Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Looking at my extensive pile of t-shirts and sweatpants, it's hard to believe now that I was once a haute couture wannabe. My freshman year in college I longed to have a stylish wardrobe, but I was realistic enough to know that there was no way my dorm room closet would ever be FULL of classy clothes because my budget for such luxury was running on EMPTY.

Complicating matters was the fact that during my first year of college, there was still a dress code for women: no jeans or slacks on campus until after 5 PM. Violators would be ratted on to the Dean of Women's office, and lord knows what shame would have happened there. Execution? I owned a grand total of one matching skirt/sweater outfit (burnt orange), two tent dresses, culottes, some shirt-waist dresses, and bunch of gathered skirts and blouses. Not exactly high fashion.

To add to the humiliation, every spring there was a Best Dressed Co-ed contest. Clubs and dorms would sponsor cute gals with spiffy threads to put on a fashion show at the Student Union. About 25-or so girls would model sportswear, Sunday attire, party dresses, and evening gowns and then the Top 10 would be declared for all to applaud and admire. Out of the 10 winners, the absolute, very best dressed gal would be honored. It was a huge deal and even merited a double-page spread in the college yearbook, for gosh sakes.

I attended the contest my freshman year to cheer on a girl from my dorm floor, Kathy Horton, who was nominated. She had great flair for throwing together an outfit, and even with one leg in a cast she got in the Top 10. The next year she was able to work the catwalk without a cast and won the whole shebang, but by that time I had lost interest in (and hope of) ever being fashionable so I didn't even bother sitting in the crowd with the rest of the wannabes that spring.

I don't know how it happened but by the fall of 1969, my junior year, it seemed the college rules had relaxed and no one outside a sorority gave a rat's hind-end what was worn or what time of day it was worn. My wardrobe started gravitating to bell bottom pants, tie-dyed shirts, and anything made of corduroy that I could find at the Salvation Army Store. All the sudden I could afford to look like most of the other slobs on campus. Mama Bore made me some cloth shoulder bags, I had one pair of all-purpose brown leather sandals, and I made beaded necklaces and bracelets to complete the accessorized look.

If there'd been a Worst Dressed Co-ed/Best Dressed Hippie contest in 1970, I would have been a shoe-in for the Top Ten.

Monday, January 30, 2012



Good grief! Here it was Sunday morning, and I was still stumbling around in my jammies, eyes watering, hair flying, trying to wake up with a cup of hot tea. Who can be at the door? I'll give you one guess.

"Happy Valentines!!!" Sweet Neighbor Girl and Trouble #1 were all dressed in their ready-to-go-to church clothes, holding four valentines they'd made for Big Bore and me. Never mind that it's not even February yet. But how can you be grumbly-mumbly at those smiles?

"Come on in."

It was the first of three visits of the day from SNG, who was obviously bored out of her gourd on this lazy Sunday, which was fine with me because reading DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and painting rocks and wood outdoors kept me from having do any housework that I didn't really want to do in the first place.

Once Big Bore got finished with hanging a door in the basement, he took us to the horseshoe pit for a game of "Girls versus Man." Man won, 22-5. Besides being triumphant for a change, BB was happy, as was I, to have with us an enthusiastic "horseshoe picker-upper." After each round, she'd run ahead of us and retrieve the shoes--saving all that back-bending work we old folks dread. She acted like it was fun, but that's what I call LOVE!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


College basketball fans in Kansas (like me!) are hanging their heads this morning after yesterday's whupping. I devoted over seven hours of my valuable time watching all three teams--KU, K-State, and Wichita State--go down in blazing defeat.

First, KU basically handed the game over to Iowa State, then K-State let Oklahoma come to the home court in Manhattan and squeak by with a win. The only thing enjoyable about that game was the fact that I didn't have to listen to the simpleton "Boomer Sooner" fight song over and over and over again. If you read this blog regularly, you've heard me moan about it before. Even a band of dumb dogs could play it. At least K-State's "Wabash Cannonball" fight song has more than two words and four notes.

But the saddest loss of the day went to Wichita State--who went all the way to Des Moines, Iowa only to lose in triple overtime!! Oh, the agony!

Today is Kansas Day, our state's 151st birthday, so I'm going to have to whip up some better mojo for our home teams and hope for better outcomes later in the week, AND remember what Big Bore always says when I mope around about my favorite teams losing: "Chill out. It's only a game."

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Miss Critter Kitty spent most of yesterday afternoon cuddled up in our blanket basket. Not even an after-school visit from Sweet Neighbor Girl moved her from this soft spot, nor did a kind lady who stopped by with a cobalt blue bottle for our bottle tree. ("I just love your bottle tree!" Yes, there are other wackos around besides the Bores.) Critter just stayed in the basket under her blankie and couldn't be bothered. We should all be so lucky. --Here's to a weekend of contentment.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Big Bore has accomplished so many items on my Honey Do list the past few days that I fear I may have to devote brain power today towards making up a whole new list. What a dilemma.

The absolute best thing he's done this week is build a bench for the nook next to the front porch steps. I got this idea last week during the landscaping program at the Gardening Workshop. The speaker asked us what a visitor first sees when getting out of his/her car and approaching our home's front door and, egads, at Casa de la Flaming Bore it's our trash bin on rollers!!! How attractive is that? We used to have it hidden behind the spruce tree that died last summer. What made us decide to move it to the front steps? Convenience, that's what. Well, not anymore.

So, when I got back home from the workshop I told Big Bore that come spring the garbage bin was going to be moved and it would be replaced by a bench that he was going to make me and I would adorn it with pots of plants and flowers so visitors would be impressed. We have lots of recycled wood from the house across the street that's being torn down--no excuses. And he ended up making me THE BEST bench that even has a lower shelf. Perfect! My little heart is getting so excited for March to get here so he can paint my new bench, weather treat it, adorn it with greenhouse goodies and bench art, and we can greet our guests with something other than yesterday's trash.

I wish all Honey-Do's were this much fun for Big Bore to actually do. I'm not sure he's going to be quite as enthused about tackling the latest addition to the list--mopping the kitchen floor.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Because my chiropracter advised that I "keep moving" and not let my arthritic back whip me into submission, I decided last week to enroll in Zumba. Never mind that I'm the oldest one in the class, the only one who's had back surgery, and I register a minus zero in the coordination department. It's full steam ahead. And I'm pleased to announce that after three sessions I feel like I've been run over by a train.

There are some benefits to this class, however. No one makes fun of me and we won't be having a public recital. As long as we are halfway moving to the music and show some semblance of life, as in breathing, the instructor is happy with our participation. Wooooooo!

I go back to see the chiropracter tomorrow. She may have to jack me up off the waiting room chair, but I am planning to Zumba my way into the examining room with a smile. I hope she doesn't mind the pungent aroma of Ben-Gay floating through her office.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I've decided that the Kansas University Jayhawks have found the key to integration. This picture I came across on kusports.com, taken on Martin Luther King Day during a KU basketball game, pretty much says it all. Nothing quite like some hoops to bring everybody together. These guys rock!

Monday, January 23, 2012


I have a policy that I will read any book for the first 50 pages, and if it hasn't grabbed me by then, I will give up on it. My time is valuable. I'm not going to waste precious hours on a book I don't like. This policy isn't carried through very often--maybe just a few times a year do I wave the white flag and say, "Forgetaboutit!" Unfortunately, one of those times is brewing right now.

I checked out WICKED by Gregory Macguire because it's about "The life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West." Everyone knows I'm a fan of everything OZ, so surely this new book would be right down my yellow-brick alley. The prequel concept interested me--what had made the Wicked Witch so witchedly wicked in the first place?

Well, here's what I found out in the opening chapters: The WW, whose real name is Elphaba, was born (green) in Munchkinland to Frex, a circuit preacher who is out to combat the evil of the Clock of the Time Dragon, and Melena, who doesn't have much to do other than whine and have an affair with Turtle Heart, a goofy-speaking glass blower from Quadling. With the help of a nursemaid, Nanny, Elphaba somehow gets through early childhood by saying only one word: "horrors," although no one seems to pursue why.

When she's around two years old, Elphaba goes to Gawnette's house to play with her two children, but it's a disaster of biting and rock throwing that could have been well developed. Instead, it's mostly just Gawnette, Melena, and Nanny making small talk. On page 46 Melena says she has a "boring child," and that about sums up the first eight chapters that I read. You'd think it would be interesting, but Melena was right: BORING.

Still, I didn't want to give up yet. I actually went beyond 50 pages because I truly wanted to like this book. The next section would be about Galinda--who I think probably becomes Glinda the Good Witch. She was on a train with a biology-teaching billy goat on their way to the university. Their conversation was ho-hum. Do I really want to keep going with this? Not really. I tossed the book aside and got on the Internet to read some reviews of WICKED. Perhaps I was just being too critical and should hang in there longer.

Well, the reviews were more interesting than the book---people either loved it or hated it. There were adjectives like "enthralling, splendid, brilliant, witty," and then other descriptions like: "what a waste," "appalling," "worst book I have ever read." Not much in between.

I'm going to give WICKED ten more pages today. That will get me to page 75. If I'm not an enthralled reader by that time, then I will be like Elphaba, mutter "horrors," and move on to the next book.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Seems a group of Kansas University students are altering the "National Anthem" at Jayhawks basketball games and Coach Bill Self is calling, "Foul!"

This chorus of rebels is changing the final word of the anthem, "brave," to "Chiefs"--as in the Kansas City Chiefs. And not only is Coach Self upset; hundreds of subscribers to kusports.com have joined the bandwagon. Besides believing the switch is disrespectful to our country, many are downright insulted that anyone would even dare to compare the revered Jayhawks basketball team with the (gasp!) Chiefs!

First off, the pro football team is located in Missouri, for gosh sakes! And we all know that's the home of the %$#@! Missouri Tigers. Don't any of these youngsters know about geography and history? No faithful 'Hawk fan with a lick of sense would associate Lawrence, Kansas with anything coming out of that dreadful state. If these lyric-changing punks insist on playing with words, at least get it right and go with "....home of the 'Hawks."

Next, this is a basketball game....not a football game. If you want to be in the Home of the Chiefs then get your big mouths over to the real Chiefs Stadium and watch the home team lose. Relating Allen Fieldhouse to anything closely resembling a football is blasphemy.

And while we're at it, the complainers moan, these whippersnappers should stop messing with the "Rock Chalk" chant at the end of victories by adding "Woo!!" to it. "Morons." "Idiots." "Totally lame." "How dare they tweek with tradition?" And I have to admit, more than once I've moaned back to my television: "Quit adding the stupid woo!" We old-timers don't want anyone screwing up our Rock Chalk.

Jayhawk purists can only hope that before the next home game (tomorrow) Coach Self will get on the public address system and threaten to bench all the Chiefs woo-ers. If he won't, and I sincerely doubt he will, there are 321 posters on kusports.com who would be happy to do it for him and slam dunk the offenders out the door.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Ever since I had to have potassium mainlained into my left arm at a hospital emergency room four years ago, I have made certain that I eat at least one banana each day. Never miss. Having potassium flow quickly into your veins makes your arm burn and feel like it's going to blow up, so I never want to have to go through that again. Eating a banana a day is a small trade-off.

There is a big bonus around our house for saving our "nanners." In our kitchen Big Bore has a treasured plastic container marked "Banana Peels." Not too long after I eat them, those peels end up somewhere around a plant outside--the rose bush, peony bushes, in his turnip patch, wherever he thinks a little bit of fertilizing "oomph" is needed. He even brought in his red pepper plants once the weather turned cold, overdosed them with banana peels, and they've been producing all winter long.

Banana nut bread, banana pudding, plain old bananas---bring 'em on! Today's motto: "Be like a monkey." Happy peeling.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Trouble #1, the five-year-old next door, recently had me create his personal cartoon character and this is how he perceives himself. From the looks of it, you'd think we're living among the cave demons, but he's actually a sweetheart (most of the time) with big brown eyes and more energy than a kid really needs. We are lucky to have the One-Eyed Skateboarding Rock Star (and his dog, Clueless) on our block to protect us from the forces of evil.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


This is my favorite picture, circa mid-1950s, of two of my favorite childhood playmates. Brothers Pat and Jan are the two bookends here; Pat, the cat lover, is a year younger than I am, Jan, the cowboy, a year older. They lived two houses from me on 9th Street, where we played softball games, rode bikes, played hide-n-seek--partners in grime of the third degree.

I most enjoyed climbing trees with them. They had a fun silver maple in their front yard, and out back was a mulberry tree. It provided fat, juicy ammunition for mulberry wars with other neighbor kids. The more red stains on the body, the better. We once declared revenge on an older boy who was visiting his grandfather across the alley. This evil kid had shot and killed a robin with his b-b gun, and then after Pat, Jan, and I had buried the bird and given it the appropriate send-off to heaven, he had the nasty nerve to dig it up! Well, the mulberries were put into service, and that b-b-toting grave robber got his comeuppance. After his pummeling, he never bothered the birds on our turf again! Don't mess with us--or our critters!

I still hear from Pat and Jan periodically. Jan is a lawyer and Pat is, quite ironically, a maker of gravestones--inspired, no doubt, from those days of calamity once upon a time on 9th Street. A little girl couldn't have asked for two better buddies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


From the makers of Sham-Wow comes the latest in handy-dandy products that I just gotta have---Schticky!! My niece Brooke sent me an email yesterday with a video commercial of this lint roller, paper towel, duster, bug exterminator all in one and if it's really real, which I think it is, I'm calling that 1-800 number and getting schticky-with-it as soon as possible.

Hilariously pitched by huckster Vince Offer, Schticky is pretty much the next best thing since electricity and the flush toilet. Not only does it pick up lint and dandruff, it rolls away food crumbs on hubby's bulging tummy--"Schtick it to your husband!" And if you have a "problem with your shedding pussy?" then Schticky will pick up that unwanted cat hair in a single sweep. It works on all kinds of fabrics "any time, any place, on anyone!"

Schticky is coated with a special silicone substance that is "slippery when wet and sticky when dry." And WAIT---Schticky comes in three sizes: besides Schticky, there's Little Schticky, and Big Schticky! All three for only $19.95 (plus shipping and handling). Schticky picks up those dust bunnies under furniture, cobwebs on the ceiling, and best of all, in my house anyway, kitty litter!!! There's even a special brush attachment to dig into carpeting. Why, I'll never have to vacuum again! Of course, I don't vacuum in the first place--Big Bore will never have to vacuum again!

So, although Vince Offer looks and sounds about as honest as an escaped bank-robbing lunatic, I'm going to do as he says and clean my home quickie and buy myself a Schticky--even if it is too good to be true.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Last night the television viewing offerings were truly AMAAAAAAZING!

First off, I suffered through two hours of "The Bachelor." This week's first date was hands-down the most AMAZING date in Bachelor history. Also the most frightening, dizzying, and stomach-wrenching. What gal doesn't want a romantic first date climbing to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, struggling 764-feet skyward on those cables, ready to hurl at any moment?

The show's writers scripted every metaphor possible for Bachelor Ben and Bachelorette Emily to recite during this AMAZING expedition. "Bridges being two things together." "Move forward in our relationship." "Take our relationship to new heights." "Coming together across a bridge of love." "Overcoming challenges will make a stronger unit." Really? Does this mean Ben has a weak unit? AMAZING!

Next, A shirtless Bachelor Ben then went on an AMAZING group date, skiing on man-made snow down a slightly declining San Francisco street with a bevy of babes in bikinis. Of course, none of these bunnies knew the first thing about skiing, and the viewing audience got to see lots of flying butt and AMAZING crotch shots as they teetered along. If the bridge date was a new high in "The Bachelor" history, then this date was a new, X-rated low. I hope someone sanitized the skis once it was over.

Well, since I can't take my eyes off this trainwreck of a show, I got through the rest of the episode in San Francisco--tears, fainting, bitchy surprise houseguest and all. Then it was on to something REALLY AMAZING!!!! The Kansas University Jayhawks vs. the unbeaten Baylor Bears! Now known as the previously-unbeaten Baylor Teddy Bears because the 'Hawks took their game to new heights (borrowing a line from "The Bachelor") and slam dunked the opponent, 92-74! Best team performance of the season, by far. It was such a runaway win that I didn't even have to swallow any tegretol or xanax to get me through it. Now that's AMAZING!

"Rock, chalk and--Put your shoes on!"

Monday, January 16, 2012


Yesterday afternoon Sweet Neighbor Girl came over to "play" two different times. We read aloud an article in the newspaper and then looked through a Ripley's Believe It Or Not book. When I was a kid, Ripley's made little $.25 paperback editions that Brother Beans and I would flip through while passing away time and gas in the bathroom. But now huge tomes are published, with colored pictures of every freak-a-zoid imaginable--the human pin cushion, lizard man, wolf girl, you name it. After Sweet Neighbor Girl shouted "eeeewwwww" about 50 times, I finally told her just to take the book home and read it at her leisure.

But she was back in a few hours--this time with an empty picture frame. I can take a hint, so we went to the computer, opened her photo folder, and she selected a picture to be printed up and put into the frame. One of her with her sister and puppy before the cute little mutt became a certified monster. After that we went outside to re-hang snowflakes that had blown off the snowflake tree (not to be confused with the bottle tree) earlier in the week.

Big Bore was out working in the garage, and when he saw us he brought out a plastic bag and said, "Here's something for you two to have fun with." It was the old Catch Phrase game that I thought I had tossed out the previous Sunday when I'd put the house on a diet and thrown away useless "stuff." Apparently he'd seen it in the trash, retrieved it, and set it aside.

I told Sweet Neighbor Girl how to play the word game, complete with its obnoxious beeper, and she was immediately hooked. I used to have it in my classroom for my sophomores to play if/when we had some free time at the end of the week, and it was always a rousing hit. So SNG and I sat in the grass on this beautiful afternoon and got silly describing words and phrases to each other. When it was time for her to go home, I told her to keep the game. "Catch Phrase it all yours." She was happy to have it and I was happy to get rid of it at last.

But Big Bore was right about giving the game a second life, and I admitted to him that I was wrong. From now on, nothing gets tossed without his full approval. The house diet has ended.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Yesterday I attended the 5th Annual Fredonia High School Class of 1967 Martin Luther King Weekend Luncheon at the Altoona Prairie Nut Hut. The two nuts I'm pictured with above are a psychologist and a bank president. We've been pals since first grade. Actually, the banker and I have known each other since we were barely out of diapers and I have a picture to prove it, although my memory doesn't go back that far.

Twenty classmates and nine relatives were present for the astute affair in a little town that is nine miles east of our hometown. One gal, Lady Kayle, came all the way from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to be there, although we've never been able to convince her to give up her virginity and dig in to a nut sandwich. I told her we should give her a prize for coming the farthest--perhaps a gift certificate for a Hopping Nut Basket--a load of frog legs and mountain oysters for those who just can't get enough of odd fried food. Until she breaks down and goes nutty, she'll never be able to wear an "I had a ball at the Prairie Nut Hut" tee-shirt, something I'm certain she's anxious to add to her wardrobe.

I presented the owner with a framed picture of a class gathering we had at the hut almost 45 years ago. She did a good job faking her excitement. Eight "kids" in the pic were at yesterday's gathering, and I was uber-pleased when some quail hunters at the bar correctly identified me right off the bat. "Great beehive you had there!" one said. "You must have done lots of teasing to get it to look that good." Since I no longer have a lick of vanity, or sense for that matter, I admitted to them that part of it was fake.

Well, anyway, it was fun to see the gang once again and laugh about old times and new aches and pains. Here's to the Class of 1967!!

Friday, January 13, 2012


First there was its caveman in a business suit and now comes the ziplining pig. I have no clue what Geico is selling, but I do know it has the most annoying commercials in the history of television advertising. As if the creepy caveman isn't bad enough, along comes this squealing porker that reminds me of the assailants on "Deliverance." And it won't shut up!!! Even the background speaker person has a slimey voice. Every time a Geico commercial comes on, I either plug my ears, leave the room, or grab for the remote. The only way I would ever make a Geico-related purchase would be if the company was selling Geico-proofing to protect me from its stupid TV ads. Help!!!


Great niece Maddie called the other night with a kitty question, as she considers me to be the world authority on all things feline. After a full-blown discussion on trimming claws, she then got down to bigger business. Gulp. Deep breath. I could sense her hesitation. Here she goes: "Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?"

Good grief! What's the problem? Do dogs have fleas? Does a pig farm stink? Is Newt Gingrich a big, fat, windbag? YES! Of course, I want to buy some Girl Scout cookies! I have long adhered to that famous Great Auntie Motto: "On my honor, I will try to do my duty to God and my country and eat as many Girl Scout cookies as is humanly possible." Amen.

So, I ended up ordering a box each of Thanks-a-lot, Thin Mints, and Shortbread. Maddie was thrilled, although it really wasn't much of an order because.....WAIT!!! Sweet Neighbor Girl is also a scout and she, too, will be going through the same nervewracking sales routine before long. We have to save a little room in the pocketbook and stomach for her and any other little cutie who musters the courage to ring the doorbell and pitch those delicious, over-priced treats.

If you've read this blog in previous years, you know I am an equal opportunity Girl Scout cookie buyer/eater because I was mentally scarred for life when having a bazillion doors slammed in my face during my own cookie-selling days. You don't need to say a word. Just bring over your order form and let's make a deal!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Big Sis, like all good grandmas, likes to talk about her five grandkids, all of whom live within just a few miles of her. Yesterday she had a funny story about five-year-old Boomer, whose turn at kindergarten Show and Tell was earlier this week.

Now, when I was a kid I was simply wild about Show and Tell, and I'd practically wet my pants in anticipation of going before the class to be in the limelight. In fact one time in first grade I developed such a tickle fit while telling some ridiculous story that all my classmates started laughing at me and it just became one big ball of giggling and the exasperated teacher, Mrs. Rankin, finally told me to return to my seat.

So---I was glad to hear that Boomer was putting a lot of thought into what he would do for his Show and Tell performance. Now, mind you, the kid had spent a week of his Christmas vacation in Florida going to every theme park in the Orlando area--Disney World, Epcot Center, Universal Studios, La-La Land, you name it. The family even drove on east to the Atlantic Ocean to beach comb and wade in the water. Boomer had enough souvenirs and stories to last a lifetime.

With that said, Sunday night his nice mama asked him what he wanted to take to school the next day for his turn at Show and Tell. And, according to Big Sis, his answer was--drum roll, please--"Grandpa's beaver stick."

"What in the world is a beaver stick?" I asked. Well, it seems the guy who sells Grandpa firewood has a body of water on his property and in that body of water live a band of beavers. He'd found a piece of wood that had been gnawed on by those busy critters and just threw it in with the load he sold to Grandpa, who then showed it to Boomer. Bam!!! Wow!!! Show and Tell material of the first degree!!! Mama took him to Grandpa's woodpile to retrieve the beaver stick, and all those Florida vacation goodies remained at home, apparently not quality material for Show and Tell Day.

I suppose there is a lesson to be learned here, you know, because some things that seem ho-hum to one person may be impressive to others. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." "One man's trash is another man's treasure." "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." Or a gift beaver, for that matter. We should all look at life through the eyes of a child.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Our Friends of the Library meeting was cancelled Monday night, so I took it upon myself to de-trim the two library Christmas trees by myself yesterday. There's a big, designer tree in the reading room and a smaller, less elaborate one in the community meeting room. Surely I could handle this solo without causing too much damage. "When you hear the tree in the reading room come crashing down, you're in charge of picking me off the floor and calling 9-1-1," I told the assistant library lady.

Actually, the only casualties of the morning were three ornaments. A glass one shattered to smithereens when it fell to the floor, and when a plastic snowflake dropped, one of the six ends snapped off. The poinsettia topper on the big tree was the biggest challenge because it was stuck to the fake pine like glue, and I had a heckuva time removing it. "What blipping genius attached this in the first place?" I asked myself while tippy-toe'ing on the step stool. "Oh, that's right. I did!" So, I worked and worked on it and finally got it removed, but one of the petals came dislodged in the process.

I swept up the busted ornament and took the two fixable ones home for a glue job. Hopefully they will be ready for service again next Christmas. I left the newly-bare trees standing for some big, strong person of the masculine persuasion to return to the library attic. The Flaming Bore doesn't volunteer to pick up objects heavier than a loaf of bread or put together/take apart anything that demands a scintilla of brainwork. Fortunately, being a Friend of the Library doesn't require a lot of muscle or skill--other than knowing how to pick up and operate a glue gun.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


My favorite word in the dictionary--I don't know them ALL, but I know more than the average gumball--is flibbertigibbety. (Middle English, 15th century, from flepergebet, according to Webster). It's the adjective form of that crazy noun flibbertigibbet: "a silly, flighty person." So, whenever you're in goofball mode, you can dazzle your friends by saying, "Man, am I ever feeling flibbertigibbety today!" or if your friends are annoying you, get their attention with, "Quit being so flibbertigibbety!" This word also works as a great substitute for profanity, as in, "That flibbertigibbety toilet has backed up again!" -or- "Oh, flibbertigibbet! I just spilled a gallon of paint all over the cat!" Try out this word on someone today and you're guaranteed to make him or her think you've lost your flibbertigibben' mind--or just gone plain flibbertigibbety. Hooray for words!!

Monday, January 9, 2012


If there is ever an old movie that still rings true after 75 years, MODERN TIMES is it. This one starts out with the Little Tramp working on the assembly line job from hell. Time is money and money is time, and the company he works for spares no expense at driving its workers crazy--"faster, faster." The boss even goes so far as to experiment with an automatic feeding machine that is designed to cut back on the minutes needed for lunch breaks. Finally, our hero has had enough and he's hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.

Once discharged, he's mistakenly arrested for being a communist organizer--and it's just as well because labor unions have forced many businesses to shut down and he's jobless. It's in jail where the Little Tramp is happiest. He has a roof over his head and three square meals a day. Who wouldn't be satisfied? When he serves all his time, he begs to stay.

Left out on the street to fend for himself once more, the Little Tramp befriends a starving teenaged girl by taking the rap for her when she steals a loaf of bread. Long story short, they spend the rest of the movie living in a shack, seeking employment--and when it looks like they have finally secured jobs at a night club, their plans once again go awry. The movie ends with them walking into the sunset (above pic), conveying the idea that life isn't so bad because at least they have each other.

Although this is labeled a comedy, and there ARE a lot of funny scenes, MODERN TIMES is truly a statement about the daily "have and have-not" struggles many people are faced with. When it was made in 1936, silent movies were passe--so Chaplin also seemed to be advocating that we need to return to simpler times. Easier said than done. It was the last silent movie he made.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Last night Big Bore and I took in a few old Charlie Chaplin silent movies on TV. The first one, CITY LIGHTS, circa 1931, was simply brilliant. Charlie's Little Tramp is taking his nightly stroll when he encounters a drunken millionaire about to commit suicide. He saves the man, who rewards his savior with his generous friendship---as long as he is soused. Every time he sobers up the next morning after a wild night of partying together, he is clueless about who the tramp is and has his staff boot him out of his mansion.

Ultimately kinder to the Little Tramp, but entrenched in poverty, is a pretty blind girl who sells flowers on a street corner. He becomes smitten with her and, pretending to be a millionaire by using his part-time friend's automobile and money, woos her. When her grandmother and she are about to become evicted from their apartment, he goes through hell and high water and a jail sentence to save the day. And there's even plenty of money left over from his hijinks to pay for surgery to restore her eyesight. Oh, happy day!

But here is where the Little Tramp's biggest problem begins. What will her reaction be when she sees that her kind benefactor is actually a poor, homely little street bum and not the actual millionaire beau she thought him to be? When "The End" came across the the TV screen, Big Bore and I, who had been laughing out loud throughout most of the movie, were wiping away the tears.

Besides writing, producing, directing, and acting in his silent movies, Charlie Chaplin also composed the music for them. Probably his most famous song is "Smile," the repeated melody in the other movie we saw last night, MODERN TIMES, a comedy/social commentary about economic depression and the struggle to perservere. I know you've heard this song before, and although Chaplin was not the lyricist, the words seems to mirror the spirit of the Little Tramp. "Smile, though your heart is aching. Smile, even though it's breaking....You'll find that life is still worthwhile, If you just smile." And that was the key to Charlie Chaplin's genius.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


An article in this morning's newspaper shouted out at me. "Put your house on a diet," the headline read. Clutter. Get rid of it!

It may sound like an oxymoron, but I consider Big Bore and myself to be organized clutter-ers. We have a lot of "stuff" that is grouped together and consumes practically every empty space in the house. Start with the living room walls---filled with 69 paintings and photographs and even a seascape puzzle glued together and framed. Six trips to Colorado and Arkansas are documented with collages of eight pictures each. Treasures. Can't live without them.

Then there's the cat "stuff" inside the entertainment unit. Book shelves and cabinets filled to the max. Photo albums, at least 40 of them. And plants. Once it turns cold outside, many of them come inside--22 of them at the latest count. There is no room for a dining table in this house because the plants take up all that space.

Big Bore is responsible for cluttering up the kitchen, basement, and garage. Again, it's all organized. Right now he's in the process of building more shelves in the basement. He's pretty much maxed out the shelving in the garage. I know where absolutely nothing is in these three clutter havens, but ask him and he'll go straight to it.

So, after reading this news article I decided to put Casa de la Flaming Bore on the Clutter Diet for today. I went over to the candle area in the living room and immediately tossed out two glass lids that go to candles that are almost used up. Don't need 'em. And guess what? Later in the morning Big Bore confronted me, the two glass lids in his hands.

"Why are you throwing these away?" he asked. I guess he'd been rummaging through the trash.

"The house is on a diet," I said. "We don't have any use for them."

"I do," he protested. Apparently once the candles are used up, he can melt away any leftover wax in the glass container, clean it up, and use it to "store things," like nails. Well, excuse me!!!

Later, he came back into the living room with a plastic plate/bowl I'd removed from an end table and had taken to the kitchen sink to be washed and put away.

"Where did you get this?" he asked.

"It was on the end table not being used. It's part of the fat I'm cutting out with the Clutter Diet."

"Well, I want to put it under this fern," he said. Go for it. Never mind that the fern already had a perfectly fine plate underneath it.

Maybe I'd better sign up the house with Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. I can already tell that the Clutter Diet isn't going to work around here.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Music news bureaus have reminded us today that had the King of Rock 'n Roll not abused his body into an early death when he was just 42, he'd now be 77 years young.

My own history with Elvis dates way back to my grade school years when I watched him on black and white television swiveling his sexy hips on the "Ed Sullivan Show." I was too young to go goofy over him---those days would be reserved for The Beatles in the early 1960s--but my older sibs were fans and had some of his 45s, like "Teddy Bear" and "Blue Suede Shoes."

The first Elvis tune I remember really "digging" was "Can't Help Falling In Love." I was an 8th grader at Teentown dancing cheek-to-cheek with the boyfriend of the week, thinking that swaying together back and forth to this song surely meant that, at age 13, I'd found my one true love for all time. --But in later years I always thought the words "Because I'm So Stupid" should have been added to the end of the song title.

I actually made the crusade to the Presley mansion in Tennessee many years ago. What's it called? Graceland. I had my 13-year-old nephew Brandon with me and we were visiting my old college pal Walter who lived in Memphis at the time. The two guys absolutely refused to pay hard-earned money to hop on a tour bus--maybe $10.00 or so at the time-- and walk through the joint, so I had to settle for peeping through the wrought iron gate. We also perused the Elvis souvenir crap shop across the street from Graceland.

This place had EVERYTHING you can imagine with Elvis's image, in either the skinny blue jeans version or the chunky white, jeweled jumpsuit variety, take your pick. At one point I began laughing at all the crass commercialism, and Walter advised me to put a lid on it since I was at risk of offending the crowds of Elvis-philes. "This is like a religion to some of them," he warned. So, I shut my mouth, opened my billfold, bought a cheap ballpoint pen that contained an Elvis image (jumpsuit) that floated around in some liquid, and left the building.

But--I am sorry that Elvis Presley is not around to celebrate his 77th birthday today and shake along with the rest of us. He would probably be amazed that so many fans, after so many years, still "can't help falling in love" with his music.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Some ditzy Barbie mom in England gave her 7-year-old daughter a Christmas gift that I'm positive none of her classmates received--an $11,000.00 gift certificate for liposuction once she's 18! Yes, just one more sign that the world has gone mad! Whatever happened to little kids getting a bicycle for Christmas?

Lipo Mom would be better off using all the bucks in her bloated wallet to give herself a make-up makeover. Someone needs to tell her that her thick, pink lipstick is totally scary. Of course, maybe the expression on her daughter's face is just a reaction to Mom's appearance. "I can't believe my mother looks like a tramp and is making me wear false eyelashes!" Having Lipo Mom for your mother must really suck.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Once again I'm participating in the Coaches for Cancer 3-point fund-raiser. For every 3-point swisher made by a KU basketball player, I'm pledging 25-cents. Hopefully, by the end of the season, I'll have close to a $100.00 donation. And this year, thanks to Big Sis, I have an official Jayhawk piggy bank in which to deposit my pledge money! So far, I have $20.50 stashed away.

The 'Hawks open conference play tonight against K-State. Here's hoping for a victory and a pig-full of 3-pointers to come.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


(WARNING: Do not read the following blog if your stomach is weak.)

I had planned to make a New Year's Resolution about keeping my house cleaner until I watched "Hoarders: Buried Alive" the other night on television. This was absolutely, hands down, the worst mess I've ever seen on this show--and there have been some doozies.

Living in the squalor was Sherry and her two teenaged children. Dad had gotten fed up and moved out. Sherry's excuse for never throwing away a single piece of trash in probably 10 years or more and just hanging out in an easy chair on the patio all day was that she's diabetic. Therefore, she left all her used insulin needles, hundreds of them, on the floor with the rest of the crap. In the master suite bathroom, she had a three-foot stack of used sanitary napkins, toilet paper, etc. piled in one corner. Lovely. I cannot even begin to describe the toilet stool or the inside of the refrigerator. There are no printable words.

But the worst thing about this house was the uber-infestation of German cockroaches. They were EVERYWHERE!!! A population explosion of magnanimous proportions. Remember the Alfred Hitchcock horror flick THE BIRDS? Well, replace the birds with German cockroaches, and you pretty much have Sherry's house.

When two insect exterminators bravely entered the home to inspect "the problem," which included nests of black widow spiders, they were so freaked out that they called in a Hazardous Materials team for clean-up. Then Sherry became so pissed off when a professional organizer told her the place was a danger to her and her children that she refused to help out ...and lay on her bed pouting while the Haz-Mat'ers worked around her.

Now, I, The Flaming Bore, would have just taken a torch to the place and watched the cockroaches and Sherry go up in flames, but the dear folks trying to come to her rescue worked for six weeks and finally declared it fit for human occupancy.

Aftering uttering, "Oh, my god!" in disbelief over and over again during this program, I've decided to drop the housecleaning resolution. I can live with a little bit of cat fuzz and dust and newspapers spread out on the coffee table. Compared to Sherry, I'm a neat freak! I want to thank The Learning Channel for teaching me that I don't have to waste any extra time trying to keep my house clean. It looks just fine. But if a single German cockroach ever decides to take up residency at Casa de la Flaming Bore, I'm declaring war!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Here's the South Park version of The Flaming Bore back in college. Funny, but Big Bore says this picture looks pretty much like him at the same age. Critter says: "Long live flower power...and tabby cats!"

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Resolution #1 for 2012: organize my socks drawer!!!! It is a total wreck..single socks just thrown in haphazardly, nothing paired. And what gets me is that when I remove them from the clothes dryer, I actually DO partner them together. I think some evil sock attacker enters the drawer at night to separate them. I waste more time trying to find a match-up every morning. So today, right now, I will venture into the bedroom and get those socks in order. AND I resolve to keep them that way the ENTIRE year!(Geesh, I hope I haven't pushed myself too much to aim for the impossible.)