Sunday, July 31, 2022



1) What one event from your lifetime would you change if you could, and why? I would have followed my head not my heart, or perhaps have been less stubborn, and walked away from a toxic relationship far sooner than I did.

Sorry, Babs, but this right here is bullshit

2) If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be and how old would your younger self be when they got it? Do you think your younger self would listen? I would have advised myself to be less self-critical, especially about my looks and body image. I don't know if I would have listened.

3) Would you be any good on Survivor? I've never seen Survivor, so I may be wrong about this, but it looks like there's a lot of running around in the woods and eating food cooked over a campfire, so I would suck at it.

4) What's a safety rule that's very important to you? I always stand behind the yellow line when I wait for the train, and get nervous when I see commuters who don't.

5) What would you like to say to people in the future? "I never supported Donald Trump." Though I would wager that, come 2027, many people who did vote for him will say the same. I lived through this with Nixon. He got 60% of the popular vote in 72 (Trump got 46% in 2016) and within a decade, you had a hard time finding anyone who would admit being a Nixon supporter.

6) What's your favorite dish to bring to a summer cookout? Last time I was called upon to do this, I brought a fruit bowl.

7) How much time have you spent outdoors this week? Precious little.

8) Where do you set your thermostat? On the wall. (Sorry. I was possessed by the spirit of Bud there for a moment.)

9) How did you learn to swim? When I was in grammar school, I took a week of lessons every summer at the local high school.

10) How do you avoid overheating? I stay indoors.

11). What are you going to do this weekend? This weekend is just about over. I haven't done a lot. I've been tired and kinda moody. Some of my friends are facing health challenges, and I don't like embracing our mortality.

12) What’s your favorite way to spend time? Baseball, movies, books. Cuddling my cats.

13) What’s the most useless thing you own that you would never get rid of? Oh, I have tons of shit around here and I have no idea why I retain it.

14) Have you started planning your next vacation? Yes. Hotel and flights are booked for Key West Christmas, 2022.

15) Are you very active, or do you prefer to just relax in your free time or is it one and the same to you? I am a slug.


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Stolen from Kwizgiver

You'll find her answers here.

First, go to this nifty online random-letter generator. Set the “number of random letter sequences to generate” to 1. Set the “length of each random letter sequence” to 1. Leave the “letters to choose from” how it is and click the button. You’ll get a rather non-dramatic one letter. Use this letter to begin all your answers to the 5 questions below. If you’d like to avoid difficult letters, feel free to change the “letters to choose from” list. 
Alternately, if you find this boring, you could set the “length of each random letter sequence” to 5, thereby giving you five letters, a different one for each question.
ABKLT was my sequence.
  1. What geographical feature should be renamed in your honor? Arie Crown Forest Preserve. We went there with Girl Scouts.
  2. Who should play you in a movie about your life? Bette Midler. We can both be bawdy.
  3. What are you chasing? Karma. You know, the good old Golden Rule.
  4. What’s getting in your way? Limerence. I'm thinking of the hero for a piece of fiction I'm plotting, and I think I'm falling in love with him. Since he doesn't exist, it's a problem.
  5. What are you especially grateful for this week? Time alone

Happy Yankee

In the dugout last night

Last night marked the first anniversary of Anthony Rizzo's appearance in a Yankee uniform. He marked the occasion with a home run.

His trade last year broke my heart. He was my favorite Cub. He made the final out in the 2016 World Series, ending our 108-year drought. He has four Gold Gloves for his fielding. Three All-Star game appearances. No one plays with greater heart or joy.

He is also an inspiring philanthropist. I've written many times about his work with pediatric cancer patients. But there's this, too. During the pandemic, he made sure that 4,500 health care workers got lunch. He bought the lunches through independent Chicago restaurants struggling through the Covid lockdown. It's no accident baseball bestowed the Robert Clemente Award on him.

So naturally the heartless Ricketts family (owners of the Cubs) chose not to pay the man and instead traded him. 

I won't lie. I cried real tears when he was traded. 

But he's doing well in New York. It's still only July, and he's already racked up 24 home runs and 59 RBIs. (For contrast, in the entirety of 2021 he hit 22 homers and 61 RBIs.)

Bud was right. Mr. Wiser is a wise man. At the time Bud told me the Bronx is the place for Rizz at this point in his career. (He is 32.) If there's any justice in the world, the shit way the Cubs treated Anthony Rizzo will bring him his second World Series ring.

Saturday 9

 I Would Be in Love (Anyway) 1970

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

1) Frank Sinatra sings, "If I knew then what I know now." If you were giving advice to a recent high school grad, based on that phrase, what would you say? Take a moment to enjoy your youth. I'm thinking of my post below about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. As a teen, she was she was very critical of her own appearance, even though she was very pretty. I look at pictures of myself when I was at my best and recall only concentrating on my flaws. Nora Ephron said it best (of course, Nora Ephron said most things best).

2) This song is about a man looking back on his marriage, which has ended. While he is sad, he is not sorry he loved her. Do you believe that it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Not always. Looking back, I truly believe my life today would be happier if I had spent my 20s alone instead of with the man I wasted them on. 

3) Sinatra married four times. He met his first wife, Nancy, when he was 19. He saw a pretty girl sitting on her front porch, giving herself a pedicure, and he rushed home for his ukulele so he could serenade her. Have you ever sung to anyone? Has anyone ever sung to you? I sing to my cat Connie all the time. Usually to "Swanee." (Connie! How I loves 'ya, how I loves 'ya, my dear old Connie ...) It must be said that I am a terrible singer and that Connie is a good sport about it.
4) According to Barbara, his final wife, they met when they were neighbors in Rancho Mirage, California. Sinatra had his own tennis court, needed a fourth for doubles with his houseguests, and invited the lady next door to play. Tell us about your neighbors. Mark is on my left. He's tall, perhaps 6'3, with white hair and glasses. We're on the condo board, and I appreciate his conciliatory style. Zoraida is across the hall. She is a bank teller who always -- always! -- wears her false eyelashes. Her fiance is there most of the time and he is as shy as she is outgoing. I've met my neighbor to the right a handful of times and, while he is very pleasant, he makes little impression on me.
5) When not performing before an audience or cameras, Sinatra often wore hats and caps because his hair was thin and his toupee annoyed him. Is there anything you wear for "dress up" that you're happy to ditch when you go casual? I prefer going without makeup.

6) Frank had a sweet tooth and to the end of his life, he enjoyed chocolate-covered apricots, ordered from Lepore's in his hometown of Hoboken, NJ. If you could have any sweet treat right now, what would you request?  It changes. Right now, I'd like a dish of Neapolitan ice cream.

7) This song was written specifically for Sinatra by Bob Gaudio, best known as a member of The Four Seasons. That 1960s quartet is now legendary. In addition to 25 Top Ten Hits, they are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and inspired the Broadway play and movie musical, Jersey Boys. Do you have a favorite Four Seasons song? Sing along! You know you want to.


8) In 1970, the year this record was released, The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered. Were you a fan?  I think I've seen every episode.
9) Random question: Have you ever named your car or truck? Nope.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

HBD to My Queen

93 years ago today, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was born in Southampton, NY. Here's a photo of her from her awkward teen years. I'm not kidding. At this stage in her life, she complained to friends about her wide-set eyes and unruly mane. She lamented to her stepbrother that her lips were too full and no man would want to kiss her. Obviously that wasn't true.

This photo got me thinking:

 •  Is any woman ever happy with her looks? I recently came across a photo of myself at about 30 and looking back, I see I was adorable. But at the time I thought my face was too round. I used to joke that I was just two sets of fat cheeks. I now wish I hadn't been so critical, and that I enjoyed my looks.

•  What's up with the plush dog?

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #268

America's top 13 fast food chains. Because I am a hopeless cook, I'm big on carry out. I try to patronize local, independent eateries, but the names of those places would mean nothing to anyone outside my neighborhood. So I'm sharing this list instead. 

The ranking is based on sales. I'm surprised to see how far Burger King has fallen. I remember when it was a real contender for market supremacy.

1. McDonald's. Burgers.

2. Starbucks. Snacks/coffee.

3. Subway. Sandwiches

4. Taco Bell. Mexican-inspired.

5. Chick-Fil-A. Chicken.

6. Wendy's. Burgers.

7. Burger King. Burgers.

8. Dunkin'. Snacks/coffee.

9. Domino's. Pizza.

10. Panera. Sandwiches.

11. Pizza Hut. Pizza.

12. Chipotle. Mexican-inspired.

13. Sonic. Burgers.

Please join us for THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


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

1. What are you currently reading? Every 15 Minutes by Lisa Scottoline. Dr. Eric Parrish isn't happy. His wife is divorcing him and selling the house. He only gets to see his beloved 7-year-old daughter a couple times a week. It's a good thing, then, that his career is going well. He runs a highly-rated hospital psych unit. His papers have been published by respected journals. His private practice is profitable. 

Since this is Lisa Scottoline, someone's got to get dead. The murder victim is a popular high school student. The person of interest is Eric's newest patient, a teenager with OCD who must complete a simple ritual every 15 minutes. What's Eric's loyalty to his patient? What's his responsibility to the dead girl? And who is the unidentified sociopath who provides narration at the beginning of each chapter? Is someone manipulating the situation to destroy Eric?

This one is keeping me tense and has me guessing. I think I know who our deranged narrator is, but I'm not sure. And I've come to like Eric, which ups the stakes ... and my involvement.

2. What did you just finish reading? Judy and I by Sid Luft. This is the story of Judy Garland's third -- and longest -- marriage to entrepreneur and producer, Sid Luft. It's a harrowing tale because Judy was ill, an addict, at a time when little was known about addiction. Looking back on his life with her, Sid admits he enabled her, trying to monitor her pill intake, naively believing he could stop it from escalating. Of course he couldn't. They divorced in 1965. By 1969, she'd had two more husbands and was dead of an overdose.

The Judy that comes through on these pages was funny, driven, and very aware of the power her prodigious talent gave her. This was a revelation because Garland is so often portrayed as a victim. She was a victim of addiction, that's true, but she was also tough, willful, and very smart. I was happy to see that side of her. Remember, Dorothy was strong enough to get over the rainbow to Oz and back again. Good to know that Judy herself was a formidable character, too.

3. What will you read next? I don't have anything selected yet.


Sunday, July 24, 2022

Donald Trump and my family

Yes, another post about Trump. I am sick of him and wish he would just disappear from the national landscape. But, like any good narcissist, he just won't go.

Of course I'm disgusted by the way he behaved between November 3 and January 6. While many of us -- including ME! -- were battling covid, he was busy trying to overthrow the very government he took an oath to lead. Appalling.

But that's not what this post is about. It's about my family, and the deleterious impact he has had on us.

My nephew. He is smart. He is passionate. He is just the kind of young person you want getting involved in the system. He just graduated with a degree in political science from Western Illinois University, and he's not going to use it. Even though he graduated in an election year.

Guess why.

He's watched life-long Republicans, Trump supporters and Trump employees, testify about the January 6 riot. Yet half the country isn't watching or doesn't care. Half the country has somehow convinced themselves that all these people, testifying under oath, are lying. Or that having your President encourage a riot isn't such a bad thing.

My nephew is so disheartened that he has given up. He once dreamed of working for a congressman and helping shape policy. But because of the misplaced and blind loyalty of the MAGAverse, he sees no point.

He did say he's interested in becoming a volunteer at the polls on election day. The way Trump publicly bullied Shaye Moss and her mother has motivated him. So I suppose that there's always a silver lining to every Trumpy cloud.

My cousin. Last week he found a black-and-white Polaroid of himself at age 3 on our grandfather's lap. A new grandfather himself, it meant a great deal to him. Our grandfather was a great man -- patriotic in that special way immigrants often are, compassionate, curious and loving -- and his grandchildren miss him. In the photo, my cousin looks eerily like Grandpa. Same receding hairline, even same eyeglass frames! 

My aunt -- my cousin's mom and Grandpa's only surviving child -- hasn't seen this picture. Not because she wouldn't love it. Because they aren't talking. Because, in her full-throated support of Trump, she revealed herself, in her son's words, as "a homophobic racist." She is very vocal, and it is very disheartening for my cousin to hear the woman who insisted he go to Sunday School every week behave in such an un-Christian way. 

My aunt has never held her first great-grandchild. Her once favorite granddaughter -- who is also appalled by the hate her grandmother spewed toward gays and BLM -- graduated cum laude this past spring and her grandmother doesn't even know.

This is tragic. 

I am a decade older than my cousin. I remember my aunt when she was still in her teens, and kept JFK's picture on her nightstand. I believe that inclusive, sensitive girl who once believed you should ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country is still in there somewhere. Of course, I don't have to square the circle of hypocrisy that my cousin does. 

I hope her red MAGA cap is worth it.

Even more, I hope she can STFU long enough -- stubbornness is a family trait we all share -- to reach out and heal this breach. I hope that if she does, my cousin has the wisdom to accept this olive branch. My aunt is over 75. I don't know how much time she and my cousin believe they have to fix this.

And I wish Donald Trump would just stop trying to defend his indefensible behavior, quit throwing gas on the fire, quit insisting his election lie is the truth ... just quit. 

Leave us alone, please!

Sunday Stealing


1. What's something you've recently accomplished solo. Self care. I'm trying to baby myself this weekend. I had a busy workweek last week and am looking at a tough one this week. If I don't accomplish much this weekend, that's OK.

2.  What's one product you use that never ever fails? 

These paper towels may well be the love of my life

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it? I think I've found myself, unexpectedly, in the world of classic film. I didn't expect to. I found my movie group Meet Up completely by accident. I was looking up Meet Ups for my dear old friend in Los Angeles, and every time I completed a search in her zip code, the site reverted to mine. From that accident I met Will, our moderator, and two friends I now see away from the group: Joanna (I owe her an email) and Elaine (I owe her an email, too). 

Will convinced me to go to Hollywood for the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2019 and I was delighted to find myself in my element. I met people I kept up with through Facebook and when we all got together again this past Spring, it was almost as good to meet them again as it was to see the movies on the big screen. One woman, Trudy, pulled me aside and told me she was so sorry to read my Facebook posts about the death of my cat, Reynaldo. How kind was that!


Can you spot me in there?

And, of course, there's the movies. In this community, I can indulge my passion for Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. (Really, when they were on their games they were so extravagantly good we didn't deserve them.) I learned that Elizabeth Taylor was so much more than a much-married bejeweled celebrity, and Rock Hudson was more than an AIDS victim. And that, with all due respect to Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn is the GOAT.

4.  Worst movie you ever saw? Frankie and Johnny, starring Elvis. Now I grade Elvis movies on a curve, but even allowing for that, it's dreadful. Not enjoyably bad, like Valley of the Dolls. Just unwatchable. Boring.

5. What's the last fun thing you did? Yesterday I gossiped with my friend John. He hangs around at a local bar, playing Norm to a nice 72-year-old man we'll call Cliff. It seems Cliff had fallen hard for the 27-year-old bartender. She works a couple days of week to augment her earnings as a newly-licensed realtor. Seems most people want to look at homes in the evening, anyway. So sometimes at the end of her shift, she and Cliff would go to dinner. She viewed these quick meals as a bite with a friend. Cliff believed he was making inroads to her heart. John tried to warn Cliff. Anyway, last week Cliff watched as a very nice looking, far younger man hit on her, and she responded positively. At the end of her shift, not wanting her afternoon with this man to end, she invited him to enjoy her and Cliff for dinner. Cliff was furious and heartbroken. John told this story very well, with great compassion for all three involved, and everything from his insights to his word choices reminded me why he's such an entertaining friend.

6. What's your favorite Italian dish? Manicotti. Prepared properly, it's divine.

7. Have you ever been to France? Any desire to visit there, and if so what would site or city would you most want to see? I went to France when I was still a teenager. I loved Monmarte. I saw Moulin Rouge, but was too young to go in. Seeing the Mona Lisa and the Arc de Triomphe was a thrill, too. Funny, but I really have no desire to be a world traveler. If I'm going to take a long flight again, I'd rather see Anchorage or return to Honolulu. I want to see the USA first.

8. Have you ever been to Disney, any of the parks at all? Are you a Disney superfan or something less than that? They're open right now so tell us, would you go if you had the time/money/a free trip? I've been to Disneyland and DisneyWorld. I had a wonderful time. I enjoy rides, so I'm a natural. I'd love to go back -- for free. Maybe I'd take my nephew.

9. Your favorite place to go when you want to be quiet as a church mouse? Would those who know you well describe you as more church mouse or perhaps more like mighty mouse? I like my own company and I'm happy to be home alone. When I go out, I'm very verbal (OK, blabby) but then I go home, power down and recharge.

10. Do you bake your own bread? Last time you had hot out-of-the-oven homemade bread? What's your favorite kind of bread? I have never baked bread. I will never break bread.

11. What's something you might say is 'the greatest thing since sliced bread'? BASEBALL! I really missed it during the All-Star Break.

12.  Share with us five little things you're grateful for today. Small blessings. One catch-they all must start with the letter T.

Tranquility: I have a quiet day planned

Talent: I'm going to finish watching the HBO Max documentary about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

Thrift: I'm under-budget for the weekend. Yay, me! 

Thrills: Lots of baseball today -- Cubs/Phillies and Yankees/Orioles

Tide: It works so well and it's laundry day

13. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20-21. I was always broke. I loved my little 3-room apartment in a courtyard building. But on summer day like this, I was afraid to turn on the a/c because of what it would do to my electric bill. My paychecks just never went far enough.

I lived behind the tree, center right

14. What's on the menu at your house this week? Don't know. Two nights this week I'll be in the city, so I might grab something on the go.

15.Something you recently purchased where a coupon was involved? Do you regularly shop with coupons? Coupons are the only reason I return to CVS as often as I do. There's one in my wallet right now.



Friday, July 22, 2022

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Diamonds (2012)

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

1) In this song, Rihanna sings that when she looks at her lover, she sees the light in his eyes. The internet is filled with makeup tips for making your eyes look brighter. Drugstores sell eye drops that promise to get the red out. Are you bright-eyed this morning? Yes.

2) She likens him to a shooting star. Astronomers tell us that shooting stars aren't that rare at all. They occur when dust, asteroids or comets enter the earth's atmosphere, and are often visible on clear, pollution-free nights. Have you ever seen a shooting star? I don't think so.
3) In ancient Rome, shooting stars were considered good luck, especially for those going into battle, while some tribes in East Africa believed shooting stars were a harbinger of doom. Are you superstitious? 

• I always touch my button or zipper when I pass a cemetery. When I was in grade school, my Girl Scout leader told us all to do that for luck and to keep the rain away when we were on the bus to day camp and it's stayed with me, lo these many years.
• I like to finger a good luck charm when my flight takes off and lands. The thing of it is, I've lost both of them! Will I have to fly next time without a charm? I hope not!

4) The singer of "Diamonds" hosted a lavish Diamond Ball to raise funds for education programs in Malawi, Senegal, and the country of her birth, Barbados. Rhianna named her charity initiative the Clara Lionel Foundation after her grandparents. If you were to name your foundation after your grandparents, what would it be called? What would you ideally like to do in their honor? I guess mine would be the Ruth and Al Foundation. I would do something similar to Lady Bird Johnson's Highway Beautification. My grandparents loved both road trips and their yard. They were both also very patriotic and I think they'd be proud to "Keep America Beautiful."
5) Rhianna recently had her first baby, a boy. According to the Social Security Administration, the top names for baby boys in 2021 were Liam and Noah. Is there a Liam or Noah in your life? My friend Soraya has a boy named Liam. She just posted photos of his first piano recital! He performed Debussy, but she reports to me that he prefers to play Lennon/McCartney. (Good lad!)
6) When she was still in her teens, Rhianna entered a beauty pageant on a dare, and won! Can you recall a time you acted on a dare? When I was in high school, I jumped into a friend's pool as part of a slumber party game of Truth or Dare. It was pre-dawn and late September. Her family hadn't drained the pool yet but had stopped all maintenance. It was very cold and really filthy. I still remember seeing leaves and plants before my eyes as I rose to the surface. By the time I got home, my pajamas were dry and I just threw them in my family clothes hamper. When my mom did laundry a couple days later, she was furious with me because my pajamas were streaked in green and she couldn't get the stains out. "What did you do?" I got an earful about how dangerous it was to swim in dirty water in the dark, how wasteful I was to ruin my perfectly good pajamas, how dumb I was to take a dare ...

7) While on tour, she likes to sneak out into the audience, just to get the vibe from out there. To disguise herself, Rhianna slips on a black oversized hoodie. Are hoodies a staple of your wardrobe? Nope. Don't even own one.
8) In 2012, the year this song topped the charts, London hosted the Olympic Games. If you won a trip to London, what would you like to see? Highclere Castle! I want to have tea with Lady Mary.

 9) Random question: Did either or both your parents go to college? Nope.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Thursday Thirteen #267

Thirteen classic drink orders. According to Town and Country, these are the 13 top cocktails. They all sound so much more grown up than beer.

1. Old Fashioned

2. Margarita (a favorite of mine)

3. Cosmopolitan (made popular by Carrie and the gang on SATC)

4. Negroni (Jackie O's standard drink order while on The Christina)

5. Moscow Mule (I love these, too; as much for the copper mug as for the spicy taste)

7. Martini

8. Mojito (rumored to be a favorite of Ernest Hemingway's)

9. Whiskey sour (my dad ordered these)

10. French 75 (never heard of this one before; gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar)

11. Manhattan

12. Wine spritzer

13. Vodka gimlet

Bottoms up!

Please join us for THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.



Tuesday, July 19, 2022


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

1. What are you currently reading? Judy and I by Sid Luft.  This year is the centennial of Judy Garland's birth. As a classic film fan, I felt attention must be paid, so I reached for this memoir, written by her ex-husband.

Judy and Sid were together for 14 years. Considering she died at 47, that's a significant chunk of her life. As lover, husband, and manager, he was with her for the second, post-MGM phase of her career and produced A Star Is Born (which served as the template for Lady Gaga's 2018 version). 

So far, the Judy that comes to life is powerful and determined. This intrigues me. The Garland Legend depends on her being a vulnerable victim. Yes, as a child star, she was exploited by MGM and her mother. Yes, she was addicted to pills. But she understood her talent and her power and was more willful than I realized. A fascinating book by someone who knew her well. (I just wish there was less about Sid's early years. I don't find him as captivating as Judy did.)

2. What did you just finish reading?  Dead Center by David Rosenfelt. On the one hand, Andy Carpenter of Patterson, NJ, seems to have it all. He's a wealthy lawyer who only takes cases that interest him. Dogs are his passion and he is committed to his animal rescue foundation. He has a circle of friends he watches games with at the local sports bar. His life is moving along smoothly, except he's lonely. 

He hears about a double homicide in Findlay, WI. The source of this information is Chief Laurie Collins, the woman who left him to take this opportunity in law enforcement in her hometown. She's made an arrest in the case, but there's something that doesn't feel right to her, and she trusts Andy. A possibly innocent man on trial? A chance to sleep with Laurie again? Andy is so there! He packs the car, and he and his Golden Retriever Tara take off for Wisconsin.

This is #5 in the series and I felt it was missing some of the freshness and originality of the previous efforts. Maybe it's because less action takes place in the courtroom, where Andy's verbal skills and sense of right and wrong can shine. With Andy acting as an investigator, this book has a same-old PI flavor. Kind of deja-Spenser. Robert Parker's Spenser has an intimidating African American enforcer in Hawk. Andy has Marcus. Spenser has a can't-live-with-her/can't-live-without-her lover in Susan, Andy has Laurie. Pearl the Wonder Dog has opened Spenser's heart, Andy can't go anywhere without Tara.

I'll be back, though. Andy makes me smile. I'm hopeful that the next book in the series will return to the legal maneuvers that got me hooked in the first place.

3. What will you read next? A mystery or thriller.


Sunday, July 17, 2022

Accentuating the positive

To paraphrase my favorite joke, when you see a lot of horseshit, you should search for the pony. As he has been for nearly a decade, Anthony Rizzo is my favorite-most pony.

This week, he raised more than $800,000 with his Swing for the Fences auction.
The funds will help families dealing with pediatric cancer.

The money goes to gas cards, so parents can afford the drive to the best -- and often faraway -- facility for their child's chemo.

And parking! I didn't realize this until Rizz educated me, but many hospitals charge patients for parking. A week of chemo can cost a family $70 or more, and that's not reimbursed by insurance. Neither is eating at the hospital cafeteria (another $50/week, per person.) When you consider that many parents are on unpaid leave from their jobs, these costs add up fast and can be crippling.

Which is why he's made rent/mortgage assistance available.

He's renovated the family waiting rooms at Lurie Children's Hospital here in Chicago and Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, FL. 

In Chicago this year, pediatric cancer patients spent the day with their siblings at Santa's Village. In New York, the kids got gift cards for their own mini-spree at FAO Schwartz' flagship store.

Through his Home Run Challenge, every dinger is worth $4,425 ... and he's hit 22 already this year! That's another $97,350!

Oh yeah, and there's his baseball. You know, his real job. I hated to lose him, but he's flourishing with the first-place Yankees. It's not even the All-Star Break yet and he's got 57 RBIs! His slugging percentage is .502. It's been years since his SLG has been this high.

Lord, please let Anthony Rizzo have another World Series ring.


Then there's this

Sometimes it's hard to be happy about the way things are going in this country. According to 538, a staggering 40% of Americans still view insurrectionist-in-chief Donald Trump "favorably." (No, really.) Peacefully take a knee, like Colin Kaepernick, and you deserve to lose your livelihood. Plan an attack on The Capitol from the Oval Office, and we'll re-elect you!  

Three Supreme Court nominees took an oath as they began their confirmation hearings and then lied about Roe. Voters who cosset themselves in my Christian faith are good with this, too. I guess I missed the week in Sunday School when they taught us how the ends justify the means. 

It's become fashionable to blame the police in Uvalde and the parents of the Highland Park shooter for the latest mass shootings. While it's true that the police and the parents failed, it completely misses the fact that both shooters bought high-powered AR rifles legally. The most immediate problem at hand is not police procedure or filial fuck-up, it's allowing civilians to have combat rifles.

The economy has always risen and fallen. It's cyclical and has less to do with the President or Governor than many of us believe. That's why dollar cost averaging works when we invest. But this moral decay? It's obvious to me on whose shoulders this rests. And it's such a ridiculous cyclical argument! "I love the Constitution but I'll look the other way if it's my guy shredding it. I want to protect the unborn but I'm OK with school children being shot. BUT GAS PRICES! NOW I'M MAD!" How corrupt is that?

Which is why I cling to this.

The Diana Award was founded by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other British politicians to honor the late Princess of Wales, and it's based on her belief that young people have the power to change their communities and our world. It's the most prestigious award someone aged 9-25 can receive. Princes William and Harry participate in the annual celebration.

20-year-old Shreya Patel is the Massachusetts-based founder of Letters Against Isolation. For two years now, she and her kid sister Saffron have been facilitating correspondence with people in nursing homes, seniors that feel forgotten. Today it's a massive organization, with a sophisticated signup process that makes it easy for you (yes, you!) to find a senior in your state who needs to hear from you. Too broke for postage? These brilliant girls have established a stamp fund. 

The link I get from Letters Against Isolation is a highlight of my Sunday. I know that by signing up to write, I am improving two lives: the person who receives my letter and, of course, my own. Supporting Shreya and Saffron, reaching out and alleviating loneliness ... these things brings me closer to God and give me hope at a time when I need it.

Here's that link again for Letters Against Isolation. (Hint, hint.) I first found out about LAI from Bev at Funny the World. Thank you, Bev!

Click here.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Mystery of the Midnight Crash in the Kitchen


When I went to check it out, I found two catnip toys and a canister of spilled treats. Not included in the photo, but nearby, was Roy Hobbs. He was sprawled out and blissed out, and he regretted nothing.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Brandy (1972)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) This song opens in a bar where lonely sailors reminisce about their homes. How long have you lived at your current residence? Does it feel like home? I've been in this condo for more than 20 years, so yes, it feels like home. It needs a lot of work -- windows that need repair, carpet that needs cleaning, caulk around the tub must be replaced, etc. -- so sometimes I fantasize about just leaving and starting over. But I think all homeowners feel that way sometimes.

2) Brandy is a waitress at the bar. Have you ever worked at a job where you received tips? Nope.
3) Brandy wears a locket on a braided chain. Are you wearing any jewelry as you answer these 9 questions? Tiny faux pearl earrings

4) According to the lyrics, the sailors seem to prefer whisky or wine. What's your go-to adult beverage? It changes. Lately I've been ordering margaritas. Tuesday night, Madison Tap had a $3 special. I had strawberry, my friend Elaine had mango.

5) This song was such a big hit that, after its release, Brandy became a popular name for newborn girls. Do you know anyone named Brandy? Nope. Though my favorite uncle named his golden retriever Brandy.

6) Barry Manilow scored a hit in 1974 with "Mandy." That song was initially called "Brandy," but it was changed to avoid confusion with this record. Do you have a favorite Barry Manilow song? It's complicated. I hate Barry Manilow so much that usually he sets my teeth on edge. But dammit, this song breaks my heart because I feel like I lived it. Even the part about climbing the stairs.
7) In 1972, when this song was popular, residents of South Dakota endured a catastrophic flood when Rapid Creek overflowed. Give us a little geography lesson: what body of water is nearest you? Salt Creek. You've never heard of it. It's a narrow creek that runs through Cook County to the Illinois River. Not very deep at all. But it's because of Salt Creek that our forest preserves and bike trails are so lush and green.

8) Also in 1972, the first women were permitted to run in the Boston marathon. Have you ever visited Boston? Yes. I love Boston! So historic, so walkable. I'd love to go back.

9) Random summertime question: Would you prefer to swim in a pool, a lake/river, or the ocean? Pool. I'm not crazy about beaches and sand.


Time to Get in Touch with Your Joy

Every year I take the August Happiness Challenge. Here's a brief explanation of the Challenge: "Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world."

You're invited to join me. Visit me with a link to your daily August happy, and I'll come read it. I've found that experiencing other peoples' everyday pleasures is a great mood lifter.

It helps if your August Happiness Challenge posts are marked with an icon. Just something that means "happy" to you. Here's a pair of my past happys.