Garbage Disposal

My wife and I will endure great inconveniences to avoid relatively easy solutions. Examples abound but our garbage disposal debacle a few years ago is illustrative. The disposal broke and we created a temporary work around of making sure nothing but water went into the kitchen sink. We scraped plates directly and thoroughly into the garbage bag. Then we played the game of “chicken” to see who would be first to take action to get the new disposal. Early on we had a Survivor party with my wife’s family and had to caution everyone not to let any scraps get into the sink. Six months later when the new season of Survivor rolled around, we had another viewing party and had to warn the same people about the same defective appliance. They were amazed that we had broken another disposal so soon. Of course, it was hard to admit that it was the same one. But still my wife went about her daily business as if no urgency existed to fix the problem. Finally I cracked and spent a few minutes on the internet ordering a new garbage disposal with installation. The cost was relatively cheap, certainly nothing like ordering a major appliance. If our refrigerator goes out, I expect we will buy ice every day and stash perishables in coolers. When our dying oven expires, we will just break out the hibachi. Do other people live like this?


Voter Fraud

Donald Trump now claims to have proof that he won the popular vote unanimously once you deduct the voter fraud ballots. If this is verified, it will be the biggest margin of victory for a President Elect since Roosevelt Adams defeated James Johnson in 1784 with 71% of the vote after it was revealed that Johnson had died two years earlier. The Donald has directed his lawyers to pursue prosecution of those who did not vote at all. Plea deals are expected for those willing to sign a Loyalty Oath. Hillary Clinton has so far refused to apologize to the American people for voting for Trump. She claims she thought you voted for the person you wanted off the Island per the rules established by the television program Survivor. Bernie Sanders could not be reached for comment while he is in negotiations with ABC to be a contestant next season on Dancing With The Scars.


While researching my Ninth Amendment rights for yesterday’s blog, I discovered how ignorant I was of the 27 Constitutional Amendments. The Third Amendment apparently allows me to dispose of soldiers in my house by drawing and quartering them. The longest gap between amendments was 61 years from 1804 to 1865 when the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude only after assurances that criminals could still be jailed and women could not claim equality. Eventually the 19th Amendment awarded women the right to vote but females regularly defy the spirit of the law by rudely failing to vote in concert with their husbands or by voting without husbands. I was stunned to find out alcohol was prohibited by the 18th Amendment and looked foolish posting that on Facebook when I continued reading and found the 21st Amendment. The 27th Amendment limits the effective date of Congressional pay raises until after an intervening election. It took over 202 years to ratify and only happened after a University of Texas undergraduate student renewed interest in the stalled proposal with submission of a paper; his Instructor gave him a “C” and called the idea “unrealistic.”  The ratification took place in 1992 after a math error delayed the process eight years. No new Amendments have been added since, but Civics classes might be energized by this blog posting.


At her previous preschool, my granddaughter Zosia began spelling her nickname “Zoi.” None of us corrected her to “Zoe,” partly because it distinguished her from many other Zoe’s at the school. Zoi also seemed a more logical spelling than Zoe (which does not rhyme with other “oe” words like foe, hoe, Joe, and toe). For her Pre-K year at another school, we just identified Zosia’s nickname as Zoi. I remember in fourth grade when my teacher asked me for the names of my parents for some form and I identified my Mother as “Mari.” My Mom’s given name was Marion but her family had long called her Mari in an era where you could pretty much change your name by usage. When I enunciated Mari correctly (with the “mar” sound), the nun admonished me that it was pronounced “Mary.” I was smart enough to know exactly how my Mother pronounced and spelled her name but aware enough to know other issues might be in play (could my Mom be in trouble for not having a traditional Saint’s name?). So I remained uncharacteristically silent but have never refused a check signed by Mari Stamper. I have also become a passionate advocate of our 9th Amendment rights to bear our own names. So when Zoi reinvents herself in high school as “Zowie,” I will not be rolling over in my grave.

Secretary of State

Early politicians regularly served as Secretary of State before getting elected U.S. President (Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Q. Adams, Van Buren). Hillary Clinton is surely disappointed that James Buchanan was the last Secretary of State to take this route. With Mitt Romney in the pool to be next Secretary of State, a reverse trend seems to be emerging where the position is viewed as an appropriate consolation prize for losing a bid for President. Both of Obama’s secretaries of State, Clinton and John Kerry, served after failed Presidential bids. A good blogger would probably give some meaning to this shift. Or he would fight his laziness long enough to research some prevailing wisdom on the internet and pass it off as his own. But that is the job of those who make the comments.

Inglish Langwidge

The incongruities in the English language have been well documented, often humorously. But it really hits home with me when my five year old granddaughter will say something like, “I runned down the hill.” I don’t correct her but make sure I use the word “ran” a couple of times in my responses. If she hopped, skipped, and jumped, why should I consider “runned” a mistake? She has deduced this usage logically. She certainly has not heard any of us saying “runned.” I would like to congratulate her on her cleverness but cannot do that either. She is going to have to memorize words one by one like the rest of us. I stunned the bystanders when I gunned the car but Zoi shunned me when she ran down the hill. I am starting to have empathy for people who use double negatives and say “irregardless.” Who are the architects of the language who got to make the sacred rules and enlist disciples to perpetuate the usages? I hav always sed the anser is to bild the langwidge pritty much from scratch, altho we mite want to redesine the tax code first.


I am bursting with Thanksgiving.  I would like to thank my parents for my birth and for not trading me in for a second car back when times were tougher. I would like to thank my wife for going through her hippie phase of booze and drugs which clouded her judgment and resulted in our marriage; I would also like to thank her for not getting an annulment when she sobered up and realized her mistake. I would like to thank my son Ryan for fixing my old electronics gear even though I ignore his pleas to buy new stuff. I would like to thank my son Dustin for not reporting me to Child Protective Services when he was growing up. I would like to thank my son Matt for moving in and taking care of me in my old age even though it is a burden to his family. I would like to thank my daughters-in-law for turning my sons into married men, a seemingly hopeless dream of mine. I would like to thank my grandchildren for ignoring my detractors and liking me anyway. I would like to thank President-Elect Trump for defeating Ted Cruz in the Republican Primary. I would like to thank my designated blog reader for still hoping something worthwhile will be written. I would like to thank the Seattle Mariners for making all the right moves to pretty much guarantee a World Series victory in 2017 but I just cannot make myself do that.


Today I am making green jello for Thanksgiving tomorrow. It sounds more appropriate for colonoscopy preparation than a turkey pig out. Except I stuff the jello with veggies and a few fruits, add some vinegar, and concoct a sauce my Mother taught me to make. Nobody eats it except me. I did not make it one year but everyone was disappointed. Tradition is important at Thanksgiving and we have a sacred ritual of mocking my jello. Wait, that is unfair to the gelatin. The tradition is to mock me. Now I also make various cranberry sauces and relishes which are sampled to some degree. I chop up nuts and fruits into the cranberry goo and feel guilty about the attention my dishes receive. My wife will spend days buying and preparing food. She will get up early on Thanksgiving and slave over the cooking of the turkey, stuffing, gravy, and all the other side dishes; but everyone will end up talking about the disgusting green jello or trying to guess the ingredients in the cranberry relish. Pretty much all I have to do is boil water. Still I am disheartened that even my vegetarian daughter-in-law will not eat the lime jello because apparently gelatin contains meat byproducts. You can substitute a vegan agar-agar substance made from seaweed but then even I would not gag down my jello. I wonder which one of my three sons will be making the green jello after I die.


When I was in grade school, I told one of the nuns that I had discovered a word that used the letter “u” three times: unusual. She was as unimpressed as if I had told her that cookie starts with “c.” Over the years I have repeated that story to Scrabble players as if it were a joke on me when actually I thought they might be impressed with my discovery. No one was. Thanks to Bill Gates, I found out why because I can now check the significance of my find. Apparently 398 words have at least three u’s (“un” is the prefix for over one hundred of them). If you count “urubu” and “uhuru,” you can find three u’s in words with only five letters. I assume the nun I told about “unusual” was thinking,”The muumuu I am wearing has four u’s, along with 26 other words.” If only I had come up with the five letter word “untumultuous” back in the day, I am sure I would have impressed so many people. I still identify with the word unusual. I think I am so special but I am really very common after all.


Yesterday the American Music Awards were presented in Los Angeles. Do not worry if you missed them. Celebrity performers love honoring themselves and have scheduled many more award shows for 2017: People’s Choice Awards (1/4), Golden Globes (1/15), Critics Choice Movie Awards (1/22), Screen Actors Guild Awards (1/29), Oscars (2/26), Kids Choice Awards (3/11), Country Music Awards (4/2), MTV Movie Awards (4/9), Emmys (4/30), Billboard Music Awards (5/14), Spike Guy Choice Awards (6/10), Tony Awards (6/11), BET Awards (6/25), ESPY Awards (7/12), Teen Choice Awards (7/30), Country Music Awards (11/1). Of course, this partial list does not include many of the prominent shows outside the U.S., like the Brit Awards in London and the Cannes Film Festival where the Palme d’Or and other honors are bestowed. I know this because I was accidentally searching up Blog awards. I discovered they are numerous. This was disappointing because my bucket list keeps growing exponentially while no items are getting checked off. At least I now get to live forever to complete my list. And a telemarketer just gave me a great deal on a travel package to the Senior Citizen Longevity Awards Show in 2070.