Thursday, December 28, 2006

Reasons Not to Get a Haircut Today

At least once, we’ve all come out of the hair salon wishing we had not gone in. Here are some really good reasons to cancel your hair appointment or walk out if you are a walk-in. Run, run, I say, out the door and don’t look back.

1. If your hairdresser says, “My four kids all came home with blotchy red spots and now I have it. Do you know what this rash is?”

2. If your hairdresser says, “That rotten ex-husband of mine is a real b - - - - - d. I could just kill him!”

3. If your hairdresser says, “It will only take a minute to rinse out your shamp…. , ooh, yuck, what is that stuff in the drain?!”

4. If your hairdresser says, “I knew I shouldn’t have had that last drink at the party. What a hangover I’ve got this morning."

5. If your hairdresser says, “Hey, look how big a bubble I can blow with this new gum!”

6. If your hairdresser says, “Do you smell smoke?”

7. If you hairdresser says, “Do I smell like I’ve been smoking pot?”

8. If you hairdresser says, “Hey, do you know where I can score some more pot?”

9. If your hairdresser says, “You’re not a cop, are you?”

10. If you hairdresser says, “Uh, you did want it really short in the back, right?”

11. If your hairdresser says, “Oh, I thought you meant bright red, not auburn.”

12: If your hairdresser says, “Dropped the comb, but don’t worry, the floor is clean.”

13. If your hairdresser says, “AAAAAAAHHHHHHCCCCCHHHHOOOOO!”

14. If your hairdresser says, “Gotta hurry, I got a hot date.”

15. If your hairdresser says, “OOPS!”

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas 2006

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head.
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

The words to this carol were originally written as a poem, “Christmas Bells,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1864 just months before the end of the American Civil War. The poem originally contained two extra stanzas that were omitted by John Baptiste Calkin in 1872, who added the music and transformed Longfellow’s poem into the carol we know today.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pet Gifts

I just watched a commercial about the “perfect gift for your pet.” Huh? “The perfect gift” for what? When did we start buying “gifts” for our pets? And how do pets actually determine the difference between a “gift” and an old tennis ball?

Do pets have color preferences? Do they prefer squeaky toys that match their eyes or their fur? When two pets are just sitting around, do they discuss what they want for Christmas? Is there a Peta Clause? Maybe an Afgan Hound with long silky red fur who wears glasses? And just how would a pet tell Peta Clause what they want, pee on the leg of his chair? Are pets disappointed if they don’t get the latest jeweled collar or the right squeaky toy? Would it be better to just give them gift cards to PetSmart so they can shop for exactly what they want?

Ask yourself, “Does Fido or Fluffy really give a damn about a cedar-filled, heated bed cozy covered in designer fabric? And speaking of beds, do pets really need foam steps to make it easer for them to climb into your bed and plop on your pillows? Think about it. Do you really want to put your face where they just … oh, never mind.

What about the abandoned and feral animals during this holiday season? Will the more privileged pets soon be standing in front of pet shops and feed stores ringing the bells on their collars and wagging their tails while nudging small kettles in your direction?

People, people. Get a grip. Pets are not furry people. They would think a stick or a piece of string is a gift! Ripping the paper from a “gift” is as much fun as an actual gift (unless it’s edible). Ever see a cat demolish a roll of toilet paper just ‘cause he can? Now that’s fun.

Tell you what. If you are determined to buy your pet a gift, send me $49.95, plus $9.95 shipping and handling, and I’ll send you Mr. Stick – gift wrapped in newspaper at no extra charge. Mr. Stick comes in two sizes, twig and a little bigger, in your choice of flavors, oak or pine. For that special feline, don’t forget the six foot long String Buddy for only $29.95, $5.99 shipping and handling. Five dollars from the sale of each Mr. Stick and String Buddy will go to a nearby spay and neuter clinic. Hurry, quantities are limited.


© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Friday, December 15, 2006


Fruitcake … love it or hate it. No, wait, love it, hate it, OR love it but say you hate it and eat it secretly, sort of like a closet fruitcake fan.

There are two types of fruitcake, really, really good fruitcake filled with all sorts of real fruit and plump pecans or really, really bad fruitcake filled with way too many raisins, mystery nut bits and bits of mystery nut shells, and tough, dried green, red and yellow blobby, chewy things that may have originated at the end of pencils.

Good fruitcake is a divine pleasure to the senses, moist, fragrant and a thrill to the palate. My dear Aunt Elizabeth made the best fruitcake in the entire world. A visit to her house from October on meant a “taste” of the latest fruitcake to mature. She used all the finest ingredients and the best whiskey to produce a dark, rich and highly intoxicating slice of heaven. She wrapped her fresh fruitcakes in cheesecloth, put them in metal cake containers and poured a generous glug of “preservative” over the tops before snapping on the lids. About once a week, she would open all the cans and add additional glugs for insurance. Her whole house would be so perfumed during this ritual, it was a wonder the feds didn’t raid the place.

She also tasted the whiskey occasionally – okay, frequently – to make sure it was still acceptable and took a lot of kidding from the rest of the family about which had more whiskey in it, the cakes or the cook.

With such a good role model, it was only natural that I later became sort of famous for my fruitcakes “preserved” with apricot brandy. I also had to carry on the tradition of making sure the preservative was acceptable and once ran out of brandy, but was too, uh, well let’s just “tipsy” to drive anywhere to get more.

Along with the rise of mass produced brick-like (and tasting) fruitcakes, came the fruitcake jokes, starting with the now famous “there’s only one fruitcake in the world and it just keeps going around from family to family.” Standup comics and cartoonist have seasonal fodder to make people smile and I’ve yet to hear a really bad fruitcake joke.

So, in keeping with the season, here’s my contribution to fruitcake jokes: “How many nerds does it take to eat a fruitcake? None, not even nerds eat fruitcake!” Okay, okay, I’ll stick to baking.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fruitcake!

P.S. You might enjoy reading "Irish Fruitcake Recipe" written in November 2007.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Man Who Thought He Was a Train

This is a true story, or at least as true as I can remember. My girl friend and I first became aware of the man who thought he was a train during a shopping trip to downtown Jacksonville, Florida, in the early 1950s. We needed gloves and hats for a luncheon. Luncheons were big in those days as we learned to become proper young ladies.

There were several hat stores in town and we were just coming out of our second when here he came, dashing past us so fast we weren’t really sure of what we had seen. We also heard him. The shop owner must have seen our startled faces as we jumped out of his way and back into her doorway.

“That’s the man who thinks he’s a train,” she explained. “Right on time, too. Comes past here every afternoon about this time.” Our teenage faces must have given away how startled we were. The man could have been anywhere from 25 to 55, dressed in faded blue overalls and plaid shirt, and atop his head a grey and white striped engineer’s cap. He was pulling a clattering “caboose,” a red Radio Flyer wagon, smiling and nodding as he flashed past at a brisk trot.

We soon learned the man who thought he was a train lived nearby, but no one knew exactly where or even his name or why he thought he was a train. He appeared about noon coming through Hemming Park, past Morrison’s Cafeteria, past the Presbyterian Church, then on to Jacob’s Jewelers where he rounded the huge pedestal clock and made a left toward Kresses, then several blocks later, a right at Walgreens, to circle past the Imperial Theatre, past the First National, finishing up across from Penny’s and disappearing into the residential neighborhood just east of the Post Office.

He was a legend in downtown Jacksonville and delighted most people with his familiar “whoooo whooo” to let those in his path know he was coming their way. He also made chugging noises that became most audible when he occasionally had to stop for a red light. He was a free spirit; always smiling even when chugging and whoooo whoooing. There was even a brief article about him in the local paper.

Fast forward four years and, with high school diploma in hand, I went to work for a downtown insurance company. On the third day at my new job, just as I was leaving the building for lunch, there he was – hat, caboose, sound effects, and that radiant smile. By then he had acquired the name of “Train” and was greeted warmly by many friends along his route. He just smiled and nodded, gave a friendly “whoooo whooo” and kept going.

Later, with several more years away for college, I was back in town and working for the same insurance company in the public relations department. That first day I couldn’t wait to hit the street at noon to see if the man who thought he was a train was still around.

I headed for the sandwich place with a view of Train’s route. Just as I was finishing up the best pastrami on rye in the area, there he came! Slower now, but with the familiar whoooo whooo, what looked like a new cap, and his Radio Flyer caboose. He had added a small lantern to the back of the wagon and a small dog atop a pillow inside, ears flapping in the breeze. I saw him a number of times during the next few years before changing jobs and moving away.

I suspect by now, some 56 years later, “Train” has gone to that great switching yard in the sky, but his memory lives on. Although no one knew who he was or where he came from, he was accepted, loved and appreciated for the smiles he brought to weary office workers. Even now, after all these years, when I hear a train whistle, I think of the man who thought he was a train and the joy he added to the lives of so many people.

So, Train, where ever you are, here’s one for you: whoooo whooo!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords