Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Little old ladies are often depicted as feeble invalids with barely enough energy to knit booties in their rocking chairs. So it is fun and refreshing to ponder what 76-year-old Pearl Fritts of Lincoln did after a would-be car thief bashed her head against a dumpster:

She whirled around, put up her dukes and stood her ground.

According to, she was behind a nursing home on the way to visit her 95-year-old mother when a teenage girl assaulted her, leaving a gash of several inches in her forehead. When the teenager realized the little old lady in glasses would put up a fistfight rather than surrender her car, the girl fled.

A suspect matching that description who was a runaway from Omaha was picked up an hour later at a nearby restaurant.

So what I want to know is:

Why doesn’t Pearl start a self-defense course for grannies and grampies who want to be elder-buffs like her? She could be a personal trainer for the denture set! She could dispatch legions of elderly vigilantes out there crime-fighting away their golden years!

Whipping up on these whippersnappers would go a long way toward restoring law and order in our mean streets. And it’s GOT to be more fun than endless hours of bingo.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005



DRILL PRESS: A tall, upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted airplane part you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouch!"

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion. The more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket for which you've been searching for the last 15 minutes.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new disk brake pads, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off a hydraulic jack handle.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbors to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog **** off your boot.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool 10 times harder than any known drill bit that snaps off in bolt holes you couldn't use anyway.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the tensile strength on everything you forgot to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16 INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large prybar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.


TROUBLE LIGHT: The home mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt, but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last over-tightened 58 years ago by someone at ERCO, and neatly rounds off their heads.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50¢ part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts.

DAMMIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling "DAMMIT" at the top of your lungs. It is also the next tool that you will need.

EXPLETIVE: A balm, usually applied verbally in hindsight, which somehow eases those pains and indignities following our every deficiency in foresight.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


(We) have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty,
not walking in craftiness,
nor handling the word of God deceitfully;
but by manifestation of the truth
commending ourselves to every man’s conscience
in the sight of God.
-- 2 Corinthians 4:2

I have this adorable red-headed friend with an unusual Christmas story. Let’s call her “Abby.”

Abby found herself with a baby daughter and an unhappy marriage. She got a divorce.

Maybe it was immaturity, or maybe the sudden freedom. But boom! She married again, quickly.

Like her first husband, this one was handsome and well off. They lived in a gorgeous home. He bought her a lot of bling. Things looked great.

But soon after the ink dried on the marriage certificate, what she thought was his sophisticated, discerning attitude about life was revealed as . . . well, what’s the male version of rhymes-with-witchiness?

He criticized her spending. He criticized her taste in furnishings. He criticized her clothes: “Oh! You’re NOT wearing THAT!?!” He criticized the way she disciplined her daughter, and how loud she laughed, and how one of her nostrils flared out a little wider when she breathed. . . .

OK, I made that last one up. But you get the drift. She was in a trap.

She found herself the victim of verbal abuse and emotional torment. But she didn’t think she could afford to leave him. It was bad, but not enough to have him prosecuted. Worst of all, she knew she was setting a terrible example for her daughter.

On a cold Christmas Eve some years ago, things culminated in a very ugly argument. She says he threw her violently over a couch. There were other ugly things that happened that she won’t even tell. Bottom line: she had had enough.

She moved herself and her daughter out that same night. Yes, it was Christmas Eve, so she could relate to the plight of Mary and Joseph.

On shaky ground, she cried a lot, hugged her child a lot, and told her she was sorry. She found a place to stay, got a job and started the long process of putting her life back together.

Naturally, she had signed a prenuptial agreement. She got next to nothing in the divorce. Men like that always work it that way.

But she coped. Almost a year passed. She hadn’t seen him. She avoided the places he liked. It was better that way.

Then one busy Saturday at a sandwich shop in mid-town, she was with her daughter on a Christmas shopping excursion. They had just paid for their order at the counter when her ex came in and saw her.

Frowning, he focused his laser-beam eyes on her, and started walking toward her, a little menacingly.

Her heart was pounding. Her mind shifted through half-forgotten scenes of abuse, treachery, pain and confusion. She told the clerk, “Would you make that to go? I don’t feel like eating here any more.”

Her ex stood there, furious, as she and her daughter grabbed their sacks and rushed for the door.

Over the din of the lunch-time crowd, he yelled sarcastically at her retreating back:


The crowd hushed. Borsheim’s is Omaha’s world-famous jewelry store. Ooh! A scene! Why WOULDN’T she? People stared.

She stopped cold . . .

. . . and turned dramatically, pulled herself to her full height under that magnificent crown of red hair, pointed her beautifully-manicured forefinger at him, and yelled back:


The room went dead quiet, in the solemn way it does when everybody knows they’re just heard the truth.

Yeah, it was gutsy and over the top. Give her a break: she’s a redhead.

He stood there, slack-jawed.

Her daughter beamed up at her. They linked arms and left.

As the door closed behind them, you’d swear you could hear merry jingle bells.

Merry? Sure! Because that’s the Christmas message. You don’t have to live with evil and abuse. You don’t have to keep it a secret. That’s why we had Bethlehem.

Go tell it on the mountain: we’re free. And you know what? You can’t beat it.


PRAYER REQUESTS: Please check in regularly to my new prayer blog, Please send any prayer needs that you have, and updates and praise reports, too!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Happy Thanksgiving! We have sooooo much to be thankful for, including our friends – and things that make us laugh. Enjoy your day and rock Heaven with the sound of your praise and thanks.

DailySusan will resume on Sunday, Nov. 27.

(A graphic came with today's email that showed a baked turkey with bikini lines)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


"France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes."
-- Mark Twain

“I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.
– Gen. George S. Patton

“Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion."
-- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

"As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure."
-- Jacques Chirac, President of France
"As far as France is concerned, you're right."
-- Rush Limbaugh

“The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee."
-- Regis Philbin

"The French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whisky I don't know."
-- P.J O'Rourke (1989)

"You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who was still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it."
-- Sen. John McCain

"You know why the French don't want to bomb Saddam Hussein? Because he hates America, he loves mistresses and wears a beret. He is French, people."
-- Conan O'Brien

"I don't know why people are surprised that France won't help us get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get Hitler out of France either."
-- Jay Leno

"The last time the French asked for 'more proof' it came marching into Paris under a German flag."
-- David Letterman

"It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us."
-- Alan Kent

French Ban Fireworks at Euro Disney
(AP) Paris, March 5, 2003
The French Government announced today that it is imposing a ban on the use of fireworks at Euro Disney. The decision comes the day after a nightly fireworks display at the park, located just 30 miles outside of Paris, caused the soldiers at a nearby French Army garrison to surrender to a group of Czech tourists.

Monday, November 21, 2005


OK, it’s true, I fell off my diet some decades ago. But I don’t need any reminders besides my mirror and my bathroom scale.

Meanwhile, Maddy has been enjoying demonstrating a kid-control technique she picked up in her carpool to kindergarten:

“This is what you’re doing” (fingers of right hand mimic a talking puppet)

“This is what you NEED to be doing” (five fingers touch as if the puppet has shut up)

We kind of like it. We use it on each other.

Well, yesterday, I was having lunch with Maddy and Eden. I guess at some point I must have complained about being fat for the upcoming holidays, when Maddy looked at me impishly and burst out with:

“This is what you’re doing” (two hands alternate rapid stuffing of imaginary food in her mouth)

“This is what you NEED to be doing” (arms cross)

Think of the millions that could be saved in Weight Watchers, Atkins, hypnosis, stomach-stapling and all the rest, if people would just heed that simple advice.

The little stinker.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


For I was hungry,
and ye gave me meat:
I was thirsty,
and ye gave me drink:
I was a stranger,
and ye took me in;
Naked, and ye clothed me:
I was sick, and ye visited me:
I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
-- Matthew 25:35,36

Even though it has been a crummy year – the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the Huskers’ disastrous lack of blocking – I’ve loved seeing the wonderful variety of ways that people are reaching out to those in need.

How many pancake feeds and golf tournaments? How many hours of volunteer service, and millions in freebies for those with no way to pay?

The neighbor kids collecting spare change in Hello Kitty purses for hurricane relief . . . the coloring books for children in shelters . . . the beautiful soup bowls raising $10 each by pottery students at my alma mater, Mizzou.

A friend’s church, Omaha’s Dundee Presbyterian, adopted some evacuees from New Orleans. There was a reception for them in between services. About 50 people came.

It was uncanny: each Omahan found a unique way to help. An attorney who could go pro bono . . . a title company employee who could resolve issues with the title to what had been their home . . . an educator who could track down academic records and arrange for the transfer of credits to a university here . . . someone with an extra car to lend so that the newcomers could apply for jobs. . . .

So it went, like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle of love. It all fell into place. And all were blessed.

Forgive me for being irreverent, but I can’t help imagining our Savior seeing this and pumping His arms, jive-dancing, and thundering joyously, “Woo Hoo!”

Nothing blesses Him as much as our active responses when His Spirit moves us, literally. You find yourself answering prayers you’ll never hear and blessing people you may never meet.

Take my friend Lin in Montana. She used to have 1,000 toothbrushes in her basement. Yes, she’s finicky about dental hygiene . . . but not THAT finicky.

See, she’s a good Christian, and had begged, badgered and groveled for medical supplies for a mission in Belize some years ago. A children’s dentist donated countless colorful kiddie toothbrushes. She passed out lots down there.

The rest sat in boxes in her basement for years. Her husband grumbled, as husbands do. Every once in a while, she wondered if she should just drop them off at the local women’s shelter, or some other worthy cause. But she would always get the feeling that no, that’s not the need right now. Not yet.

Then boom! She was watching a news report about Hurricane Katrina, and they were talking about people who fled their homes without so much as a toothbrush. . . .


She joyfully handed off those boxes into a semi in Billings, joining all kinds of people bringing things . . . kind of like the first feast of Thanksgiving, and every one since.

I think of those toothbrushes as bringing back smiles to people who really needed to smile. Even when you’re a kid, you can only go so long brushing your teeth with your finger.

It’s just such a privilege to meet a need like that. Lin says, “It’s a connecting. I think we feel it in our spirit. We feel the need, but we don’t know how to go about it. We need to pay attention to what’s pulling at our spirit.”

So I’m smiling, too. Why? Because I’ll never feel bad again about all the junk down in my basement.

It’s not junk!

It’s inventory for future spiritual blessings!

Stuff someone can use!

And when the Lord Jesus signals me that it’s time to. . . .

What’s that, Lord?



I’ve just been reminded that it’s more blessed to give . . . and when I’m through, our basement won’t look so much like it’s been in a hurricane any more.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


PRAYER REQUESTS: Please check in regularly to my new prayer blog, Please send any prayer needs that you have, and updates and praise reports, too!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Our little town has a very good library, and our library director was just named the state’s outstanding librarian for this year.

Naturally, our city’s quarterly newsletter trumpeted that honor.

But then they “rooned” it. The headline on a story about the library spearheading efforts to send holiday care packages to local military service members in Iraq proclaimed:


Friday, November 18, 2005


(Today's email was a photo of a relieved-looking guy holding a dead nine-foot snake found south of Amarillo, Texas)

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Today's DailySusan is a series of visual puns that can't be displayed on this blog, but was available to email subscribers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


We were finally getting around to cleaning Maddy’s room. She was distracted by the pile of Halloween costume rejects that she had tried on and dumped in a corner weeks ago when she decided to be a cowgirl.

But oh, the contenders. She sorted through them wistfully. There was the cheery red felt ladybug costume. There was the mousie with the long tail and gray mittens. There were the clown shoes and the Viking hat.

Maddy, clad only in her Care Bear undies, picked up a feathery pair of white angel wings and slipped them on. She picked up the little zither that was to be her “harp.”

“Heyyyyy!” she exclaimed. “Next year I could go as a NUDIST ANGEL!!!”

I can just IMAGINE what they’ll put in her trick-or-treat bag . . . as they’re calling 911.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


There I was, at Parents’ Weekend at our daughter’s sorority house, trying to be on my best behavior. All the OTHER parents were charming, intelligent, sophisticated and gracious, and I was doing my best to try to fit in and make a good impression.

But I forgot about Maddy the Social Atom Bomb. Immediately, she was surrounded by a dozen laughing co-eds as she pulled her shirt sleeve up, applied her soft little 5-year-old lips to her forearm, and started making very rude, very loud noises, to gales of laughter from her appreciative fans.

The room went quiet and all eyes were on this coarse bathroom humor and the shocked but entertained laughter of the college girls.

I was doing my best to frown and sigh and throw up my hands in despair, scandalized over this unruly daughter’s uncivilized, immature behavior.

We had to leave. We called for Maddy to hurry up. All eyes were on us now. And then Maddy, bursting with pride over her hilarity and fame, said:


Monday, November 14, 2005


Ninth Street in downtown Lincoln is the feeder street for University of Nebraska stadium traffic on a football Saturday. There must be five lanes full of rushing, eager, red-clad fans straining to get to their parking places to make it to their seats by kickoff.

This past Saturday, a jaywalking man with a lady in tow popped out right in front of us, zigzagging across the street in and around the rushing cars. My mouth dropped as we swerved by: it was Johnny Rodgers, the N.U. running back sensation and Heisman Trophy winner of a few decades ago. He’s a real-life hero around these parts.

“We nearly hit him!” my husband exclaimed. “We would have been Public Enemy #1!”

Now, we were really only going about 10 mph. In his prime, Johnny could have dodged through traffic going 65 mph with no problem, thanks to his darts and spins. Now that he’s 50-something, at least he has an excuse for being a little slower, unlike the Huskers, who are really going through some tough times.

Actually, we re-thought it. The relatively new athletic director, Steve Pederson, is the hands-down Public Enemy #1 around here for making a lot of sudden changes that a lot of people feel have led to the Huskers’ current woes. So even if we had taken out Johnny Rodgers, our ranking could never have been worse than #2. Some consolation, huh? But we still have hope for you, Stevie P: there’s always next year.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Blessed is the man whose strength is in You;
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
Passing through the valley of Baca
They make it a spring. . . .
-- Psalm 84:5-6

Our daughter Neely turned 21 yesterday. We gave her a pristine string of pearls. They suit her. She was one of those wonderfully clean children: she never got dirt on anything.

But one time, she got stuck. She was about 3, and had on brand new saddle shoes. She was soooooo proud of them.

Her dad was building a deck off our kitchen. At the moment, it was edgeless. All around it, three feet down, was a quagmire of deep, stiff mud. The unfinished deck made a great raceway for Neely’s Big Wheel, though.

Except that Neely plunged off and her front wheel plonked vertically into the mud, leaving her upside-down and hopping mad. All that was visible were those brand new saddle shoes waving to and fro.

To free herself, she had to step in that mud. She sank into it, shin-deep. By the time I lifted her to the deck, the saddle shoes were concealed in huge blocks of mud, like the Mafia’s concrete boots.

And she was mad. Boy, did she cry!

But she doesn’t even remember it now. So we can laugh about it.

Getting stuck is no fun. But getting unstuck can be. Eventually.

A friend’s son Rodney was riding his tricycle around in the house during a major remodeling. He was one of those go-getter kids, always into things. Well, his foot slipped off the pedal, and he got his chubby little leg stuck, bigtime.

He tried to wriggle free, but his leg puffed up like a toad. It’s lucky carpenters were on site, for they dismantled the tricycle with him on it while the plumber held him up, and he and his mother both bawled.

Again: horrible then, funny now.

And you know, it’s not only kids getting stuck. Last week, I got myself into a pity party over something that hurt me. I cried for hours. I thought I was hopelessly stuck in a tough situation with no way out. I was soooooo mad, I could only cry.

Then I worried over what people would think when they saw me the next day with my puffy red eyes. I got madder still, and cried myself to sleep.

Well, in the middle of the night, our juvenile delinquent dog Sunny was throwing herself against the laundry room door. I stumbled downstairs to let her out . . . unable to unstick my eyes.

I had cried them shut! Well, almost.

I stepped outside in my ancient flannel nightgown as she ran around the corner. Blinking stupidly, I looked up at the night sky.

It was the most beautiful and brilliant thing I had ever seen.

I rubbed my cried-out eyes with both fists, and gawked upward.

I didn’t hear a Voice, but thought this Thought:

“Don’t stay stuck in your grief. Trust Me. I made these stars. Can’t you trust Me?”

Dang it! That just caused MORE tears.

I slept like a log, and the next day, I turned to a comforting book, “The Stronghold of God” by Francis Frangipane.

What do you suppose it flipped open to?

Psalm 84:6, about the Valley of Baca – “weeping” – that each of us passes through, when we feel hurt and hopelessly stuck. If you trust God, then you have the “highway to heaven” already in your heart – the way out – which is to trust Him.

Your tears can become a spring of refreshment: the lubrication for a new attitude, a new start.

I’m still stuck in the same situation, but now I know it’s not going to last forever. There’s Someone ready to wash the mud off my saddle shoes and dismantle my trike to set me free . . . when it’s time.

Someday, I’ll look back on this, and realize that I looked ridiculous crying about it. ‘Til that day comes, I’ll just have to dry my tears, and enjoy the scenery while I’m waiting to get unstuck, and back in the saddle, riding my trike off into the sunset.


PRAYER REQUESTS: Please check in regularly to my new prayer blog, Please send any prayer needs that you have, and updates and praise reports, too!

Saturday, November 12, 2005


There was a man who lost one of his arms in an accident. He became very depressed because he had loved to play guitar and do a lot of things that took two arms.

One day he had had it. He decided to commit suicide.

He got on an elevator and went to the top of a building to jump off.

He was standing on the ledge looking down when he saw this man skipping along, whistling and kicking up his heels. He looked closer and saw this man didn't have any arms at all.

It was a revelation. “What am I doing up here feeling sorry for myself? I still have one good arm to do things with. There goes a man with no arms, skipping down the sidewalk, happy and going on with his life.”

He hurried down and caught up with the man with no arms. He told him how he had saved his life, because he had lost one of his arms and felt ugly and useless and was going to kill himself, but he knew he could make it with one arm, if that guy could, with none.

The man with no arms began dancing and whistling and kicking up his heels again.

He asked, "Why are you so happy, anyway?"

The man replied, "I'm NOT happy! My BEHIND itches!”

Friday, November 11, 2005


With profound thanks to all those who served our nation and the cause of freedom throughout the generations. We salute you!

If you're looking to make a Veterans Day Resolution, how about visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.? It's an incomparable stop on any tour of Washington, D.C.

Here are some facts about it from an Internet item that's making the rounds today:

The guard takes 21 steps on one leg of his patrol, an allusion to the 21-gun salute, the highest honor in our land.

The guard also hesitates after his about-face for 21 seconds.

His gloves are moistened so he can keep a tight grip on the rifle.

Guards are changed every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A guard must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" with a 30" waist or less. He must commit two years to this duty, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol, swear in public, or do any fighting for the rest of their lives, for that would disgrace the tomb.

Only 400 "alums" in the U.S. are now wearing the wreath pin signifying their duty.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV.

All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, boxer Joe E. Lewis and Medal of Honor winner and movie star Audie Murphy.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching, Congress took two days off to avoid the storm, but the Tomb of the Unknowns guards declined the offer. Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain and high winds, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, but the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson.

The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Speaking of fractured scriptures: when a friend’s father was a little boy growing up in Omaha, his mother asked him what he had learned in Sunday School that day.

"Jesus sneaks in Hummel Park," he replied happily.

She was puzzled by the reference to one of the city’s most popular picnic spots.

After checking with his teacher, the mystery was solved: the lesson that day taught that “Jesus seeks the humble heart.”

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Lincoln, Nebraska (AP) - A seven-year-old boy was at the center of a courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents.

After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Nebraska Cornhusker football team, whom the boy firmly believes is not capable of beating anyone.

- - - - - - - - -

A Nebraska sports reporter did some in-depth statistical research at a local pub, and came up with these amazing stats:

Nebraska’s average rushing gain per attempt in the last three games: 16.8 inches

That equals:

-- 6 medium lemons (end to end).

-- 37 beer nuts (end to end).

-- 5 sheets of toilet paper.

-- 5 1/2 bottles of Yukon Jack (upright).

-- 7 1/2 tooth picks.

- - - - - - - - - -

At a wedding last Saturday, as lowly Kansas was demolishing the once-vaunted Huskers, one wedding guest couldn’t help text-messaging his son in a faraway state, surreptitiously, of course, so as to not hurt the feelings of the bride, groom and priest. He wrote:

“XXXX is married . . . service very nice . . . Huskers lost . . . played like bridesmaids. . . .”

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Everybody in our musical family can play at least one instrument. For the boys in our family, the louder, the better. My little brother Danny especially liked the drums and got an elaborate drumset one Christmas.

My dad’s friends thought it was fun to come over to our house and try it out. Midlife crisis, I guess. They thought it was great; of course, they didn’t have to live with the noise 24/7. Well, one friend in particular was annoying about it, until one night when up his driveway came a moving van . . . and in the back was Danny, seated at his drumset, playing it for all he was worth!

I think Dad’s attempt to adopt Danny out during his drum-playing phase came to naught. But I was reminded of the strong connection between little boys and drums yesterday while volunteering in the kindergarten classroom.

Buck, who is all boy, was making his “I” book with icicles, ink, an inchworm . . . and instruments. There was a drawing of a saxophone, clarinet, trumpet and such for him to color. I asked him what instrument he would like to play someday.

“I’m going to play CONCUSSION,” he replied.

You got that right, kid.

Monday, November 07, 2005


We are very happy to have Maddy in Christian school, where she is memorizing Bible verses and free to talk about God and Jesus throughout the school day.

However, we’re not always sure she’s getting the lingo down pat.

The other day, she informed me, “Jesus diapered our sins.”

Well, in a way, she’s right . . . we CAN be stinkers.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
-- Matthew 10:30

It’s a good thing we have a perfect God who can keep all of us straight and know who’s who ‘til we get up to heaven. It’s not quite that way here on Earth.

Take what happened last week to my beloved. He’s a conscientious, law-abiding captain of industry. That’s why it was a surprise when one of his employees burst into his office and exclaimed, “There’s a cop downstairs looking for you, and it sounds serious!”


It seems his red Durango SUV had been spotted bashing into a mailbox on 29th and Douglas Streets in downtown Omaha a little over an hour earlier. The business manager had jotted down the license-plate number and called 911. A policeman had tracked the car to my husband’s company. Now he wanted the facts. Just the facts.

“But . . . but . . .” my husband sputtered, “I wasn’t anywhere NEAR there today. I know I’m getting old, but I THINK I would have remembered running over a mailbox.”

The policeman asked, “Could someone have been using your vehicle?”

“No, I was in it all through the lunch hour, and parked it back here just about 20 minutes ago.”

The policeman squinted at him, no doubt thinking: “Suuuuuuure. We’ve got you dead to rights, you closet vandal. You’re goin’ DOWN!”

They looked at the Durango. There were a few chinks on the driver’s side door that the cop said would be consistent with the mailbox caper. “What?!?” my husband protested. “Those are consistent with the fact that this car has 80,000 miles on it!”

Sigh. Law enforcement can be tedious when dysfunctional suspects live in a world of denial. “OK, then, let’s go to the scene,” the policeman said, adding silently, no doubt, “you lying scumbag.”

The . . . SCENE? This cop was serious! My husband was perplexed. Was he going crazy? Was this some kind of practical joke?

Upon their arrival, a bunch of people came out to glare at the dirty, rotten scoundrel who had viciously attacked their poor, defenseless mailbox and snapped that $10 post in two.

They were lining up the crunched mailbox with the tiny chinks on the driver’s side door, and my husband’s out-of-body experience was at its peak, when the business manager came out and said:

“No, that’s not the guy. The driver was Hispanic-looking.”


Could a Hispanic-looking guy have stolen his car, rushed over and bashed this mailbox, and then returned the car, leaving without a trace?

And if so, WHY?!?

It was an orgy of head-scratching. Finally, the breakthrough came. The business manager had jotted down the license plate number on a scrap of paper. She read it off for the cop.

Eureka! Two of the digits had been accidentally reversed! The 911 operator must have recorded it wrong.

Dyslexia happens . . . but what a coincidence! What are the odds? That meant there must be ANOTHER red Durango SUV in town with a license-plate number nearly IDENTICAL to my husband’s.

Nevvvvver mind. My husband joked with the policeman that, if anything ever happened to HIS mailbox, he’d know who to call. Off the cop went on the fresh, new trail.

The afternoon was uneventful until the drive home. My beloved was stopped at a red light, ironically just a few blocks from “the scene.” Suddenly, he heard the sickening sound of brakes squealing. WHAM!

A truck rear-ended a car, which rear-ended him!

The damage would be slight, but he still sat there for an instant in shock. Then he smiled.

What if the policeman who came to THAT “scene” was the same guy?

And what if. . . .

He was almost afraid to turn around.

If it was a red Durango with a strikingly familiar license plate and a Hispanic-looking guy at the wheel. . . .

Theme song: “Twilight Zone.”

But whew! Different car. And new cop. This time, it was clear he was the innocent victim, not the perp.

It wasn’t any fun, either. But at least it wasn’t so embarrassing.


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Saturday, November 05, 2005


Today's DailySusan is a series of funny photographs from the Internet, available only to the email list.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I think it was the lady with Farrah Fawcett “wings.” You remember: sweeping clouds of bangs teased up and all around your face, like a lioness. It stuck out so far, it would clunk going through doorways. So, so early ‘70s.

I saw her the other day, and a chill ran up my spine. Was my hair that unfashionable? I’d been wearing my hair essentially the same all my life. It was just parted on the side, and hung down. That was about it.

So I sought the sage advice of the hairdo swami, and got a new ‘do.

Now it’s angled longer in front. And they chopped off some at the sides so that it has more “movement.” And I can pull up a few sections at the crown and tease them with a comb if I want more height.

Movement? Height? This isn’t a hairdo! This is a basketball team!

But since quite a few people have noticed, and complimented it, it’s not just basketball hair – it’s a slam-dunk!

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I watched an old movie on TV last night, “Sunset Boulevard.” It stars William Holden and Gloria Swanson. You know, the down-on-his-luck Hollywood writer turns into a driveway seeking help for his sputtering car. He becomes a gigolo in a creepy household that’s a mausoleum for an old silent-movies star intent on making a comeback, and her creepy bald butler.

I’d forgotten how much personality and over-the-top stuff there was in this movie: the leopard-skin car seats . . . the bed shaped like a boat . . . the pipe organ that played by itself in the wind . . . the fan letters mailed in secret by the butler to keep her thinking she had fans . . . the dozens of pictures of herself, 30 years ago, that the lady of the house kept around everywhere.

In the last scene, everyone is saddened and shocked when she comes down the stairs, a murder suspect surrounded by cops and press. She pretends to be the temptress Salome and fawns into the news cameras in a hideous parody of glamour, imagining herself back in the silent movies on the set again, and drips narcissistically, “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

It’s soooo sad when people don’t realize they’re weird and out of date.

Then I remembered that my 17-year-old daughter advised me recently that my hairdo was “dated” – basically the same style I’ve worn since my wedding day, pretty much -- and when I went to the upscale beauty salon and repeated the story, expecting a laugh, the hairdresser didn’t blink an eye, but started suggesting changes I could make. Indeed, should.

Gulp! But I love my new ‘do. So . . . “Mr. DeMille . . . NOW I’m ready for my close-up.”

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


We have a teenage softball friend named Abby who was honored to be asked to do some baking for a family get-together. She had spent a lot more time on the softball diamond than in the kitchen, though, so she needed a little hand-holding.

Her assignment: bake brownies for 24 people.

Instructions: double the recipe.

OK. Fine. Abby prepared two 9” x 13” pans, opened two boxes of brownie mix, and doubled the eggs, oil and water. So far, so good.

But this logical young lady figured that doubling meant doubling. So . . . she also doubled the oven TEMPERATURE. Hmm. There was no 700 degrees on her oven dial, so she turned it to “Broil.”

She also doubled the amount of TIME for baking, to nearly an hour on the oven timer.

Heyyyy! They SAID “double.”

It didn’t take that long for the smoke alarm to go off and the pans of hardened charcoal to be rushed outside, setting off gales of laughter from her not-so-supportive family members. And new family lore was born, signaling lifelong mirthful reminders about “Abby’s Blackies.”

Alas! That’s what you get for dutifully following instructions!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Best pumpkin: “STATE CHAMPS” carved by our high school team’s All-State pitcher.

Best trick-or-treater conveyance: a lawn tractor and trailer arrived with all kinds of decorations and lights, and a bunch of beaming kids hopped off the back of this Halloween hayrack ride.

Best kid costume: a little boy was in a homemade winged dragon costume in a shimmering green fabric that a mom or grandma must have put 100 hours into making.

Best adult costume: a friend is a teacher, and the kids at her school weren’t allowed to dress up this year for some strange reason, but the teachers were; one of her co-workers came as “The Unhappy Camper,” with torn jeans, burnt marshmallows in her hair, and a snake wrapped around her leg . . . she didn’t need a Hershey bar in her trick-or-treat bag; she needed a margarita.