Monday, July 16, 2018

He's hitting again!

Anthony Rizzo went nearly a week without a hit. He was 0-21. That's Oh. 4. Twenty. One. That's not my Rizz.

It was positively ridiculous how worried I was about him. Was he hurt? Were he and girlfriend Emily on the outs? The Cubs' team shrink died suddenly -- though it was after his slump began, I was worried that it exacerbated the problem, whatever problem he was having.

I cannot stand it when he's not doing well.
He's such a great kid. He not only hits for power, he patiently takes his walks. He's a solid and dependable first baseman. He works with pediatric cancer patients. He reached out to the Parkland survivors after the shooting at his alma mater, Marjorey Stoneman Douglas high school. Someone like Anthony Rizzo only deserves good things.

I'm so glad that he's going into the All Star break hitting 6-10. This old heart of mine couldn't take it if his slump continued!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Good for what ails you

I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary. It restored my faith in America and reminded me why I'm sure we'll survive this Trumpy nightmare. It was also delightful -- well worth $6 to see Ruth Bader Ginsburg watch Kate McKinnon's impersonation on SNL, and oh! The real life love story she shared with her husband! If that doesn't touch you, you're not human.

Reflections on two friends

Friday night I blabbed with my oldest friend. We were on the phone for nearly two hours. We talked about nothing of consequence, really. I don't know how she's feeling physically, or whether Medicaid has helped her get her meds. I don't know how she's doing emotionally or financially. She didn't seem to want to go there, and I didn't want to force it.

Instead we laughed a great deal. We talked about TV, her kids, the Cubs, Frank Sinatra's penis ... I miss her. I don't laugh with anyone like I do with her.

I hope she's OK. I'm going to try to get her on the phone more often. Perhaps I can get her to open up a bit more. And besides, it makes me happy to talk to her, to remind me of the decades-long connection we share.well.

Saturday I saw Joanna with my movie group. I was recovering from a bout of diarrhea, so I didn't join her for drinks afterward. Perhaps I should have, for she looked different to me. Older, smaller and more vulnerable. She's usually so sophisticated, so stylish. It's as though the problems she's had this summer have diminished her somehow. She had to say good bye to both her cat and her dog this year -- such a cruel coincidence -- and I'm not sure her business is doing well. We're meeting up again soon. I'll have to go out of my way to spend some time with her afterward. (And avoid potato salad. I think that the potato salad, while delicious, could have been the culprit that messed with my digestion.)


Saturday, I saw Joan Crawford rock the hell out of a pair of glasses.

My movie group watched Humoresque, a 1945 film starring Crawford as a bored, horny socialite and John Garfield as the gifted violinist she "sponsors." The movie itself was pretty soapy, and since I truly can't stand classical music, the score left me cold. But I loved the lush black-and-white cinematography, and Crawford looked great in frames that she could have ordered from Warby Parker.

The joy I got from this little detail makes me hope I can get myself to The TCM Film Festival this coming spring. It's a wallow for classic film fans, and I think I would enjoy it extravagantly.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: I Love Lucy (1951)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Before today, did you know that the "I Love Lucy" theme had lyrics? Yes. I'm a fan of the episode the clip is lifted from. (Lucy is convinced Ricky, Ethel and Fred have forgotten her birthday, while in reality they have all been secretly collaborating on a big surprise party. As one who considers her own birthday a holiday, I relate to Lucy's desire to be fussed over.)

2) Since its premiere  1951, I Love Lucy has never been off the air. Are you a fan? Very much. To borrow a phrase, I love Lucy. Also, I'm fascinated by Lucille Ball. She was no comic, meaning you couldn't put her in front of a mic and expect her to tell jokes and make the audience laugh. She was, however, an amazingly gutsy actress. She threw herself into every part she played with total commitment. If you get a chance, check out her movies from the 1940s. Like The Big Street. She plays a trashy, hard-hearted showgirl who completely exploits the poor schmuck who loves her (Henry Fonda). She's beautiful and sexy and really rotten. It's hard to believe it's the same woman who played lovable, daffy Lucy.

3) On the show, Ricky Riccardo supports his family by performing in a nightclub. Do you know anyone in show business? Only peripherally. My coworker's ex-husband is an actor, which means he's available for temp office work. (That's just me being snarky. When they were still married I saw him onstage a couple times and he wasn't untalented.) A couple I know only slightly -- friends of friends -- lives rather well on what the husband makes as an actor and director on the Chicago theater scene. He is unarguably talented and well regarded.

4) Lucy and Ricky's best friends are Fred and Ethel, their landlord and his wife. Are you friendly with your neighbors? Nope. And I don't want to be. I want to be left alone in the evenings and i hate hearing that rap-rap-rap at my door.

5) One of the most popular episodes has Lucy and Ethel working on the conveyor belt at a chocolate factory. When did you last have chocolate? Today. I'm a huge fan of these mini ice cream cones from Trader Joe's.

6) Another famous episode has Lucy promoting Vitametavegimin. This tonic is made with vitamins, meat, vegetables -- and 23% alcohol. Do you read the ingredients statement before you take an over-the-counter medication? Or do you trust that it's safe because it's on the store shelf? I read labels. The older I get, the more likely it is that something I buy over-the-counter will interact with one of my prescriptions, so I'm more careful.

7) I Love Lucy was filmed before a live audience. Desi Arnaz (Ricky) always maintained he could identify the chuckle of his mother-in-law, who attended every taping. Do you know anyone who has a distinctive laugh? No one springs to mind.

8) The show ended when the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz marriage ended. Have you ever had to choose sides when a couple broke up? Not really. It's always turned out that I was decidedly in one camp or another before the breach.

9) Random question -- You must eat the same dinner, every day, between now and Labor Day. An identical menu, no deviation. What will you be having? I like what I had on the 4th of July: A grilled hot dog with no bun mixed with in with baked beans, Coke to drink, ice cream for dessert. It's cheap, offers the bonus of easy prep/easy clean up, it's high in fiber and I like each element of it well enough that I won't be suicidal by Labor Day.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Oh, Honey, I know!

At Sunday's ball game, my nephew and I sat next to a family of four. Mom, Dad and two girls -- aged, I would guess, about 7 and 9. The younger one was fidgety but happy. The older one, though, she was noteworthy in her Cubs jersey with the number 17 stitched into a pink heart.

Kris Bryant wears #17.

The girl's face was red and swollen. She looked ill, as though she was having an allergic reaction. My nephew was eavesdropping and got the full story: the girl just found out that Kris Bryant was still on the disabled list. Not only was he too injured to play, he wasn't even on the roster. He wouldn't start the game, he wouldn't come out of the dugout as a pinch hitter, he wasn't even in the park. There was no way she would see him at all. Just thinking of this caused a fresh torrent of tears.

The mother was beyond exasperated. She was very grumpy, even hostile, as she and the girls squeezed past us time and again, leaving their seats to go to the bathroom, to go to the refreshment stand (first for ice cream in a little Cubs helmet, then for a bowl of cubed watermelon), for souvenirs ... While Dad may have been a baseball fan, the women in his family couldn't care less about the game. Not now that HE wasn't here.

They left before the game was over, which was too bad for Dad because it was a really exciting game. But I get it. He probably didn't want to be stuck in post-game traffic with his three pissy family members.

As they were leaving the row for the last time, one of the girls called over her shoulder, "Daddy! Our signs!" And he patiently turned to retrieve two very wrinkled pieces of notebook paper, covered with hearts and baseball stickers, and of course, HIS name in marker. Thinking of them sitting up the night before, making these "signs" that KB would never see, just broke my heart.

I suppose I can sympathize with the mom's annoyance with her dramatic daughter. But, no, I think Mom should have understood. Have we ever loved anyone as purely as a little girl loves The Man of Her Dreams?

Trust me. I know.

Extra Innings!

My nephew and I spent a wonderful Sunday within The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. The weather was fine. Sunny and 85ΒΊ (and it's always "cooler near the Lake," as we Chicagoans know so well). The company was, as always, fabulous. My nephew is not only a knowledgeable Cub fan, he's a genuinely good guy and an interesting young man.

The Cubs have had trouble with Reds all season -- "I fucking hate the Reds," my nephew kept muttering -- but I'm happy to report that the right team prevailed. It wasn't a pretty game, but it was a thrilling one. It was lovely to stand there, singing "Go, Cubs, Go" after the 10th. And extra innings meant more time with my nephew, which was important to me as he prepares to go off to college in little more than a month.

I am that slowly boiled frog

You know the premise. Put a frog in a pot of boiling water and he will immediately jump out to safety, put him in a pot of cool water but slowly turn up the heat and he will lazily allow himself to be boiled to death. He just won't notice the incremental change.

That's so me, and that's how my home became such a mess. Little by little. I was just oblivious to my incrementally increasing sloppiness.

For example, my bathmat. It is, literally, no big deal. Retails for $9.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond. A piece of PVC rubber with suction cups.
Oh, yeah. And it was once clear. I didn't realize how hideously discolored mine had become until I spotted them on a display while I was buying a new shower curtain liner.

Mine was clean, mind you. I regularly tossed it in the washing machine. But it had gradually become a dingy yellow, and I never noticed.

The perfect metaphor for my entire home.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Sunday Stealing


1.Where were you 3 hours ago? Under the covers.

2.Have you ever eaten a crayon?
No. As a Kindergartener I did sample Play-Doh and found it salty, but I never consumed a crayon.

3.Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?
Yes. The padded envelope my Posh cosmetics arrived in. I plan to reuse it if I mail this book I'm reading to my aunt.

4.When is the last time you went to the mall?
Two weeks ago. I had lunch with Nancy at The Olive Garden and picked up a new ceiling fan at Sears. (Now I have to call Cute Handyman and get the sucker installed.)

5.Are you wearing socks right now?

6.When was the last time you drove out of town?
That would be never because I don't drive.

7.Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?

8.What was the last thing you had to drink?
Water. Cool, clear water.

9.What are you wearing right now?
An oversized Elvis t-shirt and underpants.

10.Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it?
No car

11.Last food that you ate?
I had a piece of cheese.

12.Where were you last week at this time?
I don't recall

13.Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?
Nope. I nearly bought a blouse from ThredUp because I have $9.80 credit. But just because I have a credit doesn't mean I have to spend it right now.

14.When is the last time you ran?
I ran across the busy street last week so I could catch the yellow light. I am old and fat and it was hot. I was not happy about finding myself in this predicament.

15.What's the last sporting event you watched?
I watched my Cubs come from behind to beat the Reds, 8-7. It was a shocking game. At one point, we were down by 5 runs. But, as our manager Joe Maddon says, "We like the fight."

And she's a retiree!

There's a woman whose blog I visit occasionally as part of Saturday 9. I know Bud wants his venerable meme to survive, if not thrive, and since I took the mantle of "Samantha Winters," I've tried to make sure everyone who plays is happy, or at least not UNhappy.

Anyway, this weekend, she posted something that really disturbed me. Not because of her political inclinations. I've long ago given up trying to understand how evangelicals can support a thrice-married, self-proclaimed "pussy grabber" who knowingly lied about President Obama's birth certificate. She and I will have to agree to disagree. (Though she is a proud "Cat Lady" and rescuer, so there has to be a heart in there somewhere!)

No, this was about Walter Cronkite. "Uncle Walter." She wrote that today's news media is "hard to digest when you know a lot of it is fake news.  There are no Walter Cronkites anymore. 😞."

This woman is certainly old enough to know about Vietnam. To know about Walter Cronkite's famous 1968 editorial denouncing long-standing U.S. policy. He said the President was lying to us, and told America that the war was simply not winnable.

Back in those days, we weren't conservatives or liberals. We were Hawks or Doves. And the Hawks sharpened their talons and took off after Walter Cronkite. They didn't use terms like "fake news" because they were more nuanced. They said his reporting was "slanted." But the message was the same -- if you don't just accept what the President says you are wrong, unpatriotic, prejudiced. You are using your media platform to sway Americans to your agenda.

Except, of course, that Walter Cronkite was telling the truth. Just as CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, "the failed NY Times" and the Washington Post are telling the truth about Donald Trump.

So, Madam, there are Walter Cronkites out there. Reporters and newscasters who risk their reputations and sometimes their lives to speak truth to power.  

In his 2017 documentary, filmmaker Ken Burns says some Americans just want to forget about Vietnam. It was so sad, so divisive, so violent. I guess this blogger is one of those people. After all, as a retiree, she was born in the 1950s. She must have been cognizant when Cronkite gave his editorial. She must have known boys who served -- boys who are now old men or who, sadly, were deprived of the opportunity to live to old age.

It's convenient to always believe your POTUS is telling you the truth. It's easier to dismiss dissident voices as "fake news." But it's perilous. We should know that by now.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Chains (1962)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) The song is about a woman who is in love with her boyfriend, but still attracted to someone else. Do you believe a woman can be in love with more than one person at a time? Yes. It's not wise, but it's possible and probably not unusual.

2) What about the male of the species? Do you believe a man can be in love with more than one person at a time? Yes.

3) This lyrics were by Gerry Goffin and the music by Carole King. Carole was a favorite guest of David Letterman's. When she appeared on his show, he often commented on how impressed he was by her firm handshake. She credited her memorable grip to time spent milking goats on her Idaho farm. Have you poured goat milk on your cereal? Eaten goat milk yogurt or cheese? Not that I can recall.

4) When it first came out, "Chains" was a favorite of 18-year-old George Harrison. It was at his recommendation that the Beatles added it to their early stage shows and even recorded it on their first album. When you were in high school, what was one of your favorite songs? I listened to this cut from Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player over and over (and over). I had a crush on my English teacher. He had the most divine head of black curls. I just Googled him -- he now only has a ring of white around a bald head.

5) In 1962, when this song was released, epic movies were popular on the big screen. The Longest Day was three hours long, and Lawrence of Arabia ran more than three hours and a half hours. Today's most popular movies are nowhere near that long. Do you think the average American has a shorter attention span today than he did in 1962? No. If our attention spans were short, we wouldn't be downloading and bingewatching entire seasons of shows. Instead, I think today's theater owners are more business savvy. Shorter movies mean more showtimes. More showtimes mean more tickets -- and Goobers and Twizzlers -- sold per day.

6) In 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy went on a two-week goodwill tour of India and Pakistan. She received a ceremonial "welcome necklace" in India. Made without jewels or precious metals -- just beads, sequins and paper -- it was valued by the First Lady for its delicate appearance and craftsmanship, and today it's on display at the John F. Kennedy Library. Tell us about a piece of jewelry that means a great deal to you, and why. I often wear a charm like this one as a pendant. It's a recreation of one of the coins found on the Atocha, a Spanish ship that went down just off Key West in the 1600s. The charm is made from scrap silver that went down with the ship. Amazing to think of, isn't it? Metal that rested for hundreds of years at the bottom of the sea

The pendant means a lot to me because it reminds me of my favorite uncle, who loved Key West and collected Atocha coins -- he acquired one worth thousands of dollars -- and of my dear friends, Reg and Henry, who live in Key West today.

Click here for more about the Atocha

7) In Pakistan, Mrs. Kennedy made headlines by riding a camel. Have you ever ridden a horse, donkey, camel or elephant? I've ridden horses and once, while at the San Diego Zoo, I rode an elephant. An elephant has very coarse hair.

8) Also in 1962, the New York Newspaper Guild went on strike, so the nation's largest city went 114 days without a single daily paper. In 2018, how do you get your news? I read the paper on the train in the morning and I have cable news on throughout the day.

9) Random question -- Complete this sentence: Before I go to sleep, I always turn off the bathroom light.


My boss: On vacation through 7/16.
My art director: Vacation day.
My producer: Vacation day.
My three account executives: Two enjoying "personal time off," one "available by phone."

Objectively speaking, there was no reason for me to go into the office. So I didn't. The only question was how to word my email to "the team" (which today consisted of one account executive and a project manager). Was I working from home or working at home? WFH or WAH?

I did do some work. I polished a deck I'm handling in my boss' absence and set up a meeting to review it on Monday. I came up with two different approaches to introducing my client's new, improved app (without using the words "new" or "improved") and emailed my manuscripts to the art director so she can start working on it Monday.

I was done by 12:30. I took myself to lunch at my favorite coffee shop, went to the post office and did my grocery shopping. It was delightful to run errands with the Cub game in my headphones. But I felt guilty. What if something had blown up at the office?

So I hied my way back before 3:00. No emails. No phone calls. I turned on my heel and went back out. After all, it was the first day in, like, forever that wasn't beastly hot and humid. It would be a shame to waste it.

If you don't want to be called "deplorable," stop acting deplorably

Last night, President Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Montana. He took the opportunity to make fun of President George H. W. Bush ... for encouraging volunteerism.

“"Thousands points of light.' What the hell was that, by the way?" Trump said to a crowd of supporters in Great Falls. Why is Trump making fun of a 94-year-old man who just lost his wife? Why is Trump bringing up a (successful) campaign slogan from the 1980s? Why is Trump mocking people who volunteer?


Last night, President Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Montana. He took the opportunity to make fun of the #MeToo movement. This is a man we heard on tape brag about grabbing women without their consent. This is man who has two daughters. Why is he making fun of #MeToo?


Hillary Clinton was wrong about a great many things. But she was right about this: many Trump supporters are, indeed, deplorable.

Many of these supporters -- who applaud sexual assault as a punchline, who laugh at volunteerism -- pretend they can tell me how to vote my Christian values.

One thing about my POTUS and his supporters: they are an inspiration. Because he is such a monstrous bully, I'm going volunteer more of my time to Democratic candidates in hope of defeating him and his toxicity. I know, I know ... he'd just mock me as a sucker, doing something for others without compensation. "Giving of yourself to others? What the hell is that, anyway?"

Two crumpled bills

The Ventra machines, where we reload our transit fare cards, can be very picky. If a bill is crumpled or torn, Ventra won't accept it. And so I have two $1's balled up in my jeans pocket, set aside for Caleb and Napoleon.

But I haven't seen them! I walked past their corner, both at lunchtime and after work, before and after the 4th cut the week in half but I saw no sight of them.

Maybe Caleb is working double shifts. He works overnights, driving a forklift at a grocery warehouse. He was enthusiastic about the possibility of covering for his vacationing coworkers. I hope that's where he is.

I hope he's not preoccupied by his wife's lingering health problems. I remember him thumping his chest through his shirt as he told me that Randi's heart is still weak ... compromised by her bout with a virus and not helped by her cancer surgeries. She tires easily and has been encouraged to use a wheelchair, which she hates. It's obvious when he talks about her that he loves her so. She's battling so much, and I'm not sure she's turned 30 yet.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Happy 4th of July

The Right Words at The Right Time

One of the most valuable things I ever learned at church is that God sends word to us in the way we're most open to hearing it. I've received valuable lessons from the most unlikely pop-culture messengers ... from Lenny Bruce to Paul Harvey to Rob Lowe.

Add the sitcom Mom to list.

It's a show I don't usually watch because the characters don't seem to like one another very much. And since I didn't watch from the beginning, I'm not sure about all the relationships. But it's on in syndication so it's aired a lot these days, and the other night I came upon it when I couldn't sleep.

The main character, Christy, is having a very bad day. At home, at work, in traffic, everywhere. At her AA meeting, she begins venting to Marjorie, who says to her: "If you run into jerks all day, you're the jerk."

Oh my God! That's so me!

I've been annoyed with everyone and everything for the last two or three weeks.

A lot of it is the weather. The heat is making everyone a little edgy, a bit more unpleasant. And I'm on a rather constant diet of NSAIDs for my kidney stone, and meds can wreak havoc on one's outlook.

But most of it is me. I'm not happy with my life right now -- my home is such a mess and I feel lazy and helpless about the state of the nation. And so I'm projecting that on everyone else.

I should have this tattooed on my fat ass. No, make it my thigh. So I can see it.

I'm getting used to it

At first I was embarrassed when I requested the AARP/Walgreens discount. The first Tuesday of each month is Seniors Day. 20% off non-sale items or AARP members who have a Walgreens Balance Rewards Card.

I've gotten over it.

This month I saved on Gerber baby food (Connie's favorite), Slim Fast milk chocolate shakes (my favorite), fiber gummies and bottled water.* The girl at the counter teased that I didn't look old enough for the 20% and I thanked her, but I mean, look what I was buying! That's hardly the shopping list of a 22 year old.

I saved over $6.00 on that one trip. If I'd planned better, I could have saved even more. Walgreens also sells light bulbs and batteries. But I hadn't thought of that until I was halfway home.

Do better next month, old girl!

*The Kraft Mac and Cheese for my local food pantry was already on sale.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Snuggle bug

My cat Connie has become so much more social lately. She's always been affectionate with me. The first time I held her, that day we met at the animal shelter, she tucked her head under my chin and burrowed into my neck. She has enjoyed her share of pets and kisses ever since.

But she's also a cat's cat. She has always spent a good portion of her day playing and napping with her adoptive brothers. When she first joined our household, Joey was already 20 and most of his playing days were long behind him. Connie went out of her way to curl up near him, snoozing away as a little gray fur shrimp next to his slumbering bulk. She and Reynaldo have torn up the place -- literally. Racing to and fro. Batting catnip toys up and down the hall.

These days, Connie is by my side more. Chatting with me, looking seriously into my eyes. The way Reynaldo used to, but he's sleeping so much more these days.

Maybe it's the heat. Even with the ac going almost around the clock, it's godawful hot in here. Perhaps it's just too exhausting for Reynaldo to exert himself in the heat.

But it could also be the passage of time. Rey is now 14 years old. That makes  him about 70 years old, in human years. He still has his bursts of energy, attitude and mischief, but there's no denying that he sleeps more than ever before. More than Connie feels like napping.

So I'm happy to bond with my girl. But I wish it didn't mean my boy is entering the last innings of his life.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Plenty of Nothing

The heat really takes it out of me. We've been under an extreme heat warning since Friday noon and I'm exhausted. Even indoors, even in my air conditioned home, I feel uncomfortably warm and depleted.

And outside? Fuhgeddaboutit!

All I did this weekend was:
1) Close on my (gulp!) home equity line of credit
2) Get my hair cut/colored
3) Pay bills
4) Do laundry
5) Grocery shop
6) Sleep (alot)
7) Watch baseball

I feel like I'm wasting time. Wasting summer. Wasting electricity.

And I've got nothing to show for it. I haven't even vacuumed because I couldn't bear to be without the AC, and I was afraid plugging one more appliance in would blow the circuits. So my home is hideous and I'm boring.

Sunday Stealing


1. Do you like parades? Not really. My antipathy comes from being dragged to the local ones when I was a kid. Now that attending is my choice, I don't mind them as much. But I can't recall when I ever went out of my way to attend.

2. Rate the following parade attractions in order of affection:
*. horses; 1
*. marching bands 4
*. floats; 2
*. anything that gives away candy: 3
*. politicians ride in cars? 6
*. antique cars/tractors; 7
*. fire trucks; 5

3. Have you ever been in a parade?
Yes. I marched with my Cadet (Girl Scouts) troop. I was very proud of my sash. I had lots of badges. Also, as I walked by, my mom ran up and grabbed my hand. I was embarrassed at the time, but it's a nice memory now.

4. Do you bring lawn chairs to parades? 
No. My father complained about people who do this. My father complained about everything related to the parade: we couldn't park near enough to the route, people took the best seats with their lawn chairs, the bands played too much pop and not enough patriotic music ... I felt like screaming, "If it's so bad, why did you make me come?" In fact, I'm sure at one point I did scream this. I was the only one in the family who wasn't somehow in the unspoken pact to just let my dad complain and cause unnecessary tension without addressing it.
5. Does it bother you to have to park a long way from the parade, and then walk back to the car afterwards?
I don't have a car, so no. But this was one of my dad's pet peeves. I don't know why, really. If you're going to the same spot at the same moment as many of your neighbors, why would you expect to get the perfect parking spot?

6. Do you wave at people you know?

7. At people you don't know?

8. Do you take pets -dogs particularly - to parades?

9 Have you ever been to a big parade in person (Rose Bowl, Macy's, etc)?

10. Do you attend more warm weather or cold weather parades? 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Saturday 9


1) This song lists seven cities -- New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge and St. Louis -- that Linda just loves. How many have you visited? Four

2) The lyrics refer to hamburgers sizzling on the grill. What toppings do you believe make a perfect burger? Cheddar cheese, lettuce, and a fried egg. Awesome!

3) The original recording of this song by Chuck Berry has always been one of Linda Ronstadt's favorites, one she used to enjoy singing along with in the car. What's the most recent song you sang? I sang "Kiss on My List" along with Hall and Oates and my shower radio. Funny, because it's a song I don't particularly like. It just burrowed its way into my consciousness.
4) Linda sang The National Anthem at Game 3 of the 1977 World Series. 
The New York Yankees won both that game and the series. How is your baseball team doing this season? My Cubs are currently in second-place in the National League's best division. 2 1/2 games behind Milwaukee and 3 games ahead of St. Louis. We had a tough June, with a 5-game losing streak. But we've won 3 of our last 5, and I'm hoping for a powerful, victorious July! (BTW, I'm celebrating Independence Day with a trip to Wrigley Field with my nephew on 7/6.)

Since this is our last Saturday 9 before Independence Day, let's ask some questions about the holiday. 
5) During the Revolutionary War, General Washington celebrated the 4th of July by giving his troops a double ration of rum. Will you imbibe any spirits on Independence Day? Probably not. We only have Wednesday the 4th off work, no long weekend for this gal. So I don't foresee any partying or celebrating.

6) The first man to sign the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock, said he wrote his name so large King George could see it, even without his glasses. Do you require glasses for reading? I need my "cheaters" for small print. 

7) Since July 4 is a federal holiday, banks are closed and there's no mail delivery. Thanks to email and ATMs, Sam finds going without those services isn't a hardship. What about you? Will you find it inconvenient that banks and the USPS are closed on July 4? Not at all.

8) The first 4th of July parade each year is held at 12:01 AM in Gatlinberg, TN. Will you attend a parade or fireworks to celebrate the 4th? Golly, I haven't been to my local parade in years! Maybe I'll make my way over to watch on Wednesday morning.

9) More and more Americans celebrate our nation's holiday by eating foods from Italy and Germany. For the July 4, 2016 holiday, more than $50 million was spent on Italian sausage and bratwurst. What's on your 4th of July menu? I don't have a July 4th menu this year. In recent years, I've celebrated the 4th together with my friend John's birthday as part of a long weekend. But John and I have already celebrated his birthday with a special trip to Springfield to see Mr. Lincoln, and with the 4th landing mid-week, I guess I'll just celebrate with whatever I bring home from Boston Market on the 3rd.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading?  
Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn. Our narrator is Chet, a dog who flunked out of police school. Chet lives and works with his human companion, Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator. The mystery at hand involves threats against a show dog named Princess.

I just cracked this one open, so I don't have much to say about it. It was gifted to me by someone I gave The Art of Racing in the Rain to. He figured if I enjoyed a dog narrator then, I'll enjoy one now, though I can see already this book doesn't have Racing's artistic aspirations.

And that's OK. Just as I enjoy a popcorn movie at the theater every now and again, I can have fun reading lighter fare.

2. What did you recently finish reading?  
Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit by Chris Matthews. This book was a difficult read. Not because of the writing -- Chris Matthews is far more graceful in his prose than his TV persona suggests. No, it was hard because of Bobby is such a challenging topic.

This is, after all, the kid JFK used to call "Black Robert." He could be a prig. He could be without nuance. He had an unfortunate penchant for seeing the world (in his wife Ethel's words) "as black and white hats." His puritanical outlook made it hard for him to fit in -- at college, in the service, in the workplace.

Then he fell into politics and he hit his stride. He was successful in running John Kennedy's campaigns, he was effective as an activist Attorney General. He believed he was making a difference. He was happy. But that happiness ended in the worst way possible after only 1000 days.
President Kennedy's death transformed his brother. He became more sensitive and almost achingly empathic. He yearned to close the gap between generations, between races, between classes. Bobby was driven to run for President himself because he believed he could do real and lasting good. Then the unthinkable becomes inevitable, and Bobby himself is murdered. At just 42. 

The parallels between 1968 and 2018 are inescapable. Reading this book is like walking around with a pebble in your shoe. Bobby annoys and reminds and cajoles you into doing what you can to help your country now, when your country really needs you.

3.  What will you read next?  
Maybe another biography? Or a mystery. My TBR pile is stacked dauntingly high with both.