Thursday, October 25, 2012

Life-Size Cardboard Cutout Candidates

I covered a lot of local, state and national elections during my years as a newspaper reporter. I believed I’d seen it all, but as soon as a body starts thinking like that, you find out you haven’t. 

Leastways, I’d never seen this.

What am I talking about? A political supporter who gets their photograph made, not with the real-life candidate, but with a life-size cardboard cutout candidate. Like one of those standups they use for movie releases.

If that don’t beat all, I don’t know what does. Worst part, how do you politely respond when a friend shows you said photograph? I mean, I wanted to laugh, but good manners, pounded into me by my mama, made sure I didn’t do more than giggle myself into a fake cough.

Now, I realize Alabama is not one of them so-called swing states. Not with a state population a tad under five million residents. And we’re talking, residents, not voters. Those numbers put us on the low end of any national candidate’s interest. Fact is, national leaders only visit Alabama when we’ve suffered horrific national disasters Like Deepwater Horizon or killer tornadoes. Based on the noticeable lack of interest by national candidates during election time, I guess the local politicos decided that a cardboard cutout of a candidate was better than nothing. 

My friend certainly thought so because there she is standing next to her smiling, life-size candidate as happy as she can be. Which kinda scares me. If it’s that easy to please a voter, will candidates begin to ship out cardboard replicas of themselves instead of bothering to campaign? Picture the campaign bus pulling into town to unload, not the candidate, but cardboard cutouts.

Once elected, will they use the cardboard replicas of themselves when they don’t want to show up for work? Hmmm, maybe not a bad idea.

Imagine, a Congress full of cardboard replicas. Is that such a bad idea? Think about it. The cardboard cutouts might actually get something done. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ear Lifts Anyone?

The best way to find out the latest gossip in Tassanoxie, is to visit Zonie Mae’s beauty shop. That’s where I get most of my news now that I don’t work on the newspaper. Of course, most of her news is flat-out gossip, but I’m not in the business of reporting facts these days. And gossip is way more fun.

According to Zonie Mae, a mutual acquaintance has gone and got an ear lift. Well, really it’s more an ear plump because the doctor pumped something called facial filler into her ears. Until yesterday I had no idea any such thing even existed. And now that I’ve heard about it, it does have a certain allure.

Truth is, I never thought I’d want to bother with cosmetic surgery, but then I never thought to see this side of sixty and I certainly never thought I’d live long enough to see my earlobes droop. But as a friend says, it is what it is. I’ve lived past my earlobe warranty and my earlobes have decided to pay me back for punching holes in them and dangling earrings off them for all these years.

Believe me, it wasn't any fun to notice a definite ear droop. And they're sort of creased, too, especially when I pop earrings into them. And I never wore the huge earrings popular today. I have no idea how much fashionable earrings weigh since I haven’t tried them on so I may be way off in thinking they’re stretching earlobes. But it just seems a reasonable conclusion.

As does the prediction that cosmetic surgeons are going to have plenty of women who need ear lifts for the foreseeable future. Which means I should probably hurry to the doctor before there’s a long line.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Treasure Hunt Contest

Isn't that a pretty diamond? Ginger Hanson, the creator of our Tassanoxie stories asked me to tell you about a contest her publisher is running over at Twilight Times Books. Here's her message:

Miss Mabel,

Will you tell all your readers the treasure hunt contest involving jewels and my book, Lady Runaway, has begun? I wouldn't want them to miss out on the chance to win some neat prizes at the Twilight Times Books Treasure Hunt! (September 1 - 30, 2012)

Thanks a bunch!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Demise of the Southern Car Wave

I hear tell there are parts of the country where drivers don’t give each other a cheerful wave as they pass on the road. Since I’ve lived in the South all my life, I think it’s odd when someone drives past and doesn’t wave. I always figured they were from another part of the country and hadn’t learned our ways, yet.

I was big time wrong. Even people who should know better aren’t bothering to wave. Why? Because they’re too gosh darn busy talking on their cell phone.
And not the hands-free talking type of set-up, no, most people have the phone plastered to their ear because the Alabama legislature hasn’t deemed it worthwhile to ban the use of cell phones while driving. Although bless their pea-picking hearts, they did enact a no texting law.

And I appreciate that law tremendously. Who wants to share the road with some driver who is looking at a tiny screen and typing on a tiny keyboard instead of looking at the road, the other cars, the pedestrians, the signs, the bushes and trees, the dog in the road, the motorcyclist changing lanes, the red light up ahead...guess I could go on forever with that list!

Plus, I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone can use that tiny keyboard while standing still, much less while driving a car.

And they really can’t text and drive or else they wouldn’t be having accidents right and left and there wouldn’t be any “distracted driver” statistics for the news.

Some folks have invented a compromise and wave their pinkie at you as they drive past. That way they can keep right on talking, wave and have one hand on the wheel. 

I like the part about them having one hand on the wheel so I’m not going to tell them that pinkie wave ain’t much of a howdy-do wave.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lock Up Your Tide!

I couldn’t believe the headline, “Tide Thieves Clean Up!” Apparently, detergent has become a hot commodity in theft rings. Bad enough they’re stealing copper from rural church air conditioners, now they’re after my favorite laundry detergent. What’s the world coming to when criminals start stealing detergent instead of jewelry?

It’s come to being expensive to live in, that’s what. Seems the high cost of cleaning products have made them a hot commodity. Never thought I’d live to see the day when people thought stealing Tide was a money maker.

Not that detergent is the only target. Everything from razor blades to infant formula is on their shopping list. And you can forget the  idea these people are selling their loot out of the trunk of a car or at a flea market. Oh no, these guys are up to snuff and then some. They’re using the Internet to “e-fence” their loot. And this ain’t no small potatoes stealing and unloading, we’re talking about as much as $30 billion in retail losses every year!

Makes my head swim. 

Obviously, this is not your neighborhood kleptomaniac. No reason to act surprised when I say organized crime has gotten involved. No surprise either when I ask "who pays for the $30 billion loss?" Why, good little shoppers like you and me who don’t steal. Folks who are already stretching their budgets to supersonic thin are getting caught in the middle.

As usual.

Here’s an idea: How about instead of the big cleaning companies paying all that money in losses, why don’t they lower prices? That way, customers won’t have to pay so much for cleaning products and the mob won’t be interested in stealing stuff that has no re-sale market.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to Blogging

Sam says if I’m gonna have a blog, then I need to blog! And I say, sometimes life gets in the way and blogging falls off the to do list. Being retired means you get to do stuff when you want, without the pressure of having to do something yesterday. And while I love all the newfangled electronic gadgets, I don’t go around with my nose stuck in the computer all day long. Been there, done that, now retired.

Then Sam went and said how much he missed reading my weekly column in the Tassanoxie Sentinel which is why he convinced me to try this blogging idea in the first place. So now, how can I not blog more frequently? I have to admit, it was nice of him to say that.

I decided to make a "mid-year’s resolution" to try and write on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be that hard, not after all the years of newspaper writing I did while under a deadline. And it’s not like I have to write about a Rotary Club meeting or goings on at the local school board. I get to write about anything I want. 

So I will.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Night Owl Reviews Spring Fling Web Hunt

Night Owl Reviews has kindly reviewed several of Ginger Hanson's books. She's participating in their Spring Fling Web Hunt. All sorts of prizes are waiting for those who play so get yourself on over to their site and enter the contest.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Top Heavy Airplanes?

I saw in the newspaper the other day that the airlines have succumbed to passenger pressure. They are making overhead storage areas larger. To hold all the junk folks carry on the plane with them.

Am I the only one who thinks that move is dumber than dirt? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay a baggage fee and have them give me a bigger seating area than have them enlarge the carry on storage space. Not only would that give me a more comfortable traveling experience, it’d also give me better odds in a plane crash.

Say what? Yeah, that’s right. Just think about it. Once they load up the overhead storage with more luggage, a body could survive a crash only to be pummeled to death when the overhead storage bins bust open and rain destruction in the way of God knows what objects down on an unsuspecting passenger. If you've flown any, you've seen what oddball things people drag on board with them. I've seen everything from guitars to flower arrangements.

Not only do you have to worry about what might conk you on the head when the plane hits turbulence, but what about flying an airplane that has become top heavy? Face it, our airlines are aging (sort of like me). They were designed for people on top and baggage on the bottom. What sort of aerodynamic laws will these planes be challenging when they become heavy on top?

Way back when these planes were designed, overhead storage bins held blankets and pillows. Sometimes I think way back isn’t so bad. Especially if it means the difference between having a pillow conk you on your head or a fully loaded carry on suitcase. Or how safely the airplane can take off and land...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Garbage Day Reveals Illiteracy Problem

Either my neighbors are illiterate or they can’t follow directions.Why do I think this poorly of my neighbors? Because every garbage pickup day, about 25% put their garbage cans out wrong. So either they can’t to read or they can’t follow the directions printed on their garbage can lid. I’m sure, when they come home they wonder what in the world happened to their garbage cans.

Well, I’ll tell you what happens to their cans because I’m usually out walking my dog, Jocky. The cans get throwed around because the city has gone and bought some of those newfangled garbage trucks. These new trucks don’t have 2 people on the back, picking up the cans, tossing the contents into the back of the truck, and then making sure the can is put back where it started.

No siree, now it only takes one person driving the truck and pulling some levers to empty the cans. These trucks got this big old arm that comes out and grabs that can, hoists it upside down in the air, and shakes the contents right into the top of truck bed. Emptying the garbage can is a piece of cake for the driver.

Of course, if you’ve done put your can out backwards, the whole operation gets a little shaky. During the pickup process, the lid sometimes gets busted off, but most often the can ends up all cattywampus when it’s set back on the ground.

Which is how many of my neighbors are going to continue finding their garbage cans unless they put them out there with the handle pointing toward the street. It’s not college physics we’re dealing with here, it’s just a simple matter of pointing the arrow on the lid in the right direction.

Speaking of directions, I think I’ll go with my neighbors not reading the directions rather than not being able to read the directions. Helps me keep the faith in Tassanoxie’s school system.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lady Runaway on Sale during Ebook Week!

Here's a newsflash for romance readers, the ebook version of Ginger Hanson's Regency adventure romance, Lady Runaway is on sale during Ebook Week, March 4 - 10, 2012. Grab this chance to read one of her books. She's one of my favorite writers and I know you'll love Lady Runaway!

It's available at

Monday, February 27, 2012

Technology Can't Replace Real Folks

I know I’m old-fashioned on account of the fact I’m old and prefer the way some things were done in the past over how they’re done now. For us old-fashioned types, it sometimes feels like the world is spinning out of control with all these new-fangled technological devices. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. It has changed to world in many ways for the better. I like knowing the doctor can use ultrasound to check out my innards before she traipses in there with a scalpel.

Now I’ll be the first to admit my computer skills aren’t as good as a kid who learned about computers in the womb, but I’m not a complete computer illiterate. I love to bank and shop online and it’s great not to have to run down to the library to research every little thing.

But one thing worries me about technology and especially everyone using cell phones. It seems to me, right-beside-you family and friends should rate more attention than folks who call you on the phone.

In the days of tethered phones, getting a phone call meant going into one room, sitting down and talking. If you had company, you excused yourself for a few minutes to talk to the caller. And of course, it was just common courtesy to keep the call short when you had company, because your guest had taken the time to come and visit in person. Nowadays, with cell phones or bluetooth thingys stuck to everyone’s ear, it seems whoever calls takes precedence while the person with the callee gets ignored.

For gracious sake, what happened to good manners? Why is the person with you less important than the caller? And that’s the signal a person sends when they’d rather talk to someone who called them than talk to the right-beside-them person.

Maybe I’m wrong. After all, many youngsters would label me an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy. But if they’re with me when they label me, at least they’ll know I’m listening, because I won’t be chatting on the phone with someone else.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

You Can Still Read 'Em

Ginger's blog tour is over, but these dang blogs stay in cyberspace forever, so you can always go visit the blogs below and check out what she wrote.

This whole idea of web pages never going away is something folks need to keep in mind when they write stuff. I wasn't a believer until Sam showed me an old web page from the Dark Ages of the Internet (which is last year in the computer world).

Okay, the page was about 15 years old, but there it was, like a guilty conscience, hanging out in cyberspace for all eternity. That's downright scary. And with all the information being pumped into the Internet, one has to wonder if it will eventually implode from the overload?

Interesting concept...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ginger Hanson's Virtual Book Blog Tour

I'm helping Ginger Hanson get the word out this week. She's doing a virtual book blog tour this week: February 13th- 17th, 2012.

Stop by, post a comment and get the chance to win a $10.00 B & N gift card and a print copy of either her CW historical romance, Ransom’s Bride or the anthology, How I Wrote My First Book: The Story Behind the Story which includes a great story about writing a historical novel, “Ten Lessons I Learned from Writing Quest for Vengeance"-

Lady Runaway Blog Tour Schedule:

February 13: Megan Johnson Invites


February 14: Rachel Brimble


February 15: Rogue’s Angels


February 16: Reader Girls


February 17: It’s Raining Books


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy 2012

Lord a mercy, how time flies over the holidays! I don't know about you, but what with T-day and Christmas, I don't have time for much except cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping and celebrating! Then, there's the decompression after it's all over. Why "de-Christmasing" the house takes me several days!

Now here comes the New Year, all shiny and ready to be explored. And with it comes my wish to you for a happy, healthy 2012.