The cheerleaders are yelling, “Go Cougars!” What are you thinking? What I’m thinking is that the school's mascot is a big cat, admired for both its grace and power. Not so with the Draper, Utah, school board. What they are thinking about is a middle-aged woman pursuing a younger man.

Utah is an area of the West where people share their space with wild animals. Cougars (aka mountain lions) are a part of the animal population there. So it’s no surprise that the cougar is mascot for several western universities, including Utah’s Brigham Young University. However, even though this highly admired big cat received the most votes from students to be the mascot for a new high school in Draper, the school board nixed the idea. This is because some see the word as having, as the superintendent of schools explained, a “negative double entendre.”

One has to wonder what kind of juvenile thinkers hold positions on the Draper school board. Grow up people!

So instead of Cougars, the school’s teams will be known as Chargers.  

Oh well. "Go Chargers!"

    Images from Clipart Today                                    



At one time in history, TV news provided updates on current events around the world and locally. Now, with stations in competition to be the most watched channel, things sneaking in as news might need a new category with the title, “Let’s make you barf before dinner.”

This past week, one of our local channels presented a feature I would consider to be in this category. The report was about “Grossology,” a museum exhibit that is self-proclaimed as “The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body.”

Several exhibits were demonstrated for the very enthusiastic viewers in our household (not), including burping, barfing, and matching body odors to the areas of the body where they occur. (Think London subway here.)

The weatherman came on the set following this story and commented that if he went to that exhibit, he would become Exhibit #1. But that would only occur if he arrived at the museum sometime before my arrival.

I do know one group who will enjoy this exhibit immensely. My judgment on this matter is related to having taught sixth grade in a past life. During the fall of each year, usually after the first frost, some boy would reach up and snag a lazy fly from the air as it attempted to wing past his desk. Then the fly was quickly smashed. This always elicited the desired response from the girls as, in unison, they shrieked, “EWWW!” Then the current perpetrator was excused from the room to wash his hands. Win, win!

Now I remember why I enjoyed teaching college students so much!

Link to Grossology: http://www.fwmuseum.org/grossology


Right Back Atcha!

Having attended a few Catholic Masses over the years, I have come to understand the constancy of the liturgy and how deeply it is ingrained in the subconscious of every Catholic. So much so, in fact, that during one Mass I attended when the priest read, “The Lord be with you,” as a part of the scripture lesson, the congregants, obviously without thinking, responded, “And also with you.” Everyone laughed, including the priest.

A new translation has recently changed the liturgy of the Mass for English-speaking Catholic churches. The purpose in making these changes was not to modernize and insure that the liturgy is more in sync with the likes of young people, but rather for the Church “to deepen its understanding of the Sacred Liturgy*.” One of those changes is to the sequence previously mentioned. Now when the priest says, “The Lord be with you,” the response of the people is, “And with your spirit.”

When I read through the list of changes to the liturgy of the Mass, I got to thinking about how the liturgy might change if it were to be turned over to a group of contemporary Protestant reformers. (That would be the ones out to irritate reactionary believers who cringe at repetitive song lyrics and have a problem with the words of Amazing Grace being modified, ostensibly because the old lyrics are not good for self-esteem.)

Even though some Catholics are grumbling a little about the current changes, they should be very happy that the aforementioned reformers don’t have free reign with the liturgy. If they did, the new “hip” beginning of the Mass might go something like:

Greeting:        The Lord be with you.

Response:     Right back atcha.
                        I just want to say, right back atcha.
                        All I really want to say is, right back atcha.

*Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond


Cures and Fixes

While watching TV the other day, I saw a pediatrician being interviewed. During the interview she recommended giving honey to children for their coughs. That got me to thinking about my mother. Were she living, Mom could say, “I told you so.” That would be with relationship to the effectiveness of some of the “cures” she used when caring for her sick children.

We knew the regimen for each ailment:
  • Cough? A teaspoon of honey mixed with a few drops of lemon juice.
  • Tummy Ache? Chicken soup, hot tea, and toasted crackers slathered with butter.
  • Sore Throat? Suck on horehound drops.
  • Bad Breath? Brush teeth with baking soda and gargle with salt water.
  • Canker Sore? Apply paste made of alum and water.
  • Bee Sting? Remove stinger and cover with paste made of baking soda and water.
  • Wound or Cut? Soak in warm water to which Epsom Salts was added; dry and apply iodine. (Ouch!)
  • Cold Hands? Rub vigorously through hair.
  • Headache? Place the inside of a banana peel at base of skull, cover with towel; lie down in a darkened room.
  • Diarrhea? Eat Apples.
  • The Blues? Homemade potato soup served with toast.

Mom was quite the folk practitioner. I can count on one hand the number of times I went to the doctor during childhood and adolescence.

Not only did Mom have cures, she also had "fixes." Sometimes when I share some of her fixes, I see raised eyebrows. But they all work and they are economical.
  • Fruit juice on a washable fabric? Place the stained portion of the fabric over a strainer and run a stream of boiling water over the stain until it disappears. (No, this does not set the stain. The stain totally disappears.)
  • Mildew on cloth? Soak in sour milk. (Worked back in the day before pasteurization when milk could still be soured rather than just turn smelly and bitter.)
  • Iron rust on cloth? Wet with lemon juice, sprinkle with table salt, put out in the sun.
  • Water ring on table? Cover the spot with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Sprinkle with a small amount of baking soda. Rub lightly with a soft cloth in the direction of the grain of the wood. Remove all mayo and buff with dry soft cloth. (May need to be repeated.)
The other day I discovered a “fix” that my mother apparently did not know about. On a recent cold day when wool coats were being removed in a church foyer, many women discovered that skirts and slacks were left clinging to their bodies. There was much distress being expressed until one very savvy lady took a metal object and rubbed it against the various fabrics. Voilà! Static free clothing! How is that for a cheap alternative to the static-cling sprays?  


Change Comes Slowly

It’s difficult for some people to change. That includes me. I no more than get used to a new cell phone when my contract expires and my old model is no longer available. So, instead of being able to continue with the “dummy phone” I have used for the two years of my contract, I find myself once again spending time figuring out a new alarm and touch screen.

Difficulty with change applies to several areas of my life including new appliances, new cars, and new music at church. (How did that last one make this discussion? Must be something often on my mind!)

Just when I decide I probably hate change more than anyone, I find out about the bureaucrats who manage the Pennsylvania Turnpike. These people are the “cash only” kings of this century. In the real world we pay using credit cards, debit cards, and even iPhones. In my state, on Colorado E470, license plates are photographed and a bill is sent to users of that forty-seven mile toll road. No stopping, no tickets, no cash. Even on scenic toll roads in Colorado we welcome tourists’ credit cards. But in the backward PA Turnpike world, one has to stop for tickets when entering the turnpike and dig around to find green and change when exiting. Lots of green I might add!

So when you plan a trip on the PA Turnpike, be sure to visit an ATM before you merge onto that long asphalt money pit! And hey, PA, how about moving into the world of technology?