Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Where's Cherdo?

Paperwork and planning today (thanks, peeps, for the emails of concern!). Don't forget to sign up for the Bonehead Blog Hop on May 5th! All faux pas, new and old, are post-fodder. Tell us a tale about your most memorable boneheaded move. We all do them...

See you tomorrow!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Hack Stack & Easter Eggheads Unite!

One of my favorite things to do with my kids was to decorate Easter eggs. As the boys grew older, I confess that I was slow to give it up. What I really need is an excuse to try out some new egg-stylings.

Cruising around the blog-o-sphere, I've seen so many cool ideas that I'm having a hard time focusing on just a few - but here it goes:

Photo by Jean McConnel - Source: www.rd.com
 1. Chalkboard Eggs 

How did I not think of this? I love chalkboard paint. These eggs and a basket of colored chalk would keep any kid on the planet entertained all day. This is pure brilliance.

Besides, Juggernaut loves black. This may win me some Easter brownie points.

Source: http://www.bhg.com/holidays/easter/eggs/

 2. Watercolored Eggs 

Once again...I have enough watercolor paint to do a life sized painting of Rhode Island and yet I never considered just painting the eggs. Why, you ask? I do be stoopid sum times. The folks at Better Homes & Gardens - not so much. They're bringing their "A" game to egg decor.

In spite of those personal mental shortcomings, I'm wondering if I have time to recreate famous paintings on eggs before Easter. Every great idea deserves an upgrade and modifications.

Source: http://lovelyindeed.com/diy-washi-tape-easter-eggs/
 3. Washi Tape Eggs 

If you've never used Washi tape, you are already missing out. I've always loved all the Duck Tape patterns and crafts, but Washi tape is even more functional with its smaller width. Much easier to handle! My Art kids used Washi tap to mark all their books and brushes; everyone had their own "design". It's perfect for giving all your supplies a personal style and an easy way to mark your territory (in an office supply sense of the word). 

So, here I sit in a world of Washi tape and there are my eggs...and the two never met. But all that will change, thanks to Lovely Indeed, a fantastic blog for the creative spirits. If you love crafting, visit Lovely Indeed. The non-crafters, visit anyhow - you'll see how it's done right!


Wonder what I could do with a dozen eggs?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things, March 26


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, March 26, 2015

Acing the ACT

Elizabeth King has written a useful guide for students who strive to improve their test scores: Acing the ACT: An Elite Tutor's Guide to Tricky Questions and Secret Strategies that Make a Big Difference.

As the mother of a young man who desires a great test score, we've looked at many available publications and frequently found them lacking. King's guide is very straight forward and well organized, and opens with a statement that most students will immediately relate to: "The purpose of each subsection of the ACT isn't clear to most test takers."  I wholeheartedly believe that statement is accurate. It's a distinct disadvantage and that likely provides a wealth of frustration. For that reason alone, I fully appreciate this easily understood book.

Section by section, sample question are reviewed and explained with extra attention given to such things as tricky word usage, the high frequency of cross multiplication mistakes, graph labels and identifying your key point in the essay. As parents, I believe we would overlook some of this wisdom King provides. Pointing out the pitfalls for students makes this worth the cost!

The true value in Acing the ACT is the clarity of its explanation of each subsection. After identifying the purpose of each, King provides a suggested plan of attack that includes tried and true methods. Additionally, she does a bit of myth busting (there are no patterns to the answers, kids!) and no-nonsense advice about note taking and practice tests.  Her "categorization" method of note taking for ACT prep should be required of every student and it exposes the folly of taking practice tests - but not focusing on the reason you miss questions. Smartphones and texting get called out for their role in dumbing-down spelling skills (well put, Ms. King).

Last, but certainly not least, this book fits nicely in a purse or back pack, which is so much more useful for study on-the-go when compared to many cumbersome phone book sized guides. Go for quality over quantity. This does the trick nicely.

[I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review...and honestly, you need to buy this for every high school student you know.]

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hump Day Sing-a-long: Newspaper, Newspaper

Hubzam and I are having a bit of a newspaper power struggle with the new delivery man and the local newspaper office. It's frustrating. We loved our last paperboy, who was a single mom with kids, actually. Every morning, she'd bring our beloved newspaper down our driveway and gently throw it on our sidewalk before 6:30 a.m., thus perfectly meshing with our geezer daily plans to read the news while drinking some java. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently so.

We have a new paperboy, who is very much a big truck driving man, and I'd climb up on the side of that truck and wring his neck if he ever slows down. We have a lovely spot for him to pull in and turn around easily. He has totally torn up the yard on the opposite site - and that's not my yard! I need an angry neighbor, right? We are missing newspapers on a regular basis, too. Twice this week! Taking the next logical step, I tried to call the paper and ask them to leave him a message. The phone system requires ten minutes just to get to the point where you can ask "someone" to return your call as soon as possible. Based on three calls and the news circulation staff's actions, it's not possible to return my call.

Recently, we took a group of young humans on a tour of the newspaper. A staff member told us how the jobs in print news were drying up and how much they appreciate the readers' patronage. Pooh, pooh, I say. I'm not feeling so appreciated or valued. So before I give up and cancel, here is a song just for you...

Newspaper, Newspaper
Sung to the tune of "Matchmaker, Matchmaker"

Newspaper, newspaper
Where can you be?
Money was paid-
I have my needs!
Newspaper, newspaper
Coffee awaits,
I need to know others' fates.

News guy, oh news guy
Your job really stinks
You picked it out-
What did you think?
News guy, oh news guy
It's too much to ask
That you complete this one task?

For Papa, bring him the biz page
For Mama, she needs Life and Arts
For Sonny, he will ignore you, 
He now reads all his news for free, online!

News business, news business
How is it fair?
The one that loves you
Must kiss derriere? 
Just to get one of your precious print-tomes
I'll beg and I'll cry
If you'll just try
Delivery to my home.


(I'm not bitter.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ramp, Anyone?

Yesterday, a friend posted a picture of a delicious looking meal he had made that included grilled lamb loin chops, a spring salad of asparagus, ramps, peas and snap peas with poached egg and lemon zest vinaigrette. Needless to say, they're eating well at his house; the man is a virtual gourmet. Note that I'm not saying what Gonzo and I ate last night. Hubzam is on a business trip and we get pretty basic while he is gone.

One thing jumped out at me: the word RAMPS. Ramps and I have a sordid past. 

If you're not familiar with ramps (Allium tricoccum), they are a wild leek that grows in higher elevations of eastern North America. Let's be more specific: Appalachia loves ramps and the proof can be found in their Ramp Festivals. I happen to have been born within the parameters of Appalachia and frequently returned when my relatives were mainly above ground. My first mother-in-law, Mary Beatrice, lived smack dab in the middle of ramp country in southern West Virginia and it was there that I experienced my first ramp festival. 

In the beginning, I was intrigued. I knew about ramps, but they were never a big thing in our neck of Appalachia...we were more "Ohio Valley" West Virginians. My grandmother had pointed them out and I'd picked some, but never really ate them. They smelled great - like a garlicy onion. So when I heard about this festival, I was kind of excited at the prospect. I could imagine all these wonderful ramp experts dusting off their best recipes and showing off their country culinary skills.

When the day of the festival arrived, the whole county smelled like ramps and I'm not even joking. I also learned that every church in town had their own version of the ramp festival going on. Wow, I thought, this is going to be great. I'll bet they're all doing something a little different. How interesting!

On the drive to my mother-in-law's church, she told me about the bushels of ramps that all the men of the church had collected and described the outdoor set-up for cooking. Casually, I asked her what kind of dishes they made? 

"Mainly eggs and ramps, " she replied.

"Oh, like an omelet?"

"No, just scrambled eggs and ramps."

No variety? Okay, I can accept that. But scrambled eggs? Really?  That didn't sound appetizing at all. 

In spite of the initial impression, I tried them. 

There should have been a bar chart of "ramp appeal": first bite, 95% appealing. Second bite, not as much: 85% appealing. By the third and fourth bite, we were in the thirty percentiles, at best. Never has an opinion gone down hill so quickly. I started eyeing the cook and the garbage can, my eyes darting between the two. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but the can and the plate were about to meet. As soon as he turned his back, I dunked that thing like Meadowlark Lemon. Darn if that didn't raise a ramp stink. Everyone move slowly! The less air movement, the better. Trust me!

In the spirit of community, we visited some other church festivals whose sole offering was - you guessed it - scrambled eggs and ramps. My stomach was crying foul and I wondered if I had terminal car sickness from the twisting and turning road or possible ramp-n-egg poisoning, a deadly but misunderstood disorder.

For the next week, my mother-in-law brought home leftover ramps. I passed.

Which brings me to another point I want to make about one of the great things about living in the North. Southern friends would debate whether or not there is anything better (stop it! I'm right here, for crying out loud!) but I can tell you with road-tested certainty that once you get north of the Mason-Dixon, most people are ramp-ignorant. They couldn't identify a ramp if you paid them. For the record, I'm not paying them. EVER.

One of my Euell-Gibbons-wannabe (linked, just in case that name is not familiar) friends was fascinated by the idea of ramps and constantly brought wild plants to me and asked if they were ramps. He never got it right and his efforts created a running joke amongst my friends. We'd pick up anything and ask out loud, to no one in particular, "Is this a ramp? Can anyone confirm whether or not this is a ramp?"

My first mother-in-law has passed away now; she was an angel. If I was smart, though, I'd have divorced my first husband over the family's ramp affinity - but no! I hung around till he really gave me great reasons to leave him.

Fortunately, my current perfect Hubzam's mother never mentions ramps. I'm grateful beyond measure.

The Bonehead Blog Hop date has been changed to May 5th! Click on the link (over there...you see it...on the right) and join me for a heart felt confession of your favorite bonehead memory, whether new or old. Come on, you can do it! Thanks, peeps!

Better Late Than Never: 
My A-t0-Z Blog Challenge theme comes a day late - I just signed up! 
My theme is musicians!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bonehead Bloghop

Face your fear! Come on, we all do boneheaded things from time to time and there's safety in numbers. Join our rag tag bunch on the first day of every month to share your boneheaded act...we need a good laugh (or something to compare with our own boneheaded mistakes). 

Hosted by  Author Diana Wilder of  Diana Wilder, ...About myself, by myself and your old pal, Cherdo, of Cherdo on the Flipside, an equal opportunity offender and virtual bonehead mistake factory.

Want to be my co-host? Leave a comment below.

3/24/2015 UPDATE!! 

No need to be in conflict with the A-Z Bloghop...let's start on Cinco de Mayo!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bonehead Confessions

Once you reach adulthood, a certain air of confidence settles around you. And then, you do something that is totally boneheaded. 

One of my great pleasures is visiting other people's blogs and websites. Nothing is quite so entertaining as peeking into someone else's little slice of reality or to see the world through their words and thoughts. Remember, however, that we all process information differently. We all have different parameters of acceptable. For instance, I try to have fun with my stuff; I never take myself too seriously. There's no reason to post anything that I wouldn't show to anyone; there's a lot of young people in my world. In the end, I'm hoping I leave a PG internet footprint. 

You'll notice that there's also a lot of writers that I follow or follow me. Language is used symbolically...metaphorically. I was reading a very entertaining blog that had the word "nude" in the title. It made total sense, in the way it was used, that the word most likely meant unadorned, or exposed. The hilarious post reflected on a funny aspect of life and people who fall in the Wally Mart moronic minions. 

Then I logged onto my dashboard and looked at the list of blogs I'm following yesterday; I thought I'd catch up on my reading on my day off. The blog picture rolls by...it's a nude. That's right, peeps - it actually had nudity. Just last week, Blogger had a message that it was shutting down certain types of blogs that contained offensive material or nudity. I thought: "Hmmm...offensive is kinda tough to nail down, but I've never seen a blog with nudity..."

Mark this life event: adult confidence - gone.

Now, I'm frantic. How do I unfollow? Like IMMEDIATELY. Funny thing about being frantic - it makes some people more prone to making mistakes. I'll bet I read the instruction online six times and kept fumbling with the settings, sheesh! Finally, I figured it out. 

I'm a bonehead.

(I'm thinking BONEHEAD might be a good once-a-month bloghop...everyone is a bonehead at one time or another. Whaddaya think?)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dog Day Off - Denied!

Mother Nature, that fickle wench, continues to taunt me with warm days and then snatches them back and only to replace them with chilly precipitation. Everybody, get back from the computer screen while you can and get some sunshine. The Vitamin D you save may be your own! Have a day off with friends. 

Those of you who desire to maintain your employment, in spite of your yearning to go outside, please accept my apologies for bringing it up. 

Speaking of making friends...

My dog, Coco, loves everyone. I know I've said it before. She even loves other dogs that don't love her; in fact, you have to be careful about that with her. More specifically, she likes everything on her terms. If a dog can be a type A personality - well, bingo. She's it.

Yesterday was her day to get groomed which usually gets her excited about the car ride (it's like dog-Disney World with every ride) and a chance to see the groomer. Poodles are all about non-shedding fur...that you cut off for a greatly inflated price every six to eight weeks. Just like humans look for a hair stylist, you search for the holy grail of dog care: a good groomer. Luckily, I have one! I have no complaints about that and under normal conditions, neither does Coco.

The dogs that were there waiting for grooming; how can I describe it? How about "yikes!" Never have I felt so sorry for my pooch as when I dropped her off. Every dog in the kennel area was barking as if they had their own angry canine choir. One was actually growling at everything and everyone. Though it was safe for her, I could tell immediately that the noise was going to make her crazy.

Three hours later, I returned to pick up Coco. She looked great, so nice and clean. Her cut was perfect but you could read her mind - she was not happy. She just stared at me and telepathically told me she was about an hour past her breaking point and "let's get out of here!" 

The other things she told me telepathically cannot be printed within the parameters of my family friendly blog. 

Getting into the car, Coco looked back at the door of the shop and actually growled. She is not one to growl. If I could guess what thoughts were floating around in her mop top, I'm sure she felt cheated out of a day out to make friends. No kids in there; she stayed secured in a back room, waiting her turn. The other dogs weren't on board with playing. Gee whiz, even the cockatiels and parrots were gone today. All the trip had to offer was a loud haircut and time in a cage.

When we got home, she ran in the house and drank some water. Immediately afterwards, she jumped on the recliner and went to sleep. "Like a dead dog" seems a little cliche, but in this case, that is exactly what she looked like.

So much for her doggie day off.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Coffee with a Canine

Yours truly and Coco (the Wonderdog) are blessed to be the guest of a great blogger today! I love the premise of Marshal Zeringue's dog-centric Coffee with a Canine blog; hop on over to see our interview.

Be sure to visit Coffee with a Canine! [http://coffeecanine.blogspot.com/2015/03/cheryl-massey-coco.html]

I don't have special St. Patrick's Day post this year, but check out last year's post:
Exploring the Mysteries of St. Patrick's Day

(He's around and he'll be back...but in the meanwhile, I think I'll keep cartooning him.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Hack Stack & Shady Watch Day 3

Welcome to another round of Monday's Hack Stack. Today, I'm dedicating my stack to the humble rubber band. I'm pretty sure I'll never accurately track down the first person who did these hacks and I didn't invent any of this (and 99.99% of the time, neither did the person I'm citing for the image...so, there you have it).  

If you posted a traditional use for rubber bands on the internet, come on, people! It's time to be brilliant and clever, not long-established, taken for granted "normal."  

Image: www.goodhousekeeping.com

1. The old paint can trick.

Everybody knows this one, but it's a tip jumps out at me as one I've actually used pretty often. 

Wrapping a substantial rubber band around a paint can is really useful. Everyone who paints has experienced the excessively drippy paint brush that needs tamed before you slap that wall one more time. Scrape the brush on the rubber band stretched across the center of the can. This totally does the trick.

2.  Seal the chips!

Cherdo Kitchen Standard use: Extra rubber bands are excellent for sealing bagged items, like coffee or corn chips. I use this on the coffee bag I store in the freezer all the time. Roll the top of the bag down and place the rubber band on the package (top to bottom). Then pass up all the expensive plastic chip clips with an air of superiority. 

3.  Keep the spoon out of the bowl!

Another Cherdo use: Wrap the rubber band around the handle of a spoon to prevent it from sliding into the bowl - the most annoying utensil betrayal of all.

4.  Visor keeper

This may not be useful to everyone, but if you're trying to keep track of gas receipts or brochures on a trip, wrap a rubber band or two around your visor and tuck your paperwork in for the ride.

Falling gas receipts kill thousands every year. Drivers have been pulled from the wreckage covered in paper cuts.

Image: www.passionforsavings.com
5.  Keep that apple fresh

My friend does this. I googled it to see where the idea originated and folks, there is no way of knowing - it's official.

Slice your apple and reassemble the pieces; secure with a rubber band to prevent the apple from browning.

6.  Eraser

They're made out of the same thing, you know. Just make a ball or wrap around something. I've done this with an egg sized rock before and it works great. It was an experiment...I'm not saying I ever made a mistake...

Okay, even I'm laughing at that. I'm the typo queen.

7. Save that book

At one time or another, we've all packed up a beach bag or tote with miscellaneous items and included a book that will soon look manhandled by this transport.  Wrap a rubber band around the book to keep it closed. It really helps.

Oh, and by the way....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Shady Watch: Day 2

Well, it's Sunday...he could be anywhere. Maybe it's Punday? 

But while he is away, let's play. He is my dear pal and I might as well mess with him a little. This may not be better than Where's Waldo or Flat Stanley, but it's more fun for yours truly.

Shady is taking a blog break and takin' care o' business! If you don't know who Shady Dell Knight is, find out by visiting his most excellent blog! Bop on over the Shady Dell Music & Memories.  

The Shady Watch continues...where will he be next??

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Shady Watch: Day 1

Waldo isn't the only one who can play this game...where's Shady? 
Perhaps he is on a magical mystery tour - safe travels! We'll be following.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mock Squid Soup: Horns

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 movies and the people who love them.  They invite others to watch the same film and post their own reviews. It's not too late to join us - sign up at the bottom of the post.


After a successful run in the Harry Potter franchise, Daniel Radcliffe has to be sitting pretty. He's got a relatively large body of work behind him for his age, he's recognizable and downright likable; one could assume he has some financial stability - and he is still a young guy! Great ghost of Jim Henson, what could possibly go wrong for Dan the Man?

The answer to that question might be the movie Horns

Radcliffe plays Ignatius Parrish, a young guy in love with his long time girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple). The love shack for Ig and his girl comes in the form of a tree house; and when Merrin is found murdered at that very spot, Ig is the prime suspect. Thus begins the quest to find the killer of his girl. Who has committed this terrible act? It couldn't be fresh faced Ig...or could it?

Ig seems understandably grief stricken and lost; but you know what will take your mind off your grief? The discovery of a couple of painful horns growing out of your forehead. And that's not all!  Along with the appearance of the cerebral coat racks, every one seems compelled to confess their darkest secrets to Ig. The horns are virtual sin-antennae. The one exception to the free flow of dirty secrets comes in the form of his friend and now his assigned public defender, Lee (Max Minghella).

Humor pops its head up with the ackward, somewhat audacious confessions. His parents (James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan) let him know the cold and callous feelings they now have for him. A local waitress (Heather Graham) sees opportunity in the scandalous news and thinks injecting herself into the story might give her life a bump up. Last, but not least, Ig's jazzman brother (Joe Anderson) shows up to prove that drugs are still a really, really bad idea.

In flashback, pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place and new suspicions arise. The cursed horns prove useful for tapping into the revealing inner demons of others, too. Ig frantically follows up on each suspect till the surprising culprit is found.

Radcliffe really outdid himself with the I-just-rolled-out-of-bed look he sported all through the movie and he nailed the American accent. There's at least three possible genres going on here: horror, mystery, fantasy. I'm guessing the lad is still trying to prove he is more than your neighborhood Potter. 

The dialogue was weak. Someone could have spent a little more time on that screenplay, especially since there was a perfectly good book by Joe Hill to use as a guide. Would Harry have cursed as many time as Ig? That was his full acting range for showing rage or irritation. Yelling the F-word will not get you that Oscar...scratch that, I've not really done the research necessary to say that factually. I know you've read some good screenplays (hint, hint) Daniel, you should have called foul.

Finding the acting lacking, I desperately sought symbolism to justify my lost 120 minutes. It was pretty easy; I suspect it came straight from The Idiots Guide to Symbolism in Film. The Eden-like setting of the tree house,  a man and his woman, naked and unafraid, just two people without a care in the world - and then it all goes to you-know-where...hey, I got that!  The devilish Ig transition confused me a little. Are you good? Bad? Hey, you! You've walked around with horns all through this movie - why pick up a pitch fork and snakes now?

Well, it's too late for me. My 120 minutes are gone and I'll never get them back. Who knows what I could have done with those wasted minutes.

Daniel Radcliffe, I still love you but I hope someone offers you something good before they write a sequel where angel wings come out of your head. 

What have you watched lately? Tell us about it! Sign up below.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bagged and Tagged...Stephen T. McCarthy

Well, I haven't bagged anyone lately, so STEPHEN T. MCCARTHY, you've been Bagged and Tagged.

Everyone wish STMcC a safe journey as he relocates to Reno! 

A few Reno facts:

  • The first monkey to communicate by sign language was raised in Reno. This could come in handy, STMcC, if you just don't want to talk to anyone.
  • What city holds the world's record for the most people playing checkers at one time? You guessed it - Reno. So, STMcC, if you get in the mood...there's at least 540 checkers players you could challenge to a game.
  • If you see a dead body, don't curse in front of it. It's illegal. You got that, STMcC? I fear this law could trip you up.
  • Don't take your umbrella...Reno only gets 7 inches of rain a year.
  • You can always scoot down the road to Lake Tahoe, Top Lake in America. No skinny dipping; you'll sully the good name of Tahoe.
  • You can play slots just about anywhere...even the grocery store. Take a shopping list in case you get distracted.
  • Reno 911! is not filmed in Reno. Sorry.
  • 4+ million visitors a year - make sure you have a spare bedroom.
  • Visit the pools in Reno - they all have aqua lifts. Then drop me a postcard and tell me what exactly is an aqua lift? I use a water glass to life my aqua.
  • It doesn't matter where you live - as long as you blog, brother.
Safe travels!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hump Day Headlines...I'm Confused

I know I'm a little tired tonight, but these are actual headlines from today's local newspaper that left me wondering about the full story.

"Pot, cash, gun found inside apartment safe"

Safe? If I were a intent on doing something wrong or worried about where I could hide something - like a gun - it would be good to know that you could keep it in an apartment and it would be safe. I guess that's the kind of information some less creative criminals might need. Just hide it in the apartment, man.

"Coffee police: Child shot in the head improving"

I'm sorry that this child was harmed, truly I am. But it's good to know that the coffee police were on the job. I've told my children repeatedly, Mama needs her coffee. It would be best if you stay out of the way until I am fully java-sized. Don't make me call the coffee police.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ya Gots To Know the Blog Rules, Right?

One of my friends showed her young son a picture from my blog. Inquisitive little bugger; he caught me by surprise when he started asking questions about it:

"Ms. Cheryl, you're doing computer, right? I saw it."

"Pardon? Are you asking if I'm teaching computer? Not next year; no." I was puzzled and thought maybe he was asking about the schedule we're putting together for next year.

A frustrated look came over his face; you know the one. The one that let's you know that a kid can't believe how dumb you are. "No, you did computer yesterday...with a bird...remember?"

I felt accused. I DID it yesterday? Only if you can prove it, buddy. Innocent until proven guilty and God bless America.

Then it occurred to me that he was talking about the blog. "Oh, you're talking about the owl picture? Yes, I posted that - but I didn't draw it. I just added a title to an owl picture - do you understand what I mean."

"No. I don't know the rules, " he said dejectedly. 

Awww, poor thing. He doesn't know the rules and he's sure I'm holding out on him. I questioned him further: "What rules don't you know, honey?"

"The computer rules that tell you how to do that. I don't know them."

Now we were getting there - or at least closer. You never know with an eight-year-old boy. "Are you saying you want to know how to use the computer or how to make a blog - because what you saw was a blog."

He was tired of my questions and rolled his eyes. Nice. 

"Oh. I just need the blog rules. Yeah, that's it. The blog rules. What ya gots to know."

"Do you want me to show you how I do the blog post?" I replied ( I love to show kids how to do things).

He stared at me like I was stupid and announced, "Just give me the blog rules;  I can read, Miss Cheryl..."

Okay, peeps, it's your change to educate the youth of America. 

I'll start with number 1. You number your "rule" and post it in the comments.. By the end of the day, I will have an official list of THE BLOG RULES.

1. Your blog has to have a name that is (hopefully) unique - like Cherdo on the Flipside.

Number 2, it's your turn....

Monday, March 9, 2015

True Stories

For me, the best stories always make you ask yourself, "What in the world?" 

My Monday memory is short, but it always makes me smile when I recall the day I heard it for the first time. I'm a little twisted like that. 

First, a little back-story: 

My great grandmother and I were very close and I was blessed with her presence till 1984. Though she lived 160 miles away, we saw each other pretty often.

I graduated in 1977 and at eighteen, I proudly moved into my own apartment. One of the first things I did was to call her on my very own phone - there's a limited number of people in the world who will be impressed that you are calling from your own phone; your grandma is one of them. Especially when you can brag about your fancy beige princess phone rental. Wild, huh? 

If you're still following this story without question, you are definitely over forty -five years old; you've been outed, geezer pal.

From that point on, I never went more than a week between calls to grandma. Sometimes I had to keep 'em short with my young person budget - this was back in the days of long distance charges and we're pretty verbose in my family. If I didn't call her, she would call me.

We fell into a pattern of favorite topics that included, but were not limited to, family, animals, recipes, the last crazy thing __________(fill in the name of any family member) did, and birds. 

As long as I can remember, my great grandma loved birds. She had a pump house behind her home and she'd throw birdseed on the roof and watch them enjoy their feast. Cardinals were abundant on her property and an impressive number would show up. I'd get the head count. Hummingbirds clustered around her bright red bees balm plants and she'd supply a play by play description of their antics. It was the next best thing to being there.

On one cold December day, I called her to say happy birthday. Immediately, she squealed with delight and reported, "You'll never guess what I saw yesterday when I went to feed the chickens - the first one I ever saw up close in my whole life!"

Let me tell you, her whole life was pretty long at that time, so I figured it had to be something good. Mirroring her excitement, I asked what she had seen.

"A snowy owl!" she said.

As far as I was concerned, that was a big bird deal. I'd never seen one in the wild and I was a bit envious, one bird lover to another. She launched into a description of the bird: it was rather large with an amazing wingspan; she guessed it was a yard or more long. The white of its feathers made it practically disappear with the backdrop of snow and it was dotted with several small black dots along the tips of its wings. 

"Wow, grandma, that is so cool! I wish I had seen it, too!" (I really did!)

"There's only one thing I'm wondering about," grandma said pensively. 

"What's that, grandma?"

With total seriousness, she replied, "I wonder what ate the other side of its head."

It never occurred to me that the thing was dead. She had seen it lying on the ground. After that, every time she would start to tell me about a bird or an animal, I'd ask whether or not the critter was alive. For me, that really sets the stage.

You can't make this stuff up.

[After the snow departed this week, flocks of robins appeared in my yard. I've never seen so many robins - and they stayed for so long, evenly spaced across the yard! Oh, how I wanted just one more phone call...]

Friday, March 6, 2015

Funny You Should Ask That Musical Question...Part 2

It's time to address a few more musical questions; in fact, it might be well past time.
 I'll give it my best shot.

Don't...Don't  you want me?
Don't You Want Me
The Human League

Truth be told, I don't even know you on a personal level. Not really.

I once had a ticket to your show in a teeny, weeny club in Youngstown, Ohio, long after your hey-day and you bailed. Your career wasn't big enough to do the last-minute bailout. We were already at the club. That is a bailout that is reserved for big names, like Elton having a hissy fit...or Bono breaking his moneymaker strumming arm. Not Human League, lest the point is lost on you.

My friends and I were forced to sing all your hits for the other club patrons. Fortunately, it only took two minutes.

So...no, I don't want you NOW. We're both over the hill NOW.

How many roads must a man walk down before they call him a man?
Blowing in the Wind
Bob Dylan

Zero roads, my friend. The aerobic activity has no bearing whatsoever on what people will call you. If you're walking with hand weights, you may be in the game, but I can't guarantee anything. You might have to break down and purchase a "I AM A MAN" t-shirt. 

Which brings up another issue: If you're wearing traditional female clothing, it's going to be a crap shoot trying to guess how many roads you'll have to walk down before they call you a man. I'm open minded, but this doesn't seem practical in light of the goal of being called "a man." Stay away from florals or horizontal stripes, regardless.

[Spoiler alert: there's no answer floating along on the breeze. You're just a guy walking down the road, wondering who he is. Don't start talking to moving air. It's pointless.]

Wouldn't it be nice if we were older?
Wouldn't It Be Nice
The Beach Boys

Well, I need more information before I answer. Older than what?

Older than eighteen years old? Yes, definitely. Ditto for twenty-one.

It gets a little sketchy after that and prone to personal preferences.

Would it be nice to be over thirty? Well, it's not terrible. You have youth and a general idea of what you want to do with your time.

How 'bout over forty? Fifty? Sixty? Seventy? See, there's  where the age-ism comes out.

Ha! Jokes on you, haters - we are old but totally in touch with our checkbooks, real estate, holiday menus, and blood pressure meds.

If I were a carpenter and you were a lady,
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby?
If I Were a Carpenter
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash

Hey, I have no problem with dating a skilled tradesman. But before we procreate, tell me this: has the work been steady? You know the construction trades are up and down. I've got to think about that imaginary future baby, buddy. 

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
Eleanor Rigby 
The Beatles

Hmmm...let's see: dating sites, celebrity fan clubs, fast food job fairs, hyperhidrosis support groups, the Julie Newmar autograph line at Comic Con, grocery store at 4 a.m., Saturday night at the dollar flick...yeah, that covers it.

If you have a pressing musical question that you'd like to see in the next installment, tell me about it in the comments. I aim to please.


Have a nice weekend, peeps. Stay warm, cool or vertical - whatever works for you.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Knoxville Complaint Piechart 2015

In the course of 24 hours, Mother Nature has toyed with us again. This afternoon, it was a pleasant 73 degrees...Fahrenheit, people. Instead of complaining about how subpar my coat is, I totally abandoned outerwear. Sweet mysteries of life, we will be warm once more!

No; that's not it at all. Surprise! We're expecting a dip of 53 degrees tonight and ice covered roads in the morning. I kid you not.

East Tennessee, what's going on? It's been a weird winter, but there's just no use complaining about the weather anymore. Let's move on to some of our other favorite complaints for variety.

To sum it up, I've created the Official Knoxville Complaint Piechart for 2015. Just refer to the chart and you will be in tune with the minds of all native Knoxvillians.

Besides, everything looks better when it's colorful. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hump Day Haikus: I'm a Franken-Mom

Firing up for a new exercise regimen prompted me to consider the genetic betrayal that is my personal carcass. I abridge my own medical transcript to avoid explaining the wear and tear.

Let me say it again. Gravity - it's the law. I've forgotten that many times, to my peril.

The Franken-Mom Haiku Collection

Health needs a pick up
Please give us some history

Lots of arthritis
More injuries than fighters
I'm short for my weight

Surgeries on wrists
Ulna and radius...snapped!
I feel so fragile

Left ankle broke...right, too
Forgot my rotor cuff tear
I might omit some

Hit by a car once
A semi destroyed my car
Eight accidents sitting still

Am I not lucky?
I don't believe in luck, sir
Just wrong place, wrong time

Who can explain it?
It defies explanation
Franken-Mom...that's me

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tuesday Newsday: Worldwide and Weird

It's a weird, weird world we live in. Of course, I didn't write the news, I just collect it. Here's some of my favorite family, local, national and world news. 

  • A headline from Phoenix made me realize that I am still (or always will be) a child at heart. Perhaps that should be "childish." Two escaped llamas had the Phoenix police on their toes, ending with a cowboy-worthy lassoing of the llamas on the lam. Every time I saw a news posting about the Llama Drama, it made me laugh; that's so much better than the regular news.
  • Southern California beaches were covered in snow! The real kind, not the Studio 54 slang-term kind of snow. Further research seemed to indicate it was hail and ice - not any better news for the bikini crowd. I wonder if everyone in Huntington Beach had a winter coat...
  • Huffington Post reported that Louisville, Kentucky, smells like mildew and no one knows why. I've been to Louisville and noticed an abnormal amount of tennis shoes hanging from phone poles and wires; is it any crazier to surmise they might be mildewed by now? That's my vote.
  • Misguided teens have a penchant for tagging walls, overpasses, or any available surface. Thus was the fate of the Houck Covered Bridge in Putnam County, Indiana, UPI reported. The 135-year-old bridge had just been refurbished to the tune of 1.7 million dollars in 2014. Last week, it was vandalized with spray painted swastikas and large letters stating HAIL SATIN. The police think it was juveniles. Uh...yeah. And don't they feel cool now? My other thought was that this might be a group of wild, free thinking seamstresses. Face it, satin is pretty awesome...
  • Chuck Shepherd's Weird Universe had an item that caused me to pause and ponder. Hats off to Dole Japan for creating the wearable banana (get your hands off that keyboard, Shady Dell Knight...I'm not done yet).  No athlete should be without one. The gadget is made of some sort of electrical wiring inside of the banana skin which then relays information about heart rate, race time and supportive tweets from other racers. Apparently, it also helps the runner pace their banana eating (it announces when it's time to eat a banana). 
  • Psychic Future News: Runner chokes on wire inside a banana.
Keep it weird, peeps. Eat a banana now.

Monday, March 2, 2015

What Color is the Dress & Other Things That are Stupid About the Internet

Let's jump right in - we've all heard about "the dress" and the curious way no one can agree on its color. If you've been on Mars and missed the flap, I've placed a picture (or two) of it above left. Equally perplexing to me is the fact that I have no trouble see two dresses that are each different color combos in my illustration. 

My thoughts on the subject of the true hues of "the dress" fall into two distinct categories that are just as important as this dress' color-deliberations (insert smirk...a big one). 

Part 1: The Hype

All week long, I've been hearing about this dress. Okay, maybe people perceive the colors of this frock differently. Maybe it's the old rods and cones of the eyeball; maybe it's the lighting. 

It's getting on my nerves because I'm not sure why it is so gosh darn mesmerizing to the public. What I don't know about the mind of the public is HUGE. I'll never understand it, but I'm probably not alone. Marketers should be studying this; they might have a legitimate reason to examine the dispute further. The rest of us should go do something productive, for crying out loud.

I have a theory about this dress conundrum, though. The attraction to this is that we love to argue or debate a topic. Nothing gets under our skin more than another person's opinion that opposes our own. Oh, that self-righteous neuron would have to work over time on this one; it infers you don't know your colors and disagrees with you simultaneously. How in the world could that mental giant of a man/woman think that dress is black and blue when it is clearly white and gold? 

For the sake of brevity, read that last sentence again and flip the colors. We wouldn't want someone to say I played favorites.

Comments, anyone? There were plenty available. Actual cross words were exchanged with total strangers over the color of a dress that neither party would purchase, gift or wear. White and Gold! Thems fightin' words!  

In truth, I have to actually know a person to get riled; sorry, online strangers. You can say it's green and polka dot - I don't care. 

But if you must have a fashion outlet for wasting time, meditate on this one below.

It's obviously a wedding dress, so I say it's white and you can't stop me.

Part 2: What in the World...?

Of all the things that occurred in the past weeks - this dress controversy was the attention grabber?

February 27, 2015: Leonard Nimoy, our beloved Spock, passed away at the age of eighty-three. Actor, poet, singer, photographer and Vulcan - what more could you ask for?

Sure, but what color is the dress?  Did he mention the dress - did Spock think it was blue & black or gold & white?

Georgia was poised to execute Kelly Renee Gissendaner and the roller coaster of clemency requests and postponements is ongoing. The only other execution of a female occurred in 1924, though five women have occupied death row. All the other sentences were re-sentenced to life in prison.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...but what color was the dress? Gold & white or blue & black?

Just in case this next paragraph needs an illustration...

Iraq launched an offensive against ISIS north of Bagdad. 

If any Iraqi women were wearing the mystery-color dress, we will never know - but we can still debate the color of their hijab or chador, can't we?

Congress is divided and in an uproar over an invitation extended to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. That's so weird, because usually they agree and get along...

Does Netanyahu even know about the dress? You know, the black and blue one... gold and white one? Is it kosher?

Downton Abbey: Carson and Mrs. Hughes are planning to marry! Tom Branson and Sybbie are moving to Boston! Edith named her daughter after a plant!

None of them are wearing the dress of unidentifiable, infinitely debatable colors! Surely they could afford it.

At least the world has its priorities in order. There's comfort in that.