Newsletter RSS Feed Welcome to the RSS version of our mailing list archive. Here you can view our collection of e-mail newsletters that have previously been sent to our subscriber base. http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/help.php Mon, 01 May 2017 02:26:28 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 Best Pictures That Never Won Best Picture http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=91:96 <hr /> <h2>Best Pictures That Never Won Best Picture Oscar</h2> <h2>by Maggie Van Ostrand</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h1 class="headline__title">Oscar will be allowed out of his Chicago vault for the annual trip to Hollywood on February 26th. He&rsquo;ll be 89 years old this year and we&rsquo;d like to know who his plastic surgeon is. You can&rsquo;t tell us he hasn&rsquo;t had a butt lift.</h1> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="entry__text js-entry-text"> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p>Speaking of butts, actors as well as backless, frontless, mindless media-created celebs will wave to fans and stop for fashion interviews, looking over their shoulders and pointing their backs and butts directly at us while secretly trying to figure out why actresses wanted to be called actors and now they&rsquo;re stuck with female actors.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p>Everyone&rsquo;s making book on who&rsquo;ll return their borrowed dresses and tuxes to the designers and the jewels to Harry Winston&rsquo;s. The track record for the return of borrowed clothing is dismal. Every time a star tells the media whose dress she&rsquo;s wearing, it&rsquo;s Hollywoodspeak for, &ldquo;Try and get it back.&rdquo;</p> <div id="vdb-58095092db4bc61b050550f1-562a4b8be4b0ebeaf1f26555" style="margin-top: 20px;"> <div class="vdb_player " style="width: 100%; max-height: 311px; overflow: hidden; transition: max-height 1s ease-out 0s;"> <div id="vdb_bcd1e798-8636-4c2e-bb0a-36cb88553af6" style="position: relative; width: 100%; height: 0px; padding-bottom: 56.25%; box-sizing: content-box;"> <div style="position: absolute; width: 100%; height: 100%; top: 0; left: 0;">We can hope our favorite movie will come away with the big prize, but in the long run, some of the best pictures ever made did not receive Best Picture Oscars. A good example would be the AFI&rsquo;s choice for number one movie of all time,<em> Citizen Kane</em>. <p><strong><em>Citizen Kane:</em></strong> Though <em>Citizen Kane</em> was nominated in nine categories in 1941, it won only Best Original Screenplay by Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz. It has been said that boos were heard whenever the name <em>Citizen Kane</em> was mentioned because powerful newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, on whose life the film was alleged to be based, threatened voters with the old chestnut, &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll never work in this town again.&rdquo; An interesting note: Kane&rsquo;s editor was future Oscar-winning director Robert Wise.</p> <p><strong><em>Psycho</em></strong>: In 1960, this iconic film was not nominated for Best Picture. Hitchcock was at least nominated, though he did not win either. Bernard Hermann wasn&rsquo;t even nominated for one of the most frightening of all film scores. The screech alone should&rsquo;ve won. Fans, smarter than Oscar voters, disagreed and voted <em>Psycho</em> #2 on their list of Best Movies.</p> </div> </div> </div> <strong><em>The Shawshank Redemption</em></strong>: <em>The Shawshank Redemption</em> never got an Oscar, despite seven nominations. <em>Pulp Fiction</em> was also knocked out of the box by <em>Forrest Gump</em> in 1994. Fans ultimately avenged <em>Shawshank</em> by voting it the Number One film of all time on IMdB. <em>Shawshank</em> is also the highest rated film on Yahoo Movies. It was voted the best film never to have won Best Picture in a 2005 BBC poll.</div> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><strong><em>Vertigo</em></strong>: One of fans&rsquo; favorite Alfred Hitchcock films is the psychological thriller, <em>Vertigo</em>. It wasn&rsquo;t even nominated for Best Picture, only for set design and sound. Didn&rsquo;t win those either. To add insult to injury, Hitchcock himself ... I can hardly bear to write it ... never won an Oscar. HITCHCOCK NEVER WON AN OSCAR!!! And only one of his films (<em>Rebecca</em>) won Best Picture. Hitchcock was the best filmmaker never to have been handed an Oscar, according to a poll of British movie viewers.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><strong><em>2001: A Space Odyssey:</em></strong> Hard to believe it didn&rsquo;t win Best Picture, isn&rsquo;t it? The Best Picture award in 1968 instead went to <em>Oliver</em>. Like who remembers Oliver now? <em>2001</em> was nominated for four awards that year, not including best picture, but only won for visual FX. Today, <em>2001</em> is widely recognized by critics and audiences alike as one of the greatest movies of all time.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><strong><em>Star Wars</em></strong>: Despite a surprising loss of Best Picture to <em>Annie Hall</em> in 1977, <em>Star Wars</em> unleashed a series of films which earned $4.5 billion to date. It won only Best Visual FX (big deal). George Lucas cites <em>Hardware Wars</em>, a 1977 spoof, as his favorite of all the <em>Star Wars</em> parodies, with Mel Brooks&rsquo; <em>Spaceballs</em> a close second choice. Lucas made no comment about SNL&rsquo;s parody with Kevin Spacey doing Christopher Walken auditioning for the role of Hans Solo.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><em><strong>Apocalypse Now</strong></em>: Can someone tell us how <em>Apocalypse</em> could have lost out to <em>Kramer vs. Kramer</em>? What&rsquo;s up with that? With more memorable quotes than nearly any other film in history, this masterpiece is rated by fans at #8, by the AFI as #30. Fanboys rule!</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><em><strong>Fargo</strong></em>: Another Coen Brothers masterpiece which didn&rsquo;t get an Oscar. In 1996, Fargo lost out to the sob-sister story, <em>The English Patient</em>. The Coens are famous for movies which come from dark places they want to take you to, whether you want to go there or not. Voters must have felt a romantic crying jag was better than the certainty of Coenesque quality and longevity.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><em><strong>Philadelphia</strong></em>: Never won Best Picture which went instead, in 1993, to <em>Schindler&rsquo;s List</em>. Sure <em>Philadelphia</em> won for Tom Hanks as actor and Bruce Springsteen as songwriter, but it wasn&rsquo;t even nominated for Best Picture. That omission still rankles.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><em><strong>Goodfellas</strong></em>: At least it was nominated, and the Academy recognized Joe Pesci for Best Supporting Actor, but Best Picture went to <em>Dances With Wolves</em> in 1990. Nothing against <em>Dances</em>, but let&rsquo;s face it, <em>Goodfellas</em> is on most fans&rsquo; favorite list while <em>Dances</em> is just, well, there. At least <em>Goodfellas</em> is #15 on IMdB&rsquo;s list and Fanboys voted it Scorsese&rsquo;s masterpiece at #7. That&rsquo; may even be better than an Oscar. It&rsquo;s certainly more accurate.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><em><strong>E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial</strong></em>: Nominated but lost. Sure it won Best Music and Sound and FX but so what? It didn&rsquo;t win Best Picture. <em>Gandhi</em> did, which goes to show that Academy voters would rather see a skinny Indian dude in a white diaper than a skinny alien critter in a bicycle basket.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><em><strong>Dog Day Afternoon</strong></em>: Attica! Attica! Pacino, too, was robbed of an Oscar in 1975 for his sublime portrayal of the hapless character, Sonny, who needed to rob a bank to get money for his gay partner&rsquo;s sex-change operation. Best Writing Original Screenplay went to Frank Pierson for his screenplay based on a true story. We suppose we&rsquo;ll get over this loss, since the award went to Cuckoo&rsquo;s Nest, and who could be angry at that? Other amazing competitors that year included Jaws.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><em><strong>Bonnie and Clyde</strong></em>: In 1967, B&amp;C lost out to <em>In the Heat of the Night</em>. Some solace can be found in knowing that the same year, <em>The Graduate</em> also lost. <em>Cool Hand Luke</em> wasn&rsquo;t even nominated for Best Picture. Academy voters appear to cast their ballots for movies reflecting the day&rsquo;s news, and have no sense of films that will become classics in our time and always.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><em><strong>Some Like It Hot</strong></em>: The iconic Billy Wilder film, one of Marilyn Monroe&rsquo;s best, was not even nominated in 1959 for Best Picture. Very shortsighted of the Academy, wouldn&rsquo;t you say? We&rsquo;re still talking about <em>Some Like It Hot</em>, snippets are still being shown on entertainment and pop culture shows, and Tony Curtis was still giving interviews about whether or not he ever said, &ldquo;Kissing Marilyn was like kissing Hitler&rdquo; until the day he died. But who&rsquo;s talking about the movie that actually won that year, Ben Hur? If not for the chariot race, nobody would even remember it.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><em><strong>The Wizard of Oz</strong></em>: Okay, it would&rsquo;ve been really, really hard to win in 1939 against <em>Gone With the Wind, Dark Victory, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights</em> and <em>Stagecoach</em>, among others (10 nominees in all), but still ...</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p>There are many more &ldquo;shoulda-won&rdquo; films, and time will tell us what they are, unless fans beat time to it.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>OSCAR TRIVIA</strong></span>:</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p>One of the few films to be on every list that actually won Best Picture is <em>Casablanca</em>. &ldquo;This is the worst film we&rsquo;ve ever come across,&rdquo; said Bogie, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just a fright.&rdquo; Bergman also complained. Both stars made desperate efforts to ditch their parts. Believe it or not, their roles were originally slated for Hedy Lamarr and Ronald Reagan.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p>The model for the Oscar statuette was a naked Mexican named Emilio Fern&aacute;ndez, who had a platonic relationship with fellow Mexican and big Hollywood star, Dolores del R&iacute;o. Her famous husband, Cedric Gibbons, had been assigned by the Academy to design their award. Del R&iacute;o introduced Fern&aacute;ndez to her husband and he agreed that Fern&aacute;ndez was the perfect model.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p>In 1999, Trey Parker and Matt Stone showed up in drag at the Oscars as Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p>With 14 nominations, "La La Land" matches the nominations record set by <em>"All About Eve" and "Titanic</em>." &ldquo;The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King&rdquo; (2003), &ldquo;Ben-Hur&rdquo; (1959) and "Titanic" (1997) are the only three films ever to have won 11 Oscars. So far.</p> </div> <div class="content-list-component mt-paragraph text"> <p>Charlize Theron was the 10th actress to win an Oscar for playing a hooker, <em>"Monster</em>," 2003 (Best Actress). Her predecessors were Anne Baxter, <em>"The Razor&rsquo;s Edge</em>," 1946 (Best Supporting); Claire Trevor, <em>"Key Largo</em>," 1948 (Best Supporting); Donna Reed, <em>"From Here to Eternity</em>," 1953 (Best Supporting); Jo Van Fleet, "<em>East of Eden</em>," 1955 (Best Supporting); Dorothy Malone, "<em>Written on the Wind</em>," 1956 (Best Supporting); Elizabeth Taylor,<em> "Butterfield 8</em>," 1960, (Best Actress) &mdash; sometimes called The Throat Vote because it was widely believed that her life-saving tracheotomy was the real reason she won with a sympathy vote; Jane Fonda, "<em>Klute</em>," 1971 (Best Actress); Mira Sorvino, "<em>Mighty Aphrodite</em>," 1995 (Best Actress).</p> <p>###</p> </div> </div> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 01:00:24 +0100 Is a Wall Between the U.S. and Canada Being Discussed? http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=90:95 <p class="p1">Is a Wall Between the U.S. and Canada Being Discussed ?</p> <p class="p2">by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p class="p1">Dateline&nbsp;February 13, 2017 &mdash; President Trump today talked with Canadian P.M. Justin Trudeau about the U.S. and Canada having gone to war together, shedding blood together, and other grateful observations. He said nothing about putting up a wall between our countries. Why would he want to do that? And why does he want to put one up between our other neighbor and ally, Mexico?</p> <p class="p1">Doesn't the President know that the U.S. and Mexico also went to war together and shed blood together? Yet they get a wall? Had a wall been there already, the Mexicans who came to the U.S. and helped us in 2005 when Katrina hit Louisiana, wouldn't have been able to get their convoy of&nbsp;food trucks in, or their tanks to help clear the destruction and save U.S. lives.</p> <p class="p1">The President may not know that Mexico declared war on the Axis powers on June 11, 1942,&nbsp;and they put their men where their collective mouth was.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Mexico organized the elite Esquadron Aero de Cza 201, also known as the Fighting 201st. Thirty-five officers and 300 enlisted men were trained in Mexico, then given additional flight training as P-47 fighter squadron at Pocatello Army Air Base in Idaho, after which they were attached to the 58th Fighter Group in the Philippines where they began combat operations. They wiped out machine gun nests, dropped 181 tons of bombs and fired 153,000 rounds of ammunition, acquitting themselves well and bravely. Seven of their pilots were killed in action.</p> <p class="p1">The President may not know about Hero Street, U.S.A. In a town called Silvis, just west of Chicago, runs a street once named Second Street. It's not much of a street, not even two blocks long, muddy in spring, icy in winter, dusty in summer. On this single street, 105 men participated in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. It's the street where Joe G&oacute;mez, Peter Mac&iacute;as, Johnny Mu&ntilde;os, Tony Pompa, Claro Sol&iacute;z, and Frank, Joseph, and William Sandoval grew up together. They worked for the railroad, like their fathers who had emigrated from Mexico. These young men, raised to revere freedom, went to war without hesitation.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">The two Sandoval families alone sent thirteen; six from one family; seven from the other. According to the U.S. Defense Department, this little street contributed more men to military service than any other place of comparable size in the United States, standing alone in American military history.</p> <p class="p1">In a letter to Frank Sandoval, Claro Sol&iacute;z described Second Street as ". . . Really not much, just mud and ruts, but right now to me it is the greatest street in the world." He never saw it again. Not one of these boys came home alive.</p> <p class="p1">In honor of their supreme sacrifice, a monument listing the name of each man now stands in Silvis, Illinois. Second Street has been officially renamed Hero Street USA. Next time you're in the Midwest, you might want to visit this street of heroes just to say thank you.</p> <p class="p1">And the President may not know what Mexico did for the U.S. during the tragedy of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. There was a time in history when Mexico was accused by a U.S. NAFTA-opposed politician of making "giant sucking sounds." Well, folks, the giant noises that came from Mexico during the Katrina tragedy were not giant sucking sounds, they were giant rumbling sounds, and they came from a Mexican Army convoy of 45 vehicles driving north to help the U.S. in its time of crisis.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">The convoy included military engineers, doctors, nurses, two mobile kitchens that could feed 7,000 people each per day, three flatbed trucks carrying mobile water treatment plants, and 15 trailers of bottled water, blankets and applesauce. These vehicles, manned by 200 soldiers, officers and specialists, carried water treatment plants, mobile kitchens and supplies to feed the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Mexico also sent a Mexican Navy ship steaming toward the Mississippi coast with rescue vehicles and helicopters.</p> <p class="p1">As water rose over the rooftops of New Orleans, the Mexican Army prepared to do battle on our behalf. For the first time since 1846, Mexican military units operated on U.S. soil, as Mexican Army trucks and tractor trailers convoyed north, with Mexican flags taped to the roof tops of the 45 vehicles. They were not stopped by a wall.</p> <p class="p1">The Mexicans set up consular offices in trailers around the disaster zone to help their estimated 140,000 countrymen living in the region, 10,000 of them in New Orleans. They served 170,000 meals. In addition, help was offered by a search-and-rescue group called "topos" - (moles) - organized by youths who dug through collapsed buildings after Mexico City's 1985 earthquake.</p> <p class="p1">"This is the first time that the United States has accepted a military mission from Mexico" for such work, said Javier Ibarrola, a newspaper columnist who covers military affairs in Mexico. "This is something that's never happened before." They later posed for photos with then-President George W. Bush.</p> <p class="p1">Then-President Vicente Fox of Mexico had not waited for Senate approval to help us. In an act of solidarity between our two nations, he gave the order without wading through red tape.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">Mexicans coming to aid the U.S.A. &mdash; no passports, no visas, no walls.</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">###</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 13 Feb 2017 20:32:55 +0100 Is a Wall Between the U.S. and Canada Being Discussed? http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=90:94 <p class="p1">Is a Wall Between the U.S. and Canada Being Discussed ?</p> <p class="p2">by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p class="p1">Dateline&nbsp;February 13, 2017 &mdash; President Trump today talked with Canadian P.M. Justin Trudeau about the U.S. and Canada having gone to war together, shedding blood together, and other grateful observations. He said nothing about putting up a wall between our countries. Why would he want to do that? And why does he want to put one up between our other neighbor and ally, Mexico?</p> <p class="p1">Doesn't the President know that the U.S. and Mexico also went to war together and shed blood together? Yet they get a wall? Had a wall been there already, the Mexicans who came to the U.S. and helped us in 2005 when Katrina hit Louisiana, wouldn't have been able to get their convoy of&nbsp;food trucks in, or their tanks to help clear the destruction and save U.S. lives.</p> <p class="p1">The President may not know that Mexico declared war on the Axis powers on June 11, 1942,&nbsp;and they put their men where their collective mouth was.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">Mexico organized the elite Esquadron Aero de Cza 201, also known as the Fighting 201st. Thirty-five officers and 300 enlisted men were trained in Mexico, then given additional flight training as P-47 fighter squadron at Pocatello Army Air Base in Idaho, after which they were attached to the 58th Fighter Group in the Philippines where they began combat operations. They wiped out machine gun nests, dropped 181 tons of bombs and fired 153,000 rounds of ammunition, acquitting themselves well and bravely. Seven of their pilots were killed in action.</p> <p class="p1">The President may not know about Hero Street, U.S.A. In a town called Silvis, just west of Chicago, runs a street once named Second Street. It's not much of a street, not even two blocks long, muddy in spring, icy in winter, dusty in summer. On this single street, 105 men participated in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. It's the street where Joe G&oacute;mez, Peter Mac&iacute;as, Johnny Mu&ntilde;os, Tony Pompa, Claro Sol&iacute;z, and Frank, Joseph, and William Sandoval grew up together. They worked for the railroad, like their fathers who had emigrated from Mexico. These young men, raised to revere freedom, went to war without hesitation.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">The two Sandoval families alone sent thirteen; six from one family; seven from the other. According to the U.S. Defense Department, this little street contributed more men to military service than any other place of comparable size in the United States, standing alone in American military history.</p> <p class="p1">In a letter to Frank Sandoval, Claro Sol&iacute;z described Second Street as ". . . Really not much, just mud and ruts, but right now to me it is the greatest street in the world." He never saw it again. Not one of these boys came home alive.</p> <p class="p1">In honor of their supreme sacrifice, a monument listing the name of each man now stands in Silvis, Illinois. Second Street has been officially renamed Hero Street USA. Next time you're in the Midwest, you might want to visit this street of heroes just to say thank you.</p> <p class="p1">And the President may not know what Mexico did for the U.S. during the tragedy of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. There was a time in history when Mexico was accused by a U.S. NAFTA-opposed politician of making "giant sucking sounds." Well, folks, the giant noises that came from Mexico during the Katrina tragedy were not giant sucking sounds, they were giant rumbling sounds, and they came from a Mexican Army convoy of 45 vehicles driving north to help the U.S. in its time of crisis.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1">The convoy included military engineers, doctors, nurses, two mobile kitchens that could feed 7,000 people each per day, three flatbed trucks carrying mobile water treatment plants, and 15 trailers of bottled water, blankets and applesauce. These vehicles, manned by 200 soldiers, officers and specialists, carried water treatment plants, mobile kitchens and supplies to feed the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Mexico also sent a Mexican Navy ship steaming toward the Mississippi coast with rescue vehicles and helicopters.</p> <p class="p1">As water rose over the rooftops of New Orleans, the Mexican Army prepared to do battle on our behalf. For the first time since 1846, Mexican military units operated on U.S. soil, as Mexican Army trucks and tractor trailers convoyed north, with Mexican flags taped to the roof tops of the 45 vehicles. They were not stopped by a wall.</p> <p class="p1">The Mexicans set up consular offices in trailers around the disaster zone to help their estimated 140,000 countrymen living in the region, 10,000 of them in New Orleans. They served 170,000 meals. In addition, help was offered by a search-and-rescue group called "topos" - (moles) - organized by youths who dug through collapsed buildings after Mexico City's 1985 earthquake.</p> <p class="p1">"This is the first time that the United States has accepted a military mission from Mexico" for such work, said Javier Ibarrola, a newspaper columnist who covers military affairs in Mexico. "This is something that's never happened before." They later posed for photos with then-President George W. Bush.</p> <p class="p1">Then-President Vicente Fox of Mexico had not waited for Senate approval to help us. In an act of solidarity between our two nations, he gave the order without wading through red tape.&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">Mexicans coming to aid the U.S.A. &mdash; no passports, no visas, no walls.</p> <p class="p1">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p2">###</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 13 Feb 2017 20:31:14 +0100 Agita http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=89:93 <p>Agida</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On days when a column topic is elusive, eavesdropping on other people's lives can result in a gem of an idea. But this time, I overheard an entire monologue that cannot be improved upon. Every word is already a gem.</p> <p>Human speech usually has verbal punctuations &mdash; short pauses in place of a written comma &mdash; just a quick beat so your words don't run together like you're James Joyce's Molly Bloom. Unless you're from New Jersey.</p> <p>In an airport waiting room, I was back to back with a woman from New Jersey who was talking at a stranger sitting next to her. The New Jersey woman and her husband had been in Los Angeles two weeks to visit one of their sons:</p> <p>**********************************</p> <p><em>What's going on in LA? Whoever heard of pineapple on a pizza And these aren't pizzas anyway you can't get decent pizza outside of New Jersey.</em></p> <p><em>My daughter in law she said to me 'cause I was cooking dinner God knows she never does My son he does all the cooking She says to me what's that you're putting in the meatballs, garlic? So I said of course whaddya expect I put in meatballs, pineapple?</em></p> <p><em>I never had a piece of bread here I can't eat it cause it's not real bread They don't know how to make good bread Jersey has the best bread especially where we live in South Jersey I used to live in North Jersey and it took two years for me to like South Jersey and now well I wouldn't live anywhere else.</em></p> <p><em>We live in a senior place that's all wooded just like Paulie's from The Sopranos Ya know Joe Pesci lives close to us that's how nice it is.</em></p> <p><em>Next year my son's supposed to come to New Jersey He'll remember what good cooking is I made a German beef stew cause I'm half German and half Hungarian My husband here he's a genuine Italian from Sicily Not that he's from Sicily but his people are He's a neat freak He was a fireman so everything has to be in the right place ya know?</em></p> <p><em>Nothing's out of place Neat he is I don't know how my son can live the way they do considering how we brought him up.</em></p> <p><em>Would you believe my daughter in law has the washer and dryer outside? That's right outside Their place is so small our place has 8 rooms Imagine that our place is bigger than my son's She won't cook and she won't clean my daughter in law. I did all their laundry and next day know what? There it was again Piles of it Same stuff.</em></p> <p><em>And my grandkids, they don't know how to eat The one had a Godiva chocolate and a glassa milk for breakfast Can you believe it? In Jersey we eat fresh vegetables Whatever they got at the produce farm We buy everything fresh broccoli zucchini whatever's fresh My husband's a diabetic so we don't eat dessert but the vegetables are good in New Jersey The tomatoes? Ummmmm. First thing my husband wants me to do when we get home is make him a tomato and onion salad.</em></p> <p><em>Another day the same grandson had a piece of cake and milk for breakfast. What's that about? I don't understand how they eat out here Salad that's all they eat Except for that Godiva chocolate and the cake.</em></p> <p><em>And my daughter in law has dogs They're nice dogs but they never get brushed and shed all over the place Even in the kitchen I wouldn't eat anyplace with dog hair all over the place Not us She went out my daughter in law and bought this big brush and brushed her dogs There was more hair on the floor than on the dog Big pile Big Looked like they had three dogs instead of two.</em></p> <p><em>My son is so upset that two of his kids ya know they aren't that smart and it bothers him cause he's principal and he was a really good student his whole life So his kid is a C student So what? But it bothers him My son it bothers my son.</em></p> <p><em>He shouldn&rsquo;t've married a girl from California But she's from here and so's her whole family.</em></p> <p><em>He shoulda married a Jersey girl My daughter in law she says her sons will stay in California too and I said not on your life they won't.</em></p> <p><em>My other son he lives close to me with his wife but they have no children.</em></p> <p><em>This visit gave me agida.</em></p> <p><em>***********************************</em></p> <p>Seriously, would I make this stuff up?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>####</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 23:40:52 +0100 Agita http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=89:92 <p>Agida</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On days when a column topic is elusive, eavesdropping on other people's lives can result in a gem of an idea. But this time, I overheard an entire monologue that cannot be improved upon. Every word is already a gem.</p> <p>Human speech usually has verbal punctuations &mdash; short pauses in place of a written comma &mdash; just a quick beat so your words don't run together like you're James Joyce's Molly Bloom. Unless you're from New Jersey.</p> <p>In an airport waiting room, I was back to back with a woman from New Jersey who was talking at a stranger sitting next to her. The New Jersey woman and her husband had been in Los Angeles two weeks to visit one of their sons:</p> <p>**********************************</p> <p><em>What's going on in LA? Whoever heard of pineapple on a pizza And these aren't pizzas anyway you can't get decent pizza outside of New Jersey.</em></p> <p><em>My daughter in law she said to me 'cause I was cooking dinner God knows she never does My son he does all the cooking She says to me what's that you're putting in the meatballs, garlic? So I said of course whaddya expect I put in meatballs, pineapple?</em></p> <p><em>I never had a piece of bread here I can't eat it cause it's not real bread They don't know how to make good bread Jersey has the best bread especially where we live in South Jersey I used to live in North Jersey and it took two years for me to like South Jersey and now well I wouldn't live anywhere else.</em></p> <p><em>We live in a senior place that's all wooded just like Paulie's from The Sopranos Ya know Joe Pesci lives close to us that's how nice it is.</em></p> <p><em>Next year my son's supposed to come to New Jersey He'll remember what good cooking is I made a German beef stew cause I'm half German and half Hungarian My husband here he's a genuine Italian from Sicily Not that he's from Sicily but his people are He's a neat freak He was a fireman so everything has to be in the right place ya know?</em></p> <p><em>Nothing's out of place Neat he is I don't know how my son can live the way they do considering how we brought him up.</em></p> <p><em>Would you believe my daughter in law has the washer and dryer outside? That's right outside Their place is so small our place has 8 rooms Imagine that our place is bigger than my son's She won't cook and she won't clean my daughter in law. I did all their laundry and next day know what? There it was again Piles of it Same stuff.</em></p> <p><em>And my grandkids, they don't know how to eat The one had a Godiva chocolate and a glassa milk for breakfast Can you believe it? In Jersey we eat fresh vegetables Whatever they got at the produce farm We buy everything fresh broccoli zucchini whatever's fresh My husband's a diabetic so we don't eat dessert but the vegetables are good in New Jersey The tomatoes? Ummmmm. First thing my husband wants me to do when we get home is make him a tomato and onion salad.</em></p> <p><em>Another day the same grandson had a piece of cake and milk for breakfast. What's that about? I don't understand how they eat out here Salad that's all they eat Except for that Godiva chocolate and the cake.</em></p> <p><em>And my daughter in law has dogs They're nice dogs but they never get brushed and shed all over the place Even in the kitchen I wouldn't eat anyplace with dog hair all over the place Not us She went out my daughter in law and bought this big brush and brushed her dogs There was more hair on the floor than on the dog Big pile Big Looked like they had three dogs instead of two.</em></p> <p><em>My son is so upset that two of his kids ya know they aren't that smart and it bothers him cause he's principal and he was a really good student his whole life So his kid is a C student So what? But it bothers him My son it bothers my son.</em></p> <p><em>He shouldn&rsquo;t've married a girl from California But she's from here and so's her whole family.</em></p> <p><em>He shoulda married a Jersey girl My daughter in law she says her sons will stay in California too and I said not on your life they won't.</em></p> <p><em>My other son he lives close to me with his wife but they have no children.</em></p> <p><em>This visit gave me agida.</em></p> <p><em>***********************************</em></p> <p>Seriously, would I make this stuff up?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>####</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 23:28:46 +0100 Lying Politicians http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=88:91 <p class="p1">Trolling For Truth</p> <p class="p1">By Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p class="p2">Pick up your shovels folks, the truth is somewhere in this pile of lies. Dig deeper, or get buried. Truth lies under all the lies our politicians are heaving at us. In Washington, even the tans are phony. Don&rsquo;t be discouraged, lying isn&rsquo;t new. What, a politician lying? Yes, dear. And it was George Washington who started it.</p> <p class="p2">When I was a kid, we honored the birthday of George (&ldquo;I cannot tell a lie.&rdquo;) Washington by listening to the grown-ups spin stories of both his honesty and his pitching ability when he threw a half-dollar across the Potomac River. Did he really? We must scratch this myth and sniff out the truth. Actually, it wasn&rsquo;t a half-dollar Washington threw, it was a British guinea. Further, it wasn&rsquo;t the Potomac, it was the Rapahannock.</p> <p class="p3">Even as a child, George Washington had the reputation of always telling the truth. It was said that, when 6-year old-George cut down his father&rsquo;s favorite cherry tree with his new hatchet, he copped to the cut when his father asked, &ldquo;George, do you know who killed that beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden?&rdquo; We believed the story because they used old-fashioned words like &ldquo;yonder.&rdquo; This was little George&rsquo;s moment of truth, and he bravely replied, "I cannot tell a lie, Papa. I did cut it with my hatchet." What parent in his right mind would give a 6-year-old a hatchet? Probably not even Lizzie Bordon had a hatchet at that young age. If you could find such a parent, today&rsquo;s hatchets are probably child-proofed like everything else and can&rsquo;t be accessed without a blowtorch.</p> <p class="p3">I don&rsquo;t know how anybody could prove whether the story of little George is true but, if his father caught him standing by the cut tree, hatchet in hand, what choice did he have but to tell the truth? I don&rsquo;t see how little George, caught red-handed, could have even saved himself with the kind of lie all kids tell and you don&rsquo;t know why they bother. The kind of lie which brings forth in every generation the parents warning, &ldquo;If you lie to me, you&rsquo;ll be punished, not for what you did but for lying.&rdquo; Remember that one? Heard it from your parents? Said it yourself?</p> <p class="p3">What if George really lied and said something like, &ldquo;The tree was about to attack me and I cut it in self defense.&rdquo; What could his father have said? &ldquo;Liar, liar, breeches on fire?&rdquo;</p> <p class="p3">In Mexico, even white lies are frowned upon. Workers will tell you they&rsquo;ll be at your place &ldquo;ma&ntilde;ana.&rdquo; The word &ldquo;ma&ntilde;ana&rdquo; doesn&rsquo;t mean &ldquo;tomorrow&rdquo; as I always thought, it means &ldquo;not today.&rdquo; There&rsquo;s a certain kindness in telling someone &ldquo;not today.&rdquo; How can a person fret when the worker doesn&rsquo;t show up the next day if they understand the benevolence behind it? Would you rather have the worker say, &ldquo;Not today, not tomorrow, perhaps not for three weeks?&rdquo; That could make even the most serene person anxious. But the ma&ntilde;ana way, you learn to relax and appreciate it even more when the worker finally shows up. Well, you would in a perfect world.</p> <p class="p3">Probably the most desperately creative lie I ever heard, is attributed to the comedian, Richard Pryor, who, when caught by his wife in a compromising position with another woman, leapt out of bed and said, in the voice of a man unjustly accused, &ldquo;Who&rsquo;re ya gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes?&rdquo; Maybe Pryor wasn&rsquo;t president of a country, but that was a most political answer.</p> <p class="p3">Nothing but the truth? I have learned that the hard truth is this: people are capable of telling anything but the truth with or without swearing oaths, even presidents, from Washington&rsquo;s axe to Trump&rsquo;s ex.</p> <p class="p3">There was one American president who might have been an exception: Harry (&ldquo;Give &lsquo;em hell&rdquo;) Truman who said, &ldquo;I never gave them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it&rsquo;s hell.&rdquo;</p> <p class="p4">&nbsp;</p> <p class="p3">######</p> <p class="p2">&nbsp;</p> <p>p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; min-height: 16.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 10.0px 0.0px; line-height: 18.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #2f2f2f} p.p4 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 10.0px 0.0px; line-height: 18.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #2f2f2f; min-height: 16.0px}</p> <p class="p2">&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:47:03 +0100 Guilted Into Giving? Charity Checkmate. http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=87:90 <div> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span> </span></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>Guilted Into Giving? Charity Checkmate.</span></div> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>by Maggie Van Ostrand</span></div> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"></div> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Screen_Shot_2016-12-05_at_3.28.09_PM.png" alt="" width="390" height="163" /></span></div> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"></div> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>Times have changed since I learned about donation guilt during my Catholic childhood. Mom saved all she could from dad's paycheck, sometimes as much as a dollar, then sent it to a Catholic charity in the envelope they'd provided. Within days and without fail, they'd send another envelope. She'd lean the new envelope against the lamp on the small desk that sat in a corner of the dining room, so every time she sat down to write a letter or pay a bill, she saw the empty envelope just waiting to be filled. Why didn't she just throw the envelopes out? She said she couldn't stand the guilt. Why take the chance of going to hell for not giving?</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>If the U.S. Congress would make the kinds of budget cuts to help the country that Mom made to help the poor, America would be in pretty good shape, even if every politician had to eat spaghetti every night.</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>Now I'm experiencing guilt while culling the tsunami of donation requests that surge into my mailbox at this time of year. Where will my donations do the most good? I lean toward those that do not send me a gift and bill me for it later. Sure, I need a calendar or two, but not over 20. Some organizations send yet another envelope with the words "SECOND REQUEST" or "URGENT." When I see that, it scares me like maybe I didn't pay the electric bill or something, so I tear it open, only to find it's from a charity. Those sticker-return address labels aren't always accurate, and are useless. On top of that, I've received "gifts" of three 50&cent; pieces, several quarters, and two actual checks. If they want my money, why are they sending me theirs? </span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>There are organizations that allot big chunks of donations to "compensation of leaders" and "marketing" or "fundraising." I compared the salary of one famous charity's CEO (over $500,000 and a Mercedes) with another ($12,000 and a Chevy), information which helped me decide, thanks to Charity Navigator. </span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>My criteria is elastic; it changed from human to animal causes, and this year, I'm donating to organizations that train animals to help veterans, and to small groups that work their hearts out and don't spend money on TV commercials, are staffed with volunteers, and 100% (or close) of donations go directly to the cause itself. I donate even if it isn't tax deductible, because, in most cases, I've visited them to see for myself all the good they do.</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>I ponder what Mom would do when a charity I've sent $25. to in the past now sends me an envelope containing printed donation request boxes starting with $1,000. Are they telling me my $25. was too little? How rude. I phoned them and was told their computers must have spewed out the wrong plea, that they have prepared letters for different donor classes. See you around, buddy. Then there are those who ask to be included in your Will. I tell them to call my kids and if it's all right with them, it's all right with me.</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>Desperate, I tried to end the growing volume of requests by clutching a New Orleans fetish and writing "Deceased. Return to Sender" on the envelopes. This turned out to be some bad juju. The karmic consequence was they sent more requests to my house addressed to "Resident."</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>While Mom's guilt encouraged her to donate money we couldn't easily afford, I've come up with a win-win antidote: the U.S.P.S. Money Order. That gets my donation to needy organizations, frees donors from the bondage of guilt; and helps the troubled U.S.Postal Service (there's a small charge, plus buying a stamp). Mail the Money Order to the charity anonymously. To compensate the charity for fees lost by selling/renting/lending our names and addresses to other charities, they'll save what they now spend on donor "gifts." &nbsp;And we still get a tax deduction.</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span>Or maybe I'll just send each charity a note stating that they guilted me so badly, I couldn't sleep, and I've enclosed a check for $1.00. If I still can't sleep, I'll send more.</span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="public-DraftStyleDefault-block public-DraftStyleDefault-ltr"><span><span>###</span></span></div> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 23:44:14 +0100 Jupiter and Juno: Together Again For The First Time http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=86:89 <p>Jupiter and Juno: Together Again for the First Time<br />by Maggie Van Ostrand<br /><br />&nbsp;<br /><br />Science will soon find out that Jupiter is a loner male. He has to be, because he lolls around all day and night, retains a gutful of gas, has a personality dull as dishwater, and never has a date. His outfit may be trendy and handsome, but he wears it all the time, like that episode of Seinfeld when Jerry goes crazy trying to find out why his new girlfriend wears the same dress 24/7. And another thing: He's always bragging about Callisto. Hasn't anyone told him she's married to Harrison Ford?<br /><br />&nbsp;<br /><br />Jupiter has always attracted people, but no one knows why. It's certainly not his charisma, since he has none. For one thing, he seems to think his high, thin voice is sexy, but it just sounds like he's been sucking on helium balloons at some kid's birthday party. For another thing, he seems to still be in the closet over his membership in the LGBT community, when anyone can see for himself that he has a Great Red Spot, his G-spot; he can try to hide it, but eventually, it shows up.&nbsp; Besides all that, Jupiter has serious problems with intimacy. He's depressed a lot. So's grandpa, who has about the same amount of gas as Jupiter.<br /><br />&nbsp;<br /><br />And then, suddenly, with the help of the U.S.A.'s NASA program, sleek, beautiful Juno arrives, and starts to flirt with old Jup by slow-dancing around him, tantalizingly out of reach. She's not quick, because it took her five years to get there, and he assumes she took California's infamous Bullet Train that never was. He's sure she's female because she's constantly at him. The thing that makes him balk at her presence isn't just that he can't yet touch her, it's that she's so high maintenance.<br /><br />&nbsp;<br /><br />The budget to keep her in the style to which she is accustomed, runs into the millions, maybe even billions, and that's more than Donald Trump claims to have as pocket change. Yet, Jupiter opines, she is beautiful, no doubt about that. She certainly could be one of those mythological Sirens he read about in Greek books, the ones who lured sailors to their death with their irresistible voice.<br /><br />&nbsp;<br /><br />Or she could be a spy left over from one of those wars they keep having down there on earth, sent to get information about him. This would be unacceptable to Jupiter, who has fiercely guarded his privacy since the beginning of time, and, more importantly, was mentor to J.D. Salinger. He wasn't about to tell anyone anything about himself, not even such a magnificent female as Juno. He's been paranoid about ID theft, since Galileo first started poking around. He has to keep Juno at a distance, or she might find out that he has a problem with intimacy. <br /><br />&nbsp;<br /><br />Still, just like a male, he's probably thinking "She sure is pretty. I wonder if she'd like to go for a spin."<br /><br />&nbsp;<br /><br />###<br /><br />&nbsp;<br /></p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 07 Jul 2016 18:06:50 +0100 Should Women Vote For Hillary Just Because She's a Woman? http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=85:88 <p><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Questionmark.png" alt="" width="340" height="463" /></p> <p>Should Women Vote For Hillary Just Because She's a Woman?</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>I&rsquo;m told I should identify with Hillary because she&rsquo;s also a woman, and that&rsquo;s reason enough to vote for her. I disagree. If not for the same hips, I couldn&rsquo;t identify with her in any way. <em>Unless she's more like us than we can tell from her TV appearances</em>. Maybe she, too, would like to go home, kick off the heels, take a hot bath, watch a few eps of &ldquo;Love It Or List It,&rdquo; and go to bed. But that&rsquo;s not what she&rsquo;s doing.</p> <p>The very thought of having your face plastered with makeup every single day for speeches, TV appearances, rallies, debates, and interviews, is positively chilling. Plus she has to take off every pound of it at night, before her skin starts itching from makeup clogging her pores for hours. Does she get more makeup slathered on for whatever evening social obligations have been scheduled? Or do they buff up the morning layers? Did they have to teach her how to control her blinking when the fake eyelashes cause discomfort? Rachel Maddow is still in the blinking stage but she&rsquo;ll learn soon enough.</p> <p>Then there&rsquo;s the hair. Imagine having it highlighted, washed, trimmed, and generally messed with by a stylist, every single day. No respite. And you just know that the media is salivating to make headlines with &ldquo;Didn&rsquo;t Hil's hair look really crappy on Meet The Press&rdquo;? Bernie claims he never combs his hair at all. Trump? Well, there&rsquo;s that yellow hamster on his head.</p> <p>As to Hillary's clothes, she may hate the outfit that was laid out for her, but she trudges on and wears it anyway. By the way, who picks out those necklaces? Not fun carrying those 5-pound brass balls around your neck.</p> <p>Hillary sometimes sounds gravelly, like a can full of angry pebbles is stuck in her throat; she soldiers on anyway, whether she feels like it or not. Would we vote for her if she sounded soft and feminine like, say, Marilyn Monroe? Or confident and seductive, if she laughed like Julia Roberts? If either of those stars had to sit in front of a committee of scaby, snarky old men with fake hair and be insulted and grilled for 11 hours straight, or have to fight one whacko opponent simultaneously with a second, raging one, do you still think they&rsquo;d sound sultry and seductive? Hillary earned that gravelly voice. It should be in the Smithsonian.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve done alot of research and conclude that the personality and humor she&rsquo;s known for among her friends, just doesn&rsquo;t show when she&rsquo;s campaigning; she&rsquo;s all business. No, I&rsquo;m not like Hillary. I'm not capable of running the country and I now believe she is.</p> <p>Besides, I&rsquo;d never have the courage she has in displaying that campaign logo with the giant H, which may or may not stand for Hips.</p> <p>###</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Wed, 25 May 2016 17:00:35 +0100 TRUMP OUTS SANTA http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=83:87 <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Screen_Shot_2015-12-08_at_1.48.49_PM.png" alt="" width="668" height="444" /></p> <p>TRUMP OUTS SANTA&nbsp;</p> <p>By Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Associated Press reports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security caught Santa Claus attempting to illegally enter the United States from Mexico by flying his sleigh over the skyscraping fence erected by and named after President Donald Trump.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When Santa lived way up north, somewhere above Alaska, his transportation consisted of eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, but, after his deportation to Mexico on grounds of having been birthed in Hawaii and not in the United States, he hired a team of burros called The Flying Wallendas.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By the time AP arrived on scene, The Donald's hench-minions were already following their Profiling Handbook and detaining Santa for two offenses: having facial hair, and carrying contraband. "All toys packed on this sleigh are made in China, assembled in Mexico, and must pay U.S. import taxes, and even then, you must buy permission to enter," they said, as Santa frantically grabbed his cell phone and called Mrs. Claus.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"You simply cannot continue at this rate," she cautioned. "Your blood pressure is already sky high and if you get sick, who will supervise making the toys?" She reminded Santa that the elves' union rep had said they could not work the assembly line because they couldn't speak Chinese. "They need more background checks, before authorities find out they're just little kids and not elves. You must agree that this is the most serious matter to crop up since we were deported."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Back when President Trump decreed that Santa was deportation worthy, there had been many things to do. They had to buy property from Trump Realty, vast enough to accommodate a wood shop featuring lessons in carving wood with guns instead of knives, a LEGO building staffed with figs writing How-to- Articulate-Buildings-of-Wood-and-Brick apps, a robotics center on how to build a human, and a separate Barbie building with dolls that included instructions to little girls on how to remove their own ribs to get a waist like hers, while Oprah fan-Barbie dolls are equipped with their own monthly magazine and an air-brush kit.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With population growing at an alarming rate since the overturning of Roe v Wade, simultaneously with the repeal of the 19th Amendment, there seemed to be endless demand for more toys as well as new kitchens in which to keep women barefoot and pregnant. Yes, moving south had been an enormous undertaking. However, after negotiations between Trump Realty and the Mexican village of Trumpito, an ideal property was located, and the deal closed. Trump filed early bankruptcy papers to save his time down the line, and save his money by never having to pay for parts or labor. But no mention was made that Santa would not be re-admitted into the United States to deliver Christmas toys to American kids. "President Trump had not been truthful," Santa lamented to Mrs. Claus, "I can hardly believe it."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Neither the trusting Santa nor his wife was aware that their activities had long been monitored by Homeland Security's Covert Operations cubicle. Even though Santa had his own private server at home, his emails, private phone calls, and movements were secretly stored on an iCloud hovering over Wall Street. Authorities had never been suspicious when Santa entered the U.S. from the north but, from the south, it was a burro of a different color.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"You let Superman in without a green card. Why not me?" cried a frustrated Santa.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We let all Marvel characters in," said the hench-minion, "but you are just a fat guy in a red suit so turn this vehicle around and get out of our air space."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Santa, realizing that he could be dispatched to Guantanamo for questioning without even knowing the charges, hastily signaled lift-off to The Flying Wallendas by laying a finger aside of his nose, and crying out Santa's 2015 Message to American Kids of All Ages:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You're not getting a drone</p> <p>You're not getting a phone</p> <p>You're not getting a Minecraft by Lego</p> <p>Tho' you may think you are,</p> <p>You're not getting a car</p> <p>You'll not even get bacon with Eggo</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Star Wars won't Awaken,</p> <p>when your seat&rsquo;s not taken.</p> <p>You won't see your photos on Flickr</p> <p>So you may feel left out</p> <p>Like sour with no kraut</p> <p>See me only in the Pedia called Wickr</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>###</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Wed, 09 Dec 2015 20:22:46 +0100 TRUMP OUTS SANTA http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=83:86 <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Screen_Shot_2015-12-08_at_1.48.49_PM.png" alt="" width="668" height="444" /></p> <p>TRUMP OUTS SANTA&nbsp;</p> <p>By Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Associated Press reports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security caught Santa Claus attempting to illegally enter the United States from Mexico by flying his sleigh over the skyscraping fence erected by and named after President Donald Trump.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When Santa lived way up north, somewhere above Alaska, his transportation consisted of eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, but, after his deportation to Mexico on grounds of having been birthed in Hawaii and not in the United States, he hired a team of burros called The Flying Wallendas.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By the time AP arrived on scene, The Donald's hench-minions were already following their Profiling Handbook and detaining Santa for two offenses: having facial hair, and carrying contraband. "All toys packed on this sleigh are made in China, assembled in Mexico, and must pay U.S. import taxes, and even then, you must buy permission to enter," they said, as Santa frantically grabbed his cell phone and called Mrs. Claus.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"You simply cannot continue at this rate," she cautioned. "Your blood pressure is already sky high and if you get sick, who will supervise making the toys?" She reminded Santa that the elves' union rep had said they could not work the assembly line because they couldn't speak Chinese. "They need more background checks, before authorities find out they're just little kids and not elves. You must agree that this is the most serious matter to crop up since we were deported."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Back when President Trump decreed that Santa was deportation worthy, there had been many things to do. They had to buy property from Trump Realty, vast enough to accommodate a wood shop featuring lessons in carving wood with guns instead of knives, a LEGO building staffed with figs writing How-to- Articulate-Buildings-of-Wood-and-Brick apps, a robotics center on how to build a human, and a separate Barbie building with dolls that included instructions to little girls on how to remove their own ribs to get a waist like hers, while Oprah fan-Barbie dolls are equipped with their own monthly magazine and an air-brush kit.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With population growing at an alarming rate since the overturning of Roe v Wade, simultaneously with the repeal of the 19th Amendment, there seemed to be endless demand for more toys as well as new kitchens in which to keep women barefoot and pregnant. Yes, moving south had been an enormous undertaking. However, after negotiations between Trump Realty and the Mexican village of Trumpito, an ideal property was located, and the deal closed. Trump filed early bankruptcy papers to save his time down the line, and save his money by never having to pay for parts or labor. But no mention was made that Santa would not be re-admitted into the United States to deliver Christmas toys to American kids. "President Trump had not been truthful," Santa lamented to Mrs. Claus, "I can hardly believe it."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Neither the trusting Santa nor his wife was aware that their activities had long been monitored by Homeland Security's Covert Operations cubicle. Even though Santa had his own private server at home, his emails, private phone calls, and movements were secretly stored on an iCloud hovering over Wall Street. Authorities had never been suspicious when Santa entered the U.S. from the north but, from the south, it was a burro of a different color.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"You let Superman in without a green card. Why not me?" cried a frustrated Santa.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We let all Marvel characters in," said the hench-minion, "but you are just a fat guy in a red suit so turn this vehicle around and get out of our air space."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Santa, realizing that he could be dispatched to Guantanamo for questioning without even knowing the charges, hastily signaled lift-off to The Flying Wallendas by laying a finger aside of his nose, and crying out Santa's 2015 Message to American Kids of All Ages:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You're not getting a drone</p> <p>You're not getting a phone</p> <p>You're not getting a Minecraft by Lego</p> <p>Tho' you may think you are,</p> <p>You're not getting a car</p> <p>You'll not even get bacon with Eggo</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Star Wars won't Awaken,</p> <p>when your seat&rsquo;s not taken.</p> <p>You won't see your photos on Flickr</p> <p>So you may feel left out</p> <p>Like sour with no kraut</p> <p>See me only in the Pedia called Wickr</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>###</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 08 Dec 2015 22:02:33 +0100 Gravity Sucks: Hollywood's Answer To a Face in Free Fall http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=82:85 <p class="MsoNormal"><span>Gravity Sucks: Hollywood's Answer To a Face in Free Fall</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span>by Maggie Van Ostrand</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/makeup.jpg" alt="" width="604" height="782" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG /> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves /> <w:TrackFormatting /> <w:PunctuationKerning /> 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mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">If you're watching your budget, consider buying cosmetics at the hardware store. You can stop laughing now &mdash; their products work as well as anything advertised because magazine ads don't use women who look like they're among the living. Even when I was 20, I didn't have a face with eyes that look like they got hit with tar balls, I've always weighed more than 80 pounds, and, in tight jeans, my legs never looked like a tuning fork.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/SkinnyJeans.png" alt="" width="89" height="466" />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;<img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Tuning_Fork.jpg" alt="" width="141" height="601" />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I started cosmetic shopping at the hardware store about the time wrinkles appeared, not around the eyes which I was prepared for with a dozen pairs of big sunglasses, but around the mouth where sunglasses look stupid. I considered doing a Reverse Bruce Jenner, taking just enough medication until I grew a concealing mustache, and toyed with the idea of changing religions so I could wear one of those burquas that has a drop cloth for your face. I finally talked with a professional makeup expert, and hit paydirt. 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UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading" /> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:16.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Nigel's is a Hollywood beauty hangout that has supplied the look of Hollywood stars for decades, sells supplies to personal makeup artists of the stars, and employs experts who teach classes for movie special effects. They are considered more than a beauty supply store, they are an emporium, dealing with more products than a mere store or salon. Nigel's can also apply your makeup as well as teach you how to do it yourself. They sell wigs and hair for places where you want it and how to take it off from places that you don't. Madonna, or maybe it was Lady Gaga, bought blue armpit hair for a tour. They sell brushes so soft, the skin cannot even feel their touch, hundreds of lipstick shades for any skin color, and they actually sell temporary facelifts to appear younger than you are. Bette Davis used a product that hooked her skin at the hairline, yanked the wrinkles right off her face and pulled them right up into her hair where they remained unseen for enough hours to appear on a tv show. She looked smooth and much younger. Of course it hurt like hell, but still ...</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Nigel2.jpg" alt="" width="912" height="684" />&nbsp;</span></p> <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG /> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves /> <w:TrackFormatting /> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF /> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>JA</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark /> 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</xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <mce:style><! /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:16.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} --> <!--[endif] --> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span>So I figure we have three ways of combatting visible face ageing. (1) surgery, (2) Nigel, and (3) Ace Hardware. I hear they're having a sale on spackle.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span>####</span></p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 03:55:01 +0100 Love, and How to Say It http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=81:84 <p>Love, and How To Say It<br />by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p><br /><br /><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/CashCarter.jpg" alt="" width="270" height="187" />Useless are today's most popular methods of expressing love: texting e-cards, and posting. Where are the passionate and moving love letters of our past? Written in cursive by the sender, we can actually see by that handwriting what their emotional state of mind was at the time.<br /><br />Peeps, even if you can't write cursive, you can print for your loved one whichever of these two samples of heartbreakingly beautiful prose is closest to what you want to say.<br /><br />First is perhaps the most famous:<br /><br /><em>How do I love thee? Let me count the ways./ I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight/ For the ends of being and ideal grace./ I love thee to the level of every day&rsquo;s / Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light./ I love thee freely, as men strive for right./ I love thee purely, as they turn from praise./ I love thee with the passion put to use / In my old griefs, and with my childhood&rsquo;s faith./ I love thee with a love I seemed to lose / With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,/ Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,/ I shall but love thee better after death.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806-1861</em><br /><br />and, based on a British poll, here's the winner of Rolling Stone's "Most Romantic Love Letter of All Time," beating out Prime Minister Winston Churchill to his wife, poet John Keats to his neighbor, Jimi Hendrix to a mystery woman, and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. It was written by Johnny Cash to his beloved wife, June Carter Cash on her 65th birthday, after 26 years of marriage:<br /><br /><br /><em>"You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You're the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. / We got old and got used to each other. We think alike. We read each others [sic] minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes we take each other for granted. But once in a while, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met."<br /><br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ~Johnny Cash 1932-2003</em><br /><br />Ultimately, no matter if you text, e-card, or post to the object of your love,&nbsp; either of these fine examples is sure to get you laid.<br /><br /><br /></p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 22:18:19 +0100 The Green Carpet http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=80:83 <p><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/sky-wire-fox-terrier.jpg" alt="" width="624" height="488" /></p> <p>The Green Carpet</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>Movie stars will soon stroll the Red Carpet into Hollywood's Dolby Theatre for the Academy Awards. Frankly, that's small potatoes. The carpet that's really important isn't red, it's green. And the stars walking on it are walking on all fours. Should anyone from the media ask, "Who are you wearing?" the answer wouldn't be Vera Wang, Chanel or Versace; it would be "I'm wearing myself."</p> <p>There are just as many celebrities in the dog world as in the movie world, and wagging tails are even more plentiful. No make-up, no face lifts, no steroids. And their noses are original.</p> <p>The formally dressed judges for each dog breed, including the biggie, Best in Show, wield as much influence as celebrities do at the Oscars. Maybe more. Talk about your blue bloods, there are more on this carpet than on all of Park Avenue.</p> <p>What was I saying? Oh yes, I was talking about the green carpet. It amazes me that this carpet remains unsullied and I sometimes ponder how that can be, considering such high-strung pedigree pups in an arena of high stakes for big bucks, loud applause, and sizzling excitement. No matter, they probably have their own marble bathrooms.</p> <p>Unlike equally high-strung, dog-eat-dog actors at the Oscars who clutch their award with trembling hands, let fall tears of gratitude, and thank everyone they ever met, dogs maintain a noble dignity and classic discipline. Especially terriers.</p> <p>Terriers always seem to give the distinct impression that they rather enjoy the judge's fiddling at their hind ends, though I assume their counterparts at the Oscars would smack down anyone who fiddled with theirs. Then again, maybe not.</p> <p>At the north end of a dog, the judge lifts their upper lips and paws about in their mouths, presumably checking incisor quality, while the trainer, at the south end, raises the dog's tail straight up in the air, leaving an audience of socialites trusting that the dog has not eaten beans.</p> <p>Sky, a fox terrier, won Best in Show 2014. My dog is a terrier, too, and he walks a green carpet every day. It's called grass.</p> <p>#####</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 21:35:55 +0100 Cheers! http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=79:82 <p><span style="font-size: 16.0pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">Cheers!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">by Maggie Van Ostrand</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">If you're planning a toast for the New Year, there are a few old timey ways to go you might not have heard of. If they sound too weird, at least talking about them will give you a conversation starter.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">The actual habit of "toasting" seems to have come about in the 1600s when it was customary for a piece of toast to be placed in each drink, possibly as a "flavoring device," according to "Toasts: Over 1,500 of The Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings and Graces," by Paul Dickson. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 16.0pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">&nbsp;As to clinking your glass against another person's, one theory was that the sound would drive off the devil. It must be very effective because all the politicians in Washington disappear over the holidays.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">Four of the five senses experienced with a toast, are Sight, Smell, Touch, and Taste; the fifth, Hearing, was taken care of by the clinking. At least that's what legend says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 16.0pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">These things do not seem to have been enough of a toast for 17th-century Irishmen though. They added a show of affection for their women by "stabbing themselves in the arm, mixing their blood in their wine, and drinking to the lady in question," Dickson says. There must've been some really bloody wedding receptions back in the day. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">On the Fourth of July, no celebration was complete without 13 toasts, one for each state, wrote Dickson. If drunken patriots staggered around after that, what do you think they'd do today after 50 toasts? And those who don't believe Hawaii is a State would only have to drink 49.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">Happy 2015!</span></p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 01 Jan 2015 02:54:52 +0100 A Higher Calling http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=78:81 <p><br />Once upon a time just a few years ago, a little pine tree stood in the deep forest, isolated and naked. He wondered aloud why he was so small and skinny while a big pine tree standing just several feet away had so many full and lusty branches. With a gentle smile, the big tree said, "Son, I am your mother and not to worry, one day, you will look just like me."<br /><br />The little tree doubted that, for he could not imagine being as fancy as his mother when everyone could see that he would always be scant and spindly, with the wind blowing right through his sparse branches, as though he wasn't even there. Why was he different from the others in the forest?<br /><br />"Never mind that," said his mother when the little tree asked why that was, "for you are my son and you have a higher calling," and she would say nothing more about it.<br /><br />"What kind of calling?" the little tree asked, but no answer came. It was a quandary all right, and the little tree pondered the whys of life every day. Still, no answer came. And then in the darkness of a December night while he slept, the answer was revealed.<br /><br />In the morning when the little tree awakened, he felt peculiar. He didn't know why, he just felt peculiar. "Take a look at yourself," said his mother, and he looked down. "Wow," he exclaimed, when he saw that he was adorned with shiny spheres of red, green, silver and gold. There was even a tiny angel dangling from one of his boughs, and little tinkling bells were scattered here and there. By turning this way and that, being careful not to dislodge any of the glittering objects, he read words on the decorations. "Chloe," said one, "Daddy," said another, "Max" said a third. Were these calls to some higher power? He looked up to ask his mother and was delighted to find her bedecked with even more finery than he had, so much of it that she tilted with the weight. The little tree saw that today, a special day, his mother had been right &mdash; he really did look like her. On her lowest bough hung a note: <br /><br /><strong><em>Dear God,<br />Thank you for letting us communicate with our loved ones who<br />are spending Christmas in Heaven</em></strong><br /><br /><br />"Mommy," said the little tree, "If Christmas bells tinkle in the forest and there's no one around to hear them, do they make a sound?" "Yes, son," said the mother. "How do you know? asked the little tree." "Because the tinkle is not the question, the tinkle is the answer."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:26:33 +0100 The Doctor Will See You Now http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=77:80 <p><img style="width: 425px; height: 319px;" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/kcfinder/upload/images/stethoscope%281%29.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>During my annual physical, my longtime doctor announced his retirement. After the initial shock and the "No, no, please don't go," as I fell to the floor and held onto his ankles as desperate as democrats trying to hold onto their seats, it didn't seem too terrible because he recommended a doctor closer to where I live now. That meant, instead of driving 5 hours round trip to Beverly Hills, it'd be just 3 to the new location. Two weeks later, I met his replacement, New Doc, who promptly gave me another physical. The difference between old doc and new doc is like the difference between getting laid and getting laid out.</p> <p>"Your blood pressure is high," he said. "That's because I'm nervous at being here. My blood pressure was 120/80 at my physical two weeks ago," I said, "same as always." If he'd looked at it, he could've seen that for himself in my medical records from the last 20 years that I'd given him. He also could've listened when I'd told him why I was nervous that day. I was starting to think New Doc was about as good a match for me as the feather duster that old Blue Jay keeps humping.</p> <p>He wanted me to have a chest X-ray. I didn't want a chest X-ray. I'd just had one. He insisted. He then said, "There are spots on your lungs." "Yes," I said, "My old doctor told me that's scar tissue from smoking 25 years ago." New Doc changed the subject. "You have a kidney infection," "What? I can't have. My urine is as clear as water." "Well," he said, "then you had a kidney infection in the past." This sounded crazy to me, but then I'm not a doctor so I supposed he must be right, right?</p> <p>He didn't like the results of my new EKG and insisted on my wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours and returning next day. When he saw the results, he sent me to a cardiologist. By this time, scenarios in my head about the Grim Reaper being but moments away increased my agitation so much that I couldn't drive and had to hire a town car. On the way to cardio doc, I had the driver stop while I ran into my lawyer's office and signed a new Will.</p> <p>Cardio doc read the EKGs, the heart monitor report, and gave me a thorough heart exam. "Nothing wrong with your heart," he said, "It's structurally sound." However, he said my blood pressure was very high and I replied, "What do you expect when I'm about to enter the Crematorium Condominiums? I'm not stupid; on the way here, I went to the lawyer's and signed a Will." He laughed like I was Tina Fey or something and said everybody should have an updated Will, but " ... you're not about to die, at least not yet." He sounded like my mom when he said, "You don't act your age." I told him "You're only young once but you can be immature forever."</p> <p>Again he reassured me. I said, "What about those extra heartbeats?" He said, "That's quite common. You have nothing to worry about." He took my blood pressure again and it had gone down 20 in the few minutes since he first took it. "Obviously, you agitated yourself into a state that caused your blood pressure to rise, but now that you know you're okay, it's already going down." He also gave me a treadmill stress test; I'd been scared of that but it was as easy as walking the dog &mdash; and I didn't have to clean up after. Relieved, I considered adding Cardio Doc to my Will.</p> <p>A week later, I got an email from New Doc who had now decided I have hypertension and wants to see me twice a week to monitor this condition. He advised he had just moved to Beverly Hills! Beverly Hills?? I could've stayed with Old Doc's group just three blocks away from New Doc's new office.</p> <p>Between the cost of hiring a town car, a lawyer to draw up the Will, and realizing New Doc isn't the one for me, I only hope I don't croak before I can replace him.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>######</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 22:36:49 +0100 Waiter, Bring Me a Bowl of Gluten and a Glass of Lactose http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=76:79 <hr /> <h2>Waiter, Bring Me an Order of Gluten and a Large Glass of Lactose</h2> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="margin-left: 8px; margin-right: 8px; float: right; width: 370px; height: 216px;" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/kcfinder/upload/images/aisle.png" alt="" />When I was a kid, mom would send me to the store for a quart of milk and a loaf of bread. Easy enough for me to pick up and bring home. Plenty of clarity and no decisions. But how do today's moms handle sending their kid to the store? This morning, at the supermarket, I overheard a kid about 10 or 11 on his cell phone, obviously checking with his mom. I could only hear the kid's side of the conversaton but I'm guessing the mom's is probably close to this :</p> <p>Kid:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What kind of milk do you want, Mom?</p> <p>Mom:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 1%</p> <p>Kid:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 1% what? (reading from labels) Cow? Soy? Coconut? Almond? Rice?</p> <p>Mom:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Cow</p> <p>Kid:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ok. Cow. Regular? Flavored? Lactose-free?</p> <p>Mom:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Just a quart of regular cow's milk. If the cow gives lactose with her milk, then it's ok with me.</p> <p>Kid:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Regular cow lactose ok.</p> <p>Intrigued, I follow the kid down the never-ending bread aisle, and he calls her again.</p> <p>Kid:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I forget what you wanted.</p> <p>Mom:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; A loaf of bread.</p> <p>Kid: &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What kind of bread? (kid reads labels into his phone) There's Rye, Jewish Rye, Extra Sour Jewish Rye, Black, Multi-Grain, White, Wheat, Sour Dough, Pita, Pumpernickel. What kind do you want?</p> <p>Mom:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Wheat.</p> <p>Kid:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; What kind of wheat? Whole Wheat? Whole Grain? Sprouted Grain? Seven Grain? With or without a touch of molasses? Do you want refined grains with added fiber? Do you want unbleached enriched flour?</p> <p>Mom:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; No refined grains with added fiber. No unbleached enriched flour. The first ingredient has to be 100% whole wheat.</p> <p>Kid:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 100% whole wheat. Got it. Gluten-free?</p> <p>Mom:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Oh for God's sake. Just get a bag of bagels.</p> <p>Then I saw the poor kid heading for the toothpaste section, and figured he'd be on the phone for the rest of the day.</p> <p>The motto of the story is: Tell your kid if he'll give up his cell phone and learn to read a handwritten list, you'll let him shave the dog.</p> <p>#</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:40:35 +0100 Shrinking the News http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=74:78 <p>I was born and raised in New York City where the outside world was the distance between the door and a cab. So why would I be interested in the outside world with people and places whose names I can&rsquo;t pronounce, marauding tanks, beheadings, suicide bombings, and assassinations? I don&rsquo;t want to become inured to horrors. The only Middle East I&rsquo;m interested in is our middle east, you know, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky. Like that.<br /><br />So o.k. I&rsquo;ll limit my information intake to the United States. What do I get? Fear-mongering politicians, greedy lobbyists, and a mind-boggling Congressional lack of common sense. We have loser politicians trying to get reelected instead of arrested, athletes who&rsquo;d never make it without dope, decisions handed down by Supreme Court that seem anti-American, guns blasting innocent people, power-hungry fat cats with bad hair cuts buying media and politicians, and news cycles that repeat the same story until you want to scream for relief.<br /><br />So o.k. I&rsquo;ll limit my information intake to the small town I live in. What are they talking about at the Post Office? They&rsquo;re talking about an earwig coming out of someone&rsquo;s cell phone into their ear, about a guy who licked an envelope flap only to find a cockroach on his tongue, and how come we have to print envelopes because mailmen can't read handwriting anymore. Swell. What happened to the good old days where post office entertainment was shaking all the packages to see if we could guess the contents.<br /><br />So o.k. I&rsquo;ll limit my information intake to my own home. The cable went out, the Automatic Sprinkler System has gone on strike, my new laptop is dyslexic so &ldquo;Save&rdquo; means &ldquo;Delete,&rdquo; and my printer passed away yesterday. The toilet is backed up and, like Ensign Pulver in "Mister Roberts," the washing machine is spewing soapy water everywhere. I actually remember when products were manufactured here in the U.S. of A. and lasted a lifetime without destroying the home they were berthed in.<br /><br />So o.k. Now I have to shrink into my own head, a good time to ponder things, like Why are they called Flemish painters when there&rsquo;s no country named Flem? Did Adam really even like the nagging Eve? Why do TV commercials always tell us how little insurance policies cost yet never tell us if they pay your claim? Why don&rsquo;t schools teach how stupid Custer really was? Why don&rsquo;t mattress stores just lower their prices and skip Holiday Sales? Why do we have so many silly studies? (One of them discovered that dog fleas jump higher than cat fleas. It won a Nobel Prize.) Another study finds that not sleeping well makes you look tired the next day.<br /><br />That's as far as I was able to shrink the news. I&rsquo;d just about given up on ever feeling happy again when the car I was behind had a bumper sticker: "Jesus is coming. Look busy."<br /><br />Life is good again.</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:50:03 +0100 Sorry guys http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=73:77 <div id="r1PostCPBlock" style="overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; border: medium none; position: absolute; left: -99999px;"> <div class="content-title"><a href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/top-10-macabre-movie-moms.php"> <h2 class="block space-min-bottom">The Top 10 Macabre Movie Moms in Cinematic History</h2> </a> <span class="color-red"><a class="color-red" href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/category/cinematic-listology">Cinematic Listology</a></span> By <a href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/author/staff"><span class="color-blue">FSR Staff</span></a> on May 9, 2009 | <a href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/top-10-macabre-movie-moms.php#comments"><span class="dsq-postid">(25) Comments</span></a></div> <div id="social-box"></div> <div class="thiscontent space-min-left space-min-right space-min-bottom"> <div style="padding-top: 0px; display: block; overflow: visible;"> <div id="customWidget" class="pw pw-widget ra1-pw-classicWidget ra1-pw_size_small pw-layout-horizontal" style="margin-bottom: 8px; display: block;"><a class="pw-button pw-button-twitter button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-twitter">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-twitter">Tweet</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-googleplus button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-googleplus">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-googleplus">+1</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-facebook button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-facebook">2</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-facebook">Like</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-stumbleupon button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-stumbleupon">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-stumbleupon">Share</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-pinterest button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-pinterest">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-pinterest">Pin</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-reddit button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-reddit">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-reddit">Reddit</span> </a></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-42169" title="mothersdaylistbanner" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/mothersdaylistbanner.jpg" alt="mothersdaylistbanner" width="590" height="300" /></p> <p>Getting sentimental and sloppy over our moms once a year is fine for well-adjusted kids and Mr. Hallmark, who took creative advantage of Mother&rsquo;s Day to celebrate sweet, loyal, dedicated moms. But we Rejects choose instead to honor filmdom&rsquo;s 10 most demonic, diabolical, villainous mothers &ndash; the ones we love to hate.</p> <p>We&rsquo;re talking about the kind who screw with our heads, twist our self-esteem into an unrecognizable knot, and read us fairy tales about babies in cradles falling out of a tree to smash on the pavement below; Humpty Dumpty&rsquo;s fractured skull; blind mice who can&rsquo;t escape having their tails amputated; and manic monkeys catching weasels and popping their bloody guts all over the lot. It should come as no surprise that we begin with Bette Davis.</p> <p>Get ready to work through some issues:</p> <p><strong>10. Charlotte&rsquo;s Mother in <em>Now Voyager</em> (1942)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42149" title="now-voyager-lg" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/now-voyager-lg.jpg" alt="now-voyager-lg" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Bette Davis&rsquo;s memorable role of Charlotte in the melodrama, <em>Now Voyager</em>, the story of a homely, repressed, overweight daughter&rsquo;s transition into an attractive woman, is largely remembered for Paul Henreid sticking his and her cigs in his kisser and lighting them simultaneously, but the real story was Charlotte&rsquo;s mom. Gladys Cooper played the selfish, aristocratic Boston dowager who, in order to keep Bette at home and enslaved to her every narcissistic whim, uses verbal and emotional abuse to convince Charlotte that she was so ugly and undesirable, she could never get anyone to marry her. This is not a Go-to-your-room mom, she&rsquo;s a Go-to-your-room-and-stay-there-forever mom. That&rsquo;s the kind of psychological control that makes a demon mother. Ultimately, Charlotte falls in love, causing mom to get so furious that she has a heart attack and croaks, leaving Charlotte distraught and feeling guilty. No happy ending here.</p> <p><strong>9. Stifler&rsquo;s Mom in <em>American Pie</em> (1999)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42150" title="americanpiestiflersmom" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/americanpiestiflersmom.jpg" alt="americanpiestiflersmom" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Part MILF, part cougar, Jeanine Stifler (Jennifer Coolidge) is a decidedly unfit mom. She lies in wait for her son&rsquo;s party guests, plies them with hard liquor and fucks &rsquo;em. The first film in the <em>American Pie</em> series draws a blatant line from Mrs. Stifler to Mrs. Robinson of <em>The Graduate</em> fame. (When Mrs. Stifler is seducing Finch, the song &ldquo;Mrs. Robinson&rdquo; comes on and she says, &ldquo;Mr. Finch&hellip;.are you trying to seduce me?&rdquo;) But, while Mrs. Robinson is at least capable of showing some class, Jeanine just reeks of desperation. Even so, most of the FSR staff agrees: We&rsquo;d hit that.</p> <p><strong>8. Ripley in <em>Alien Resurrection</em> (1997)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42151" title="alien4" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/alien4.jpg" alt="alien4" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In 1986&rsquo;s <em>Aliens</em>, Sigourney Weaver&rsquo;s Ripley is a tender but fiercely devoted surrogate mom for the orphaned girl Newt. In screenwriter Joss Whedon&rsquo;s hands, Ripley is more morally ambiguous. First, she helps conceive the ugliest baby ever during an intergender/interspecies orgy. The resulting progeny is a pale, fleshy, juicy, alien/human hybrid who follows Ripley around like a homicidal puppy. Ripley ends up dispatching the hybrid by creating a hole in a spacecraft hull. The beast suffers an agonizing death as it&rsquo;s sucked inside-out through the pinhole leak into the vacuum of space. Sure, Ripley&rsquo;s just saving humanity. But what a thing to do to your own kid.</p> <p><strong>7. Ma Jarrett in <em>White Heat</em> (1949)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42152" title="margaretwycherly" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/margaretwycherly.jpg" alt="margaretwycherly" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>James Cagney is Cody Jarrett, a deranged, ruthless badboy with a mother complex. His relationship with her has twisted his life into that of a psychotic madman. He was a real mama&rsquo;s boy who sat on her lap as a grown man (Cagney&rsquo;s idea) for solace. Scorsese called the scene &ldquo;extraordinary.&rdquo; When Cody gets one of his frequent agonizing headaches, mom massages his head, gives him a drink and, as he downs it, she says, &ldquo;Top of the world.&rdquo; She says it again, visiting him in prison: &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll be out soon, back on top of the world.&rdquo; The iconic line was roared skyward by Cody to his murdered mother, as he blew himself up on a gigantic gas storage tank: &ldquo;Made it Ma, Top of the world!!!&rdquo; (Often misquoted as &ldquo;Top of the world, Ma.&rdquo;) In an over-the-top performance by character actress Margaret Wycherly, Ma Jarrett goes down in film infamy as one of the best worst mothers. Cody may be at the &ldquo;top of the world,&rdquo; but his mother is strictly from hell.</p> <p><strong>6. Ma Barker in <em>Bloody Mama</em> (1970)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42153" title="bloody-mama-pdvd_004" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/bloody-mama-pdvd_004.jpg" alt="bloody-mama-pdvd_004" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Shelley Winters as machine gun-slingin&rsquo; Kate &ldquo;Ma&rdquo; Barker in Roger Corman&rsquo;s <em>Bloody Mama</em>. Her sons are loaded with perversions, like sadistic Herman who sleeps with Ma, homosexual son Fred&rsquo;s former cell mate and lover also sleeps with her, son Lloyd is a whacko drug addict who&rsquo;d snort the chenille right off Ma&rsquo;s bedspread if she&rsquo;d let him. Fourth son Arthur is a loser who can&rsquo;t find anyone to sleep with except himself. Addict Lloyd Barker was played by a young Robert DeNiro. In her autobio, Winters says: &ldquo;Bobby stayed in character 24 hours a day, losing 40 pounds and getting scabs all over his body. Toward the end of the film when he OD&rsquo;s [sic] and the Barker family must bury him hurriedly, Bobby insisted on getting into the grave so the camera could record the dirt covering his face. In the scene I was hysterical with grief, and I didn&rsquo;t realize until he was almost completely covered that it was Bobby and not a dummy &hellip; [I] pulled him out, saying, &lsquo;For Christ&rsquo;s sake, Bobby! Even Marlon has never pulled such a dangerous stupid trick in a movie. This is not real life, it&rsquo;s only a film.&rsquo; [He replied] &lsquo;But Shelley, for actors, aren&rsquo;t the movies our only real life?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>5. Joan Crawford in <em>Mommy Dearest</em> (1981)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42154" title="mommydearest" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/mommydearest.jpg" alt="mommydearest" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>The story of the relationship between a child trying to survive and her ruthless, scheming, alcoholic, movie star adoptive mom, who knew every nasty trick in the book. Written by Joan Crawford&rsquo;s daughter, this look at the super star as mom gives the audience a glimpse behind the scenes. In real life, Crawford was an enraged bitch, using physical and psychological weapons on her kids, using them as P/R props, and smashing their young egos down into the dust. Faye Dunaway gives a scenery-chewing performance, which took so much out of her that after the infamous &ldquo;No more wire hangers!!&rdquo; scene, Dunaway &ldquo;collapsed in a heap on the floor of a closet on Paramount&rsquo;s Stage 8.&rdquo; Crawford herself won an Oscar for playing a rotten mom in <em>Mildred Pierce</em>. Why not? She had a lot of personal experience.</p> <p><strong>4. Mrs. Bates in <em>Psycho</em> (1960)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42155" title="mrs-bates02" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/mrs-bates02.jpg" alt="mrs-bates02" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>How do you think Norman Bates got that way? Dear old tyrannical mommy, that&rsquo;s how. Even as a skeleton rocking away in that creepy Goth house still standing on Universal&rsquo;s backlot, Mrs. Bates had to fight off her randy son. (How do you think those empty eye sockets got so worn?) She and Norman were based on real-life Ed Gein and his mommy. Norman Bates was so dominated by his mother while she lived, and so riddled with guilt for murdering her, that he tried to erase his crime by using his taxidermy skills to preserve her corpse. Ultimately, Norman &ldquo;becomes&rdquo; his mother, as his voice says at the end, &ldquo;&hellip;I&rsquo;m not even going to swat that fly! I hope they are watching! They&rsquo;ll see and they&rsquo;ll know, and they&rsquo;ll say, &lsquo;Why, she wouldn&rsquo;t even harm a fly!&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>3. Augusta Gein in <em>Ed Gein</em> (2000)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42156" title="edgein" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/edgein.jpg" alt="edgein" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>The true story of a religious zealot mother so controlling, ominous, and fire and brimstone that after she dies, her son becomes a grief stricken maniac, ultimately digging up women&rsquo;s corpses, humping them, dismembering their remains, and making lampshades, speedos, and a &ldquo;woman suit&rdquo; out of their skin. Carrie Snodgress brilliantly played Augusta W. Gein, who&rsquo;s incessantly rocking in her chair, reading scary Bible stories to young Ed, scolding him whenever he tries to make friends at school, and teaching him that all women are prostitutes and instruments of the devil &hellip; except her. Ed allegedly murdered his brother so he could have mom all to himself. The real Ed Gein said he lost his &ldquo;only friend and one true love.&rdquo; Not only were Mom and Norman Bates based on the Geins&rsquo; ghoulish relationship, but so was Leatherface in <em>Texas Chainsaw Massacre</em>, Buffalo Bill in <em>The Silence of the Lambs</em>, and <em>Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile</em>. We wonder what Ed got Augusta&rsquo;s corpse for Mother&rsquo;s Day.</p> <p><strong>2. Margaret in <em>Carrie </em>(1976)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42157" title="carrie-mom-crucifixion" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/carrie-mom-crucifixion.jpg" alt="carrie-mom-crucifixion" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Piper Laurie delivers one of the most memorable performances in horror cinema as Margaret, deranged Bible thumper and matriarchal dictator. Margaret has some warped views on faith and sexuality, which she forcefully attempts to drill into poor Carrie&rsquo;s head. By using prayer as punishment and equating healthy sexuality with original sin, she just about assures her supernaturally talented daughter will fail in life. After Carrie demonstrates psychokinetic abilities, Margaret attempts to murder her. This cinematic bad mom is literally a backstabbing bitch.</p> <p><strong>1. Mrs. Iselin in <em>Manchurian Candidate</em> (1962)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42158" title="manchuriancandidate" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/manchuriancandidate.jpg" alt="manchuriancandidate" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>No other dark and sinister mother in film history can compare to Mrs. Iselin, wife of an incompetent U.S. Senator and mother of war hero, Raymond. In a chilling performance, Angela Lansbury collaborates with America&rsquo;s enemies in creating an anonymous political assassin. She schemes and manipulates in order to ultimately possess unprecedented power by getting her dithering husband elected President. She learns for the first time that the assassin they so carefully molded is none other than her son. Whenever brainwashed Raymond sees the Queen of Spades, his personality morphs into a killing machine. Mrs. Iselin: &ldquo;I know you will never entirely comprehend this, Raymond, but you must believe I did not know it would be you. I served them. I fought for them. I&rsquo;m on the point of winning for them the greatest foothold they would ever have in this country &hellip; I told them to build me an assassin. I wanted a killer from a world filled with killers and they chose you because they thought it would bind me closer to them&hellip; when I take power, they will be pulled down and ground into dirt for &hellip; what they did in so contemptuously underestimating me.&rdquo; [Kisses Raymond on the forehead, then his cheek, then on his lips] Lansbury said director John Frankenheimer went &ldquo;for the jugular,&rdquo; and called the role of Mrs. Iselin, &ldquo;&hellip; an incredible, massive part.&rdquo; Lansbury turned in a shattering performance as the incestuous, power-crazed monster mother of all time.</p> </div> </div> <br /><span>Read more at <a style="color: #003399;" href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/top-10-macabre-movie-moms.php#z1ArLfCGFB1dM63p.99">http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/top-10-macabre-movie-moms.php#z1ArLfCGFB1dM63p.99</a></span></div> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 09 May 2014 21:24:33 +0100 10 Classic Monster Movie Mothers http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=72:76 <div id="r1PostCPBlock" style="overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; border: medium none; position: absolute; left: -99999px;"> <div class="content-title"><a href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/top-10-macabre-movie-moms.php"> <h2 class="block space-min-bottom">The Top 10 Macabre Movie Moms in Cinematic History</h2> </a> <span class="color-red"><a class="color-red" href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/category/cinematic-listology">Cinematic Listology</a></span> By <a href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/author/staff"><span class="color-blue">FSR Staff</span></a> on May 9, 2009 | <a href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/top-10-macabre-movie-moms.php#comments"><span class="dsq-postid">(25) Comments</span></a></div> <div id="social-box"></div> <div class="thiscontent space-min-left space-min-right space-min-bottom"> <div style="padding-top: 0px; display: block; overflow: visible;"> <div id="customWidget" class="pw pw-widget ra1-pw-classicWidget ra1-pw_size_small pw-layout-horizontal" style="margin-bottom: 8px; display: block;"><a class="pw-button pw-button-twitter button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-twitter">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-twitter">Tweet</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-googleplus button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-googleplus">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-googleplus">+1</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-facebook button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-facebook">2</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-facebook">Like</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-stumbleupon button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-stumbleupon">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-stumbleupon">Share</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-pinterest button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-pinterest">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-pinterest">Pin</span> </a> <a class="pw-button pw-button-reddit button-type-square pw-size-small"> <span class="pw-box-counter pw-box-counter-reddit">0</span> <span class="pw-share pw-share-reddit">Reddit</span> </a></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-42169" title="mothersdaylistbanner" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/mothersdaylistbanner.jpg" alt="mothersdaylistbanner" width="590" height="300" /></p> <p>Getting sentimental and sloppy over our moms once a year is fine for well-adjusted kids and Mr. Hallmark, who took creative advantage of Mother&rsquo;s Day to celebrate sweet, loyal, dedicated moms. But we Rejects choose instead to honor filmdom&rsquo;s 10 most demonic, diabolical, villainous mothers &ndash; the ones we love to hate.</p> <p>We&rsquo;re talking about the kind who screw with our heads, twist our self-esteem into an unrecognizable knot, and read us fairy tales about babies in cradles falling out of a tree to smash on the pavement below; Humpty Dumpty&rsquo;s fractured skull; blind mice who can&rsquo;t escape having their tails amputated; and manic monkeys catching weasels and popping their bloody guts all over the lot. It should come as no surprise that we begin with Bette Davis.</p> <p>Get ready to work through some issues:</p> <p><strong>10. Charlotte&rsquo;s Mother in <em>Now Voyager</em> (1942)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42149" title="now-voyager-lg" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/now-voyager-lg.jpg" alt="now-voyager-lg" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Bette Davis&rsquo;s memorable role of Charlotte in the melodrama, <em>Now Voyager</em>, the story of a homely, repressed, overweight daughter&rsquo;s transition into an attractive woman, is largely remembered for Paul Henreid sticking his and her cigs in his kisser and lighting them simultaneously, but the real story was Charlotte&rsquo;s mom. Gladys Cooper played the selfish, aristocratic Boston dowager who, in order to keep Bette at home and enslaved to her every narcissistic whim, uses verbal and emotional abuse to convince Charlotte that she was so ugly and undesirable, she could never get anyone to marry her. This is not a Go-to-your-room mom, she&rsquo;s a Go-to-your-room-and-stay-there-forever mom. That&rsquo;s the kind of psychological control that makes a demon mother. Ultimately, Charlotte falls in love, causing mom to get so furious that she has a heart attack and croaks, leaving Charlotte distraught and feeling guilty. No happy ending here.</p> <p><strong>9. Stifler&rsquo;s Mom in <em>American Pie</em> (1999)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42150" title="americanpiestiflersmom" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/americanpiestiflersmom.jpg" alt="americanpiestiflersmom" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Part MILF, part cougar, Jeanine Stifler (Jennifer Coolidge) is a decidedly unfit mom. She lies in wait for her son&rsquo;s party guests, plies them with hard liquor and fucks &rsquo;em. The first film in the <em>American Pie</em> series draws a blatant line from Mrs. Stifler to Mrs. Robinson of <em>The Graduate</em> fame. (When Mrs. Stifler is seducing Finch, the song &ldquo;Mrs. Robinson&rdquo; comes on and she says, &ldquo;Mr. Finch&hellip;.are you trying to seduce me?&rdquo;) But, while Mrs. Robinson is at least capable of showing some class, Jeanine just reeks of desperation. Even so, most of the FSR staff agrees: We&rsquo;d hit that.</p> <p><strong>8. Ripley in <em>Alien Resurrection</em> (1997)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42151" title="alien4" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/alien4.jpg" alt="alien4" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In 1986&rsquo;s <em>Aliens</em>, Sigourney Weaver&rsquo;s Ripley is a tender but fiercely devoted surrogate mom for the orphaned girl Newt. In screenwriter Joss Whedon&rsquo;s hands, Ripley is more morally ambiguous. First, she helps conceive the ugliest baby ever during an intergender/interspecies orgy. The resulting progeny is a pale, fleshy, juicy, alien/human hybrid who follows Ripley around like a homicidal puppy. Ripley ends up dispatching the hybrid by creating a hole in a spacecraft hull. The beast suffers an agonizing death as it&rsquo;s sucked inside-out through the pinhole leak into the vacuum of space. Sure, Ripley&rsquo;s just saving humanity. But what a thing to do to your own kid.</p> <p><strong>7. Ma Jarrett in <em>White Heat</em> (1949)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42152" title="margaretwycherly" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/margaretwycherly.jpg" alt="margaretwycherly" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>James Cagney is Cody Jarrett, a deranged, ruthless badboy with a mother complex. His relationship with her has twisted his life into that of a psychotic madman. He was a real mama&rsquo;s boy who sat on her lap as a grown man (Cagney&rsquo;s idea) for solace. Scorsese called the scene &ldquo;extraordinary.&rdquo; When Cody gets one of his frequent agonizing headaches, mom massages his head, gives him a drink and, as he downs it, she says, &ldquo;Top of the world.&rdquo; She says it again, visiting him in prison: &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll be out soon, back on top of the world.&rdquo; The iconic line was roared skyward by Cody to his murdered mother, as he blew himself up on a gigantic gas storage tank: &ldquo;Made it Ma, Top of the world!!!&rdquo; (Often misquoted as &ldquo;Top of the world, Ma.&rdquo;) In an over-the-top performance by character actress Margaret Wycherly, Ma Jarrett goes down in film infamy as one of the best worst mothers. Cody may be at the &ldquo;top of the world,&rdquo; but his mother is strictly from hell.</p> <p><strong>6. Ma Barker in <em>Bloody Mama</em> (1970)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42153" title="bloody-mama-pdvd_004" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/bloody-mama-pdvd_004.jpg" alt="bloody-mama-pdvd_004" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Shelley Winters as machine gun-slingin&rsquo; Kate &ldquo;Ma&rdquo; Barker in Roger Corman&rsquo;s <em>Bloody Mama</em>. Her sons are loaded with perversions, like sadistic Herman who sleeps with Ma, homosexual son Fred&rsquo;s former cell mate and lover also sleeps with her, son Lloyd is a whacko drug addict who&rsquo;d snort the chenille right off Ma&rsquo;s bedspread if she&rsquo;d let him. Fourth son Arthur is a loser who can&rsquo;t find anyone to sleep with except himself. Addict Lloyd Barker was played by a young Robert DeNiro. In her autobio, Winters says: &ldquo;Bobby stayed in character 24 hours a day, losing 40 pounds and getting scabs all over his body. Toward the end of the film when he OD&rsquo;s [sic] and the Barker family must bury him hurriedly, Bobby insisted on getting into the grave so the camera could record the dirt covering his face. In the scene I was hysterical with grief, and I didn&rsquo;t realize until he was almost completely covered that it was Bobby and not a dummy &hellip; [I] pulled him out, saying, &lsquo;For Christ&rsquo;s sake, Bobby! Even Marlon has never pulled such a dangerous stupid trick in a movie. This is not real life, it&rsquo;s only a film.&rsquo; [He replied] &lsquo;But Shelley, for actors, aren&rsquo;t the movies our only real life?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>5. Joan Crawford in <em>Mommy Dearest</em> (1981)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42154" title="mommydearest" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/mommydearest.jpg" alt="mommydearest" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>The story of the relationship between a child trying to survive and her ruthless, scheming, alcoholic, movie star adoptive mom, who knew every nasty trick in the book. Written by Joan Crawford&rsquo;s daughter, this look at the super star as mom gives the audience a glimpse behind the scenes. In real life, Crawford was an enraged bitch, using physical and psychological weapons on her kids, using them as P/R props, and smashing their young egos down into the dust. Faye Dunaway gives a scenery-chewing performance, which took so much out of her that after the infamous &ldquo;No more wire hangers!!&rdquo; scene, Dunaway &ldquo;collapsed in a heap on the floor of a closet on Paramount&rsquo;s Stage 8.&rdquo; Crawford herself won an Oscar for playing a rotten mom in <em>Mildred Pierce</em>. Why not? She had a lot of personal experience.</p> <p><strong>4. Mrs. Bates in <em>Psycho</em> (1960)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42155" title="mrs-bates02" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/mrs-bates02.jpg" alt="mrs-bates02" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>How do you think Norman Bates got that way? Dear old tyrannical mommy, that&rsquo;s how. Even as a skeleton rocking away in that creepy Goth house still standing on Universal&rsquo;s backlot, Mrs. Bates had to fight off her randy son. (How do you think those empty eye sockets got so worn?) She and Norman were based on real-life Ed Gein and his mommy. Norman Bates was so dominated by his mother while she lived, and so riddled with guilt for murdering her, that he tried to erase his crime by using his taxidermy skills to preserve her corpse. Ultimately, Norman &ldquo;becomes&rdquo; his mother, as his voice says at the end, &ldquo;&hellip;I&rsquo;m not even going to swat that fly! I hope they are watching! They&rsquo;ll see and they&rsquo;ll know, and they&rsquo;ll say, &lsquo;Why, she wouldn&rsquo;t even harm a fly!&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>3. Augusta Gein in <em>Ed Gein</em> (2000)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42156" title="edgein" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/edgein.jpg" alt="edgein" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>The true story of a religious zealot mother so controlling, ominous, and fire and brimstone that after she dies, her son becomes a grief stricken maniac, ultimately digging up women&rsquo;s corpses, humping them, dismembering their remains, and making lampshades, speedos, and a &ldquo;woman suit&rdquo; out of their skin. Carrie Snodgress brilliantly played Augusta W. Gein, who&rsquo;s incessantly rocking in her chair, reading scary Bible stories to young Ed, scolding him whenever he tries to make friends at school, and teaching him that all women are prostitutes and instruments of the devil &hellip; except her. Ed allegedly murdered his brother so he could have mom all to himself. The real Ed Gein said he lost his &ldquo;only friend and one true love.&rdquo; Not only were Mom and Norman Bates based on the Geins&rsquo; ghoulish relationship, but so was Leatherface in <em>Texas Chainsaw Massacre</em>, Buffalo Bill in <em>The Silence of the Lambs</em>, and <em>Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile</em>. We wonder what Ed got Augusta&rsquo;s corpse for Mother&rsquo;s Day.</p> <p><strong>2. Margaret in <em>Carrie </em>(1976)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42157" title="carrie-mom-crucifixion" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/carrie-mom-crucifixion.jpg" alt="carrie-mom-crucifixion" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>Piper Laurie delivers one of the most memorable performances in horror cinema as Margaret, deranged Bible thumper and matriarchal dictator. Margaret has some warped views on faith and sexuality, which she forcefully attempts to drill into poor Carrie&rsquo;s head. By using prayer as punishment and equating healthy sexuality with original sin, she just about assures her supernaturally talented daughter will fail in life. After Carrie demonstrates psychokinetic abilities, Margaret attempts to murder her. This cinematic bad mom is literally a backstabbing bitch.</p> <p><strong>1. Mrs. Iselin in <em>Manchurian Candidate</em> (1962)</strong></p> <p><strong><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-42158" title="manchuriancandidate" src="http://cdn.filmschoolrejects.com/images/manchuriancandidate.jpg" alt="manchuriancandidate" width="400" height="200" /><br /> </strong></p> <p>No other dark and sinister mother in film history can compare to Mrs. Iselin, wife of an incompetent U.S. Senator and mother of war hero, Raymond. In a chilling performance, Angela Lansbury collaborates with America&rsquo;s enemies in creating an anonymous political assassin. She schemes and manipulates in order to ultimately possess unprecedented power by getting her dithering husband elected President. She learns for the first time that the assassin they so carefully molded is none other than her son. Whenever brainwashed Raymond sees the Queen of Spades, his personality morphs into a killing machine. Mrs. Iselin: &ldquo;I know you will never entirely comprehend this, Raymond, but you must believe I did not know it would be you. I served them. I fought for them. I&rsquo;m on the point of winning for them the greatest foothold they would ever have in this country &hellip; I told them to build me an assassin. I wanted a killer from a world filled with killers and they chose you because they thought it would bind me closer to them&hellip; when I take power, they will be pulled down and ground into dirt for &hellip; what they did in so contemptuously underestimating me.&rdquo; [Kisses Raymond on the forehead, then his cheek, then on his lips] Lansbury said director John Frankenheimer went &ldquo;for the jugular,&rdquo; and called the role of Mrs. Iselin, &ldquo;&hellip; an incredible, massive part.&rdquo; Lansbury turned in a shattering performance as the incestuous, power-crazed monster mother of all time.</p> </div> </div> <br /><span>Read more at <a style="color: #003399;" href="http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/top-10-macabre-movie-moms.php#z1ArLfCGFB1dM63p.99">http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/top-10-macabre-movie-moms.php#z1ArLfCGFB1dM63p.99</a></span></div> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 09 May 2014 18:51:28 +0100 Peeps: A Tale for Kids http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=71:75 <p><img title="Peep" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Peep.jpg" alt="Peep" width="224" height="225" /></p> <p>Ah yes, comfort food. We're talkin' mashed potatoes and gravy, Mallomars, potato chips and meatloaf. But for me my friends, it's the time of year where new dimensions will be reached to the very definition of the word "comfort."<br /><br />It's Peeps time. And they're acomin' fast and furious. I await the sound of their little feetsies as they march over the horizon, answering the call to arms as they have for these many years, protecting the Flying Peeps with ground fire (though not a shot has been fired since they were born. They claim it's just a precaution). Please note that if you see Peeps without feets, it means they flew in and their landing gear is up. <br /><br />Since the 1950's, Peeps have been alleviating humankind's pain and suffering, at least the psychosomatic kind, and doing an amazing job.<br /><br />For those few who are unfamiliar with the physical makeup of Peeps, they are round little treats of sugar-coated marshmallow chicks. Each Peep consists of a mere 32 calories and is proud of the fact that, while he is indeed very plump, he has zero fat content. Beyond even this, their mother company, Just Born Inc., advises they also make, among other flavors, a quite delectable Peeps Jelly Bean, adding that such delicacies "are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union." Perfection lies in the details.<br /><br />The official Peeps Season began with the end of Mardi Gras festivities. This year, the first confirmed peeps sighting was in Pensacola Florida; they were spotted migrating southward from the Just Born birthing facility in the beautiful Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.<br /><br />Unlike human beings, Peeps of many colors live, nay, thrive, together. There is the original yellow, followed by pink, blue (hatched for Easter in 1998), lavender (1995), and of course the elusive albino.<br /><br />Bringing with it the same good luck which accompanies the finding of a four leaf clover, the first Peeps sighting can sometimes include the rare albino Peep. None has yet been sighted this year, not even in the area of South Texas where one was sighted in 1972. You may recall that the cover of People magazine featured a photo of a Peepster named Ptolomy Boxx, with his arm around his discovery, an albino Peep called Tom. The rumor that Tom was arrested that night for peeping into windows hoping to spot a naked female Peep is totally unfounded, and he successfully brought suit against the supermarket tabloid that said so.<br /><br />A helicopter landing pad is now conveniently located in Joliet Illinois, where the prison once stood, for use only by Peeps in need of assistance. Each disabled Peep is given a Handicapped sticker to be hung from their rear-view mirror. Some Peeps are born blind, which does not curb their value to humankind in any way. Disabled Peeps can often be seen in local supermarket baskets which serve as temporary transportation, thereby eliminating the necessity of climbing up to the shelf to await selection. Although handicapped Peeps were not eligible for the winter Olympics in Sochi, they are often preferred by humans for their affectionate natures and their willingness to please.<br /><br />Peeps almost always roost in groups of fifteen, called "fteens." Several fteens of authentic peeps have been seen at the Central Market grocery in San Antonio Texas.<br /><br />Peeps believe their mission in life is to provide comfort to real people and are often the only friends available for those addicted to their company, but who live in rural areas where Peeps may be hard to find. For those people, Peeps Anonymous meetings are springing up all over the country.<br /><br />Peeps have truly been ennobled over the decades since their birth, and take very seriously their motto: "We each take the journey we're meant to take."<br /><br />There are many ways to enjoy Peeps, and I had a conversation just last year with one called Simon. Simon says there's an art to Peeping and one of the most popular methods is to cut a small opening in the cellophane covering their condo (which humans refer to as "box") and let them harden a bit in the refrigerator. Some people, Simon says, like to partake headfirst, and some bottoms up. Simon says it's all a matter of taste.<br /><br />As a test, the New York Times put a single Peep chick named Maxwell in the fridge next to a chocolate Charlie Brown, but Maxwell developed Peanuts Envy and had to be removed.<br /><br />According to the Census Bureau, demand for Peeps has created a huge population explosion in Peepsville with births exceeding one billion in 2013.<br /><br />The Peeps Peace Corps has sent volunteers to shores as far as Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, China, India, and, well, every foreign country that has a Peeps Embassy.<br /><br />Peeps fans can get further information on the internet by accessing Peepsville at www.marshmallowpeeps.com, which consists of a club house, a birthing facility tour, general store, and gift and card shoppes.<br /><br />This begs the question: Did God really rest on the seventh day, or did He use it to create the Peep?<br /><br />###</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:48:00 +0100 I Am a Dog http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=70:74 <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wow, what an advance Mother's Day present I just got from my dog, Cejas! I can hardly believe it. See for yourself:</p> <p>&nbsp;http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-van-ostrand/i-am-a-dog_b_5155077.html</p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:39:54 +0100 I Hate Valentine's Day http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=69:73 <p>I Hate Valentine's Day</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>I'm only 8 years old and already I have a complex. I hate Valentine's Day. I never get a card or candy or anything.<br /><br />My older sister, the "pretty one," gets a lot of Valentine's Day cards. Standing next to her makes me double ugly. Besides, boys don't like girls with crooked teeth. Not my fault my parents can't afford braces for me. My sister never needed them. Her teeth are perfect. Like her.<br /><br />Valentine cards are stupid. Who needs them? Big fat red hearts. What does that mean anyway? Valentine cards were invented by people to make money. And stores sell candy that makes you fat and gives you zits. "Want some candy little girl?" "No, you perv. Come back when you can offer a car."<br /><br />Everybody has a date except me, not that my parents would let me go out even if somebody asked me. Like I said, I'm only 8. I got a smile this morning from Buster Marsak but he doesn't count. He always smiles. There's something wrong with somebody who always smiles.<br /><br />No Mom, I am not going to put on my red dress. Why? There's no party I was invited to and I wouldn't go anyway. Who needs it? Who needs pretending to be somebody else having a good time? Not me. I don't need a card. I am above that. I don't send them, and I don't want them.<br /><br />"What's that, Mom? A Valentine card came for me?" I fell down the stairs running.<br /><br />Crap. It's from my sister.<br /></p> "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 13 Feb 2014 20:11:10 +0100 Birds of Prey versus Birds of Pray http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=68:72 <p>Birds of Prey versus Birds of Pray</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p><br />If you think Kardashian media coverage has reached critical mass and will end, think again. If you think the U.S. congress's public opinion polls could not drop any lower, think again. If you've seen Miley Cyrus riding a wrecking ball and are convinced you've now seen everything, think again. There's always something more shocking than you think. We've just watched a symbol of world peace turned into a twisted version of Hitchcock's "The Birds." This time, the birds aren't after humans, they're after each other. Who'd a thunk?<br /><br />Following the Pope's public appeal for peace in Ukraine before thousands of people in St. Peter's Square, children standing next to him at the open window of the Apostolic Palace set free a pair of peace-loving white doves. An age-old symbol of peace since the time of Noah, right? These days, not so much. Somebody at Pope Frank's digs forgot to first hand the traditional olive branch to the doves, granting them safe passage. Instead, they let them fly away naked, directly into mortal danger. The official's careless omission did not go unnoticed by a couple of bad boy birds lurking outside the window, hungry for action. Twitter reports that they had been trained by Tony Soprano.<br /><br />Two bully birds, a seagull and a crow, attacked the doves right after their release. Bear in mind that these doves never had boxing lessons from Mike Tyson, learned martial arts from Bruce Lee, or upgraded their flapping wings into jet engines by NASA. Alas, there were no First Responders to save these emissaries of a Papal Peace Plea. <br /><br />One dove had his feathers ripped out in a smackdown with the seagull, but witnesses hope it managed to escape and is currently free. Bald but free.<br /><br />Not such luck for the other dove. The crow showed no mercy in a concentrated attack of pecking and clawing. (Perhaps that's why a group of crows are not called a group of crows, they are called a "murder of crows.") Both crow and seagull are trying to get into witness protection and have contacted Walter White's lawyer, Saul ("Better Call Saul") Goodman. <br /><br />A reward has been offered for information leading to their capture. Meanwhile, Saul called a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy who could get them an appointment with Chris Christie. They are currently enjoying temporary sanctuary under the golden dome of the New Jersey State House.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<img title="New Jersey State House" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/ChristieOfficeBldg.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="278" /><br /><br />###<br /></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 02:47:29 +0100 Envelope Season http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=67:71 <p>Envelope Season<br />by Maggie Van Ostrand<br /><br />This is the long, long season where Awards shows give out their envelopes of excellence. I'm more concerned with another kind of envelope, the kind charities send back to you as follow-ups to your preceding donation. They are the Guilt Envelopes.<br />When you write a check or make an internet contribution to your favorite charity, you're helping worthy causes. You feel good. You have been useful. You'll get a tax deduction. What you'll also get is a lifetime of Guilt Envelopes. You can die, they still come. Guilt Envelopes are for people like Oscar nominees. And my Mom.</p> <p><br />Mom sent donations to Catholic charities and they always sent back a Jesus picture with blood-dripping heart, and an envelope for another donation. The sight of the new envelope just sitting there waiting to be filled, instead filled Mom with something else &mdash; guilt by osmosis.&#8232;&#8232;<br /><br />By succumbing to the Guilt Envelopes, Mom was considered a regular donor and sent a plastic saint. The more she gave, the higher the amount requested on the next envelope. No way to keep up.<br /><br />The plastic saints were chintzy looking, kind of like the cheapest picnic forks you find at Walmart, the kind that still have the little tabs which once attached them until a factory worker cut them apart. These are hardly the Duck Dynasty bobbleheads so many pick-up trucks enjoy.&#8232;&#8232;<br /><br />After mom died, my sister, unable to bring herself to throw the saints and envelopes away, gave me a box full. There were plenty, since Mom had died over a year before and still the relentless envelopes kept coming. <br /><br />I didn't want them either. However, each time I picked them up and walked toward the trash can, I became paralyzed with guilt. What, I should simmer in Purgatory or burn in Hell? Is Mom looking down, disappointed in me, afraid for me? How can I trash saints like Bartholomew, Patron of Plasterers, Martin de Porres, Patron of Hairdressers, or Jesus with his bloody heart? I prayed for an answer. And I got one. <br /><br />This is Hollywood, where superstition runs strong and deep, especially during the months preceding the Academy Awards. Film folk are always knocking on wood, throwing salt over their shoulders, and avoiding black cats and ladders. Very early one morning, I went to a Beverly Hills Church frequented by movie stars praying for an Oscar. I placed the figurines on the altar railing and left.&#8232;&#8232;Would they be seen as a message? A mystery? A miracle? Would fondling them achieve an Oscar? <br /><br />Those plastic saints on the altar each stand on a packet of Guilt Envelopes. I doubt the celebrities will ignore them at this time of year. Guilt is as important as football, as easily applied as lipstick and as lasting as this Awards season.<br /><br />###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 23:57:41 +0100 Frankincense, Myrrh, and Tom Swift's Electric Rifle http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=66:70 <p><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/taser-gun.jpg" alt="" width="652" height="326" /></p> <p>Frankincense, Myrrh, and Tom Swift's Electric Rifle</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>Historically, the worst human traits holiday sales brought out were elbowing your competitor, a whack on her arm with your purse, or a horde of formerly staid old ladies violently shouting, "I was here first!!!" Today, we are much more modern and refined. We simply taser our rival and take the merchandise from her cold, dead hand. Well, she didn't really die from that taser blast in the "Black Friday" melee at a Philadelphia mall, but she didn't dance on down the Yellow Brick Road either. Taser is an acronym for Tom Swift's Electric Rifle.<br /><br />Why do we allow marketing companies to sheepen us into people who really believe "Black Friday" is something unique, and not to be confused with Cyber Monday, or Early Thanksgiving Sale? Boy, give those marketing guys an inch and every single day of the year will have a special shopping theme name. Why don't they just call every day "Lobbying for Your Money Day." What's sad is that, as George Carlin pointed out, we've already got too much "stuff." Remember who started all this way back about this time of year -- Three Wise Men. First it was nice to believe we could do the same thing with our own children that they did with Baby Jesus, but that exploded over time and TV commercials to mean all our relatives, all our friends, and all our colleagues.<br /><br />If you reduce holiday commercialism to its essence, it's about showing someone you love them. So why do we have to spend money to do that? If we have a lot of money, give it to charity; they're having a serious economic downturn, too. If you have a little money but not much, hit Ye Olde Thrift Shop; every day in a thrift shop is a SALE day. If you have no money at all, then these next Christmas suggestions are for you. <br /><br />Give IOUs for a day or longer of your time to be used for:<br /><br />Babysitting, petsitting, or housesitting<br />Housecleaning for a day or longer<br />Cooking and serving a meal or meals<br />Picking up their kids at school<br />Lawn mowing<br />Cleaning their refrigerator <br />Organizing Closets<br />Teaching them something you know how to do and they don't<br />A foot rub<br /><br />The Christmas best remembered in my family is the one where I cut out of magazines pictures of the gifts I would have bought each person on my list, if I had a million dollars. I put each picture in a card and handed it to them. They might not remember the expensive gifts they were given every other year, yet they fondly remember those pictures.<br /><br />If the marketing masters are getting to you and you can't think of a way out, remember one thing: a taser costs $400.00. Love is free.</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Wed, 04 Dec 2013 00:00:33 +0100 One Door Closes ... http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=65:69 <p>One Door Closes<br />by Maggie Van Ostrand<br /><br />One door closes ...</p> <p>A celebrity has usurped my spot serving Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless. It's the new celeb thing here in Los Angeles, much as gentrification has overtaken Harlem, Tribeca, and &lt;gasp!&gt; the Bowery. (Where O where will Uncle Joey go now?)&nbsp; There are plenty of celebs who will shove you out of the way just to make themselves feel good at the end of the day and, through the voice of his Public Relations people, he can subtly brag about his skimmed charitable works (using words like &ldquo;committed to a cause,&rdquo; or &ldquo;pay back to the world&rdquo;).<br /><br />Last Thanksgiving, I went undercover to Santa Monica where meals were being served on the beach to the needy. I had planned to write a firsthand story about the Thanksgiving Takeover. My intention was to get behind the serving table, but it was crowded with early-bird workers who had shown up at 5 a.m. to prepare everything. I was directed to the person managing the event, slipped him some bucks for a place behind the counter, and suddenly the green bean server was terminated jobwise. I felt awful about that; all I had wanted was to be added to the pluckers, peelers, and potato mashers, not to fire someone. I said to the manager, "I don't want to throw a regular person out. I just want to help behind the scenes," and he replied, "For another 50, you could've served the turkey."<br /><br />Another door opens ... <br /><br />After discussing it with Cejas the Dog, we gathered and filled the car with all dog bedding left over when he decided he liked the beaten up 1985 bed of my old dog, Markus; bags and cans of food to which he prefers home cooking; a million toys, off many of which he's too polite to have removed the labels; treats galore, and quite a few blankets. The people who founded Blankets of Love agreed on the phone a few minutes ago to meet us in the morning so we can deliver all the good things sitting here at our house just waiting to make a rescue dog happy. This stuff goes totally to all needy rescue organizations in L.A. and surrounding areas. Blankets and beds are for cages so dogs will be more comfortable and look more appealing to potential owners.<br /><br />Take that you greedy, publicity-hungry Salvation Army-spot stealing celebrity!! You can't keep us down!<br /><br />Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 28 Nov 2013 01:35:41 +0100 Transparency: It's Not Clear to Me http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=64:68 <p class="MsoNormal">Transparency: It's Not Clear to Me</p> <p class="MsoNormal">by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Glasses.jpg" alt="" width="323" height="377" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">For eyeglasses, transparency is fine. Same goes for windshields, air, and nightgowns. I just don&rsquo;t like it in my government. It sucks the fun out of water-cooler supposition, conjecture, and gossip. The rightful characteristics of politics &mdash; mystery, intrigue, and skulduggery &mdash; have had to go underground to avoid Twitter&rsquo;s bird droppings.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I don&rsquo;t want to know how governments spy on each other, I just want to suspect that they do because world history tells me they always have. I don&rsquo;t want to know which judges are corrupt, I&rsquo;d rather figure it out by their records. I don&rsquo;t need to be told which politicians have morals lower than congress&rsquo; poll numbers because it&rsquo;s always the ones who talk to us like they&rsquo;re from Snob Hill and we&rsquo;re from Duck Dynasty.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">And I&rsquo;m sick of hearing about leaks: Assange&rsquo;s, Snowden&rsquo;s, and my grandmother&rsquo;s. Exposing government secrets gives new meaning to the phrase, &ldquo;taking a leak.&rdquo; And I sure don&rsquo;t want to see leaking women hawking panty guards on tv. Private parts are openly giggled about by schoolboys and are way more detailed than when I was a kid and we merely tittered whenever the word &ldquo;breast&rdquo; was read aloud in Joyce Kilmer&rsquo;s poem about trees.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Trees are o.k. for dogs to take a leak. It&rsquo;s not o.k. for leaking women. I have a problem with knowing about men, too. I don&rsquo;t want men who might take longer than four hours. What are we, lampposts? If you see us eating a kumquat or reading a book while you&rsquo;re snorting one of those purple climax-control pills, by the time the commercials stop listing side effects, you could be dead. Instead of getting laid, you&rsquo;d be getting laid out.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I don&rsquo;t want to see the backs of a man and a woman in bathtubs staring at a fake lake. The tubs don&rsquo;t even have plumbing fixtures. Are these two knuckleheads escapees from an asylum who ran away just to sit in a tub without water? Hey couple in the empty tubs: Take your meds and get off my screen.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I don&rsquo;t want to read quotations from sources who &ldquo;are not authorized to speak publicly.&rdquo; What kind of people already know they shouldn&rsquo;t open their yaps and blab secrets and do it anyway? Do I want to believe what this unknown source alleges? Maybe there is no source and the whole thing is made up by the horse&rsquo;s mouth. Or maybe the &ldquo;source&rdquo; is punking us.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">And yet, where is truly needed transparency, like when the U.S. buys goods from foreign countries who work little kids in sweatshops when we have laws against it for our own kids? What politicians wrote the bill condoning this injustice?</p> <p class="MsoNormal">My advice to both leakers and hawkers: Forget about transparency. We can see right through you already.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">###</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 07 Nov 2013 21:14:21 +0100 Ghosts, Ghouls, Goblins, and other G Spots http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=63:67 <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Pedro_Gonzalez_Gonzalez.jpg" alt="" width="338" height="425" /></p> <p>Ghosts, Ghouls, Goblins, and other G Spots</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>On Halloween I usually conjure up run-of-the-mill ghosts, ghouls, and goblins to scare little kids away so I don't have to share my candy with them. This year, I've decided to actually contact a dead celebrity instead, to find out how they're enjoying their afterlife life. I figured G for Ghost, and double that for good luck.</p> <p>I chose the ghost of Greta Garbo, elusive in life but, since being deceased, I figured she'd be helpless to resist my invitation if I used what I learned in the hallowed halls of Carnac's Conjuring Class. Knowing Greta Garbo had never been interviewed by Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters or Charlie Rose, this would be the scoop of an afterlifetime. By supersecret methods, I texted the Spirit World's Dead Celebs with Double G Initials Dept. Due to a glitch in their system, instead of Greta Garbo, something went wrong and I ended up with Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales.</p> <p>GG: I am the ghost of Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales, a guy so nice, they named me twice.</p> <p>Me: How do you do?</p> <p>GG: How do I do? I am dead. How do you think I do?</p> <p>Me: No offense. It's just that hearing you is a surprise since I was aiming for Greta Garbo.</p> <p>GG: Good luck with that. Nobody up here ever sees her. The only way we know she's around is the trail of cigarette smoke.</p> <p>Me: Smoking is allowed there?</p> <p>GG: Every vice is allowed here. That's why it's heaven.</p> <p>Me: I hate to sound snobbish but I'm not sure you'll be a hit on Halloween. These days, a lot of people won't know who you are.</p> <p>GG: Story of my life. I'm only a Ghost Second Class. Callers like you always try to reach First Class, like Thomas Jefferson or Marilyn Monroe, or Elvis. You think you're the first to try Garbo? She won't even take a call from Oprah. You received me instead because you probably used the same people who designed the Obamacare website. Cheer up, I'm not totally unknown. I acted with the most famous of all celebrities -- John Wayne. We did a bunch of movies together like Hondo, Chisum, and Rio Bravo, and he kept me on his payroll until he died. My Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is right next to his. I'm so proud it's my star they stand on when they take pictures of his star.</p> <p>Before that, I was a little famous already for making Groucho laugh when he asked me "If we got together as an act, what would it be called?" I said "It would be Gonzales-Gonzales and Marx." Then Groucho looked at the audience and said, "Do you believe that? Two men in the act, and I get third billing!"</p> <p>Me: Well, Wayne and Groucho are good cred and you do have the right initials. I only wish you were scarier.<br /> <br /> GG: I never played anything scarier than bandits. If only I could land a part today on <em>The Walking Dead</em>, I'd be on easy street. Talk about authenticity! But my agent's even deader than I am. I will tell you a secret even TMZ doesn't have. My real name is not Pedro Gonzales-Gonzales. My real name is Ramiro Gonzales-Gonzales. There. I told the truth and I feel better now. Still dead, but better.</p> <p>Me: You've convinced me, so will you come to my Halloween Party as an apparition and voiceover?</p> <p>GG: Sorry, I can't. Epcot has me under dead-or-alive contract at Disney World.</p> <p>Me: Another body blow. No Garbo, not even a ghostly Gonzalez-Gonzalez. Well, maybe we can get together another time. I think I'll just go to the Halloween Party as Ted Cruz. It might not do much for the kids, but it sure will scare the adults.</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 01:18:08 +0100 America's Reset Button http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=62:66 <p>America's Reset Button</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p><br />I want the world to go back to Default and be as it once was, when Congress and the Supreme Court were admired and respected, no politician would&nbsp; publicly criticize the U.S. while overseas, and everybody knew that Hawaii was a state. That was when "Made in China" on the bottom of a teacup was thrilling, Persia was a far-away place of mystery and intrigue (ever heard of an Iranian rug?), and Made in America meant the product might even outlast the buyer. <br />&nbsp;<br />Default U.S.A. was when news stories were triple checked before they were published, congressmen were satisfied with having a bridge named after them, and Supreme Court Justices applied common sense instead of politics to the laws of the land. Believe it or not, citizens were enthusiastically encouraged to vote, not discouraged by political henchbullies.<br />&nbsp;<br />True, there was the occasional corrupt representative like Boss Tweed, but at least he kept his johnson in his jeans. Besides, we threw them out, unlike today where we reelect them even though they are insufficiently cool. Without a reset button, we&rsquo;ll continue to allow media fear-mongering, greedy lobbyists, and lies, lies, lies everywhere. We can no longer believe what we read, we can&rsquo;t believe photos, and I'm not sure we can believe what we're actually seeing. We&rsquo;ll continue to applaud&nbsp; athletes who&rsquo;d never make the big time without dope, decisions handed down by Supreme Court that seem anti-American, guns blasting innocent people, power-hungry moguls gobbling up our government, and news cycles that loop the same story until you go into a boredom-induced coma. Compared to today's scary shenanigans where our politicians are either rabid rabbits or Hannible Lecter, even Tammany Hall comes off like Mother Theresa.<br /><br />What if <em>these</em> are the good old days?<br />&nbsp;<br />So o.k, maybe, in self-defense, it&rsquo;s time to limit &ldquo;news&rdquo; to my own home where I know the information is accurate. The cable went out, the Sprinkler System's on strike, my new laptop is dyslexic and &ldquo;Save&rdquo; means &ldquo;Delete,&rdquo; and my printer passed away yesterday. When household appliances and cars were made in the U.S.A., you died before they did. <br />&nbsp;<br />When even that turned out to be depressing, I just gave up and shrank into my own head to ponder things like these:<br /><br /><em>*Why are they called Flemish painters when there&rsquo;s no country&nbsp;&nbsp; named Flem? <br />*Did Adam really even like the nagging Eve? <br />*Why do insurance companies advertise how little their policies cost, yet never say if they pay your claim? <br />*Why don&rsquo;t schools teach how stupid Custer really was? <br />*Why do we have studies like the Nobel-Prize-winning one that discovered dog fleas jump higher than cat fleas? Another study finds that not sleeping well makes you look tired the next day.<br />*There&rsquo;s nothing common about it so why isn't it called rare sense? <br />*Why does it mean that your TV is off when the light is on, and on when the light is off? <br />*Why did they mess with our tomatoes until they taste like the mouthpiece of a public telephone? <br />*Does the phrase, "guaranteed pre-owned" mean they can prove the used car on their lot was definitely used? <br />*Why do fashion models look like a tuning fork?</em><br />&nbsp;<br />I was pondering these questions while stopped at a red light. An avid reader, I noticed the bumper sticker of the car in front. It said: &ldquo;Jesus is coming. Look busy.&rdquo; I got a big smile out of that. Then I looked up and saw a pair of sneakers that someone had hurled onto the telephone wires.<br />&nbsp;<br />For just a moment or two, someone up there pushed America's reset button, and life is good again.<br />&nbsp;<br />###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 06 Sep 2013 22:17:36 +0100 Hair: Bruce Willis or Chewbacca? http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=61:65 <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From the hairless pates of medieval monks to long-haired hippies to Hip-Hop cornrows, hair has always been as much on our minds as on our heads.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This article is for those who pay more daily attention to their hair than to what shoes they'll wear that day. "Hair: Bruce Willis or Chewbacca?"</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>http://huff.to/17mIB7l</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 26 Apr 2013 15:37:00 +0100 A New Marriage Argument for the Supreme Court? http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=60:64 <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Hey Supreme Court, Don&rsquo;t Stop at Same Sex Marriage</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">By Maggie Van Ostrand</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;"><img style="float: left; margin-left: 4px; margin-right: 4px;" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/IMG_0013.jpg" alt="" width="240" height="170" />Extensive media coverage about same-sex marriage has given me a new envelope-pushing idea about a marriage commitment. I think the Supremes should hear my argument about marriage between my dog and me. Well, why not? Humans have certainly pawed me often enough. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Marriage with human males didn&rsquo;t work out too well, but a marriage with my dog, this particular dog, would. Of course such a union should carry medical coverage and appropriate tax deductions. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">My dog is named Cejas. He is much more agreeable than any human mate I've ever had, and I don&rsquo;t care if his ancestry is uncertain. My ancestors were from all over the place so, technically, that makes me a kind of mutt, too.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Mutts love to ride in cars. On a road trip east from Los Angeles to everyplace else, Cejas never objected when I screamed obscenities at the GPS for directing us into a tunnel wall in Asheville NC. And not once did he whine "Are we there yet?"<span>&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Between Nashville TN and Asheville NC, we went through a hard-hitting hailstorm with huge icy missiles crashing onto the roof and hood of the car, annihilating the paint. Perhaps Tiger Woods was teeing off and yelling &ldquo;I&rsquo;m champ again!&rdquo; or Minnesota Fats yelling &ldquo;Hail ball in the side pocket!&rdquo;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Driving in Kentucky, I looked over at Cejas sitting next to me, all decked out in his black and tan fur with the white tie, and said, "Hey, there's a sign saying it's only 20 miles to Lincoln's birthplace. Wanna go?" He put his fortune-cookie-shaped ears in drive, speed-wagged his tail in circles like the propeller on a helicopter and grinned with anticipation of a side trip. As we headed south, Cejas clued me in that Lincoln had given his dog the unimaginative name of "Fido." Very disappointing, considering Lincoln's genius with the language. This was the man who wrote The Gettysburg Address? It wasn't bad enough that Lincoln named his dog Fido, he named his horse, "Bob." But I digress. Fido was a floppy-eared, rough-coated, yellowish dog who waited outside the barbershop chasing his own tail for amusement, while Lincoln got a hair cut. Cejas is full of such interesting trivia ever since he stopped chasing his own tail and learned how to read.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Cejas also has a sense of humor. When we were in Memphis, parked across from Graceland and next to Presley's jet, the "Lisa Marie," his upper lip went into an uncanny Elvis-like sneer. It did not detract from the effect when I finally realized his lip was caught on a tooth.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">We managed to get into a "no pets" motel in Albuquerque simply because Cejas agreed to walk on his hind legs and wear a trench coat. In Amarillo, I passed him off as a seeing-eye dog by wearing sunglasses and fitting him with a fake harness I made out of an umbrella rib.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Best stealth trick of all was the Hilton in El Paso. We sashayed up to the front desk and glommed on a prominently placed sign: &ldquo;No dogs allowed.&rdquo; I said to the clerk, &ldquo;This is no ordinary dog. He is a retired movie dog.&rdquo; Cejas&rsquo;s alleged film credit caused the nervous reservation clerk to seek advice from the night manager. The wiry young manager appeared, walking with great authority, wearing horn-rimmed glasses and a bow tie which he nervously snapped against his Adam's Apple. He leaned over the desk, looked at the dog and, like a fan at an Oscars red carpet, said, &ldquo;What might I have seen him in?&rdquo; I lied that he had been a stunt dog in &ldquo;Benji,&rdquo; and an extra in &ldquo;100 Dalmatians&rdquo; &ldquo;Really?&rdquo; said the impressed manager, &ldquo;I think I remember him!&rdquo; He gave us a ground floor suite with a door that led directly onto a large grassy area. Superbly mannered, Cejas left no reminders on the grass that he had ever been there.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Another reason I want to marry Cejas is how well he handles responsibility. When he has to see the vet, he doesn't moan and groan about hating doctors and hospitals like human males do -- he just goes right along without resisting. I&rsquo;m sure he&rsquo;d drive himself there if the DMV hadn&rsquo;t refused to issue him a learner&rsquo;s permit. You know how much red tape there is at any bureaucracy, so you can imagine what it&rsquo;s like for a Canine application.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Another benefit to having a dog for a mate is that I can introduce him to all my girlfriends without fear they'll seduce him, since <em>most</em> of them probably wouldn't want to date such a short and hairy guy whose nose is always running.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Groucho must've been referring to Cejas when he said, "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">#### <br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;"><span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">--</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">&nbsp;</span></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 30 Mar 2013 23:08:57 +0100 A New Marriage Argument for the Supreme Court? http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=60:63 <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Hey Supreme Court, Don&rsquo;t Stop at Same Sex Marriage</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">By Maggie Van Ostrand</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;"><img style="float: left; margin-left: 4px; margin-right: 4px;" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/IMG_0013.jpg" alt="" width="240" height="170" />Extensive media coverage about same-sex marriage has given me a new envelope-pushing idea about a marriage commitment. I think the Supremes should hear my argument about marriage between my dog and me. Well, why not? Humans have certainly pawed me often enough. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Marriage with human males didn&rsquo;t work out too well, but a marriage with my dog, this particular dog, would. Of course such a union should carry medical coverage and appropriate tax deductions. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">My dog is named Cejas. He is much more agreeable than any human mate I've ever had, and I don&rsquo;t care if his ancestry is uncertain. My ancestors were from all over the place so, technically, that makes me a kind of mutt, too.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Mutts love to ride in cars. On a road trip east from Los Angeles to everyplace else, Cejas never objected when I screamed obscenities at the GPS for directing us into a tunnel wall in Asheville NC. And not once did he whine "Are we there yet?"<span>&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Between Nashville TN and Asheville NC, we went through a hard-hitting hailstorm with huge icy missiles crashing onto the roof and hood of the car, annihilating the paint. Perhaps Tiger Woods was teeing off and yelling &ldquo;I&rsquo;m champ again!&rdquo; or Minnesota Fats yelling &ldquo;Hail ball in the side pocket!&rdquo;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Driving in Kentucky, I looked over at Cejas sitting next to me, all decked out in his black and tan fur with the white tie, and said, "Hey, there's a sign saying it's only 20 miles to Lincoln's birthplace. Wanna go?" He put his fortune-cookie-shaped ears in drive, speed-wagged his tail in circles like the propeller on a helicopter and grinned with anticipation of a side trip. As we headed south, Cejas clued me in that Lincoln had given his dog the unimaginative name of "Fido." Very disappointing, considering Lincoln's genius with the language. This was the man who wrote The Gettysburg Address? It wasn't bad enough that Lincoln named his dog Fido, he named his horse, "Bob." But I digress. Fido was a floppy-eared, rough-coated, yellowish dog who waited outside the barbershop chasing his own tail for amusement, while Lincoln got a hair cut. Cejas is full of such interesting trivia ever since he stopped chasing his own tail and learned how to read.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Cejas also has a sense of humor. When we were in Memphis, parked across from Graceland and next to Presley's jet, the "Lisa Marie," his upper lip went into an uncanny Elvis-like sneer. It did not detract from the effect when I finally realized his lip was caught on a tooth.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">We managed to get into a "no pets" motel in Albuquerque simply because Cejas agreed to walk on his hind legs and wear a trench coat. In Amarillo, I passed him off as a seeing-eye dog by wearing sunglasses and fitting him with a fake harness I made out of an umbrella rib.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Best stealth trick of all was the Hilton in El Paso. We sashayed up to the front desk and glommed on a prominently placed sign: &ldquo;No dogs allowed.&rdquo; I said to the clerk, &ldquo;This is no ordinary dog. He is a retired movie dog.&rdquo; Cejas&rsquo;s alleged film credit caused the nervous reservation clerk to seek advice from the night manager. The wiry young manager appeared, walking with great authority, wearing horn-rimmed glasses and a bow tie which he nervously snapped against his Adam's Apple. He leaned over the desk, looked at the dog and, like a fan at an Oscars red carpet, said, &ldquo;What might I have seen him in?&rdquo; I lied that he had been a stunt dog in &ldquo;Benji,&rdquo; and an extra in &ldquo;100 Dalmatians&rdquo; &ldquo;Really?&rdquo; said the impressed manager, &ldquo;I think I remember him!&rdquo; He gave us a ground floor suite with a door that led directly onto a large grassy area. Superbly mannered, Cejas left no reminders on the grass that he had ever been there.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Another reason I want to marry Cejas is how well he handles responsibility. When he has to see the vet, he doesn't moan and groan about hating doctors and hospitals like human males do -- he just goes right along without resisting. I&rsquo;m sure he&rsquo;d drive himself there if the DMV hadn&rsquo;t refused to issue him a learner&rsquo;s permit. You know how much red tape there is at any bureaucracy, so you can imagine what it&rsquo;s like for a Canine application.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Another benefit to having a dog for a mate is that I can introduce him to all my girlfriends without fear they'll seduce him, since <em>most</em> of them probably wouldn't want to date such a short and hairy guy whose nose is always running.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">Groucho must've been referring to Cejas when he said, "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">#### <br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;"><span>&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">--</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Chicago;">&nbsp;</span></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 30 Mar 2013 22:40:58 +0100 Unfriending FaceBook, or, I Don't Want to Smell Like Brad Pitt http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=59:62 <p>Has FaceBook run its course? Do you want to smell like Brad Pitt? Or turn into Sally Field? Let e know what you think about what I think:</p> <p>http://huff.to/16xBcCG</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 15 Mar 2013 18:19:29 +0100 The Mallomar Is Not a Cookie http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=58:61 <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mallomar season begins in October and ends in just a few weeks at the start of springtime. The impending end to Mallomar's seasonal availability is a matter of utmost urgency to me and countless others. <br /><br />The secret of such undying love for what the uninitiated fecklessly refer to as a mere <em>cookie</em>, can be found at http://huff.to/12ra4Gf</p> <p>I know it's there because I wrote it myself.</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 17:54:24 +0100 Best Pictures That Never Won Best Picture Oscar http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=57:60 <p>The Best Pictures That Never Won Best Picture Oscar</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>Oscar will be allowed out of his Chicago vault for the annual trip to Hollywood on February 24th. He&rsquo;ll be 85 years old this year and we&rsquo;d like to know who his plastic surgeon is. You can&rsquo;t tell us he hasn&rsquo;t had a butt lift.<br /><br />Speaking of butts, actors as well as backless, frontless, mindless media-created celebs will wave to fans and stop for fashion interviews, looking over their shoulders and pointing their backs and butts directly at us while secretly trying to figure out why actresses wanted to be called actors and now they're stuck with female actors. <br /><br />Everyone&rsquo;s making book on who&rsquo;ll return their borrowed dresses and tuxes to the designers and the jewels to Harry Winston&rsquo;s. The track record for the return of borrowed clothing is dismal. Every time a star tells the media whose dress she&rsquo;s wearing, it&rsquo;s Hollywoodspeak for &ldquo;Try and get it back.&rdquo;<br /><br />We can hope our favorite movie will come away with the big prize, but in the long run, some of the best pictures ever made did not receive Best Picture Oscars. A good example would be the AFI&rsquo;s choice for number one movie of all time, Citizen Kane.<br /><br />Citizen Kane: Though Citizen Kane was nominated in nine categories in 1941, it won only Best Original Screenplay by Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz. It has been said that boos were heard whenever the name Citizen Kane was mentioned because powerful newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, on whose life the film was alleged to be based, threatened voters with the old chestnut, &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll never work in this town again.&rdquo; An interesting note: Kane&rsquo;s editor was future Oscar-winning director Robert Wise.<br /><br />Psycho: In 1960, this iconic film was not nominated for Best Picture. Hitchcock was at least nominated, though he did not win either. Bernard Hermann wasn&rsquo;t even nominated for one of the most frightening of all film scores. The screech alone should&rsquo;ve won. Fans, smarter than Oscar voters, disagreed and voted Psycho #2 on their list of Best Movies.<br /><br />The Shawshank Redemption: The Shawshank Redemption never got an Oscar, despite seven nominations. Pulp Fiction was also knocked out of the box by Forrest Gump in 1994. Fans ultimately avenged Shawshank by voting it the Number One film of all time on IMdB. Shawshank is also the highest rated film on Yahoo Movies. It was voted the best film never to have won Best Picture in a 2005 BBC poll.<br /><br />Vertigo: One of fans&rsquo; favorite Alfred Hitchcock films is the psychological thriller, Vertigo. It wasn&rsquo;t even nominated for Best Picture, only for set design and sound. Didn&rsquo;t win those either. To add insult to injury, Hitchcock himself &hellip; I can hardly bear to write it &hellip; never won an Oscar. HITCHCOCK NEVER WON AN OSCAR!!! And only one of his films (Rebecca) won Best Picture. Hitchcock was the best film-maker never to have been handed an Oscar, according to a poll of British movie viewers.<br /><br />2001: A Space Odyssey: Hard to believe it didn&rsquo;t win Best Picture, isn&rsquo;t it? The Best Picture award in 1968 instead went to Oliver. Like who remembers Oliver now? 2001 was nominated for four awards that year, not including best picture, but only won for visual FX. Today, 2001 is widely recognized by critics and audiences alike as one of the greatest movies of all time.<br /><br />Star Wars: Despite a surprising loss of Best Picture to Annie Hall in 1977, Star Wars unleashed a series of films which earned $4.5 billion to date. It won only Best Visual FX (big deal). George Lucas cites Hardware Wars, a 1977 spoof, as his favorite of all the Star Wars parodies, with Mel Brooks&rsquo; Spaceballs a close second choice. Lucas made no comment about SNL&rsquo;s parody with Kevin Spacey doing Christopher Walken auditioning for the role of Hans Solo.<br /><br />Apocalypse Now: Can someone tell us how Apocalypse could have lost out to Kramer Vs. Kramer? What&rsquo;s up with that? With more memorable quotes than nearly any other film in history, this masterpiece is rated by fans at #8, by the AFI as #30. Fanboys rule!<br /><br />Fargo: Another Coen Brothers masterpiece which didn&rsquo;t get an Oscar. In 1996, Fargo lost out to the sob-sister story, The English Patient. The Coens are famous for movies which come from dark places they want to take you to, whether you want to go there or not. Voters must have felt a romantic crying jag was better than the certainty of Coenesque quality and longevity.<br /><br />Philadelphia: Never won Best Picture which went instead, in 1993, to Schindler&rsquo;s List. Sure Philadelphia won for Tom Hanks as actor and Bruce Springsteen as songwriter, but it wasn&rsquo;t even nominated for Best Picture. That omission still rankles.<br /><br />Goodfellas: At least it was nominated, and the Academy recognized Joe Pesci for Best Supporting Actor, but Best Picture went to Dances With Wolves in 1990. Nothing against Dances, but let&rsquo;s face it, Goodfellas is on most fans&rsquo; favorite list while Dances is just, well, there. At least Goodfellas is #15 on IMdB&rsquo;s list and Fanboys voted it Scorsese&rsquo;s masterpiece at #7. That&rsquo; may even be better than an Oscar. It&rsquo;s certainly more accurate.<br /><br />E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial: Nominated but lost. Sure it won Best Music and Sound and FX but so what? It didn&rsquo;t win Best Picture. Gandhi did, which goes to show that Academy voters would rather see a skinny Indian dude in a white diaper than a skinny alien critter in a bicycle basket.<br /><br />Dog Day Afternoon: Attica! Attica! Pacino, too, was robbed of an Oscar in 1975 for his sublime portrayal of the hapless character, Sonny, who needed to rob a bank to get money for his gay partner&rsquo;s sex-change operation. Best Writing Original Screenplay went to Frank Pierson for his screenplay based on a true story. We suppose we&rsquo;ll get over this loss, since the award went to Cuckoo&rsquo;s Nest, and who could be angry at that? Other amazing competitors that year included Jaws.<br /><br />Bonnie and Clyde: In 1967, B&amp;C lost out to In the Heat of the Night. Some solace can be found in knowing that the same year, The Graduate also lost. Cool Hand Luke wasn&rsquo;t even nominated for Best Picture. Academy voters appear to cast their ballots for movies reflecting the day&rsquo;s news, and have no sense of films that will become classics in our time and always.<br /><br />Some Like It Hot: The iconic Billy Wilder film, one of Marilyn Monroe&rsquo;s best, was not even nominated in 1959 for Best Picture. Very shortsighted of the Academy, wouldn&rsquo;t you say? We&rsquo;re still talking about Some Like It Hot, snippets are still being shown on entertainment and pop culture shows, and Tony Curtis was still giving interviews about whether or not he ever said &ldquo;Kissing Marilyn was like kissing Hitler&rdquo; until the day he died. But who&rsquo;s talking about the movie that actually won that year, Ben Hur? If not for the chariot race, nobody would even remember it.<br /><br />The Wizard of Oz: Okay, it would&rsquo;ve been really, really hard to win in 1939 against Gone With the Wind, Dark Victory, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, and Stagecoach, among others (10 nominees in all), but still &hellip;<br /><br />There are many more &ldquo;shoulda-won&rdquo; films, and time will tell us what they are, unless fans beat time to it.<br /><br />And now, some Oscar Trivia:<br /><br />One of the few films to be on every list that actually won Best Picture, is Casablanca. &ldquo;This is the worst film we&rsquo;ve ever come across,&rdquo; said Bogie, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just a fright.&rdquo; Bergman also complained. Both stars made desperate efforts to ditch their parts. Believe it or not, their roles were originally slated for Hedy Lamarr and Ronald Reagan.<br /><br />The model for the Oscar statuette was a naked Mexican named Emilio Fern&aacute;ndez, who had a platonic relationship with fellow Mexican and big Hollywood star, Dolores del R&iacute;o. Her famous husband, Cedric Gibbons, had been assigned by the Academy to design their award. Del R&iacute;o introduced Fern&aacute;ndez to her husband and he agreed that Fern&aacute;ndez was the perfect model.<br /><br />In 1999, Trey Parker and Matt Stone showed up in drag at the Oscars as Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow.<br /><br />With 14 nominations, matching the record set by All About Eve, and 11 Oscars, Titanic tied for first place with Ben-Hur as the most honored picture of all time.<br /><br />Charlize Theron was the 10th actress to win an Oscar for playing a hooker, Monster, 2003 (Best Actress). Her predecessors were Anne Baxter, The Razor&rsquo;s Edge, 1946 (Best Supporting); Claire Trevor, Key Largo, 1948 (Best Supporting); Donna Reed, From Here to Eternity, 1953 (Best Supporting); Jo Van Fleet, East of Eden, 1955 (Best Supporting); Dorothy Malone, Written on the Wind, 1956 (Best Supporting); Elizabeth Taylor, Butterfield 8, 1960, (Best Actress) &mdash; sometimes called The Throat Vote because it was widely believed that her life-saving tracheotomy was the real reason she won with a sympathy vote; Jane Fonda, Klute, 1971 (Best Actress); Mira Sorvino, Mighty Aphrodite, 1995 (Best Actress).<br /></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 21 Feb 2013 20:21:44 +0100 The Lady in the Parking Lot http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=56:59 "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 19:35:25 +0100 Lame Christmas Gifts: It Is Harder to Receive Than to Give http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=55:58 <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Lame Christmas Gifts: It Is Harder to Receive Than to Give</p> <p class="MsoNormal">By Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p class="MsoNormal">After Christmas, my refrigerator door has more macaroni art than a Sicilian pasta factory. Right after New Year&rsquo;s, I&rsquo;ll date each child&rsquo;s industriously crafted artwork and store it in the attic, hoping mice don&rsquo;t go for dead noodles. We grownups must make the traditional fuss and enthusiastic acclaim, largely because we don&rsquo;t want to be riddled with guilt if our kids grow up neurotically starved for appreciation. Still, pasta art favorably compares with what older kids give to their parents. Perhaps this was the origin of the expression &ldquo;faking it.&rdquo;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The stress of late Christmas shopping is nothing compared with the stress of manufacturing fake pleasure when we open a present we really don&rsquo;t need, want, or even like. I doubt my mom liked anything I ever gave her, especially when I spent my allowance on stuff from TV commercials. &ldquo;Why thank you,&rdquo; she&rsquo;d politely say, &ldquo;I really do need a clay head that grows grass out of the skull in case I ever get tired of watering the front lawn.&rdquo; One Christmas produced this gem: &ldquo;What a beautiful can opener, and so much newer than the one I bought last week,&rdquo; or, as I wrote in my teen diary, she said, &ldquo;What a pretty rhinestone bracelet &hellip; so much brighter than real diamonds.&rdquo; Served me right for buying her jewelry for Christmas just because I wanted to borrow it for New Year&rsquo;s Eve.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Her responses weren&rsquo;t quite as I&rsquo;d hoped, but I didn&rsquo;t figure out the meaning under the controlled sarcasm until I was in the same position myself as a mom. My kids want to please me as much as I wanted to please her, and this presents a dilemma best expressed in the old saying, &ldquo; &hellip; Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive ... &rdquo;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">This year, my wary son asked what I wanted for Christmas, and I was both cooperative and specific: I needed to replace a white terrycloth shortie robe that had been worn smooth after 20 years of wearing and washing. I showed him a sample of an identical, reasonably priced one on the Internet. What did he do? He bought me a long one not short, Navy blue not white, and velour not terrycloth. I hate velour because it fails to absorb drops of water, and know full well that I will end up ordering the one I want, and paying for it myself. It also means that, in addition to hypocritically saying I liked it when I didn&rsquo;t, I had to come up with a way of rejecting the gift without rejecting the giver. So in the future, if he asks where it is, I can say, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s in the wash.&rdquo; After all, that&rsquo;s what he says when I ask him, "Where's the sweater I gave you?"</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I am like the mother who gave her son two ties for Christmas. He went to the hall mirror, put on one of them, and turned to show her how it looked, &ldquo;What,&rdquo; she said disappointedly, &ldquo;You didn&rsquo;t like the other one?&rdquo;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Moral of the story: Both giving and receiving gifts are beautiful and loving gestures, especially if love is simply spelled out in macaroni.<span> <br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;</span>###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 28 Dec 2012 21:29:17 +0100 Is Santa Legal In Arizona? http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=54:57 <p><span class="tags"><span style="font-family: Times;"><a href="http://www.mexconnect.com/tags/perspectives?type=Article"><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;"></span></a></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">Associated Press reports the U.S. Department of Immigration apprehended Santa Claus attempting to illegally enter the United States from Mexico. He was caught maneuvering his sleigh over a fence recently erected by the Border Patrol.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">When Santa lived up north, his transportation consisted of eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. However, after his historic move to Mexico, he hired flying burros named Margarita, Josefina, Maria-Luisa, Esmeralda, Concepci&oacute;n, Bonita, Carmelita and Lupita. They were already over the fence awaiting further instructions.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">The AP reports that a ninth burro, Rudolfo con la Nariz Rojo, accidentally caused Santa's sleigh to get caught on the fence, leaving the sleigh hoisted high above ground, the tinkling sleigh bells alerting the Border Patrol.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">Santa, a cheerful, chubby, bespectacled fellow in red, appears each year to distribute toys once created in his North Pole workshop, and recently outsourced to Mexico. He is ably assisted in this endeavor by dozens of anonymous elves and his long-suffering wife, Evangelina Garcia-Claus.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">The Clauses relocated to Mexico in the late 20th Century due to marketing stress from Walmart, always harping for more speed and demanding "newer, better, cheaper." And there was a second reason to move south.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">"You just cannot continue at this rate," said Mrs. Claus. "Your blood pressure is already sky high and if you get sick, who will make the toys?" She reminded her absent-minded husband that the elves could not work without direction as their focus was easily disabled by such things as were common at the North Pole: cold toes and runny noses. "Their union rep wants them relocated to a sunny climate and who can say they are wrong?" After contemplating this conversation as Santa always did when his wife remembered to remind him, he vowed to relocate the entire workshop south of the border.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">Deciding upon Mexico was relatively easy, although they had once considered Hawaii. They changed their minds because three elves suffered from an allergy to poi, while not a single elf had an allergy to tequila.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">There were many things to consider in such a move -- the acquisition of property vast enough to accommodate the woodcarving shop with attendant banding wheels, assorted hammers, screwdrivers, mallets, saws, adequate space for kilns and pottery equipment, another building devoted solely to books, with printing presses and a bindery, sewing frame, and leather storage facilities, additional buildings for the Art Department with drafting tables, airbrushes, palettes and paints, and a separate iPad section.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">Neither the trusting Santa nor his wife was aware that their activities were being monitored by immigration's Covert Operations. Santa's private phone calls, mail, and movements were carefully noted in Washington's infamous "Stealth Activities" ledger. American authorities had never been suspicious when Santa entered the U.S. from the north but from the south, it was a reindeer of a different color. When a bewildered Santa got stuck on a fence that was never there before, he was summarily detained.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Times;">"But," cried Santa through the chain link, "Superman doesn't have a green card or a pilot's license either and you let him in. Why not me?"</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: Times;">"You may not enter," said the head agent, patting Santa's deportation papers which were tucked in the pocket of his vest, "because you're not registered with any political party and therefore cannot vote. So either fall back now, or we're authorized to dispatch you and your burros to Guantanamo!"</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-right: 0.5in; margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: left;"><em><span style="font-family: Times;">Santa spoke not a word, but went straight to his sleigh, <br /> Checked all the presents, turned his head away,<br /> And laying a finger aside of his nose,<br /> With a nod to the burros, over the fence he rose.</span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-right: 0.5in; margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: left;"><em><span style="font-family: Times;"><br /></span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-right: 0.5in; margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: left;"><em><span style="font-family: Times;">He sat straight in his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle <br /> And away they all flew like a NASA made missile.<br /> They heard him exclaim, for he was no longer meek,<br /> "From London to Kansas and then Ajijic."</span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-right: 0.5in; margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: left;"><em><span style="font-family: Times;"><br /></span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-right: 0.5in; margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: left;"><em><span style="font-family: Times;">As his sleigh rose high to the sky way above, <br /> He shouted "The most precious gift is called love. <br /> No fences, no walls, no problems, no fight, <br /> Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."</span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 21:58:28 +0100 Have Ashes, Will Travel http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=53:56 <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Have Ashes, Will Travel</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>by Maggie Van Ostrand</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t go on,&rdquo; I bawled to the empty room. Markus, my beloved canine companion who had been with me for over 14 adventure filled years, had passed away two weeks earlier. It was the worst time of my life, and I was so busy suffering that I wouldn&rsquo;t answer the phone or the doorbell to allow kind friends to comfort me. I wanted no consolation for none could dissipate the knot in my chest, nor fill the place in my heart where Markus once lived. It was a far worse natural disaster than previously experienced, like fires and earthquakes. They only took my home. This one took my heart.<br /><br />&nbsp;About a week into my period of self-imposed isolation, someone shoved a newspaper clipping under the front door. It was from the Los Angeles Times. It said grief counseling for pet owners was to take place at 7:00 p.m. that very evening at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, about 40 minutes drive from my house. &ldquo;Maybe I&rsquo;ll go,&rdquo; I muttered, &ldquo;I really must do something. I can&rsquo;t go on like this. It&rsquo;s time to get a grip,&rdquo; and I weaved through the freeway traffic to Glendale. Perhaps professional help would ease the pain and enable me to function. <br /><br />&nbsp;At the Information Desk in the Medical Center, I showed the man in charge the newspaper article and confirmed that pet owner grief counseling was to be held in the Chaplain&rsquo;s office in half an hour. The man clucked sympathetically, pointed me toward the appropriate door, and pushed a pamphlet across the desk claiming that reading it would help me accept and ultimately overcome my pain. Waiting in the hallway for the chaplain to arrive and unlock his office was a sad-looking woman dressed in black. She was shifting from one foot to the other, her hands twisting a damp handkerchief with which she occasionally daubed at her eyes. Perhaps, I thought, if I can get her to talk , it will distract me from my own loss. Isn&rsquo;t that what life is all about? People helping people? Finding a connection? She looked at me and I don&rsquo;t think I ever before saw so much sadness in a pair of eyes. She looked as I felt. A kindred soul. <br /><br />&nbsp;After introducing herself, she asked compassionately, &ldquo;When did you suffer your loss?&rdquo; &ldquo;I lost my Markus two weeks ago,&rdquo; I sniffed, feeling my chin begin to tremble and my eyes to well up. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been nearly a year since I lost my Kenny and I&rsquo;m not over it yet,&rdquo; she said slowly, gazing into the distance at an invisible horizon. We talked about how difficult it was to be with someone for years and years only to have them suddenly go. Just like that. Snatched away when you weren&rsquo;t expecting it. We talked about how, even if we had expected it, there&rsquo;s really no preparation for the devastating feelings rampant in the survivor. She had opted for Kenny&rsquo;s cremation, as I had with Markus, and both of us had decided not to scatter the ashes but to keep them with us. <br /><br />&nbsp;&ldquo;My ashes, I told the woman, &ldquo;are in my car in the parking garage downstairs. I couldn&rsquo;t bear going anywhere without Markus.&rdquo; &ldquo;Mine are in the bedroom we shared for so long. It&rsquo;s comforting to know that part of my Kenny is still with me. I confided that when I wasn&rsquo;t driving around with his ashes, Markus also was kept in my bedroom just like when he was alive. &ldquo;Twin beds?&rdquo; Catherine inquired, continuing, &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what we had after my Kenny got the cancer.&rdquo; &ldquo;No, we slept in the same bed. Markus never got sick. He just died. No warning, just died.&rdquo; &ldquo;Oh you poor thing,&rdquo; she said, putting her arms around me. What people say about sharing feelings and the magic of a hug is true. <br /><br />A bit of the sadness lifted from my mind and I began to hope that it wouldn&rsquo;t be too long before I could return to work. It was right about then that she said, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s worse for me at this time of year. My Kenny was going to get an RV and drive us to Phoenix.&rdquo; &ldquo;What?&rdquo; &ldquo;Kenny was going to rent an RV and we were going to drive to Phoenix," she said louder, "Say, what&rsquo;s the matter. You&rsquo;ve gone all white. You look just awful.&rdquo; The woman was talking about her husband and I was talking about my dog. I had been directed to the wrong grief center, the one for spouses, not pets. &ldquo;Uh, I don&rsquo;t feel well,&rdquo; I said, swiping at my forehead with a Kleenex.</p> <p>&ldquo;I understand dear,&rdquo; she said patting my arm, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just too soon for you to be out in public.&rdquo; <br /><br />&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;#####&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 19 Nov 2012 19:35:04 +0100 An Ordinary Voter in an Ordinary State http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=52:55 <h2><span style="font-size: xx-small;"><strong>This is not meant to offend anyone, tho' I suspect I may lose some respected subscribers because of it. SPOILER: It's about the presidential election, so surely some/many of you will disagree. I use a fictitious character to express my opinion, but my research was thorough and I stand by it.</strong></span><br /></h2> <h2>An Ordinary Voter in an Ordinary State</h2> <h3>by Maggie Van Ostrand</h3> <p>Sick of the attention paid to "battleground" states this election year, I asked Harvey Wallbanger, a fake ordinary voter from an ordinary state, if he had yet made up his mind about which candidate he'll vote for, and here's what he said:<br /><br /><em>I see news on TV and local papers and don't understand why some folks can't make up their mind. The only places I don't wonder about are Oklahoma, Tennessee, and pieces of Virginia and North Carolina. They don't have no kind of radio news to listen to except two fat dudes who yell alot of hate. Aside from radio Bible and some real good music, they don't seem to get enough knowing. I don't include Texas. Texas is sorta unto itself and does what it wants, like it's not connected. Based on what I learned, what I did was think. Here's what I come up with.<br /><br />There's the one guy who talks maybe he'd be up for another war if I vote for him for president. Well another war might be all right for him personal. He found a way to watch other guys go fight our enemy while he was stashed in Paris France instead and when it come time for his own sons to go, he got them out of it too. Back in the day, he wore a fake cop suit and scared folks for fun which is about as funny as when he bullied another kid till he cried. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I only seen him on TV two times where he looked happy and not bossy or bullying folks around. He was talkin' to other fancypants about 47% of the rest of us that he didn't really like, and at a fancy dinner in New York where he looked like he felt as comfortable as me when I'm home with kith and kin. Only I don't wear no tuxedo.<br /><br />Here's the kicker. The state he was governor of don't like him none, the state he Mormons in don't like him much and neither does their newspaper, and the state his pop was a big shot in likes the other fella better. Plus the guy he picked to partner with, well that guy's state don't like neither one of 'em. Now right there's enough to lose my vote. If he put his money where his mouth is, it'd be right here in American banks, maybe even helping families like mine.<br /><br />Then I read about how his family was buyin' votin' machines in Ohio. Yep, that's so. And that's the same guy who tied his caged dog to the car roof and drove 12 hours even after the dog got sick. Nobody in the car objected when the baggage rode inside 'stead of the dog, not even that pretty lady who called me "You people." My wife don't like neither one of 'em for a bunch o' woman reasons. She don't like it when they talk about "reproductive rights," which she says just means they want to fiddle with her private parts. She says they want to tell us to keep on havin' more kids when we can't hardly feed the ones we got. I didn't want to hear no more about that lady stuff.<br /><br />I don't think a guy who can do and say all that so easy would make a good president.<br /><br />I look at my gov'ment like buildin' a house. The President we got, he laid a real solid foundation that'll last a long time. If you don't get the framing right, your house can't stand, my pop always said. He got the 2 x 4s up.He got the siding up. He got the 2 x 10 header beams, and raised high the roof beam. Only thing is, if members on the county board won't give you no permits, you can't put in electric and plumbing or windows or drywall, none of the inside stuff, and the whole thing gets stalled.<br /><br />If I vote for the fella who wants me to train a Chinese guy to take my job away from me, I hurt myself, my family, and my country. Then a bunch of guys in jackboots will get permits from their county board tuxedo friends to jackhammer the foundation and tear most everything down. I will vote for the President again along with senators and such who care about America from here on out. We'll get permits ourselves and finish up a real strong house we can all live in.<br /><br />And the most important thing: I want a Mister not a Master and since Mr. Obama has been President, no big bird has crapped on the roof.</em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><em>###</em></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 23:02:53 +0100 An Ordinary Voter in an Ordinary State http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=51:54 <p>This is not meant to offend anyone, tho' I suspect I may lose some respected subscribers because of it. SPOILER: It's about the presidential election, so surely some/many of you will disagree. I use a fictitious character to express my opinion, but my research was thorough and I stand by it.</p> <p>An Ordinary Voter in an Ordinary State</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>Sick of the attention paid to "battleground" states this election year, I asked Harvey Wallbanger, a fake ordinary voter from an ordinary state, if he had yet made up his mind about which candidate he'll vote for, and here's what he said:<br /><br /><em>I see news on TV and local papers and don't understand why some folks can't make up their mind. The only places I don't wonder about are Oklahoma, Tennessee, and pieces of Virginia and North Carolina. They don't have no kind of radio news to listen to except two fat dudes who yell alot of hate. Aside from radio Bible and some real good music, they don't seem to get enough knowing. I don't include Texas. Texas is sorta unto itself and does what it wants, like it's not connected. Based on what I learned, what I did was think. Here's what I come up with.<br /><br />There's the one guy who talks maybe he'd be up for another war if I vote for him for president. Well another war might be all right for him personal. He found a way to watch other guys go fight our enemy while he was stashed in Paris France instead and when it come time for his own sons to go, he got them out of it too. Back in the day, he wore a fake cop suit and scared folks for fun which is about as funny as when he bullied another kid till he cried. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I only seen him on TV two times where he looked happy and not bossy or bullying folks around. He was talkin' to other fancypants about 47% of the rest of us that he didn't really like, and at a fancy dinner in New York where he looked like he felt as comfortable as me when I'm home with kith and kin. Only I don't wear no tuxedo.<br /><br />Here's the kicker. The state he was governor of don't like him none, the state he Mormons in don't like him much and neither does their newspaper, and the state his pop was a big shot in likes the other fella better. Plus the guy he picked to partner with, well that guy's state don't like neither one of 'em. Now right there's enough to lose my vote. If he put his money where his mouth is, it'd be right here in American banks, maybe even helping families like mine.<br /><br />Then I read about how his family was buyin' votin' machines in Ohio. Yep, that's so. And that's the same guy who tied his caged dog to the car roof and drove 12 hours even after the dog got sick. Nobody in the car objected when the baggage rode inside 'stead of the dog, not even that pretty lady who called me "You people." My wife don't like neither one of 'em for a bunch o' woman reasons. She don't like it when they talk about "reproductive rights," which she says just means they want to fiddle with her private parts. She says they want to tell us to keep on havin' more kids when we can't hardly feed the ones we got. I didn't want to hear no more about that lady stuff.<br /><br />I don't think a guy who can do and say all that so easy would make a good president.<br /><br />I look at my gov'ment like buildin' a house. The President we got, he laid a real solid foundation that'll last a long time. If you don't get the framing right, your house can't stand, my pop always said. He got the 2 x 4s up.He got the siding up. He got the 2 x 10 header beams, and raised high the roof beam. Only thing is, if members on the county board won't give you no permits, you can't put in electric and plumbing or windows or drywall, none of the inside stuff, and the whole thing gets stalled.<br /><br />If I vote for the fella who wants me to train a Chinese guy to take my job away from me, I hurt myself, my family, and my country. Then a bunch of guys in jackboots will get permits from their county board tuxedo friends to jackhammer the foundation and tear most everything down. I will vote for the President again along with senators and such who care about America from here on out. We'll get permits ourselves and finish up a real strong house we can all live in.<br /><br />And the most important thing: I want a Mister not a Master and since Mr. Obama has been President, no big bird has crapped on our roof.</em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><em>###</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 21:47:26 +0100 An Ordinary Voter in an Ordinary State http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=51:53 <p>This is not meant to offend anyone, tho' I suspect I may lose some respected subscribers because of it. SPOILER: It's about the presidential election, so surely some/many of you will disagree. I use a fictitious character to express my opinion, but my research was thorough and I stand by it.</p> <p>An Ordinary Voter in an Ordinary State</p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>Sick of the attention paid to "battleground" states this election year, I asked Harvey Wallbanger, a fake ordinary voter from an ordinary state, if he had yet made up his mind about which candidate he'll vote for, and here's what he said:<br /><br /><em>I see news on TV and local papers and don't understand why some folks can't make up their mind. The only places I don't wonder about are Oklahoma, Tennessee, and pieces of Virginia and North Carolina. They don't have no kind of radio news to listen to except two fat dudes who yell alot of hate. Aside from radio Bible and some real good music, they don't seem to get enough knowing. I don't include Texas. Texas is sorta unto itself and does what it wants, like it's not connected. Based on what I learned, what I did was think. Here's what I come up with.<br /><br />There's the one guy who talks maybe he'd be up for another war if I vote for him for president. Well another war might be all right for him personal. He found a way to watch other guys go fight our enemy while he was stashed in Paris France instead and when it come time for his own sons to go, he got them out of it too. Back in the day, he wore a fake cop suit and scared folks for fun which is about as funny as when he bullied another kid till he cried. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I only seen him on TV two times where he looked happy and not bossy or bullying folks around. He was talkin' to other fancypants about 47% of the rest of us that he didn't really like, and at a fancy dinner in New York where he looked like he felt as comfortable as me when I'm home with kith and kin. Only I don't wear no tuxedo.<br /><br />Here's the kicker. The state he was governor of don't like him none, the state he Mormons in don't like him much and neither does their newspaper, and the state his pop was a big shot in likes the other fella better. Plus the guy he picked to partner with, well that guy's state don't like neither one of 'em. Now right there's enough to lose my vote. If he put his money where his mouth is, it'd be right here in American banks, maybe even helping families like mine.<br /><br />Then I read about how his family was buyin' votin' machines in Ohio. Yep, that's so. And that's the same guy who tied his caged dog to the car roof and drove 12 hours even after the dog got sick. Nobody in the car objected when the baggage rode inside 'stead of the dog, not even that pretty lady who called me "You people." My wife don't like neither one of 'em for a bunch o' woman reasons. She don't like it when they talk about "reproductive rights," which she says just means they want to fiddle with her private parts. She says they want to tell us to keep on havin' more kids when we can't hardly feed the ones we got. I didn't want to hear no more about that lady stuff.<br /><br />I don't think a guy who can do and say all that so easy would make a good president.<br /><br />I look at my gov'ment like buildin' a house. The President we got, he laid a real solid foundation that'll last a long time. If you don't get the framing right, your house can't stand, my pop always said. He got the 2 x 4s up.He got the siding up. He got the 2 x 10 header beams, and raised high the roof beam. Only thing is, if members on the county board won't give you no permits, you can't put in electric and plumbing or windows or drywall, none of the inside stuff, and the whole thing gets stalled.<br /><br />If I vote for the fella who wants me to train a Chinese guy to take my job away from me, I hurt myself, my family, and my country. Then a bunch of guys in jackboots will get permits from their county board tuxedo friends to jackhammer the foundation and tear most everything down. I will vote for the President again along with senators and such who care about America from here on out. We'll get permits ourselves and finish up a real strong house we can all live in.<br /><br />And the most important thing: I want a Mister not a Master and since Mr. Obama has been President, no big bird has crapped on our roof.</em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><em>###</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 20:35:23 +0100 To Tweet or Not to Tweet: That is the Question http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=50:52 <p><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/yorick.jpg" alt="" width="139" height="171" /></p> <div id="blog_title"> <div id="entry_body" class="blog_content"> <div class="entry_body_text"> <p>Nobody sits down to compose a letter these days. Instead, they talk, text, or Tweet, so we've prepared a time-saver for those hipsters, geeks, and Twitteristas who haven't the time to reduce the classics to Twitter's required 140 characters, counting spaces. We've prefaced them with the originals, in the event you may want to save them in your ditty bag.</p> <p>We begin with Hamlet's iconic soliloquy, followed by our own Tweetment.</p> <p>THE REAL THING:</p> <p><em>Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow<br /> of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath<br /> borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how<br /> abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at<br /> it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know<br /> not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your<br /> gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,<br /> that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one<br /> now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?<br /> Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let<br /> her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must<br /> come; make her laugh at that.</em></p> <p>THE TWEET:</p> <p>Knew Yo, Ho: miss your funny standup<br /> Lokt lips plenty &amp; frolikt then<br /> Now stinky dead dude disgusting me<br /> This skull, so what? Tmw we all die LOL</p> <p>And what about Lincoln's Gettysburg Address? If he could have, would he have Tweeted it?</p> <p>THE REAL THING</p> <p><em>Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.</em></p> <em> <p>Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.</p> <p>But in a larger sense we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.</p> </em> <p><em>It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.</em></p> <p>THE TWEET:</p> <p>United States formed 87 yrs back<br /> Decided all men same<br /> Big fight anyway<br /> Lots dead both sides, not for nothing<br /> freedom rocks<br /> of, by, for, everyone</p> <p>And what would the world be reading today had Elizabeth Barrett's famed love sonnet been Tweeted to Robert Browning?</p> <p>THE REAL THING:</p> <p><em>How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.<br /> I love thee to the depth and breadth and height<br /> My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight<br /> For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.<br /> I love thee to the level of everyday's<br /> Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.<br /> I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;<br /> I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.<br /> I love thee with a passion put to use<br /> In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.<br /> I love thee with a love I seemed to lose<br /> With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,<br /> Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,<br /> I shall but love thee better after death.</em></p> <p>The sonnet has 613 characters, including spaces. Tweeting Mr. Browning would have meant Barrett's cutting her work down to this:</p> <p>THE TWEET:</p> <p>Lve u? Lts see<br /> deep wide high<br /> soul far out<br /> candles righteous dudes<br /> humble dudes<br /> passion faith <br /> saints r out<br /> laffs cries<br /> lifelong emotions<br /> better dead</p> <p>There's no doubt that texting and Twittering save time and energy, but they sure suck the life out of literature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Follow Maggie Van Ostrand on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/magpie99">www.twitter.com/magpie99</a></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 18 Aug 2012 02:39:20 +0100 The Makeup Drawer http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=49:51 <p><img title="Fitch" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Fitch.jpg" alt="Fitch" width="136" height="320" />Now that it's already August, I've decided to start my spring cleaning. Since procrastination is my middle name, maybe I'll start with just one long-ignored job: my make-up drawer.<br /><br />"Drawer," in this case, refers to a now-massive box of cosmetics that hasn't been investigated in many years, not even when I dump the makeup from one old box into a bigger one, which happens every time we move.<br /><br />About five years ago, I went through at least the top couple of feet but for the most part, nothing beneath that layer has been seen in years.&nbsp; Did I really think keeping an ancient bottle of my father's Fitch Shampoo was in memory of him or was I trying to wear my inner child on the outside? I'm grown up now and will finally throw it out. But I'll keep his shaving brush because it smells like him.<br /><br />There was a plastic container near the bottom of the drawer containing dehydrated dark brown stuff which appears to have once been a Clairol match to my natural color before my husband walked out and I turned blonde from grief. And I found a bottle of Mane and Tail Hoofmaker, which is weird because I never owned a horse. I also found a long, dark brown "fall," sort of like hair extensions only in one hirsute chunk. After all this time stuffed in the bottom of my makeup box, it looks like roadkill. I bought that fall because of peer pressure, same as girlfriends have to wear the same shade of lipstick to look connected.<br /><br />Most of the thousand tubes of lipstick I found were of uncertain vintage, like Chen-Yu which my mom used because it came in a pretty carved tube with a slim band on the side and, when you removed the lid, the band made the lipstick rise up. Sort of like Viagra for your mouth. It was a glorious color which must've been her favorite because the stub was well below the rim of the tube and you could see brush marks from scraping out the last possible bit. That has to go into the trash along with the Fitch.<br /><br />I found lipstick shades that never looked good on me, which were still either in their original boxes or entombed in clear plastic even harder to open than a new CD. One shade was a ghastly grayish-white that makes you look as though you donated one too many pints of blood. Worst of all is that these things mean mom was correct when she used to ask me the hated question, "Are you going out like that?"<br /><br />There were unopened boxes of Frownies, little stickers to paste between your eyebrows to get rid of the frown lines that look like&nbsp; the number 11; however, I found several identical boxes because I failed to remember I already had bought some. I also found Frownies brand, "Facelift in a Bag". It might've worked, had it only contained a plastic surgeon.<br /><br />Wish there was a surgeon who could transplant eyelashes. There are a million types of mascara in the stores but not one that doesn't flake off if you leave it in a box for 10 years. I tried a new type that's supposed to make your lashes thick; after a couple of hours, I ended up with little hairy cheeks from the fallout. Some of them stuck in the cheek creases around my mouth so it looks like everything I say is in parenthesis.<br /><br />Those parenthesis are technically called nasolabial grooves, if you've Googled as many websites or phoned as many doctors' office receptionists as I have. We're all in the know now. Also uncovered was a tube of Retin A, so old it had more wrinkles than I do. Fat chance it's usable now that I need it. I'm told you can't use Botox in that location or it will inhibit speech. There are many who would be grateful if I had a shot or two of the stuff on a daily basis.<br /><br />I started getting little wrinkles above my lips and, when I heard they were called "smoker's kiss," I quit smoking on the spot. Not kissing, just smoking. A dermatologist's collagen injections didn't make them go away. Neither did Restylane. I was desperate, until a dermatologist recommended a chemical peel as the only remaining alternative. But, besides the pain of having your face ripped away, scabs eventually falling off and into your soup, there was the "No more going out in the sun" rule that's somewhat discouraging when you live in Southern California. "Er, I don't think so, doc. Thanks just the same." The very thought of tearing my face off and replacing it with scabs was even worse than looking in the mirror.<br /><br />I feel like an archeologist digging up all this old stuff. I could have saved a small fortune just by going to the hardware store and filling my wrinkles with spackle, lifting my face with duct tape, and lighting the house with 5-watt bulbs.<br /><br />A successful Spring Cleaner at last, I was able to throw out the makeup drawer's contents. The euphoria that comes with victory lasted about half an hour before I retrieved everything from the garbage pail where it all lay under green cottage cheese, limp lettuce, and hairy salsa. <br /><br />Maybe one day I'll sell it all on eBay.</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 06 Aug 2012 20:07:38 +0100 A Phone Call From Air Force One http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=48:49 <p>It isn't every day I'm on a phone call with the President of the United States. A distorted version of the same call by a writer who wasn't there, is rebutted by me in the Huffington Post. And I <strong><em>was</em></strong> there.<br /><br />&nbsp;http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-van-ostrand/obama-fundraising-call_b_1641363.html</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 02 Jul 2012 19:42:39 +0100 Lies, Myths, and Hippos: The Father of Our Country http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=47:48 <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For Father's Day, I went in a different direction and wrote a humor piece about George Washington, the Father of Our Country. It was just published by Huffington Post and I'd love it if you'd click the link below, read it and, if you're so inclined, please leave a comment. Here's an excerpt:<br /><br /><em>When little George's moment of truth arrived, did he really say, "I cannot tell a lie, Papa. I did cut it with my hatchet." What? The kid had a hatchet?</em><br /><br />Please click here: http://tinyurl.com/7pkx9hw</p> <p>Thank you, and Happy Father's Day to everybody, whether you're a father or not.<img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Washingtons-George-Teeth.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="488" /></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 15 Jun 2012 00:32:15 +0100 "What's That Hanging Out of Your Nose?" and Other Stupid Questions http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=46:47 <p><strong>"What's That Hanging Out of Your Nose?" and Other Stupid Questions</strong></p> <p>by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>I'm one of those people who thinks of the perfect thing I should have said long after the occasion has passed.&nbsp; An old friend acknowledged my problem with the observation, "You're not quick, but you're thorough." <br /> <br /> O.k., so my mom was wrong when she taught us that wisdom comes with age. She forgot the word "usually." I have never run out of stupid things to say since I was little nor have I learned to vibe out a calm verbal maturity now that I'm grown up. Grown tall is not necessarily grown up. Such an emotionally mature future isn&rsquo;t always in the cards, like the time I ran into a man I haven't seen since his wife passed away after a long illness.<br /> <br /> <em>What</em>, I wondered as he approached, <em>is the right thing to say to someone you used to be close to but haven&rsquo;t seen in several years?</em>&nbsp; I knew it was a stupid question even as it slipped out of my face and I heard myself saying, &ldquo;So how&rsquo;s your late wife feeling?&rdquo;</p> <p>Long after his startled look and quick departure, I realized I should've simply apologized for failing to keep in touch. Or asked what he&rsquo;s been up to these days. Or the thing really sane people say, "How&rsquo;s it going?" Any of those greetings would have been appropriate but no, I didn't think of any of them at the time I needed something to say that was slightly less demented.<br /> <br /> Sure it&rsquo;s funny now. But it&rsquo;s so typical of the gaffes made by regular people who don&rsquo;t have scriptwriters coming up with the perfect thing to say on every occasion. Why can&rsquo;t somebody write a book: Verbal Fakery: Prepared Improvisations For People Who Don't Think Fast Enough. &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Waiting on line for the bus, I tried to be friendly to a pregnant lady standing behind me. &ldquo;When is the baby due?&rdquo; I asked. She frowned and said, &ldquo;What baby?&rdquo; Turned out she wasn&rsquo;t pregnant, just overweight.<br /> <br /> I thought I'd learned a lesson from that bus-line experience but a few months later, trying to be thoughtful and complimentary to an acquaintance whose belly preceded the rest of her by five minutes, I said, &ldquo;You carry small.&rdquo; &ldquo;What do you mean?&rdquo; she shot back, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not pregnant!&rdquo; I went home to FaceBook and unfriended her before she could do it to me.<br /> <br /> Then there was the time I asked the passenger in the next seat on a flight from Paris to New York where she had bought "that beautiful lace pantyhose." Turned out the woman was French and was wearing ordinary pantyhose over unshaved legs. It was humiliating sitting next to her for the rest of the long trip. I can only hope it wasn't Carla Bruni.<br /> <br /> To a lovely elderly woman who had just told me she had trouble remembering things, I asked, &ldquo; So what is it you can't remember?" She might have used a Voodoo doll for revenge because now I have days where I can't remember what it was I was trying to remember.<br /> <br /> One gaffe really irritated a lady in the supermarket whose gynormous shopping basket containing her twins took up the entire aisle. I wanted to be friendly so she&rsquo;d allow me to squeeze past, and I said, &ldquo;They&rsquo;re adorable. How do you tell them apart?&rdquo; She retorted, &ldquo;one&rsquo;s a girl and one&rsquo;s a boy.&rdquo; Oh.<br /> <br /> Every time I think I'm the only person in the entire world who asks stupid questions, I remember what is probably the most stupid question ever asked: "Where'd you lose it?" <br /> <br /> ###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 28 May 2012 22:30:42 +0100 Mother http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=45:46 A beautiful woman is queen of every room she enters. Conversation hushes, people turn to look, and the center of attention falls upon her. My mother was not like that. She was ordinary, quiet, and far more comfortable in a flowered print apron than in a little black dress. Yet, to us, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.<br /> <br /> She was the queen of our house, could answer every question, and was a star in my father's eyes. How she managed such excellent meals on the shoestring budget she allowed herself is beyond me. Sure we had a lot of spaghetti, but kids love spaghetti and so did our dad. Mom was the most knowledgeable person in all things because she read every newspaper published in New York and, in those days, there were an awesome lot of them. She knew baseball stats all the way back to the beginning of the sport, and what prizefighter knocked out what other fighter and the year he did it in. She knew all the politicians from local to national, current and historical, and every bit of local and international news. She was an avid reader of books, made most of our clothes, and could knit and crochet with the best of them. Dad used to boast that when he wore a pair of socks she had darned, he couldn't even feel the stitches. She kept the family checkbook balanced and did the tax returns. And still, she managed to save enough to send small sums to her favorite charities and even enough to buy us pretty Easter outfits.<br /> <br /> Mom even managed to hide the eyes she had in the back of her head, the ones she never tired of warning us about. Hindsight indicates that we took for granted a clean house, delicious meals, and nothing to worry about (as long as we passed all our grades). Until we became moms ourselves, we never realized the balancing act it took to pay the bills, run a smooth house, and not expect any credit, just results. There should be a Nobel Prize for Motherhood.<br /> <br /> Even though a beautiful woman can conquer a roomful of strangers, it takes a mother to conquer a family full of life. "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 04 May 2012 18:16:29 +0100 Cooking With Scissors http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=44:45 <p><br />These are not your mother's days of shiny can openers and good looking utensils. Instead, as a defense against the frustrating packaging from the supermarket, what do I take every time I go into the kitchen? A toolbelt, that's what. And that includes the most important household implement: Scissors. I can no longer open food packages without them. Some days, a flamethrower would also come in handy. Or a visit from Edward Scissorhands would be effective.<br /><br />What is the stretchy material that meat comes wrapped in anyway, some kind of terrorist revenge for knocking off bin Laden? The plastic covering doesn't tear like it used to, happily surrendering the contents for your meal. These days, it's so pliable that when you push hard on it with your finger, it just stretches indefinitely. You could use the size it stretches to as a car cover. That's just the soft stuff. What about the stiff stuff?<br /><br />Try opening a new package of batteries for your handheld mixer. Sure, you can fool with it till your hand explodes, but you'll never get the box open without a pair of scissors and, even <em>with</em> a pair, shards of the hard plastic covering will slash your fingers till they bleed like a victim's neck after Dracula's hoovered it. They can call this "childproofing" if they want to, but it's a lot easier on the grownups if they just put iron mittens on their kids.<br /><br />Without a pair of scissors, how could anyone open a package of cheese? Sure the label says "tear here" but you can try to tear it for ten minutes without getting anywhere. Old standbys like using your teeth to yank it open don't work either, not on this kind of packaging, not even if the manufacturers have thoughtfully added a nick in it to indicate the precise spot that's tearable. Time to reach for the pliers, one pair to hold the package and another pair to drag the top part till the veins on your forehead stand out like Mitt Romney at a Dog Lovers Convention. <br /><br />The way to tell if your chicken is done cooking is no longer squeezing it for tenderness, just make a cut in the fattest part with your trusty scissors and take a gander. If your recipe calls for parsley, no need to get out the cutting board and a sharp knife. Just hold a bunch over the pot and clip clip clip till the amount called for falls into the pot. Same with any vegetable that's easily sliceable, like stringbeans, cubing chunks of potato (not to mention the cooperative parsnip), mincing garlic, or dicing sliced onions right over the pan. Quick. Easy. And there's no cleaning up your cutting board.<br /><br />Screwdrivers are the only way to pry open stiff plastic produce lids, even when the manufacturer supplies a special strip you're supposed to pull on to successfully open the box. If the thin strip accidentally hurls itself off your hand and into the soup, just tell guests it's a thick celery string.<br /><br />Another conquered irritation is when I can't read that tiny print that tells you what you can die of if you eat the contents of the package. That list is so long, it'd be simpler just to eat the packaging itself and get it over with. Of course, we all know that the government doesn't tell us what's <em>really</em> inside. We must use our common sense. If your tomatoes are the same size as a pumpkin; they're probably shot up with a bunch of steroids left in the locker room by a famous athlete. Ever wonder why some produce is still fresh after a week or two in the refrigerator? Try peeling back the top layer with the side of your scissor and you may well get a skin of plastic coating. How did you think they make the veggies last so long? If the public knew the means by which a long shelf life is achieved, we'd probably get ourselves a patch of dirt somewhere and grow our own stuff.<br /><br />Hammers do the same job as a trash compactor and you can smash a recyclable can even flatter by imagining it's a member of congress.<br /><br />Don't forget that the Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms, and nowhere do we require more armament than in our own kitchens.<br /></p> <p>####</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:45:26 +0100 Super Bowl for Women http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=43:44 "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 03 Feb 2012 23:40:58 +0100 Politically Indirect, or, the True Meaning of the Word Humbug http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=42:43 Humbug means "deception" and if there's anyplace to find humbug, it's D.C. Just because politicians talk doesn't mean they're saying anything. It's high time we sat down and figured out the true meanings behind their deceptive words.<br /> <br /> Here are 10 examples of differences between what they say and what they mean:<br /> <br /> * FLIP-FLOP<br /> I didn't think you'd understand the word "reversal."<br /> <br /> * ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE<br /> I hate his guts.<br /> <br /> * IF YOU WILL<br /> I'm sorry, I have no idea of what I just said.<br /> <br /> * GOING FORWARD<br /> I'm making a circular movement resulting in a full stop.<br /> <br /> * WHAT AMERICA WANTS<br /> Whatever lobbyists pay me to say you want.<br /> <br /> * SEA CHANGE<br /> I'll send U.S. jobs overseas because those corporations pay me a lot more than you do.<br /> <br /> * SPECIAL INTERESTS<br /> Anonymous corporations willing to pay large money for small favors. Pipeline anyone?<br /> <br /> * OBSTRUCTIONIST<br /> By voting no, I can stay loyal to those who pay me the most.<br /> <br /> * MANDATE<br /> That's when I'm paid to make you believe that something you don't want is something you do want. Also known as Inventing Statistics.<br /> <br /> * BI-PARTISAN<br /> Even if it's good for the nation, I say no anyway because No is now my comfort zone.<br /> <br /> I used to think D.C. stood for District of Columbia but it doesn't -- it stands for Dodge City. Finding out that politicians are full of humbug is on a par with finding out there isn't any tooth fairy, Santa Claus doesn't come down the chimney, and mistletoe is really a fungus.<br /> <br /> Merry Christmas anyway. "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 20 Dec 2011 23:42:55 +0100 The Forked Tongue of Congress http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=41:42 <p style="padding-left: 240px;"><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/200px-Codex_Gigas_devil.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="318" /></p> <p>I enjoy writing about everyday things and the effect they have on an average family like mine. Usually, there's plenty of humor involved: like the time I thought I was roasting a Thanksgiving turkey and accidentally clicked "Oven Clean;" how a single woman is forced to deal with macho contractors; and how clothes made by Chinese kids can turn our laundry pink. Stuff like that.<br /> <br /> Thing is, at the moment, everyday things seem to include a lot of dissatisfaction with congress, people we elected who make laws to live by in America. Seems to me that Washington's doing anything <em>but</em> what they <em>should</em> be doing for us. Seems to me like nothing's going on in Congress except a lot of bickering, blaming, and bloviating.<br /> <br /> I sure don't remember another Congress whose philosophy was based on personal gain rather than stuff that's good for the whole country, as this one appears to be based. Don't the people in D.C. remember the meaning of "country"? It means all of us. Everyone. All political persuasions included.<br /> <br /> So I hope you nice readers will forgive this one excursion by me, an Independent, into what's on the minds of a lot of you who have emailed your anger over what's going on ... or, rather, what <em>isn't </em>going on, in the Capitol of our nation's capital.<br /> <br /> I call it "The Forked Tongue of Congress." You can find me grousing about it here:<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-van-ostrand/the-forked-tongue-of-cong_b_1000518.html">&nbsp;http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-van-ostrand/the-forked-tongue-of-cong_b_1000518.html</a><br /> <br /> Next time, I hope to get back to the humor in life and not the hubris in Washington.<br /> <br /> ###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 08 Oct 2011 00:36:02 +0100 The Forked Tongue of Congress http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=41:41 <p style="padding-left: 240px;"><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/200px-Codex_Gigas_devil.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="318" /></p> <p>I enjoy writing about everyday things and the effect they have on an average family like mine. Usually, there's plenty of humor involved: like the time I thought I was roasting a Thanksgiving turkey and accidentally clicked "Oven Clean;" how a single woman is forced to deal with macho contractors; and how clothes made by Chinese kids can turn our laundry pink. Stuff like that.<br /> <br /> Thing is, at the moment, everyday things seem to include a lot of dissatisfaction with congress, people we elected who make laws to live by in America. Seems to me that Washington's doing anything <em>but</em> what they <em>should</em> be doing for us. Seems to me like nothing's going on in Congress except a lot of bickering, blaming, and bloviating.<br /> <br /> I sure don't remember another Congress whose philosophy was based on personal gain rather than stuff that's good for the whole country, as this one appears to be based. Don't the people in D.C. remember the meaning of "country"? It means all of us. Everyone. All political persuasions included.<br /> <br /> So I hope you nice readers will forgive this one excursion by me, an Independent, into what's on the minds of a lot of you who have emailed your anger over what's going on ... or, rather, what <em>isn't </em>going on, in the Capitol of our nation's capital.<br /> <br /> I call it "The Forked Tongue of Congress." You can find me grousing about it here:<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-van-ostrand/the-forked-tongue-of-cong_b_1000518.html">&nbsp;http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-van-ostrand/the-forked-tongue-of-cong_b_1000518.html</a><br /> <br /> Next time, I hope to get back to the humor in life and not the hubris in Washington.<br /> <br /> ###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 08 Oct 2011 00:34:21 +0100 The Pithy Tale of Owney http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=40:40 Hi all,<br /> <br /> Haven't posted this new article, The Pithy Tale of Owney, on my website as usual, but you can find it here:<br /> <br /> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-van-ostrand/the-pithy-tale-of-owney_b_930962.html<br /> <br /> I hope you have time to leave a comment after reading it.<br /> <br /> Thanks!<br /> <br /> Maggie "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 19 Aug 2011 17:14:30 +0100 Thank you http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=39:39 Thanks to those many of you diligent readers who corrected my gaffe by realizing that I had meant to say tornadoes, and not hurricanes, in my Dog Days of Summer column. I appreciate your emails.<br /> <br /> You guys are really on top of things.<br /> <br /> You're all my favorite readers. "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sun, 10 Jul 2011 17:19:45 +0100 The Dog Days of Summer http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=38:38 "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 09 Jul 2011 23:53:26 +0100 What Do You Want For Your Birthday? Good Luck Getting It http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=37:37 I'm sick and tired of people not listening when you answer their question, "What do you want for your birthday?" I suppose my kids are getting even with me for giving them things they hated when they were little, like instead of the toys they wanted, they got underwear and socks. Well, revenge may be sweet, but not to the revengee.<br /> <br /> Want the whole story? It's yours at www.maggievanostrand.com "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Wed, 18 May 2011 22:57:57 +0100 The Seven Deadly Mother's Day Sayings http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=36:36 When Mother's Day rolls around, I remember my mom's often-said favorite lines that my sister and I called the 7 Deadly Sayings. And how much I hated hearing them. I suppose my own kids are saying the same thing about me, since I unwittingly carried on with the next generation. <br /> <br /> If you want to compare notes, check out my mom's 7 Deadly Sayings at<br /> http://www.maggievanostrand.com<br /> <br /> As she would have said, What can it hurt if you do this. "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 06 May 2011 20:01:59 +0100 Royal Wedding Questions http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=35:35 <p><img title="William &amp; Kate Can't Walk There" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Unknown_Warrior.jpg" alt="William &amp; Kate" width="273" height="185" /></p> <p>Well, I don't know about the rest of you but I'm weddinged out. There hasn't been this much media coverage of an event since Lindsay Lohan's last arrest. Nothing wrong with the Royal Wedding's bride or groom, and nothing wrong with the opulent setting of Westminster Abbey, though I'm resisting the temptation to criticize some of those hats that looked like the women's heads had exploded in spaghetti, bowling balls and a few birds. <br /><br />Questions were raised by my kids who viewed the event and thought there would be "at least 100 other people watching this, right mom?"<br /><br />Questions from our kids can drive a mom insane because it's humiliating to have to say "I don't know dear," when moms are supposed to know everything. It's no longer enough for them to know we really do have eyes in the back of our head, now they want answers, too.<br /><br />"Mom, what's a troth?" I thought it was a lazy troll (troll + sloth = troth.) My daughter had to wait another full day before I had time to find out that when we pledge our troth, we are pledging fidelity. Seems like overkill to me, since they had already pledged to "forsake all others" and keep one another "only unto him/her." Poetic and lovely, but redundant. Not wishing to editorialize, I just told her "fidelity" and to look it up. <br /><br />The kicker question which required research was "What's that square in the floor that everybody is walking around?" I wanted to know that as well and learned that it is the burial place of The Unknown Warrior from World War I. In that hallowed spot upon which not even kings and queens may trod, lies an unidentified British soldier killed on the battlefield during World War 1. He was buried in Westminster Abbey on November 11, 1920. There are many graves on the Abbey floors, including Chaucer, Dickens, Austen, both Bronte sisters, Kipling and, well, you get the point, but The Unknown Warrior's is the only grave which is forbidden to step on.<br /><br />Thanks to the Internet, I was able to answer the questions of my curious kids, all questions except one. We just cannot figure out why everybody calls the bride Kate with a K when her full first name of Catherine is spelled with a C.</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 30 Apr 2011 22:13:47 +0100 Wrong Way http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=34:34 Sometimes we're told we can't or shouldn't do something and we do it anyway. For Wrong-Way Corrigan, doing it anyway made him a worldwide household name, the darling of America, and the recipient of a New York ticker-tape parade with thousands of adoring fans cheering him on. Here's how he did it:<br /> <br /> http://www.texasescapes.com/MaggieVanOstrand/Misadventures-of-Wrong-Way-Corrigan.htm "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 10 Mar 2011 02:35:25 +0100 Charlie Sheen to Host 2012 Oscars http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=33:33 With Charlie Sheen in world news every day, giving out dozens of television interviews, and talking with newscasters, I just couldn't resist writing this satirical piece for the Huffington Post, comedy section:<br /> <br /> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-van-ostrand/charlie-sheen-to-host-201_b_829232.html<br /> <br /> Click or Cut & Paste. "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 01 Mar 2011 22:23:35 +0100 Top 10 Federal Budget Saving Ideas http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=32:32 Top 10 Federal Budget Savings Ideas<br /> <br /> by Maggie Van Ostrand<br /> <br /> You don't like the President's Budget proposal? Try the Top 10 from the People, who kept it simple so members of Congress can understand it.<br /> <br /> First a few reminders: Salary for a House member is $174,000, not counting perks, one of which is called their "allowance." This is a euphemism for lots of extra taxpayer money ($900,000, commonly called "almost a million") given to them for office supplies and salaries for almost 20 loyal underlings. They get about $250,000 (commonly called "a quarter of a million dollars more") for office expenses (what, that wasn't covered in their "allowance"?), including travel (we'll bet they don't go Economy and we also bet these might include golf trips). You don't even have to be alive to get this money, as evidenced by the late Robert Byrd's continuing salary of $193,000 even after he's been in the ground since last June.<br /> <br /> We the People aren't crazy about learning that Senators get even a bigger allowance for their office expenses ... more than $3.3 million. Each senator is given $500,000 to hire up to three legislative assistants. If they'd only learn to type for themselves, that taxpayer money could support ten taxpayer families. Let us now get to our simple Top 10 Items, to wit:<br /> <br /> 10. Take away free healthcare for members of Congress and see how they like it. <br /> <br /> 9. Take away non-profit (no taxes) status from churches. This is real separation of Church and State. God would likely appreciate that money going to the people. <br /> <br /> 8. Take away taxpayer-paid security and benefits from retired Congressional members. If they're honest with the people, they won't need security. This should also discourage so many crooks from running for office. <br /> <br /> 7. Remind Congressional members they are already in the top 5% of American wage earners. What, you mean to say they themselvesare the ones they want to continue giving all those tax breaks to? Really??? <br /> <br /> 6. Take away diplomatic immunity for foreign diplomats and make them pay for their parking like the rest of us. <br /> <br /> 5. Charge each member of Congress $1,000 every time they address someone they loathe as "My esteemed colleague across the aisle ... " <br /> <br /> 4. Take away the mansions Congressional members live in and give them a small apartment in D.C. Don't forget, they have another mansionin their home state. Right now, they are entitled to almost 9,000 sq. ft and as many offices as they want in their home state ... not to mention$40,000 for furnishings. Use their empty mansions for the next Super Bowl. <br /> <br /> 3. Take away Congress' $3,000 in tax deductions for expenses outside their home district. Are you kidding? Is that over and above the taxpapermoney given them for expenses? And you want to take away our deduction for mortgage interest? What??? <br /> <br /> 2. Take away Congressional members' free franking privileges. Having taxpapers pay for postage soliciting more funds from the taxpaper is insulting to us. <br /> <br /> 1. Take away the make-up and hair people who service members of Congress, especially the person who tapes open Nancy Pelosi's eyelids.<br /> <br /> Sincerely,<br /> <br /> We the People "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 19:37:36 +0100 How to Deal With a Contractor If You're a Single Woman http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=31:31 <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>How to Deal With a Contractor If You're a Single Woman</strong><br /><br /><em>by Maggie Van Ostrand</em><br /><br />Contractors are all the same. They just have different faces so you can tell them apart. It's a nightmare for a single home-owning woman to deal with male contractors who seem to think we're not the ones paying them. For one thing, they don't look you in the eyes, they look you in the chest. They don't talk to you as a human being, they talk to you as a dimwitted slug. In fact, they don't really want to talk to you at all, they want to talk to a man, preferably your husband, the one they assume pays the bills. <br /><br />For some reason, when contractors can talk with your husband, it brings a lower job estimate than if they have to talk to you, a &lt;gasp&gt; woman, otherwise known as someone who thinks a Philips Head is the head on the neck of someone named Philip, when it's a special kind of screwdriver with a wonky tip.<br /><br />What if you haven't got a husband at the moment? You are defenseless, powerless, and apt to sign the contract they so presumptuously shove at you with the pen they just happen to have in their hand. I've experienced shoddy workmanship without a husband to direct and inspect their work before final payment is made. And that was before I realized I needed a new roof.<br /><br />When it dripped rain on my sleeping head during a recent storm, I realized the old roof wouldn't last another winter, and started calling roofing contractors. I learned how to deal with feckless contractors; there's nothing more frustrating than to handle a contractor with no feck.<br /><br />Never mind that the local roofers' estimates were almost twice as much, for the presumed convenience of proximity, let's just cut to me finding a fairly priced roofing estimate from a company about 60 miles away willing to make the long round-trip drive for several days. This time, I thought, a contractor will not take advantage of husbandless me because by the time work commences, I will have one. <br /><br />Living near Los Angeles, the hub of the entertainment industry, I first thought of hiring a movie extra, until I found out what it would cost. Second, I thought of interviewing male escorts but they not only cost more, they were all too young, too handsome, and too expectant of special extras of their own. Desperation drove me to a better solution; I already had a possibility.<br /><br />I asked my long-time handyman if I could hire him at his regular rate to act like my husband, explaining the need for a man to join me in meeting with the contractor. He was thrilled because, he enthused, "I'm 62 years old and this is my first acting job!"<br /><br />Hiring a husband worked out very well. The contractor addressed all his remarks to him, the handyman asked intelligent questions I never would have thought of, and made it clear that I (his "wife") was in charge of home repairs.<br /><br />What persuaded the contractor to address future comments to me, satisfied all parties, and sealed the deal, was when my hired husband told the contractor that I was in charge of the checkbook. Now I have a nice new roof to prevent raindrops from falling on my head, but my checkbook has sprung a leak.<br /><br /><br />###</span></span></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 08 Feb 2011 01:41:41 +0100 http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=30:30 <p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>New Year&rsquo;s Non-Resolutions</strong><br /><em>By Maggie Van Ostrand</em><br />&nbsp;<br />It gets tiresome listing all the things you want to change about yourself but know in your heart you&rsquo;re bound to fail. Again. Like you do every year. My resolutions were getting too elastic anyway. I kept resolving to not get hysterical every time I got lost while driving somewhere new, and then I loosened it to blaming Map Quest and then loosened it further to shrieking at my new GPS because it didn&rsquo;t know left from right. What&rsquo;s the point of making these resolutions?<br />&nbsp;<br />Instead of doing that this year, I&rsquo;m going to thank the unsung heroes who invented things that will continue to make life easier for yet another year.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>The Whistling Tea Kettle</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Since I tend to be absent-minded when concentrating on a topic to write about, or if I&rsquo;m on a phone call, or if I find myself deliriously embedded on the Internet researching a story, I would&rsquo;ve burned the house down years ago, if not for that shrill whistle, alerting me to water reaching the boiling stage. So I consider English inventor Sholom Borgelman (changed to Borman) a hero for inventing the whistling tea kettle in London just after World War I. <br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Antifreeze</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />I can remember my dad starting up our old Buick for at least ten wintery minutes before a trip, so the engine would cooperate. Then along came a miraculous thing called antifreeze, which keeps the engine warm in winter and cool in summer. I can&rsquo;t get over that. Dad must&rsquo;ve been a tad behind the times though, since I just found out that antifreeze was first prepared, and called ethylene glycol, in 1859 (the family Buick wasn&rsquo;t quite that old) by a French chemist named Charles Adolphe Wurtz. <br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Ball Point Pens</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Believe it or not, there was a time between the quill and the crayon where a dark liquid called &ldquo;ink&rdquo; was sucked into a fountain pen so your ancestors could write a letter on something called &ldquo;paper&rdquo;. This method considerably predates texting and was much easier on the eyes. (Ink was also used to dip the long hair of the schoolgirl sitting in front of you into the inkwell on your desk.) Then came the ballpoint pen, not nearly as much fun but way neater. It took more effort to stain your shirt with a ballpoint pen than it did with a fountain pen, but that&rsquo;s o.k. because the ballpoint pen lasted longer and you didn&rsquo;t have to carry a bottle of ink all over town in case someone asked you for your autograph or something. The first day ball points went on sale in the United States, they were guaranteed to write for two years without refilling, and were instantly sold out at a cost of $12.50 each. The inventor of this time-saver was, technically, American John Loud back in 1888. Well, he&rsquo;s the one who patented the idea but couldn&rsquo;t make it practical. In 1935, it took Hungarian brothers Ladislas and Georg Biro, plus the president of Argentina, to get the ball rolling again. Eberhard Faber paid the Biros half a million for the rights, later selling them to Eversharp. Chicago businessman, Milton Reynolds ran with the ball over the finish line.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Windshield Wipers</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />You probably think they always came on cars, but they didn&rsquo;t. In fact, some taxis today, at least in Mexico, have them but they don&rsquo;t work and when it rains, the cabbie has to hang out the driver&rsquo;s window and swipe at the windshield with a greasy rag. So next time you&rsquo;re driving in the rain, say thanks to a lady from Alabama, Mary Anderson, who invented and patented the windshield wiper in 1905. I only wish they put one on each of the side view mirrors.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>Kevlar</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />Stephanie Kwolek of Pennsylvania has saved the lives of countless police officers wearing bulletproof vests made of her invention, Kevlar. Perhaps she saved your life, too, since Kevlar is used in brake linings, parachutes, skis, and boats. And, without his Kevlar vest, Jack Bauer would&rsquo;ve been killed in Series 1 of 24, instead of lasting all the way through Series 8. Not only that, but America as well as the rest of the world would have been blown up by evil-eyed villains. We&rsquo;d all be pushing up daisies, had Jack not worn his Kevlar vest, five times stronger than steel, for protection. While some people might prefer Superman, Man of Steel, I&rsquo;ll take Jack Bauer, Man of Kevlar.<br />&nbsp;<br />So, instead of elastic New Year&rsquo;s resolutions, I offer thanks to Sholom for the whistle that may keep my house from burning down, Charlie for the car that starts in winter, John for the pen I write with, Mary for letting me see through the rain, and Stephanie for the life of Jack Bauer.<br /><br /><strong>Happy New Year!</strong></span></span></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 27 Dec 2010 22:42:58 +0100 Christmas Shopping http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=29:29 <p><span style="font-size: small;"><strong>Christmas Shopping</strong><br /><br /><em>by Maggie Van Ostrand</em><br /><br />Christmas shopping for me will always be the once-upon-a-time of memory: walking on Fifth Avenue &mdash; it's probably snowing, windows decorated like the fairy tales of childhood, with incredible train sets, dolls with beautiful porcelain faces and long yellow hair dressed in ball gowns from royal courts of "the old country" (as grandma used to say). One year, such a doll danced with a toy soldier in a red jacket and tall, feathered hat. Round and round and round they went, never to tire, never to grow old. A little girl like me could stand, enthralled, holding onto my mother's hand, having all these precious gifts, if only for that moment.<br /><br />There were replicas of steel suspension bridges; an entire miniature department store with different floors, an up-and-down elevator, tiny people moving about, cash registers with tiny numbered tabs which shot up ringing a little bell for each purchase; incredible mechanical dancing clowns; log cabin villages with families standing outside, smoke coming out of the chimney as a young Abe Lincoln sawed logs outside; everything seemed to have moving parts.<br /><br />One year, there was a metal cathedral maybe two feet high which played Christmas carols sung by (I learned later) the Vienna Boys Choir. Nothing was made in China, with the possible exception of children's sets of China cups and saucers you could see through if you held them up to the light. The steel railroad cars that sped on metal tracks right through little villages with blacksmiths who banged away on an anvil, trees whose leaves never fell, The General Store with geezers spinning silent yarns on a bench outside, tall and short houses, one of which contained an immobile quilting bee, bus stops, and the wonderful Train Station itself. No wonder boys and their fathers were held in a state of rapture looking in the store window at such life. We used to imagine these wonderful toys coming to life after closing time, little anticipating that one day, movies about that very fantasy would be made, perhaps&nbsp; by grown-up kids who once gazed longingly in those same windows.<br /><br />Today's kids will also have Christmas memories: plastic logs, plastic computers, plastic dish sets, figures of plastic comic book heroes. If you ask a five-year-old what he or she wants for Christmas, chances are they'll say "A television for my room," or "an iPad," or "my own Blackberry."<br /><br />Whatever gifts children get, be they an old-time working replica of a Ferris wheel, a modern-day Angry Bird app, or set of giant stuffed germs, we can be sure of one thing: considering the heavy plastic used to package today's toys, batteries, even cosmetics, unless they have a flamethrower, nobody will be able to open the boxes.<br /><br />###<br /><br /></span></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sun, 19 Dec 2010 03:14:20 +0100 Bullfights Out. Ferdinand In. http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=28:28 <p><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/Ferdinand.jpg" alt="" width="208" height="208" /></p> <p>If you want to find out why riding in a Mexican taxi is like being in a bullfight, check this out: <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />http://tinyurl.com/2c4zxld<br /><br />Stay cool and connected!<br />Cheers!<br />Maggie</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Wed, 25 Aug 2010 00:16:53 +0100 Top 100 Movie Characters http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=27:27 Tomorrow, May 10th, begins a week of naming my Top 100 Movie Characters of all time.<br /> See how many you agree with (and how many you don't) by checking in each day next week when 20 new ones will be posted daily at http://www.fandomania.com<br /> <br /> Leave a comment every day Mon-Fri, if you care to.<br /> <br /> There may be some surprises in store. "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sun, 09 May 2010 20:17:01 +0100 Big Corporations, Little Ripoffs http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=26:26 <p>Are Big Corporations starting to deceive consumers in little ways? If you come across a woman sitting there counting the nuts in Rocky Road ice cream, that'd be me. I'm getting cynical about how big food corporations are cutting back to save money. Read the entire article at www.maggievanostrand.com, and start counting your nuts.</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 10 Apr 2010 16:03:21 +0100 Wanted Dead or Alive: Michael Jackson http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=25:25 I didn't make this up for the Huffington Post. Not much.<br /> <br /> http://bit.ly/ax8VUO <br /> <br /> Read about Michael's new recording deal with Sony. Seriously. "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 16 Mar 2010 20:33:23 +0100 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Oscars http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=23:24 If you'd like to find out 10 interesting and little-known facts about the Oscars, read this:<br /> <br /> Click or cut-and-past<br /> <br /> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-van-ostrand/10-things-you-didnt-know_b_488293.html "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 06 Mar 2010 18:40:12 +0100 Bosom Buddy http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=22:23 It doesn't matter whether you're a working woman toiling amidst the trauma and traffic of a career, or you're an at-home woman living amidst the joys of retirement. You still need a bosom buddy.<br /> <br /> Qualified to fill this time-honored category would be other women, one's mother and/or mother-in-law, one's husband and/or someone else's husband, mentors, siblings, even one's adult children. For me, there's no doubt about #1 in the bosom buddy category; that would have to be my brassiere.<br /> <br /> The reverse is also true: I myself qualify as bosom buddy to manufacturers which is easy; there's only one requisite. Gravity.<br /> <br /> And here's some information men probably never wanted to know: The bosom comes in many sizes, A to I, and can be shaped like knolls, eggplants, cones, and very thin ancient women frequently appear to be adorned with a pair of blackjacks.<br /> <br /> According to "Uplift," a reference book about the history of the brassiere, women have gone from boyish flatness to torpedo-shaped to plunging fronts to sportif chic to water-gel brassieres in a mere century and a half. In my opinion, the history of the brassiere was summed up by actress Tallulah Bankhead, when she once said of a play she disliked: "There's less here than meets the eye."<br /> <br /> After 140 years of attempts to design the ideal breast supporter using materials from feather-bones to spandex, some patents are just plain quirky, ranging from a fur-lined bra to one with an electric heating system. That might be a very friendly thing if you're married to an Eskimo, though a micro fan hidden in a bra to cool yourself might be more beneficial, not to mention soothing, if you live in Mexico.<br /> <br /> No less than 100% of the men I interviewed don't give a flying fig whether a woman was born amply endowed like Mae West, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, or medically endowed like Dolly Parton, Pamela Anderson and Demi Moore. I guess the bosom's origin is the one exception to their rule about how they hate it when women lie to them.<br /> <br /> Back in 1932, MGM actress Maureen O'Sullivan (future mother of Mia Farrow) was photographed in a perky-bosomed pose, urging Sears' customers to "Be sure to measure" before ordering any foundation garment. Those were the days before brassieres were mass produced, when women actually had personal fittings. None of these hanging-from-a-hook-at-Walmart bras for them. No indeedy.<br /> <br /> Brassieres presented myriad possibilities for shaping, from early 1900's mono-bosoms to the torpedoes of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Speaking of torpedoes, in World War II, Maiden Form was commissioned by the U.S. Government to fashion a type of support for the army's carrier pigeons, who carried messages when radio silence was being observed immediately before D-Day. Talk about a hooter holster! Steven Spielberg should make a movie about that and call it "Saving Private Pigeon."<br /> <br /> Brassiere manufacturers also supplied the military with everything from pup tents to parachutes. Notice any similarities in design?<br /> <br /> Women have gone from training bras to sports bras to burning bras and today, the brassiere is often worn on the outside of a garment. Bras no longer are considered "under" wear, largely due to trendsetting pop idols, J-Lo and Beyonce, not to mention Lady Gaga.<br /> <br /> Even Elizabeth, Queen of England, wears a brassiere; not just any old bra, of course, but one designed and made by Rigby & Peller, to whom she granted her Royal Warrant as Official Corsetieres in 1960. I wonder if they also design her hats.<br /> <br /> In 2010, we're dealing with the syndrome of looking as though we're not wearing a bra at all. "Sex and the City" introduced the Nipple Enhancer, a "bodyperk," which gives people everywhere the illusion that the wearer is constantly standing on a drafty iceberg. We've come a long way, baby. Or have we?<br /> <br /> Not to worry, dear reader. The world may suffer economic disarray from time to time, but it will survive as long as women continue to have what it takes and a place to house them.<br /> <br /> ### "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 05 Mar 2010 21:28:31 +0100 Red China Turns U.S.A. Pink http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=20:22 <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Red China Turns U.S.A. Pink</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>by Maggie Van Ostrand</h3> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><br />I disagree with color experts like Susan Wright, Clothing and Textile Specialist, who claims "To select becoming colors for your wardrobe, you must consider three very important factors-your skin, your eyes and your hair." If that's true, then how come everything that comes out of my washing machine is pink? I hate pink. It&rsquo;s not only that I look like a rotund salmon in pink, but who wants that to be the only color in the closet? What if someone dies and I go to the funeral in pink? What am I, a lawn flamingo? Sure, sure, I know how important pink is. It&rsquo;s the color of the elephants we see when tipsy. We can be tickled pink and feel in the pink. That isn&rsquo;t what I&rsquo;m talking about. I&rsquo;m talking about being pinkified against my will. If it isn&rsquo;t the fault of the United States Government's Department of the Exterior that all my stuff turned pink, then whose fault is it? <br /><br />The question is, should I institute a lawsuit against the Fed, the World Trade Organization, and the People&rsquo;s Republic of China on charges of Subliminal Invasion of My Utility Room? Let me publicly state that I have nothing against any country that has the Great Wall and the Yangtze River. China&rsquo;s been around for over 2,000 years, not an paltry 200 like the U.S.A. Why, the Chinese invented wheelbarrows, whiskey, matches, kites, iron and steel, parachutes, playing cards, the suspension bridge, the fishing reel and the favorite game of all the smarties I know, chess. With an impressive record like that, wouldn&rsquo;t you think they could make clothing that&rsquo;s colorfast? But noooooo, that&rsquo;s not the case, which is why practically everything I own is now pink. <br /><br />I'm embarrased to tell people the new red shirt I bought turned everything else in the laundry pink, so I tell them it&rsquo;s the latest trend called Shanghai Chic. In today's politically correct America, am I now supposed to identify myself to the census guy as a Pink-American?<br /><br />Unlike clothing made in the U.S.A. which has rules requiring colorfast and pre-shrunk fabrics, we appear to overlook those regulations when it comes to imported fabrics, though the Fed heatedly denies that. You know how they are. They don't allow child labor here either, but there are probably Chinese children slaving away on clothing we have a yen for. That&rsquo;s probably why the fairy tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes," tells us that the Emperor had no clothes on at all. Not only was he unable to find anything that fit, he probably didn&rsquo;t look good in pink either. <br /><br />&ldquo;Clothing colors affect apparent body size. Generally, warm, light ... colors make the figure appear larger...&rdquo; say the experts. Gee thanks. Like I didn&rsquo;t have enough weight problems before? Can't they figure out that it&rsquo;s not easy being pink day after day? And that's not the only problem. We&rsquo;re advised by our own government to wash everything before wearing it. Not only do these clothes bleed into all the laundry even in cold water turning everything pink, they shrink to a size more easily worn by, say, Barbie or Ken. <br /><br />You want to talk size? For Christmas, I bought a 6&rsquo; tall friend a pair of men&rsquo;s pajamas made in China, size XL. He told me that when they were washed, the elastic waistband shrank to about the diameter of his wedding ring and the new pajamas fit no one in his house except his 6-year-old son, who still has a crenulated waistline. <br /><br />It&rsquo;s no laughing matter after your new duds have shrunk in the wash and you try to get into them, especially the ones you pull on over your head. It&rsquo;s like wearing pantyhose on your face. Like a Chinese finger puzzle, the more you struggle, the tighter you're trapped. <br /><br />And good luck to you trying to find Made in the U.S.A. labels. Best you can hope for is the deceptive label, "<em>Assembled</em> in the U.S.A." What're we, stupid? Like we can't figure out stuff is made in China and shipped to the U.S. for "<em>assembling</em>." <br /><br />The only thing I can come up with to keep&nbsp; my assembled-in-the-U.S.A. pick-up truck from turning pink and shrinking to a VW when it rains, is to check out the malls in Shanghai. With any luck, everything there is made in the U.S.A.</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 06 Feb 2010 21:34:32 +0100 The Art of Barbering http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=19:21 Many years ago when Elizabeth Taylor was ruling Egypt, the absence of facial hair was militarily strategic, separated the rich from the poor, and could even get you elected to office.<br /> <br /> Check out the whole story at www.maggievanostrand.com<br /> <br /> It's not that I don't want to send you the entire story here and now, but I'd rather get as many hits as possible on my website for my birthday. "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 19 Jan 2010 22:43:45 +0100 The Art of ReGifting http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=18:20 "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Fri, 18 Dec 2009 21:50:28 +0100 The Truth About Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=17:19 Merry Christmas Everyone, or Happy Whatever You Celebrate.<br /> <br /> We discovered a profound truth -- it's the most amazing news ever about one of our favorite holiday personalities: Rudolph.<br /> <br /> In fact, it's the most shocking news since we found out there was no tooth fairy, no real Easter Bunny, and that mistletoe is really a fungus.<br /> <br /> Check it out at www.maggievanostrand.com "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 10 Dec 2009 22:37:24 +0100 My Wonderful Readers http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=16:18 One of you wonderful, intelligent readers out there has just pointed out to me that in my holiday story, The Crookedest Christmas Tree, I mistakenly credited the Sistine Chapel ceiling to DaVinci, when it should have been Michelangelo.<br /> <br /> Thank you for being so alert and catching that gaffe. "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 01 Dec 2009 03:35:13 +0100 The Crookedest Christmas Tree http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=15:17 "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sun, 29 Nov 2009 19:38:02 +0100 Top 10 Thanksgiving Rules http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=14:16 "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 03 Nov 2009 01:25:26 +0100 New Halloween Candy http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=13:15 "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 26 Oct 2009 17:57:48 +0100 Why Can't Congress Be More Like a Dog? http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=12:14 <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG /> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:DoNotShowRevisions /> <w:DoNotPrintRevisions /> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:UseMarginsForDrawingGridOrigin /> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--StartFragment--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Why Can&rsquo;t Congress Be More Like a Dog?</p> <p class="MsoNormal">By Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Pretty nearly everybody, even cat lovers, know what dogs are like. They greet each other by circling, touching noses, and generally giving each other the once-over until they&rsquo;re satisfied with what they find. Such friendly activities supply enough information to decide whether they want to play together or keep on walking.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/dogkiss.jpg" alt="" width="132" height="74" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Why can&rsquo;t politicians be more like a dog? Wouldn&rsquo;t it better serve the country if, when politicians met other politicians, they&rsquo;d do the same things dogs do?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/polsFite.jpg" alt="" width="129" height="86" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">We don&rsquo;t care to count as dogs those congressmen from the Democratic Party who are called Blue Dogs. That&rsquo;s just Washington spin. What are we, stupid? If they were real blue dogs, they&rsquo;d be a painting by George Rodrigue, ads for Absolut Vodka and Xerox, and have their picture hanging in a Cajun caf&eacute; in New Iberia, Louisiana.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/blueDog.jpg" alt="" width="98" height="130" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">A real dog communicates by wagging, barking, or snarling, and you pretty much know exactly what they mean. Unlike the U.S. Congress, in the entire history of the world, there has never been a hypocritical dog. However, there have been congressmen and women who must think they are a dog because they keep on digging holes for themselves.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">When a dog sniffs fire hydrants, telephone poles and trees, it&rsquo;s like he&rsquo;s reading messages. He knows who&rsquo;s been there before him, he knows how tall they were, and he knows what they had for dinner. This certainly beats reading books by politicians whose autobiographies are hawked by their daughters and written by someone else, or having dinner with one and wondering how much such a fancy meal is costing the taxpayer, or the wordless message of sticking a paw under the partition to somebody else&rsquo;s bathroom stall. So what if it&rsquo;s true that a dog is lower on the food chain than a human, no dog has ever done anything so covert.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Further, no dog has ever stiffed the taxpayer by taking government planes to a golf game, raided taxpayer coffers for personal make-up and hair stylist, or failed to disclose something on their tax returns. There is honor among dogs, and dogs have ethics, whereas Congress, as a whole, is an ethical midget with neutered morals.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">When the top dog suffers a set-back, the other dogs do not stand around giggling and gasbagging to the media how happy they are over the pack leader&rsquo;s misfortune. They rally round in a show of unity to the rest of the world. That includes Honduras.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The remedy is this: we must educate our politicians the same way we educate our dogs. They must attend Obedience Class and master these few commands:</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal">SIT, STAY: This command is solely for South Carolina Republican Senator DeMint, who, defying U.S. government policy, flew to Honduras to interfere in their politics. DeMint will need more than one lesson and should be leashed.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal">OFF: Get your paws off that woman, you&rsquo;ve got a wife.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal">HEEL: No need to teach Congress about heel; many have already earned that title.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal">FETCH: Bring jobs back to the U.S.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal">BEG:<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Quit obstructing progress or you can sit up and beg to get reelected.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0in;" type="disc"> <li class="MsoNormal">DOWN: This does not refer to a pillow under the head of your Argentinian tango partner. It means get off your high horse.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Congress will not graduate from Obedience School unless they first figure out that butt sniffing and ass kissing are not the same thing.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/dogSnif.jpg" alt="" width="140" height="94" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Next time California elects a new governor, I&rsquo;m voting for Cesar Millan.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">###</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->&nbsp;<!--[endif]--></p> <!--EndFragment--> <p>&nbsp;</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Tue, 06 Oct 2009 05:14:09 +0100 To Tweet or Not to Tweet: That is the Question http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=11:13 <p style="text-align: left;">To Tweet or Not to Tweet, That is the Question</p> <p style="text-align: left;">by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>The Post Office has been operating at a deficit, our clue that one day in the foreseeable future, there will be no such a thing as a handwritten letter. This tragedy is due solely to the advent of email, instant messaging, and Twitter.<br /><br />Letters are paper memories of loved ones that we can forever keep, read, and remember. When my mother reached the age of 98, she sent me a card with her favorite flower on the front, a purple iris, and inside, she wrote the day, date, and time of my birth. It was as much to let me know she was thinking of me, as it was a memory exercise to keep her mind sharp.<br /><br />I kept all her letters and notes, pages yellowing, ink fading, scent ebbing like a shy sunset. Had she lived in today&rsquo;s world, she might have emailed instead, her thoughts perhaps less clear and easily misunderstood, as is sometimes the case with email, in which, unlike the art of letter writing, we do not strive for perfection. One thing I&rsquo;m sure of, had email been on the scene, Mother would not have needed spell check.<br /><br />Letters are reflections of life, much of which would be forgotten if not for those fluid scrawls of handwriting, so easy to recognize, each different from the others. I still have a childhood &ldquo;contract,&rdquo; handwritten and signed by my parents, stating that if I would accept a new coat instead of a dog, they would allow me to get a pet when I reached 16. That was their smart way of saying I wasn&rsquo;t responsible enough to care for a dog at the age of 8. They were right. <br /><br />Handwritten notes, including saved Post-its, from my own kids are mini-diaries of their lives. We&rsquo;d have fewer memories, had Instant Messaging been available, or email or Twitter.<br /><br />I&rsquo;ve got nothing against newer, faster methods of communication, but they fail to evoke the feelings and memories as a handwritten letter does. Take Twitter for example. It allows only 140 characters, including spaces. Removing adjectives also removes the color and passion of thoughts.<br /><br />What would the world be reading today had Elizabeth Barrett&rsquo;s classic love sonnet been Tweeted to Robert Browning? The original reads:<br /><br /><em>How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.<br />I love thee to the depth and breadth and height<br />My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight<br />For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.<br />I love thee to the level of everyday's<br />Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.<br />I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;<br />I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.<br />I love thee with a passion put to use<br />In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.<br />I love thee with a love I seemed to lose<br />With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,<br />Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,<br />I shall but love thee better after death.<br /></em><br />Barrett's sonnet has 613 characters. Tweeting Mr. Browning would have meant cutting her work down to 140 characters, which&nbsp; might have looked like this:<br /><br /><em>Lve u? Lts see<br />deep wide high<br />soul far out<br />candles righteous dudes<br />humble dudes<br />passion faith <br />saints r out<br />laffs cries<br />lifelong emotions<br />better dead</em><br /><br />And what about Lincoln&rsquo;s Gettysburg Address?<br /><br /><em>Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.<br /><br />Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.<br /><br />But in a larger sense we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.<br /><br />It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.</em><br /><br />Could Lincoln have reduced it to 140 characters?<br /><br /><em>United States formed 87 yrs back<br />Decided all men same<br />Big fight anyway<br />Lots dead both sides, not for nothing<br />freedom rocks<br />of, by, for, everyone </em><br /><br />We may be the last generation to get the full measure of someone&rsquo;s thoughts, feelings, and written words of historical importance. I have no letter from Barrett or Lincoln, but I did find a personal letter of painful significance.<br /><br />I&rsquo;d written it to myself and it turned up in the pages of an old book. There&rsquo;s no date on my tear-stained tale of getting dumped. It upsets me even now to read how much he meant to me, and the pain he caused. There&rsquo;s only one thing wrong: I forgot to include the guy&rsquo;s name, so I have no idea who he was, but I'm glad he left. <br /><br />It takes time and thought when we put pen to paper and compose a letter. If our thoughts are unclear, we tear it up and start again. Mark Twain said it best: <em>The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. </em><br /><br />And he said it in only 122 characters. Including spaces.<br /><br />If the art of letter writing dies, then our last stand on behalf of the Post Office is to continue mailing our payments. We cannot give in to pressure already being applied for us to pay bills online. What, put our account numbers and banking/credit card information on the World Wide Internet for hackers and scammers to access? Hardly.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ll continue to mail checks and letters and wait for a return of the Pony Express. Coast to coast took 10 days, and the only difference between then and now is they needed someone to clean up after the horses.<br /><br /><img title="Pony Express" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/PonyExpress.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="166" />###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sun, 30 Aug 2009 23:39:48 +0100 Hitchcock http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=10:12 <p>Alfred Hitchcock: Can You Spot Him?<br />by Maggie Van Ostrand<br /><br /><img style="float: left;" title="Hitchcock Hiding" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/hitchcockhiding.jpg" alt="Hitchcock Hiding" width="280" height="301" />Friday the 13th of August 1899, Alfred Hitchcock was born, a fitting birth date for the man who was to become known as The Master of Suspense. Long before movie casts learned to perform as they do today, in front of a green screen where images are later&nbsp; placed by computers, Hitchcock was scaring our pants off by transferring images from his mind to paper and then to film. Dozens of memorable visuals come to mind -- PSYCHO: water swirling down drain, car sinking into lake. NOTORIOUS: passing of the key, nibbling love scene. VERTIGO: dizzying elasticity of dimensions, misty reappearance of Madeline to obsessed Scotty. NORTH BY NORTHWEST: crop duster and Mount Rushmore scenes. Hitchcock himself appears in all of these films, and many more. Can you spot him?<br /><br />REBECCA (1940) Man passing telephone booth with George Sanders inside. (rare -- cut from most prints). First American film. Hitch was painstaking, methodical, and tricky. Hitchcock took advantage of Joan Fontaine&rsquo;s natural insecurities by telling her that Olivier really wanted Vivien Leigh in the part. This sneaky tactic helped Fontaine perfect the role of a na&iuml;ve young bride, out of her element.<br /><br />FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940) Man walking on sidewalk. Joel McCrea recalled Hitchcock's habit of drinking champagne at lunch. "One day, there was a long scene with me just standing there, talking. When it was over, I expected to hear 'Cut!' I looked over and there was Hitchcock snoring .... So I said 'Cut!' He woke up and said , "Was it any good?" I said, 'The best in the picture,' and he said, 'Print it!'"<br /><br />MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941) Man walking past Robert Montgomery on street.<br />Hitchcock's only comedy.<br /><br />SABOTEUR (1942) Man standing by newsstand.<br /><br />SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943) Man playing cards aboard train. Hitchcock identified with Hume Cronyn's character, obsessed with committing fantasy murders and living with an (unseen)&nbsp; sick, demanding mother. Hitch's own mother was later portrayed as possessive and tyrannical in Notorious.<br /><br /><img style="float: left;" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/hitchlifeboat.gif" alt="Lifeboat" width="250" height="187" />LIFEBOAT (1943) Man in before and after newspaper ad for Reducing Weight. Hitchcock said of Tallulah Bankhead "She stood up to being doused by 5,400 gallons of water, and got a round of applause from stagehands." However, the reason for applause was Bankhead's lack of panties climbing up the ladder to get into the water tank. "The whole point about Tallulah," said Hitchcock, "is that she has no inhibitions." <br /><br />SPELLBOUND (1945) Man exiting elevator carrying violin. Gregory Peck's character cries "Unlock the doors! You can't keep people in cells!"&nbsp; "When I was six years old, I did something that my father considered worthy of reprimand," recalled Hitch. "He sent me to the local police station with a note. The officer on duty read it and locked me in a jail cell for five minutes, saying, 'This is what we do to naughty boys.' I have since gone to any lengths to avoid arrest and confinement..."<br /><br />NOTORIOUS (1946) Man at party drinking champagne. Hitch: "I wanted to make this film about a man who forces a woman to go to bed with another man because it's his professional duty." Grant and Rains externalized Hitchcock's dual nature.<br /><br />THE PARADINE CASE (1947) Man carrying cello case. <br /><br />ROPE (1948) Man crossing street.<br /><br />UNDER CAPRICORN (1949) Man listening to speech. Man on stairs of Government House.<br /><br />STAGE FRIGHT (1950) Man turning on street to look at Jane Wyman. <br /><br />STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951) Man boarding train with bass fiddle. Detail-freak Hitchcock personally selected the wet leaves, orange peel, gum wrapper, and crumpled paper for sewer debris as Robert Walker bends down to retrieve a cigarette lighter.<br /><br />I CONFESS (1952) Man walking across top of flight of stairs. Hitch: "Working with Montgomery Clift was difficult because he was a method actor and a neurotic as well." <br /><br />DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954) Man in class reunion photograph. Filmed in 3-D, prints released flat. Strangulation and stabbing-with-scissors scene caused him so much anxiety, Hitch lost 20 pounds. "Nicely done," he said after Take One, "but there wasn't enough gleam to the scissors, and a murder without gleaming scissors is like asparagus without hollandaise sauce."<br /><br /><img style="float: left;" title="Rear Window, Man Winding Clock" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/hitchrearwindow.jpg" alt="Rear Window" width="280" height="201" />REAR WINDOW (1954)&nbsp; Man winding clock. Hitch: "... We had to build a set containing 32 other apartments [Stewart] sees from his window ... We never could have gotten them properly lit in a real location." A foot fetishist, he spent half an hour directing a close-up of Grace Kelly's shoes -- a shot never used in the film. <br /><br />TO CATCH A THIEF (1955)&nbsp; Man sitting next to Cary Grant on bus.&nbsp; Calling his&nbsp; scenarist during filming of final rooftop sequence, Hitch said "Look at them all down there. They think we're discussing something important ... But I only wanted to find out whether you're as frightened of heights as I am."<br /><br />THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1956)&nbsp; Man walking in front of exhibition. <br /><br />THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956) Man watching acrobats from bank. Hitchcock directed the actor playing an assassin watching his target, "Look lovingly at him, as if you're glancing at a beautiful woman."<br /><br />THE WRONG MAN (1957) Man who narrates prologue. Hitchcock took no salary. <br /><br />VERTIGO (1958) Man crossing street. Best example of Hitchcock's frequent motif: making a woman over into his own fantasy. Said Stewart, "I didn't realize ... what an impact it would have, but it's an extraordinary achievement by Hitch. And I could tell it was a very personal film for him even while he was making it."<br /><br /><img style="float: left;" title="North by Northwest, Man Who Misses Bus" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/hitchnbnw.jpg" alt="North by Northwest" width="280" height="194" />NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) Man who misses bus. Background shots filmed at Mt. Rushmore, actual chase filmed at Paramount.<br /><br />PSYCHO (1960) Man in cowboy hat outside an office. "It was very grueling," said Janet Leigh, "to stand in a shower getting drenched for a week."<br /><br /><img style="float: right;" title="The Birds" src="http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/images/hitchbirds.jpg" alt="The Birds" width="250" height="206" />THE BIRDS (1963) Man leaving pet shop with two white dogs. "I felt that after Psycho," said Hitchcock, "people would expect something to top it."<br /><br />MARNIE (1964) Man walking through hotel corridor.<br /><br />TORN CURTAIN ()1966) Man sitting in hotel lobby with baby on his lap<br /><br />TOPAZ (1969) Man in wheelchair at airport<br /><br />FRENZY (1970) Man listening to speech<br /><br />FAMILY PLOT (1976) Man whose silhouette is seen through a window talking to another man.<br /><br />Although Hitchcock loved preparing for a film, he found actual filming boring. However, he was a perfectionist and his philosophy was: "Nothing matters except the final picture."<br /><br />Directors are as trendy as the times dictate and few retain the ability to remain on top, appealing to all generations. Hitchcock is surely one.<br /><br /><br />###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sun, 26 Jul 2009 00:57:54 +0100 Ya Gotta Know When To Fold 'Em http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=9:11 <p>You Got To Know When To Fold &lsquo;Em<br />By Maggie Van Ostrand<br /><br />When Kenny Rogers sang, <em>&ldquo;Ya got to know when to hold &lsquo;em, know when to fold &lsquo;em &hellip; &ldquo;</em> in his hit, &ldquo;The Gambler,&rdquo; he was singing about more than playing cards, he was singing about housekeeping.<br /><br />With all that&rsquo;s going on in the world today, I should probably be more upset about unchecked crime, crooked politicians, and the faltering economy. But no, I&rsquo;ll leave those worries to people who can do something about them. What really concerns me is my laundry, and that I&rsquo;m unable to fold it as well as my daughter. She really knows &ldquo;when to hold &lsquo;em and when to fold &lsquo;em.&rdquo; Nobody does it better, not even the dry-cleaner.<br /><br />Daughter Paula (that&rsquo;s not her real name; her real name is Susan) can fold T-shirts into a perfect rectangle; one so perfect that whatever printing is on the T-shirt front is precisely centered in the final fold. She can fold fat and fluffy towels so that the ends come together perfectly without using a ruler (like me), and those she folds could be used in a Vogue ad for Cannon Towels. In fact, Paula can actually fold fitted sheets. I&rsquo;m not making that up. In the few minutes it takes her to finish doing it, you can&rsquo;t tell the difference between the folded flat sheets and the folded fitted ones. Her corners are as crisp and sharp as the edges of a new envelope. If she ever saw the way I fold things, she might politely say I taught her how to do it. I wouldn&rsquo;t bother correcting that lie because we&rsquo;d both know that my finest housekeeping hour was figuring out that I could avoid vacuuming by simultaneously opening the back and front doors and waiting for a breeze to blow out the dog's furballs. And I could never even figure out why dust stops accumulating after about two inches.<br /><br />Everybody has something they can do well, and sometimes life is simply trying to figure out what that thing we do well <em>is</em>. For me, if I can eliminate things I can&rsquo;t do, what&rsquo;s left will be my answer. I can&rsquo;t do calculus or anything else with numbers; I can&rsquo;t open jars without either a wrench or a man, and I can&rsquo;t figure out why auto mechanics can talk to men without looking at their chests the way they look at ours. I can&rsquo;t always understand exactly what poets mean in their poems, can&rsquo;t cook these days without a pair of scissors, some pliers, and a box of Band Aids, and I don&rsquo;t get how a battery works even though I read the explanation in an encyclopedia. <br /><br />However, I may be getting closer to finding out what I <em>can</em> do well because now I can also eliminate folding laundry into a decent shape. Instead, my laundry comes out like a bag full of deflated soccer balls left out in the rain. Not only that but, when I do the wash, it takes me much longer than most because I&rsquo;m constantly having to stop and pluck out bits of disintegrated Kleenex which had been hiding in pockets. This is progress? In my own mother&rsquo;s day, they used hankies so if they remained in pockets, they&rsquo;d get washed at the same time.<br /><br />Kenny Rogers was right about holding and folding but next time, he should consider lyrics by Erma Bombeck, who once said, <em>The art of never making a mistake is crucial to motherhood. To be effective and to gain the respect she needs to function, a mother must have her children believe she has never engaged in sex, never made a bad decision, never caused her own mother a moment's anxiety, and was never a child.</em> My mistake was in not teaching Paula how to fold laundry the way I do.<br /><br /><br />###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 02 Jul 2009 20:32:55 +0100 Ya Gotta Know When To Fold 'Em http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=9:10 <p>You Got To Know When To Fold &lsquo;Em<br />By Maggie Van Ostrand<br /><br />When Kenny Rogers sang, <em>&ldquo;Ya got to know when to hold &lsquo;em, know when to fold &lsquo;em &hellip; &ldquo;</em> in his hit, &ldquo;The Gambler,&rdquo; he was singing about more than playing cards, he was singing about housekeeping.<br /><br />With all that&rsquo;s going on in the world today, I should probably be more upset about unchecked crime, crooked politicians, and the faltering economy. But no, I&rsquo;ll leave those worries to people who can do something about them. What really concerns me is my laundry, and that I&rsquo;m unable to fold it as well as my daughter. She really knows &ldquo;when to hold &lsquo;em and when to fold &lsquo;em.&rdquo; Nobody does it better, not even the dry-cleaner.<br /><br />Daughter Paula (that&rsquo;s not her real name; her real name is Susan) can fold T-shirts into a perfect rectangle; one so perfect that whatever printing is on the T-shirt front is precisely centered in the final fold. She can fold fat and fluffy towels so that the ends come together perfectly without using a ruler (like me), and those she folds could be used in a Vogue ad for Cannon Towels. In fact, Paula can actually fold fitted sheets. I&rsquo;m not making that up. In the few minutes it takes her to finish doing it, you can&rsquo;t tell the difference between the folded flat sheets and the folded fitted ones. Her corners are as crisp and sharp as the edges of a new envelope. If she ever saw the way I fold things, she might politely say I taught her how to do it. I wouldn&rsquo;t bother correcting that lie because we&rsquo;d both know that my finest housekeeping hour was figuring out that I could avoid vacuuming by simultaneously opening the back and front doors and waiting for a breeze to blow out the dog's furballs. And I could never even figure out why dust stops accumulating after about two inches.<br /><br />Everybody has something they can do well, and sometimes life is simply trying to figure out what that thing we do well <em>is</em>. For me, if I can eliminate things I can&rsquo;t do, what&rsquo;s left will be my answer. I can&rsquo;t do calculus or anything else with numbers; I can&rsquo;t open jars without either a wrench or a man, and I can&rsquo;t figure out why auto mechanics can talk to men without looking at their chests the way they look at ours. I can&rsquo;t always understand exactly what poets mean in their poems, can&rsquo;t cook these days without a pair of scissors, some pliers, and a box of Band Aids, and I don&rsquo;t get how a battery works even though I read the explanation in an encyclopedia. <br /><br />However, I may be getting closer to finding out what I <em>can</em> do well because now I can also eliminate folding laundry into a decent shape. Instead, my laundry comes out like a bag full of deflated soccer balls left out in the rain. Not only that but, when I do the wash, it takes me much longer than most because I&rsquo;m constantly having to stop and pluck out bits of disintegrated Kleenex which had been hiding in pockets. This is progress? In my own mother&rsquo;s day, they used hankies so if they remained in pockets, they&rsquo;d get washed at the same time.<br /><br />Kenny Rogers was right about holding and folding but next time, he should consider lyrics by Erma Bombeck, who once said, <em>The art of never making a mistake is crucial to motherhood. To be effective and to gain the respect she needs to function, a mother must have her children believe she has never engaged in sex, never made a bad decision, never caused her own mother a moment's anxiety, and was never a child.</em> My mistake was in not teaching Paula how to fold laundry the way I do.<br /><br /><br />###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 02 Jul 2009 20:11:29 +0100 Common Scents: Why Brides Carry Bouquets http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=8:9 <p><strong>Common Scents: Why Brides Carry Bouquets</strong><br />by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>Everybody loves a bride. Why, women love to see one almost as much as we love to be one, especially a June bride.&#8232;&#8232; Back in the 15th Century, most people got married in the month of June because they took their yearly baths in May and didn't smell too bad a mere month later, the time it took back then to plan a wedding.</p> <p>Just to be on the safe side and not drive the groom back out the door gasping for fresh air while holding a handkerchief protectively over his nostrils, brides began carrying bouquets of flowers to hide their body odor. That was preferable to the groom's cries of "Oh My God, What's that stink!" at the alter. Unlike the bride's, his bath had been taken only the day before the wedding.&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>The annual baths themselves consisted of a big tub of hot water. The man of the house got the nice, hot, clean water, then all the other male members of the household from sons to servants, followed by the lowly women and, last of all, the baby. By that time, the water was so filthy, you couldn't see into it and tiny tots could actually get lost in it, hence the expression, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." We've come a long way baby.&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>We can trace the artificial scents of today back to those June brides. Today, about the only thing that smells the same as it always did is the end of the nozzle at a gas pump.&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>Fragrances are known as the ultimate accessory. Nothing says more about you than the way you smell, say the perfume ads. Trouble is, the scentologists (those who devise new scents) didn't stop there, they wanted everyday things to smell like something else.&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>Why do we deodorize everything from the cat's litter box to our own? On some level we must be aware of what's going on in the bathroom, or are we supposed to think the person who preceded us was in there squeezing lemons?&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>We're bombarded daily with bouncy guilt-inducing ads convincing us we're supposed to smell like a wooded glen, a fresh flower or a tangy fruit. Our hirsute, cave-dwelling ancestors were doubtless a little gamy, but mightn't we have gone too far in the other direction?&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>On Halloween, we can buy fragrances called Graveyard ("an earthy, dusky scent reminding us of fog juice lingering in the air"), Crypt ("dark and mossy, reminiscent of New Orleans mausoleums"), and Mayhem ("smokey, woodsy scent mixed with spice for a dark night in the woods") at <a href="http://www.gothrosary.com" target="_blank">www.gothrosary.com</a>.&#8232;&#8232;They also sell (and I&rsquo;m not kidding) &ldquo;Disgusting Smells&rdquo; such as Seasick, Fromund (smegma), and Chunder (vomit), apparently for repelling all living things.</p> <p>We can buy wall plug-ins to make our garage smell less like motor oil and more like a field of daisies; underarm deodorant to deceive fellow elevator riders into believing we fell off a citrus truck; shampoo that makes us smell like we live inside a coconut; feline deodorizers to make our cat's litterbox smell like Pina Colada; and gel candles to make our SUVs smell like a sultry Hawaiian evening.&#8232;</p> <p>Our refrigerators no longer smell like food, they smell like an arm and a hammer, and when we're ready to throw out the trash, there are scented garbage bags.&#8232;There's even a spray to make a Hummer smell like a four-wheeled pine cone when it should have the lingering aroma of fine leather and backseat sex. "Here, we know all about problems with car odors," says Jean-Jacques, an employee at a limousine rental agency in Paris. "We clean the car after each client. Often, we do it several times a day. Each client has his own smell and I can recognize some of them with my eyes closed! I refresh the limousine with lime, grapefruit or green apple scents," says Jean-Jacques, adding "I wish some drivers would use cologne."&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>Speaking of cologne, the most popular with affluent teenaged girls is Ralph Lauren's "Romance," described as smelling like a garden of wild flowers in late summer; flirtatious and sweet ($63.55 for 3.4 oz spray); Givenchy's "Hot Couture" described as a combination of roses, vanilla and spring flowers, a perfect accent to a sophisticated Prom gown ($37.78 for 3.3 oz spray) and Thierry Mugler's "Angel" described as having the sweet smells of chocolate and orchids ($64.58 for 1.7 oz spray).&#8232;&#8232;Most teens usually smell like basketball sweat and rebellion, a far cry from grandma who usually smells like enough gas to knock the entire family into another universe.&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>There's a powder for vacuuming the carpet so it smells like fresh rain. And we thought it only rained in the living rooms of Orlando. Celebrities like Renee Zellweger and Courtney Cox opt for room scents like Angel Food Vanilla, and Banana Pudding. What, they can't just cook those things in the kitchen?&#8232;&#8232;When we're stressed out, we no longer talk about it with a friend, we opt for aroma therapy.&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>Why stop there? How about a spray called Horse so we can dream we're on a ranch in Montana instead of stuck in a cubicle working for an insurance company, and Bacon Frying in Kitchen, in case you want a quick sale on your house, or Pheromone, for those who still want to attract the opposite sex even after they've dried up.&#8232;Daring women can abandon panties scented like strawberry, lemon and lime, and go for something more enticing, like bourbon, scotch and gin.&#8232;&#8232;</p> <p>Perhaps scentologists will one day artificially create the best scent of all -- bread baking in the oven. Or, if you're out to catch a man, try a little motor oil behind your ears.&#8232;</p> <p>###</p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 30 May 2009 22:49:33 +0100 An Evening in Paris with Mom http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=7:8 An Evening In Paris With Mom<br /> by Maggie Van Ostrand<br /> <br /> Someone was wearing Evening In Paris perfume the other day, and the scent instantly reminded me of Mom. I haven't smelled Evening In Paris since we lost her, yet its fragrance transported me back to an earlier day.<br /> <br /> When I was little, Mom was my goddess. I sometimes clumped around in her high heels, scrunching my toes into a ball in an unsuccessful attempt to keep my feet from sliding all the way down into the pointy toes.<br /> <br /> She had beautiful hats, which I dearly wanted to try on, but I couldn't reach them all the way up on the hall closet's top shelf where they perched on faceless wooden heads.<br /> <br /> One day, I sneaked into forbidden territory -- my parents' bedroom -- intending to apply the contents of various tubes, jars and bottles of lady stuff; colored pencils; soft, fat brushes; pots of blush and powder.<br /> <br /> I smeared her gold-encased, bright red lipstick across my mouth; some color actually made it inside the lip lines. I attacked her huge pink container of powder, and its fuzzy puff created a scented pink cloud as I vigorously pummeled my face with it.<br /> <br /> Standing regally in its prominent position on a special shelf above the dressing table was the cobalt blue bottle of Evening In Paris perfume.<br /> <br /> Each time I reached for another item, the dressing table jiggled and the Evening In Paris wobbled precariously closer to the edge. I was caught offguard when it came crashing down, striking the vanity's glass top.<br /> <br /> The beautiful bottle smashed into blue smithereens, all but the silver stopper. In a frantic effort to stop the perfume from cascading over the table's edge and onto the carpet where a reminder stain might last forever, I panicked, clutching at the wet pile of broken blue glass, gashing my fingers. I can still feel the sting of the perfume as it dribbled over the cuts, on its way to puddle and sink into the carpet.<br /> <br /> The concentrated scent was heavy, more like a year in Paris than an evening. And the sound traveled all the way downstairs and into the kitchen where Mom was fixing dinner.<br /> <br /> No punishment was necessary, except the pained look she gave me. My own mind did the rest. How did she know precisely what happened? <br /> <br /> It wasn't until I became a mother myself that I realized moms don't have to see to know.<br /> <br /> Thank you, stranger, for wearing Evening in Paris when you passed.<br /> <br /> <br /> ### "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Thu, 07 May 2009 15:07:59 +0100 The Seabiscuit Stamp: How It Came To Be http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=6:7 <p style="text-align: left;">The Seabiscuit Stamp: How It Came To Be</p> <p style="text-align: left;">by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>On May 11th, a 44-cent rate-change stamp featuring the great thoroughbred racehorse, Seabiscuit, will be issued by the U.S. Postal Service. This stamp is significant for one huge reason: <em>We the people did it!&nbsp; </em>It took us eight long years, but we did it. People think we don&rsquo;t have power in Washington but, when there are enough of us, we can do anything.<br /><br />In 2001, when Laura Hillenbrand's best seller, &ldquo;Seabiscuit: An American Legend,&rdquo; was published, millions of readers were inspired by the true story of&nbsp; &ldquo;an undersized, crooked-legged racehorse named Seabiscuit,&rdquo; who beat all odds and became a pop-culture phenomenon. Back in the Thirties, as many spectators attended his races as today attend the Super Bowl. Those who couldn&rsquo;t squeeze into the track hung off lampposts, stood atop their cars, and climbed onto roofs just to catch a glimpse of him. When President Obama appeared on the Tonight Show March 19, ratings rose higher than they&rsquo;d been in years with 20 million viewers; when Seabiscuit raced, <em>40</em> million people listened on their radios.<br /><br />The stamp shows Seabiscuit, &ldquo;the people&rsquo;s horse,&rdquo; beating the magnificent Triple-Crown Winner, War Admiral, in their famous match race, still regarded as the greatest horse race in history. <br /><br />Impassioned by the book, I took a guided tour of the Biscuit&rsquo;s home, Ridgewood Ranch, in Northern California and, at the showing of an old 8mm movie of his greatest races and life at the Ranch, I spoke with another tourist, a man from New Orleans. Over time and telephone, we became friends and he suggested we try to get Seabiscuit on a California coin. That idea evolved into the possibility of attempting to get the horse, an American cultural icon, on a U.S. stamp.<br /><br />Fat chance, right? We had no money, no lobbyists, and no Washington connections. We had only passion, and a belief that the word &ldquo;No&rdquo; really meant, &ldquo;Try harder.&rdquo;<br /><br />We learned about the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, whose primary goal is to select subjects of &ldquo;broad national interest for recommendation to the Postmaster General that are both interesting and educational.&rdquo; To give you an idea of the odds we were up against, merely 25 subjects are selected each year out of many thousands of submissions. Only one other horse in history (Secretariat) had ever been so honored, and he had big financial backing and Washington lobbyists.<br /><br />Undaunted, we started a grassroots movement, beginning with local book clubs, then book clubs nationwide. Their members not only signed our petition to the Committee, they circulated it to all their friends, who sent it to everyone they knew. We put the petition on the Internet to be printed and mailed by anyone interested. We trolled the streets for signatures; promoted the idea on sports news TV; haunted Santa Anita for signatures; and returned to Ridgewood Ranch for the premiere of the movie, &ldquo;Seabiscuit,&rdquo; getting signatures from attendees. We did everything we could think of and then some. Thousands of people pitched in, like an Arkansas soybean farmer, a Louisiana pharmacist, a Kentucky woman who cans hams for Hormel, a Massachusetts landscape designer; racetrack people; book lovers everywhere; and folks from all walks of life.<br /><br />Despite times of discouragement, disillusionment, and distress, we never gave up. If Seabiscuit himself never gave up when faced with insurmountable odds, how could we? If his fierce determination to win got him to the finish line to inspire Americans in the throes of the Great Depression, we intended to match his persistence.<br /><br />We may not be able to see the Biscuit run again, but we can all share in his heritage of beating the odds to achieve a goal.<br /><br />Give yourselves a round of applause and, when you hold the Seabiscuit stamp in your hand, remember that together, we the people can do anything. <br /><br />####<br /><br /></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 21 Mar 2009 20:37:16 +0100 The Seabiscuit Stamp: How It Came To Be http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=6:6 <p style="text-align: left;">The Seabiscuit Stamp: How It Came To Be</p> <p style="text-align: left;">by Maggie Van Ostrand</p> <p>On May 11th, a 44-cent rate-change stamp featuring the great thoroughbred racehorse, Seabiscuit, will be issued by the U.S. Postal Service. This stamp is significant for one huge reason: <em>We the people did it!&nbsp; </em>It took us eight long years, but we did it. People think we don&rsquo;t have power in Washington but, when there are enough of us, we can do anything.<br /><br />In 2001, when Laura Hillenbrand's best seller, &ldquo;Seabiscuit: An American Legend,&rdquo; was published, millions of readers were inspired by the true story of&nbsp; &ldquo;an undersized, crooked-legged racehorse named Seabiscuit,&rdquo; who beat all odds and became a pop-culture phenomenon. Back in the Thirties, as many spectators attended his races as today attend the Super Bowl. Those who couldn&rsquo;t squeeze into the track hung off lampposts, stood atop their cars, and climbed onto roofs just to catch a glimpse of him. When President Obama appeared on the Tonight Show March 19, ratings rose higher than they&rsquo;d been in years with 20 million viewers; when Seabiscuit raced, <em>40</em> million people listened on their radios.<br /><br />The stamp shows Seabiscuit, &ldquo;the people&rsquo;s horse,&rdquo; beating the magnificent Triple-Crown Winner, War Admiral, in their famous match race, still regarded as the greatest horse race in history. <br /><br />Impassioned by the book, I took a guided tour of the Biscuit&rsquo;s home, Ridgewood Ranch, in Northern California and, at the showing of an old 8mm movie of his greatest races and life at the Ranch, I spoke with another tourist, a man from New Orleans. Over time and telephone, we became friends and he suggested we try to get Seabiscuit on a California coin. That idea evolved into the possibility of attempting to get the horse, an American cultural icon, on a U.S. stamp.<br /><br />Fat chance, right? We had no money, no lobbyists, and no Washington connections. We had only passion, and a belief that the word &ldquo;No&rdquo; really meant, &ldquo;Try harder.&rdquo;<br /><br />We learned about the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, whose primary goal is to select subjects of &ldquo;broad national interest for recommendation to the Postmaster General that are both interesting and educational.&rdquo; To give you an idea of the odds we were up against, merely 25 subjects are selected each year out of many thousands of submissions. Only one other horse in history (Secretariat) had ever been so honored, and he had big financial backing and Washington lobbyists.<br /><br />Undaunted, we started a grassroots movement, beginning with local book clubs, then book clubs nationwide. Their members not only signed our petition to the Committee, they circulated it to all their friends, who sent it to everyone they knew. We put the petition on the Internet to be printed and mailed by anyone interested. We trolled the streets for signatures; promoted the idea on sports news TV; haunted Santa Anita for signatures; and returned to Ridgewood Ranch for the premiere of the movie, &ldquo;Seabiscuit,&rdquo; getting signatures from attendees. We did everything we could think of and then some. Thousands of people pitched in, like an Arkansas soybean farmer, a Louisiana pharmacist, a Kentucky woman who cans hams for Hormel, a Massachusetts landscape designer; racetrack people; book lovers everywhere; and folks from all walks of life.<br /><br />Despite times of discouragement, disillusionment, and distress, we never gave up. If Seabiscuit himself never gave up when faced with insurmountable odds, how could we? If his fierce determination to win got him to the finish line to inspire Americans in the throes of the Great Depression, we intended to match his persistence.<br /><br />We may not be able to see the Biscuit run again, but we can all share in his heritage of beating the odds to achieve a goal.<br /><br />Give yourselves a round of applause and, when you hold the Seabiscuit stamp in your hand, remember that together, we the people can do anything. <br /><br />####<br /><br /></p> "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 21 Mar 2009 20:31:25 +0100 Cejas and the Great Escape http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=5:5 "Maggie" <maggieonline@maggievanostrand.com> Sat, 14 Mar 2009 18:13:46 +0100 Juanita and the President http://www.maggievanostrand.com/lm/public/archive.php?id=2:1 "Maggie" <maggie@maggievanostrand.com> Mon, 02 Feb 2009 07:08:30 +0100