Oct 202016

I believe it isn’t asking too much of people to suggest that they treat one another with a modicum of civility. Come on, folks, it shouldn’t require more effort to be agreeable than disagreeable, and we should be able to disagree agreeably.


In this age of political correctness, humor is gone, understanding is absent, and tolerance has disappeared–especially during this election year. Mama mia! Extended families have turned into armed camps. Longtime friendships have ended in shouting matches and have been rendered irreparable. No political differences are worth tearing a family apart. No political differences are worth losing a single friend over.

For example, take Facebook. Please. Take Facebook and run it through a carwash or some manner of thorough cleansing. The language! The vitriol! The condescension! The insults! The unfriending! It’s unbelievable. Why is it so impossible to be respectful and kind to one another? Facebook needs a thorough scrubbing followed by a one hundred eighty degree turn in the direction of civility.


When I was in college, as a response to a wave of random acts of violence, there was a grassroots campaign to do the opposite–commit random acts of kindness. I’ve always believed that was an inspired idea. The act of kindness doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. It could be as simple as a compliment to a total stranger. I do it all the time, and I have a selfish reason. It makes me feel good when I make someone else feel good. Here are three examples of what a simple compliment can accomplish.

Just recently, when MG and I were seated in a restaurant at a table beside a frazzled young couple with a cute but fussy months-old baby, I told them their baby is a cutie. Their frowns immediately turned upside down. They absolutely beamed when they thanked me. Why? Your family and friends will of course tell you your baby is cute and adorable, but it’s different when a total stranger tells you that.

Many couples travel to Las Vegas to wed. MG and I were there several years ago when I spied a young bride-to-be in a gorgeous gown. The poor thing was looking very tense. Jitters and  strain were evident in her expression. I remembered how nervous I was on my wedding day, so I approached her and told her that her gown was gorgeous and she looked gorgeous in it. Her smile lit up the room and she appeared much less tense. Same reason as before. A total stranger–not her mom or her maid of honor–told her that she looked as beautiful as she hoped she looked.

Sometimes a random compliment can pay unexpected dividends. MG and I went to Italy on tour for our tenth anniversary. For our tour group’s meals, we were herded into huge dining rooms at each hotel and were served prearranged standard meals, no menus to choose from–except at one hotel. At that hotel, we ordered from menus and the food was fabulous. On our way out the first evening, I spoke to the maitre’d. I paid the hotel’s dining service the compliment that its food was the best of all the hotels at which we had stayed. He smiled, looking extremely pleased, and thanked me. The next evening, two couples, MG and I sat at a table in the middle of the dining room. A waiter came to us and told us that people from our tour group were not allowed to sit at that table. He insisted we sit elsewhere. We were stunned but we complied. The only remaining table was right beside the kitchen door. At that point, the maitre’d I complimented approached our table. He said, “This is not a good table. Come with me, please.” He sat us at that taboo table in the middle of the dining room and assigned three waiters to serve us. One of them was the waiter who chased us from the taboo table when we walked in. We drew incredulous stares from the other diners. They had to be wondering who were we to deserve such preferential treatment. Were we VIPs? Were we nobility? Were we celebrities? Had they asked, I would have told them that we were ordinary folk who expressed admiration for the hotel’s dining service and the staff was expressing appreciation for the compliment.

It never hurts to be kind–and sometimes it pays to be kind.


Oct 122016


If you didn’t write it down for me, you didn’t tell me–that is what the psychologist who diagnosed my ADD told me to tell people.

I forget where I put things–Out of Sight, Out of Mind, one of my ADD symptoms–like where I left my [insert item–keys, iPhone, checkbook]. I also have trouble remembering exactly what people tell me. Continue reading »

Oct 052016

There are things people do that defy both logic and the law. I was in Circuit Court today observing the case of a former township supervisor who is suspected of malfeasance while in office. Yes, it happens on the local level too, and it amazes me that these people think they’ll never be caught or made to answer for their actions.


This supervisor allegedly used her position to enrich herself at the township’s expense. When a wireless company applied to locate a microwave tower in the township, this supervisor sold the company a section of her own property rather than township property. She profited personally at the expense of the township. When an energy company applied to locate a power substation in the township, this supervisor sold the company a section of her own property rather than township property. Again, she profited personally at the expense of the township. Power definitely corrupts.


She also practiced deception to deprive subdivisions access to funding for improvements in favor of rural residents because of her personal animus for suburbanites. She had the township clerk delete part of a letter of opinion from the township lawyer, which altered the meaning of his opinion. She then used the altered opinion as the reason to deny funding for road improvement to a subdivision in the township. When this illegal action was discovered and her deceit was exposed at a public meeting, she was forced to resign. She then began a vendetta against the member of the township board who exposed her deceit by spreading lies aimed at smearing his reputation and mounted a successful dirty campaign to unseat him. What gall!

Following her resignation as supervisor, this woman concealed township records by turning over a new laptop she purchased with township funds to replace the previous township computer. The new supervisor discovered that the laptop had never been used. It contained no township records. A search of the former supervisor’s home revealed that the computer she claimed as her personal property was actually the township computer she said had been destroyed by a lightening strike. When an IT professional checked the computer’s serial number, it was the same as that of the township’s computer. The former supervisor then changed her story. It was another computer that was destroyed, not the township’s. She kept the township’s computer in her home “for convenience.” A judge issued a temporary restraining order enjoining her from destroying the computer or any data on the computer. We’ll see how that goes.


Township officials also discovered that this former supervisor had personal email accounts with two ISPs using them as private servers to conduct township business instead of using her township email account. The judge ordered her to allow the township access to her personal emails. Gee, this all sounds so familiar, doesn’t it?


After the proceedings ended and we all filed out of the courtroom, several observers could be heard comparing the former township supervisor to a nationally known politician of the same gender. Had she overheard the remarks, the former township supervisor would probably have taken them as compliments, because the situations are eerily similar and handled in similar fashion. She must have tremendous admiration for the nationally known female politician. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Sep 282016

I don’t usually read the Business Weekly section of the Sunday newspaper. It’s kind of dry most weekends, but not a few weeks ago. As I was separating the sections and stacking them in the order to be read, the Business lead story caught my eye.

Pole Fitness As a Business.

Actually, the two accompanying photos caught my eye first–women of all ages and sizes, in shorts and tank tops or T-shirts, hanging onto the kind of poles that are the mainstay of strip clubs.

pole-fitness Continue reading »

Sep 212016

During an open critique session, the facilitators discussed those much maligned creatures known as the flying body parts, aka the wandering body parts and the animated body parts. They mocked them, giving humorous examples, and everyone laughed on cue.

I felt so sorry for those poor body parts. What have they ever done to invite such vilification? From my perspective, the obsession of so many writers and writing instructors aimed at preventing the use of common idioms and figures of speech is the equivalent of putting a straight jacket on the imagination of writers everywhere.

strait-jacket Continue reading »

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