Monday, December 31, 2012


            HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  Want to come with us on the trip of a lifetime?  You have the day off tomorrow, don’t you?  Pack your (virtual) bags & join us on our travels through the Orient.  We took this trip in 1980.  We went with our friends, Joe & Helen.  Joe, like Joe E. Lewis, had been rich & he had been poor. (As Joe E. Lewis said, “Rich is better!”)  When our Joe was rich he traveled strictly first class, so on this trip, we did, too!

            The trip started with a JAL (Japanese Air Lines) flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo.  Maybe.  My husband claims it was Singapore Air Lines.  I can’t remember, but he’s usually right.  It was an overnight flight, so after a wonderful dinner—a roast carved right in front of you—we watched a movie & then were shown to our bedrooms.  YES, I said bedrooms!  It was the only time we ever had real beds & not reclining seats on a plane.  At the hotel, we opted to take Japanese style rooms.  We slept on futons on the floor.  I had a marvelous night’s sleep & woke up refreshed & raring to go.  I swung my legs over the side of the bed (forgetting I was on a futon), put my feet on the floor & found my knees right next to my head!  We took a cab tour/shopping trip through the city.  The cherry blossoms were in bloom.  Beautiful!  I don’t know if they still do it, but the cabs drove with their lights on.  When they were stopped at a red light they turned them off.

            From Tokyo we flew to Singapore, where we stayed at a suite at the Holiday Inn.  The Holiday Inn is not first class, you say?  WRONG!  This suite came with a personal butler.  How lovely it was to spend the day shopping (Helen & I took a local bus.  We figured it would be fun even if we got lost, which we didn’t.) & then come back to our suite, take off our shoes & have the butler take our packages & pour us a glass of wine.  Joe & Bud stayed in the room one day playing gin rummy while we shopped.  There were prostitutes available & Joe wanted to hire a couple of them.  Not for sex—he thought it would be funny to have two women sitting there naked, watching our two guys playing cards, when we got back.  Good thing he didn’t—I’m not sure how funny Helen or I would have thought it was.  Below is a picture of apartments flying the “Singapore National Flag”.  That’s right—it’s laundry drying!  Look at how spotless the streets are.  Also, here’s a picture of a small shrine on a street in Singapore.

            We took the ferry to Hong Kong.  I think it cost less than 25 cents per person, American money.  Hong Kong was a shopper’s paradise.  In one of the MANY jewelry stores, I fell in love with a delicate gold & jade bracelet.  I can’t remember what they were asking for it, but it was probably around $1,000—way out of our price range.  They expected you to bargain in these stores, but I am not a bargainer.  Bud is.  After lengthy negotiations, he told them he would pay no more than $400.  They countered with $410.  He told them $400 was his final offer.  They asked if he was going to let a mere $10 keep his wife from having this bracelet that she so obviously loved.  He said “Yes” & we walked out of the store.  They came running after us.  Bud won—or I guess I did—I got my $400 bracelet!   At that time, Hong Kong had a couple of department stores run by the communist government.  Their prices were unbelievable.  There was no bargaining, nor was any necessary.  Bud got a few silk neckties & I bought a pair of 100% silk pants & 2 embroidered “pictures”—all for around $1 each!  We also took a bus tour of part of China—a difficult thing to do at the time because of politics.  I remember visiting a kindergarten (the children were adorable) & being served warm beer.  Below is a picture of busy Hong Kong harbor.

            Our next stop was Manila, where we stayed in the Douglas MacArthur suite of our hotel.  I’m not used to the life of a plantation slave owner, so I was uncomfortable with the fact that we had a houseboy who slept on the kitchen floor.  Manila seemed to have only the very rich or the very poor—no middle class.  If you were poor, you lived on the street (literally) & begged.  If you were rich, your world was filled with beautiful places that Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos had built.  We found it depressing.
            From there we went to Thailand.  There were many signs in the airport warning travelers to watch out for pickpockets & con men.  (We got a call at the hotel from a man who identified himself as our driver & told us our car was ready.  That would have been fine, except we hadn’t ordered a car!) We had dinner in the penthouse restaurant of our hotel.  The maĆ®tre d’ seated us & handed each of us a menu.  He returned in a couple of minutes & very apologetically took my menu & Helen’s & gave us new ones.  We couldn’t understand why until Joe explained it.  We had originally been given “host” menus—with prices—instead of “guest” menus—with no prices.  Neither Helen nor I had noticed there were prices on ours!  Thailand was fascinating.  We saw Buddhist monks with their shaved heads & colorful robes.  We saw the palace of the king of Siam.  It was being renovated & was covered in scaffolding & it was still the most beautiful building I’d ever seen.  The outer walls were covered by thousands of tiny mosaic tiles.  We rode a bus (motorboat) down one of the many canals & went to an elephant market.  Below are pictures of Bud, me & Helen in front of the palace & Joe looking at a baby elephant being offered for sale at the market.

A reminder from Fozzie Bear not to over-imbibe tonight:

            You’ve had 33 years to pack—aren’t you ready yet?----fishducky

Friday, December 28, 2012


When our daughter & son-in-law were first married, they lived in one of three small houses that we bought for rental.  Bob, who worked in Bud’s office, lived next door.  Bob had found a box containing a litter of puppies that someone had abandoned on the street.  He gave one (“Fio”, short for “Fiorina”, little flower in Italian) to them & found other homes for the rest.  Our son-in-law was complaining that almost everything they owned once belonged to Bob.  He said, “We have Bob’s dishes, Bob’s sofa, Bob’s table…” & then he looked at Fio & said, “Come here, Bob’s dog!”

Food looks beautiful & tempting in advertisements, doesn’t it?  Do you know why you can never get yours to look that good?  I once took a photography class which was taught by a professional who also shot ads.  You probably know that they use mashed potatoes instead of vanilla ice cream because ice cream can’t stand up under all those hot lights.  But do you have any idea how they get roast turkeys to get so shiny & evenly browned?  With the new photography techniques, I don’t know it they still do it this way or not, but at that time they coated it with motor oil!

You Know You’ve Been Married a Long Time When Dept: Before the days of Netflix or when you could find out ANYTHING on your computer or Smart Phone, Bud & I had been wracking our brains for over a month trying to remember who played the role of “Doc” in the movie “Mr. Roberts”.  No particular reason, it was just frustrating not to be able to remember.  I could picture him, but could not come up with his name.  Early one morning--about 3am--I woke up with a flash of genius.  I shook Bud awake & said just two words--“William Powell”--with no further explanation.  He opened one eye, looked at me & said, “You’re right!” & promptly rolled over & went back to sleep.

We were with our three kids & another couple in Hawaii.  Six of us (Bud & I, our 3 kids & Scott’s girlfriend) were enjoying the sand, the sun & the ocean.  Scott, not so much.  The ocean was too wet, the sun too sunny &, I guess, the sand was too sandy.  We decided to have a Tshirt made for him.  After quite a lengthy discussion with the clerk, who didn’t believe that was what we really wanted, the shirt was made.  It said, simply, “NATURE SUCKS”.  THAT, he liked!

In Hawaii, our daughter saw a Tshirt that she liked in a window.  It said, “YOUR NAME HERE”.  We went in & asked the clerk for a red one in her size. He got an unprinted shirt & asked her name.  She asked him why he wanted to know.  He told her it was so he could put her name on the shirt.  She said she wanted the shirt to say, “YOUR NAME HERE”.  He said, “I KNOW!  So what’s your name?”  Back & forth.  She finally asked him for a piece of paper & wrote down just what she wanted it to say.  After some time, the young clerk, who had apparently taken this job so he could earn enough go to Cal Tech or MIT & become a rocket scientist, made her the shirt.  She wore it for a long time.  It said exactly what she wanted.  It looked something like this:
(not our daughter)

As my husband says, “You’ve got to take the bad with the terrible”----fishducky

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


This is the basic philosophy of any cat:
"My fundamental job is to rule the universe."

There are certain laws of physics that refer only to cats.  Every potential cat owner (or anyone who is owned by a cat) should be aware of them.

Law of Cat Motion--A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.

Law of Cat Magnetism--All blue blazers & black sweaters attract cat hair in direct proportion to the darkness of the fabric.

Law of Cat Thermodynamics--Heat flows from a warmer to a cooler body, except in the case of a cat, in which case all heat flows to the cat.

Law of Cat Stretching--A cat will stretch to a distance proportional to the length of the nap just taken.

Law of Cat Sleeping--All cats must sleep with people whenever possible, in a position as uncomfortable for the people involved & as comfortable as possible for the cat.

Law of Refrigerator Observation--If a cat watches a refrigerator long enough, someone will come along & take out something good to eat.

Law of Electric Blanket Attraction--Turn on an electric blanket & a cat will jump into bed at the speed of light. 

Law of Random Comfort Seeking--A cat will always seek & take over the most comfortable spot in any given room.

Law of Bag/Box Occupancy--All bags and/or boxes must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.

Law of Cat Embarrassment--A cat's irritation rises in direct proportion to its embarrassment times the amount of human laughter.

Law of Cat Disinterest--A cat's interest level will vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest it.

Law of Pill Rejection--Any pill given to a cat has the potential energy to reach escape velocity.

Law of Cat Elongation--A cat must lay on the floor in such a position as to obstruct the maximum amount of human foot traffic.

Law of Cat Acceleration--A cat will accelerate at a constant rate until he gets good & ready to stop.

Law of Dinner Table Attendance--Cats must attend all meals when anything good is served.

Law of Rug Configuration--No rug shall be permitted to remain in its naturally flat state.

Law of Obedience Resistance--A cat's resistance varies in proportion to a human's desire for it to do something.

First Law of Energy Conservation--Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed & will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.

Second Law of Energy Conservation--Cats also know that energy can only be stored by lots & lots of napping.

Law of Furniture Replacement--A cat's desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

Law of Cat Landing--A cat will always land in the softest place possible, often the midsection of an unsuspecting reclining human.


Some more cat cartoons, of course:

And my favorite cat cartoon ever--I've run this
before & I MAY run it again:

For those of you with multiple cats,
a storage suggestion:

Are you familiar with "Simon's Cat"?  Here are 4 of his many short (under 2 minutes each) videos:

Gotta go see if Bud will give me a belly rub--& FEED ME!!----fishducky

Monday, December 24, 2012


(My husband read this post & didn’t like it.   He said it sounded like I was blowing my own horn.  I told him that my readers--my friends--want to know what our life is like &, if anything, I was blowing HIS horn!)

I couldn’t stand being married to someone who was a miser—to whom I’d have to account for every penny I spent.  Don’t get me wrong.  Although we could afford it, I don’t shop at places like Neiman Marcus.  I don’t think my dad ever made more than $100.00 a week in his life.  I learned early that the first place to look for clothes was the bargain basement & it’s a hard habit to break.  Below is a picture of my husband, especially when it comes to others:

Some years ago, my husband gave me what I think is the ultimate gift.  We put a second story on our house so I could have an art studio!  Once, he surprised me with a new car (with the mandatory huge bow on top) when we were out with friends to celebrate my birthday.  I, of course, was so busy talking to everybody that I didn’t even notice it when the valets brought it up.
Although he’s very generous with me, he’s even more so when it comes to others, especially family.  When our parents celebrated their 50th anniversaries, we gave each set of parents a new car.  We were seeing a psychiatrist at the time.  We told him about the cars & that both my father & my father-in-law said we were crazy.  We asked him if he thought we were crazy.  He said, "Of course you're crazy!  Can I have a new car?"  

We’ve taken our entire family (about 20-odd people—some odder than others--including a couple of secretaries) to Hawaii & on an Alaskan cruise.  We all went back to Hawaii this summer.  (Sorry, it’s too late to apply for a position as child, grandchild, nephew or niece.)  We’ve also given full length “mink” coats as gifts.  You can read about that here.

Our son was in college & was travelling on a road trip with the girls’ basketball team.  They were a tough bunch!!  We took them all to dinner at a Velvet Turtle Restaurant.  I wanted something nice for them & I asked Matt if this restaurant was fancy enough.  He told me it was just fine.  He said that the food there was MUCH better than the jail food they were used to.

Our daughter was completing a requirement as a language major at UCLA by attending school in Italy for a year.  We flew over to see her & took her entire dorm out for pizza.  I loved the thank you notes.  They were all food-based.  One that comes to mind is a mushroom card that said, “Thanks!  You are fungi’s!”  (Pronounce that “fun guys”.)

We were at a restaurant—I think it was in Austria—when we overheard a group of a half dozen 18 to 20 year old American girls discussing that they were running short of money.  We picked up their check & “adopted” them.  They hung around with us for a week or so & we exchanged Christmas cards with them for about 20 years.

Our friend, Bonnie, was getting remarried & invited us to the ceremony.  The invitation said no gifts, but I couldn’t resist.  We gave her a beautifully wrapped case of what is one of her favorite foods in the whole world.  I, personally, don’t share her taste, but this is what she got--& LOVED!!

We no longer Christmas shop for our family.  I got tired of fighting my way through department store crowds to get that “perfect” gift, only to be told that it was the wrong size or asked if it came in another color.  Now everyone gets something personal—a personal check!  It’s never too small, although I’m sure they wouldn’t mind something larger.  It can be cashed for everyone’s favorite color—money green!  We do try to be inventive, though—one year we put them inside balloons, which we used to decorate the house. 

 Steven Wright does things a little differently.  Here's a quote from him:
"I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap Department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping."

 Here’s another gift story, but this time not about Bud.  My parents were married over 50 years.  They were married on August 23rd.  There were times when he really couldn’t afford it, but on the 23rd of EVERY month, my dad gave my mom a dozen yellow roses, which signify joy & happiness.  He said their entire married life was like a honeymoon.  When she died, he had a blanket of yellow roses placed over her coffin.  Later, when he passed away, we had his coffin covered with yellow roses, too.  It seemed appropriate.  I hope all of you are as happy together as they were.

A cartoon for you:

In 1979, when I wrote this, it was meant to be a joke just for Bud because I was tired of getting Christmas newsletters that said my husband was just elected God or my child just turned 6 & he's already Phi Beta Kappa.  It's based on truth, as is most humor. Nameless WAS studying in Europe.  Matt WAS at Northridge & worked for a sewer drain company. The "chunnel" (the tunnel across the English Channel) had not yet been built--I don't know if it even been planned at the time.  Blake HAD just gotten his driver's license. General Motors was doing a lot better than they are now--this was before Japanese cars. We DID buy a treadmill--also, we DID have a dog, Pepi.  Bud liked it so much that we sent it out with our cards.  After receiving it, a friend told me that her husband asked how I could brag like that. I liked her simple explanation: "It's satire, stupid!"

Melynda just sent me this via email--I knew you'd love it:

Dear Santa,

How are you? How is Mrs. Claus? I hope everyone, from the reindeer to the elves, is fine. I have been a very good boy this year. I would like an X-Box 360 with Call of Duty IV and an iPhone 4 for Christmas. I hope you remember that come Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas,
Timmy Jones
Dear Timmy,

Thank you for you letter. Mrs. Claus, the reindeer and the elves are all fine and thank you for asking about them. Santa is a little worried all the time you spend playing video games and texting. Santa wouldn't want you to get fat. Since you have indeed been a good boy, I think I'll bring you something you can go outside and play with.

Merry Christmas,
Santa Claus
Mr. Claus,

Seeing that I have fulfilled the Naughty vs. Nice contract, set by you, I might add, I feel confident that you can see your way clear to granting me what I have asked for. I certainly wouldn't want to turn this joyous season into one of litigation. Also, don't you think that a jibe at my weight coming from an overweight man who goes out once a year is a bit trite?


Tim Jones
Mr. Jones,

While I have acknowledged you have met the nice criteria, need I remind you that your Christmas list is a request and in no way is it a guarantee of services provided. Should you wish to pursue legal action, well, that is your right. Please know, however, that my attorneys have been on retainer ever since the Burgermeister Meisterburger incident and will be more than happy to take you on in open court. Additionally, the exercise I alluded to will not only improve your health, but also improve your social skills and potentially help clear up a complexion that looks like the bottom of the Burger King fry bin most days.

Very Truly Yours,
S. Claus
Now look here, Fat Man,

I told you what I want and I expect you to bring it. I was attempting to be polite about this but you brought my looks and my friends into this. Now you just be disrespecting me. I'm about to tweet my boys and were gonna be waiting for your fat ass and I'm taking my game console, my game, my phone, and whatever else I want. WHAT EVER I WANT, MAN!

Listen Pizza Face,

Seriously??? You think a dude that breaks into every house in the world on one night and never gets caught sweats a skinny G-banger wannabe? He sees you when you're sleeping; He knows when you're awake. Sound familiar, genius? You know what kind of resources I have at my disposal. I got your shit wired, Jack. I go all around the world and see ways to hurt people that if I described them right now, you'd throw up your Totinos pizza roll all over the carpet of your mom's basement. You're not getting what you asked for, but I'm still stopping by your crib to stomp a mud hole in your ass and then walk it dry. Chew on that, Petunia.

S Clizzy
Dear Santa,

Bring me whatever you see fit. I'll appreciate anything.



That's what I thought, you little bastard.


MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you!!  This is the card we’re sending to all of our friends this year so, of course, you’re getting one, too.


If you live in a warm climate & you'd like to have 
a white Christmas at your house
click here!!

Please read this--& do something!!
Ann Curry proposes #26Acts of kindness, goes viralhttp://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57560308/ann-curry-proposes-26acts-of-kindness-goes-viral/

We used to have a poster which contained what I think is Bud’s motto.  It had a picture of a pig & it said, “Money is like muck.  No good unless you spread it around.”----fishducky

Friday, December 21, 2012


My mother-in-law, my father-in-law & my husband have all sworn that these things really happened.  Although I wasn’t there as a witness, I have no reason to doubt them.

My mother-in-law, Audrey, used to work at the Los Angeles County Courthouse.  She drove her car to work & parked in a lot on a hill & walked down a flight of stairs to get to the sidewalk.  She parked as close to the stairway as possible.  One day she got the very best space—right in front of the stairs!  She went to work & when she got back to the parking lot she found her car waiting for her.  NOT AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, BUT AT THE BOTTOM!  It had come down the stairs on its own.  She said she must have forgotten to set the parking brake, but I think it just got tired of waiting for her to come back.  Amazingly enough (to you, but not to those of us who knew Audrey) she got in & drove it home.  That was the last time she ever drove.  I guess she figured that wouldn’t happen on a bus.  This is not her car, but it might as well have been:

And from my favorite (& only) father-in-law, Phil; two stories.  He had a habit that really annoyed his wife.  He would spit out of the car window while driving.  One day, he released a wad & decided to quit doing that right then & there.  Perhaps the fact that the car window was still rolled up & became spit-covered had a hand in his decision.  He’s passed on now—we’ll never know for sure.

The other Phil story happened shortly before he gave up his driver’s license.  He was on a major street which fortunately had very light traffic at the time.  He had apparently been weaving & was stopped at a red light, I assume taking up a lane & a half, when a car full of young men pulled up alongside him.  The driver politely asked him, “Excuse me, sir, but could you please tell me what street this is?”  Phil answered, “Olympic Boulevard.”  The other driver thanked him & asked, “Would you mind sharing it with us?”

And now, my husband:  While in high school, Bud & another boy wanted to take Physics II but they hadn’t yet taken Physics I.  To do this, they needed a recommendation from another teacher.  I don’t know how they had acted in HIS class early in the semester, but the teacher’s recommendation they got included the sentence, “F------ & Merrifield were good boys THE SECOND 10 WEEKS.”

When Bud was in the Army he met John "Combat" "Nails" Ragan.  He got the name "Combat" by being the only one to go through 16 (instead of 8) weeks of basic training. "Nails" came from when he was found using the only "church key" can opener (before the days of pop top cans) to clean his fingernails.  Anyway, John was a passenger in a car & he had some letters to be mailed.  He yelled to the driver, "Stop here!"  He jumped out, mail in hand & ran up to a short, rather stout lady who was wearing a red blouse & blue slacks.  He looked at her & said, "Pardon me, madam, I thought you were a mailbox!" & got back in the car.  (You know even I couldn't make this stuff up!)

In law school Bud had to take a class that was held in a large lecture hall at 8:00 am on Saturdays.  This hour was apparently too much pressure for one student.  One Saturday at around 7:30 he hid in a janitor’s closet inside the lecture hall.  About 10 or 15 minutes after the class started, a loud alarm clock was heard ringing from inside the closet.  The pajama & robe clad student came out carrying the clock, a toothbrush, toothpaste & a towel.  He scratched himself & muttered, “These early Saturday classes are going to kill me” & walked out the lecture hall door into the hallway.  I guess the instructor understood & agreed, because when the student later came & apologized to him for interrupting the class he was told, in a stern voice, “Mr. Rudelson, that was very unmannerly, very unlawyerlike, very ungentlemanly, AND VERY FUNNY!!”

And because a Boy Scout would NEVER lie:

Happy End of the World!!

No names were changed to protect the innocent.  There were no innocent! ----fishducky