn driving skill
We nurtured and trained them at will
They all did their best
Number 3 took his test
By now, Mom and Dad know the drill

With license in hand, Gonz rejoiced
And still Mom had warnings she voiced
It's wise to beware
When sons haven't a care
(Keys are hid on a nail on the joist)

The last boy that's left in our home
Is longing for something with chrome
"Hey, that's my own car - 
Just stay where you are"
(Turns out I am greedy...shalom!)

Look both ways when you cross the street. Remember who has the right of way. Ya'll drive careful now.  I've got another one on the road and he is just 205 months old. Seems too young.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My Dog: An Owner's Manual

Cresting the informational waves that crash into the shore of my homepage, I saw a link to an article that addressed things that might cause your dog to bite you. Not too many surprises on that list; it included things like possessiveness, maternal instinct and feeling threatened.

It got me thinking. Nothing about the list even remotely touched on the personality quirks of my dog. There are reason that she might be inclined to bite a person, but none of them are even in the orbit of normal. Coco the Wonder Dog is as picky as a dog could ever be. You can challenge my claim, if you dare, but it will only make me write more dog blogs. After sharing my humble abode with this nutty dog, I have an encyclopedic knowledge of crazy.

Coco might not ever bite, but she gets so ticked off that you'll wish she'd just bite and get it over with, once and for all. You might ask yourself: What did I do wrong?

Reasons My Dog Might be Ticked Off at YOU:

1. You don't have a defined purpose that includes a dog. Even worse, you don't realize that your purpose should always include a dog...specifically, Coco.

How dare you come into her home and act like you know one of the humans? The only rational reason to ever come to our house is to see Coco. Consequently, she doesn't bark or carry on when she sees strangers; she just runs to her toy box and grabs a ball...because no one would even think to come to visit with any other intent than playing ball.

But, let's say that you do come...and it has nothing to do with the dog... Oh, brother, you're going to get two big, brown evil eyes. Realizing you don't know your place, Coco will assume her seat on the throne (recliner), place her feet on the armrest, and watch you like a hawk. You may wish her potential ill will. Why else would you chose people over pooch?

Coco likes everyone, basically; she just doesn't trust everyone. Once she knows and trusts you, a guaranteed spot on the "poodle approved list" is waiting for you. Until then, you get the eyes of death.

The girl is almost ready to be "fetch-worthy."

2. You expected her to sleep on a chair without a blanket. Specifically, one of her blankets. What are you - a barbarian?

This one irritates me. She sleeps on the chair without a blanket during the day. Once she decides it's time to hit the sack, need to make her bed for the evening. RIGHT NOW.

3. You don't understand the schedule.

My husband will go to bed hours before I will; I'm a bit of a night owl naturally and now that Gonzo has hit that wildly popular teenage pursuit of somnolence, he sleeps in. Perfect time to gradually slide into night owl mode again (I don't have to get up early and I'm a flipster...I do what I want).

Coco is a canine clock; she will tell you when it's time for medicine within five minutes. Naturally, she knows when Hubzam should be going to bed and she doesn't care how funny Jimmy Fallon's monologue might be or that the movie hasn't ended. She will stare down Hubzam; I've known him to get up just to end the constant stink eye from Coco. Woe to those who can't read the Cococlock.

4. You didn't put grated Parmesan on her food. 

When you read that, it just reeks of being farcical. The thing is - it's true.

Just like every other stubborn habit Coco has, it is a Herculean task to get her to change food. And she has allergies that affect her skin...yada, yada, yada...they put her on $32-a-bag dog food. She would gladly starve herself rather than give in to the demands of the carpet walkers. In an effort to entice her to eat the new (and necessary) food, I tried adding a little Parmesan. She'd knock you over for cheese. Eventually, it worked. That was three years ago. She won't give it up.

Oh, you're so smart...I can read your mind. You're saying, "Don't give her food...she won't starve herself." Yes; she will. There's a reason we say if Coco was a comic book super hero, she'd be called Annoya and be blessed with the ability to annoy the stew out of you.  

5. You want her to come inside.

Oh, this one is easy. She's ticked that you want her to come inside, but she is going to find a comfy spot on the sidewalk and plant her rump. She'll keep her eye on you, though.

Coco comes inside on Coco-time. Think you might have broken that habit? Naw. She was just willing to come inside.

6. You want to give her a bath. 

Spoiler alert: Coco has allergies and special shampoo, so she has had baths every 2 or 3 days for the past six years. Odds are, on any given day, it's more likely than not that a bath is imminent.

"'s bath time...again..."            "Mercy, brother..."
By now, you realize that I could go on and on. 

But who am I kidding? I've already sat at the desk long enough to make Coco pout, and you know we can't have that. Mad dog in the living room! Step away!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Fifty-Year Silence

Miranda Richmond Mouillot has taken a family mystery and turned it into a compelling non-fiction tale. A Fifty-Year Silence follows the author's research into the question of her grandparent's relationship and their baffling separation. Part memoir, part autobiography, the story weaves itself between the war-torn European landscape her grandparents called home and her present day search to find her a place to plant her own roots.

Grandmother Anna was a physician who found herself caught in the maelstrom of Nazi-occupied France but somehow managed to maintain her resourcefulness and hope in the face of loss. Husband Armand miraculously survived, albeit more scarred and burdened. War consumed many of his family members in the horror of a "final solution" and his own life followed a twisted path that led to the Nuremberg Trials, where he would act as a translator. 

In the aftermath of the war, the life and love that Anna and Armand knew disappeared and was not spoken of for the next fifty years when their granddaughter, Miranda, took on the task. Returning to their abandoned house in the French countryside, she steps into the past and becomes ever more entrenched in her search for answers. Piece by piece, she slowly extricates bits of information from each grandparent and tries to assemble a story that makes sense of their history.

A Fifty-Year Silence is well-written discourse, full of longing and heartbreak that is all too real. Mouillot's skill as a writer and researcher is impressive. Clearly, she was divinely equipped with the persistence and determination necessary to honor her family's past by telling their heartbreaking story with love.

[I received this book free, from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review.]