Monday, February 27, 2006

Does It Matter?

Some people have waaaaay too much time to think about things that don’t matter. I read an article in this morning’s paper about what ever happened to colored toilet paper that was so popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It seems it’s demise was mainly economical. Translation: It was too expensive for manufacturers to produce and customers were turned off by the possibility of a dye rash or pollution of the environment. There, now you know.

Really, now, was it important to have colored toilet paper? Not only was some of it in pastel shares of pink, blue and green, “designer” floral prints were also available. Think of all the other non-essential things that came across grocery and department store shelves that we didn’t need. Things like the electric potato peeler and still available glow-in-the-dark shoes. (Honey, put you shoes in the closet; they’re keeping me awake!)

What ever happened to the electric hot dog cooker? When it’s too cold to grill out, have we all gone back to a pot of boiling water? Duh.

Oh, and remember that magic hair restorer? Just choose your color and spray it on your bald spot. I think with a different label, it was called PAINT!

Good ol’ Ron Popeil became a zillionaire selling us such can’t-live-without products like the Inside-The-Shell Egg Scrambler. Really. You can still buy them online. Really. Twenty bucks.

You can even find these egg scramblers on Ebay. I’ll sell you a fork (sealed in plastic wrap for your protection but it might have “Wendys” stamped on the handle) and a plastic bowl for only ten bucks, but you have to crack your own egg.

While “researching” this important literary contribution to the world, I Goggled the words “stupid inventions.” Jump back – I came up with 1,310,000 hits. I would Google “stupid blogs” but I’m afraid this one may come up.

Oh, what the heck; does it really matter?

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, February 20, 2006

Springtime at Home Depot

More accurate than robins, the arrival of the Homeowners to the garden supply section of Home Depot announces the arrival of Spring. Both males and females may still be in their winter plumage of jackets or sweaters and blue denim jeans if temperatures are still on the chilly side. If spring plumage has already been adopted, especially during warm sunny days, Homeowners appear in colorful tee shirts and shorts. They arrive just before the last killing frost of Winter and tend to hover around the petunias, seed displays and hand tools.

You can easily discern Homeowners from browsers by their glazed eyes and relentless pursuit of grass greening products and lawn care equipment. Many Homeowners shop in pairs, with the female of the species carrying a long list and the male trailing behind pushing a cart and chirping, “Yes, dear,” or grunting, “Gotta have a new mower/edger/hedge trimmer/seed spreader/chain saw this year.”

Keen observers often hear the distinctive call of “Honey, I found the aphid spray,” or “Oh, my god, the tomatoes are already in!” over the tops to the towering display racks. Several Homeowners may often be seen fluttering around sales displays using their shopping carts to manipulate closer to the items. Males seem mostly attracted to large, gasoline-powered items, while females flock towards any scented flowering plant.

Once fully-equipped to eliminate all non-grass plants from the green areas and fully-encapsulate selected plants with mulch, Homeowners streak to the checkout counters where bickering may occur between the pairs or other Homeowners. Here, observers have recorded such cries of, “I thought YOU brought the damn credit card,” or “Hey, bud, you’re poking me in the ribs with that shovel.”

Aaaaah, Spring. My favorite time of year. Let me share with you a little poem I learned years ago to celebrate the season.

Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz.
I wonder where
The flowers is.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Friday, February 17, 2006

Missing the Flying Toasters

Ah, the good ol’ days when Macintosh ruled the personal PC world with their logical and simple operating system. Although pricey, they were affordable, too. Those trusty Macs ran powerful, but simple, software that opened whole new avenues of creativity.

When color monitors replaced the one-piece Macs with the nine-inch screens, some of the coolest screen savers in the world could be selected to dance across the desktop. My favorites were the Flying Toasters, clacking away as they flew from one corner of the screen to the other, and Get Barney that required a bit of interactivity to do away the annoying purple dinosaur.

Maybe it’s not so much the screensavers I miss. Maybe it’s the simplicity of the computer operation. Or just maybe the world situation, although not perfect, was less complicated than today. I wonder if my parents, and the parents of all the others my age, felt the same way about the Model-T growing up to be the Ford Thunderbird!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cold Enuff Fer Ya!

When I was a kid, I would hear my relatives ask each other, “Well, cold enuff fer ya?” It was later while living in Oklahoma that I realized there were different degrees of cold, and what is “cold enuff” for one may not be too cold for another.

Where I grew up in North Florida, when the winter temperature plummets to forty-five degrees we all complain about how cold it is and that we are freezing. We pile an extra log in the fireplace (if we are lucky enough to have one) and push the thermostat up higher than we have it for cooling in the summer. (Some of us still wear shorts and tee shirts inside, this is Florida after all.)

Sweaters and coats come out of closets just so we can at least get one or two wearings out of our Christmas gifts. Every now and then we see a few flakes of snow and all hell breaks loose. Every child in the area is rushed outside to see real snow and hospitals are flooded with kids with stiff necks whose tongues won’t recoil inside their lips.

Even more rarely, like every fifteen or twenty years or so, we waken to a white wonderland of accumulated snow. Sometimes it even lasts until sundown. We all but declare a holiday snow day and the electric company issues pleas to conserve power to prevent rolling blackouts. The reason for the high energy consumption is that we have all run outside (some in shorts and tee shirts), leaving doors wide open, to frolic in the phenomenon. Even adults flop backwards trying to make snow angels and kids scrape up the snow for pitiful snowmen. If there is not enough snow or it begins to melt in the sun, refrigerators are raided for frost and shady places are harvested.

The first winter I lived in Oklahoma, I discovered that not only was the weather cold enough, but too damn cold for me. It snowed and snowed and snow piled up – and up – and up. The wind blew drifts against the houses and cars and I saw exactly what purpose those “snow” fences served. I also discovered that cords on electric blankets do not reach all the way around the kitchen and extension cords are required. I also discovered that it is not wise to fry bacon while wearing an electric blanket turned to “high.” I measured my misery in how many pairs of socks I had on. A three-sock snow day turned me into a homesick lunatic.

My next door neighbors, however, thought this mild winter weather was just wonderful and no where near what they had back home in upstate New York. Ah ha! It was not cold enough for them. My native Oklahoman friends waltzed outside to get the mail and newspapers without layering on sweaters and coats. I decided there was nothing in the mail box I really want to see until spring and canceled my paper subscription.

Finally back home in Florida, I now welcome each “cold snap” with open arms. When the Weather Channel predicts blizzard conditions sweeping across the Plains or dropping great volumes of snow on the Northeast, I run outside (in shorts and tee shirt) and kiss my unfrozen ground.

Nope, not too cold fer me. Hit be juss fine, juss fine.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wardrobe Makeover

I hope no one from one of those makeover shows or a tacky-dressed “fashion” critic ever offers me a wardrobe makeover. I would have to politely turn them down because I couldn’t stand to watch them faint at the sight of my “comfortable” clothes. My idea of fashion is cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and lots of elastic.

Shoes should also be comfortable: no spindly heels to accent my calves, no strappy things to accent my ankles and especially no platform stuff to accent my Blue Cross card.

Most of my friends are into the same fashion trend – “loose,” “baggy,” and “washable” often accents the descriptions of our latest wardrobe acquisitions. There comes a time in life when dry cleaning is no longer a necessity unless you are one of those high society grande dames. Since my status in life runs pretty much with the JC Penny and Walmart crowd, I don’t think I’ll ever have problems with ball gowns and silk suits.

And who appointed those self-proclaimed “fashion” critics to be the authorities anyway? Have we become so mushy-brained that we can no longer make judgments for ourselves? Can you imagine their job descriptions? “Must appear at film and award ceremonies and later make disparaging comments about all outfits other than their own.” This I say to “them,” “Toots, take a good look in the mirror before you start throwing those barbs.”

Personally, I still like denim bell-bottoms and flowered mumus (loose, comfortable and washable). I do draw my fashion line at stretch pants and hemlines above the knee. Let’s face us, most women over fifty-five should avoid anything that looks good on a teen-ager.

Speaking of teenagers, I don’t even want to mention my thoughts on “modern” undergarments other than to say if the garment is smaller than and weighs less than a dollar bill, it’s best left for the under-thirty somethings.

I guess I’ll never appear on the Oprah show (she always looks so great, even without makeup) as a famous writer simply because if anyone suggested “control pantyhose,” I’d head for the hills. Unless, of course, there was a chance I could bring back the “natural” look. Now wouldn’t THAT be fun! Oh, I can just hear Joan and Melissa now, “ Well, would you look at that! She doesn’t have one single crow’s foot or a freckle! How unfashionable. And what is with those Jimmy Chos! Does she not know Birkenstocks are back in style?”

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Got Parts?

I was watching one of those infomercials (you know the kind that comes on at two in the morning) for a “body sculpting” exercise machine when I realized I not only didn’t have, but apparently never got, the body parts the device was designed to “sculpt.”

This clever invention targeted the “abs,” “obliques” and “lats,” as well as several other parts. I don’t remember ever having those parts, so they must be only found on the thirty-something-and-under folks.

Those of us who arrived in the thirties and forties missed out. There were other parts that we got, but they were never all that big a deal and certainly didn’t need sculpting. We all pretty much accepted each other in the packages we came in. Even boobs, although important to us “girls,” didn’t necessarily have to be the silicone-assisted sizes they are today.

The only big deal part I can remember among the girls was waist size. We had all been brainwashed by Scarlet O’Hara into thinking we had to have tiny waists. Those of us who refused to wear elastic-torture undergarments, compensated with billowing skirts held up with layers of crinolines, nylon net underskirts designed to puff out those “circle” skirts with cutesy poodles near the hems. We topped off the mushroom look with “chinch” belts, three-inch wide, heavy-duty elastic devices designed to take at least two inches off our waists. Breathing was a bit of a problem, but at fifteen, fashion was more important than minor details like turning blue.

Nowadays, if those abs, obliques and lats are in there somewhere, they are now buried under new parts that are far more useful. I’ve noticed that as I’ve aged, I have gained a nice crumb tray just below my neck and further down an excellent addition that holds a book at just the right level. My lap is nice and soft and bouncy and makes me a hit among two-year olds. I have plenty of padding on the backside, too, so I don’t complain anymore about how hard the benches are.

I guess as we go through life, parts come and go, depending on your need. Having a “six-pack” would be okay (we used to think that refered to Miller), but I would settle for just seeing my ribs and hip bones again.

At least I’m saving a ton of money not buying all that body sculpting equipment. Now if I could just figure out what to do with all those antique crinolines in the attic!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords