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JoAnn Williams Posts

Who Hijacked Autumn?


The calendar designates January 1 as the beginning of the New Year, but my new year begins with the first day of autumn. There is a sense of anticipation that something exciting is about to happen. Maybe it is an anniversary phenomenon of recalling the first day of school and new beginnings.

My new year’s resolutions begin in autumn. I like to discard what no longer works and try something new. It can be furniture, bad habits or leaving behind relationships that no longer work. Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is in sight. Autumn must be nature’s favorite season too. There is riotous color everywhere. Spring is subtle compared to the non-conformist fall show off.

It’s exciting to check out the new fall clothes. Some fashions such as Leggings are returning. They are still tacky and still being worn by women who should know better.

Retailers skate past autumn. A recent visit to the mall exposed a schizophrenic combination of Halloween, Hanukkah and Christmas featuring witches, elves and menorahs. Fake Christmas trees twinkled alongside plastic witches holding pumpkins.The visual display person is probably hiding in a dark corner of the mall gnawing Prozac.

The most beautiful season of the year has been sent to the unemployment line. Wonder if the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters would be interested in moving over to the mall to protest the hijacking of autumn?

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The Ugly Chair

The time had come to say “good-bye” to the ugly chair. His discomfort was painful to observe. This was a difficult moment and he was going to have to find some way to get through it. His separation anxiety  ratcheted to an all time high.

His favorite chair and ottoman were being replaced; banished forever. A huge hole remained in the space they had once occupied, taunting him with their absence.

Shopping for new companion pieces was going to be difficult for him, but I would be sensitive and patient to ease the transition. I would try to disguise my glee at the opportunity to replace the Buick sized duo. I would diplomatically steer him to current options that featured comfort as well as style.

As soon as we arrived at the furniture store, my beloved headed straight for the recliners and I found myself in the ninth level of chair shopping hell.

His eyes lit up when he spotted a huge, dark brown number with massive overstuffed arms. The gimongous power cord peering from underneath the chair was a huge clue this was not furniture Nate Berkus would embrace.

The salesperson, obviously suffering from too much caffeine, could scarcely conceal her glee at an opportunity to unload the ugly devil on someone who fit demographics most likely to appreciate its benefits. The chair did everything but make frozen margaritas. It reclined backwards at the touch of a button. She practically swooned as she demonstrated the chair tilting upward and forward, depositing its sitter upright, feet on floor with little effort.

Hubby informed perky salesperson; he did not require mobility assistance and left the store in a huff.

I am grateful to the overly zealous salesperson. Thanks to her, we are now the owners of a new chair that features comfort as well as style without a power cord.




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Congress Who??

I heard a song on the radio called “My Give a Damn’s Busted.” It reminded me of congress attitude toward their constituents.

They apparently have decided to sign the Grover Norquist pledge while ignoring their electorate. I watched Grover on U-Tube compete in the 2009 “Funniest Celebrity in Washington” contest. He wasn’t talented or funny. We should all be relieved to know that’s where congress support lies.

Congress sent billions in taxpayer money to bail out Wall Street firms. While the rest of us sucked wind from financial losses, there is no law against them profiting from stock trades by using information that is unavailable to the public.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, is designed to close this loophole for members of Congress. However, despite being introduced three times it has yet to be presented for a vote.

I have a few suggestions that might get congress attention and encourage them to clean up their act.

1. They should have the same healthcare plan most Americans have.

2. They should pay for all of their perks.

3. Withhold their salaries until they can agree to act like businessmen. Most of them would have been fired if they were working in the private sector.

4. Issue job performance reviews to establish salaries and make them available to voters.

5. Publish individual voting records on major issues in a format such as the weekly TV guide.

6. No holidays permitted while there are pending issues requiring a vote. Consider it unpaid overtime.

7. No unrelated or last minute amendments allowed on any bill prior to the vote.

8. There should be a pop quiz on each bill prior to calling for a vote and the results made public.

9. All unused campaign funds are forfeited when leaving office.

10. Eliminate the ability of any individual member of congress to hold an issue hostage.

Come election time, congress better depend on votes from Norquist’ groupies because “My Give a Damn’s Busted.”




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The Pool Siren

My BFF and I headed to the indoor exercise pool at the gym. We had not committed to our regimen to the extent we wanted to subject ourselves to the horror of purchasing new suits. Trying on a suit that advertises industrial strength spandex is humiliating. My suit has “endurance” boldly emblazoned across the front right hip. It is not referring to my aquatic capabilities.

The suit had seen better days. It resembles a worn out slipcover for an overstuffed couch. The seat stressed to the extreme, is an awful shade of worn green/black. There appears to be a derriere inside even when none is present.

My friend assured me her suit was tacky too. She usually exaggerates but this time she had not. Her suit was a polka dot number that had done hard time. She covered the lower portion of the suit by donning a pair of exercise shorts. “Shabby chic” does not apply to swimsuits.

A session in the hot whirlpool had reduced our hair to limp strings. Without makeup, we looked like two crumpets prior to toasting. A quick trip to the pool with beach towels draped Burka style covered most of the damage.

We were forced to share the pool with three irritating males whose antics were reminiscence of high school boys except for the glaring man boobs. Suddenly there was a thrashing in the water likened to a feeding frenzy by sharks as the “boys” made their way to the entrance of the pool.

She must have watched the old movie “Picnic” too many times. In her best Kim Novak move, she descended the pool steps slowly. A vision in a pepto bismol fluorescent pink suit, she sported perfectly coiffed, newly tinted red hair. Her makeup was complete with eye shadow, mascara and lip-gloss. Gold hoop earrings completed her ensemble. As she held court at one end of the pool, the pubescent acting males abandoned their splashing and crowding.

The pool siren and her groupies have not been seen since.

There is something to be said for not being a part of the “popular” crowd and saggy spandex. My BFF and I enjoy the pool in our ratty suits in total isolation.

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Webcam101 for Seniors Perpetuates Ageism

The YouTube video of an older couple accidentally recording themselves on their webcam was intended to provide an,”aw aren’t they cute” experience. One has to wonder why the couple permitted this assault to their dignity. The fact that the video had so many hits would indicate most people have no problem viewing older people as comedic subjects. The clip was demeaning and embarrassing.

ABC news compounded the insult by broadcasting it during the prime time news hour in addition to “Good Morning America”. The newscaster who cooed over its “cuteness” is not that much younger than the couple on the video. I am disappointed she compromised her credibility as a proficient news journalist. No one over the age of 18 is “cute” and depicting older adults as such is inappropriate.

My Photoshop class is primarily comprised of older adults. Most are tech savvy and many are still employed full time beyond retirement. Continuing education in computer technology is almost a necessity for older people to remain independent and informed. The participants in the YouTube video are in the minority of today’s technically challenged older people.

The granddaughter who published the video might want to consider teaching a computer class for older people. It seems like a good way to pay it forward and lessen potential negative karmic debt created by her lapse in judgment.

Granted, we all need a laugh during trying times, but not at the expense of promoting ageism.

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Politicians, Body Language and Lies

The recent televised Republican presidential candidate debate did not reveal anything new or enlightening about any of the candidates. It was an opportunity to observe body language and the various contortions affected by the debaters as the evening of spin progressed.

Texans know from too many years of experience when Governor Perry is going to tell a whopper. In his best televangelist move, he rocks forward on his toes, rolls his eyes and his mouth goes ballistic. His head bobbles around like a cheap carnival prize doll. If he happens to be seated during a Q & A, he squirms around in his seat like the guy in the TV commercial for Gas X. The makeover with the sleek coif cannot disguise his hand in the cookie jar expression. He looks like a trapped possum having an out of body experience. If it were someone other than Rick Perry, it would be painful to watch.

Michelle Bachmann’s hair do is an indication of the daily dose of science fiction she is going to spew. When her hair is flowing about her shoulders, she is going to invoke God and politicize his possible involvement in hurricanes and earthquakes. Perhaps she believes the almighty will intervene on her behalf and award her the republican candidacy. When the flowing mane is fashioned in an up sweep similar to a Pentecost preacher’s wife; watch out! Women are going to be offended. We will be admonished to be submissive to our husbands. She needs to return to the land of Nod.

Newt Gingrich has been lying so long, he could pass a lie detector test fully anesthetized.

As the language of politicians doesn’t appear to change much, perhaps we would be well advised to observe how they speak and disregard what they say.

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Lies and Excuses

Seems like every day brings a new onslaught of half-truths and outright lies.

Fox news and Congress top the list of spin and we take everything they say with a hefty dose of skepticism or outright disbelief. We know there is a gotcha lurking about somewhere.

Misinformation found a home on the internet and people are eager to cite the outrageous as factual.

The take away from this is we are becoming liars in instances when the simple truth would suffice.

For example, when someone makes up an unbelievable whopper to decline my invitation, I’m aware the intent is to spare my feelings. More often than not, they insult my intelligence.

Topping the list of least believed lies is the “conjure an over the top conflicting engagement.” Am I to believe that your last-minute opportunity to visit the Vatican conflicts with the exact same time I was coming for a visit? (And, don’t send a photoshopped pix of you and the pope for proof.)

New age excuses are so yesterday and lame. I don’t believe for one second you are backing out of attending my dinner party because it conflicts with your horoscope according to the Mayan calendar.

I am also aware of the “bait and switch/reward” technique. This is usually deployed when declining an invitation is accompanied by a dis-ingenuousness offer to meet at the Hari Krishna restaurant for brunch Sunday morning at 5:30 AM. The insincerity of this invite implies my transportation to this event involves a short yellow bus.

Telling a whopper has its consequences. If you are going to fib, don’t be surprised when your birthday party takes place at 5:00 AM for brunch. It’s the least I can do to honor your new early morning fitness agenda. I am thrilled that I remembered you stated a fondness for Krishna’s cuisine and you probably won’t miss the celebratory mimosas at all.

You will no doubt be ecstatic when you receive an autographed photo of the pope along with a framed copy of the Mayan calendar.




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Native Origin of Dinner

Nutritionist tell us eating fish is healthy. Maybe; depends on the native origin of the fish.

Wild caught salmon is expensive, and I waiver between paying the mortgage or buying wild caught.

Farm raised salmon was an alternative until I read the fish are naturally gray, then dyed red to appear more appealing. Aside from questionable cosmetic enhancement, fish that swim upstream have to be in better shape than those that loll around in a tank all day.

A grocery circular featuring a sale on sea scallops prompts a race to the store. My research on sea scallops indicates they are often carved from cod and passed off as sea scallops. I flatten my body against the meat case peering at the scallops to determine if their grain runs vertically and they are not cod in drag.

I try to make myself invisible to the other shoppers who look at me as though I escaped from the asylum.

The store demo at the seafood counter was hawking monkfish as “poor man’s lobster.” He assured me it tasted exactly like lobster tail. Sure it does and rattlesnake meat taste exactly like chicken, but who wants to go there?

Shrimp is another matter entirely. If the price is too good to be true, the shrimp are native Indonesian. There’s nothing wrong with being from Indonesia, but shrimp making the journey may have experienced more trauma than I wish to ingest.

Much of the Tilapia at my supermarket comes from China. The possibility I might glow in the dark gives me a reason to eliminate that choice. I give up and head to the produce section.

Should I flip a coin and get the stuff from the farmer and hope I can get all the pesticide off, or should I get the prewashed, boxed organic and trust it’s truly organic?

Too much information about food sources is depressing. I arrive home empty-handed and famished and call the pizza delivery guy. It contains neither fish nor lettuce.


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Rick Perry’s Heart

There is a country/western song that says “God is great, beer is good and people are crazy.” That’s as good an explanation as any for Rick Perry being elected twice to serve as governor of Texas.

He does little to contradict the image of Texans as varmint shooting, beer swilling rednecks. His “Texas twang” becomes more pronounced with each televised appearance. He must have channeled Robert Tilton for his day of prayer performance.

Wearing cowboy boots with a tuxedo  screams “hick”.  Most men in Texas who wear cowboy boots have never been cheerleaders.

“He feels in heart, this is what he is supposed to be doing.” Perhaps Perry needs stem cell therapy for his cerebellum. His lack of brain activity has long been a source of amazement and frankly, no one really gives a darn about what he feels in his heart.

He is a hypocrite of the first order as evidenced by his proposed amendment in 1989 to the Texas constitution that called for “the automatic resignation from office of certain public officials seeking other elective office.”

The kicker to that proposal was, the resignation would have to occur within the first 180 days  of holding public office. Having dodged that that requirement, he can continue to serve as governor of Texas and run for President. Nothing of value has happened under his watch. Texas’ constitution mandated a balanced budget, not Rick Perry.

Now that he has screwed up the state education system and healthcare for women, Tricky Ricky is following the time honored practice of seagull politics otherwise known as the dump and run. As much as Texans would be delighted to be rid of yet another political Doofus, we would gladly suffer through the remainder of his term as Governor, if we could be assured he would retire from politics altogether.

London odds makers are giving Perry decent odds to win the Republican nomination as their candidate for President.

If the Brits like him so much, maybe he should move to London. Wouldn’t that be loverly?

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Why Should A Woman Hide Her Engagement Ring for A Job Interview?

A news item advised women not to wear their engagement ring to the interview if they wanted to be considered serious job candidates.

This sounds like career advice women received in the sixties.

Divorced, with children and no recent work experience, was not a good place to be in the sixties. There were few female hiring managers and you couldn’t count on them for support. Their status had been hard won and few would risk it for any reason.

Women had the vote, but you’d hardly know it from questions posed by male interviewers. “Do you plan to re-marry?” “Not unless hell freezes over” or “Are you out of your freaking mind?” did not come across as politically correct responses. The other version of this job interview landmine was “You will re-marry someday. Should we decide to hire you, we’d have to replace and re-train your position”.

An engagement ring was the least of my problems.

In the sixties, divorce carried a stigma that fell for the most part on women. During an interview, it was difficult to refrain from stating if it were not for my children, I would have raced to a nunnery; but as I was damaged goods, placement in a religious institution was not an option. I was not asking to become indentured, just the opportunity to make a decent living.

“What will we do when your children are sick?” Assuring a prospective employer that you had arranged for care for your children was next to impossible.

After swearing to never date or have sex until well past retirement, you might have a chance at getting a job that paid less than a man performing the same duties. After all, men were the head of the household.

I remarried and moved to a larger city. There was not much difference in attitudes. Metropolitan interviewers were more brazen. They did not hesitate to ask how long you had been married. A truthful response brought a different twist on the same old tired line. One male interviewer solicitously stated, “You will want to mesh your new union with a child.” Using his superior visionary abilities, he had determined in a ten-minute interview my family planning objectives.

No woman of today would want to revisit the restrictions of the sixties. For younger women, who might not be aware of how their current rights evolved, some research is in order.

Hiding an engagement ring is a step in the wrong direction.

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