NEW ADDITIONS

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING:

“I was shocked the other day when I found out that WTF has another meaning. I always thought it meant ‘Where’s the Food?’” – Anonymous.

     It took me awhile to figure that out also, but these weren’t the first initials that have had me stumped. When I was a pharmacist, I came across the initials FLK in a chart I was reviewing. I asked the doctor what FLK stood for. He replied, “Funny looking kid. Occasionally when I’m examining a child, and he or she doesn’t look quite right, and I can’t quite put my finger on what’s wrong, I will note FLK.”

     I think I was an FLK. When I look at pictures of my youth, I see this runt of a boy with his ears sticking out, a rather large nose, and a cone-shaped head. My mother told me my coned-shaped head was due to my VERY difficult delivery. Whenever my mother and I went someplace together, I always felt people were thinking, there goes that poor Edna with her son, Bobby. You know, he was such a difficult delivery. I would think this because she would tell this story often to anyone who would listen. She would relate it in great detail, and then end it by saying, “I didn’t think that big head would ever get through there.” This produced a graphic image in my mind that still haunts me to this day.

     I mostly grew out of this although I still display some physical vestiges of my youth. It hasn’t handicapped me though. I have a beautiful wife and none of these noted problems have been passed on to my progeny. To this day I still wish I were better looking – someone like Robert Redford would be nice. And you know, it certainly could be worse, and then with resignation I think, “Oh, well. WTF.”

 MY NOT-SO-PROUD-OF REASONS I DANCE ARGENTINE TANGO

Reason #67 – The snob factor.  When people ask me how I’m going to be spending my winter, I can respond, “Well, actually, I’m going to be dancing Argentine tango…” along with an unspoken “…and you’re not.”

Reason #87 – It beats the hell out of golfing. I get to do things with my partner that you can’t do with your putter.

Reason #3 – One for the ladies: where else can a woman wear fishnet stockings and a skirt with a slit up the side and not be labeled a slut.

Reason #55 – I’m old, but I still want to be cool. I can participate in flash mob tangos which are perhaps the coolest things I’ve ever been involved in.

Reason #16 – No more holding my partner like I’m dancing at the prom. I get to violate her space, wrap her up and hold her close, and in public – things most men would get slapped for if they weren’t dancing the tango.

Reason #31 – As we are returning to our table, I can whisper to Dorothy, “Wow! THAT was SO tangooey.”

Reason #1 – Everyone needs to experience a great tango at least once in their lifetime. Tango can create this beautiful moment where two souls meet, merge, and become lost in each other to the extent all reality is shut out and oblivion occurs.  For three minutes the acquired subsidiaries (the music, the dance, and our heartbeats) combine and we feel like we are the center of the universe. My true confession: I LIKE to be the center of the universe.

Taken from my list of 100 reasons to take Argentine Tango Lessons

I NO LONGER DREAM OF JEANNIE…

     I used to. As a young adult I had a huge crush on Barbara Eden, and I did dream of Jeanie. But that’s not the subject I want to write about now.

     Since I’ve retired, when I awaken, I can usually remember my dreams in vivid detail. I now can replay them, especially the good parts, as I’m lying there waiting to get out of bed. This is a new thing for me.

     I’ve also noticed that my dreams have dramatically changed. They now are “nice” dreams. They’re kind of grandpa-like. I no longer have odd ones such as my recurring dream of driving a 3-wheel vehicle where the seat is 30-feet in the air, and if I turn it too sharply, it will tip over. The anxious dreams of going to take an exam I haven’t studied for, the panic of not being able to find the classroom, or the worst ones where I find myself at the mall and I’m not wearing any clothes are also gone.

     The night terrors of my youth are ancient history, and no one dies in my dreams or is threatened. Everyone is civil and no one is mean or excludes me from the crowd.

     And my dreams are no longer the stuff of which Harlequin novels are written. In a way, that’s nice. I’m not complaining, but a little spice from time to time would be nice.

Note: If you want to read more about dreams, I recommend you click on the article below, Perchance To Dream:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/12/10/why-we-sleep-and-why-we-often-can

ABOUT COFFEE:

 I calculated in my lifetime I have enjoyed at least 36,000 cups of coffee. I think that makes me a bit of an expert. – Bob Miller

Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love. – Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

Wake up and smell the coffee. – Ann Landers

I need a coffee to go with my coffee. – Zooey Deschanel

I love coffee. I love a midday espresso on set, just for the energy. – Carrie Brownstein

Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee? – Albert Camus

Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after. – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Coffee arrived and the espresso was excellent, like an aromatic electric fence. – Ben Aaronovitch

Coffee drinking without cream and sugar is an acquired taste. – Author Unknown

“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” ― Dave Barry

I’M A THERMOSTAT NAZI

     It’s a known fact: chaos ensues when everyone in a household has the right to adjust the thermostat. When I still had children residing in the house, for anyone to have the right to change the thermostat, they had to (1) possess a driver’s license and (2) to monetarily contribute to the general household income on a regular basis.

     Proper thermostat adjustment is tricky business. For example, in the fall and spring, the outdoor temperatures can have wide fluctuations. Highs for the day can be in the 70s, but drop down to a crisp mid 20s at night, a change of 50 degrees in a very short time.

     As a result, maintaining indoor comfort becomes quite a challenge. I personally consider habitually running BOTH the air conditioner and the furnace during any 24-hour period to be an over-indulgence. And this is where my special talent kicks in.

     I think it’s an art to adjust the thermostat mode (heat/cold), the thermostat setting (indoor temperature), the blower setting on the furnace (summer and winter), window shades (open or closed), windows and doors (open or closed), ceiling fans (on or off), and to know when to issue sweaters or hand fans so we can all be comfortable and cozy. As you can tell, that’s a lot of balls in the air.

     I know I’m parsimonious by nature, which I think is a better use of words then to say I am stingy and frugal, but I think it’s a terrible waste of resources (and money) not to pay attention to this. As you can tell, I take this VERY seriously.

     There is also one other issue to consider. There are settings to be adjusted on all three levels of our home which requires many trips up and down the stairs before I get it right. At the end of the day I always wonder if I really need to do the treadmill, and that my aerobic requirements have probably been met. I usually assume they have, so instead of exercising, I will make a martini and sit down in my chair to enjoy the perfect 72 degrees. I then raise my glass and toast myself on a job well done.

THIS YEAR I’M READY

     I’ve noticed a trend, and that is that more and more things are becoming expandable. There are expandable files, dining room tables. luxury vans, garden hoses, and suitcases just to name a few.

     Along these same lines and in the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, whenever we gather with friends and family, I have always tried to wear some article of clothing fitting and befitting of the holiday. I haven’t actually made the purchase yet, but I have my eye on a pair of tan cords embroidered with pumpkins. They look comfortable and roomy, but the main selling point seems to be their ample elastic waistband. This is important, because I know on Thanksgiving, it will be more than just my mind that is expanding.

THANKSGIVING DINNER PLEASANTRIES

     Regarding pleasant Thanksgiving dinnertime conversation, most everyone agrees there are certain topics that should be avoided to keep the peace such as sex, religion, and politics. To this list I’d like to add gossip, your personal finances, your health problems, and most recently I’ve added where and how you spend your winters – also, I think it’s best not to mention Brady and Belichick. If you follow these rules, this doesn’t leave much to talk about, so be prepared for long periods of silence. And if you want to have a REAL old-fashioned Thanksgiving in the style of Norman Rockwell, declare tomorrow a no-iphone day.

COLD TURKEY – According to the dictionary “it may be that the original cold turkey was a combination of cold (“straightforward, matter-of-fact”) and the earlier talk turkey, which dates back to the early 1800s and refers to speaking plainly. Regardless of its ultimate origins, the phrase manages to vividly capture the initial dread and discomfort that comes from immediately quitting something that’s addictive, from drugs to dating apps.”

     There’s another definition that the dictionary didn’t cover, and that involves THANKSGIVING DINNER LEFTOVERS. I love those days when we creatively find ways to use them up. And I don’t think I’ve ever met a leftover turkey recipe I didn’t like. And the options are way to numerous to mention here. 

     When you’re preparing the Thanksgiving dinner, or you’re garnering plastic storage containers to haul the stuff home, be sure there’s plenty of soppy (gravy) to ladle on the meat. The turkey gravy itself is a whole ‘nother universe. As a matter of fact, I have my own personal gravy boat with my name on it. Actually, I don’t, but if there’s anyone out there who wants to give me something for Christmas that I would treasure for the rest of my life, this is it.

ERMA WEIGHS IN

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.” – Erma Bombeck

GETTING DOWN WITH OPERA

     I had an opera phase in my life. Not so much anymore, but I will occasionally get out my opera discs, crank up the volume, and have the music from La Boheme wafting through the house. While I still love opera, I find there are three things wrong with it:  It usually has a rather simplistic story line (libretto).  It seems to take a performer forever to die.  And you can’t dance to the music.

     But if you want a taste of the best of the best, click on the link below. The selection is the Queen of the Night Aria from The Magic Flute. It is how all great sopranos are measured. As one critic said, “It can swallow them whole!”  

 https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+queen+of+the+night+aria&qpvt=youtube+queen+of+the+night+aria&view=detail&mid=9A4A6A78CAF007D818719A4A6A78CAF007D81871&rvsmid=96C2E7B60278A5D4D46996C2E7B60278A5D4D469&FORM=VDRVRV        

HOTEL ELEVATORS

The Scenario:

     You’ve arrived at an elevator, and you press the “up” button.  Another person arrives, sees the “up” button is lit, but presses it anyway.  A third person arrives and also presses the “up” button.

The Question:

     Does an elevator arrive faster the more times the button is pressed?

The Answer:

     Several studies have been done on this, and it was found that elevators do not arrive faster the more times the button is pressed.  It should be noted that the results were the same for both the “up” and the “down” buttons, so it appears gravity has no effect.  The studies also revealed that certain conditions will actually slow the elevators response and shift it into another mode, and its arrival will actually take longer.  Elevator companies can’t explain why this occurs, but it seems to follow a time-response spectrum:

The Certain Conditions

You aren’t in a hurry. As a matter of fact, you are looking forward to a nice ride while listening to some soothing music. Mode: Normal

You are exhausted, and you can’t wait to get to your room so you can relax. Mode: Slow

Your aching arms are filled with packages and shopping bags. Mode: Slower

You desperately need to go to the bathroom. Mode: Even slower

You are intoxicated. Mode: Much slower

It is important to get checked out of the hotel quickly so you won’t miss your flight. Mode: Molasses isn’t this slow

You are intoxicated and you desperately need to go to the bathroom. Mode: You are convinced the elevator is stuck.

You become so impatient you machine-gun the button (known as “elevator button rage”). If you do this it’s been found that 75% of the time the next elevator will actually bypass your floor. Mode: The absolute slowest

Handling Complaints

     Hotels receive lots of complaints about slow elevators, and some have even hired engineers to address the problem.  The engineers suggested such things as additional elevators, express elevators to certain floors, higher degrees of computerization, adding sophisticated equipment to speed up the elevators, etc.  These are all very expensive solutions, but what they found worked best was installing mirrors in the elevator boarding areas.  That’s right – mirrors.  Immediately after installing mirrors, the complaints always go down.  It works every time.  

THE ATTITUDES OF THE PRIVILEGED FEW

     There has always been a certain disdain for us poor nine-to-fivers by the people who either play games or entertain us for their livelihood. This was brought to light by a story Jerry Seinfeld told (and I’m paraphrasing):

     In the 1950s a small dance orchestra was traveling across country when their bus broke down. This was before AAA or cell phones, and they could see no headlights or other indications of civilization, so they started walking. Several miles later they noticed a farmhouse with their lights on so they started walking towards it. As they got closer, they could see the residents inside the house. A family just setting down to dinner. It was a handsome man with his beautiful wife and their two perfect children bowing their heads in prayer. There was a fire in the fireplace in a quintessential Norman Rockwell setting.

     The band members stopped for a minute and took in the events that were happening inside the house. One of them turned to the other, and with pity in his voice said, “How can people live like this?”

STOP CHERRY-PICKING THE TRAIL MIX

     Synergism occurs when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Take Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix for example; it contains peanuts, M&Ms, raisins, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips. And it all seems to be lightly covered with a coating to either make it taste better or to preserve it longer (or both).

     It seems to me, to get the full essence of the trail mix, each serving (the whole) should have as many representative constituents (the parts) as possible. In other words, the accomplished action should be a blind grab. There should be no selection process at the time of procuring your serving either visually or tactilely. If this is done, you’re messing with the “whole.” And Aristotle would not be pleased.

     Ideally, trail mix should be eaten when you are involved in a separate activity that has completely captured your attention. tactilely. Another behavior that shouldn’t be allowed is for someone to cherry-pick the parts. If you like peanuts, buy a sack of peanuts. If you like M&Ms, tear open a bag of M&Ms. You need to be aware that there are people walking around who take this seriously, and there have been incidents of violence when cherry-picking has been detected.

     A noted infraction isn’t important enough to call a cop or to issue a citizen’s arrest, but you would be doing society a favor by simply yelling, “STOP. BACK AWAY FROM THE TABLE,” and then lecture this person that what they have just done is not socially acceptable. Once they have had time to digest this, I’m sure they will come around and see the error of their ways.

JUST HOW MANY WAYS ARE THERE TO SKIN A CAT?

I don’t know, but there are probably just as many ways to fillet a fish. For a novel way to do this along with a recipe for fresh fish poached in butter , click on the following: https://rmillerdinnerparty.com/recipes/fish-roasted-in-butter-with-brown-butter-sauce/

SWEAT

     To my father sweat was a class indicator. He didn’t think in terms of “blue collar” or “white collar” workers. He thought, if you didn’t “crack a sweat,” you weren’t really working. He referred to the people who never sweat as the “never sweats,” and he had a certain disdain for their ilk. To him sweating was noble; sweat was the indicator of “an honest day’s work.”

     While I don’t subscribe to my father’s beliefs, I think cracking a sweat on occasion is good for us. I also think it is cleansing. It seems to rid the body of toxins and impurities that have accumulated, and working or exercising hard enough to sweat seems to alter my neurochemistry in a good way. 

     Sweat isn’t always associated with hard work, exercise, or recreation; there’s also nervous sweat.  Extreme anxiety can cause one to sweat profusely, and there’s also something called “flop sweat.”  Flop sweat is “nervous perspiration caused by a fear of failure before an audience.”  If you want to see an extreme example of this, watch Albert Brooks in Network News (it’s hilarious) or Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential debate (‘not pretty).

     What causes me to break out in a nervous or flop sweat? There are needles, dentists, physical exams, the unpredictability of panhandlers, the IRS, boarding a plane, my relatives on my mother’s side, holding crying babies who can’t be comforted, performance anxiety, public speaking, public transportation, being ignored by the wait staff in a restaurant, and asking me to play the game charades.

     I have to admit there isn’t enough physical activity in my life to cause me to crack a sweat, and I never dance hard enough or long enough to soak a shirt. I do work out which involves vigorous exercise, but that’s always done in private, so I hardly ever sweat in public. 

     If you do ever see me drenched in sweat, it’s because I’ve encountered something or someone from the above “nervous sweat” list. You know, even thinking about the list causes me anxiety. Hmmm…Is it hot in here? Or is it just me?