Friday, November 20, 2020


I’ve learned a lot of new words during the pandemic.   In a thundering moment of poetic vigor the government has created these soulful phrases. Here is what I thought they meant and what the government tells me they mean.

Shelter in place:  


Me:  this is a variation of Musical Chairs. If you are out and there is an earthquake or you see a tornado coming, or you come upon a turf war  shoot-out, each person runs  into the nearest house and hides in the coat closet.


The govt.  From now until forever, you have to stay inside your own  house and everyone who lives with you has to stay there, too.  You have to do this every day, all day, all night, even week-ends.  After a few days, you will have a disturbing understanding of what you’ve settled for in life but was too busy to acknowledge.  The guy at the liquor store doesn’t have to stay home. They call him an essential worker.  He delivers. 

Intubation and extubation:  


Me:  A needlessly formal way of saying you’re going to take a bath and then get out of the tub.


The govt:  If you can’t breathe and you need a ventilator they hook you up and intubate you.   When you get better, they extubate you.  Our New York governor told the president he needed 40,000 ventilators.  The president didn’t believe him but got General Motors and General Electric and all General companies to stop making cars, refrigerators and toaster ovens and make ventilators.  The president said Obama had not left him any ventilators.  Now we have so many ventilators stockpiled, we are ready for the next pandemic. I hope they don’t get rusty.


Food insecure:  


Me: I thought this meant you weren’t sure if the salmon you bought yesterday smelled fishy or it was just – you know – salmon.


The govt: Food insecure is when you lost your job because your company had to shut down and you still had some food but worried that when the food you had ran out you didn’t have the money to buy more food.  Then you found out that you could get free food but the lines were so long you worried there wouldn’t be any food left when you got to the head of the line.


Out of an abundance of caution:  


Me: When I heard this I thought the networks were cancelling all sit coms where the husbands were stupid and the wives were in permanent side-eye mode and the kids were insolent and obnoxious.


The networks:   This peculiar phrase was something the networks said all day long as an explanation of why their programming was all whacky and we were getting the news from Gayle King’s den or Maurice du Bois’ basement. 


Social distancing.  


Me: This definitely reminded me of all my worst psychological problems where I had a litany of social gatherings that made me uncomfortable to the point of scratching my skin into tatters:  cocktail parties, New Year’s Eve parties, picnics, shopping with other people, barbecues, baby showers, bridal showers, going away parties, shaking hands in church.  Anything and everything where you have to engage with other people.


The govt: To my surprise and delight, social distancing means all humans have to stay at least six feet apart.  As one of my smart alecky children says, “social distancing and sheltering in place are just another Tuesday for my mother.” 


Releasing the kraken


In the last two days I’ve heard a phrase that is so wild and wooly and promising of absolute chaos that I had to go back to this blog after many months of silence and make sure you have heard it, too.  That lady lawyer who looks like my Aunt Georgette said she is soon going to “RELEASE THE KRAKEN”. HOLY! WHAT???  It sounds like all hell will break loose (another interesting phrase because you’d think hell couldn’t really break loose because it is mired in some gunk way down. Down.


I began to imagine what Releasing the Kraken might mean. It sounds like a good snack like pretzel bagels.  By the way, pretzel bagels aren’t that great.


Releasing the Kraken might mean letting some wild bird out of a cage.  Or maybe it’s releasing all those industrious people that “got cracking,”  Telling them to stop being so darn industrious and go home.  


According to the Urban Dictionary where the young uns go to find out stuff, Release the Kraken means: we are at the end of our rope and now we are going to kick your ass from here to New Jersey.


So there you have it.  Poetic language to describe a power grab by politicians we wouldn’t even invite to dinner.  We learned far. too much about Nancy Pelosi’s freezer and her hair beautification. Andrew Cuomo had a soothing winning style early on but is getting cranky.  Mark Zuckerberg drinks water like a little bird. What’s to become of us?   I don’t know.  For me, it’s just another Tuesday.

(this is not meant to promote any political point of view.  Just going for a bit of humor)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

The repurposed writer: Have you seen vents uno?

The repurposed writer: Have you seen vents uno?: I have moved myself to New York City. Life is different than it was in East Hampton.  I’m adjusting. Today I rode on the senior bus to go t...

Have you seen vents uno?

I have moved myself to New York City. Life is different than it was in East Hampton.  I’m adjusting. Today I rode on the senior bus to go to the supermarket. I needed food and the senior bus was on the street, idling in front of a line of people.  In New York City, everything that has a “senior” designation in front of it is FREE.  Senior bus, senior lunch, senior tai chi, senior mammogram, senior yoga, senior Tik Tok help. Free, free, free, free, free, free.  Maybe that's why we have a 100 trillion dollar debt. 

Everyone waiting in the bus line had a rolling cart.  I had a small nylon backpack that you could stick in your pocket. “Oh honey”, said the lady in front of me. “You need to bring a cart.”

As in all bus etiquette (it was true of my old bus in East Hampton), any rider can weigh in on your poor choices. Why aren’t you wearing a coat? You better sit down. Your pocketbook is open.  When we began to board a man counted us.  I was vente uno. In New York City, people often speak in Spanish.  For English, press two. 

The senior bus goes to the supermarket on Tuesday and Wednesday. I went on Wednesday and it’s a good thing because on Wednesday it is senior day at the supermarket and you get a % off your bill.  If you finish shopping and don’t want to wait for the bus, there’s a car to drive you home and guess what?  It’s free. 

I chose the private car option.  Vente uno was going to be missing in the bus count. I could see my big startled senior face on the back of an oat  milk carton.  Have you seen vente uno

If you want to know why I’m living in New York City and how I got here, stay tuned.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Be Kind To Your Openings

When my children were young, I made up a song for them.  Be Kind To Your Openings. We all have openings. Most of those openings need to be free, unobstructed, open to the world, ready to take in information.  At the southernmost end, some  of those openings, at the mercy of gravity, urges, and quixotic storage, need to be covered, protected, comforted shielded and contained.  Containment is the most important.

That established, let’s talk about underwear.  I was once a copywriter for a large department store chain and part of my job was to sell underpants.  Here is what I would say today about men’s underpants.

Consider the flat two inch elasticized waistband with stable reliable stretch that never gives up. The body well-cut from 16 ounce pima cotton jersey that yields pleasantly to the shape at hand.  The generous wide crotch contains, comforts and ensures security with a seamless return that spills over and hugs the upper thigh, leaving nary a gap.  No wonder men go into the world with a dance in their step. They feel secure, contained, invincible. 

This is what I would say about women’s underwear:

See this thin string of rubberized material indenting the female waist or worse, quickly losing its elasticity.   See this high cut leg leaving a highway that exposes the vulnerable groin. See the almost see through unyielding five ounce (possibly reclaimed) cotton that orders the buttocks to make do with the available coverage. See the elasticized crotch miserly in width, spitefully narrow, See these  three important most hard working openings, misunderstood, tentative, uncertain.The southernmost platform, exposed, unsteady, not quite contained, nervously poised on the edge of a cliff. 

I went to T J Max and stood before the men’s underwear wall where a feast of life changing containment and comfort awaited.  I unseated a pair of short-leg boxer briefs from a hook. They were dark grey 30” waist, 100 percent silky jersey cotton.  I took the briefs home.  Almost fainting with trepidation over any latent gender misclassification, I put the underwear on.  OH. MY. GOD!  THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR BEGAN TO BELT OUT SEVERAL HALLELUJAHS.  Whuk? Is this how men feel?

Remember that lady marathoner who had to free-bleed while she ran the marathon? Her period had arrived at the starting line.  Unwittingly, she became a champion for women’s final frontier of defiance.  Stuff  comes out of us without our will.  That’s what happens.  Get comfortable with it.  Moreover, we have a delivery system that is not as precise or tractable as the other gender..  We didn’t choose it.  That’s the way it was meted out.  Childbirth takes it down a couple of notches. We deserve equal pay and equal underwear. 


Saturday, May 18, 2019

The repurposed writer: William Barr, you had me at jejune.

The repurposed writer: William Barr, you had me at jejune.: Here’s the quote: “It's unusual to have opposition research like that one that on its face ...

William Barr, you had me at jejune.

Here’s the quote: “It's unusual to have opposition research like that one that on its face had a number of clear mistakes and jejune analysis and to use that to conduct counterintelligence.”

The only thing I heard was “jejune.”  Whaaaat? A government person?

Kudos, AG for obvious familiarity and love of language.  Your delivery was insouciant.  You slipped it in there without hesitation or stumble.

Jejune isn’t easy to say.  I’ve only seen it written.  It isn’t French for I am June.  It means na├»ve, artless, childlike, unsophisticated. It can also mean boring, dreary, insipid, dull, tedious. 

Mr. Attorney General, talk some more.  What other words do you know?

You are positively insouciant

Friday, May 17, 2019

Compression or how to get a restorative hug without touching another person.

When you velcro Fido's torso with a super snug vest called the Thunder Shirt, he doesn't skid around your good walnut floors like an Olympic skater, barking and chasing his tail every time the doorbell rings. He lies in his puffy bed, eyes closed, thinking his dog thoughts:  lick, eat, fetch, sniff, nap. Someone sitting around (like I often do) had a thought.  Fido solved a big life problem.  I could use that.  Could it be?  Can we keep it together by pressing seriously against ourselves just short of asphyxiation?
I remembered something.  The horrid dentist visit was suddenly okay when the nurse threw the lead apron over me as a shield from the x-rays.  That filthy heavy piece of plastic sucked the anxiety out of me. Nothing was going to fall apart - not my limbs, not my head, not my present or future. I was held in place by a benevolent force. My crazy thoughts were still there but they were pinned down. I liked it. Hey, do that some more, nursie.

The most popular compression item on the market is the weighted blanket.  It alleviates anxiety, insomnia, restlessness. Most ads mention the hugging feel as the favorite benefit of throwing a thirty-pound shroud over your body. Why not just stick with human hugging? It's free. And it's everywhere.  We have a hugging epidemic. Even men hug now. They were exempt but they had to try it. Men hug sideways. Around 2016 however, we grew tired of other people. We grew tired of interacting. Tired of talking and definitely tired of listening.  We now prefer to be alone with our devices and be hugged by the blanket.

What’s it like to sleep under a weighted blanket? If the 600 thread count pima cotton sheet is like a whisper on your legs, the 25 lb. weighted blanket is like Ethel Merman belting out Everything’s Coming Up Roses without a mic.  If you want to move your legs, you willfully drag them.

You might want to gift your anxious friend or a relative whose narrative is off-track with a compression item.  Here are some suggestions.

The Calm Company makes weighted blankets in 15, 20 or 25 lb. weight.  The 25Ib. blanket is always sold out. Because, you know - heavier. Honey, can you get the crow bar and lift this boulder off of me so I can go to work. The reviews all say pretty much the same thing.  I fall asleep faster and I sleep better.  I bought it for my dad who was struggling with anxiety.

At ETHOHOME they call it the Gravis Blanket. The gravis blanket holds you down and might give you gravitas. You can become a pundit and get a hug. There are many brands of weighted blankets, but the principles are the same: choose a weight, a fabric, a color, and a fill (sand or beads are mentioned.)

WikiHow has instructions on making your own weighted blanket. I would make one, but the first step is going to a craft store for beads.  I could go to the beach or the driveway and pick up pebbles. I also have to drag out my old sewing machine. To begin, you sew several vertical tunnels through two pieces of fabric, fill with a portion of pebbles and then sew horizontally every few inches, creating closed squares. This technique is called "baffling" Baffling prevents the stones from drifting to one place. You know what else is baffling? Crafting.

You can buy compression clothing including Bomba socks that have a ribbed swath that compresses the instep. 

In researching this post, I read reviews men leave on the compression athletic wear pages on Amazon.  Compression wear is used for faster recovery after gross (tough) exertion. It takes a long time to put on compression clothes, especially the tights. You have to stretch and pull to get the item up on your body. In the reviews, men talk candidly about the size of their bottoms and which brands give them the space they need.  Here's one gent that went that extra mile in reviewing his Tesla compression tights.

The good: The XL were tight (as a good compression layer should be) so the sizing makes sense to me. The bad: this is the only layer I own that doesn't have a wiener hole. Which isn't necessarily a problem if you pull your pants down to whizz in the woods. Personally, I like shooting through the wiener hole myself so it can get uncomfortable when you have say five layers on and you try to shoot through four wiener holes, but you have to pull just this layer down. It can be done but it's just not the same. 

Father’s Day is almost here. 

* Faith Popcorn predicted all of this (the stay-at-home, self-sufficient human, twenty years ago in her book Cocoon.