Monday, November 16, 2009

Press Two For English

I came to America and is English still the national language? Seems like everywhere I call, some computer type voice answers and tells me to press one for English!

Good grief.

I expected and encountered this sometimes overseas, where people from various countries may be reaching the same call center, but in America?

Are these calls actually being routed overseas and they have no idea who is calling so therefore they have to give us a list of languages? Are Americans no longer expected to be able to speak English? I thought that's why Puerto Ricans get English classes at school, because they are Americans and should at least know the language of the mother country, even if they do continue to speak only Spanish out of cultural pride.

Why not expand on this whole language concept? Here's Dear Miss Mermaid's take on it:

You have reached out automated dis-service:
Press One if you're Lonely
Press Two for English
Para Espanol, Oprima Numero Tres
Slap dat Fo' fo' Ebonics or ax fo' da brutha or sista
Press Five for Southern and if ya fixin' to hang up, ya'll come back, ya hear?
Press Six for sign language, if you are deaf
Press Seven if you're lucky
Press Eight for braille
Press Nine if you are mute
Press Zero if you have Alzheimer's
Press Ten if you are Blond
Press Pound for a game of Tic-Tac-Toe while you wait
Press Four Twenty if you are stoned (and forgot why you called)
Pres Six Six Six for the devil
Press Star to curse the system
Press Sixty-Nine for Sex
Press Eighty-Six if you are out of it
Press N.O. for Cajun Music while you wait
Press Nine One One if this phone system is killing you
Press Bubba for Rednecks and don't be pressin' no more numbas or dis phone whip your ass
To hear this recording again; hang up and redial...

Speaking of Manners...

During one of her daily classes, a teacher trying to teach good manners, asked her students the following question:

" Michael, if you were on a date having dinner witha nice young lady, how would you tell her that you have to go to the bathroom?"

Michael said: "Just a minute, I have to go pee."

The teacher responded saying: " That would be rude and impolite. What about you Sherman, how would you say it?"

Sherman said: " I am sorry, but I really need to go to the bathroom. I'll be right back."

" That's better, but it's still not very nice to say the word bathroom at the dinner table"

" And you, little Johnny, can you use your brain for once and show us your good manners?"

Johnny said: " I would say....Darling, may I please be excused for a moment? I have to shake hands with a very dear friend of mine, whom I hope to introduce you to after dinner."

Speaking of Heaven... (this story was told to me)

I was testing the children in my Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven.

I asked them, 'If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church;

Would that get me into Heaven?'

'NO!' the children answered.

'If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?'

Again, the answer was, 'NO!'

By now I was starting to smile.

Hey, this was fun!

'Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?'

I asked them again.

Again, they all answered, 'NO!'

I was just bursting with pride for them.

'Well,' I continued, 'then how can I get into Heaven?'
A five-year-old boy shouted out,


The American Medical Association has weighed in on the new Universal
Health Plan.

Allergists voted to scratch it, but
the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.
The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but
the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.
The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.
Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.
Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while
the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!'
The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while
the Radiologists could see right through it.
Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.
The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and
the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."
The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but
the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.
The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and
the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.
In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington.

And Now for Today's Naughty Joke...

A chicken farmer went to a local bar, sat next to a woman and ordered a glass of champagne.

The woman perked up and said, 'How about that? I just ordered a glass of champagne, too!'

'What a coincidence' the farmer said. 'This is a special day for me. I am celebrating.'

'This is a special day for me too, I am also celebrating,' said the woman.

'What a coincidence!' said the farmer.

As they clinked glasses he added, 'What are you celebrating?'

'My husband and I have been trying to have a child and today my gynecologist told me that I am pregnant!'

'What a coincidence!' said the man.

'I'm a chicken farmer and for years all of my hens were infertile, but today they are all laying fertilized eggs.'

'That's great!' said the woman, 'How did your chickens become fertile ?'

'I used a different cock,' he replied.

The woman smiled, clinked his glass and said, 'What a coincidence'.

(Now I think I've about mananged to insult most everybody, but have a great day anyhow!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Freedom is NORML

Despite indisputable scientific evidence that alcohol, tobacco, and prescription painkillers—all regulated and legal—are far more dangerous than marijuana to the health and well-being of society, marijuana is illegal. This double-standard is contributing to the pain and suffering of hundreds of thousands of individuals by denying them access to effective and safe treatment of their medical condition.
NORML=National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws

See this design on T-shirts, Bags, Hats and other things

First U.S. Marijuana Cafe Opens for Business in Portland

By Tom Johansmeyer
Nov 15th 2009 at 10:15AM

Cancel your flight to Amsterdam – the U.S. just got its first marijuana cafe on Friday. Located in Portland, Ore., the Cannabis Cafe shows how attitudes have changed since the Obama administration moved into the White House. A month ago, President Barack Obama told federal attorneys to ease off medical marijuana prosecutions.

The widening use of medicinal marijuana has forced governments into a tenuous legal balancing act, according to a Reuters report. Some states passed legislation to allow it, starting with California in 1996. Nonetheless, a federal ban remains in place. The operation of businesses like the Cannabis Cafe, as well as marijuana establishments in California, has been possible as long as federal authorities have chosen not to pursue them. Unlike the shops in California, though, the Portland establishment is the first in the U.S. where certified medical marijuana users can both acquire and consume their marijuana, as long as they stay out of public view.

Madeline Martinez, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Oregon, says that the Cannabis Club "represents personal freedom, finally, for our members." NORML supports legislation to legalize marijuana.

"Our plans go beyond serving food and marijuana," Martinez continues. "We hope to have classes, seminars, even a Cannabis Community College, based here to help people learn about growing and other uses for cannabis."

The Food is For Sale, but the Pot is Free

The Cannabis Cafe's new home is a two-story building with an interesting past. Once upon a time, it was occupied by a speakeasy, and later, an adult entertainment club called Rumpspankers. The Cannabis Cafe is a private club, but any Oregon resident who is a member of NORML and has an official medical marijuana card can gain entry.

Members pay $25 a month for use of the cafe, which has a capacity of 100. The product offered is not sold. Rather, it's provided free over the counter from the "budtenders" employed by the establishment. Food, of course, is available for purchase, but the club doesn't have a liquor license. (Why bother?)

The potential market for the Cannabis Cafe is small, but likely committed. Approximately 21,000 patients are registered to use medical marijuana in Oregon, with doctors prescribing the drug for a wide range of illnesses, among them Alzheimer's, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and Tourette's syndrome.

Eric Solomon, the proprietor, says he still just runs a coffee shop and events venue, as he did before he converted it to the current format, but he says, "now it will be cannabis-themed." Film festivals and dances are expected for the second floor ballroom, not to mentioned marijuana-themed weddings.

Neighboring businesses have mixed feelings about the new cafe, but they are hopeful that it will benefit them, too. David Bell, who works at a nearby boutique, is "withholding judgment." He notes, "There's no precedent for it. We don't know what to expect. But it would great if it brought some customers into our store."


I bet tourism to Portland just jumped by leaps and bounds!

For Piano Lovers Only

Another Message in a Bottle

Washed up Ashore, in a bottle from Gulfport, Mississippi:

Hi Miss Mermaid,
Thanks for being concerned about us here where Katrina hit.
Ida is making her presence known now with gusty winds and blowing rain.I
don't know how bad it is along the waterfront but I'm sure there's some
tidal fooding occuring.I'm about 5 miles inland and its stormy right
I trust you are doing well and that you are healthy now.Glad that the
Virgin Islands escaped any run-ins with the tropical systems this year.
Take care. :)


INCREDIBLE Mikey, Ida came to where I am holed up in South Carolina, dumping torrential icy cold rains on us with hugh gusty winds that sent the turning leaves on a wild roller coaster ride high above the garden.

By the way... nice web page!


What has 3 arms and 3 legs?

A couple of dancers, as shown here.

An incredible performance! Bravo!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Follow Your Dreams!

I can do it! I can do it!

Some are dreamers and others are dreamers and doers. It's very hard to pursue a dream. If you share your dreams with the wrong individuals, they will shoot arrows and daggers and basically do most anything to convince you your dream is ridiculous and nothing more than idle thought.

So, if you REALLY want to follow your dreams, keep your mouth shut. If you think someone will be 99% positive, then take the risk, share your dream with them. They will hopefully be not only positive, but might even have creative ideas to make your dream a reality sooner, rather than later.

If you are dead wrong, and they start to shoot holes in your dream, then change the conversation and tell them no further. You don't need all that negativity dragging you down.

It's the claw.

Many folks simply cannot tolerate that anybody else could possibly do anything that they would like to do and for whatever reason can't or won't. So they attempt to hook their big claw into you, as they see you spiraling upwards, they do their best to drag you back down, where they feel you belong.

It's TRUE. Misery loves company.

Those unfortunate souls that can't or won't find their own happiness, often want you to be just as miserable as they are. How DARE you to be any happier.

Tsk Tsk Tsk.

I once dated someone quite wealthy. At first, I had no idea he was anything more than just a tourist, who wanted to learn to sail. He booked me and my boat and off we went for 3 days and 2 nights of sailing lessons around the Virgin Islands.

Suddenly, while teaching sailing, one on one, he either fell in love with my boat or sailing or me or all three. He wanted to sail off into sunset with me on my newly refitted sailboat. I had sweated and toiled for a few years to take this hurricane ravaged wreck and make her like new again. My work had paid off. I was plenty tired of working and more than ready to sail off into the sunset myself, and enjoy a cruising lifestyle.

But, at the time I was juggling several freelance jobs, as after spending a goodly sum on my boat, I didn't have a cruising kitty. So I was slogging away working, throwing money at the savings account, trying to get to where I could just take off for awhile.

Awhile to me was a few years, in case I liked cruising and I was pretty sure I would. Besides, you need a little pocket change when you have to re-enter the work force, until you get resettled.

We talked endlessly about taking off on my boat and cruising around the Caribbean. He wanted a budget, and when I laid out what I thought was a generous budget for two, he snorted and said, in a low voice "I make about that much per hour, when I work."

I jokingly said "Well,then if you have a week's pay set aside, we can go cruising for 3 or 4 years!"

He promised we would do just that.


One day soon.

But first he had to take care of loose ends with his career, and his property. I figured I had heard the last of him, and had merely enjoyed a fairy tale weekend that was not to be repeated.

He surprised me. He kept booking my boat and me for sailing lessons. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a whole week. We had a blast running around the Virgin Islands. Then at some point his visits became less frequent and he replaced this with numerous letters and cards.

Then cell phones appeared in the islands, and I immediately secured one and mailed him a letter with my new phone number.

He called one day and complained it was hard to hear me. I said "It's probably the wind, it's blowing about 35 knots and I'm sailing to Jost Van Dyke."

"You're sailing? Now? As we speak?"

"Yes, I put the cell phone in the cockpit before I set sail, and I'm sitting at the helm with the jib and main up, sailing for Goats Van Dyke."

I had now changed Jost to Goats, because he preferred calling Jost Van Dyke; Goats Van Dyke.

He burst out laughing and said he wished he was there.

The next time he called, I was sitting alone, at anchor in Cane Garden Bay. He asked what I was doing, and I told him I was sailing to Anegada and it was a broad reach with slight winds, just a lazy day of sailing in the sunshine. He was quite envious. In a few weeks,he flew in and off we went sailing.

He returned to work, thousands of miles away and kept on calling. If it was daylight in the Caribbean, I always professed to be sailing to somewhere. I think throughout his numerous phone calls and my little lies, we sailed by phone to every anchorage throughout the Virgin Islands. I thought he would jump on our dream sooner, rather than later. My cell phone at that time wouldn't extend beyong the Virgin Islands, so I kept my destinations to the local islands.

Once he called while I was working ashore and rather than admit I wasn't sailing, I told him it was blowing like stink and I had to tack the boat and couldn't talk right now, then quickly hung up. Another time the phone rang in a noisy bar and I told him the truth: that I had just anchored and come ashore for lunch. Sometimes he called while I was sailing but many times he called while I wasn't, so I just lied.

For the next seven years we kept up this charade until one day I called him up and said "You are never going to go cruising with me, are you. "

There was silence while he thought about it.

We often had these pregnant pauses in our conversation. So I waited in silence on the phone until finally he said, "Not now, but soon."

Soon, never happened. I knew when I hung up the phone that soon would never come. He was a dreamer. Safe in his dreams, he didn't have to step outside and do anything unsafe; such as follow his dreams.

We still stay in touch, strangely enough. We rarely ever see each other anymore, but whatever the initial attraction was, it's still there, it has never dissolved. We can talk on the phone for hours, but usually we are interrupted by his work.

I've often wondered, what could have been. But in the interim, I've lead an exciting life and moved forward with my own dreams, though oddly, I never did go long term cruising for years. I did fall into a compromise, that at the time, made me plenty happy and I still got to do loads of sailing and messing about in boats. Maybe I didn't work hard enough chasing my own dream, but I figure I just changed my dreams.

I am forever grateful, I spent many years at sea, even though I remained single and solo for much of it.

I've often wondered what could have been...

And I've never once fessed up to him, that on many phone calls, I wasn't sailing after all.

Do two wrongs make a right? Probably knot.

Heartbreaking Pain

One thing I have noticed, is that pain just eats away my life. Whole hours and days can vanish into never-never land when I am in pain.

Coming back to America, after 22 years in the Caribbean is such a culture shock. I might as well have sailed to Mars! Sure, I have visited here a few times, but not many, and not for long. All my adult life I have been self-employed or worked under contract for a given time or job. So, I am not accustomed to a steady regular annual vacation.

Many Americans living overseas make regular treks back to America or at least make the annual journey. I just never did that. I don't really like schedules much at all, preferring a great deal of latitude in timing. I find alarm clocks completely annoying and refuse to use one. I just tell my body what time I need to get up, and I generally try to get to bed i time to have enough sleep, so that I wake up at the appointed time, without the alarm clock.

I can easily destroy an alarm clock. I've noticed a few hotels have the annoying habit of giving you a wake up call, whether you want one or not! I find this very disturbing. I recently had to check into a motel. I became ill about 60 miles from my temporary home. I just could not make the hour in driving in my condition. It was dark and getting late, so sleeping in my car didn't seem like a good option, plus it was about 40 F degrees and I had only a borrowed jacket and no blankets with me. The nice motel that was advertising super cheap room rates on their changeable sign, of course had sold out of the cheap rooms and only had rooms that cost more than double. I think it was a bait and switch routine, as their parking lot was nearly empty. Maybe they only had one cheap room to sell and the rest were all more than double.

I ended up at what looked like an older motel that had a makeover, so I stopped their next and found the room rate to be quite reasonable. I should have asked to see the room first. Apparently they had fixed up the outside of the motel, with fresh paint and new door veneers. Walking into my room, it was clear he makeover stopped there. My room was tiny, about 8 by 8 feet, with a decrepit bathroom that was built in 1950 something. The room was frightfully cold and took about an hour to warm up. Although they has thrown in a microwave and refrigerator, that was the only thing in the room that wasn't circa 50's besides the small TV which didn't work until I reprogrammed it for them.

It looked like a crowd of drunks had a previously had a brawl in the room. The door was heavily mangled with clear evidence that the locks and safety chains had been ripped apart repeatedly. The door has patches on it and appeared to have been kicked a good bit. The toilet seat was held on by one screw, so if you weren't careful, you and the seat could slide right into the floor.

The built-in soap dishes that previously graced the tiles, looked like they had been smashed off with the force of a heavy mallet. The mirror backing was peeling off, and you cold only see a small part of your face in the center of the mirror.

The bed seemed to have fresh linens, but I've had fluffier pancakes than the pathetic pillows provided. The clock radio was bolted to the side table, as was the telephone, leaving virtually no room for anything else. Strangely, the room came with a nice chair that seemed clearly out of place, given the run down shape of the rest of the room. It has to be the most depressing motel I have ever been in. I was too tired to complain or try to find anything better, as I was in a very small town.

Once the heat warmed up, I kicked off my shoes and laid on top of the bedspread. I rolled up the borrow jacket, then placed the flat pillows on top of that. I chanted to myself until the pain went away as I drifted into deep heavy sleep.

Next thing I knew, the damn phone was ringing. I tried to ignore it but it just kept ringing endlessly. No one knew where I was, who on earth would be calling me? I tried to ignore it, but on about the 48th ring I finally picked it up and slammed it back down, without even speaking. I rolled over and fought with the jacket and pillows to get comfy again.

Incredibly, the phone started ringing again. I slammed it back down again, I just wanted to rest. But, unbelievably, the phone rang for the 3rd time. This time, clearly agitated, I picked up the phone ad quite uncharacteristically, I yelled "WHAT DO YOU WANT?"

A voice with a thick accent informed me this was my wake up call. I said "I did NOT ask for a wakeup call!"

"But it time to check out or you must come pay for another night."

I said "It's only 9am!" as I eyed the bolted down alarm clock.

"Yes, but check-out is 11am and you must come pay for another night by 10am, if you wish to stay."

I think I answered obscenely with something like "Hell no!" and slammed the phone down again for good measure.

Clearly, this motel, was not expecting repeat business.

Back in July, I happened to stay in a very nice hotel, that happened to be nearly empty. Incredibly, they did the same, thing, only the call was automated. For some foolish reason, I then called the front desk, to tell them I had NOT asked for a wake up call and didn't appreciate getting one when I was dead tired and to please deactivate the thing. The desk clerk, basically went through a similar routine, that they gave everyone who didn't order a wakeup call, a complimentary wakeup call, so they could check out on time. I said "You've got to be kidding me! It's not even time for me to check out YET!"

He said he had to schedule his cleaning crew and it was imperative I check out on time. Before I could say anything, he hung up! I got up and threw open the curtains to allow some natural sunlight in the room. I could see, the parking lot in my section of rooms, was completely empty. When I left the hotel, I drove all around the parking lot. It had 2 cars in it, same as the night before, when I checked in and got lost trying to find my room.

I read bout the hotels and motels grumbling for business but I wonder why some don't improve their customer service and put an end to unsolicited wakeup calls.

Back to the pain, it;s subsided some now. Writing might be a pain relief...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Private Drive?

Flooding near West Monroe, Lousiana from remnants of hurricane IDA, prompted my friend to shoot and share some pictures, including this rather comical but sad one.

Through rain, sleet, and snow, Postal Service employees deliver more mail every delivery day, per capita, than most countries deliver in a month.

But what about floods?

You can see more of the flood pictures at this link. My prayers go out to these people.

I think, whimsically, if I ever build near a river or lake, I will just build like a boat, and attach anchor chains to the foundation, so my home can just float, like a moored yacht.

Whoa! What the ???

EVA Air Boeing 747-45EM taking off from runway 36L at Amsterdam - Schiphol (AMS / EHAM) ( Netherlands ).

The great timing and angle just makes this shot, and the size of the 747, looking quite surreal.
The photographer claims the distance to the fence was 145 meters...

Message in a Bottle; Lots of Messages Found

Chad Pregracke holds bottles he has found,
some containing messages, in the rivers he helps clean up.

Message Received: Every Bottle a Story

(Nov. 12) - His day job – trawling rivers
for trash and piling it onto the four barges
he operates – might be gritty, but Chad
Pregracke is a romantic at heart.

His position as founder and president of
Living Lands & Waters, a non-profit river
cleanup organization based in East
Moline, Ill., allows him to glimpse the
wishes and prayers of people he’ll never
meet. He and his employees have found
more than 70 bottles containing
messages over the past 12 years, USA
Today reports.

Over hundreds of miles of waterway, from
the Mississippi to the Potomac, have
come fake treasure maps, dollar bills
thrown into the river for luck and even a
personal ad from a “blonde-haired, blueeyed
river girl” looking for Mr. Right.

Then there are heartbreaking messages,
like this plea to a woman’s deceased
child: “I went to visit you last night. Did
you see me there? Always remember
Mommy loves you.”

Pregracke’s favorite find is a song called
“Lavender for You” found in Ohio River
near Paducah, Ky. “Someday I’ll retire on
this music. It will be my hit song,” he told
USA Today.

Every bottle, every message is saved.
“It’s somebody’s story,” Pregracke said.
“It must have meant a lot for them to write
it and send it out there.

“To throw it away wouldn’t be right.”

18 Years: Up in Smoke

Sometimes I stumble across odd trivia that strikes me as hilarious. I found a crystal and gold coaster at a recycling shop for 50 cents. I was doing some research on the internet about it and stumbled across this fun fact:

The Hy Glo & Frank M. Whiting lighter was first manufactured in 1931. Hy Glo Products Co. Owosso, Michigan U.S.A. provided only the small sterling wick lighter insert marked: Hy Glo MADE IN U.S.A.

Hy Glo went out of the lighter business in 1949 due to a fire that destroyed the whole factory complex.

How sad, to be making lighters and have the whole complex burn down. Makes you wonder.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Don't tell any big lies today. Small ones can be just as effective.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

You do not need a parachute to skydive the first time. You only need a parachute if you plan to skydive again.

How do they get the deer to cross only at that yellow road sign?

Bumper Sticker: Keep on honking...I'm reloading.

If your ship doest come in; then swim out to it!

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.-Mark Twain

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

Money talks...but all mine ever says is good-bye.

Some people hear voices.. Some see invisible people.. Others have no imagination whatsoever.

Give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you. ~Ella Wheeler

Repeated frustrations and disappointments are always a reflection of repeated misunderstandings and presumptions.

He who expects nothing, is never disappointed.

Get Ready for Thanksgiving with this Bikini Turkey!

How to Recipe for a

Bikini Tanned Turkey

author of

B. Pearson said: Rating ***** (5 stars)
Ha! I love it. 53345354346574 stars for you, if I could. Fantastic. You deserve an award for this article. One very enthusiastic recommendation coming up!

2010 Calendars By Dear Miss Mermaid

My 2010 Calendars are starting to roll out!

They make GREAT gifts, one size fits all! Worldwide shipping available!

How To Get Funny Cat Pictures

Want a funy picture of your cat?

Just wait until your cat is fast asleep. Get your camera ready. Now wake up your cat and snap his picture quickly!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Leftovers from Storm IDA

Dear Miss Mermaid is currently in South Carolina

Brrrr! I'm up here in South Carolina, freezing my tail off. Mon, it is c-c-c-cold! Whether it's 40 or 60, I am feeling frigid. I've had to beg, borrow and buy warm clothing. I've learned to dress in layers upon layers, some days with comical results!

I sure wouldn't want to be seen in public the way I am dressed this moment, but it's warm and toasty. I am sure others would find it funny. Currently, I am working in the basement of my friend's house since it's too cold for the back porch, where I normally type away the day, while watching the leaves change color.

I am wearing men's house moccasins that are lined in fleece and intended for home use only. I bought these one day when my feet were cold, and the socks I bought just weren't warm enough indoors. (Mermaids grow feet and legs when they are too far from the ocean!)

I couldn't find any women's house shoes that appealed to me. I must have a warped taste in house shoes. All the ones I liked, came in kid sizes only such as the green dragons and the mermaid slippers. The female ones that fit me, were ugly, other than the fur lined flip flops, even the thong part was fur, I liked those alot, but they weren't very warm. The warm furry booties appealed to me but alas, they were too skinny for my short wide feet. I saw some fur lined moccasins, and even though they were in the male department, they fit and were cozy, so I bought them to wear indoors and on trips to and from the basement, which requires going outside in the c-c-c-cold.

My friend bought me the ubiquitous sweat suit he saw on sale really cheap. He generously over estimated my size, which of course is better than too small. I've got a string holding the pants up, as without it, I could put two of me in here. They are a miles too long, so I look hip hop, with the ruching at the ankles. But they are warm since they are sweat pants. I am wearing a bright red long sleeved shirt, but it's so cold, I've added another layer, a big red T-shirt, that is so big, it comes to beneath my knees. I bought that on sale myself, and it is too big too. (Am I shrinking and don't know it?)

The remnants of IDA are blowing through here with gutsy arctic winds and frigid rains. I guess I should have typed gusty instead of guts! As I type, a small river in the basement is running under my feet. I hope I don't get electrocuted. I am sitting in a metal chair, that is so cold, I outfitted it with a fluffy rug which covers the seat and back, and is somewhat warmer than the cold metal alone.

In between typing, I wash, dry and fold clothes. Some I hang up and some I iron or do touch ups to make everything nice. Currently, though, I am using the ironing board for my desk, as the legs are adjustable from desk height on up to standing height.

Actually, before I got here, my friend had a basic boring basement laundry area that consisted of a washer and a dryer, and nothing else. I strung up rope using the rolling hitch knot, so there would be a place to hang hangers and clothes as they came out of the dryer.

There was a tall plastic shelving unit in the other end of the basement, empty, and sitting by its lonesome. I moved it over next to the dryer, so there is a nice place to fold, sort and stack clothes. The neighbor threw out a big huge pile of stuff as they were making their midnight move. (One wonders... why do people move at midnight?)

In the pile of discarded items was an almost new ironing board. I dragged that to the basemet, then washed and dried the covering, so it looks brand new now. I set that up closest to the light on the wall that sports an electrical outlet and set up the iron I found in their kitchen cabinet. I dragged over an unused metal chair and stacked a lonely big empty bucket on it. That's handy for sorting mixed laundry.

The other day my friend popped in the basement while I was down there and dropped their jaw. "My gosh! You've set up a Chinese laundry here! Hey... I didn't know I owned an ironing board..."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Who Wrote This Script?

Another weird cat video...

Somebody had quite the imagination!

(It wasn't me; Dear Miss Mermaid, but it's still good, in a strange way.)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bad decisions make good stories


The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending an email from work with the phrase “Regards” again.

I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately erase your computer history if you die.

Was learning cursive really necessary?

I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

Bad decisions make good stories.

I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What’d you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles... (scarey thought!)

I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

How many personal injury attorneys does it take to change a light bulb?
Three — one to turn the bulb, one to shake him off the ladder, and the third to sue the ladder company.

How many drummers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None, we have machines to do that now.
How many bassists does it take to change a light bulb?
None, the keyboardist can do it with his left hand.
How many lead guitarists does it take to change a light bulb?
One — he holds the bulb and the world revolves around him.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Supporting A Mermaid...

Christmas is around the corner, and as always the struggling Mermaid is working hard to make ends meet and pay off those dang hospital bills. (22 days in the hospital and the subsequent followup treatment has been a tad overwhelming.)

Of course my book HURRICANES and HANGOVERS makes a terrific gift (one size fits all!) but you can also just buy a gift certificate for your loved ones.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Galveston Blizzard

Sandra's recent comments:

I am sad to hear that the mermaid is so far away from the warm waters of the Caribbean that she loves so much. Will she be gone long enogh to grow legs and get used to the cold? Is she planning to return home to her jewel of an island in the azure blue sea any time soon?

I have a hard time imagining this mermaid in winter clothing.

Yes, Sandra, when mermaids stray too long from the warm waters, they temporarily grow legs and blend in a tad better (though mermaids truly always remain eccentric, nonetheless).

And, No, Sandra, I don't think I will ever get used to the c-c-c-c-cold!

Years back, I finished up a crew stint on a cruise liner that home ported in Galvenston, Texas. Because of my position as Chief Purser, I was one of the last to disembark the bankrupt ship.

Incredibly, this blizzard blew into Galveston Texas the day I was to leave for the airport!

According to, from 1971-2000, a span of nearly 3 decades, the average temperature for December is a low of 51.8°F and a high of 64.3°F. So this blizzard was certainly unexpected and caught the island by surprise.

Before flying back to my own homeport of the Virgin Islands, I spent a lonely Christmas eve in a toasty hotel, sorting through my sea bag. When I was checking out, the next morning, the maid was astonished that I left more behind than I took with me. Part of the pile of abandoned belongings were assorted winter clothes, all cleaned, pressed, and neatly folded. We were the same size, and she must have asked me 3 times in a row if she could really have this bounty. As I headed down the carpeted hallway, she said something to tune of "I really do believe in Santa Claus now! I really do!"

One of the perks of being a senior officer on a ship, is that the stewards see to it that your clothes are always clean, pressed and impeccable, whether it's your uniform, street clothes or pajamas.

Which on a side note, I was slender then, and owned some sexy underwear *ahem* in the form of frilly thongs for *special* occasions. (And I'll leave THAT up to your own imagination!) I also had the typical tidy whities cotton undies for wearing under our dress white uniforms.

When I arrived to work on the ship, about 5 months before they were forced into bankruptcy, I merely tossed all my undies into a drawer haphazardly. (I know, none of you have EVER done that to your undies!)

My particular steward was extremely thorough, as I quickly found out. On my first day as I toured the ship and caught up on mountains of work in my then beleagured office, he apparently pressed and reorganized all my clothing.

That evening, I was so exhausted from my first day of work, that I peeled off my uniform and fell fast asleep. The next morning, I got up and opened up my drawers to lay out my undies before showering.

I must have turned five or six shades of beet red. All my underwear was perfectly ironed and professionally folded, carefully sorted, and neatly stacked with the exception of my frilly thongs. They were ironed into perfection and laid out in a drawer of their own, with the same care that Winton jewelers lays out a small selection of zillion dollar necklaces for Elizabeth Taylor to peruse.

My closet was transformed, all my clothes were steam ironed and hung carefully with exact precision.

*Note* I've now seriously digressed from the orignial story (funny how that happens!)

So on this Christmas day, I was leaving behind assorted clothing, perfectly pressed and professionally folded (my steward had insisted on packing up my clothes before he tearfully departed the ship). The loving care he had exerted upon my clothes during my brief stay, made them seemingly appear to all be new, which many of the winter clothes were less than 2 months old anyhow.

(And NO, I did NOT leave behind any underwears!)

The cruise line had their own driver for hauling crew around. He came to pick me up and incredibly there was a blizzard outside. I was dressed for the warm weather of the Virgin Islands and my teeth loudly chattered as he turned the heat up to full force.

When finally I could speak without my teeth noisily crackling from the cold, I announced out loud "I am NEVER working this far NORTH ever again!"

And, well Sandra, I've pretty much kept my word ever since!

YES, I will be returning to my jewel of an isle some time in the future.

I have a hard time imagining myself in winter clothing too, but where I am now, it is 40 F degrees in the morning and I've been forced into warmer clothing.

I'm on a budget and picky about clothes, so shopping for winter clothes has been time consuming. Yeah, a mermaid looks strange in winter clothes...

But hey, tomorrow is Halloween and I don't have to dress up at all. I just show up as a mermaid (with chattering teeth!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Use your head for some thing else besides a hat rack!

I am not used to the cold. Of course I am sitting outside typing in 50 degree weather.

My friend brought home a sweat suit on sale for $3. It's miles too big for me, but I have a string holding up the pants and when my hands are cold, the sleeves are plenty long to pull down over my hands. Of course this hampers typing, something I am terrible at anyhow. Having my "N" be sticky and refuse to print much of the time, is also frustrating.

I am quickly discovering how many words, minus their "N" turn into new words, so my spell heckler glides right over them.

I type on a shaky portable table, what we used to call TV trays in the 60's. I use my feet to hold the uncertain table in place. I think TV trays were invented sometime after TV's became ubiquitous inmost all American homes. The idea was you could make these new-fangled frozen dinners, which were also called TV-Dinners, serve them on your TV-trays and the family could all eat in front of the TV.

Many of the TV-trays were actually metal, shaped like a tray, with a lip around the edge, thus you could pop it onto the flimsy folding legs. The TV-trays could then be folded up and stored away between uses.

Growing up, we always sat at our dining table every day for breakfast, 7 days a week and ditto for evening dinner. Tardiness was not allowed and neither were excuses. We said grace and all began eating at the same time. My mother cooked one meal for all and no one was allowed any deviation from the served meal. We had to eat what was on our plates and not dare to grumble about it. We went out to eat ONCE a month, on communion Sunday, after church, and it was considered a huge treat. The only time I recall eating in front of the TV was if we were terribly sick and home from school. If we could struggle out of bed, in our pajamas, robe and slippers and creep into the den, we were allowed to make our sick bed on the sofa, which converted to a twin bed anyhow.

The black and white TV, which had a rounded screen, only got one station clearly and two others kind of fuzzy. You could set the volume and it STAYED at that volume, even if you shifted channels and even when the commercials came on. You had to get up and walk across the room to change channels or to change the volume, which we rarely needed to change since it stayed at the preset volume. What ever happened to THOSE days?
Now you have TV's that control the volume for you, the commercials are super loud, if you change channels, the next channel might be substantially louder or softer. It seems playing with the volume buttons now requires more work than changing the channels. For some silly reason today's TV's show you a visual aid when changing the volume up or down (is that in case you are deaf?)

Back in the dark ages, we used metal V-shaped antennas to tune in the stations and they were called rabbit ears. Sometimes we adorned them with bits of aluminum or tin foil, to attempt better reception. The well to do folks had big fancy antennas on their roofs that were typically rectangles with perpendicular bits of metal to pick up reception. My family was never that well off to afford such a luxury.

In the summer, the ONE fan we owned was carefully removed from the attic and placed in a window. It was expected to cool the whole house and we weren't allowed to complain about the heat one bit. If the sun was out, the TV was off and that was pretty much a strict house rule. Mama thought children should be out playing in the sunshine, not cooped up inside staring at the idiot box.

Thus, we knew all our neighbors, their names, how many and what type of pets they had, and all the names of their pets. Dogs were allowed to roam freely, but typically followed "their children" around. Your dog better be well behaved or you would hear about it from the neighbors. We taught our dog numerous tricks and he learned a great trick on his own. It's a shame we didn't have video cameras then, as filming him would have been such fun. The trick he taught himself was to say "hare-woe" when ever we came home, as he bowed down to greet us. It was his way of saying "hello" and we were extremely proud to own such an intelligent dog.

Besides the usual tricks, he learned to lay on his back with all four feet in the air and close his eyes, hang his long pink tongue out the side of his mouth, and play dead on command. We would say "Doggy's dead! Doggy's dead! Poor wittle doggy!" Throughout all this he was lay motionless, being completely dead like. Next we would pretend to cry about our poor wittle doggy being dead and he would immediately leap to his feet and greet us. We would joyfully recite "He's alive! He's alive!" As children, we often said things twice. Later in life, I met a man who was often drunk, who said things three times. Having a conversation with him was a case of deja vu as he repeated himself three times, sometimes four, if he lost count in his inebriated conversation.

In spite of the fact that our TV only got three channels, our mother carefully monitored what we were allowed to watch and when. Typically our homework had to be done before we could go anywhere near the TV and we might be assigned a list of chores before turning it on anyhow. We weren't even allowed to turn it on to see what was playing. We had to check the newspaper TV listings and consult with our mom about a proposed show we might want to watch and she would decide if we could watch it or not.

She often thought of other things we could do, such as chores, or go outside to play, or play or game or read a book. She never liked to hear any of us say "We are bored" and if we did she quickly admonished us to "Go read a book!"

If we did some thing particularly foolish or stupid, she was also fond of saying "Use your head for some thing else besides a hat rack!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.

Well the internet crashed , that figures. Right when I was surfing about something important too. Isn't that how it always happens.

Well, my N is sticky and that makes for hapless typing and editing. More frustration. Oh well. Life could be worse.

I've spent the last few weeks in great solitude. That is both good and bad for the soul. I've been grieving and frankly, nobody wants to be around someone sad, so it's best to just keep alone until it passes.

It's passing, but a chunk of my heart has been ripped away. I lost my cat, Lil Bear, literally lost him, he is presumed alive and running wild in fields and farms ad forests somewhere in upstate South Carolina. Very sad for me. He was my best buddy and a smart talented, loving cat. Not knowing his fate is heart wrenching. I can only imagine a fate worse, the parents of missing children and how their heart must ache to the very core of their tortured soul. It's the "not knowing" what has happened.

At least with death, while rarely ever pleasant, you KNOW what happened to someone you loved.

Kind hearted people try to offer me new cats, while I frantically search for my missing cat. I have spent loads of time, travel and money trying to track that little kitty down. I take on pets as permanent furry children that I am responsible for.

It tore my heart apart recently, to find homes for two of my cats and scale down to only one cat. That was weighing heavily upon my soul. Did I do the right thing? Will they be happy and loved? I showered my love on the remaining cat, and he was thoroughly bewildered at the sudden daily changes affecting our household.

I've kept my plans close to my vest pocket, as they are subject to change at my whim, and it's confounded my friends and my readers.

I'm currently camping out on a friend's sofa, grieving over my lost cat and trying not to freeze. I've had to add to my wardrobe, and buy more shoes. My wonderfully comfy leather sandals, handmade from the Caribbean, are just not warm enough for 40 degree weather.

I spend a lot of time outside, contemplating the shady backyard of the home I am at. My friend is often gone working or socializing, so I do the basic housekeeping, laundry and some cooking.

I bought an old cheap car to get around in. There is no local public transportation, and everything is spread out. My goodness, the grocery stores up here in the USA are HUGE!

As some of you know, I am recuperating and have to rest often. The first time out shopping, I became suddenly very weary and discovered there is no place to sit in or out of the store. Sad. Hard to get to know new people when everyone is rushing around.

The traffic! Oh my gosh. In the 22 years I was away from the USA with only about a half dozen brief visits in that time span, I didn't really stay on top of the USA cultural changes.

The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.

Quote from the character Brooks in "The Shawshank Redemption":

Brooks: [narrating] Dear fellas, I can't believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile once when I was a kid but now they're everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry. The parole board got me into this halfway house called "The Brewer". And a job bagging groceries at the Foodway. It's hard work and I try to keep up but my hands hurt most of the time. I don't think the store manager likes me very much. Sometimes after work I go to the park and feed the birds. I keep thinking Jake might just show up and say hello. But he never does. I hope wherever he is he's okay and makin' new friends. I have trouble sleepin' at night. I have bad dreams like I'm falling. I wake up scared. Sometimes it takes me a while to remember where I am. Maybe I should get me a gun, an, an rob the Foodway so they'd send me home. I could shoot the manager while I was at it, sort of like a bonus. I guess I'm too old for that sort of nonsense anymore. I don't like it here. I'm tired of being afraid all the time. I've decided not to stay. I doubt they'll kick up any fuss. Not for an old crook like me.
[carves "Brooks was here" into wood. Admires his work for a moment. Then kicks out the table beneath him and hangs himself]

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Mermaid Lives!

Yes, it's true, the mermaid has gone on walkabout.

I'm freezing my tail off in South Carolina in the USA! Brrrrrrrrrr...

They say around me, "Oh, this is unusual weather for this time of year!"

Is that supposed to warm me up any?

So now I am wearing long sleeve shirts and long leggings under my Caribbean mermaid dresses. I've developed a whole new fashion style that amuses the locals. So many layers of clothes! Good heavens.









Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Get Out: Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks Overnight

Get Out: Orionid Meteor Shower Peaks Overnight

posted: 20 October 2009
12:13 pm ET

The Orionid meteor shower is expected to put on a good show tonight into the predawn hours Wednesday, weather permitting.

This annual meteor shower is created when Earth passes through trails of comet debris left in space long ago by Halley's Comet. The "shooting stars" develop when bits typically no larger than a pea , and mostly sand-grain-sized, vaporize in Earth's upper atmosphere.

"Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us dozens of meteors per hour," said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

People in cities and suburbs will see far fewer meteors, because all but the brightest of them will be overpowered by light pollution. The best view will be from rural areas (the moon will not be a factor, so dark skies will make for ideal viewing).

When and how to watch

The best time to watch will be between 1 a.m. and dawn local time Wednesday morning, regardless of your location. That's when the patch of Earth you are standing on is barreling headlong into space on Earth's orbital track, and meteors get scooped up like bugs on a windshield.

Peak activity, when Earth wades into the densest part of the debris, is expected around 6 a.m. ET (3 a.m. PT).

Some meteors could show up late tonight, too. Late-night viewing typically offers fewer meteors, however, because your patch of Earth is positioned akin to the back window of the speeding car.

The Orionids have been strong in recent years.

"Since 2006, the Orionids have been one of the best showers of the year, with counts of 60 or more meteors per hour," Cooke said.

Some of those counts come in flurries, so skywatchers should find a comfortable spot with as wide a view of the sky as possible. Lie back and allow 15 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, then give the show at least a half hour to play out through spurts and lulls. Meteors could appear anywhere in the sky, though traced back they will appear to emanate from the constellation Orion.

Telescopes and binoculars are of no use, because meteors move too quickly. Extra warm clothing is a must, and a blanket and pillow or lounge chair allows comfortable positioning so you can look up for long stretches.

Reliable event

Predicting meteor showers is tricky because the debris comes from multiple streams.

Each time comet Halley passes around the sun on its elongated orbit – every 76 years – it lays down a fresh track of debris for Earth to plow through in subsequent years. Those tracks spread out and mingle over time, and we pass the tracks each October during our 365-day, nearly circular trek around the sun.

Japanese researchers Mikiya Sato and Jun-ichi Watanabe say activity in recent years is related to debris put in place from 1266 BC to 911 BC, and this could be another good year, according to NASA.

Even if that prediction does not hold, the Orionids will almost surely put on a decent show. Prior to 2006 and going back many years, the Orionids have produced a reliable 15 to 20 meteors per hour at the peak, for skywatchers with dark skies.

As a bonus, this time of year you can expect an additional five to 10 sporadic meteors per hour – those not related to the shower.

Jokes for all

First the husband jokes...

My husband sat down on the couch next to me as I was flipping channels. He asked, "What's on TV?"

I said, "Dust."
My husband was hinting about what he wanted for our upcoming anniversary.
He said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds."

So I bought him a nice new shiny bathroom scale.
When I got home last night, my husband demanded that I take him someplace expensive...

so, I took him to a gas station...

Now the wife jokes...

After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's license to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later.

The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'. So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.. She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me and she processed my Social Security application.

When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social Security office.
She said, 'you should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability, too.'
My wife and I were sitting at a table at my high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.
My wife asked, 'Do you know her?'
'Yes,' I sighed, 'She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since.'
'My God!' says my wife, 'who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?'

And the un-politically correct joke...
I rear-ended a car this morning. So, there we were alongside the road and slowly the other driver got out of his car. You know how sometimes you just get soooo stressed and little things just seem funny? Yeah, well I couldn't believe it... he was a DWARF!!!

He stormed over to my car, looked up at me, and shouted, 'I AM NOT HAPPY!'

So, I looked down at him and said, 'Well, then which one are you?'