Friday, December 23, 2011

A HOLIDAY GREETING

HAPPY HOLIDAYS
FROM THE
LADIES OF GRANDMOTHERS, INCORPORATED

L. Barnett Evans & C.V. Rhodes
a.k.a. Bea Bell, Hattie Collier, Connie Palmer and Miss Fanny

We'll see you next year with more blogging fun when we resume
on
January 6, 2012!

Friday, December 16, 2011

WORDS OF WISDOM

This week it’s me, Hattie Collier, writing my thoughts about a couple of things I’ve learned over the years.  I’d be the first to admit that although I think of myself as intelligent, I’m not a scholar.  I do read the newspaper and listen to the news every day so as far I’m concerned, that and the fact that I have sixty something years of life experience under my belt, has given me a degree of knowledge that I have come to appreciate.   At times I’m surprised at what I’ve learned about life.  So, I decided to put a few of those things in categories and write down my thoughts about some of the wisdom I’ve acquired.
AMERICA
As someone who has lived through some of the worse times when it comes to race in this country, it can be said that things have gotten a lot better than in the past.  However, despite the 2008 election which resulted in an African American president, America is not “post racial.”  The word post racial only means that as usual people don’t want to talk about the country’s racial problem.  So when the continued silence blows up in our faces in the form of racial strife, we shouldn’t be surprised.
THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS
My first thought was that I’ve never seen such a bunch of idiots in my life.  Then after I thought about it more, I could see that they might not be as clueless as I thought.  After all, if you’re an upper middle class or wealthy American (because poor people don’t run for office on a national level) who can raise a lot of money for a campaign (and I do mean a lot!) and win, you can enter the U.S. Congress under the noble disguise of wanting to “serve the people” and end your Congressional wealthier than when you entered!  What a deal, and at our expense.
THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES
In America, if you’re at the bottom of your college class or a C student in an Ivy League college, you can be considered a serious contender for President or become President of the United States, as long as your family is wealthy or well connected.  Obviously, intelligence does not matter.  However, if you’re  from the working class and you’ve gone to school on scholarships, grants and loans and  graduate at the top of your college class, and worked most of your life to pay back student loans you’re called an “elitist” if you run for President of the United States.  It all seems kind of backward to me.
EDUCATION VS SPORTS
If it ever came to a battle between the two, it has become obvious to me that sports would be the winner.  Over the years I’ve noticed that football and basketball programs have become more important in most colleges and universities in the United States than academic programs.   I bet that most institutions of higher learning would willingly give up one of their educational departments rather than disband its football or basketball programs.  Any male dominated sport in this country that brings in a buck or two is much more important than educating the future generation of this country.  I know where I live the city will build a brand new sports stadium before they fund the public school system adequately—as a matter of fact it has built not one, but two stadiums, both proof  of  what is more important in our city.
There are a lot more things that I’ve learned over the years, but I’ll share those with you later.  Right now I’d better sign off because the more I think about all of the things I’ve mentioned, the madder I’m getting. I’ll leave you to do the musing.


Friday, December 9, 2011

KEEP YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION – 5 GUARANTEED DIET PLANS

           
This is Connie Palmer here to remind you that Santa Claus is coming to town.  As soon as he leaves you’ll be faced with another year of reflection.  That’s right, another year of New Year’s Resolutions, the annual ritual of making a list of promises you either won’t or can’t keep.  This time around, I’m not going to participate in the yearly blood bath of disappointment.  This year I’m here to help you.

The number one resolution, especially for women, is weight loss.  We all know that being closer to your “ideal” weight is better for your health and possibly your well-being.  The problem is a lot of us try to lose pounds as quickly as possible and be done.  When it comes to weight loss we have a “fix it and forget it” mentality when we know we need to make lifestyle changes.  For those of you who still want a quick fix, I have a guaranteed solution.   There is no limit to the number of fad diets and chances are you’ve tried one or more.  These diets are guaranteed to work.  The weight loss resolution-solution is not how or if you try the fad diets, but when you try them.  Here are five of my favorite fad diets that won’t leave you behind the eight ball on next December 31. 

THE 1 DAY DIET  – On this plan you’re guaranteed to lose1 to 2 pounds.  Now the diet can’t be repeated more than twice a week, but if one day is all you can last on a diet, this plan is the one for you.

THE 7 DAY ALL YOU CAN EAT DIET  – If you like fruits and vegetables, you’re a winner because you can have all the fruits and vegetables you want the first three days of the plan.  On the fourth day, you eat 5 bananas with 5 glasses of milk.   On Friday, the fifth day, eat all the fresh vegetables and fruit you want, plus you can add 3 ounces of beef, chicken or fish steaks.  Saturday is vegetable day with 3 ounces of beef steak.  Sunday repeat Saturday’s menu.  This is bound to work because; depending on your system most of this food will most likely come out of one end of your body or the other for a guaranteed five pound weight loss.

THE CABBAGE SOUP DIET - This diet lets you eat homemade cabbage soup whenever you’re hungry.  Personally, I really enjoyed the soup even when I wasn’t trying to diet.   I would suggest investing in a large supply of Beano, GasX, or some similar product while on this diet.  

 THE HOLLYWOOD DIET -   I remember when this was a diet plan that many stars raved about, and why not?  It’s nothing but juice and a total of about 400 calories.  Follow this diet long enough and you could look like a starving actress or a dead model in no time.  According to Faddiet.com you can expect to lose 3-4 pounds on this type of diet fast.  

THE GRAPEFRUIT DIET –.  Believe it or not, this diet may actually work because you either eat ½ grapefruit or drink 8 ounces of grapefruit juice a day.  You must drink 64 ounces of water a day and the rest of the plan calls for a menu to follow. This is great if you like grapefruit and you don’t mind possibly getting an ulcer.  Either way, with all the liquid you consume some water loss is guaranteed.

I know you ladies and gentlemen are astute enough to remember that I said some weight loss is guaranteed with these plans, and here’s how:  I suggest making your resolution on New Year’s day 2012 but start your diet on December 25, 2012  By December 31, 2012, you can honestly say you lost some weight during the year.

I was browsing Daniel Worona‘s website on humor and ran across this quote:  People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.  ~Author Unknown

It seems to me that the advice in this quote is absolutely perfect to assure  a successful weight loss plan for the new year.  Happy musing!

Friday, December 2, 2011

BRAIN FART: HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS, KICK THE KIDS OUTSIDE

I have to admit that I, Fanny Collier, was practicing the yearly spending ritual that we call Christmas shopping when I ran across a retro toy shop.  They were selling toys that were popular when my son was a child and even some toys from when I was little.
There were jacks, jump ropes, Tonka trucks, and even a Lionel train set.  It all made me long for the “good old days”.  Now that’s something I seldom do because I know that time marches on and those days were old but not often as good as we remember.
Seeing those toys got me thinking about a conversation I had with my grandson when he was younger.  I was telling him about games that I played growing up.  There were games like jump rope and kick the can and hand-clapping games like Mary Mac.  As I was recalling how much fun I used to have, my grandson shot down my moment of nostalgia by asking me if we were too poor to afford toys.   Was he serious?  Taking a deep breath, I explained that we did have some toys but we didn’t need a bunch of commercial toys because we played games that were fun and imaginative.   When he continued to stare at me blankly, I just told him to go outside and play.
Then it hit me! Do parents make their kids go outside to play anymore?  There were not many days, especially during the summer, that our parents didn’t send us outside.  They really didn’t care rather we wanted to go out; we were not allowed to sit in the house all day unless we were doing some chore.  The fact that we kids were given jobs to do around the house was enough to inspire going outside to play.
When you think about it, games haven’t really changed that much.  I used to complain that the games today are more violent, but in reality the ones that children played in the past, like cops and robbers and cowboys and Indians were violent as well.  The only difference was that the blood and gore was implied and not visible like they are in today’s video games.  Back then everyone wanted to be the good guys.
Of course much tamer games like hopscotch, jacks, tag, hide-and-seek, etc.  may be considered by young people today  as “lame” or “stupid”,  but such games provided exercise and fun, fresh air and sunshine, to say nothing of developing coordination. 
Even if the games of the past are lame, stupid or just old-fashioned, they’re better for our kids than video games.  At best the latter develops good thumb coordination and at worst, they teach stealing and killing skills.  Either way the child is being programmed instead of learning to think.
As you shop for toys this Christmas, you can spend a fortune for games for your kids that promote cave-man-like qualities, but I’d like to suggest that you kick your kids outdoors to play—especially if it’s cold and snowing.  I’ll bet they’ll use their imaginations then.  So muse on that!

Friday, November 25, 2011

VIRGINITY! WHAT’S THAT?

“Hattie, my fifteen year old grandbaby is pregnant and I don’t know how it happened.”
Over the years I’ve heard some version of this sentence coming out of the mouths of far too many of my friends and acquaintances, and lately I’ve noticed that it’s only getting worse.   You can fill in the blank on what relative it is having the baby, but the results are always the same.  Someone who is too young and totally unprepared to bring a human life into the world is about to do so. 
Most of the people who break the news to me throw the “I don’t know how it happened” into the sentence not because they’re ignorant of the process.  What they mean is that the young person in question has been raised in a Christian household where they attended Sunday services and Sunday school on a weekly basis and were well acquainted with the Word of the Lord, and it still happened.   Of course we all know that being acquainted with rules and following them is another story—even divine rules. So when I read an article in a Christian magazine titled “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It”, I wasn’t shocked or surprised by the information that it provided. 
According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “80% of unmarried evangelical young adults (18-29) said that they have had sex—slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults…”  Now that’s only counting the young people of age, and that’s in a two year old study.  The numbers are probably off the chart by now.  Sex sells, and having sex could make you rich.  At least that’s what my grandchildren seem to think.   It’s my understanding that one of the biggest reality stars today is a young woman who became famous because of a sex tape. What a role model she must be.
I thank God every day that neither my son nor my daughter had any babies before they got married.  Were they virgins when they married?  I’d rather not know the answer to that, so I don’t think about it; but the article did give me something to think about.  It said that in the days when the scripture about abstinence was written, marriages were arranged and folks could be as young as 13 when they married.   That gave them less time for temptation when it came to sex.  These days there are Christians in their 30s, 40s, 50s and up, who remain unmarried, and many may never get married. That’s a long time to avoid temptation, much longer than in the old days.   
I’m not going to lie, before reading that I was too quick to condemn any Christian who came into our church with a big belly and who wasn’t married.  Pregnancy was the living proof of what they had been doing.  Of course, there’s never be any need in denying that there were plenty of folks in the church who were doing the same thing and hadn’t been caught.  Much too often we Christians choose to ignore facts. 
The bottom line is that the social rules and mores in this country about virginity seemed to have changed.  For someone of my generation it’s confusing, especially when the rules of the Bible have been the ones that I’ve been taught to follow.  Yet, even the church seems to be faced with a dilemma that it doesn’t quite know how to solve.  The article concluded with the following questions:  “So what should a Christian parent or youth pastor do?  How do they convince more young Christians to wait until marriage, or should they stop trying?”
Should we give up trying to expect moral behavior?  Uh, I don’t think so, but until someone wiser than me comes up with a solution, I guess we’ll all have to muse on it.  Meanwhile, the unplanned pregnancies and the increase in HIV/AIDS cases as well as other sexually transmitted diseases will be the price that we’ll have to pay for our indecision.   

Friday, November 18, 2011

LIBERAL LEANINGS

This is Connie writing this week, and when I was trying to think of something to write about for some reason the word liberal kept coming to mind.  Maybe it was all of the political talk on TV that got me to thinking about it. We just had an election here in our city and the words liberal and conservative were tossed around a lot. Although I’ve been described by my friends as the “liberal” one in our group,   quite frankly I’m always been skeptical of the true meaning behind both words and of the people who claim them.
Yes, I’m a woman in her sixties who is seeing a younger man. I don’t see why that’s supposed to be so liberal.  Personally, I’ve found that a younger man can fulfill my needs a little better than a man my age or older. Hell! That’s just practical as far as I’m concerned. 
I participated in the Occupy Wall Street protest here in our city and I didn’t see that as being liberal either. To me that was common sense.  Why wouldn’t I protest other people controlling my destiny?  I was a foot soldier during the Civil Rights Movement, why would I be any less now? Anybody who believes that the wealthiest people in the United States don’t hold most of the power in this country is fooling themselves.  It’s always been that way.  I don’t remember reading a thing about the poorest men in the Colonies signing the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution when the United States was formed.  Protesting is a right.
My friends tell me that I’ll go along with almost any radical thing that comes along.  I don’t agree with that.  I’ve got my limits, but yes, there are a lot of things that I don’t have a problem with in my life.
I was always for Women’s Lib long before it had a name and I still am! I was married for three decades and I was my husband’s equal in every way, and I knew it—so did he. If you’re a woman don’t come sniffling around me talking about walking ten steps behind some man. You’ll get no sympathy from me.  Eve was made from Adam’s rib and that’s on the side of the body.  Gay rights!  Why not?  It’s not my place to judge the lifestyle of others.  There’s only one judge and jury at life’s end and it’s not me or anybody else I know on this earth. 
Politically, I think of myself as an independent.  I’ve voted Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and I’ve written names in that weren’t established candidates.  If I like a candidate, he or she has my vote. 
So, am I a liberal? I decided to look both words up to see how Webster’s New World Dictionary defined them.  The two definitions of liberal that I liked were “not restricted” and “giving freely”.  The definitions for the word conservative that caught my eye were “conserving or tending to conserve; preservative, and tending to preserve established traditions or institutions and to resist or oppose any changes in these.” 
Oh! Oh!  Tending to preserve established traditions or institutions and to resist or oppose any changes in these?”  I don’t like that.  Change is a constant and if Connie Palmer is anything she’s constant when it comes to change.
I guess my friends are right.  Maybe I do have liberal leanings.   Guess I’ll take some time and muse on that.

Friday, November 11, 2011

THE PERRY/CAIN TICKET: AN ELECTION NIGHTMARE

Yesterday, I couldn’t find my keys.   I said to myself,   “Bea Bell, you’d lose your head if it wasn’t attached.”  Well, I haven’t lost my head yet but I’m about to lose my mind because people just never cease to amaze me.  I don’t mean that in a good way.
The other day, during the GOP debates, Texas Governor Rick Perry stumbled when trying to name the three agencies he would cut if elected president.  The agency he could not remember was the Department of Energy, and the crowd went wild—at least the media crowd.  The lead story for almost every news program that night, and for the days following, was Perry’s memory lapse. On the television news show, Nightline, Political Director Amy Walter lamented,   “Cats get nine lives…I don’t know that candidates get that many.”

I just don’t get it.  Have you ever tried to introduce someone you’ve known for years but your mind is a total blank when you start to say their name?  Who hasn’t walked into a room and suddenly can’t remember why you walked in?  I don’t understand this need to have a president or a presidential candidate appear “presidential” or flawless.  Of course, there are moral and ethical boundaries for everyone whether they’re running for president or not, but to get fired up over a slip of memory is silly.
Herman Cain made a joke by asking, “How do you beat Obama?  You beat him with a Cain!”   Some bright reporter asked him to clarify as to whether this could be interpreted as promoting violence. Cain got testy, and rightly so, as he answered, “Herman Cain, C-A-I-N.  Do I have to connect all the dots for you?"

These are the kind of things that drive me crazy.  There are plenty of hard issues to focus on but we’ve become so pretentious that the slightest slip of the tongue is not only newsworthy, but could mean political death for a candidate.

I went to sleep last night and had the worst nightmare of my life caused either by those thoughts or the slice of Godfather’s pizza I ate just before going to bed.  I dreamed that it was 2012. The Republican and Democratic conventions were over.  The candidates had been chosen and their running mates had been picked.  Toward the middle and slightly to the left stood Barack Obama and Joe Bidden for the Democrats.  Several steps from center and off to the right were Rick Perry and Herman Cain for the Republican Tea Party!  Here’s the nightmare part.

Perry and Cain won the presidential election (sob)!  There was no particular strategy.  Perry couldn’t remember what platform he was running on, but he did recall the applause he got when defending the state of Texas as having executed 234 people, more than any other state in this nation.   He also changed his campaign slogan to HANG ‘EM HIGH!   Of course Perry could empathize with Herman Cain’s inability to remember the sexual harassments accusations against him, that’s why he picked him as a running mate. 

Perry managed to shift voter attention from jobs and the economy (how stupid) to the death penalty and smaller government. Naturally, the whole point of picking Cain was to siphon votes from Barrack Obama.  It worked.  Presto, the country wound up with 666 and the 999 plan!  That woke me up.

After thinking about the dream, I promised myself three things:   I’ll never eat pizza before going to bed again, I’ll never...  Damn!  I can’t remember the second or the third thing—oops!
Happy musings.

Friday, November 4, 2011

FAIRY TALES AIN’T ALWAYS FAIR

It’s Hattie writing this week and I wanted to comment on something that has been bothering me.  Recently I saw Mrs. Bernie Madoff being interviewed on TV and my first impression of her as she was talking was that she wasn’t too bright.  I kept wondering how she could live with a man for fifty years and not have any idea about his business dealings.  Didn’t she ever question him about his business, especially since they were living high off the hog on his wealth?  Both my heart and my mind were closed to what she was saying.  Yet as I kept listening I realized that she was answering my question as she spoke.  No, she had no idea what was going on with her husband’s business, and I believe her. 
From what she was saying, she married young, at eighteen years old, and she was a stay at home mother who worked for her husband briefly when he first started his business.  He was the bread winner of the family and that being the case, she probably saw no need to ask questions about where the bread came from as long as he kept bringing home bigger and bigger loaves. Quite frankly, she probably wouldn’t have understood what he had to say anyway unless she was familiar with the stock market and its jargon.  Besides, from what she and her son were saying Bernie Madoff was the domineering type and Mrs. Madoff seemed passive, and there lies the problem.
Her age lets me know that she’s a woman of my generation, and the majority of us were trained to be wives and mothers, who listened politely to our husbands when they talked about their jobs, but we really didn’t know much about what they did on the job, so our questions were few.  I also married young, and I was a housewife and mother to our two children while my husband worked in an automobile factory. We lived comfortably off of his income and I didn’t have any complaints.  He told me that he installed brake linings all day on the assembly line.  It sounded boring, but it paid well. I did listen to his comments and complaints about management, his fellow workers and his foreman, but I really had no clue what he did at work. If I had ever had to take over his job I would have been lost. But what I did understand was money, and as a woman with two children I understood the absolute necessity of having some money of my own.
I took care of all of the household expenses with the money that my husband would give me every pay day, and unknown to him I made sure that I always stashed some away for unexpected expenses that might crop up.  You know, things like bills that you depended on your mate to pay but he didn’t and suddenly there is a disconnect notice for the utilities; or maybe the rent or mortgage that wasn’t paid and now you have an eviction notice.  Of course there might be the need for some money if your husband decides to stray and leave you and your children for another woman, and money is always good to have if your husband goes crazy and starts beating on you and you have to run for your life.  
Some people might view stashing emergency cash away as sneaky or dishonest, but I consider it common sense.  How many women are left stranded with their children to feed by men who they thought would never abandon them?  Shoot, my late husband was a good man, who I loved dearly and he loved me until death did us part, but a woman never knows when unexpected expenses might arise, so I was never going to be caught unaware and broke, that’s stupid.
It’s hard for me to understand women as wealthy as Mrs. Madoff who find themselves with nothing when something happens to their marriages.  It seems to me it would be especially easy to stow it away when you have so much that he can’t keep up with it.  Lord have mercy!  It would take the CIA and the FBI to find the hiding places for all of the cash that I would have stashed.   
I’m sure that my friends are surprised to hear how resourceful I can be, especially since one of them seems to think that I worry too much about what people think of me.  Others might be reading this and thinking that I was sneaky or deceitful, or that I didn’t have faith in my husband, especially since I’m a woman who tries to follow the Word.  Yet, I haven’t read anything in the Good Book that says you’re not supposed to have common sense.
It seems that Mrs. Madoff came out all right. She was able to keep two million dollars of her husband’s ill gotten gains, and that ain’t chicken feed. So I’m not wasting any tears on her when it comes to money. I’m saving my sympathy for the women who don’t have sense enough to plan ahead in case they might be left to take care of their kids alone.  If a woman is lucky enough to find a prince charming good for them, but what I was looking for in a mate was a man who could be true to his word and true to me because I know that fairy tales are in story books.
So muse on that.

Friday, October 28, 2011

THE GHOST OF HALLOWEEN PAST

This is Ms. Fanny with a Halloween story.  Once upon a time children—and sometimes parents—looked forward to the yearly ritual of Halloween.  They ran through their neighborhoods, many in homemade costumes in search of candy, fruit and even money.  They swapped stories of which houses had the best treats and which cheapskates to avoid.
Parents stood on the sidewalks chatting with each other as they watched their little ones race from house to house.  They also watched out for the pranksters that soaped windows when they didn’t get treats.  The point is it was fun and relatively safe, and then one Halloween the wind shifted,
Instead of gobbling candy as soon as they got it, kids had to take their treats to fire stations and hospitals to have it x-rayed for razor blades and other objects.  The boogie man was not just on the movie screen but it popped up more and more in real life.
Yep, things have changed.  Heck, I remember liking scary movies like, House on the Haunted Hill, Night of the Living Dead, The Tingler, and just about anything starring Vincent Price. Yes I know, by today’s standards, those movies may be corny but there was suspense and there was enough left to your imagination, that you were really scared.  You finished the movies laughing about the things that scared you, rather than vomiting from the gore.
What do we have today?  Blood, guts, torture and sex is about all you’ll see on the big screen these days, all of which is motivated by the constant quest to make money, of course.  If a movie makes a dollar, then by all means do it over and over.  So we’ve started having cookie-cutter movies that show every gory detail for those too dumb to figure it out, movies like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  Filmmakers had an ‘aha’ moment and made 75 more of each of these movies—or at least it seems like it.  I’m sure the next franchise will feature movies like Jason, Jr. and the Grandkids, Freddy’s Dead—Again and Saw and Saw Some More.
But don’t mind me.  I’m just musing about the good old days when I could frighten the brats in my neighborhood nearly to death and laugh about it the next day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

POLITICAL POSSIBILITIES

Hello folks, it's Bea this week and I'm sitting here thinking about how difficult it is to be a political animal when politics has become so nasty. These days politicians are thought of as scum and the reputation has been earned honestly.  The American public couldn't rate the members of  the U.S. Congress any lower than it does presently.  Yet, I'm still interested in politics.  I still think that there is hope for America's politicians.

Before I retired I was an administrator in city government with a lot of political contacts and connections.  Over my many decades in dealing with politicians from the county level to the federal level, I can tell you that there were times  when hope looked dim for some of the nitwits.

Oh, I'm not saying that everyone who goes into politics is crooked. I still like to believe that most people who go into public service do so with the best intent.  It's just when some of them get there they get a taste of power, even at the local level, it becomes addictive and too often gets out of control.

I don't know the statics, but I wonder how many members of the U.S. Congress enter their positions on shaky financial ground but leave their terms of office wealthy.  How can that happen?  Well the "benefits" of being in public office can be very rewarding.  There are the contacts that can be made and the inside information that can be gathered that can prove to be very lucrative, and if you don't believe that some of them don't take advantage of those "benefits", then you've got a lot to learn.

What we need is term limits for these suckers! I don't mean the 2 to 6 year terms that they presently serve, but limiting those terms to running once or twice, like the President of the United States, and then it's over. That should be long enough to do something effective while in office, and if they don't then maybe the next one will.  No more sitting in Congress 30 or 40 years until you're so old that you're moldy and so are your ideas. Maybe what could emerge would be the birth of a new type of politician--one who really cares about the people that they are elected to serve.

Let's take some time to muse on that!    

Friday, October 14, 2011

THE PASTOR’S ASS REVISITED

This is Connie Palmer.  You may have read articles by my friend, Hattie, who has made her opinions known several times.  Hattie has quite a problem worrying about how she is being judged by others.  I’ve tried to tell her over and over again that the best way to live life is to be satisfied with who she is.  “Hattie,” I said, “worrying about what others think will be the death of you.”  Then, I ran across an old story that illustrated my point perfectly.  I don’t know who originally wrote it but its good advice for a lot of us.
THE PASTOR’S ASS
The pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won.  The pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the race again and it won again.
The local paper read:  PASTOR’S ASS OUT FRONT.
The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the pastor not to enter the donkey in another race.
The next day, the local paper headline read:  BISHOP SCRATCHES PASTOR’S ASS.
This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the pastor to get rid of the donkey.  The pastor decided to give it to a nun in a nearby convent.
The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline the next day:  NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN.
The bishop fainted.  He informed the nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey, so she sold it to a farmer for $10.
The next day the paper read:  NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10.
This was too much for the bishop, so ordered the nun to buy back the donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run wild.
The next day the headlines read:   NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE.
The bishop was buried the next day.
The moral of the story is...being concerned about public opinion can bring you much grief and misery... and even shorten your life.  So be yourself and enjoy life...Stop worrying about everyone else’s ass and you’ll be a lot happier and live longer!
Muse on that, Hattie.

Friday, October 7, 2011

BRAIN FART: HELP! I’M DROWNING IN EXPERTS

Hello, folks, this is Miss Fanny here, and I’m so mad that I can spit!  These damn pundits or punk heads or talking mouths or whatever they’re called are getting on my nerves.  Everybody is an expert on everything.  Everybody’s got something to say about everything thing and I have just about had it.
Every time I turn on the TV there’s some so called experts with their lips flapping.  One of the things that really bugs me is when they’re talking about us being in a recession, over and over and over and over again.   I get it!  Nobody’s got any money or jobs except the rich fat cats who are to blame for the mortgage crisis that helped start the recession in the first play.    Then there are the news programs that cover famous trials.  The parade of “experts” making comments on the defendant, the prosecutor, the judge, the jury, the bailiff, the court d├ęcor etc. etc. etc., goes on and on.  I’m telling you that I don’t care!  All I care about in a trial is if the person on trial is declared innocent or guilty.  That’s all that matters.
Just as annoying are the “experts” making comments on those entertainment shows.   Usually these nameless people, who according to the information underneath their faces are usually the editors of this or that magazine (aka gossip sheets) deliver these breathless tidbits about celebrity marriages, divorces and plans for the future, and I’ll bet a million dollars that very few of them, if any, have ever met or spoken to any of the celebrities whose business they seem to know so much about.  Give me a break!
So fed up with seeing and hearing these so called experts on everything on TV, I decided to start reading the newspaper more.  After all, they’re rapidly disappearing and I figured that I better read a few of them while they’re still around.  In the past the news was pretty reliable and fairly detailed, so here I was expecting to be free of the so called “experts” in print, and lo and behold I run across this headline:  “Many Contemporary Christians are Pious Parrots”.  Say What?!  Pious Parrots?  
The headline alone made me mad.  I’m a Christian and I’m being compared to a bird? Then under that it read:  “They repeat trendy phrases they don’t understand or distort”.  I was so hot after that I barely noticed that the article was written by somebody named John Blake and that it came from CNN, which I know is the TV news show. 
Among the many things that the article said was that many Christians don’t know what they’re talking about when they say things like to “name and claim” something and after getting it announce “I’m highly blessed and favored.”  It said that Christians are just repeating these words like “pious parrots”.
Some Episcopal theologian—which is an undercover way of saying expert—named Marcus Borg, said that “he heard so many people misusing terms such as “born again” and “salvation” that he wrote a book about the practice.  Am I surprise?  Don’t most experts write books?
I won’t even go into all that the article said, some of which I don’t agree with and some of which made sense.  All I know is that I’m sick and tired of experts.  If I remember correctly it was experts who said that the Titanic couldn’t sink, the Hindenburg couldn’t crash and probably never would have considered that the Twin Towers could ever fall.
I think I’ll just muse on that for a while. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

EDUCATION: WHAT’S THE POINT?

I recently I went back to college to take a few courses that were of interest to me.  Believe it or not, a friend asked me why.  His exact words were, “Beatrice Bell, you’re in your sixties so why would a woman your age go back to college?”  I chalked the question up as one being asked by a fool. Then one of my grandchildren heard about my going back to school and my grandchild told me that it was the dumbest thing that I’ve ever done.  Passionately, he tried to convince me how pointless it was to go to college at any age. 
He cited the statistic that the United States’ unemployment rate was 9.1%.   He said that companies are laying off workers at an alarming rate.  He further pointed out that the 401 retirement accounts of many workers have taken a serious beating to the point that people are wondering if they’ll be able to retire at all.  He rambled on about how instead of senior citizens having a nest egg in their golden years, they’re ending up with egg on their faces.  (Ain’t he precious?)  It was at this point I wanted to tell him to get out of my face and sit down. 
That’s when he hit me with the bombshell.  “Grandma,” he said, “why should I waste time and money going to school when there are no jobs out there.”  I finally got it.  Mr. Know-it-all had been working up the nerve to tell me that he wasn’t going to college, and his argument was that not only would he and his parents spend thousands of dollars on a “worthless” diploma, but he could be saddled with well over $40,000 in debt and no job to pay it off.  “Have you ever thought about that,” he asked smugly?
I put on my best grandmother face and sweetly explained to him that a college education never guaranteed anybody a good job.  “It does, however, increase the likelihood of employment,” I told him.  “It gives you options for your future and makes you an appealing candidate for a job.” 
I reminded him that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person with a Bachelor degree generally earns $51,000 a year or almost double the $27,915 a year that he could earn with a high school diploma. As for the astronomical cost of school, everybody doesn’t have go to an Ivy League school or even one of the Big Ten colleges.  I reminded the boy that in the city where we lived, there were fourteen—count ‘em—fourteen community colleges to choose from.
As for the cost of going to college, we did a Google search together and found enough scholarships, grants, and contests to make your head swim.  “But I don’t qualify for any of those!” he complained.  “My grades aren’t that good.”
I told him that he might not have a perfect grade point average but he still might qualify.  “Oh, and miracles of miracles” I said, “First you have to actually apply for a scholarship or grant.  If your grades are at the bottom of the class, that’s a definite problem, so study.”   Actually, I knew that the boy would have to be pushed to do that as well as write an essay to apply for grants or scholarships because he’s kind of lazy.  I read that a lot of free money is not awarded because the students are too lazy to write an essay.  I had to explain to him that, yes, even in the computer age, employers expect you to be able to string enough sentences together to form a cohesive thought.
I went on to enlighten him on the fact that a person didn’t have to get a four-year degree.  Even an associate’s degree could open up more opportunities, and having a plan for the future could help a lot.  Attending college just to have the experience of a 4-year party binge is not the object.  Knowing what fields are losing jobs and avoiding those might work.  Also it would be wise to aim for a degree in fields that are gaining jobs.
A blog entitled “Why College” written by Terrell Halaska and Kristin Conklin, who are partners of HCM Strategies, a Washington, DC public policy advocacy consulting firm, notes that in 2009 and 2010, an average of 20,000 jobs a month have been added in the health field.
So why college?  The answer is more options, additional knowledge and a broader future. I looked at my grandchild and reminded him that life is ever evolving and when an opportunity rolled around, he wouldn’t be able to seize the opportunity if he hadn’t prepared for it. Who knows what new jobs might come along, but would he be ready for them?  Besides, for him, college is two years away and he will be going. 
With that I gave my last piece of advice, “Get your behind in your room and study!”  And he could muse on that for the next two years!

Friday, September 23, 2011

TWITTER DEE TWITTER DUMB

Hi folks, I’m Hattie Collier and I’d like to say that I’ve got a bone to pick.  Actually, I’m hopping mad and I’ve got to calm down just to write about this. 
You see, the other day my twelve year old granddaughter came to my house, and as usual I was almost  glad to see her, and I say almost because lately when she comes over, all she does is sit on my couch and  constantly twitters or tweets—or whatever they call it.  I’ve noticed that conversation between us has become very limited the older she gets.  I’m surprised she can put a complete sentence together when she does speak, so on this particular day I decided to try and see if she could still talk.
I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up.  It’s a question that I’ve asked her many times in the past and the answers have gone the gamut from a princess to a teacher.  She was nine the last time I asked and she said that she wanted to be an astronaut.  Was I proud!
This time she looked up at me with her thumbs steadily moving over her cell phone and said just as plain as day, “I plan on being a reality star on TV because I want to get paid.”  Say what?
I kept my cool and asked smugly, “And what courses will you take in college to prepare you for that career?”
Still tweeting, she didn’t even look up when she answered, “Oh, I’m not going to college.  I’m gonna make a sex tape when I’m eighteen, put it on YouTube and get discovered that way.”
I would have laughed out loud if she hadn’t looked serious.  All I could think of was, Lord, have mercy, where did we go wrong?  I kept telling myself that she was only twelve, so she’d change her mind ten times before she reached eighteen, so don’t despair.  But I whispered a silent prayer for some backup and then I asked, “Have you told your folks about your big plans?”
“Nope,” she answered with her thumbs continuing to fly, “I’m just sharing it with you.  They’ll find out when I turn eighteen.  So please don’t tell them.”
Now I was supposed to be a co-conspirator with my granddaughter about her plans to become a porn star!  Lucky me!
I had to drop on my knees that night and pray over that one.  I didn’t want to betray her trust, but I decided that if I saw any signs that this was truly her ambition and not some childhood fantasy, I was running like the wind to my daughter and son-in-law and squeal like a pig. You see, that’s one of the advantages of being a grandparent, you can dump the problems that the grandkids might have right into their parents’ laps.
After getting over the shock of having a potential nudie model in the family, I decided that I had to get a clue as to where the child’s head was at.  What was it about her generation that made public nudity and sexual activity an acceptable stepping stone to stardom, and on a so called reality show at that!
I headed to the library in search of a book that might explain to me what was going on in this country that outside forces would influence my kindhearted grandchild more than her descent, loving, and God-fearing family.
I’m not sure that I got the answer, but I’m sure did get a clue.  Remembering how my granddaughter never missed a beat twittering during our rare five minute conversation, I picked up a book titled Bloggerati, Twitterait:  How Blogs and Twitter are Transforming Popular Culture. The book was written by Mary Cross.
What I read boggled my mind.  I knew that things in this country were changing. That always happens, but as I continued reading it dawned on me that I was living through a full-fledged revolution; nothing would ever be the same again.
There was too much in the book to review here, but among the many things that I found to be really interesting were the predictions that Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, made in 2009.
These are some of his predictions about what the internet would look like in 5 years (that’s by 2014):
“Today’s teenagers are the model of how the Web will work in five years—they jump from app to app to app seamlessly.”  I know that’s true.  I’ve been a witness to that!
“It’s because of this fundamental shift toward user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources.”  If “traditional sources” include family members he’s right on track with that.
OTHER PREDICTIONS INCLUDE:
“American popular culture is going worldwide and viral on the Internet.”  Who can argue with that?
 “People will be more knowledgeable, though not necessarily wiser.”  Truer words were never spoken.  The just plain stupid decision making quota has reached an all time high.
“But there will be a proliferation of bad information, rumor and falsehoods.”  As if there’s not enough of that now!
“The power structure will change, breaking the grip of established institutions on culture and giving more power to the ordinary person.”  More power to dumber people.  Oh Lord!
 “Privacy on the Internet is essentially over.”  As if I need more people in my business. I’m just thrilled by that!
 “More people will work at home.”  Good, now my daughter and son-in-law can watch their kids more often.  I’ve got things to do!
“Women will dominate social networks.”  Thank goodness, all we need is more porno watching men on the internet. 
“Smarter kids, harder to educate.”  Translated:  Smarter kids will be dumber.  
“An increasingly isolated individual within the nuclear family.”  
So that’s the bottom line.  I see this last prediction happening with my four grandchildren every day, and I’m in the battle of a life time to try to stem the tide.  But, somebody tell me how can a mere mortal fight a tsunami?  Progress is not always improvement.
We can all muse on that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

WHAT PEOPLE SAY AND WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN

Hello, this is Connie Palmer writing on the blog this week, and I’ve been giving some thought about how difficult it is for most of us to say what we really mean.  How many times have we heard the words “honesty is the best policy”?  Too many as far as I’m concerned, especially when I know that lies seem to be more common than truth for too many people. It’s especially rampant among politicians.  I’m beginning to think that lying is second nature for them they tell so many of them.  It would be nice if people say what they really mean.  Believe me, the world would be a much better place.
For instance, when politicians say that these are times of economic uncertainty, what they really mean is that your ass is grass! You ain’t got no money.  You ain’t gonna get no money, and the government ain’t gonna print no more money so you can get some. Too bad for you! I’ve got mine and I’m happy. 
That lie is almost as bad as when they say “I’m not a Washington insider”.  What they really mean and what they leave out is the word yet, because as soon as they get the opportunity to meet whoever can make them an insider it’s status quo time. Power and influence are addictive and I’m not aware of many rebels in Washington. I might be wrong, but I don’t think that there are many politicians who leave office with less money than they had when they won office. 
But I’m not going to beat up on politicians. They’re just easy targets because they lie so much about everything.  There are so many things that people say, but don’t mean that I can’t name them all, so I picked a few of my other favorites.         
When you bump into someone that you haven’t seen for some time and they call you Sweetie, Honey or Dear during the conversation, what they really mean is “I couldn’t remember your name if somebody paid me,” or “either I’ve got to cut this short and make my escape or keep talking until you give me a clue to what the hell your name is.”  I know this one is true because I’m guilty. 
Another one is when some parents say that their child is precocious. What they really mean is watch out for the brat and I’m keeping the kid’s hair long so the horns don’t show. 
This one is for those of you who are grandparents. When your children bring the grandchildren over to your house and they say:  “Could you watch the kids for a little while.  I’ve got to run to the (fill in the blank).”  What they really mean is “You’ll be babysitting for me for the next 4, (6,8,10,18 or maybe 24) hours and if you think that you’re going to see me before then you’ve got another think coming!” I learned this one the hard way, so grandparents beware! Let them call you in advance, tell you exactly what they need, and if you give them the okay also give them a deadline.  If the car doesn’t pull up by the deadline, that’s it.  Next time tell them to find another babysitter.  You’ve got your own life to live.
You know, one thing that I enjoy about growing older is having attained peace of mind. Things that were so important when I was younger have become less so now.  I don’t tolerate lies or liars anymore. I demand the truth and I try to be truthful.  Oh, there are times when I’ll backslide so that I won’t hurt someone’s feelings. After all how can I tell a mother that her baby is ugly?  So I’ll describe it as sweet, or precious when what I really mean is that I hope the kid grows up to be smart, because becoming attractive will remain an unattainable goal.   
It would be nice if we could all say what we mean more often.  I think that the truth can hurt much less than a lie. I’m just saying what I really mean, so you can muse on that.