battling Christmas decoraphobia

November 30, 2010 § 2 Comments

a massive accomplishment last Christmas

I recently diagnosed myself with severe Christmas Decoraphobia Syndrome. I have so much trouble decorating for Christmas. Not sure why— is it laziness or  lack of interest? I appreciate beautiful decorations, I really do, but putting up a Christmas tree and figuring out what to put where, overwhelms me.

Christmas arrives too quick and departs too quick. That’s my problem with Christmas. That’s my problem with everything.

My other problem that makes Christmas difficult is that I am NOT organized for the season, or any season for that matter. I know I will start decorating and will want a certain something that I know I have, in a box, somewhere in a box. But what box? Where’s the box? That might be it… open it, dig to the bottom, no that’s not it. Maybe it’s in the plastic bin underneath those 3 boxes, dig dig dig.. nope. Oh there it is, sitting on the shelf on the other side of the room. The storage room is now becoming a massive chaotic mess, as I feverishly am searching and various box contents are now strewn about the floor. I don’t want to put anything back, I may need it — now at least I can see some of the stuff I have.

The absolute most dreadful task though is taking the decorations down. Who wants to do that? They never fit in the boxes the way you want them to. And what about all the breakable stuff that has to be carefully wrapped and packed away just so? I just put up all this stuff, now I have to put it all away? What a horrid way to spend a day. The awful chore of dismantling the decor is enough to convince me not to do any decorating at all.

My mother-in-law has the right idea. A pre-decorated tree that never gets undressed. She simply throws a sheet over it and it gets hauled to the basement fully decorated. Could I possibly get away with that? Maybe I could securely tie all of my ornaments on somehow and try it. I wish my house could be built with a trap door underneath my Chrismas tree and I could simply lower and raise it as needed.

Enough procrastinating. I must go. I have to find all my ornaments. I have a tree to assemble and then decorate. I have to dig in a billion boxes and plastic bins in order to produce a massive pre-Christmas mess.  Or maybe not. Merry Christmas.


the magic 8-ball

November 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

Picture of the face of a magic 8-ball taken by...

The Magic 8-Ball

Many years ago, as a kid, I was fascinated by a toy made by Mattel called the magic 8-ball. I never owned one, which is probably what made it extra mysterious and magical to me. The toy is just a black,  hard plastic ball and inside is a type of magical watery liquid. To play, you ask the magic 8-ball a YES/NO question and wait for an answer to float to the surface and appear in a little window.

I was describing my memory of the delightful fortune-telling toy during Thanksgiving dessert yesterday and my niece, now a college junior, smiled brightly, saying ” I have one of those–I still have it, it’s in my bedroom!” She jumped up and quickly retrieved the beloved toy.

We had a wonderful and wacky time passing around the 8-ball. Silly questions (some could even be deemed controversial) were asked of the plastic ball and we laughed at its responses. Many topics were covered—we learned way too much about each other’s personal lives, we learned the results of future presidential elections as well as the employment outlook for the State.

What is it about this toy that compelled my niece to hold on to it? I was intrigued that she not only still had it, but that she had it handy, readily accessible, not tucked away in a box with long-forgotten childhood treasures. What is it about this toy that made me think of  it decades later?

Could it be the deep inner fascination we all have with those that claim to predict the future, with fortune telling, horoscopes and psychics? Of course no one believes in horoscopes, but we sure like to glance at the obscure text that faithfully appears in our Sunday newspaper or favorite magazine– ‘cause you just never know…maybe there’s something to it…

I think it’s much simpler than all that. The magic 8-ball is fun—easy to play, no batteries to fuss with, no assembly required, no directions to decipher. It makes you smile. Like magic. Simple as that.

dancing with the so-called stars

November 22, 2010 § 2 Comments

I just don’t get it…

I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars. Maybe I am the only one in the country that just doesn’t find it all that interesting regardless of who is dancing. I have glanced at it a few times as I flip channels, but it just never caught much of my attention. It’s just another copycat show where people appear to compete, but in reality they just get voted on by viewers sitting at home thinking they are making some sort of contribution by casting a vote. If you are really into it, you can have text alerts sent to your PDA/cellphone so you can have constant Dancing with the So-Called Stars updates—do people actually do this?

The only REALISTIC thing about this ridiculous show is how SERIOUSLY it is taken by many of its viewers…! Some horribly distraught 67-yr old Wisconsin guy shot up his TV and a swat team had to be deployed because he didn’t care for the fact that Bristol Palin was appearing on the show. The genius eventually aimed the gun at his wife, thankfully she was unharmed. More recently,  a mysterious envelope was sent to ABC studios in Los Angeles addressed to Palin. It contained a white substance that immediately had to be investigated. After God-knows how much tax payer money was spent, the substance was evaluated and ended up being talcum power. What was the point of that? Thank you to the bonehead who found it necessary to spend taxpayer money as well as LAPD and FBI resources on that sophomoric stunt, all because of a stupid TV show.

What’s happening to the people in the US? Are lives of Americans so darn uninteresting and nonproductive that its become serious spare time priority to watch so-called reality shows and assume there’s some sort of relevance and meaning to them? I hate to break it to you folks, but that program is not about talent, it’s about getting you to watch and getting sponsors for advertising dollars. That all translates into revenue, which further translates into profit dollars.

If you don’t like who’s on the stupid show, turn it off. Simple as that. Don’t watch it, watch something else, something inspiring, maybe something educational or historic. Read a book. If you are feeling really daring, do something horribly useful and productive like exercise or get off your tattered rear and help someone in need.

It’s pretty basic, if something upsets you, don’t do it anymore–that’s why I stay away from TV news and political opinion shows. I’d rather watch Dancing with the Stars

who wants to be Queen

November 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Kate Middleton at the Garter Procession (with ...

Kate Middleton with large sombrero / via Wikipedia

I must admit, I didn’t know who Kate Middleton was until the official royal announcement hit the media earlier this week. Being curious, I looked her up on the internet as I had no idea what she looked like. Her looks, sadly, are probably the most important component considering the relentless paparazzi and the fact that we will be seeing billions and billions of photos of her from now on.

For some reason, Americans are dazzled by this royal stuff—maybe it’s because of the fairy tales we listened to as kids. Maybe it’s because we don’t have a royal family in America (oh forgive me, we do have Angelina and Brad).

Who would want to be Queen? If I swam in the same waters as those prince boys, I would do everything in my power to not be noticed. I’d stay as far away as possible.

  1. Who would want to marry into that family? Their track record for marriage is certainly not impressive. Three of the Queen’s four children–DIVORCED; (The Queen herself has managed to stay married for over 60 years, not quite sure how–her sister certainly couldn’t).
  2. Who would want to be controlled by the royal machine: told what to wear, when to wear it, how to act, what to eat, how to walk, where to be and when to be there?
  3. Who would want to be photographed CONSTANTLY? You’d never know what image of you is going to show up in horrid gossip papers.
  4. Who would want to be chased by the paparazzi, as evidenced by the tragic outcome that produced for Diana.
  5. Who would want that bratty, spoiled brother-in-law that thinks its cute and classy to wear nazi swastikas at Halloween parties?
  6. Then there’s always that evil eye of GRANDMA glaring at you…waiting for you to make a mistake, a royal mistake.

Kate, I hope you possess “the right stuff” to be in constant critique of the world as to what you’re wearing, how you are looking in it, and all the predictions on when you will produce offspring. I can only imagine that you will be compared endlessly to your beloved late mother-in-law and that’s gonna be a tough act to follow. I hope you are much happier than she was.

Best of luck to you—I hope you come out of this reasonably unscathed. You can always come to America if it doesn’t work out–maybe become a spokesperson for a weightloss program or have your own reality show. Maybe a reality show is out of the question— you are going to have more than enough reality for anyone’s lifetime.

meeting a screen star

November 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

Adam West at the Comic Con

I like, no make that love, the 1960s batman TV series. I absolutely loved it back then and I still love it now. As a little kid, I watched Batman, Robin, and sometime even Alfred get into countless horrifying predicaments. I took the show very seriously and was mortified when at the end of an episode one of my heroes was left to die, strapped to an oversized slicing machine, with the massive blade slowly swinging toward its victim. Or, I had to watch as my hero was left dangling above a bubbling, boiling pool of God-knows-what. I do have to admit, I always wondered where the villains procured their large mechanical killing apparatuses. Each villian had their own unique and theme-appropriate killing machine assembled and ready to go.

Bruce Wayne and/or Batman was the ultimate in smooth class. I couldn’t imagine anyone more polite, more classy, more refined.

I especially was impressed with the Batmobile and thought someday I should probably own one. The closest I came was getting my picture taken as I sat behind the wheel of a batmobile knockoff that some fan created from a kit.

The batcave was a label maker’s dream—every dial and lever of the bat computer was clearly labeled as was the computer itself. (And they didn’t even have the Brother P-touch back then). Even the bat poles were labeled (one marked Bruce and one marked Dick). I never understood why the poles needed labels–maybe it was so Alfred didn’t mistakenly use them. Alfred was able to get to the batcave some other way–not sure how, he would just walk in there somehow. The best feature of the bat poles was their ability to outfit you appropriately as you were sliding down (guess that’s why Bruce and Dick had to make sure they used the correct pole). I just couldn’t imagine how Batman and Robin ended up dressed and ready for work by the time they hit the floor. And what happened to the street clothes they were wearing? I thought maybe Alfred was secretly hidden on a platform somewhere in the pole area, caught them as they were halfway down, dressed them in their costumes, then pushed them to the bottom. Just a thought.

Just a few years ago, I finally met Bruce Wayne, aka Adam West. I paid a few bucks to get in, stood in line and anxiously waited my turn to get his autograph at a local Comic Con. (He looked pretty good for a guy about to taste 80, I might add).

It’s finally my turn up there and I get near my hero and he’s… well…, bored and uninterested. Simple as that. He hardly even looked up at me. He couldn’t even string a few words together to respond to my compliment. I realize that appearing at comic book conventions, signing memorabilia and selling photographs is not super stimulating and maybe even a bit degrading for a once-dashing Hollywood actor, but it’s not a horrible gig either. There are worse ways to spend a weekend.

There’s a happy ending to my story. At that same convention, I had the opportunity to meet Batgirl- Yvonne Craig, catwomen- Lee Meriwether and Julie Newmar as well as Robin- Burt Ward. It was a batman-lover’s dream. Those actors were a joy to interact with—they were friendly, engaging, and funny. They actually seemed to enjoy taking part and were happy to talk about the TV series. Burt Ward even asked me a question or two. It was thrilling to have the whole family of characters assembled in the same room, intriguing to see how they had changed over 40 years.

Batman– you were the most important star of the show way back then, but decades of sparkle faded fast for me that day. Next time, stay home. Holy Disappointment.

I gotta secret

November 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

Soon it will be Thanksgiving and what is so special about Thanksgiving? Well, it is an AMERICAN Holiday..truly 100% American. It originated in America, we think the first one happened around 1621 when Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered together to celebrate a successful harvest.

However, the very first national day of Thanksgiving was held in 1789, when President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, November 26 to be “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer,” to give thanks for the opportunity to form a new nation and the establishment of a new constitution.

And as President Lincoln so eloquently proclaimed in 1863, “It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

I will now tell you the best part about Thanksgiving, but you must promise not to tell anybody. Ok. Ready? First a question: Thanksgiving is a holiday where we extend thanks and prayers…, but to who? …hmmmm, who could that be? We are thanking GOD….yes GOD! There I said it. Can we still honor and thank God in the United States without offending anyone? We need to keep that a secret however, because once it gets out, we won’t be able to celebrate it or have the day off from work anymore.

getting more efficiency out of women

November 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

Pearl Harbor widows have gone into war work to...

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of  Mass Transportation Magazine. This was written by L. H. Sanders and intended to be read by male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II . Sometimes it seems they are speaking about horses and not human beings. I personally enjoy the author’s use of the words: cantankerous & fussy, pep and husky. I have to say #6 is probably my favorite…

Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees
There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from Western Properties:

  • 1. If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they’re less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it — maybe a sick husband or one who’s in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
  • 2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
  • 3. While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that “husky” girls — those who are just a little on the heavy side — are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
  • 4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination — one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.
  • 5. In breaking in women who haven’t previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time — the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
  • 6. Give the female employee in the garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
  • 7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they’re happier with change.
  • 8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
  • 9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman—it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.
  • 10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.
  • 11. Get enough size variety in operator uniforms that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too strongly as a means of keeping women happy, according to Western Properties.

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