Your wealth is in your well-being

Someone finally hit it. The billion dollar plus Mega Millions lottery prize has been won. By one person. Or by one ticket. It could have been a pool of a couple dozen people each throwing $10 into a hat to maximize their odds. Or I suppose that technically would be to minimize their odds. I wasn’t one of them. Although my odds were just as good. I’ve written about it more than once. Everything in life is fifty-fifty. No long odds there. Either it will or it won’t. Either it doesn’t or it don’t. Pass or fail. True or false. That’s life.

But somebody’s coin did fall heads up, or tails down if you’d rather and they woke up Saturday morning at least $350 million richer. That’s about what they would get out of a billion dollar prize after taxes if they took the cash option. Of course from that they would have the fees they will undoubtedly incur when they hire the some bodies to advise them if they should take the cash or wait out the annuity payments, to rewrite their wills, trusts, and all the other legal things suddenly mega-rich people need, to find them suitable new houses (at least 3), cars (5), boats (2, maybe 3) and a plane (just one), to ghost write their book on how to become a billionaire and to represent their book and the movie rights, someone to see them “professionally” to deal with the psychological trauma of saying no to so many people who will be asking for money, and finally, the private security firms to keep people away so they can’t ask them for money. After all those expenses they will have at least a quarter billion left and will complain that everybody has a piece of their good fortune except them!

Since those earliest hours of Saturday morning when the announcement went out that there was a winner, pundits, professional and thems like me, have been churning out “ah, but the real wealth isn’t in dollars and diamonds, it is deep within you” articles. And you know what? They’re right! Oh I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor and believe me poor is a lot better. No, that’s not original. That line has been attributed to almost every rich person to walk down Hollywood Blvd. but it’s true. I have been both and on balance, I slept better richer. But I don’t know that I would say I was happier. I likely wasn’t although I was never billion dollar rich versus living in a cardboard box poor. I’m sure there it is difficult to convince someone they have all they need as long as they have love in their hearts when their bodies are living on the street. But on balance, you shouldn’t need a billion dollars, or even 250 million to be happy.

So for the several billion ticket buyers who did not win, please join me in saying, I have my health, clean water, food, clothes, and a roof over my head and I’m rich beyond my dreams. But boy, once I’d like to know what really rich rich feels like. Hmm, I understand the Power Ball is up around $170 million. That would work too!

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That’s what happiness is!

A couple days ago I was doing my housework and had just completed the vacuuming part of the dust and vacuum routine. I looked across the room as I was stowing the machine’s cord and broke out into a big smile. I might have broken out in song but if so I was singing subconsciously. If I was singing at all, I would have been singing along with the Ray Conniff Singers as they warbled they way through the 1966 Parnes and Evans composition, “Happiness Is,” for few things instigate as big a smile on my face as seeing those parallel tracks of the vacuum wheels across a newly cleaned carpet. I was struck so happy by the event, I actually remarked on it to a friend later in the day, questioning if she too experiences that odd joy. “No,” she literally deadpanned, “but the husband does. It must be a guy thing,” and dismissed the entire event as something only half the world could enjoy.

Eh. She’s probably right. In fact, vacuum tracks in carpets bring inordinate happiness to probably even less than half the world because I know for sure there are way more men who haven’t even pushed a vacuum around a living room to have seen such a remarkable sight. To them, an oil pan drain plug not leaking after a DIY oil change likely brings that profound happiness.  The point is, as Ray’s singers will have you singing along, happiness is “different things to different people!”

These aren’t the pillars of happiness: life, liberty, and the pursuit of really big, life changing events. These are the little things that are part of getting us from one hour to the next, the things that turn drudgery into if not joy, at least something faintly tolerable.

It won’t solve all of earth’s problems, but it is possible that if we spent more time enjoying what makes us happy and less time becoming frustrated when we can’t figure it why we aren’t as happy as others doing what makes them happy, or worse trying to foist our idea of happiness onto anyone else, we might all end up a little happier. And happier people are less likely to instigate world wars.

People are unique. Even people who grow up together, live together, and love together, don’t have to love everything about each other. Yes, it is the differences among people that make us collectively great, but it is appreciating the differences and encouraging others to pursue those differences that bring them happiness that make us collectively awesome!

Somewhere in your psyche is some quirk of life that brings you immense joy. Relish in the quirk and savor that joy. Don’t give it up for anybody and if somebody should ever admit to you that they get untold happiness from hearing the creak of a rocking chair, encourage them to creak all they want and hope they someday will encourage you to continue chasing your dream of parallel tracks on carpets, or whatever makes you smile at the enjoyment of living life. Because, that’s what happiness is.

What’s your happiness?


Happiness Is

Blog Art (16)Did you stop by ROAMcare last week to read the meaning of life in five words. It’s worth the 3 minutes it takes to read the other 495 at And check out the rest of our site too. Everything you need to refresh your enthusiasm for life with that extra motivation you need to push through the day! Stop by and visit, then share us with your friends and family!

Brain Dump – Again!

Welcome to a new edition of “Let’s clear those brain cells!” or “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”

IMG_2117Stay in your lane

Well, this fellow actually found his own lane to hang out in. I’m not sure what the laws in your state are but here, that much yellow paint in unmistakable diagonal lines means “no parking.”  This isn’t so bad. At least he isn’t parked in the diagonal blue lines next to a handicap space.  [sigh]

Shopping math, cyber edition

If you haven’t read any of my posts on toilet paper math, go there first. My daughter brought this one to my attention. So many discount, rebate, and coupon sites now are online, and all of them offer to find you the absolute best deal available – compared to regular posted prices. When you load multiple versions you are apt to find one offering you 5% of the regular price but only if you shop at the store with a coupon, another with 2% off the sale price but only if you shop online, or another offering free shipping but only if you buy it in magenta and are willing to answer a 45 question survey first. On a Tuesday. This all started when I mentioned I bought a new iPad last week from Amazon but I could have gotten the same deal at Target and saved 5% with their Red Card. I was all set to do that when it dawned on me that I was using a couple hundred dollars in gift cards that I had gotten by answering a variety of 45 question surveys and that beat 5% any day! [duh]

IMG_2029Old enough to drink

Last month my little car hit a milestone. It turned 21. Actually, It’s nearly 23 now but I don’t count the years before I adopted it. In honor of it’s birthday I had it retitled as a classic vehicle. As a classic I was able to negotiate a replacement price with my insurance company which is a good thing because given its condition, it’s worth more than 2-1/2 times the actual “blue book value.” Oddly enough, now that it is insured for 3 times what it was two months ago, the annual rate dropped by exactly half. I know the insurance company isn’t going to lose money on this deal. Hmm. I wonder if those guys ever took toilet paper math.

samsung-and-apple-logoBrand Disloyalty

I mentioned a few brain cells ago that I recently purchased a new iPad. It replaced a Samsung Galaxy tablet which itself replaced a Nook e-reader, which replaced a Bookman. (If you don’t recognize Bookman, you aren’t missing much. I don’t think it has been around since sometime in the 90s.) For some people, the thought of switching operating systems is absolutely unheard of. Families have been torn apart because someone dared stray from whatever everyone else had. Not me. I can flex. Right now I have an Apple phone and tablet, a Dell laptop and an HP desktop running Windows. The old tablet could mirror with the laptop but the desktop is so old it’s more of a paperweight right now and it only mirrors my reflection in its almost always darkened screen. It’s only the third desktop I’ve owned, the previous was a Gateway (wow, remember them!?) and before that, an Apple. Yes, in 1984 I bought my first Apple which was probably before some of the people who are running that company now were born. I doubt I’ll ever replace the desktop with another Apple. I doubt I’ll ever replace the desktop. When the laptop goes (and boy do they go – I can’t keep track of how many laptops I’ve had), I’ll figure out who has the best deal for what I want to use it for, of there are any deals available, and who has the best coupon code to use. But only after I review my post on toilet paper math.

That’s it for now. See you later!


Blog Art (14)Did you stop by ROAMcare last week to read our take on “Special are those who plant trees knowing that they shall never sit in their shade,” the counterpoint to my post here last week? If you missed it, you can check it out now at (Later this week we explain the meaning of life in five words! That posts Wednesday, July 20. You’ll want to read that one for sure!)

Revisiting the Middle Seat

Back in July of 2020, July 9 to be exact, I published “The Middle Seat Hump Syndrome,” a clever little ditty if I say so myself wherein I compared the then fairly new encounter with the coronavirus, which we don’t even call it that any more. Toward the end of an honest to gosh true tale of summer family vacationing, I said with much assurance that we will all be fine in the long run. Guess what? I was right! Politicians, social media “experts” in-laws, naysayers, leftist, rightists, centrists all aside, I was right! We are pretty much okay as long as you don’t ask the 6.35 million people who lost their lives. Yes that number could have been smaller had we paid less attention to the politicians, social media “experts” in-laws, naysayers, leftist, rightists, but we’re stupid so we didn’t. Maybe next time we will.

Because today is the Fourth of July, which of course everybody knows is officially American Independence Day, and because the entire country is out there burning gas we don’t have to pursue their right to a family vacation, I thought I’d regale you again, with “The Middle Seat Hump Sydrome,” with that pesky typo corrected even!


You need to be of a certain age to remember summer vacations in the family car with enough family that it filled all the seats, three across, and the middle seat made the leg room in coach on Delta look generous for there, right where your feet wanted to be, was “the hump,” the growth in the floorboard that rose nearly to seat level, to allow whatever it was that transferred the up and downs of the engine to the round and round of the rear wheels to make it’s way from the motor to the where the rubber met the road. I am of that age and had been on those vacations and I got that middle seat.

It wasn’t always like that. For a while there were just two of us in the back and we would each get out own window seats with plenty of room between for the picnic basket and cooler that were only opened at planned stops along the way. Then the third one came along. At first it wasn’t such a big deal. She started out in the baby seat in the middle of the front seat (yes, that’s where we put them when we used them back then). After she outgrew that space, she shifted to the back but because those short, stubby legs didn’t even make it off the seat, the hump was not impediment to her comfort. Eventually though, she grew and with that, so did the complaining. “I don’t want to sit on the hump!” And the word came from the front, “take turns.” From then on, whenever the car stopped, the back seat crowd reshuffled, and everyone got a turn being uncomfortable where we decidedly didn’t want to be.

That’s a little like what’s going on in the world now. Each time it appears to be stopping, or at least slowing enough to risk opening the door and get off this crazy ride, the virus comes back, and we have to reshuffle. Do we limit contact, should we close down again, does this mask make my nose look big? Regardless of the answer, some bodies are going to end up decidedly where they don’t want to be doing what they’d rather not be doing or not doing what they’d rather do. Think of the world as an early ’64 Chevrolet and were all taking turns sitting on the hump.

I’m going to spoil the ending for you. It all works out. Nobody was permanently damaged from sitting with a leg there and the other one there. We climbed out of the backseat a little stiff and a little sore but we made. We’ll make it through this also. Maybe a little worse for the wear after this ride that you are certain we got lost on because no way it should be taking this long, but eventually we are going to climb back out into the world.

Middle seat hump syndrome was never that horrible and may have been the inspiration for some future engineer to design SUVs with higher cabins that clear all those mechanical doodads or to shift the driving wheels to the front and obviate the need for a hump running down the middle if the cars interior. Along those same lines it could be someday we might even get to go out and not have to check that we have our masks with us. We just have to wait for the right expert to come up with the right solution. They are out there. There will find it.

In the meanwhile, Happy Motoring!

roamcare_logo-3If you haven’t had a chance to visit ROAMcare yet, stop by, refresh your enthusiasm and read our blogs, check out the Moments of Motivation, or just wander around the site. Everybody is always welcome.

Spreading Happiness

Some of my posts here on RRSB notwithstanding, I am a pretty happy person and I normally try to spready happiness wherever I am or whatever I do. Again, some recent RRSB posts notwithstanding. Just so I’m not the only one bearing the responsibility for the world’s happiness, I am calling on you to join in spreading happiness whenever and wherever you can. I even have some suggestions how to start. (Of course I do!)

If you should find yourself walking through a grocery store parking lot (or one of any mega-mart type shopping facility), do NOT walk down the center of the driving lane. Leave the spaces meant for cars to cars who might actually want to drive there. If you should find yourself walking through a parking lot with 3 of your closest friends or your children if all your friends are busy, do not walk four abreast. (This goes for inside the store also.) Making these small adjustments to your shopping walking style will spread much happiness – especially to who do it themselves when they are walking and now got a taste of what it’s like to be driving behind same.

If you should find yourself having just arrived at a gas station in your out-sized pickup truck that requires a small ladder to enter and exit, and having just arrived there at a high rate of speed, and having left your mini-monster truck idling so everyone can appreciate its deep basso rumble, do not complain about the price of gasoline. Better still, leave the testosterone reassurer at home and call on Uber or Lyft to run you to the store for your six pack. This will spread much happiness – particularly to those who recently refinanced their vehicles to afford gas your are guzzling.

If you should find yourself preparing to write a comment to post on Facebook about … well about anything, well … just don’t. This will spread much happiness – to everybody!

If you find yourself at the neighborhood pool, local swimming hole, water park, or anywhere where appearing half naked is acceptable outside of your own backyard and/or bathroom, and you find yourself having the urge to pick the lint out of your navel – PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T! That goes for self-pedicuring, ear wax removal, and performing the same procedures on others, including small children. This will spread much happiness – particularly to those with sense and sensibilities (and not just the kind you read).

HappyIf you find yourself at the neighborhood dive, local watering hole, or anywhere where karaoke is sung, unless you have a singing contract from a major record studio or 100% of the audience is drunk, including bartenders and the guy who sits outside the door trying to remember where he parked earlier in the evening, don’t be the first one up to sing. This will spread much happiness particularly to those wanting to sing but not wanting to be the first one up and them with an audible sigh of relief.

If you found yourself smiling at any of these, please like, comment, share, or talk about it over dinner tonight with a loved one or several. That will spread much happiness – particularly to me.

roamcare_logo-3If you haven’t had a chance to visit ROAMcare yet, stop by, refresh your enthusiasm and read our blogs, check out the Moments of Motivation, or just wander around the site. Everybody is always welcome.

Just because you can

Just because you can

Who’s with me on the “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” AKA “It seemed like a good idea” bandwagon? I guess you can also call these, “Who came up with this one” queries.

I’ll start.  I recently had to purchase a new microwave. For me to buy almost anything is a moment to be celebrated. Except for chocolate chip cookies at the bakery, I buy very little unless it is absolutely necessary. One could argue that a microwave oven does not top the list of necessities but others, especially those who tend to lose their coffee mugs and make repeated reheating visits to the appliance will confirm its necessary-ness.  With my sparse microwave purchase history you can be sure that the one being replaced didn’t have all the bells and whistles of today. In fact, its only bells and whistles were a bell that dinged when the timer was somewhere in the vicinity or ZERO and a whistle when it ran for more than 2 minutes at a stretch, probably from microwaves leaking into my space. I was surprised to see the power and timer dials had been replaced by a touch pad, but eventually I got the hang of it. One thing I was not expecting was it turning into a nag. Once a particular task is complete, it wants its recognition and it wants it NOW! If you aren’t quick to relieve the appliance of its load, it periodically, seemingly randomly periodically, will beep a shrill reminder that there is still food in its cavity. Like, chill man. I know there’s something in you. I’ll get to it. Who doesn’t remember they put something in the microwave and has to be reminded to come and get it? (Maybe its bell should be a dinner bell!) And then it dawned on me. Who doesn’t remember food? Stoners. What with all the state assemblies tripping over each other trying to prove politicians know more about medicine than doctors and passing medical (hah!) marijuana laws, not to mention the ones that figured out addicts will pay any amount of sales tax to get high, “stoner” is the latest addition to high school career day fairs. And these are certainly the people who would stick a bag of popcorn in a microwave and completely forget about it in 90 seconds.  Oh wow man.

My next “just because you can” is actually directed to those politicians and their wannabe rivals. Having just gone through the primary election campaign barrage of uninformative advertising and not looking forward to the general election version of same (which started on primary election night!), it seems our friendly neighborhood do-nothings have discovered text message advertising. I’ve gotten dozens of text messages a day, and almost all of them, after pummeling the opponent with more vitriol than a Hatfield spews at a McCoy and vice versa, would remind the reader, that they are on the side of the hard-working citizen. Um, Mr. POS, you realize some of those hard-working citizens actually have to pay for each incoming text? Duh.        

For my last trip down, “It seemed like a good idea” Avenue, I present me, or rather I present my shower head with a major assist by me. When I do buy something seemingly frivolous, like a handheld shower massage head, I want a good product. I research and find the one with a reasonable build quality that won’t pop its hose when I least expect it, which would be every time I use it. Now I’m not sure if it is fortunately or unfortunately, but the model I decided on has ten settings, everything from gentle mist to Niagara Falls. I don’t know the anybody needs that many choices to rinse shampoo out of one’s hair, but it had good reviews and strong connectors and I figured just because it has 10 settings doesn’t mean I have to use them all.  And I don’t, but somewhere along the way, probably during a fit of domesticity and extreme cleaning, the control unknowingly was set to Niagara. Oh my word!

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Do you have any examples you’d like to share? Please, if we get enough of them, maybe we can make a “Just Because You Can” calendar.  

roamcare_logo-3If you haven’t had a chance to visit ROAMcare yet, stop by, refresh your enthusiasm and read our blogs, check out the Moments of Motivation, or just wander around the site. Everybody is always welcome.



Spring cleaning

I did some electronic spring cleaning tis morning. I fear this is a battle I’m doomed to lose. Of course by electronic spring cleaning I don’t mean deep cleaning my living space with robotic assistance. A robot vacuum might be fun to have around, but until they come up with one who can wash down the cabinets, keep the appliances sparkly, daily clean the bathroom, and tidy the bedroom – like Rosey on the Jetsons! – I’ll do the physical cleaning on my own for as long as I can. No, the spring cleaning was going through apps on the phone and tablets, reviewing bookmarks on the browsers, moving image and document files to cards or cloud storage or deleting them outright, and getting rid of those nasty cookies (which unfortunately eliminates the helpful ones also which is why I so rarely take that on).

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It went relatively smoothly except for one tablet which makes me wonder if I take things too literally.  The tablet in question is an older Samsung that I’ve threatened to put out to pasture at least once a month for the last several years. But I’m used to its quirks, it fits me and my expectations, and I guess I like it enough to poo-poo my attempts to use the newer but still not completely set up tab sitting on my desk (which is now certainly itself hopelessly outdated).

The odd thing about this particular, older unit is the help that it wants to provide, particularly at clean-up time. It knows its storage limits and can clue me in on where I can reclaim valuable storage space. What it has a hard time with is knowing what’s stored where. Let me explain. As an older tablet it has limited storage, only 16 GB, so each little chunk of that is valuable. It wants to be a helpful little thing so this morning it told me that 970 MB was holding onto pictures and videos. No need to have them there but also no need to use up space on the cloud account with them when I have plenty of room and can move them to the SD card. Except when I tap the icon to show me the detail of what makes up those 970 MB of treasured photos, it gets confused and shows me all the files the tablet can access – internal, card, and cloud storage. It very graciously tells me how much each destination holds but not which files are at which destinations. So I go through file by file to find what goes where Sigh.

Another thing the poor old piece wants to help with is shedding itself of unused or rarely used apps. Every handheld device has a means of displaying all its resident applications by frequency of access. Except this one hasn’t learned the English definitions for always, sometimes, rarely, and never. I’m just certain that it would get so confused trying to complete a survey it would give up after the first few questions. Anyway, it listed all my apps by often used, sometimes used, and rarely used. Except that they aren’t. My crossword app that I use daily was in the sometimes used pile while Facebook that I haven’t accessed in the last several months was among those often used.

After hours more than I wanted to devote to the project I feel good that all my electronic, connected devices are as trim as can be and for a short while I should be able to enjoy efficient downloads, speedy uploads, and generally smooth, glitch free surfing on the Internet on my own little intranet.

I just really hope I didn’t delete my WordPress account.  Well, here goes nothing! (Hmm, let me know if you didn’t get this.) (Thanks!)


I had to change a password on one of the many password protected sites we access what seems hourly! I didn’t have to change it because it was that time whether that time is every month, every 6 months, or any time like the site feels like messing with you. I didn’t have to change it because I forgot my password. I had to change it because I kept mis-typing it. I am the king of typos! I’m lucky I can get through an entire sentence when I can actually see the letters taking shape on the screen in front of me. Hid everything behind ******************** and it’s a crapshoot if I got +#^ or +@&. Even if I see them I may not be able to tell if I have it right. But that’s a story for later – later in this post.

When I entered the “select your password” phase of reestablishing my password, the site provided me with their rules. Oddly, not all sites do that. This site, in addition to the upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters (why do they call them special, aren’t they the same symbols that have appeared on keyboards since the time keyboards were attached to typewriters? Can’t we just call them “symbols” or is that too symbolic?), this set of rules featured – for the first time ever, live on our stage! (sorry I got carried away – this set of rules included the querulous instruction to not end with a number. Naturally I can’t take an instruction like that and not dig deeper so I dug deeper.

Yes, it appears somebody who studies these sorts of things has determined that passwords ending in numbers are more likely to be hacked. I think maybe it has to do with something about some people’s predilection to serializing their passwords so like maybe they don’t forget them. You may have done it, or perhaps are doing it yourself. OpenSesame1, OpenSesame2, OpenSesame3, etc.  I also discovered that once very popular, opensesame has fallen way down the list of people’s password choices. Now this brings up a couple of questions. First of all, if passwords are supposed to be such closely guarded secrets, often under penalty of on-line death if revealed, how does anyone know what once was and what is no longer popular. (Many of the same sources even noted people are still out there using “password” for their passwords. -Same question fellas!) The other question I have about opensesame is why didn’t I ever think about that? What a great password! And so versatile. The user who selects opensesame or one of its variants (perhaps OpenSesame1, OpenSesame2, OpenSesame3, etc) might be an Antoine Galland fan, a lover of the Three Stooges, or trapped in the seventies singing their way to internet access with Kool and the Gang. Opportunity lost.

Anyway, back to the point of this post (yes, yes, go ahead and smirk), I can live with the odd rules, making my passwords at least 8 characters and not more than 20, using upper and lower cases, tossing in a few numbers as long as one isn’t at the end, even the inclusion of “special characters,” but can I at least see what I’m typing? It appears that the two most common methods of breaking the password code are guessing and “entry intercept” whereby a program, bug, virus, or some malevolent genie captures the keystrokes made to enter the password characters (special and otherwise) and shares them with the head virus writer, bug-programmer, or Ali Baba. So, while we’re struggling with trying to accurately enter jkwp9y%Roa&&fmMqrs!! the virus may see what we’re typing, but all we see is   ********************.

Now I ask you, is that fair?

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They isn’t right

I wish I could find in online so you know I didn’t make this up, but it doesn’t seem to be there. Last week on the local news they had a little throw-away story to fill up 15 seconds. The big news? Grammar mistakes. The line that stuck with me, and a couple of those in the studio also, was that of those surveyed, questioned, interviewed, or whatevered, the most common mistake they encounter is “when to use there, their, and they’re.” Well ain’t no wonder nobody can talk good English no more – that’s not grammar at all. That be spelling, you fools! And while we’re ranting over these three, you really need to be dumber than rocks to not know when to use witch, err, which.

Is it so bad that we now must include the misuse of grammar in our newscasts? Actually, [cue the groans] back when I was in school it would have been news to commit an error in grammar. What happened to the 3-Rs in grammar school. Oops, it’s elementary school now. No grammar required. If you ask me, and I know you didn’t just as well as you know I’m going to tell you anyway, 2+2=4, and you have to be dumber than a rock to not know when to use there, their, or they’re.

I wonder… Do you suppose this started when phones began to automatically correct and/or complete misspelled and partially entered words and phrases? We no longer need to know how to spell there. If we enter t-h-e-e-r, the computer in the phone, which one would think is smarter than your average rock, will correct it. Maybe. It can kind of go either way there. Their? Hmm. More significantly, if you enter t-h-e-r and stop right there, it might even think “hey, this here feller is wanting to type “there” so let me just put in the rest of it in there for you.” There now.

Or maybe… Do you suppose this started when Twitter popped on the scene with its original 140 character limit? (A limit which technically wasn’t a Twitter limit but was the most SMS could transmit which was how the initial Twitter messages were delivered which back then you might have known as twttr which also was an SMS limitation.) (But I digress.) Folks then were busy tryna make everything short. It was like reading vanity license plates. RU w me ther Spelling, grammar, and punctuation were superfluous to the message. Who knew that someday someone would be picky about word choice, spelling, and usage on say, a job application for a company other than twttr or Google.

(By the way, you should see what Word’s spell check and grammar checker are doing to this document. There are more red and blue lines than outside a polling place at election time!) (It was a struggle but I got politics into the discussion.)

Whatever is was to prompt people into thinking a spelling error is their most serious grammar error, it begs the question, how bad is their grammar – their real, actual grammar. How often are their nouns and verbs in agreement? (I’m going with “nouns” and “verbs” here because I’m not sure how they would react to “subject” and “predicate.”)  Have they ever met an infinitive they could not split? Do they know where they misplaced their modifiers? See, these are what I would cite if asked for the most common grammatical errors. Not a spelling issue! (Okay, so every now and then I don’t use a technically complete sentence when I write. Sue me.) And while I’m still thinking about those out there who are as dumb as rocks to be so concerned that they are misusing there, their, and they’re, why did nobody mention its and it’s? If they can grasp its versus it’s, what’s the big deal with there, their, and they’re? Too many to choose? Oh, or should that be two many, or maybe to many?

Rocks, I tell you. Dumb as gravel.

they is so wrong

The envelope please…

And the envelope please…

Ah, Major Movie Award time. The Academy is cracking down in unauthorized used of the gold statuettes’ nickname but you know what Major Movie Award I mean. The Major Movie Award ceremony was last night and I missed it – again. Intentionally. I love movies and this year I actually saw most of the nominees for the Major Movie Award best picture award. But I love old movies a whole lot better and I dislike awards shows even more. Awards shows, awards banquets, recognition ceremonies, even graduations, but especially awards show when anybody who ever got lucky enough to be cast in a good movie demonstrates how valuable screenwriters are. Anyway, I didn’t watch the ceremonies but instead, as is my custom, I watched a couple Major Movie Award winners from 60 years ago.

In general, forty years is my cut off.  If a movie is still entertaining (and relevant, if possible), 40 years after it first hit the theaters, then that’s a good movie. I would say I’ll be re-watching this year’s winner in 40 years but in 40 years I’ll be well ensconced in the centenarian camp, so…that’s a maybe.

So with all this experience of watching long-lasting, significant award winning movies from 40, 50, 60, 100 years ago, you’d  think I could pick out this years winner effortlessly. Yeah, no. A hundred, 90, 60, 50 years ago, significant was defined differently. Right around 40 years ago, it started to be more important to have the right message than to have the right stuff. But that’s okay. That only holds true for the “big” awards.  The true magic in movies, the costumes, sets, music, and cinematography are still awarded on merit so there will always be good old movies to watch. Even forty years from now.


It so happens that I am writing this before the Major Movie Awards ceremony and the announcement of best picture. So, given that I’ve seen them, what movie would I vote for if I were a member of the Major Movie Award voting bloc?  I will say I don’t think the one I would vote for will win, but it should.  I think several of the best picture nominees are definite possibilities for cinematography and costume and would be worthy of those honors. But those same movies have no story, no coherence, or are just not good enough to be “best.” And there are so many this year (10 nominees for best picture), the field is clearly watered down.  But I digress.

What movie would I vote for if I were a member of the Major Movie Award voting bloc? West Side Story. It will have a hard time getting to the podium.  Although remakes dominate moviedom, rarely do remakes get nominated for the best picture award. To win the award, the odds are greater than finder teeth in a hen, but just barely. Only twice has a best picture been a remake. (Ben-Hur in 1959 and The Departed in 2006). To make it an even higher mountain to climb, West Side Story is the first time a remake of a previous best picture winner (1961) has even been nominated for best picture.

So … if I don’t think the. Ivies I would vote for will win for best picture, where would I put my money? Although almost all of the rest of the world thinks, The Power of the Dog will be so honored, I think last night’s winner was CODA. But wouldn’t it be a hoot if Licorice Pizza walk away with it?

We could do this for the other 23 categories too but I have to get dinner on the table.

How did I do?