Selfie Obsession/The Silly Poem Series

The Silly Poem Series


    Maya Angelou ,well known author and poet, has inspired me to stretch and write poetry. Many writers cherish poetry as a window to creativity and urge all writers to branch into the genre.

   Robert Frost said, “Poetry begins with a lump in your throat.” I can identify with that, but rather than be somber, thought; let me expand upon the silly and borderline ridiculous.

   My first poem, “City Slickers” was written for a High School English assignment.  It still makes me chuckle, plus it is short and easy to remember.

City Slickers

   by Claudia

People, people everywhere
Short fat even square
Shoving pushing without care
Makes a city anywhere

   Emily Dickinson’s poem,  ” I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” is a favorite of mine and inspired me to write the first poem in The Silly Poem Series, “Selfie Obsession”

I’m Nobody! Who Are You?

by Emily Dickinson.

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell!
They’d advertise – you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!


Selfie Obsession

by Claudia

I am a somebody!
Are you a somebody, too?
Then there is a pair of us, bored, lonely, with nothing to do

Do you want to take a selfie, a snapshot, a view?
A look in the mirror, like folks used to do.
Yuck! It is ugly, delete

Oh yeah – replace with a new
Be shallow like Pope Francis,
Ellen DeGeneres to mention a few.

Sing the song, watch you-tube
Listen to the dove’s message
Selfies broaden beauty to include even you

               More than manipulation and narcissistic
                In 2013, the word was ballistic.
                A word, fifty-five percent of all millennials, used

But first let me take a selfie
I am bored, I am obsessed, it is unhealthy
With the power to change me, myself and you

. . . . just saying

Vampire Drain

            thAging & Attitude

  It is 6AM, birds fill the air with singsong conversation while I sip coffee, and think about vampire drain. I could be sleeping; however, my continuous glucose monitor woke me.

   What is a continuous glucose monitor?

   It is a device I wear to inform me of my blood glucose level. I have been diabetic for thirty plus years. When my BG level slips dangerously low, a beep alerts me and continues to beep until I get up and do something about it.

   What is vampire drain?

   Vampire drain is my latest pet peeve. Merging, plastic bags, doubling plastic bags, the use of filler words by media, and weathermen who shout about precipitation are other pet peeves.

   Periodically, I rant that traffic jams could be lessened if people knew how to merge. Frown at check-out clerks, who ignore my request for no plastic, (I bring cloth) and the clerk proceeds to put fish, already wrapped in plastic and white paper; in double plastic, with the speed of lightning. I can be sarcastic about professional television media, who use filler words (duh, um, ah, etc.), and weathermen who tell us it is going to rain with such alarm I consider building an ark.

   There are two types of vampire drain; electrical is the one I find infuriating. The other is an emotional drain from high maintenance friends, and I have gotten rid them.

   Vampire drain is when a cell phone or laptop charger is left plugged into a wall outlet but not connected to a phone or laptop, very likely using energy and draining your pocketbook unnecessarily. Standby power is also considered a form of vampire drain because it requires energy unknowingly. The practice might be defended by saying, “It’s pennies, only one cell charger, what difference can that make?” Well multiply that around the world and it makes a difference.

   Now that I am thinking about it,  storage of emails is another waste of energy. Emails are stored on a hard drive and electricity cools and keeps the hard drive running twenty-four seven. Someone once shared they had never deleted a single email, and had four thousand messages stored. I refrained from screaming since they were clueless.

   There are many ways to reduce vampire drain, but it does not need to be complicated. Simply unplug  a device once it is fully charged, and all chargers not in use, and while you are at it delete all old emails. It will save you some money and help the world go green.

. . . . just saying


Whatever Happened to Mikey?

Swingline is the name brand of an old stapler sitting on my desk, that I have stared at for the past ten minutes. The mental pause feels like writers block, but is probably indigestion, or a senior moment. The handy device has been dropped many times and has only a few scratches. It is dirty from forty plus years of handling.

Forgetting about environmental effects, I grab a bottle of Bang and spray it clean. An inscription, made in the USA Long Island City, New York, is readable when the finger grime is removed. The steel grey metal color now shines, and the words, Swingline Speed Stapler, brag about its lasting quality. There are seven patent numbers listed. The patents are probably why it continues to work and I have kept it all these years. It is sturdy and strong, and can also be opened to staple paper flat on a bulletin board.

Remember schoolroom bulletin boards filled with colored construction paper, and displays made from paper plates cut in pie-pieces, to demonstrate fraction equivalents; I taught first grade at St. Brendan’s School in the Bronx and when I left, took the stapler.

The song, Little Rabbit Foo-Foo, and Mikey come to mind, everyone knows Mikey from the Cheerios commercial.

Michael Gilchrist was my student.

There were three Gilchrist brothers: Tom, Michael, and John. John, the youngest, was the three-year old called Mikey in the commercial. The real Michael, my student, says, “I’m not going to try it,” in the commercial, and pushes the bowl of Cheerio’s towards him.

There was a lot of excitement when the commercial ran, and shortly after the family moved to Yonkers.

But whatever happened to Mikey, John Gilchrist?

MSG director of media sales John Gilchrist poses

Mikey is alive and says, “The folklore that I ate Pop Rocks, the exploding candies, and I drank a soda and my stomach blew up,” is not true.

Gilchrist, 44, has been in ad sales, first in radio, including a stint at ESPN, and now for MSG Networks, where he is director of media sales, primarily negotiating with advertisers on TV ads.

Although “Mikey” had no lines at all in his third and most well-known commercial, he built a successful career and appeared in about 250 other commercials.


Do You Tweet?


“Do you Tweet?” Christine asks me, as the waitress approaches the table.

We are having lunch at The Olive Garden. It is a celebration of sorts; Christine has a new website  and food blog, Pudbudder. Tricia’s, children’s book, “Detective You’re” is in the hands of an illustrator, and my short story, “Wheels of Circumstance” is an FWA selection.

The waitress interrupts to tell us the specials and ends by saying, “I’ll be back to take your order.”

“I have a Twitter account but never Twit?” I responded

“It’s Tweet, you tweet, not twit on Twitter.” Twitter links to LinkedIn and can increase your followers. I have 452 followers. I’m doing resumes for people in Australia”

Tricia and I, thankful to know someone tech savvy are impressed, and leap on the opportunity to ask questions we feel too stupid to otherwise ask.

“If it is called twitter, why do you tweet and not twit?”

Soft spoken Tricia  inquires politely, “What’s Twitter?”

“Twitter is an online social networking service where people can send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as ‘tweets’.”   Wikipedia’s definition; “a short burst of inconsequential information, and ‘chirps from birds’.” Christine says smiling.

“I think I was a bird in a former life,” I comment.” But why characters? Why not spaces?”

Tricia asks, “Couldn’t they send a short email?”

“I don’t know.” Christine rolls her eyes and continues, “This is like trying to convince cavemen they’d be better off using matches.”

The waitress is back and takes our orders.

When she is gone, Christine leans across the table to Tricia and questions, “Do you know what a hash tag is?”

“Don’t be a twerp, how would I know about hash?” Is Tricia’s not so polite, reply.

“It’s a number sign, # you can use it to share a twitter story.” Christine taunts and proceeds to inform us; Twitter is undergoing changes and now has Tweetups, Tweetie, New Twitter, and Retweets.

I have a headache.

We leave the restaurant two hours later laughing about Twitter, tweets and twits.

Later that evening I login in to my Twitter account, take the Twitter -Tour and learn, one has to follow to get followers.

So, who will I follow?

Mr. Wonderful is watching the ALDS series, the Yankees are playing Baltimore.  I type Yankee in the search bar.  Mike Blooomberg, aka Mayor of NYC, tweets, “Go Yankees”

Ruth Westheimer, aka Dr. Ruth, Psychosexual Therapist,(I am surprised is still alive) tweets, “So-A-Rod benched”

Nothing exciting is happening here.

I  plan to watch Blue Bloods on CBS and figure the TV program is a safe search.

Jim Wahlberg, Dorchester, MA, no known relation to Danny, Donnie Wahlberg, real life brother to Mark Wahlberg well know for the movies, Ted and The Fighter is tweeting, really flirting with Paula NKOTB.

Not of interest to me.

However, Donnie was recently interviewed by Gayle King, of whom I am a big fan. She asks an interesting question, waits and respects the answer.  Sunday morning Gayle tweeted she’d been to Streisand concert and to the Barclay for burger bash with her favorite mayor.  I am jealous.

Gayle has 589, 454 followers and one more, me.

As of today I have one follower, dear Christine, but who is counting.

…just saying

Morning Walk

Morning Walk

Morning Walk April 24, 2014 The morning air is cool in Florida. As May unfolds the heat intensifies, and the humidity, accompanied by a sultriness that is hard to forget, descends. But for now, I enjoy early walks bemused by … Continue reading

The Eraser Law vs The Golden Rule


“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Albert Einstein


Alexander McCall Smith is a favorite author of mine, although it is hard to say why. He is a series writer, “The #1 Ladies Detective Agency” being his best well-known. I am currently reading “The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds,” one of “The Isabel Dalhousie Novels.”

The composer Mozart is the subject in the first page of the book, and compared to Srivinase Ramaniyan, another child prodigy, in the next few. Not a page turner since I have little interest or knowledge of classical music, and never heard of  Ramaniyan. Yet, I am compelled to keep reading, fascinated by McCall Smith’s ability to make the mundane important.

The story unfolds slowly as Isabel Dalhousie, the protagonist, shares her wisdom and concerns as a philosopher and editor of “The Review of Applied Ethics.” It is dull, but I am entertained by her thoughts.

It is Isabel’s description of another character as offensive, minus social clues and lacking social judgment, that reminds me of my third grade teacher, Miss Pendergrass and The Golden Rule.

Isabel feels badly when she offends another, even a stranger and strives to change her behavior.

 The first day of school, a Tuesday after Labor day, Miss Pendergrass instructed us to open our composition notebooks and on the inside cover write, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” Fake orange and yellow leaves decorated the bulletin board and the eraser monitor’s name was written on the black board. A class discussion on the matter followed. 

 Now jump ahead to the year 2015, when the “Eraser Law” will take effect in the state of California. The law will protect minors by giving them the right to delete comments on social media. There is debate about the message; say or do what you want, you can erase it, without consequences.  There is no provision for treating others the way you would want to be treated.

The Eraser Law evolved in reaction to a court decision not to protect the public from their own stupidity, but to coddle the young, in lieu of teaching them the Golden Rule.

In November of 2009, the disgruntled staff of B.J. Roberts, sheriff of Hampton, Virginia liked the Facebook account of his opponent during the election. Despite his staff’s lack of support, Roberts won reelection, and decided not to employ his detractors. These actions became a court matter when the unemployed protested, and claimed firing on grounds of a “Facebook Like” was a violation of their First Amendment Rights.

The court said, you don’t quite get it, grow up!

They were forced to look for new jobs.

I think about Miss Pendergrass and wonder what she would tell third graders about the Eraser Law, while she has the misbehaving write 500 times; “I will not talk in class.”

. . . . just saying

Counting Jelly Beans 101 for Baby Boomers

CANDYLOGOsat“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ” 
    Coco Chanel

The YouTube video “The Time You Have in Jelly Beans” has more than four million views and rightly so. The author, Zefrank 1, demonstrates visually how we spend time using jelly beans and the voice of Sad Cat Diary Guy explains the math. The message is effectively communicated, and the end poses provoking questions:

  • What are you doing with your time?
  • How much time do you have left?
  • What if you had half that amount?
  • What will you do with it?
  • What are you going to do today?

In order to answer the questions I did the math, you know multiplication, division and percentages, and it is complicated for Baby Boomers. The statistics are based on a life expectancy of 79 years or 28,835 jellybeans, minus 5,475 jelly beans for the formative years, leaving 23,360 jelly beans to divvy up among must do activities.  This is the breakdown. 

Activity                                   Jelly Beans                    Percentage of time

Sleeping                                  8,477                                      36%

Work                                        3,202                                     13%

TV Watching                            2,676                                     11%

Food, etc                                  1,635                                        6%

Chores                                       1,576                                       6%

Community Service                     720                                        3%

Attending others                           564                                       2%

Personal Care                                671                                       2%

These activities account for 83% of our time, leaving 3,839 beans to spend as we like. The message is clear; it is not a lot of jelly beans so spend them carefully.

Most Baby Boomers have about 5,110 jelly beans left; many are retired, so add the 13% previously allocated to work, to the 17% already designated to the area of do what you like, and life looks exciting, until you do the math.

It is not as difficult as the “New Math” of the 1980’s but it is tricky and there is a learning curve. Here is an example:

Retired, Dave has 5,110 jellybeans left, of which he plans to use 1533 for fun. He is invited to play pickle ball, and with the first serve falls, shatters his hip, and undergoes surgery. He now has a metal pin. How many jellybeans does Dave have remaining for leisure activities?

Please leave your answer in the comment section.

                                                                                          . . . . just saying 

You’ll enjoy this post,Ten Surprises Your Body Has in Store for You


Happy Passengers At Wrong Airport

imagesWhat, Me Worry?
Mad Magazine, Alfred E. Newman

“How Could That Happen?” I say aloud, but really talking to myself.

Mr. Wonderful* replies somewhat distracted, “How could what happen?”

He is lounging in his favorite sunny spot on the couch doing the New York Times crossword puzzle with an ink pen. I sit nearby, viewing a you tube video on my laptop.

“How could an airplane land at the wrong airport?”

“I haven’t a clue,” he says mimicking Brad Hawkins, a spokesperson for Southwest who said, “There is no explanation.”

Evidently, wrong airport landings happen.

In this particular incident the pilot brought the plane to a screeching halt to avert falling onto the interstate.

Brad announced that Southwest would refund tickets and provide future travel credit, whatever that means.

Passengers, waiting for bus transportation to the right airport, smiled and called the pilot a hero.

How could Southwest make this blunder? I love Southwest; there are no fees for checking luggage, or to change a flight. Plus, on the flight home from Albuquerque New Year’s Day, the flight attendant sang to us.

“Whatever happened to air traffic controllers? Don’t they tell pilots when and where to land. Remember, when Regan threatened to fire all of them, did he?

“Claudia, that was in 1981, they’ve probably been replaced with technology.”

“Like a GPS or Bluetooth.”

“I haven’t a clue. What’s a six letter word for gabardine?”

“Fabric, that’s what happened.”

“What’s what happened?”

“Technology, automation and pilots forgetting how to fly, there are two articles online. Do you think the pilot was texting or taking a selfie, maybe he fell asleep like the conductor of that Metro-North Train?”

“That conductor is not being charged; neither drugs, nor alcohol were involved and falling asleep isn’t a crime.”

“Not even if you’re driving a train?”

“Guess not, the investigation of the wrong airport thing should be interesting.”

“Technology is to blame; those stupid voice commands don’t work. You know what happens when we use it. We say phone Janine, and the Blue Tooth repeats, ‘phone Judy’.  We say no, it says ‘phone Janice’, we yell louder NOOOOOOOOOOO Phone JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJanine. The automated system phones Judy. We disconnect and try again. This time the commands say press one to phone Judy, press two to phone Janice and Janine isn’t in the mix. We hang up, grab the cell, and dial Janine’s number. I’m sure that’s what happened to the pilot.”

“Right Claudia, you’re right, you’re always right.”

“No think about it, replace Janine with airport code BKG, Judy with MGC and Janice with KBGB and you’ll see what I mean. The pilot’s ‘automatic pilot’ kicked in and he landed the plane without any annoying automation.  No worry it was the wrong airport, the passengers were happy.”

. . . . just saying  

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband of 43 years.

Upworthy and Conflicted

ICanHazMeaningCat500Picture from Upworthy/ Core message; I have meaning.

Have you heard about Upworthy? Neither had I until Eli Pariser, its founder, was interviewed on CBS News . It is one of those social media websites, but different. Pariser categorizes his website as “a social media with a mission.” If you see someone dancing in their underwear it will be to draw attention to a meaningful topic, i.e., pollution, going green, health care, etc.

I am intrigued but conflicted. Conflicted about time; the time it will take to search and read about this new website. Today, I have six plus hours to write, since Mr. Wonderful is out of the house playing golf. You are right, six hours sounds like more than a game of golf, and when asked about another woman. Mr. Wonderful says, “Another woman would be cheaper.”

Back to writing, I could turn What is Upworthy? into a post, but planned to write about another New Year’s Resolutions, to stand up straight.

Curiosity wins and I do a search, conflicted about going off task versus living in the moment. What the heck, I am retired.

Upworthy is not a newspaper and does not report news. You watch videos like the one of Jennifer Livingston  responding to a WKBT viewer email about her weight. The viewer criticized Jennifer as obese and not a proper role model. The world joined her retort that he is a bully. The video originally posted on Upworthy went viral.

David Carr, a writer for the New York Times, labels Upworthy a “news aggregation site.” The word means accumulating, joining, or combining and its founder agrees.

Pairser says, “At best, things online are usually either awesome or meaningful, but everything on has both.”  He believes Upworthy is:

  • sensational and substantial
  • entertaining and enlightening
  • shocking and significant

His staff, a  ragtag group of ruffians, fact check all posts/videos and Pairser claims their audience consists of “people who care about the world, but don’t want to be bored.”

The CBS interview was positive. Charlie Rose asked about the market for real news and Pairser made an analogy to the vegetable Brussels-sprouts, commenting; media portrays meaningful news as undesirable but essential. He thinks there is a craving for substantial news and believes Upworthy has no empty calories.

I like Brussels-sprouts.

Now that I know what Upworthy is, what good is it?

Well it is an informative media. I watched several videos and although not entertained, not bored. John Green gave a passionate eight minute rant about health care and sounded knowledgeable. Viewers cannot comment on Upworthy, but can like on Facebook and Twitter, and tweet or comment away.

So that was my day. I did attempt to change my theme for this blog and after one hour settled on changing the background color to amber, which is another New Year’s resolution, add color to my life.

. . . . just saying

P.S. I’ve been jumping around every day this week and haven’t lost one pound. Tomorrow is Friday. Also, please like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter, both at claudiajustsaying.


2014 Weight Loss Resolution


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”   Lao-tse  

   Here we go again; the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, unfortunately only eight percent of those making the intention succeed. That means ninety-two percent or almost everyone fails, and I am one of them. It was my resolution last year, the year before and the year before that; to lose the five pounds gained in retirement. Granted it is not the freshmen fifteen but I am not eighteen either. Mr. Wonderful, my husband of 42 years, says, “You’re not really overweight.” My response, “Yea and that’s the way I want to keep it.” Besides not really overweight is equal to, not really smart or its counter not really stupid. His comment does not make me feel better. My pants are tight, and please do not suggest I wear pants with an elastic waist. I am philosophically opposed to the fashion concept.

You may think losing five pounds for someone my size is easy, but it is not. In order to lose one pound a week I need to cut my caloric intake by 500 calories a day or eat 25% to 30% less than I now consume. What typically happens is that I am “Good” on weekdays and take off the pound, but it comes back over the weekend. On Monday I face the same old challenge.

Consequently, to meet success in 2014, I have consulted a professional personal trainer, my brother, Victor. He reinvented himself in retirement and has his own business, VB Fitness(, with a catchy tag line; “Stay Fit With Vic.” The Silver Sneakers flock to him. Vic’s advice, “Sis, you can cut calories to lose weight OR increase activity and people who want to lose more have to do both.”

Vic explains, “walk one mile, lose one hundred calories. Take any amount of time to do that but the faster you walk the less time you need to burn calories. That is why people run.” Vic can lose a pound in 6 point something minutes.

But Vic, “I do not run, my boobs shake, but I walk several times a week for about 30 minutes and exercise with Miranda Esmonde-White’s The Classical Stretch routine.”

Vic smiles and says, “That’s the problem you’re burning calories not fat. You have to sweat and exercise 40 minutes or longer, sweating clears the body of toxins. ”

But Vic, “I don’t like to sweat! How about I change my resolution to; I’m not going to gain five pounds.”

Mr. Smarty Pants response is to do jumping-jacks, he is right.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends:

  • Adults participate in at least 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity to prevent significant weight gain and reduce associated chronic disease risk factors. For most adults, this amount of physical activity is easily achieved in 30 minutes/day, five days a week.
  • Overweight and obese individuals will most likely experience greater weight reduction and prevent weight regain with 250+ minutes/week of moderate-intensity physical activity and reducing calories.
  • ACSM also recommends strength training as part of this health and fitness regimen, to increase fat-free mass and further reduce health risks.

Consequently the way for me to lose weight is; give up wine, give up cookies, and jump around until I sweat. I love my cookies with coffee as an afternoon snack and seriously, sweating is highly over rated.

   Place your bets!

. . . . just saying