Sunday, February 28, 2021

I Totally Heart Leslie Jordan ...


(Edited, content added - bonus video added on 3/1/2021 :)

After seeing an ad for Mayim Bialik's new show, "Call me Kat," about a woman who opens a cat cafe in Louisville, KY (which would never actually happen or fly, here in Kentucky, btw), costarring Leslie Jordan, I was reminded of the video of Leslie Jordan below that my sister-in-law sent me, a few months ago lol.   I think it was on Mother's Day, in fact lol.

For those unaware of who Leslie is, you've seen him 1,000 times in movies like The Help and on TV shows like Will & Grace and Boston Legal, and you would likely recognize his face and thick Southern (Tennessee) accent, but many may not know him by name, but it's Leslie Jordan. 

The accent, by the way, is a 100% authentic Kentucky/Tennessee rural (but still middle-class) accent (as opposed to true, full-blown redneck rural, though people not from our area may not be able to tell the difference lol). 

He grew up in an extremely religious Southern Baptist conservative family, and was baptized 14 times out of guilt, because he knew he was gay.  (He also later moved to LA and became an alcoholic/addict and has been sober for 22 years.)

I absolutely love him, he's adorable - he reminds me of one particular gay friend I made while waiting tables, back in college, telling crazy-but-true stories with whip-snapback sharp wit :)

Anyway, Leslie is also a true Southern storyteller, entertaining millions during COVID quarantine with his stories - and the one sent to me by my sister-in-law a few months ago tells this story of his mother and twin sisters' trip to Florida in the early 70s, about trying to decide the correct way to pronounce, "Kissimmee, Florida" that ends with an unexpected twist, due to misunderstanding and someone's misassumption that his Southern-drawl family must be ignorant - LOL.

(I switched out the video for another one that also includes some of his other quarantine lockdown stories and life observations, immediately after the initial Kissimmee/Burger King story.)

Let that first story be a lesson to you, America - some Southerners - like Leslie - may talk slower, but are much sharper than you think - and sometimes, the joke's on you lol ;) 

Note how he alternates between calling his beloved mother, "Momma/Mama" and "Mother" - never "Mom" or "Mommy"- that's the true old-school Southern way, white or black.  

"Momma/Mama" was traditionally said by the working and poor classes; but in the Southern "gentile" and wealthier classes - actually middle-class on up - it was always "Mother" -  never "Mom" or "Mommy."  In fact, that used to be a "tell" that you and/or your family were actually from the Midwest, North, or West. 

Since those times, "Momma" and "Mother" are interchangeable between classes, in the South; but still, to this day, it's rarely "Mom" or "Mommy"  - except in the urban/suburban South.

For example, in cities like Lexington, Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta, Kansas City, Little Rock, Birmingham, and Dallas/Ft. Worth (and their greater metropolitan/suburban regions), depending on where their family was originally from, they often call their mothers "Mom" and "Mommy," too, rather than "Momma/Mama."  

As interesting example of this old-school class distinction was my maternal grandmother, Granny "Do"  for Dolores. Granny "Do" (pronounced "Doe") was born and raised as an upper-middle-class Southern city gal, riding the Lexington Trolley everywhere and whose family owned a car before most of the rest of Lexington.

Her father (my great-grandfather), Robert Taylor Mann, was one of five electrical engineers who started the electric company co-op that would eventually become Kentucky Utilities.  Her brothers were all college-educated engineers at UK (University of Kentucky) - one of whom worked on the Panama Canal - and her only living sister went to nursing school, became an RN, and was an Army nurse in WW2 and in Korea, who never married.

My grandmother, on the other hand, was the pampered baby of the family, who preferred the idea of being a fairy-tale princess finding her Prince Charming to her studies, and she never even knew how to make her own bed or how to cook until she was married - either her mother and/or their maid did it lol.   

After her sister persuaded her to at least attend business school for two years instead of college for backup (just in case she was widowed young, like their mother), she received a certificate in business and accounting before marrying my grandfather, but still went with the young-bride plan - except she chose to "marry down," as we say in the South, and fell in love/married my grandfather in a "lower class" during the depression, when everyone else had lost just about everything, and if you had land, you actually likely fared better, as you could farm for your own sustenance and was a smart move.  

My grandfather was a blue-collar electrician and farmer, but who was actually one of the most brilliant outside-of-the-box thinkers I've ever known, despite having only an 8th grade education, quitting school to help his family farm - what a scientist or lawyer or politician, he could've been. 

As an interesting side note, the business school that my Aunt 'Lizbeth persuaded her to do turned out to be a smart move and came in handy - because during WW2, she was approached by a member of the Jessamine County City Council, while hanging clothes on the line to dry, asking her if it was true she'd been to business school, and if she would be interested in becoming the interim manager of the Jessamine County ASCS office while the current manager, and most local men, were overseas at war!   

The ASCS  - which stood for the Agricultural Stabilization and and Conservation Service - was one of President Roosevelt's new government programs set up to help stabilize the economy after the depression.  It set the amount of tobacco you could sell, as well as temporarily also set the price, because tobacco was super easy to grow, and at that time, we had more supply than demand, so tobacco was worth basically nothing during the depression.  

Later, in rare example, my grandmother was actually not replaced by the former male manager after his return from the war, or even another man, at the end of WW2 - she kept that management job for another 30 years and was adored by all of her farmers.

And yes, by the way - she learned how to make her bed, cook soul food with gusto, and even kill chickens for Sunday chicken dinner, because my grandfather and family would have none of that pampered city-girl stuff on the farm - living on a farm, you better learn how to do a bunch of often non-feminine stuff you have to do to survive - especially during an economic depression - that you never thought you'd have to do and don't want to do lol.

In fact, if you've ever seen the movie, "Cold Mountain," Nicole Kidman's character, Ada, being taught by farm-girl Ruby how to do for herself and tear up her useless ball gowns for quilts,  throw off the gloves and fans, hike up her skirts to dig in the dirt and live off the land, killing chickens and hogs, and learning to use a rifle to protect her farm and herself during the Civil War? That was essentially my grandmother - 75 years later, during The Great Depression lol.

Can you imagine?  

I mean, my grandmother was the spoiled-rotten baby of the family, but she was never snotty and arrogant, her mother made sure of that, instilling in her part of being a lady was also being kind and compassionate like Christ - and yet this life still must've been a huge wake-up call.

"Hello, Fairy-Tale Baby Princess - welcome to the Great Depression, and you married a farmer and essentially moved to Little House on the Prairie - so get to stepping - start digging, stripping feathers, and learning how to hold a rifle and shoot, should the need arise lol. "

Also, can you imagine that happening today, or even then, right after the depression, someone walking up to you, while you're doing your laundry at home, asking you if you want a federal government job, which gave you federal-employee benefits for life  - or any job, for that matter? lol

Anyway - back to the "Mama" word choice -  we all called my grandmother's mother - my great-grandmother - "Mama Mann" - but my grandmother would die before she'd ever call her own mother "Momma/Mama" or "Mommy" or "Mom" herself.

So even though by the time she passed, she had been so surrounded by a rural community, after marrying young, that she mostly spoke "country," as if she was raised on a farm her whole life, there were sometimes still rare little "tells" of the original class she was born into - and one of those "tells" was she always both spoke to, and referred to, her mother by the full, formal "Mother." :)

She'd also die before she ever used the word "ain't," even though she was surrounded by it in later life lol :)  

She said this was because her mother would send her, and her siblings, away from the "supper" table for 10 minutes, if caught saying it. 

Mind you, this also also happened if she went into a fit of giggles (which she'd call "got tickled") at her 3 older brothers' antics at the dinner table (which happened frequently with my grandmother anyway),  until she could get a hold of herself lol.  

It also happened with her older sister, my Aunt 'Lizbeth (short for "Mary-Elizabeth" - pronounced "Mury-'Lizbeth" in the South, shortened to "Aunt "Lizbeth" by her great nieces, because you try saying "Aunt Mary-Elizabeth" as a toddler) -  but being eight years older, she could get a handle on it quicker than my grandmother. 

This was part of the proper social training for well-bred Southern ladies, you see, as men didn't get in trouble for being silly at the dinner table, nor trying to make ladies laugh; thus, it was your job, as a lady-hostess-in-training, to set the tone at dinner, control yourself and your "hysterical giggle fits" regardless of what the men said and did, even changing the subject of conversation if things got too silly or too tense, instead.

Thus, Mama Mann would say, "Young Ladies?  If you can't control your hysterical giggles, you may be excused from the table, and you may only return when you have composed yourselves and remembered proper decorum." lol ;)

This "never-say-ain't" rule was also instilled in my mother by my grandmother, despite being raised on a farm - never use the word "ain't" - it was like a cardinal sin in my mother's mother's side of family, except my usually quiet grandfather used it loudly when being irritated and sarcastic - i.e., "Ohh, well, ain't he proud, acting thatta way?" LOL.

(This "never-say-ain't" rule was ingrained in me too, though mostly raised in suburban Cincinnati -  but like my grandfather, I sometimes use it when I'm being sarcastic, because it's just - funny  :)

However, one rule that was NOT continued past Mama Mann's supper table reign was the silly/giggle/"gettin' tickled' rule at the table. 

Now, you still weren't allowed to play with your food, make bubbles in your milk with your straw, or stick carrot sticks up your nose, use bathroom humor, or anything like that, at the supper table - male OR female - (which I know because of course I tried all of those things at least once lol) - but giggling and silliness during "supper" was welcome part of family togetherness - as long as you kept your mouth closed or you covered your mouth with your hand, so no one could see your food while chewing, and you didn't spit out your food; if you did, then you were politely asked to be excused for a moment ;)

Also note that especially in these urban/suburban communities in the South, you have to earn the title of "Momma" or "Mama" as your actual nickname - it's an honorary title bestowed upon you - meaning you have to be both a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother AND a mother to an entire community, white OR Black, and often also a widow.

For example -  our own "Mama Mann" was not only mother to 6 children (one sister, Marguerite, died at age 12 from appendicitis and a ruptured appendix, before Granny Do was born), 6 grandchildren (most of her children only had one child), and 8 great-grandchildren, and widowed by age 40,  but she was also president of both the Lexington chapter of the Southern Baptist "Women's Circle" and the local chapter of "Samaritan's Purse" Baptist charity, as well as also fed much of the city of Lexington soup, from off her back porch, during The Great Depression - thus, everyone, related to her or not, called her "Mama Mann"  :)  

In fact, her first name was actually "Anna," which I didn't even know until I was like 15, because nobody ever called her Anna, or even Mrs. Mann - it was always "Mama Mann" lol.

Often in Southern black urban communities, such a family/community matriarch is called "Big Mama" - which non-Southern people erroneously think is due to a large size, which is sometimes the case, but not always, and not the main reason - the title is actually bestowed on them more because they are a mother to many :)

Otherwise, it's "Granny" or "Gramma" or "MaMaw" or MeMaw" in the South - rarely "Nana."

Also interesting is that she often used the word "mustn't" when correcting us - i.e. "Now, you mustn't do that ..." 

That was another "tell" of her original Southern upper-middle-class city-gal upbringing - because nobody uses the word "mustn't," anymore, especially in the rural south; in fact, when it was used, 95% of the time, it was someone from the upper middle class on up, regardless of region - but use of the word mostly died out by the 1950s lol. 

Back to Leslie, note also how sometimes second pronouns get skipped before a verb in the second part of a compound sentence - i.e., "Mother asked the girl, said, 'Where ARE we?'" 

Yep, dead on Kentucky/Tennessee accent/vernacular :)

Yeah, so being raised in the Cincinnati suburbs, with my entire family from different classes in Kentucky, I'm a mixed-class, mixed rural/urban/suburban, mixed Midwest/Southern-culture gal who can speak both Southern and Northern and interpret one to the other - no wonder I'm always so confused lol.

Perhaps it's also why I'm so interested in dialect and the varying use of language; in fact, if I ever went back to college, I'd probably study linguistics, I just find it so interesting - because I've always naturally noticed the sometimes small variances in the language people use, even slight variations, sometimes from the same region but different social classes, to the point where I can almost tell the city or suburb you're from, and the social class, at least in Cincinnati and Kentucky, because my family was such a mix  :)


PS - after switching out the above video to include other clips of Leslie's, I just now saw one I'd never seen, with him singing and dancing a song from his one-man NYC show, called "Hysterical Blindness and Other Southern Tragedies (That Have Plagued My Life)" - the lyrics of a song called "Ain't No Queers in Heaven," which include, "Another queen for Satan's choir, singing show tunes in the fire" - HAHAHA! 

He's joking, of course, out of guilt and what Southern people say about his being gay, but that's a Southern-Baptist-raised gay man for you that "failed conversion"  - there's a lot of pain under that master-class shade throwing/make 'em laugh exterior :(


PPS - BONUS - Leslie's interview with Katie Couric, discussing things you may not have known about his life, including the death of his father, a Lt. Colonel and pilot (his plane went down when Leslie was only 11), as well as how supportive his father was, despite his asking for a bride doll for Christmas when he was just 3 years old, and originally exercise-riding race horses in his 20s, due to his short stature (he's 4'11") with dreams of becoming a jockey, as well as being arrested and jailed for 12 days, at the same time as Robert Downey, Jr., and writing RDJ a letter when he left, asking him to look out for the HIV-positive guy that no one would eat lunch with (which RDJ carried around with him for a long time), and being clean and sober for 22 years :(  

By the way, he pronounces Louisville the "correct" Kentucky way - "Luahvuhl" :)

SNL's Vaccine Game Show ;)

So as all of us Americans know - well, those of us who actually read reputable, award-winning local and national news publications, rather than watch cable news, plus trust our personal healthcare providers, friends and family experiences VS. people we don't even know on Twitter (and in fact, aren't sure really exist) -  in addition to previously not having much (any?) federal help with logistics/supply problems from the prior administration, the prior administration's decision to leave the vaccine roll-out to state discretion was, well, a big fat dumpster fire.  

That is because different states have varying definitions of "essential workers," and some of the groups that some states chose, before others, make us wonder if they didn't actually just use a dartboard of groups of people, throw darts,  and wherever the darts landed, that's the group that got vaccinated  - cough, cough, California - lol.  

(For example, in California, teachers have been among the latter groups to get vaccinated behind some other debatable groups; in fact, some teachers are still waiting.)

Additionally, the websites set up to register frequently crash and time out, and it takes hours to days to get registered, if you can get in before the window closes. 

Here in Kentucky, our Governor et al had thus far made pretty good choices, but also experienced supply issues and website problems. 

President Biden has supposedly created a vaccine roll-out task force to help fix these state problems, so we shall see. 

Regardless of who you blame, the previous administration or states (both likely playing a part), the vaccine's rollout has been, to use my brother-in-law from L.A.'s words,  "a logistical nightmare."

Additionally, we just heard this week from a member of FCPS staff that "The governor said if you don't get vaccinated by March 15th and you get COVID, the state will not pay for your sick leave as a state employee."

*blinks twice* - "WHAT?"

We're not sure that's correct -  though the source is typically pretty reliable.

Thus, we're still trying to verify; but if so, it's like, "Geez, well give us a minute, the vaccines are still coming out, with Johnson and Johnson just being approved yesterday, and the state website portal to hell still doesn't work properly?"

As I said, we are checking to verify this tomorrow, and we also need to check because I think his only choice still is Moderna - which is the one we wanted -  but Moderna is supposedly running out of supply - so like I said - give us a minute?  

Plus I couldn't get one anyway, just Mark, because he's a state employee, working for the public schools.

(In fact, I previously joked with family that with no health problems, not being considered an essential worker, plus all the logistics and website issues, I personally could probably get tickets to The Police reunion tour concert faster -  and they're not even planning a reunion yet lol.) 

Okay, I like Governor Beshear, but if this is true, he will be going down on my "likes" list, that's for sure.  

But to be honest, I'm just really getting tired of the political "blame games" on this vaccine.

They remind me of trying to stop fights between my daughter and prior stepson, when they were like, 8 years old.

So stand back, 'cause I'm pulling out and dusting off the old Mom card again, about to get all Mom-ish up in here, when I say:

"All right, that's IT - just - stop.  I don't CARE who 'started it'  - it doesn't solve the problem and doesn't even matter anymore, and we're wasting valuable, potentially life-saving time." 
"I don't CARE if it's state government, federal government, Republicans, Democrats, Chinese, Russian, South African,  the Illuminati, shape-shifting lizard people, aliens, Big Foot anymore - I don't CARE who is to blame anymore - somebody, for the love of God and all that is holy, fix it! lol

Canna get a witness?  Amen! lol

Regardless, here was SNL's hilarious take on the struggle (competition?) to get the vaccine, as well as the odd choices some states made as to what groups would get them first (cough, cough - again - California), by making it a game show competition.


 The judges are 3 Democrat governor judges, with 2 of the 3 being the most unpopular and most-hated governors in America right now, now by both Republicans and Democrats, Andrew Cuomo (New York) and Gavin Newsome (California) - and mind you, I'm a Democrat.  

The third Democrat Governor, Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), is also hated, but only by Republicans, who tried to kidnap her lol. I personally love Gretchen Whitmer! :)

(However, I think they chose these three states because let's face it, it's mostly only Democrats who are even considering getting the vaccine lol.) 

Ted "Cancun" Cruz also stars as a contestant (played by Aidy Bryant), listing his profession as "stand-up comedian," trying to justify getting the vaccine.

The consolation prizes for not being eligible?  A Pfizer visor.  

If they do manage to win a slot, but Moderna is no longer available in their state, then a cheap knock-off vacc made by Costco will be administered - but not on the show.  You still have to use the web portal to hell lol. 


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Biden's First Big Mistake, IMO: Jennifer Granholm as Secretary of Energy

Okay, yes, I'm a Democrat and I love Biden - but I'm also fair and critically think. 

Thus far, I've been pretty happy with him refusing to comment on Trump or his impeachment and focusing on more important issues like COVID policy, as well as other policies that have been - erm -neglected for the last four years.

However, unlike Trumpers, I don't have a cult mindset about Biden or being a Democrat.

This means that not only do I not check every single Democrat box (because I consider each issue independently of the other),  but I also won't pretend everything Biden says and does is perfect, or gospel truth, refusing to really examine his decisions, even critique them, simply because I'm afraid of what I voted for, being willfully ignorant and blind to facts about him. 

That's one of the big differences here in America between Republicans and Democrats post-Trump, at this point, though it didn't used to be   - Trump Republicans do a lot of denial, minimizing, or pretending, and saying a lot of "Check every box, agree with every little thing Trump/the GOP says or you're a RINO."  

There are no gray areas in a post-Trump GOP world - you fall in line, everyone must agree with every single tenet and never criticize your own in the GOP -  or else.

When I swear to goodness, if anyone from the Democratic Party ever pressured me (like Republicans do to each other) and said:

"Anyone who doesn't agree with us/Biden 100% on politics or our version of Christianity is a fake Dem and Christian; a DINO and CINO" ...

I'd be like ...

"Ya know what?  You're right, by your definition, I guess I'm not a Democrat or Christian. I'm my own person with independent thoughts, interpretations, and beliefs and I should be allowed those things without being called a fake anything."
"Because you DO realize that my having separate, independent opinions on subjects, rather than pretending along to assimilate, actually proves that I'M the one being more genuine and YOU the fake? lol." 
"Whatever - there's the door.  Bye!  Goodbye, good luck with your self-pigeonholing and cyborg-like group assimilation into a single identity, and good riddance!" lol

But see, that would never happen - you've never once seen us Democrats ever call someone a "DINO"  :)

That is because we don't wrap our entire identity around being a Democrat or being American, trying to shove everyone into one neat little box, simply because it makes us feel more comfortable, validated,  and in control; in fact - *with some exceptions* - we Democrats not only allow individual differences, we welcome them. 

We're proud Democrats and Americans, sure - but before we are those things, first and foremost, we're proud humans;  and for most of us, our core values come before our political, national, or ethnic identity :)

(In fact, we do so much listening, trying to be sensitive to, and considering all group voices and viewpoints that the Republican critique of us Dems not getting much done is likely true and may need work lol.)

At most, we may say things like, "Oh, he's one of those Dems that hates racism, but is anti-gay marriage and anti-gay discrimination protection, because he still believes being gay is a choice" or something like that.

Not necessarily said in a bad way, just an explanation-of-differences kind of way - so you realize what subjects you can discuss/agree upon and what you can't (or should tread lightly on), beforehand, to avoid conflict ;)

However, what we do NOT ever say is: "He's a DINO!  Out, damn spot, out I say!" lol   

*A quick aside for my British readers* - do note that there are a lot of differences between American Conservatives and British Conservatives that you may not be aware of.  For example,  the majority of our blue-collar laborers, as well as many labor unions, are members of/support the Republican Party/Conservative candidates.   

It hasn't always been that way (probably within the last 30 years or so), but yes.  It doesn't make a lot of sense, I know, but it's true - the wealthy producer class and their blue-collar labor are on the same political side, here in America - they're not on opposite sides of the political spectrum and two separate parties, like they are there.  There are other differences, but that's one of the most glaring differences. 

In fact, your basic majority of British conservatives are more socially liberal than American conservatives on things like gun control, race and faith, as well as economically liberal/more supportive of the government being in control of certain issues like healthcare and climate change, which makes them more like moderate Democrats here in America.  

Your alt-right and far-right minority of British conservatives would be like our majority of American Republicans and Trumpers, and your Liberal-Democrats would be like the small minority faction of Democrats that are the most radical/furthest left members of our Democratic party; i.e., AOC and others.

Regardless, back to my point - no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, and we are a much stronger, more mature society, if we admit those mistakes, talk about them, and learn from them, rather than so much flat-out denial, blind loyalty, and pretending with Trump. ;)

Thus, my husband and I are pretty disappointed about Biden putting Jennifer Granholm in charge of energy - especially my husband, from Detroit.  

For starters, she's a lawyer - she has has absolutely no background in energy whatsoever, besides what little she gleaned as Governor of Michigan from 2002-2007.

Additionally, as my husband from Detroit puts it ...

"Jennifer Granholm lives in La La Land, she has no clue about reality, and she certainly does not know shit about energy, she's a lawyer. It's no different than Trump rewarding Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education with no experience, just out of political-support reward." 

"Now, I like Biden, you know that, but this was a huge mistake and it kinda makes me mad -  I thought we were done with political cronyism when Trump left?" 

"Granholm talks a great game - but none of her plans are well thought out or economically feasible, they're pipe dreams that no one can afford, and she does all her untested experimental green-energy changes immediately and sweeping, with no transition time, rather than gradual."

"She draws in Republicans because she wants to cut government spending and waste, then acts just like a Republican - she cuts spending in the wrong areas to finance her pet pipe-dream projects." 

"In fact, her second term, she instituted a competition between school choice and public schools on who could make the most budget cuts. I mean, who does that?  Who can be the cheapest on education?  It was crazy.  Why would anyone want to cheapen their educational quality?" 

"Of course school choice had more money to begin and lost less, so public education was the loser.  She lost all Democrat support with that, and after her, then Republican Governor Snyder put the nails in public education's coffin in Michigan, which is why I'm here in Kentucky." 

"She doesn't know how to prioritize what's really important to either businesses OR public institutions, or balance budgets, because she's a lawyer .  She used Michigan as her case-study experiment and it failed miserably.  She operates in theories rather than reality, and refuses to see that none of her theories ever pan out."

"She came in singing the Democrat song, but  acted like a Republican instead, sinking not only public education, but the car industry by 2008 by making sweeping environmental regulations and changes instead of gradual ones, though they were already barely holding on, which paved the way for Republican Governor, Rick Snyder, to come in and cut public funding back even further, to where by 2011, I no longer had a staff, then a job, in public education, and Flint's water suffered. I'm so pissed at Biden, right now, but I'll get over it.  He just better do something awesome now to win me over again lol" 


I can't really say much about Jennifer's job in Michigan, I wasn't there - so I could only add that I don't understand why a lawyer with no experience in energy was chosen.

HOWEVER - I will say the fact that Republicans love her may very well be why Biden picked her, he knew she'd pass the Senate - and he did say (or warn) us that he was going to be a president for all and listen to Republicans?  

Yeah, okay, I get trying to be fair - I'm a pretty fair person, too, who recognizes there are several ways to look at issues.  

But you can also be fair past the point of reason, to your own detriment, just to prove you're fair - which then becomes about you, rather than the issue at hand.

Not to mention, with today's modern Trump Republicans, they don't want to reciprocate and listen, they want you to agree with them or they'll burn your effin' house down lol ;)

Also, I'm all about holding corporations accountable for what pollution they're putting in the environment, and a gradual change to less reliance on fossil fuels and more focus on renewable, environment-friendly forms of energy, but that will take many years of shifting funds to this research and needs transition time.  It cannot - and should not -  be done overnight. 

And I did notice, in reading Jennifer Granholm's Wikipedia page, is that it tells you what she believes in and implemented (which does sound a bit pipe dreamy), but there is no mention of success of any of her implementations - and my husband says that is because most of them failed miserably - with one small exception, community college enrollment for laborers. 

Lady Gaga's Dogs Stolen, Dogwalker Allegedly Shot ...

 Apparently, her dog walker was shot - you heard me right, shot - and two of her three French bulldogs were stolen (the third ran away and was found later).   She is offering a $500,000 reward for their return.

Okay, so maybe this story is exactly as it seems, and my suspicious antennae don't always go up on stories like this; but for some reason, they did on this one?

Not about Lady Gaga, but about the way this story is told.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's like there's something not quite right about this story, like it's not what it appears?

I mean, there are less dramatic, violent ways to steal high-profile-people's dogs - you'd have to know that with a higher ransom would also come extra-level investigation. 

Plus risking that level of violence over a high-profile person's dog makes it seem either a more personal crime or overkill effort,  to increase credibility to the theft story?

I don't know.  Maybe it's just the way this story is preliminary being told without enough info yet. 

And I'm not sure how critically the walker was wounded - and perhaps I need to know this first before I speculate and go down the wrong road, here (and if so, I'll feel horrible and apologize later for even thinking it) - but if I were Lady Gaga, the first thing I'd do is rule out the dog walker's possible involvement, as well as know more about the ballistics of the shot fired, before I just handed out $500,000, right?   

Who knows, though, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, things that sound unbelievable really did happen,  and so perhaps this really happened exactly that way - we live in a crazy world, after all.  

Either way,  I hope the walker's injuries aren't critical.

And I hope the dogs are okay - and that Lady Gaga gets them back, I'd be beside myself :(


PS Updated, 2/27/2021 - The two dogs have been returned to Lady Gaga unharmed.  No other information than the woman who returned them was "uninvolved."  The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, continues to recover, but we still don't know much about the extent of his injuries.  Lady Gaga continues to publicly support the dog walker.  Strange stuff indeed.  I'm just glad the dogs are okay!

Reply From My Senator, Chief Swamp Turtle, Mitch McConnell

As I admitted in this post, I wasn't very nice, when writing a letter to Mitch McConnell about his originally saying Trump incited a riot and it was grounds for impeachment, then doing a 180 to protect his party.   

As I said, I'm usually a lot more diplomatic when I write these types of things, but I am so done with this a-hole lol. 

So his office just wrote me this response ...

And I replied as follows: 

Nonsense - the constitution only says "current" president for removal -  it does not specify current or past president on disqualification, and you know it.  Therefore, you are taking a very "liberal" approach to the language of the constitution to benefit your party.  
While I appreciate your recent sentiments on Trump, they were too little too late.  You had every opportunity to help curb and stop this before now, and when it came down to hindering his ability to ever hold office again, you cowarded out - and in doing so, you help put the nails in your own party's coffin.  It will take some time, but yes - history will show you as a weak, pandering, cowardly enabler of neofacism.

Hehehe - just, ya know, keeping it real, so that the over-privileged swamp turtle knows that not everyone in Kentucky is part of the brainwashed Trump cult.

And I love how he patronizes us, presuming we don't know the constitution and are all uneducated or under-educated, gullible idiots in Kentucky.

Well, thank God that in America, we still can express this kind of - erm - dissent - amen? lol


PS -  I was just asked why McConnell seems to make me angrier than Trump?

First of all, I don't hate either - I don't hate anyone.  

It's a trick my Jewish friends taught me, growing up - because when we start to hate those who inflicted pain on us, we catch their hate and fear disease, and they win - and we become no better than they are.

I find that articulating any anger, using my words, helps me actually avoid hatred - because I'm being honest about what I feel, rather than pretending and letting resentment fester.

So I speak or write it out and then let it go, I've said my piece (as long as I'm allowed to), out into the universe, and then I'm done.  

So we're just talking about frustration and anger levels, here, after years of this BS.  

Secondly, I guess I can explain it best this way ...

Both get my blood boiling, for sure. 

However, Trump is like a large, emotionally arrested-in-development child who legitimately doesn't know (and doesn't care) about the difference between good and evil or right and wrong.  "Evil" to him is anything that doesn't support or glorify him. 

McConnell, on the other hand, knows very well the difference between good and evil/right and wrong, and will openly choose evil if it benefits him and his party. 

In other words, Trump genuinely doesn’t know where that moral line is (and doesn’t care); McConnell sees that moral line, but crosses it anyway, as long as he believes he and his party will personally benefit ;)

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Mars Rover "Perseverance" and Helicopter Sidekick, "Ingenuity"

I have mixed feelings about our tax money going to space exploration.

On one hand, this is some pretty cool, cutting edge science and technology, that we now have a sidekick helicopter companion to the Mars Rover "Perseverance," called the "Ingenuity," that may fly up from the surface of Mars.

We learn more about mathematics, chemistry, physics, and even biology, past ways we only think we already understand, plus we glean new information about possible new resources, as well as valuable environmental and climate information.

And yet still, can I just say, that helicopter reminds me of something Leonardo Da Vinci drew 500 years ago? lol

(Meaning I'm surprised we're not further along than we actually are, by now ;)

But on the other hand, I'm reminded again of the poem "Whitey on the Moon" (about the billions being spent on this stuff, instead of going towards domestic issues, which I wrote a post about here)? lol.

I don't know, part of me wants us to focus more on getting our own sh*t together first, but I also would like more information to help further science.

Also, I'm not sure why this popped in my head - but an absurd "what if" scenario that I found hilarious? lol

The first part isn't so original - the "what if"  there were beings on Mars, who now all lived underground, because Mars' water was now all underground, and saw us landing with this stuff and trying to fly helicopters off the ground of their planet.

But what if they, too, also had YouTube videos and Twitter,  speculating the same ignorant, paranoid, crazy stuff that we do, about anything or anyone new and different, assuming the worst, like ...

"What IS that? Is it a sign from God?  Is it aliens?  Are they trying to invade us? Or is this a top-secret military experiment? Are they going to implant chips in us and do anal probes?  Damn the government and the Illuminati!"

"Well, whatever it's doing, it's not doing it for us - damn 'ferners," stealing our rocks 'n shit, without  compensating us."
"Mark my words, it's going to take over and kill us all or make us all its economic slaves!"

"Nobody will be claiming territory and making economic slaves but US, B'God! WE get to determine who's inferior!"
"I say we shoot it down and strip it down for advanced technology! Kill it, kill it, kill it!"  


Suddenly, the Ingenuity " malfunctions" (wink wink, nudge nudge).


Absurd -  but it's a funny thought for a show, isn't it? lol

Snowy Sunday Smiles ...


All is well, after a snowy/ice-covered week.   Unlike Texas, most people that lost their power got it back by Wednesday, no one was told they needed to boil water, and we got our streets cleaned by ... well, yesterday? lol.  

Speaking of Texas ...

(Well, it's actually an equal-opportunity politician roast, of both Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas for his abandonment of Texas to Mexico, and Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York's abandonment of factual and actual lives lost in NY nursing homes.)

Hehehehe ...

Ted ...  Buddy - I'm not sure just waltzing back in with a Texas mask is gonna save you this time, but maybe ... because, well, it is Texas ... possibly the only state that's a deeper, more blind-anger shade of red than Kentucky or Tennessee. 

Well, at least he finally admitted it was a mistake (well, after texts were discovered proving it was his idea, after he initially blamed his daughters) - but the people of Texas are still waiting on an apology. 

I just love the excuses the modern GOP make that their constituents believe without question.  

Like ... Trump Jr. excusing Cruz's vacay (cough, cough over-privileged abandonment of his home state) because he's a "federal" politician, not state?

Erm - I'm pretty sure Texans voted him into that office, though, Dimwit Jr.  - but then again, no one really expects you, or your family, to know or understand how our government actually works, nor what the constitution actually says -  nor just the general concept of unselfish duty, for that matter.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting very tired of these Republican excuses, the past 20 years or so, that they can't be at natural disaster sites - whether it's their home state or not -  because they're federal level or weren't formally invited - if nothing else, be there to help relief efforts as a civilian and/or the morale boost?

Now, what is true is that the constitution does say that the actual POTUS cannot send disaster relief/aid and/or military relief/aid until it's requested by the state's governor - but visits to the area can be done at any time, once the area is deemed safe.

To that end, President Biden told reporters on Friday that he will be there likely next week, whenever his visit will not be a further burden on their resources.

I don't know, Texas Republicans - but you've required an awful lot of federal relief aid, this past decade or so, due to hurricanes, floods, and snow emergencies - so you might want to rethink your anti-government stance? 

Ah, silly modern Republicans, God love 'em ...

They refuse to believe it's even possible that over half of Americans voted for Biden, but will believe the New Green Deal is to blame for Texas' power outages, lack of preparation, and road clean-up  - even though it hasn't passed in Texas yet (or anywhere) - just because their politicians and imaginary Twitter personalities said so/posted a fake meme - LOL! 

Speaking of the New Green Deal (and its proponents), did you know that while Ted Cruz jaunted off to Cancun, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was in Texas, filling food boxes, and raised $4 million for relief?

Say what you will about her, but she's a federal-level politician, who's not even from that state, and she was there, and raised $4 million for relief to boot.  

Otherwise, back to SNL - unfortunately, I missed it last night, so I'm just watching the highlights - but apparently the host of SNL was sexiest man alive, Rege-Jean Page, from Bridgerton ...

Yummy - we ladies love Rege-Jean Page :)

Otherwise, folks, all is well here, still a bit icy, but otherwise happy to have kept power on to work, and I've also taken this opportunity to do a total house clean - walls, ceilings, baseboards, vents, everything.  Woo hoo, fun times.

Otherwise, back again soon with Part 2 on my cheat sheet history of American home architecture ...

Monday, February 15, 2021

A Cheat-Sheet History of American Home Architecture, Part 1: Native-American, Folk, and Early Colonial American Houses

* Reorganized, pictures added. 

So, we're having a snowstorm here, which is okay by me, because I can get caught up on my reading - especially on Mondays, when my work is slower :)

Mark bought me this book as one of my Christmas gifts, which I'd been wanting for quite a while.  

There are many books on American home architecture, but most are not quite as comprehensive and detailed; and clearly, Virginia and Lee McAlester knew their stuff, particularly transitional elements (which most online guides ... well, don't).  The original was published in 1984, but has since been updated a few times.  (However, they did omit German colonial, at least in the correct timeline, for some reason.)

I thought I'd create a little "cheat sheet" for myself to remember, and for anyone else interested. 

Let's start with the first Americans, the Native Americans :)

FYI - most of these pictures are not included in the book, but many are.

She spends quite a lot of time going into Native American architecture as well, but it would take me all day to focus on each of the housing types of the different tribes, but it suffices to say these are the basics, based on region ...

Folk Houses - 1600 to 1730

We'll start timeline wise, with the folk houses of American immigrants - and of course, the more rural and west you went, the less organized, using different materials.

Of course, the region and climate also affected how we American immigrants built, and it took us some time to figure that out lol - that what my work in your home country, might not work here  ;)

So, this is what I've learned thus far, as far as the timeline and which countries influenced what architecture and where.  These are just the general guidelines, of course, but there are often regional differences I won't go into, because they're plentiful, and you can just ... read the book :)

Of course, the first houses were little "wattle and daub" houses in the Plymouth and Jamestown settlements. 

They were often one room with a loft, in the British post-medieval style.   These are, of course, recreations of the homes at Jamestown ;)

Most were made of timber or half-timber, in the post-medieval style, with high-pitched, thatched rooves, but the colonists soon learned that thatch and deep pitching wasn't necessarily the way to go, in our climate ;)

But of course, the further rural and west you went, the more access they had to timber, and thus they resorted to one-room log-cabins ...

Northeastern rural style 1-room cabin. 

Midwest rural style 1-room cabin.

Southern style rural 1-room cabin 

Plains and West style rural 1-room cabin

However, a log or stone and dugout mix (or just a plain earth dugout) offered the best protection from plains winds and snow, particularly if not wealthy ...

Western/Plains dugout

However, the Spanish quickly learned that there was a reason Native-American pueblos were made of adobe - but I'll get into Spanish colonial more in a bit. 

Early Colonial (Spanish, French, Dutch, German, and British)  - 1600 to1830

As the American colonies grew and became wealthier (and more accustomed to materials and ways of internal heating), these branched into "hall and parlor" houses, which was essentially the floor plan for all Americans, regardless of your country of origin, by 1730.

*Though this floor plan shows two chimneys, in the Northeast, they typically had one central chimney in the middle or one side; but from Virginia down to the southeast, they had two chimneys, one on either end - particularly in tidewater areas.

Also, many had an attic loft - some with a window, some without.

Early British Colonial/Post-Medieval Hall and Parlor - Urban Northeast

Half timber, wood, or timber; rarely fully stone.

Early British Colonial/Post-Medieval Log Hall and Parlor - Rural

Log, smooth timber, or shingle exterior; stone less common.

Early Dutch Colonial Hall and Parlor  - Urban 

New York and Pennsylvania - wood, stone, or shingled exterior 

Early British/French Tidewater Hall and Parlor - Virginia and Coastal Southeast

Wood or brick.

(Note the two chimneys on either side, porch, and raised foundation; due to tidewater ;) 

As the country grew in both population and wealth, immigrants began building in their native country styles, with a twist, based on regional materials.

Second stories were built, but they still weren't "massed" yet - meaning both stories were still just one room deep, with perhaps a half room in the back (back two rooms on top of the bottom rooms, for four rooms total, called  an "I-House."

Mid-British Colonial: Post-Medieval I-Houses, Saltboxes, and Cape Cods - 1690 to 1740

Northeast and Virginia Colonies

Identifying Features: 

- Steeply pitched roof, side-gabled. 

- Two stories appeared, but they are "I-houses" - meaning only one room deep - i.e., each floor still only has two rooms - like a hall-and-parlor on top of a hall and parlor - for a grand total of four rooms

Vertically opened small windows, diamond-paned, often with leaded glass

-  Battened wood doors (vs. paneled)  with typically no adornment; usually in the center, though Southern examples have door to the left or right.

-  Chimneys are often very ornamental or even grouped - often centered in the North; two on each side from Virginia to the south. 



(Note the chimneys on the side in the South, versus the north, and more dormer windows ;)

Later came "saltbox" versions - which is an I-house with a back extension room, which the back roof slopes down to cover as well ... 

British Colonial  "Saltbox" 

These last two saltboxes are late British post-medieval folk/early Georgian mixes (you can tell by the loss of diamond-shaped window panes and the row of rectangular windows above the front still-battened door.)

British Colonial  "Cape Cod" 

All one story, with an attic, like a hall-and-parlor, but now with a massed floor plan - meaning the first floor was more than one room deep on each side, usually four rooms on the first floor, instead of two - the originals were found only in the Northeast.

I know we now think of Cape Cods with dormer windows, but those actually didn't come until transition into the Georgian/Federal period, rather than post-medieval dormers. 

Early Spanish Colonial - 1600 to 1730

Identifying features: 


- Earliest have wood and thick brick in Southeast Coast or coquino stone (Florida), later adobe.

-  Earliest and truest examples have low pitched or flat roof, often tiled (West, Southwest, and earlier coastal design, especially government buildings).   

- Balconies, wood or ornamental wrought iron, running the entire length of the second floor - a feature which prevailed in Western-town architecture until the 20th century (think mining town saloons, etc.)

-  Windows, rectangular or arched, often barred with ornamental wrought iron.  Shuttered on coastal areas.

-  One or two stories. 

-  Wooden posts supporting supporting roof or balconies.  
Several battened wood doors on each level as true entrances for each room, as rooms did not interconnect with each other.  
-  Ornate, elaborate arched doorways, windows, and porticos, as well as frescoes under eaves (and sometimes columns) in wealthier homes and governmental buildings. 


Coastal and Tidewater South 

St. Augustine, Florida 

Charleston, South Carolina 

This one is mixed with Georgian features ;) 

New Orleans, Louisiana 

This next photo, you're looking at the home on left more than the one on the right, as the one on the left is in the older, original style, and the one on the right is mixed with Federal features ... 

And your typical Spanish colonial townhouse (or more accurately, Creole, Spanish/French mix) 

Rural, West, and Southwest Styles 

-  One story in the early American southwest and West, and early design in coastal areas, two later in Southwest. 

-  Shuttered in coastal/tidewater areas. 

-  Several battened wood doors as entrances to each room, as rooms did not interconnect with each other. 

-  Ornate, elaborate arched doorways and porticos, as well as frescoes under eaves (and sometimes columns) in wealthier homes and governmental buildings.

Dutch Colonial - 1625 to 1840

Northeast, particularly New York and Pennsylvania

Identifying Features: 

Urban style: 

-  Brick or stone, but wooden examples and half-and-halves exist.

 Earliest have steeply pitched roof, with flared eaves in front, no eaves on sides - side gabled.

-  Two end chimneys, ornamental and parapets 

- Eaves and chimneys sometimes have distinctive Dutch "steps," but rare in colonial America.

- "Dutch" doors - wood, split horizontally in the middle, so that you can open top only.

-  Multipaned windows that open vertically. 

Small, elongated dormer windows in roof.  

- Porches almost always later additions, particularly in urban homes.

Rural Style 

- Stone, wood, and brick.

- Gambreled or "barn" roof, flared eaves. 


French Colonial - 1700 to 1830 

Southeast and Coastal Southeast

Identifying Features, both Urban and Rural: 

-   Steeply pitched but hipped roof (sometimes pyramidal), often with dormer windows. 

-   French doors and long windows which open vertically, shutters entire length (later double-hung windows after Georgian influence).  

Urban Style Only  - Most are in New Orleans, very few examples left. 

    -  One story. 

    -  Little or no porch, opening right onto the sidewalk or banqueta/banquette 

 Rural Style Only 

   -  One or two stories.

   -  Extensive porches running the length of the first floor.

   -  Tidewater homes stilted, stoned, or bricked up from ground due to flooding.   

   -  Roof sometimes double-hipped  

German Colonial - 1700 to 1830 

Particularly rural homes - New York, Pennsylvania, and rural Virginia; however, Georgian and Federal homes were also built with sandstone and often houses had mixed features.

Identifying Features - similar to Dutch, but with distinct features: 

Predominantly made of sandstone, they are symmetrical I-houses, side-gabled, with steeply pitched roofs, often exposed timber or half-timber. 

Entrance battened doors are often on right or left of the first floor rather than central. 

-  Central Chimneys (as opposed to Dutch, where chimneys often were on the sides) 

- Windows often double-hung with sashes opening horizontally (but not always).  

- Roof not as steeply pitched as Dutch, nor parapets - also eaves branch out in triangle, do not flare upwards. 

- Rare dormers - usually a later addition.


Georgian/Late British Colonial - 1700 to 1780

Identifying features, all regions:  

    - In addition to Cape Cods have massed floor plans, improvements in heating led to massed floor plan in 2-story homes as well (at least 4 rooms to a story), 

    - Pedimented, paneled front door, often with an ornamental crown atop, often with an entablature (but not an eagle, which is Federal; actually,  Federal revival/20th century, actually) -  supported with flat, straight inlay pilasters as a door frame.  

In addition to not having a covered porcha single row of rectangular windows above the door is the single-best identifying feature of a Georgian vs. Federal (unless added later); fan-shaped windows and emblems are Federal.

-     Double-hung, symmetrical windows, with 9-12 panes, sometimes with a keystone above.

    - Double-hung/sashed windows, symmetrical windows, opened horizontally. 

    - Pedimented dormer windows.

    - Dentil cornices.  

    - Later Georgian/Early Federal included a small covered porch/portico and/or semi-circular, bannistered stairs to entrance and balustrades atop.

- Though French and Spanish townhouses already existed in the Southeast, British Townhouses begin to appear in urban areas, particularly Virginia.

Northeast Colonies  

Wood with shingle or clapboard walls, centered chimney.  

Gambrel roof - *Borrowed from the Dutch, these British examples are almost exclusively found in Salem, Massachusetts, but rare examples can be found elsewhere, i.e., one in Williamsburg, VA.

Middle Colonies 

Brick or stone, chimneys on each end. 

(Late Georgian/Early Federal - rebuilt after fire with Neoclassical elements - Williamstown, VA)

Southern Colonies 

Brick with chimneys on each end, shutters on windows, sometimes mid-gabled front - many are townhouses, and most are actually a Georgian/Federal mix, often with Neoclassical features often added later (last pic). 

*Note:  Southern coastal examples - particularly in Charleston - often built the home so that the side gable is facing the street, the front entry is accessed to the side ...

American Federal  - 1780 to 1820

Identifying Features (added to Georgian), all regions:

- Semicircular "fan" window (or fan emblem) over the door rather than a row of rectangular windows.

- Palladian three-part entrance door; sometimes also another Palladian window or door on the 2nd floor (late federal/early neoclassical had fan emblems in frescoes in the frieze of the middle gable). 

- Third floor or attic smaller windows (usually urban and townhouses).  

- Ornamental "fake" gable (or recessed gable) in the middle of otherwise side-gabled house. 

- More elaborate door surround, still crowned, but often now including the American Eagle, and quoins on the corners/above the door return in some designs. 

- Small pedimented portico entry porch.

- Decorative molding instead of dentil cornices or combination. 

- Double hung, 6-paned window with thinner muntins, shutters in regular use now, not just coastal homes. 

- Lower-floor windows now had decorative pediments, not just the dormers. 

- Small cupolas and short balustrades (fencing) begin appearing atop the homes, which will increase in size and number in Neoclassical homes.

- Ornamental swags in porticos or between floors on front of home.

- Side-gable entry mostly found in Southeastern coastal houses.  

Northeastern Federal - Urban

 Still central chimney, still continued wood, shingle, and stone exterior, but brick growing in popularity. 



In early-to-late Federal order ...

These last two are federal with a few neoclassic elements mixes - i.e., ionic columns and balustrades ... 

Northeastern/Midwest Rural

    - Extended porch, sometimes a side porch (possibly Greek Revival addition).  Double chimneys near, but not at, the ends.

    -  Less pediment above windows, less shuttered.

    - Corners often smooth pilastered, like some urban homes.

    -  Some doors with fanlight window and/or palladium windows, but less so.

Late Federal/Neoclassical (leaning towards Greek Revival)

Middle (also Midwest) Federal - Urban.

- Similar to Northern, but  almost all were brick, sometimes built in 3-part or 5-part plans. 

- Semi-circular stairs with two sides and bannister. 

- Townhouses abounded. 

Southern Federal - Urban 

*New Orleans, Charleston, and Savannah, often incorporated these elements into French/Spanish structures, and were early adopters of neoclassicism, so often a mix.


    - Mostly still brick or wood or shingled exteriors.

    - Extended (Spanish) porches and balconies, running the full length of a floor.  

    - *In Southeast coastal areas such as Charleston and Savannah, later examples still have the side gable facing the street;  but now, home entry is often included in the side gable as well.


Late federal/neoclassical mixes 

Early Classical/Neoclassical (Roman features) - 1770 to 1830

 Identifying features (all regions): 

- Usually brick (except in Northeast), Thomas Jefferson helped usher in this design style at Monticello.


 The White House is designed in the Neoclassical/Early Classical Style

- Porticos now included usually 4 Roman-style columns (sometimes 6), either supporting porticos that typically extended to the second floor or recessed within the wall to support a middle-front gable at the roof.  

- The portico or middle gable usually contains either a fan window or a fan emblem in the portico frieze, which would eventually give way to Greek Revival style in 1830. 

- Appearance of dome roofs, particular atop fuller cupolas, and more elaborate balustrades.  

- Oval windows for decoration rather than function.   

- Federal windows, shuttered or unshuttered. 

- Ornamental wall and portico frieze swags with emblems. 

- Some experimented with hexagonal or "bowed/rounded" walls and/or bay windows, as well as arched windows, doors, and breezeways.

- 3-part and 5-part homes first introduced in Federal design became more common.  

(Late Neoclassical/early Greek Revival mixes ... )

Part 2 will be on the "Romance" period in American home architecture, beginning in 1830 (whenever I finish this section:)