Friday, September 7, 2018

It Ain’t Easy Getting Older

Aging is not for the faint of heart. It’s also not for anyone who doesn’t want to hear a litany of physical complaints when they absentmindedly ask an acquaintance, “How ya doing?”

You can forget hearing “Fine. How are you doing?”

Oh, no. Once you and your acquaintances hit the 50s and up, conversations drift into health issues with amazing frequency. All of a sudden, you not only know what dementia is, you know someone with it. And you worry every time you stand in front of an opened refrigerator and can’t remember what the heck you wanted, if dementia has started messing with your brain.

Even if you’re feeling good, most of your friends aren’t.

You may not be having serious health problems, but darn if your body doesn’t start changing in weird ways. Shoes don’t fit right because when you weren’t looking your toes got crooked. Veins you didn’t know you had show up on your legs. Your hair, once  a brown with a sprinkling of gray, heads toward gray with white around the corner.

Suddenly, everyone in your circle talks about their aching and creaking joints. And next thing you know, they’re getting new hips or new knees.

Every time you look in the mirror, there’s a new line on the face looking back. Which explains all the products guaranteed to slow the hand of time. I heard about the latest wonder cream on a recent John Tesh radio show. It’s called Wrinkle Butter. No fancy dancy product name here to entice use. Why bother? After all, its main ingredient is earthworm pooh!

Yep, earthworm pooh. Or more technically, earthworm casings.

I’ve got no idea how long Wrinkle Butter has been around, but it hit the media recently so lots of folks know about it now. Seems that earthworms are not only good for plants, but also for human skin. This, according to farmers who muck around in the pooh. Sam said he could just see a gnarled, old farmer holding out his hands and admiring how soft they were since he started raising earthworms and could play in their pooh.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I figure the Wrinkle Butter makers have added stuff to make Wrinkle Butter smell good so folks don’t have to worry about smearing earthworm pooh on their body parts.

But, hey. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. That’s my motto. Which is also why I ordered me a jar of the stuff. Now if only the Wrinkle Butter can help creaky joints and funny shaped toes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Squashing the Salesman

I read somewhere that a good salesman can convince a customer she needs whatever he’s selling. Sure as shooting, this is the first lesson taught in sales class. I’m just guessing here since I’ve never been to a real how-to-get-people-to-buy-stuff class.

But I did piddle around with a short stint of selling vacuum cleaners when I was in college. That was a lot of years ago, last century to be more specific. Back when selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door was in its heyday.

It seems a good door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman (sorry about the historic terminology, but I did say last century) doesn’t walk into the customer’s home and think:

This person doesn’t need this wonderful but pricey vacuum cleaner. Lord knows she ain’t got that much to vacuum.

Real quick like, I learned feeling sorry for your customer
means you don’t make many sales. Which means you don’t make much money.

Gotta admit, this attempt to sell stuff was an eye opener for me. I was right young when I discovered what a lousy salesperson I was. Which pretty much slammed that door in my face. But as y’all know, when one door slams shut another one opens. Not sure what door opened way back then, but I did study journalism rather than marketing in college.

On the other hand, having been on the sales end of the stick, I’m wise to the ways of salespeople. This came in real handy when Jeb and I were renovating our house many years ago. The sales rep of a popular brand of windows tried to convince me to buy his windows over another brand.

Bless his heart, his windows were less expensive than the ones I wanted. And the cost of renovating the house was eating our lunch, so saving money was a good thing. Problem was, we wanted windows that opened from the top. And this guy didn’t have any that did.

When he wasn’t able to convince me how great his windows were, he tried using the old “Dr. So and So over in Rich People’s Subdivision had a bunch of our windows installed in his house. He’s right happy with them.”

Now I was glad for Dr. So and So, but I wasn’t fixing to live in his house so I really didn’t care what windows he had put in. Right fast, I put the squash on that move with a very polite-don’t-give-a-hoot, “You don’t say.”

The window rep finally recognized defeat when he saw it. That’s another aspect of sales I don’t miss, doing all that talking and not making a sale.

Then again, being a rotten salesperson led me right out of sales into the newspaper world. Which pretty much assured I’d never have the money to buy an expensive vacuum cleaner, either.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Doggone Right They Need Seatbelts

There sure are a lot of folks around here who don’t seem to understand basic physics. Remember this law? For every action there is a reaction?

Action: Slam on the brakes of your car.
Reaction: It skids to a stop. 

Simple? Right? 

Car going, apply brakes, car stops.

Problem is, the stuff IN the vehicle keeps on moving at whatever speed the vehicle was going. So you’re humming down the road at 60 mph and a deer runs in front of you. SLAM! You hit the brakes. The car skids to a stop, but guess what? You, and everything else in that car, keeps going at 60 mph.

This basic law of physics is the reason seat belts and air bags were invented. To keep folks from eating the steering wheel or going through the windshield head first.

Seems to me, folks would respect physics and secure all the passengers in the car. 

Even their dog.

Oh, no, not my Peaches. She’ doesn’t need a safety harness. She just loves to sit in my lap and look out the window. 

Yes, I hate to admit it, but there are some good ole boys around here who have let their lives be ruled by little bitty dogs.

As you can tell, I’ve got problems with folks who think it’s okay to have their cute little dog standing on their lap. It’s usually small dogs since the larger ones squash your legs and make it hard to even see out the wind shield, but still, do you really want your Pomeranian crushed when you ram into another vehicle and the air bag deploys?

Because, another law of physics. In order to protect the driver those things blast out at oh, 100 mph upon impact. Blink your eye and its over. As is your dog.

Or how about folks who think it’s cute to let their dog stick his head out of a vehicle window? Think of the crud blowing into their eyes and ears at 20 mph. Multiple that by more damage if you’re going 50 or 60 mph. What about a rock tossed up by a passing truck? If it can dent your car’s windshield, think of what it can do to your dog’s head

Don’t even get me going on folks who put their dog in the bed of a pick up truck. Again, basic physics. For every action there’s a reaction. Slam on the brakes and yes, the dog somersaults out of the truck to death. Or permanent maiming. One of my neighbors crippled his beautiful Golden Retriever when she was thrown out of the truck bed.

Jocko loves to ride in the car, but he’s always secured to a harness in the back seat. I even bought him a little dog booster (yes, they have them for dogs!) seat so he can see out of the side window. 

Be a good dog guardian. Secure you pet in the car (Mr. Tibbs said to be sure an keep cats in a carrier and strap it in). Think about how you’d feel if you slammed on the brakes maimed or killed your dog.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Cotton Picking for Real Snow in Alabama

Seems I got tied up with doing other things since last summer and neglected to keep everyone entertained with my blogs. Since you keep showing up to read them, I'll try and do better writing them in 2018!

Several years ago I wrote a blog about how we don’t get much snow down here in LA (lower Alabama). In fact, most years near about as close as we get to anything resembling snow is during the fall cotton harvest.

Which based on recent activities down here in Tassanoxie, it’s a good thing we don’t get snow often. You know what happens hereabouts when it gets cold and we get snowy sleet and way below freezing temperatures? 

Well, first of all, everything closes–schools, businesses, events, city operations except for emergency personnel. Who are going to be greatly needed based on all the idjits that think the advice not to drive isn’t meant for them.

Second, some idjits get in their vehicles and off they go.

Right into an accident as they skid all over the roads and cause massive pile ups. Especially on roads that cross bridges due to that thing called black ice, which it appears Alabama drivers do not recognize as being a problem. Until their car slides around backassward to where they were going. 

The real kicker comes when the next round of idjits get mad at the state and local police officers because the road has been closed to more traffic. As if the emergency folks don't need time to sort through the mess made by the first round of idjit drivers. All those cars that skidded every which a way need to be untangled and the cars and people moved out of there.

But noooooo, the idjits are mad because now they don’t get a chance to skid off a bridge. I know. I know. Bubba has 4 wheel drive and can just drive around any pile ups. Yeah, right off the bridge into the river because that’s where most of the accidents occurred. Surprise! Black ice forms on bridges.

And let’s take a looksee at who is out there skidding off a bridge. What’s so important these guys have to be out and about. Oh, yeah. They can’t miss that volunteer meeting that some other idjit insists is happening. 

All I know for sure is that Alabamians are a lot safer when it’s only cotton lining the sides of the road than when it’s real snow.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Wealth Management Advisor

I was standing in line at the Worthington Bank the other day when I saw a sign on Lily’s desk that said, “Wealth Management Advisor.” I realize the bank’s being helpful offering this service to customers, but with the economy where it is these days, banks might do better to have a Poor Folks Management Advisor. Wealth is not the overwhelming problem of the average American. Not with 1% of our citizens hogging all the money. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s best to plan for future retirement, but you need money before you can save it. And all those economic guys are saying wages are stagnant. Fact is, I heard tell of a man whose father made $16.00 an hour with benefits to include several weeks of vacation time some 30 years ago. Yet that same job with the same company is now paid minimum wage with no benefits.

Chew on that a little bit. 

Food for chewing: in 1985 $16.00 bought over 2x as much as it does today. So in today’s dollars, even if the job still paid $16.00, it wouldn’t buy as much. Top that with the fact the pay for the job fell to minimum wage…

Seems to those of us who shop see prices for everything going up, but what folks are paid isn’t.
Folks need help surviving the present and don’t really have any money for the future. And that’s going to really hurt when their present becomes their future and they’re flat broke.
I like cutesy titles as much as anyone else, but if I were a wealth management advisor, I’d take my own advice and get wealthy. “Course that would mean I wouldn’t have to work.

I’d join the ranks of the 1% who are hogging all the money. 

Although why anyone thinks they need a billjillion dollars is beyond me. The hassle of trying to spend it before I kicked the bucket would drive me bonkers. Which brings me to this: what’s the point of having so much money you can’t even spend it in your lifetime? 

What, to leave it to your kids who will just fritter it away on a rich kid lifestyle they didn’t have to lift a finger to get?

Frankly, with all the huge numbers tossed around as to the worth of CEOs, sports figures, entertainment types, etc. I’m beginning to wonder where all the money is stored. Are these folks keeping it under their mattress? In an armored car parked on their estate? 

What if the 1% sashayed down to the bank today and wanted to withdraw their money, would there be enough dollars in the nation to pay them? Would there be a purse large enough to hold it all?

An even better question, is there a future for a Poverty Management Advisor?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Alabama: 51st State Out Of 50

Last month I told y’all about how Louisiana cushions Alabama from being the fattest state–with a little help from Mississippi. Well, that didn’t work with education. According to a state education spokeswoman we’re now the dumbest state based on school scores.

She kept saying Alabama ranked 51st out of 50 states. Which right there explains why Alabama has education issues. State education leaders think we have 51 states, but at last count, there were only 50.

I know, I know, they’re counting the District of Columbia, but shouldn’t that be mentioned somewhere in the article? Otherwise, the person quoting the statistic sounds ignorant. The participants in the survey should be explained. Like 50 states and DC.

When I read the article, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Well, if they’re teaching our kids we have 51 states, then we should be at the bottom of the education heap.”

The 3 Rs?
Then the education expert fell back on that worn out rhetoric about “going back to the basics” of reading, writing, and arithmetic–the three Rs. Again, I see a problem. Only reading starts with a “r”! Calling it the 3Rs confuses the heck out of kids.

Oh yeah, and while we’re at it, let’s drop social studies and science in elementary school. Wouldn’t want to muddy up the younguns’ brains too early with those subjects, now would we? Of course, axing art and music is a given. Why waste time on the amenities when these kids can’t even add?

Not once does our visiting education expert mention the survey about the correlation between how much a state spends on education and how well the public schools perform. Oddly, the high scoring schools pretty much spend more money per student on education than the low scoring schools. Ever heard tell of you get your money’s worth?

New State School Superintendent 
Alabama got a new state school superintendent last fall and expectations run high he’ll figure out how to get us off the bottom of the heap since he’s from a high scoring state. Being he’s from Massachusetts I can’t see how that’ll work out. Everyone knows those New Englanders talk funny. How in heaven’s name are we supposed to understand a word he says?

He’s also used to being around state leaders committed to educating the kids and spending money on them to do it right. Our legislature meets for about 2 minutes a year. They don’t have time to make any big long term decisions about anything much less education.

Meanwhile, Alabama teachers, like teachers everywhere, keep on trucking. They work long hours for low pay while shaping the future leaders of this country.

Stop the presses!! 
Maybe hiring an educational guru from Massachusetts isn’t such a great idea after all. This just in from USA Today. Alabama may be on the bottom of the education list, but according to Google, our most misspelled word is pneumonia while those brainiacs in Massachusetts don’t seem to be able to spell the word license,

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Southern Style Dining: The Yellow Menu

Alabama seldom gets a high ranking in any of the state survey contests, in fact if it weren’t for Mississippi we’d probably always be the worst at whatever was being ranked. It came as a big surprise to find out Alabama and Mississippi tied on something and Louisiana got a worst ranking than both of us.
Yep, Louisiana won the fattest population test. 36.2% of their population is overweight while only 35.6% of Alabama and Mississippi’s population gets that coveted accolade. 
We finally reach second highest and what do we get? Diet plans.

Which is not gonna sit well with the folks who like to patronize the restaurants in Tassanoxie who serve what I like to call a “yellow menu.” Meaning everything has been dipped in corn bread or flour and fried. We’re talking so much grease here, they don’t have to buy new, all they have to do is scrap it off the kitchen walls and reuse it.

Sure, this means little bitty bits of chicken or fish sneak into the recycled grease, but it’s not as if it’ll kill you. The grease is heated to death-defying temperatures that should kill off any bacteria. So what if the French fries taste a little like chicken/fish? Who’s going to notice. It’s not like gourmet chefs or diners hang out in yellow menu restaurants, now is it?  

Just to let you know, if you dare to ask for your fish to be broiled not fried, you have to pay extra because they are doing you a big favor. I reckon since they can’t just dump the fish in a vat of bubbling grease, they gotta charge for the extra work.

It’s hard to imagine that amid all the healthy eating that’s happening across the country, these restaurants still hang in there. 

It’s not just the frying that’s the problem, like many restaurants across the country, the yellow menu places serve too much food, too. I’ve seen servers deliver a meal that would feed a small nation. Or the expansive belly that keeps the guy who ordered it three feet from the table. The servings sizes have gotten so big, most folks have no idea how much food makes up a serving.

Hitch the large size of the servings to the types of food being served– high fat, high sugar, high calorie–surprise! Obesity wins.

Of course, the yellow menu restaurants are doomed because the folks that eat there are not healthy eaters which means they face lots of health problems. So many the survey taker people just say higher body weights are associated with increases in all-cause mortality. 

All-cause mortality. I reckon that means so many causes there’s no use listing them one by one. 

It seems to me all these harrowing statistics would make the owner of a restaurant whose menu is mostly yellow a tad been worried. I mean, if the type of food you serve and the amounts you serve help shuttle your customer on the road to death, wouldn’t it be a good idea to come up with some healthy, mouth watering alternatives? 

You know, before all your customers suffer that all-cause mortality problem?