Monday, March 31, 2008


Friend Of Moms, aka FOMS
I was having coffee the other day with my friend and co blogger, and her adorable little toddler. I enjoy having coffee with the two of them. We talked about the upcoming one hour lights off, the depleting rain forests and just how the heck a bunch of math majors allowed the sub prime mortgage fiasco. And that was my discussion with adorable, toddler child. Mom and I talked Lilly, Petunia Picklebottom and a few, vague recollections of what life was like when we were young and single.

But back to adorable, toddler child and me. She drew me her opinion as to how the sub prime mortgage fiasco began. She had two large circles and a third, smaller one that she connected with a bunch of eratic lines. I agreed. Greedy lender and greedy brokers obviously were represented by the larger circles, with the smaller circle representing the guy that desperately wants a home but can't really afford the house he wants, unless the two big greedy circles convince him that he can - for a brief time. Then the eratic lines appear when the rates jump to near usery levels. Now, this adorable, toddler child is the product of a very intelligent gene pool so I am not surprised that she grasped the whole mess and was able to convey it so precisely in such short order. But I suddenly became very aware that this child was very comfortable sharing her opinions with me. After all, this was a potentially dicey political subject and she didn't really know my right or left leanings. She just trusted that she could have this discussion with me.

That's when I started to wonder if our relationship would continue on this trusting journey as she and I grew older. Would she confide in me which boys in her class she thought were the cutest? Or maybe she'd seek my counsel on how to tell her Dad that she might not want to be a Nittany Lyon. Maybe she'd ask my advice on some things she didn't feel quite comfortable talking to her Mom and Dad about. Afterall, we all know that when we were teenagers our parents didn't know anything. But did our Mom's friends know anything?

What kind of Friend of Mom will I be? I hope that I am the kind that can support my friend and her adorable, toddler child. (Even when this child is seventeen, she will still be an adorable, toddler child to me) As I get closer to bringing my own adorable, toddler child home to parent, I hope that my friends will do the same for me. I don't know if this is the Village it takes, but I do find comfort in the thought that a Friend of Mom may be there to fill in the cracks so that no adorable, toddler child falls through them.

Schmaltzy? Oh yeah. But keep in mind I was drinking mocha java.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Blog?

My Darling Husband (I'm spelling that out because he thinks that when I am referring to him as DH I am calling him a Dick Head...hmmmm....), okay, my DH and our CPA have been plotting against me and I feel that I have no choice but to command a meeting with the four of us. Me, DH, CPA and someone from the IRS to mediate.

This all started awhile back. Early February to be exact (sort of), about the same time that I started writing this blog. Initially, DH supported my every post. He thought it gave me a great outlet for my pent up, frustrated creative energies (or not). He coaxed me to 'go on upstairs and write something on your blog'. 'Thats funny, babe. Good writing, go write more', he would say as I'd stir him from a sound sleep in front of the TV to read him my latest post. I think he got a kick out of being the subject of many of my posts. Afterall, I'm sure he thought, no body reads my blog except a few of my friends who have no choice to read it because I quiz them on the contents. But as with most men, DH has a few disconnected wires in his reasoning, and it did not occurr to him that some of my friends are married to some of his friends.

Enter DH's friend and CPA and new reader of this blog. CPA apparrantly loved this blog, at first. Afterall, there were some funny anecdotes about DH. Guys LOVE funny anecdotes about their friends. And DH seemed to like the friendly ribbing he'd get from CPA about these anecdotes. I was sure that CPA was looking forward to seeing me in person to compliment me on my new venture. Afterall, he is our accountant and would, I was sure, have some advice on how I could retire on the $1.22 I earn every few days from this blog.

I couldn't wait to meet with him. CPA that is. We have met, often. He was in our wedding party, afterall. But I couldn't wait to meet with CPA in a >
professional, business person type of a meeting. Well, you can immagine my dissappointment when DH refused to include me in our annual tax meeting with CPA. I'd been prompting and prompting (yeah, yeah, nagging and nagging) DH to make that appointment with CPA. I was stunned last week when DH said "I made it already. I already met with him".

Met with him!!! Met with CPA withoutme!!

"But I need to be there to explain all of my paperwork!" I stomp my foot for emphasis.

"You stapled detailed notes to each peice of paperwork, including your W2 forms." DH replies with a condescending tone. "though," he adds, "I am sure that he doesn't need these notes. I'm pretty sure he recognized a W2 form".

"But -" I continue.

I get the hand. THE HAND! Am I married to Oprah now?!? I really start to stomp around now. "I had things I needed to discuss!!!" "I had to explain my goodwill reciepts!!!" "I needed to point out the receipts to charities!!!" "I needed to talk to him about my blog!!!"

I got the hand again. DH looked down in silence.

The blog. I knew instantly there was something going on with the blog. My heart skipped a beat and I held my breath, fearing the worst. No, no - please don't tell me there is a problem with my blog. More silence.

And then DH spoke: "He's afraid to meet with you because he's afraid he'll end up on your blog."

(Well thats just the silliest thing I've ever head)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Danger Is My Middle Name

A Boy Named Sue, and a Theory of Names
Published: March 11, 2008
During his 1969 concert at San Quentin prison, Johnny Cash proposed a paradigm shift in the field of developmental psychology. He used “A Boy Named Sue” to present two hypotheses:
1. A child with an awful name might grow up to be a
relatively normal adult.
2. The parent who inflicted the name does not deserve to be executed.
I immediately welcomed the Boy Named Sue paradigm, although I realized that I might be biased by my middle name (Marion). Cash and his ambiguously named male collaborator, the lyricist Shel Silverstein, could offer only anecdotal evidence against decades of research suggesting that children with weird names were destined for places like San Quentin.
Studies showed that children with odd names got worse grades and were less popular than other classmates in elementary school. In college they were more likely to flunk out or become “psychoneurotic.” Prospective bosses spurned their résumés. They were overrepresented among emotionally disturbed children and psychiatric patients.
Some of these mental problems might have been genetic — what kind of parent picks a name like Golden Rule or Mary Mee? — but it was still bad news.
Today, though, the case for Mr. Cash’s theory looks much stronger, and I say this even after learning about Emma Royd and Post Office in a new book, “Bad Baby Names,” by Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback.
By scouring census records from 1790 to 1930, Mr. Sherrod and Mr. Rayback discovered Garage Empty, Hysteria Johnson, King Arthur, Infinity Hubbard, Please Cope, Major Slaughter, Helen Troy, several Satans and a host of colleagues to the famed Ima Hogg (including Ima Pigg, Ima Muskrat, Ima Nut and Ima Hooker).
The authors also interviewed adults today who had survived names like Candy Stohr, Cash Guy, Mary Christmas, River Jordan and Rasp Berry. All of them, even Happy Day, seemed untraumatized.
“They were very proud of their names, almost overly proud,” Mr. Sherrod said. “We asked if that was a reaction to getting pummeled when they were little, but they said they didn’t get that much ribbing. They did get a little tired of hearing the same jokes, but they liked having an unusual name because it made them stand out.”
Not too much ribbing? That surprised me, because I had vivid memories of playground serenades to my middle name: “Marion . . . Madam Librarian!” (My tormentors didn’t care that the “Music Man” librarian spelled her name with an “a.”) But after I looked at experiments in the post-Sue era by revisionists like Kenneth Steele and Wayne Hensley, it seemed names weren’t so important after all.
When people were asked to rate the physical attractiveness and character of someone in a photograph, it didn’t matter much if that someone was assigned an “undesirable” name. Once people could see a face, they rated an Oswald, Myron, Harriet or Hazel about the same as a face with a “desirable” name like David, Gregory, Jennifer or Christine.
Other researchers found that children with unusual names were more likely to have poorer and less educated parents, handicaps that explained their problems in school. Martin Ford and other psychologists reported, after controlling for race and ethnicity, that children with unusual names did as well as others in school. The economists Roland Fryer and Steven Levitt reached a similar conclusion after controlling for socioeconomic variables in a study of black children with distinctive names.
“Names only have a significant influence when that is the only thing you know about the person,” said Dr. Ford, a developmental psychologist at George Mason University. “Add a picture, and the impact of the name recedes. Add information about personality, motivation and ability, and the impact of the name shrinks to minimal significance.”
But even if a bad name doesn’t doom a child, why would any parent christen an infant Ogre? Mr. Sherrod found several of them, along with children named Ghoul, Gorgon, Medusa, Hades, Lucifer and every deadly sin except Gluttony (his favorite was Wrath Gordon).
You can sort of understand parents’ affection for the sound of Chimera Griffin, but Monster Moor and Goblin Fester? Or Cheese Ceaser and Leper Priest? What provokes current celebrities to name their children Sage Moonblood Stallone and Speck Wildhorse Mellencamp?

“Today it’s all about individuality,” Mr. Sherrod said. “In the past, there was more of a sense of humor, probably because fathers had more say in the names.” He said the waning influence of fathers might explain why there are no longer so many names like Nice Deal, Butcher Baker, Lotta Beers and Good Bye, although some dads still try.
“I can’t tell you,” Mr. Sherrod said, “how often I’ve heard guys who wanted their kid to be able to say truthfully, ‘Danger is my middle name.’ But their wives absolutely refused.”
Is it possible — I’m trying to be kind to these humor-challenged fathers — that they think Danger would be a character-building experience? Could there be anything to the paternal rationale offered in Johnny Cash’s song, the one that stopped Sue from killing his father: “I knew you’d have to get tough or die, and it’s the name that helped to make you strong”?
I sought an answer from Cleveland Kent Evans — not because he might have gotten into fights defending Cleveland, but because he’s a psychologist and past president of the American Names Society. Dr. Evans, a professor at Bellevue University in Nebraska, said there is evidence for the character-building theory from psychologists like Richard Zweigenhaft, but it doesn’t work exactly as Sue’s father imagined it.
“Researchers have studied men with cross-gender names like Leslie,” Dr. Evans explained. “They haven’t found anything negative — no psychological or social problems — or any correlations with either masculinity or effeminacy. But they have found one major positive factor: a better sense of self-control. It’s not that you fight more, but that you learn how to let stuff roll off your back.”
After hearing that, I began to reconsider my own name. Although I’d never shared Sue’s Oedipal impulse — I realized my father couldn’t have anticipated “Music Man” — I’d never appreciated those playground serenades, either. But maybe they served some purpose after all. So today, to celebrate the Boy Named Sue paradigm shift, I’m using my middle name in my byline for the first time.
Also for the last time. As Sue realized when it came time to name his own son, you can take a theory only so far.
"Bad Baby Names." Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback. Ancestry Publishing, 2008.
"First Names and First Impressions: A Fragile Relationship." K.M. Steele, L.E. Smithwick. Sex Roles, 1989.
"The Effect of First Names on Perceptions of Female Attractiveness." W.E. Hensley, B.A. Spencer. Sex Roles, 1985.
"The Psychological impact of names."R.L. Zweigenhaft, K.N. Hayes, C.H. Haagen. Journal of Social Psychology, 1980.
"A Boy Named Sue." Shel Silverstein.

Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Husbands, Labels and the Family Dog

Men go thru an amazing transformation when they get married. They forget how to do laundry, loose their way to the grocery store and become unable to read the labels on common household grocery items. It’s true. My husband, for instance (because as you know, my poor, long suffering husband is the be all and end all of examples) hasn’t done actual laundry in 2 years. Now, he lived on his own for about 10 years before we married, and I knew him for most of that time. And in all that time, I never saw (or smelled) him wearing dirty clothing and I know he wasn’t out buying new stuff every other day. Somehow it was getting cleaned, and judging by the clothes washer & dryer and laundry detergent in his condo, I have a good feeling he was doing his laundry.

I also saw food in his refrigerator when he lived on his own. Real stuff, not just take out and restaurant left overs. But now, it’s a different story. Now he leaves me little lists, or if I’m out doing errands – and he’s half a block from the Guenardi’s – he calls me on my cell phone to tell me “what else I need to pick up at the store.” In many ways I prefer this arrangement, because, as you’ll see, my DH’s ability to choose appropriate grocery items is somewhat lacking, and deteriorating quickly. No, I’m not just referring to the time he brought home a box of macaroni and cheese, 2 lobster tails and a can of chopped clams and proudly placed them before me so that I could make dinner.

I couldn’t be mad at a guy who thought lobster tails were a quick take out meal. Besides, he looked so cute in his clean college sweatshirt (thanx to me) and shiny, thick, lustrous, healthy, blonde hair. Later that same night I decided to give the dog a bath. Now, our shower has a nice sized tile ledge surrounding it. I like to keep the shampoos down at the far end. I keep the dogs shampoo close by and if you’ve guessed where this post is going by now, you’re right. Yes, I saw that the big bottle of blue Shampoo and Conditioner In One that I had recently purchased for the pooch was now half empty. If you’ve met my dog, you know he doesn’t get bathed that frequently. There was, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, only one logical explanation.

“Honey!” I called DH.

“Yes, dear,” his obedient reply.

“What shampoo have you been using?” me.

“That blue stuff. It’s really good, where’d you get it?” DH.

“Petsmart.” I reply. “It’s the dog’s shampoo.”

He runs upstairs immediately. “But it says ‘Shampoo and Conditioner in One’.” And he points to the label.

I just continued staring at him in disbelief. “And under that?” I finally say.

“Oh. For Dogs.”

Biolage Shampoo: $16.99
Biolage Conditioner: $18.99
Dog’s shampoo/conditioner in One: $6.00
Husband uses dog’s shampoo/conditioner: PRICELESS.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I've been perusing the ads on craigslist, looking for potential baby sitters, nanny's or a combination of the two. It's hard to look at other people's advertisements - their discription of the perfect job for them, and not think about how I could find my own "perfect job". I've got a few in mind. One of the following just may end up on craigslist or

I am an educated (college plus 3) professional, experienced in court room drama, research, writing, negotiating and some (minor) computer skills looking for work as a person who sits at a table in a cafe, reading magazine's, drinking coffee and commenting on the world in general. I am intelligent, personable and verbose, and promise much witty banter. If there is a subject that I must comment upon that I have no earthly idea about, I am diligent enough to just wing it and make stuff up.
Prefer hours between 10:30 am and 3:00 pm. Rates negotiable but must be 6 figure salary.

Professional experienced in research, writing and big fan of Matt Lauer and HGTV available to watch your television for you and leave you a note telling you what you missed. Avaliable Monday thru Friday, mid day only.

I'll write posts on your site for big $$. If I do not know the subject matter, I'll read someone elses blog and then add a few one liners of my own and post that. Blogging rates negotiable.

Monday, March 3, 2008


No, not me yet (I'm gonna see how many years I can hold at 40). My friend (to protect the names of the innocent, and of my friend, lets just call her Georgia) is turning 45 and saying "I'm old now". But isn't age just a number? Okay, maybe not if you are a health professional, a model, an actress, a professional wresler, etc. etc....But it is a number!!!

We women seem to find these ages that begin with a "4" very, shall we say, uncomfortable. What do we do now? Can we still wear our little mini skirts and Jimmy Choo's? How 'bout long hair? Can we still have wild, long hair? Do we have to put down our Appletini's and learn to play bunko? Is it time to be a grown up and stop the 'just getting started' phase?

I think not!!

Just look who else is a "4" something. Christie Brinkley. She gave birth - twice - in her forties. She got rid of a jerk and looks fabulous. Andie McDowell! Another fabulous fortysomething, who also had a baby in her forties. Cheryl Crow!! Still rockin' both on stage and in her (adopted) infants nursery. Demi Moore - well, maybe a bit too freekish to make my point. My point being that women in their forties can be as sexy, young and fabulous as they want to be because by this point in their life they have the confidence to do anything they want.

A classic example of a woman who has everything and is in her forties is (drum roll please) Barbie! Yes, my friend 'Georgia' shares not just a number "4", but a zodiac sign with Barbara Millicent Roberts. Barbie was born on March 9th, 1959. And talk about accomplished, she's held more careers in her short 48 years than anyone else I know. She's been a model, fashion designer, tennis star, figure skater, veterinarian, nurse, teacher, nascar driver - she was even a contestant on American Idol. She is definetly not afraid to 'just get started'.

Barbie has also weathered more lawsuites than most pharmacutical companies. She's been accused of discrimination, of anti Islamic beliefs and of promoting anorexia (that last one has some validity. In 1965, Slumber Party Barbie came with a book on how to loose weight that said 'don't eat'). One might wonder, given her fifty some careers, why she never went to law school?

And then there's the issue of never been married. Barbie began her romance with Ken when she was a toddler (1961). She's bought countless wedding gowns, but he never actually married her. Being a liberated woman, in 2004 she finally kicked him to the curb. But then she took the dud back. Probably because no other plastic, anatomically incorrect dolls came knocking at her many doors.

She's 48 and has no grey hair, no wrinkles, no need for botox and she still has a 36 - 18 - 33 frame (that courtesy of research conducted at the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland. No, I'm not making that up!)

She's got a little sister, a lot of best friends, about 40 pets....but, Georgia, guess what Barbie does not have. A baby (probably because she lacks the 17 - 22% body fat required to mensturate, and therefore would be unable to get pregnant - also courtesy of University Central Hospital). So, while it's nice to know that we "40" somethings are in good company, it's also nice to know that we're better off than the more famous fortysomethings.

Ah yes, have a HAPPY birthday.

Sunday, March 2, 2008



The U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers!).

However, let it be noted that according to her ship's log, "On July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and
men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum."

Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping."

Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum.

Then she headed for the Azores , arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.

On 18 November, she set sail for England In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each.

By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland . Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of
single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.

The U.S.S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February,
1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whisky, and 38,600 gallons of water.