How can you not love those oddball catalogs that show up in the mail every so often.
Harriet Carter, since 1958, has been selling those interesting gifts that you don’t find anywhere else.
Here’s some samples:
Holiday Dress-Up Dog — This 11 inch high poly/resin dog has a hat for all seasons. He can wear a Pilgrim topper on Thanksgiving, Santa hat on Christmas, bunny ears at Easter and the stars and stripes for July 4th. On sale for $19.98.
Digging Dog — No head on this lawn ornament that measures 15 inches long and 13 inches high, made out of PVC. Looks so real you’ll expect to see his tail wagging and the dirt flying! Cost is $19.98.
Mr. Wonderful — He says all the things a girl wants to hear. Gently squeeze his hand and he respond with one of 16 perfectly chosen sayings like, “Just relax and let me make dinner tonight” or “it’s really important that we talk about our relationship.” This 12 inch doll is driven by two AA batteries (included). Cost is $14.98.
Toilet Golf — Lets you practice your putting on the potty. Carpet looks like a putting green: it even has a hole so you can tee off. Includes putter and two plastic balls. Set is $17.98.
Cap Washer — Now you can clean your caps in the washing machine or dishwasher without wrinkling. Study frame holds cap in tip-top shape during entire wash cycle. Was $7.98 Now $4.98.
Wireless Driveway Alarm — Puts an end to surprise visits, announced guests and unwelcome salespeople by transmitting a signal each time anyone approaches your home. Cost is $29.98.
Gel Toe Cap — Helps ease the pressure caused by ingrown toenails, hammertoes, corns or calluses. It comes in two sizes (big toe and the other toes). Sells for $5.98 or two for $9.98.
Teddy Tissue Box Cover — is a “beary” cute way to disguise a boring box of tissues. 100 percent washable polyester. Was $11.98 Now $9.85.
Sports Photo Bobblehead — Will be a real thrill for your budding superstar. Insert your child’s photo in the doll’s head and watch your athlete beam with pride. Five sports available. Each $9.98.
Cow Floor Protectors –Lets you “moove” chairs without scuffing the floor. Fabric cow booties have leather-like bottoms that glide most floors. Just slip them on over the bottom of chair and table legs. One sets costs $4.98.
Talking Toilet Paper Dispenser — Delivers your recorded message (up to seven seconds) with every pull on the roll. Let the laughs begin. On/off switch in case your mother-in-law drops by. Sells for $19.98.
Beer Belt — Holds a six pack while keeping your hands free. Good for fishing, sandlot ball games, horseshoes, wherever you enjoy a brew. Adjust to any waist size. Cost is $19.98.
Car Seat Riser — Provides better view for safer driving. A necessity for those who have difficulty seeing over their steering wheel. Was $7.98 Now $6.85 Two for $12.98.
Money Maze — Turns a gift into an incredible challenge. Once you insert a bill, check, ticket or gift certificate into the maze, your recipient will have a devil of a time trying to get it out. Make ‘em work for their president. Cost is $12.98.

I can’t imagine what my childhood would have been like if I couldn’t have taken a peanut butter sandwich to school every day.
The sandwich, combined with a banana, gave me a lunch that was far superior to any unknown food floating around in liquid in the hot lunch line.
Currently, three elementary schools in Lake Orion have been designated peanut-free. That means no food items containing peanuts or peanut product is allowed in the school.
This is in response to a few of the schools’ students having airborne peanut allergies.
For some strange reason, the amount of people with peanut allergies have been increasing over the past 20 years.
Food allergies affect 6 to 8 percent of children in this country. Peanut allergy is the leading cause of fatal and near-fatal food induced anaphylaxis (general shock).. Every year, 50 to 100 people die after accidently eating peanuts.
I attended the “peanut” meeting at Blanche Sims last week, not because I’m a peanut butter lover, but because so many parents seemed to be upset over the peanut ban.
Carpenter was the first school to ban peanut products. I heard from a minimal amount of parents then. Paint Creek was second and no one contacted me when it happened.
I haven’t been at a school board meeting when peanut bans were discussed.
Parents at Blanche Sims’ “peanut” meeting were, for the most part, calm and collected during the discussion. No shouting, no heated arguments took place. Everyone got a chance to talk, some more than once.
The most emotional moments happened when some moms shed a few tears when they spoke.
One man kept mentioning banning peanut products is just all about litigation. School officials maintain they’re just complying with federal laws that requires the safety of students in public schools.
In one sense, I have to agree with the man. I have no doubt a dad/mom would have no hesitation suing the school district if their child had a severe allergy attack while at school, especially if they felt the school hadn’t done enough.
Just a month ago, I read an article in a Detroit newspaper about several families who were dealing with a child’s peanut allergy.
They detailed a nightmare life, with non-stop worrying about peanut exposure.One even mentioned an example about a pan that once had peanut oil in it. If it wasn’t cleaned properly, their child could have a reaction if he ate any type of food cooked in the pan..
A parent, Arlene Vaughn, bought me in reams of paper about allergies. Studies show no known cases of anaphylaxis to peanut smells have been documented.
But airlines no longer serve peanuts on their planes because allergic reactions have been reported when many packets of roasted peanuts are opened at once, releasing peanut dust into the air.
I think Arlene has the right idea when she asks that the school district develop an allergy policy for all the schools. It might take a committee and a few months of hard work, but there’s just too much misinformation out there on food allergies.
Minimizing allergy problems in schools might be as simple as educating all the public based on correct information.

Should have worn a hat. At least that’s what Wes Fuelling told me at Saturday’s Tree Lighting Ceremony.
By the time people started arriving at Children’s Park, the wind was blowing hard (dropping the chill factor) and clouds reappeared after a brief flirting of sunshine earlier in the afternoon.
Because of the park’s gazebo and the Victorian dress of The Ebenezer Singers, I could almost imagine being back in the days of Dickens.
I did have my eye on one of the singers who dressed all in red and had a hand muff to keep her warm. I think it’s about time that particular fashion item came back in style, especially if our cold winters are back.
Santa Claus kept the little spectators warm with handshakes and hugs. The Brass Ensemble from the North Oakland Concert Band, with a little direction from Santa, played some Christmas music
And kids from Blanche Sims and Stadium sang their hearts out.
I couldn’t help eavesdrop on a conversation going on behind me among a couple of Stadium girls. They were talking about the group from Blanche Sims who was performing at the time.
“Wow, they’ve got some props (jingle bells).”
“We’ve got a lot more kids than they do.”
“I know that girl. She was on my soccer team.”
By the time Wes suggested a sing-a-long and the tree lighting was minutes away, there weren’t many people left. The feel of frozen feet won out over the chance to sing Christmas carols.
As I’ve written before, son Chad and wife Tracey have moved into my house while waiting for their new home to be built.
It seems they have a family tradition of traveling down to Hines Park in Livonia each year to take a look at Wayne County’s Light Show.
Because they now have a minivan, and can seat more than four people, they asked me and Tracey’s mom Colleen to go along.
Neither she nor I have ever seen this before so we readily agreed.
It cost $5 per vehicle to get in. After seeing it, I believe this is one of the great bargains during the holiday season.
It was absolutely the most wonderful thing to do to get in a holiday mood. Of course it helped to have four year old granddaughter Ryan so excited about everything she saw.
We snaked along the park road and saw lighted animals, villages, toyland, ice skating pond, baseball players, Santa and his sleigh, etc. Many displays had figures that showed some type of motion.
My favorite lighted display was at one of the many bridges we went under. This elf climbed up a ladder, walked over the top of the bridge and appeared to drop a present into a stocking.
The only letdown was when the trip was finally over and you had to get back on those dreary real streets and head for home.
Speaking of an elf, go see the movie Elf. You have to love a character who picks used gum off a railing and eats it, chows down on cotton balls and who mixes spaghetti with maple syrup and all kinds of candy for a tasty breakfast. Elves love sugar, you know.

Several years ago, student Alex Smith was suspended for 10 days for writing a parody about the tardy policy at Mount Pleasant High School and about the teachers and administrators charged with enforcing it.
According to Henry Silverman, a professor at Michigan State University, this is an erosion of student rights and the miseducation of our students on what democracy means.
Silverman writes:
Alex, in October 2000, was eating lunch with five friends in the high school cafeteria. One friend asked Alex to read aloud a three page typewritten commentary that he had written at home and privately shown to two other friends earlier that week.
The commentary criticized the school’s new tardy policy, the process leading to its adoption, as well as several teachers and administrators charged with enforcement of the policy.
Alex read the commentary to his friends at the lunch table. Other students in the cafeteria attempted to listen in with the result that as many as 10 other students may have heard portions of the commentary as he read it.
The commentary was written and delivered in a way that showed it was intended to be humorous, from the perspective of a 16 year old.
It referred to the policy as “turdic” and referenced several teachers who supported the new policy as “gestapos.”
He also mentioned truthfully that there were “some people in the school” who believed the high school principal had divorced her husband after having an affair with another school principal whom she later married.
Later that day Alex was taken out his physics class by the school’s liaison police officer and questioned by school administrators about his commentary. He answered all the questions and turned over the commentary to the administrators.
Alex told the principal he was sorry. She talked about suing Alex and his parents for libel and slander.
In addition to his personal apology to the principal, Alex delivered to the administration written apologies separately addressed to the school personnel mentioned in the commentary.
Nonetheless, Alex was charged with “verbal assault” directed toward the principal and other members of staff, as well as the school and its policies.
He was charged with harassment; his commentary was labeled “offensive” and threatening to “the dignity of school personnel.”
The school code does include in its list of student misconduct a verbal assault policy, which is defined as “threatening the well-being, health, safety or dignity of persons on school property or going to and from school…’
Alex and his parents went through the appeals process but lost. The superintendent did offer to reduce the suspension to eight days if Alex voluntarily submitted to psychological screening. He did this.
The counselor appeared perplexed by the administrations’s handling of the commentary, stating she generally encouraged students to write out their feelings.
Her evaluation stated that Alex was an intelligent, stable, healthy child who posed no threat to the school.

Walkers hustling and bustling, police standing at intersections directing traffic, steam pouring out of manholes, buses full of people traveling down the streets — New York you say?
No believe it or not, I’m describing Detroit last Saturday afternoon.
A group of women and I (along with granddaughter Ryan) made a trip to Detroit to watch the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes at the Fox Theatre.
When the decision was made a few months ago to pick a date to see the show, no thought came to anyone’s mind that a big-time basketball game might be showcased at Ford Field.
I don’t know how many people were seeing the Rockettes, but I do know over 78,000 fans crowded into Ford Field — a college basketball event record.
We first ran into the fans at Hockeytown, a restaurant close to the field and the theatre.
Our group opened the restaurant at 11 a.m. and had no problem getting seated. By 11:30 the place was packed especially around the bar area. Put it this way, there wasn’t even any room to stand.
Around noon an announcement came over a speaker that the third floor bar area was now open. A crush of people, dressed in blue and white (Kentucky) and green and white (Michigan State) ran our way, turned and headed for the stairs.
And remember, it was noon and the game didn’t start until 4 p.m.
We didn’t linger long at the table. The servers kept coming back to clean up the dishes, obviously in an attempt to move us along.
Entering the Fox for the first time is quite an experience. First you’re standing with women showing off their fur coats. Then you smell roasted almonds with a hint of cinnamon. Once in the main lobby, you can’t help stand there and look up at suspended angels, red, gold walls and pillars and ornate wall decorations, Christmas lights and trees and man on a balcony skillfully banging out Christmas music on an organ.
The Christmas show is about 90 minutes long, not including an intermission. It’s 70 years old and more than 40 million people have seen it.
Last year, 150,000 theater-goers made the trip to see the show.
We were treated to 12 different scenes. My favorite one was the old stand-by ‘The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.?
The precision of the dancers and their costumes has been a crowd pleaser since the beginning — 1933. When the Rockettes are promoted, a photo of the ‘solders? is often used.
The Rockettes have become one of those traditional Christmas trademarks, like hearing ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.?
If I wasn’t in the mood for Christmas, I surely was after the show ended.
Eating dinner at the brand new Hard Rock Cafe in the Compuware building was a different experience entirely.
We had to stand outside in the building’s main lobby and wait to be seated. We were told those pesky basketball fans had just left and cleaning off the tables was taking a long time.
Once at our table, we were treated to a packed restaurant, plenty of plasma TVs broadcasting music videos and one of the most interesting bar walls I’ve ever seen.

Here’s my wish list for 2004.
l. I hope Michigan State’s basketball team gets a point guard. I’m tired of hearing that excuse as to why it can’t win a basketball game.
2. I hope it never gets below zero this winter so my pipes won’t freeze.
3. I wish members of the school board would disagree once in a while just so I have a good story to write about. Where’s Howard Sherman when you need him?
4. I wish my boss would get my Internet access hooked up as soon as possible. I can’t wait to ‘google.?
5. I hope Applebee’s opens soon. It’s one of my favorite ‘less-expensive? restaurants.
6. I hope my son’s and daughter-in-law’s house is finished by the end of February. It’s all right having them live at my house. I just haven’t been able to have ‘my space.?
5. I wish Michigan’s football team would beat Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. Then maybe UM would be the number one team in the country.
6. I wish some cosmetic company would invent an anti-wrinkle cream that actually works.
7. I hope we don’t have any major ice storms or power outages.
8. I hope my daughter’s girlfriend Jennifer actually does get married in October so I can make my first trip out to Arizona.
9. I hope the weight I’ve taken off stays off.
10. I hope my girlfriend Susan who’s going through her third divorce doesn’t feel like she ever has to get married again.
11. I wish Wal-Mart would make some formal announcement about buying property for a future store in the area. Not that I’m a big Wal-Mart fan, but at least it would put those rumors of the company building on the road commission’s property on M-24 to rest.
12. I hope no politician resigns during the middle of his term. If he does, I hope a temporary replacement is picked by his fellow officials rather than schedule a special election. There’s just too much voter apathy and too many expensive elections!!!
13. I hope the TV show Amazing Race comes back to CBS this winter. It’s one of my favorite shows.
14. I wish the Orion Library would buy more DVDs. I know it’s going through a money crunch, but I think more people use DVD players rather than VCRs. The proportion of DVDs to VCRs at the library is way off balance.
15. I hope I can make up my mind if I want to subscribe to digital cable or satellite service.
16. I hope this third Lord of the Rings movie wins the Oscar for best picture. The honor is overdue.
17. I wish the reason my work printer gets jammed all the time would go away. Pounding on it is losing its effectiveness.
18. I wish Jim Delavan would write letters about something besides that township residents should be making major township decisions by voting rather than have township officials making them. That’s why we elect these people, so they can do it.
19. I hope 2004 is better than 2003!!!.

Man-about-Oxford, Jim Sherman Sr. says the reason he doesn’t spend more time at Third Wave in Oxford is because of the restaurant’s resistance to separate checks.
He would hang out at Third Wave more because he loves to give my daughter Molly a hard time (she works there). Jim doesn’t like that Molly calls him grandpa. Even though at his age, she could probably call him great-grandpa.
Anyway, Jim and friends visit Kalloway’s a lot more than Third Wave because that restaurant has no problems with issuing separate checks.
I didn’t know this: Senior citizens like to pay their restaurant bills with a charge card (necessitating each having his own bill).
I don’t know why this is mandatory. Maybe seniors have no money or they have credit cards that give them perks such as airplane mileage or money towards buying a new vehicle.
Whatever the reasons, we all should be able to pay a bill anyway we darn please.
I’ve noticed some new restaurants actually have computers that do all the work of separating everyone’s costs.
Sounds like some computer genius didn’t like the idea of grouping everyone’s eating costs under one total either.
We’re now a full service newspaper. We offer drive thru service. Sally Walter was out shoveling snow off the sidewalk in front of our office on Monday. (Yes, women can and do shovel snow).
A customer in a vehicle pulled up to Sally and handed her information on an ad she wanted to put into our papers.
The woman didn’t even have to get out of her car. I bet the other newspapers don’t offer curb service!!!
Molly made this awesome dessert for Christmas that I want to share with you. Prep time is quick, (eight minutes), it looks good and tastes wonderful.
3 1/3 cups Heath candy bars (10 1/2 ounces)
1 container (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping thawed
12 frozen rectangular ice cream sandwiches (Neapolitan looks festive)
1 cup hot fudge sauce, warmed if desired
1. Place Heath bars in re-sealable plastic bag. Tap with rolling pin or meat mallet until coarsely crushed. Reserve 1/3 cup.
2. Mix 3 cups crushed candy bars and whipped topping.
3. Arrange ice cream sandwiches on bottom on rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches, cutting sandwiches if necessary to cover bottom of pan.
Spread whipped topping mixture over ice cream sandwiches, Sprinkle with reserved crushed Heath bars. Cover and freeze about 2 to 3 hours until firm.
4. Cut into squares. Top with fudge sauce. Cover and freeze any remaining dessert.
One serving is 480 calories (calories from fat 205); Cholesterol 25 mg; Carbohydrates 66 g; Protein 4g

I’ve been going down hill for at least 30 years.
According to a study done by the University of Michigan, memory and mental energy first starts to decline in people in their 20s.
The good news for those people is it’s not really noticeable — at least not until the loss starts affecting everyday activities.
According to a psychologist, ‘younger adults in their 20s and 30s notice no losses at all even though they are declining at the same rate as people in their 60s and 70s because they have more capital than they need.?
I read recently older people are really concerned about their increases in ‘senior moments? because it might be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
That’s me!!!
I figure my senior moments started about two years ago. That’s when my desk in my office became cluttered with notes I wrote to myself to remind me to do or buy something.
The catch here is coming across one of those notes a couple weeks later and not remembering why I wrote it.
Or sometimes I’ll be driving away from my house and I’ll start thinking things like did I turn the furnace down, snuff out a burning candle or turn the light out in my bedroom.
I have to turn around and go back home to check. The things I’ve been worried about have always been done — I just don’t remember doing them five minutes after I’ve done them.
I now see why those pill containers divided into the days of the week are so popular with seniors. Sometimes I’ll pop a couple of aspirin and then almost immediately starting thinking ‘did I or didn’t I.?
The only way I can tell is by checking the surface of the sink to see if it’s wet from the water I ran.
I can logically understand our mental capacities declining as we get older. After all our body does, so why not our brain capability.
But why do we have a problem with saying the wrong word. For instance, you’re talking about John, but out of your mouth comes the name Matt. Or you’re telling someone to turn on the TV and you say refrigerator instead.
Another glaring problem that’s been increasing in my life are false memories of conversations — whether it’s my problem or others is up to debate.
An incident happened just before Christmas. Apparently everyone in my office except me had a major discussion about when we were going to exchange gifts — the Monday before the holiday.
I was shocked when that Monday arrived and everyone walked in with presents except me. I was bringing mine in on Tuesday.
All three of my co-workers said they thought I had been there when the conversation on when we were going to do it took place. Although none of them could remember exactly when this discussion happened.
So was I there and didn’t pay any attention to what anyone said; did I totally forget every word spoken or did the three just assume I was there when I really wasn’t?
The good news for me, according to this UM study, is although my mental capacities are aging, I have a lot more wisdom than I did when I was younger. Great!!!

I recently read about a woman named Tina Valek. Her dentist told her her gums were eroding near her back teeth.
This came as a surprise to the 32-year-old. After a lifetime of perfect dental checkups without a single cavity, she thought she was doing the right thing.
Her problem? Tina was overbrushing!!!
According to a dental expert, vigorous brushing can cause gums to recede and over time erode tooth structure, leading to sensitive teeth and exposure of the root area.
Tina was obviously a person who seemed to follow the rules of good dental hygiene. It sounded as if she had regular checkups and brushed her teeth all the time.
That’s what all the experts tell you to do. Maybe the trouble is we don’t receive enough information about teeth.
After years of using a toothbrush with hard bristles, I was finally informed a soft-bristle toothbrush was more effective.
To me, using a hard-bristle would be better. The bristles wouldn’t bend as much, thereby better able to scrap more of that plaque off.
It might do that, but it obviously wears down your teeth too.
A question I have is why do manufacturers even sell a hard-bristle brush? What are they good for?
And what do we know about all the teeth whitening products out there? Do they work on a temporary basis, on a more permanent one or not at all.
I’ve been using a teeth whitening toothpaste for a year. Have I noticed a difference? Do I have a sparkling smile? Not really.
I bought daughter Molly some Crest White Strips and asked her to be a guinea pig. If it worked on her teeth, I would try the product.
She thinks it’s helped — a little. She did mention you’re supposed to put them on twice a day and she’s only done it once a day.
What about the paint or the gel? Has it whitened anyone’s teeth?
When Molly and I were talking about the white strips we asked each other what do the dentists do. Is their teeth whitening process permanent or temporary? Is a laser used?
You do have to wonder how this movement to have white, white teeth evolved. No one even talked about this a few years ago.
And certainly back in the 1940s when smoking was the thing to do, no one cared if you had slightly discolored teeth.
When I watch the TV series Survivor, I’m always staring at the contestants? teeth. How come their teeth looks so good, when they probably haven’t brushed their teeth in a month?? I ask myself suspiciously.
Back to Tina’s problem. Experts say she would have been able to keep her teeth healthy if she had a proper brushing technique.
Dentists want you to brush twice a day, especially after meals. Use gentle circular movements at a 45 degree angle to help brush away plaque. Floss daily and visit the dentist regularly.
Now we don’t know if Tina had regular checkups. That’s the key word here. Remember, she did at least go to a dentist occasionally. Why didn’t someone spot her overbrushing earlier?

Time ran out on creating a column this week, so I’m sharing this story with you.
Imagine it’s 2004 and Noah lives in the US. God speaks to him and tells him to build an ark because it’s going to rain in one year and all will be destroyed because water will cover the earth.
God gives Noah the specifications for the ark and tells him everyone must be on board in one year.
A year goes by; it starts to rain. God comes and sees Noah sitting in his front yard crying his eyes out. God didn’t see any ark and ask Noah what happened.
I did my best but there were big problems.
First, I had to get a permit for construction and your plans didn’t comply with the codes. I had to hire an engineer firm and redraw the plans.
Then I got into a fight with the OSHA over whether or not the ark needed a fire sprinkler system and flotation devices.
Then my neighbors objected, claiming I was violating zoning ordinances by building the ark in my front yard. So I had to get a variance from the city planning commission.
I had problems getting enough wood for the ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to protect the Spotted Owl. I finally convinced the Forest Service that I needed the wood to save the owls.
However, the Fish and Wildlife Services won’t let me catch any owls. So, no owls.
The carpenters formed a union and went out on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Union. Now I have 16 carpenters on the ark, but still no owls.
When I started rounding up the other animals, I got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me only taking two of each kind aboard.
Just when I got the suit dismissed, the EPA notified me that I couldn’t complete the ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your supposed flood.
Then the Army Corps of Engineers demanded a map of the proposed flood plain. I sent them a globe.
Right now, I’m trying to resolve a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that I’m practicing discrimination by not taking godless, unbelieving people aboard!
The IRS has seized all my assets, claiming that I’m building the ark in preparation to flee the country to avoid paying taxes.
I just got a notice from the state that I owe some kind of user tax and failed to register the ark as a recreational vehicle.
And the ACLU is saying that since God is flooding the earth, it’s a religious event and therefore unconstitutional.
I just don’t think I can finish the ark for another five or six years.
The sky began to clean; the sun began to shine and the seas began to calm.
‘Does this mean you aren’t going to destroy the earth?? he asked God.
‘No,? God said sadly. ‘The government already has.?

Tuxedos and dressy dresses — that’s what I got a chance to admire at Saturday night’s Snowflake Ball.
For the first time in many years, organizers of the event offered me a free ticket. I was invited for a few years when the fundraising affair was just getting off the ground.
Then the word complementary disappeared from the invitation that arrived in my office mail every year.
Although I’ve been bugging Orion Art Center Director Reggie Harrison to be reinstated on the freeby list, I actually had some trepidation, when she showed up at The Review with an invitation.
From my past experiences at the ball, I knew some people really liked to dress up.
‘I don’t know if I have anything to wear,? I told Reggie. She suggested to me not to go out and buy a new dress, but instead dig around in my closet.
In case no one’s noticed, the idea of dressing up for anything has pretty much disappeared — at least in my world.
When I go on my twice a year power shopping trips, I always meander through the racks of dresses (Kohl’s and Marshalls). The selection is poor or what’s available is somewhat matronly. So I’ve bought nothing.
I determined I did have one black wool blend long dress. It would have to do.
Indianwood Golf and Country Club is always a nice venue for special affairs. Wood bars, linen tablecloths, fine china and professional wait staff creates a feeling of 1940s like elegance.
Saturday night was no exception.
At least half the men wore tuxedos. I heard someone say more men dressed up in tuxedos this year than last. Women in that 30 something age to early 40s wore formal attire — sparkling, glittery, knee-length, long, some cleavage or no cleavage. And there I was in my black old dress.
I complemented township supervisor Jerry Dywasuk on his tuxedo. He told me he finally bought one after forking out up to $100 each time he needed to rent one.
I saw Larry Mullins, land baron and business owner, and asked him why he wasn’t at the Gingellville public forum meeting that I wrote about.
After all, Gingellville has a nickname, ‘Mullinsville.? This could be because Larry owns so much property in the area.
He apologized and told me he planned on coming but something came up. He expects there will be other meetings that he can come to.
Lions Club president Steve Hauxwell was the MC. Now I know the man sells plumbing, but he could have a second job as an auctioneer.
He ran the live auction. Listen to this — he managed to talk someone in to bidding $320 for a signed Charles Rogers jersey.
For those of you who don’t know, the Lions picked Rogers second in the NFL draft. I think maybe he played one or two games before he was injured and out for the season.
The last item on the auction was a signed Steve Yzerman jersey. Hauxwell managed to get the bid up to $660!
Final note: To all of you art center members, hiring Reggie was the best thing you’ve ever done. I’ve known her a long time and she can talk anyone into doing anything.

It’s beginning to look like my days with my extended family is coming to an end.
Son Chad and his wife Tracey are hearing they’ll be able to move into their new home by the end of the month.
For the most part, the time living with three other adults (also daughter Molly), two kids, one dog and two cats has just whizzed by.
Some of the good things:
A chance to hang up homemade Christmas ornaments made by granddaughter Ryan in preschool. Haven’t done that in 20 years.
Watching granddaughter Jillian go from crawling, to pulling herself up and teetering on furniture, to walking around like she owned the place.
Having someone else in the house besides myself who actually gets excited about watching Michigan State basketball games.
Having extra food in the refrigerator. Granted it’s all kids? yogurt, cheese pieces cut into shapes and chocolate milk, but it looks impressive cause it fills the shelves up.
Chad has a computer and printer. It’s’s been easy to pull some information that I needed off the internet.
Getting extra exposure to American Idol. I only watched it last season when the finalists were narrowed down to 10. Because the younger Stiebs are big fans, I’ve watched each and every show so far this year.
It’s hard to believe awful singers don’t have a problem embarrassing themselves on national TV.
Early Monday morning doesn’t seem too bad, now that I have a strong man to take my garbage out to the road. Of course, most of it is their garbage, so Chad hauling it out only seems fair.
I’m a big fan of the soundtrack from the Billy Elliott movie. If you’re just movin? and groovin? around the house like I do sometimes, it’s great dancing music.
Ryan and Jillian think so too — now I have some dance partners.
Watching the Kim Possible movie. I didn’t know such a cool heroine existed in cartoon land.
Some things not so good:
Trying to keep a handle on not having toys, books and bits of paper scattered all over the house.
Fingerprints and dog nose prints on my windows.
Having to share my boxes of crackers with the kids.
Using the vacuum and broom all the time to pick up dog hair.
The litter box. I’ve never been thrilled with litter boxes. I don’t care what new and improved products are out there. They don’t work real well.
Trying to fit three cars into the parking area behind my house. I’m closest to a brick wall. With the snow that’s currently piled on it, sometimes I feel as if I’m climbing into a snow bank when I get out of the car.
Following Jillian around as she opens every drawer and pulls out ink pens, spools of thread, scissors, pushes the on and off button on the TV and the DVD, tries to climb the stairs by herself, plays in the dog or cat dish — etc. etc. etc. Whew…I’m tired just writing about it.

Did I ever mention that Lisa and myself have new computers — Dells to be exact.
Most of you are probably wondering what the big deal is. Well, we’ve never had new computers before. The Review’s equipment has always been some other office’s hand-me-downs.
Imagine a tannish hard drive that lies flat below the monitor. It’s covered with dirt marks that no amount of scrubbing can take off. That’s what I’ve been using for a long time
That changed several months ago when my hard drive decided it didn’t want to work anymore. The powers that be determined it would be cheaper to buy us new stuff rather than do any repair work.
When the new computers arrived, we learned there wasn’t any opening for a floppy disk — something that I’ve been using at work for 16 years.
No one realized when placing the order that a floppy disk drive is now an option and you have to pay extra for it.
A floppy disk was mandatory for this office. We copied all of our writing onto a disk so we could carry it up to the Oxford Leader and lay-out the newspaper.
‘What do we do now?? I wondered.
A couple of days later, Lisa and I had this miniature removable hard drive we were plugging into our computers.
Each of them costs around $50. They’re attached to a cord that we hang around our neck. It’s harder to lose that way.
I’ve been told the baby hard drive can hold up to 100 times the amount of information that a floppy disk could. It’s cool.
Two weeks ago this office got hooked up to the Internet. That means that I can now receive E-mail at this office.
I know readers have become accustomed to sending info, letters, etc to That’s been a little inconvenient because that went to Oxford and I don’t go up there on a daily basis.
My e-mail address is: I admit it’s a long address, so jot it down someplace.Still send photos to the Oxford e-mail address. That’s where the scanner is.
But wait, I’m not done yet. The Review is now networked to the main office. They’re preparing me for yet another change.
Soon I’ll be doing all my work at my desk, at my office.
No more working on The Review at Oxford. No more cutting and pasting copy. Somehow they expect me to do this all electronically — moving copy from one spot to another.
I’ve yet to figure out how a fax machine works. Somehow information that someone sends me flies through space and ends up in print, in my hands within two seconds of the send.
I’m a little nervous about losing the physical aspect of putting the newspaper together. I’m a hands-on person and there won’t be anything to put my hands on.
But…I’ve been doing the work of putting The Review online now since July. I struggled with the process for about a month before I became comfortable with it.
Maybe this old employee can learn new tricks — lots and lots of new tricks.

Every so often I have to become a movie critic. It’s some hidden desire that I’m sure most journalists have if they like to go to movies at all.
Being a movie critic seems like one of those dream jobs — being actually paid to go to movies or to interview someone like Russell Crowe.
And you have an opportunity to hang out at the annual Academy Awards ceremony.
Remember a few weeks ago when I admitted I was nervous about what to wear to the local Snowflake Balll? Can you imagine me trying to buy a reasonably priced dress for the award ceremony?
Some of the critics who collect tons of money for having fun have said to go to bed before the show quite ends. What they’re actually saying is the best director and best movie awards are a sure thing — the movie Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and its director Peter Jackson.
Can’t argue with that. I think most academy voters decided a long time ago, if the trilogy was any good, they would vote the third one as best picture, regardless if it really was.
It’s the way ice skating judges think. They mostly stay clear of awarding very high marks in the early rounds (regardless of how a skater performs) in case there’s a better performance later.
You have to notice the marketing of the first two movies has been exceptional too. The first DVD was followed by an enhanced disk. Then we got into the collector’s disks which you had to have if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan.
I would have been smart to save my money until the boxed version of all three movies comes out. I anticipate over 20 hours of viewing pleasure and maybe costing $100.
What I haven’t noticed is fast food toys based on the latest movie. I thought that would be a given.
My pick for best actor is Sean Penn in Mystic River. I’m not a Sean Penn fan and haven’t seen many of his movies, but he played his role as a grieving father to perfection. The movie was terrific and so was the book.
Critics are now picking Charlie Theron as best actress for Monster. At one time the front runner was Diane Keaton for Something’s Gotta Give.
I haven’t seen either movie and probably won’t see Monster at all. You have to wonder though. Nicolle Kidman won for The Hours last year. She changed her appearance just by altering her nose. Theron put on at least 50 pounds for her role as a serial killer.
Helpful hint to potential future academy award nominees: A little bit ugly seems to influence award voters in a big way.
I don’t get Lost in Translation. It’s up for best picture and best actor. The family was watching it Sunday. I admit I didn’t see the whole movie — but I didn’t like what I saw.
For supporting actress: Marcia Gay Harden in Mystic River. I know Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) is the odds on favorite, but I agree with the Detroit Free Press critic — she was way over the top.
And what can you say about Finding Nemo for best animated film. It’s just beautiful to look at. And I have an advantage over other critics. I’ve seen the movie at least 25 times since the kids moved in with me.

With the big snow melt down we’ve been having, I know people are starting to think about a spring garage/yard sale.
Although a garage sale is a good way to earn a few bucks and get rid of unwanted items you’ve stashed away for years, it may end up costing you. In this world of ‘easy litigation,? a bargain hunter could end up suing you if he gets hurt while on your property.Never thought of that did you?
Insurance companies recommend you check your insurance policy before you have a garage sale to see if you have adequate liability protection.
Also, make sure there aren’t any dangers lurking on your property. Move garden hoses or any other items people may trip on.
Sale items should be arranged so there’s enough room to browse safely.
Another hint: If your garage sale is a regular, money-making event, your homeowners policy may not apply. In this case, you would likely need to purchase business liability insurance since most regular homeowners? policies don’t approve coverage for business pursuits.
If you sell your items at a flea market or swap meet, your homeowner’s policy probably won’t apply. You should check the liability coverage of the flea market or swap meet.
Tell me it isn’t so…
Invention Technologies in Florida is always sending me press releases on area inventors. A recent release indicated a man in Livonia has developed a digital imaging car/fax printer.
This is for those busy professionals who have had to endure not having a fax machine or printer available during moments of need. The car fax printer permits the safe and simple faxing or printing of documents while in a vehicle.
Let’s see…we drivers are now dealing with people who eat in the car, use a cell phone while driving, put makeup on while trying to steer a vehicle, read a paper.
Now some ambitious inventor thinks a vehicle should be outfitted with fax printer.
Would someone please invent a way for cars to drive themselves, so people can do what ever they desire without having to worry about hitting anyone.
Why did it do that???
Not only do I have a new computer, I also have a friend who recently splurged on a Dell.
One advantage of being on-line is the ability to use MapQuest. The program gives a traveler a map and detailed instructions on how to get from point A to point B.
When I say detailed I mean MapQuest gives you the distance from your driveway to the end of the street.
This friend of mine sought information on how to get to someplace in Flint (point B). Bellevue was point A.
According to MapQuest, the vehicle should go down Bellevue, turn on to Heights Road, cut across to Clarkston Road by using some streets behind Rick’s Party Store; travel down Clarkston Road to M-24; M-24 to Brown Road to access I-75.
Now why didn’t MapQuest send us down Heights Road to M-24 rather than go down some ‘back roads?? And wouldn’t it be faster to hit I-75 by staying on M-24?
Conclusion: Maybe the thinking mind is still smarter than a piece of equipment.

I attended the story of the century in my pajamas. Thanks to a call by Mary Harkins, I saw every person on the day of the fire I’ve ever known in this town without wearing make up and combing my hair.
Leaving a bowl of Grape Nuts on the table, I dashed to the car and sped downtown. As I’ve mentioned before, the fire department is so good about putting fires out, you have to get there right away or you miss those flame shots.
I didn’t need to worry.
Heavy clouds of black smoke poured out of the front of the Sagebrush. Standing across the street, I snapped a few shots before a fireman told me to leave the area.
Set to argue with the man, Jeff Key stepped in and reemphasized I needed to leave. He mentioned something about explosions every once in a while. That convinced me.
I saw what he meant a few minutes later while standing in the area of Front Street. Wow, I kept saying as bright orange flames shot out of the window area a few times.
Noticing billowing black smoke behind the buildings, I trotted to the back where 50 to 60 people were watching the restaurant’s roof disappear behind a wall of flame.
By 8:30 crowds of people gathered in the streets sadly watching as thousands of gallons of water continued to pour from hoses held by firemen standing in crane buckets.
At times the men eerily disappeared into the smoke.
In the back where I was standing, the firemen finally pushed us back when a utility transformer blew up, showering sparks over the area.
We were moved back even farther after someone became worried about the possibility of gas lines exploding.
By 9:30, TV crews were parked in our parking lot preparing for Live action..
Half the people you saw standing around were talking on cell phones. I imagine they were telling friends to come on down and watch the action.
I finally had to go home, eat and take a shower. I smelled like smoke.
The bowl of Grape Nuts was still there, but now it looked like mush. The cereal might be crunchy when you first eat it, but not two hours later. It went down the drain.
I must have looked a lot better when I went back to work. A reporter from The Detroit News stopped me on the street and asked if I was JoAnn VanTassel.
Around lunch time a photographer from The Detroit Free Press came in and asked if we had high speed Internet. He wanted to send some photos down to the paper.
We were more than happy to help out. But the guy became quite grumpy by the end of the day. He was having problems with our setup and called it ‘flaky.? That’s gratitude for you.
One last story…People from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were also parked in our lot. I guess they have to be on fire scenes when items that cross state lines (food, alcohol, cigarettes, etc) are involved.
They didn’t do anything all day (remember taxpayers pay their wages). But LO Police Chief Jerry Narsh did tell me they brought out a Spanish interpreter to help Narsh interview some Sagebrush employees.

It’s sad that one of the village’s greatest assets is being under utilized. And unless residents bombard the village with phone calls, Green’s Park will probably stay empty for most of the year.
The idea of keeping the park on M-24 open all year round has been talked about in a positive way for a while. It fits in with the village’s vision of motivating people to walk around downtown and spending time in the parks.
Members of a parks and recreation committee have spent several years going over catalogs, buying playground equipment and such items as picnic tables and trash containers — getting ready for crowds anxious to enjoy the great outdoors.
When I saw that the question of keeping Green’s Park open year round was on the agenda for last week’s council meeting, I just assumed council members would automatically vote yes on the proposal.
Boy, was I wrong!
By the time the council finished discussing all the possible liability/safety problems that could arise if the park stayed open, I felt the gates should be locked forever.
I agreed with parks and rec committee member Lisa Simpkins. Try keeping it open for a year. Give it a out the kinks.
Just don’t keep coming up with reasons why the proposal won’t work.
I remember one council member who was totally against installing decorative lights on Bellevue Bridge. He was so sure kids would vandalize the equipment and it would all be broken within a few years.
The lights did get installed. And years later they’re still all there. I’ve never seen any damaged ones.
I grew up in Port Huron. The local beach/park everyone went to was called Lakeside. It did have lifeguards on duty…but only during certain times.
People at all hours could enjoy bringing a picnic. Grills stuck in the ground were used to cook hot dogs and hamburgers — whatever.
I remember going to dances at the pavilion at night. The pavilion housed the store and the bath house.
At any time of the day or night (I know this from personal experience), you and a special friend could sit on the sand and watch the freighters go by. There was no locked gate to deal with.
I’m a real water lover. Everywhere I go I find my self seeking out beaches, parks. You always see those signs that say, ‘swim at your own risk.?
Sometimes I think the only place you can still see lifeguards in this world is on reruns of ‘Baywatch.?
Village residents who don’t live on the water — and yes, there are some, who should be able have some place nice to go to enjoy the lake — even if it’s just to sit on a chair and look at the trees in the fall.
Village officials are asking for input on whether to keep the park open all year. Right now, the park can be used from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Add it up. That’s about three months.
Call the village now at 248-693-8391 and tell them you want Green’s Park open longer. Call soon, this topic should come up again at a village council meeting in April.
Or you can e-mail me at: and I’ll print your response.

The second week of March I received a letter from some guy named Anton Anderssen. He wrote that he was a community education teacher who teaches ‘Martha Stewart? type classes in some 20 different school districts in the Metro Detroit/Ann Arbor area.
I didn’t print his letter because of our policy of not printing letters written by individuals living outside the local area.
But….I can put what I want in this column so here it is…
I received my issue of Time Magazine today (March 15). On the front cover is the headline ‘Just Deserts for Martha??
It seems to me that if you’re going to take a cheap shot at Martha Stewart on the front cover of your magazine, you would learn how to spell DESSERTS.
Deserts are where cati grow. Desserts are what Martha creates and the saying is ‘just desserts.?
I can’t understand why so many people relish in attacking that poor old woman. So she lied. There are some sins of weakness, then there are sins of malice.
How many times have you heard someone tell the authorities ‘I didn’t know I was speeding?? Or how many times have you found a dollar bill on the street, but didn’t report it to the IRS as unearned income:
I’m far more concerned about the lies people tell to intentionally hurt others, e.g. – ‘God says we should murder gays? or in the far pest ‘left handed people are the children of the devil? or ‘She’s a witch — burn her.?
If Time want to ridicule Martha with the ‘just desserts? shot, then at least they should get the right word on their cover.
No more filling out brackets …
Ripped up my March Madness bracket. I don’t know why I filled one out this year because I haven’t for the past several tournaments.
It’s too stressful. It reminds of the feeling I always got when I didn’t get a good grade on a test (I’m a failure).
Well, I’m a failure at being a basketball fan. Maybe I shouldn’t believe what those sports writers and TV guys tell us.
Based on media input, I truly thought Gonzaga would be right up there in the final four, Stanford too.
By late Saturday night, my two finalist teams were on the bus, heading home, flushed with embarrassment.
Some said Wisconsin was ranked too low. Where are the Badgers now? Home.
Some said St. Joseph’s was ranked too high. Where is it now? Hanging out in East Rutherford, waiting for the Sweet Sixteen competition to begin.
Having vented, I can say I’ve loved most of the games. They were close, winners sometimes not determined until the last second.
One exception is that D… team. Talk about boring. If they’re in the championship game, I’m not watching. Hate the Blue Devils.
I actually missed seeing the Illinois? overwhelming win, but it must have been boring. After all, Illinois comes from that very weak Big Ten Conference. Wouldn’t have thought it would have been able to place a team in the Sweet Sixteen.

Insurance people are expected to make one more visit this week to the burned downtown area. If final OKs are given, demolition of the buildings could begin soon after.
According to LO Village Manager JoAnn Van Tassel, architect Steve Auger is drawing up plans for the new Sagebrush Cantina. It sounds as if the plans include having two stories and a rooftop eating area — similar to what you see in Royal Oak.
My friend Pat (who used to live in Lake Orion) came in from Harbor Springs last week and said someone had called her about the fire. The friend told her she saw the story on CNN. Must have been a slow news day.
JoAnn told me there was a story about the village fire in a Ft. Myers newspaper and she was quoted in the article. She didn’t talk to anyone in FT. Myers so the paper must have pulled it off the news wire.
Have eaten at a restaurant called Blindfish in Lapeer and found it pretty good. It’s in the former Sero’s Restaurant on M-24.
The same man owns Sero’s in Lake Orion. It’s my guess he owns the Blindfish because I noticed the waitress was using a Steve Drakos pen. You can find them all over the place. I think they reproduce.
I’m pretty sure the owner of Sero’s is a big Drakos fan if the size of past election candidate signs put up at Sero’s are any indication.
I like the atmosphere of the Blindfish. It’s nothing fancy — just a good meal selection at reasonable prices.
I’ve ordered salads at both visits and believe me it’s more than one person could eat. The restaurant’s bread is similar to Kruse & Muers.
Speaking of eating, are you not tired of this low carb business yet? And I mean big business. Everywhere you go you see low carb food for sale. And I bet it’s more expensive than ‘regular? food.
Remember when low fats foods were the things to eat? It didn’t matter that low fat ice cream, bread, salad dressing, potato chips, cookies, etc. tasted terrible; they were good for you.
All of a sudden grocery stores devoted a whole section of shelf space to low fat products.
I have a friend, who shall remain nameless, who thought she could eat an entire box of low fat cookies because they were so low in calories. Hmmm…
I don’t understand why we need any special food products to stay healthy. Just check the labels and you’ll soon learn what’s high in carbs or high in fat. And don’t forget to keep the portions small.
On a similar note, eating apples every day is good for your brain health and mental sharpness.
According to a study, drinking two to three glasses of apple juice or eating two apples per day has great health benefits.
It may protect against brain damage to age-related brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

It felt good to talk to five LOHS teachers last Friday.
They actually dropped by to pick my brain, to see how knowledge of the English language and journalism work well together.
The teachers need this information because of the career focused education program that started at the high school a few years ago.
While managing to come up with some good points, I struggled with ideas to help them steer qualified students into the journalism profession.
I think people are born wanting to be journalists. I don’t think they can be influenced to ‘give it a try; you’ll be good at it.?
You can’t have a desire to be a journalist because the pay is fantastic. Just the opposite, it’s one of the lowest paying professions in the country.
It can’t be because you’ll be a hero. Actually most the feedback that you hear comes from people who dislike you rather than love you.
Being in the media (at least at my level) isn’t glamorous. How many movies have you seen that focus on the newspaper world? How many movies have you seen that tell stories of doctors, lawyers, police officers, business presidents?
The true journalist knows right from the beginning he’ll never be rich (except for Mitch Albom) and he’ll never be idolized, but still all he wants to do with his life is tell stories in newsprint/magazines.
At one time during my editor life, I hired a reporter who wasn’t a journalist. She had a public relations degree. Nice girl, but I shouldn’t have hired her.
I was desperate for help. She needed a job and said she’d give it a try. It didn’t take long to realize she was out of her element. She just didn’t have the feel for it.
During the chat with the teachers, I couldn’t help asking them a few questions that have been puzzling me for a while.
I receive plenty of press releases, letters to the editor, etc. In the past five years or so, I’ve noticed a major increase in people capitalizing numerous words — for no valid grammar reason.
The teachers agreed with me. They’re also seeing improper use of the exclamation point. I know what they mean. I’ve gotten several letters to the editor where each sentence ends in an exclamation point.
I think people have problems with possessive nouns too. I’m noticing more and more writers neglecting to include any apostrophe if the noun is possessive.
My biggest bugaboo, of course (as I’ve probably written about 100 times) is the use of its and it’s. It so easy to determine what’s the best usage. If you mean to write ‘it is? use the apostrophe — if not, don’t.
And don’t get me started on the use of their, there and they’re. I find myself occasionally making a mistake using the correct usage. And it’s only because I’m not thinking, not because I don’t know what’s right.
It’s my guess we’re all becoming just a little too lazy about our writing skills.
Now if we just had a computer that would make sure the grammar was correct.

Don’t you wish you could be a little kid again, at least during the holidays?
If you’re a kid, you don’t have to worry about buying appropriate stuff. You just have to be gracious about accepting whatever anyone gives you. (Parents put the pressure on to make sure you say thank you.)
At Easter, if you’re an adult, the stress is on to put together a basket that’s creative and pleasing and doesn’t cost too much.
Grandson Cole is the difficult one to buy candy for in our family. That’s because he doesn’t like chocolate.
This hatred has been going on for eight years. I was sure when he was little, he would grow out of this. I figured the peer pressure that pops up in school would force Cole to at least try the candy and once he got a little taste, he would become addicted — nope.
So for Cole, the pastel M&Ms, the molded chocolate bunnies and the foiled wrapped brown eggs just won’t cut it.
In his basket from me he found pastel colored gummy rabbits and chickens and small packages of Skittles.
I don’t buy Peeps for any of the four grandkids. I know millions of chicken Peeps are sold every year, but I don’t like ’em. They stick to your teeth.
I also don’t buy jelly beans and I don’t know why either. I guess I’ve never seen the kids eat any.
I’ve been told by Jody and Sally (in our office) that you can’t find regular flavors of jelly beans anymore. They all have some exotic taste.
A few years ago, Jody brought in Harry Potter jelly beans (not for Easter). The box contained small beans that were weird colors and had flavors like grass, vomit, dirt — you get the idea.
When I arrived at son Jason’s house on Easter, my grandson Brock came bursting out of the house in his socks, jumped into my arms and gave me a big hug.
What a swell little kid, I thought to myself, especially when he so nicely offered to carry his Easter basket into the house.
Once inside, he quickly dumped everything out of the basket, glanced at it for two seconds, put it all back in the basket and walked over to see what his brother Cole received.
Of course, Brock saw something he wanted and started to whine. Cole sold it to him for a dollar.
On another stop at my son Chad’s new home in Grand Blanc, it was different. Granddaughter Ryan immediately started playing happily with what she found in her basket.
She took her new plastic garden set outside and dug holes in the hard clay, which is currently substituting as a yard surface.
When I first walked in, Ryan (who is never at a loss for words and finds it hard to keep a secret) told me one of the cats earlier that morning had partially eaten one of the hidden real Easter eggs.
‘You mean she (the cat) bit through the shell?? I asked Chad in surprise. He admitted some of the eggs had a few cracks in them.
In a related Easter story, Ryan’s mom Tracey told me she felt like crawling into a corner when Ryan shouted out ‘that’s not the real Easter Bunny? when a bunny showed up at her preschool Easter party.

I’m still reading Entertainment Weekly — a magazine that started out coming to my house free for eight weeks. I think it was about four years ago.
I know I mentioned this once before, but it’s worth revisiting because there’s other similar business practices out there.
The magazine came into my life while I was ordering tickets for a Rod Stewart concert. A voice came on the line while I was on hold (how convenient) and told me as part of the ticket sale I would receive eight free weeks of Entertainment Weekly.
I remember him saying I could cancel any time if I wasn’t happy with the magazine. That should have been my first clue that maybe the subscription would last longer than eight weeks. Why would I cancel something I was getting for free.
The eight weeks came and went and still I found the magazine in my mailbox every week.. I felt rather smug. I’d slipped through their radar. I was going to get this for free the rest of my life.
I soon realized I was wrong after a couple of months when my payment automatically showed up on my charge card — the same card I charged the concert to. I don’t remember the telemarketer telling me all of this.
I (like many of the rest of you in book, CD, DVD clubs) decided to keep paying for the product. I actually liked reading the magazine.
Time passes. Payments get paid.
I’ve now decided to not use that particular credit card anymore. My new GM card gives me a better rate and allows me to accumulate money towards my next leased GM car.
I didn’t even want to reactivate my old credit account when it expired, but I had to because I needed to charge a purchase that took place before I had that GM card in my hot little hand.
I paid off my old account and started my partnership with the new better GM card.
One day, several months later, in the mail comes an envelope from the old credit card company saying there was bill inside. Ripping it open I discovered one charge listed — my magazine subscription.
What will happen I thought when it comes time to activate the card again and I don’t. Why I think they’ll bill me personally. These companies know a sucker when they see one.
The reason I’m telling this story again is because of what I recently heard about Time Inc.
After a year of receiving Money magazine, a woman decided to not renew her subscription. Soon after, she began receiving overdue notices. She thought it was a mistake, but then she got a letter that threatened “further serious collection activities against you.”
It seems this woman was in Times’ Preferred Subscriber Automatic Renewal Program — something she knew nothing about (notice the word automatic).
Some state attorney general’s offices are investigating these billing practices — especially when they threaten customers with credit rating problems is they don’t pay.

Does anyone remember a story I ran a few years back about the scuba diver found in a tree after a forest fire. I read this in a newsletter sent to me.
The gist of the story was no one could figure out how the scuba diver got in the trees and where he came from. There wasn’t any deep body of water nearby. The story went on to say it was determined the diver was picked out of the water by a firefighting helicopter that was capable of scooping up large amounts of water.
Horrible story, huh? I read sometime later it wasn’t true — just one of those urban legends.
Now I’m being informed by a reader in Florida that I’m again printing wrong information. The unidentified letter writer owns a RV and took me to task for something I printed in my column the first week in January
I’m assuming the reader is a man, because I don’t think women would notice the discrepancy in my motorhome story). My ex-husband and I owned a Winnebago and I didn’t see there was a problem in the storytelling.
Here’s the letter.
I presume by now you have heard from a lot (haven’t heard from anyone) of moblehome, motorhomes or trailer owners about the story of the Seattle police finding the man who plugged his siphoning hose into a motorhome’s sewage tank by mistake instead of his gas tank.
I have been around or owned all three of them since about 1960. I have never seen or found a place where you could stick a hose into the sewage tank.
You have a large hose to drain your sewage and that is all. That drain hose is three inches across.
I think someone is playing with your mind (obviously not the first time). Just think what a lawsuit that man on the ground would have if it was true.– RV OWNER
Hooray for the blue and maize…
Yes, I’m a fickle fan..I admit it. This big Michigan State basketball supporter is back again with the blue and maize.
I cheered, I yelled when Blanchard’s two free throws with seconds left in Saturday’s showdown game cinched it for the University of Michigan. Thirteen in a row. Who would have believed it.
I’m so disappointed in MSU. They have an excellent coach, top recruits in the state, rabid fans and can’t get their winning ways back.
Announcers keep talking about their hurt players. They had hurt players last year too. Teams only get one year of that “hurt players” excuse. Top people for the Lions have been using that excuse for two years. We didn’t buy it this year.
It’s my ex-husband Mike’s theory (we talk basketball) MSU’s problems stem from recruiting the State of Michigan’s Mr. Basketball (top player) for the past four years.
Most Mr. Basketballs dream of playing professionally, not winning national college championships. They spend one year in college (where it takes time to develop) and then it’s on to the pros.
Mike believes Izzo should be choosing players coming out of junior/community college. They are already experienced players and should be able to help another team during their senior year.

I didn’t mention any heated discussions in my first page story last week on some council members being upset about not receiving any reports from the Downtown Development Authority.
But I will now.
The most unsettling banter took place between council president Tom Albert and DDA board member Brad Jacobsen. That’s when I lost my objectivity and felt I needed to go into this topic further.
Albert was one of three men who were asking why the council wasn’t getting information about what the DDA was doing.
Albert’s tone of voice was accusatory, almost implying the board was hiding something. That didn’t make Jacobsen too happy. He came back and said Albert as a DDA council representative received all the agendas and minutes of DDA meetings.
That’s when Albert said it wasn’t his job to provide any information to his fellow council members.
What’s disturbing to me is Albert’s argumentative attitude to Jacobsen, who for years has been one of the village’s finest volunteers, who has spent many hours working on the betterment of the downtown community.
Albert is always saying the village needs new volunteers. If I were thinking of volunteering, I wouldn’t. If the council president showed no public respect for a hard working current volunteer, I can’t imagine why anyone would think of putting himself in a possible similar situation.
Oh, by the way, Albert has missed most of the DDA meetings this past year– meetings that he made a commitment to attend.
Mark Brancheau, who also wanted to see DDA reports, has asked for and received agendas and minutes of the DDA and other village boards.
Does it make sense to you that two of the men who complained were actually being provided with the information?
Members of the Main Street Oakland County Team pointed out in their report “there was a noticeable lack of participation by village council members and other elected officials during sessions and public meetings” when they first visited. The same thing happened in a visit here last November.
Team members got the impression some of these people don’t support the DDA and would like to see it end.
The problem is, the county people say, full participation by elected leaders in the downtown revitalization process is critical to the success of Lake Orion’s Main Street Program (which is directed by the DDA).
If the team’s perceptions are accurate, that leads me to believe that some council members aren’t that interested in what the DDA is doing. At least they’re not interested enough to physically show up at any gatherings where they might learn something or volunteer to work on any committees.
So I’m thinking if the interest isn’t there, what makes anyone believe some council members are actually going to sit down and take time to read DDA reports given to them.

How did Michigan become a dumping ground for Canada’s trash? For those of us who get an up close and personal look at M-24’s Mount Trashmore on a regular basis, it’s hard to imagine anyone soliciting to have more trash come into our state.
Based on information provided by US Congressman Mike Rogers (who represents a portion of Orion Township), 1992 was the first year for us to see Canadian trash in our state — 4.5 million cubic yards to be exact.
Michigan received 5.7 million cubic yards of household trash from Canada in 2001.
Rogers figured that was 33 million 30-gallon bags of trash in one year or 2.7 million bags each month and 91,295 bags every day.
Worse than that, at the end of 2001, Toronto City Council voted to send 100 percent of its garbage to Michigan. That started on Jan. 1 of this year. Toronto has a population of around 2.4 million.
Ten years ago the US Supreme Court ruled a 1988 Michigan law prohibiting out of state waste violated the commerce clause of the US Constitution, lacking Congressional authority.
And why are our state’s dumping grounds so appealing? It’s because we seem to have lots of landfill space and cheap prices.
Take a moment to take a look at a world map. Doesn’t it seem logical a country that has the third largest land mass in the world could find space for its garbage?
Garbage truck after garbage truck cross over the Blue Water Bridge filled with unknown unchecked items. Once emptied, these trucks travel back to Canada over the Ambassador Bridge.
I’ve recycled for years. We all got started doing this because we were told this would help keep landfills from filling up so rapidly.
I peel labels off of cans, rinse out bottles, crush plastic, bundle up newspapers. I’ve even been known to rifle though my own trash looking for a empty can that some unknowledgeable person had put in there.
We now have to put leaves in certain bags and cut and bundle branches of certain lengths before the trash guy will take them.
Doesn’t it seem ridiculous that Canadians don’t have to follow any of our landfill rules. The content of Canada’s trash is unregulated and not checked much at borders.
It’s a good bet items are being disposed of that aren’t being allowed in Michigan landfills. If we are taking the time to separate bottles and other items, why can’t we require the same efforts from other people.
We all know what gravel trucks can do to our highways. We see the results around here every day.
Try to picture hundreds of heavy garbage trucks traveling up and down our state highways and streets every day. Who’s going to pay to repair/resurface those roads — not Canada.
And lastly, our nearby landfills are filling up faster than ever before thanks to Canada and some other states. When those landfills are gone, garbage companies will have to travel farther and longer to other areas (not Canada) and they’ll charge us more money for the service.

I took a quick poll when I was at the police department doing the logs on Monday. I asked two police officers if they would have preferred dealing with a two foot snow storm this past weekend as opposed to the bitter cold that we experienced.
Both had no problem saying yes to the snow storm.
I laughed at a school board meeting in January when someone (an employee) told me she hoped we’d have at least one good storm that closed the schools. I didn’t agree with her at the time, but now I do.
I read that the reason we haven’t had any of those type of storms is because it’s been too cold.
I’ve had a real battle living comfortably this winter. My water pipes have already frozen six or seven times (sometimes twice a day). The latest freeze was Sunday morning.
A while back, my furnace broke sometime in the afternoon while I was working. By the time a repair man came to the house it was after five o’clock so I had to pay time and a half.
This is the second time the ignitor has gone bad in 14 months. People keep telling me that’s not unusual. It’s pretty easy to crack.
My son Jason chastised me later for not calling him so he could run out, buy the part and do the work. He told me the part was cheap.
Well, when you’re standing in your house watching the temperature drop about one degree every 10 minutes, you don’t feel confident this particular part will be readily available at the local hardware store.
My bill was well over $200. The repairman talked me into a new and improved ignitor that has a five year warranty. Of course it cost more.
This guy told me his company had received over 50 calls from people with frozen pipe problems.
I’ve done everything over the years to try to prevent my pipes from freezing — using heat tapes, insulating, running water all night long, not dialing down the furnace thermostat.
I think the culprit is my foundation (I have a crawl space). The blocks are old and probably not sealed well any longer. When winds from the north are high (cruel, cruel winds), that seems to be the time when I have problems.
Years ago I invested in a salamander heater. When the pipes freeze, I turn it on under the house. It usually takes about 45 minutes, but on Sunday it took two hours.
The only thing with this is I don’t stay under the house. Can you imagine me crouching in the dirt watching the tank for close to an hour. I know keeping close tabs on the piece of equipment is the safest way to do it, just not the most feasible.
So I worry and pace until that water starts gushing out of an open faucet.
When the wind comes out of the north, I typically wrap up in a blanket while I sit and watch TV.
. I used to put plastic on my front windows (very cheap aluminium ones) facing the north in past winters, but have since gotten lazy because of rather warm winters. I think it’s time to go back to the old ways.
Yes, get rid of the cold and bring on the snow — or maybe just let it be spring. Yeah, that’s a good idea.

Call me crazy, but I volunteered to participate in this Friday night’s “celebrity” sumo wrestling event.
Paul, the Lions Club member who talked me into this event, caught me at a bad time. I was feeling bored — that feeling you get in January and February.
But when I saw who my opponent was going to be, Oxford Leader Editor CJ Carnacchio, I figured this fundraiser would be a piece of cake for me.
That guy’s a wimp. He’s a University of Michigan graduate and you know what that means. That’s where all the chess club members go after high school.
Plus, CJ likes his martinis. My game plan is to ply him with alcohol before the event. He won’t be able to stand up long enough for me to knock him down.
And CJ isn’t healthy. He’s spent most of his adult life staking out former Oxford Police Chief Gary Ford’s house every night. Hoping to catch Ford doing something illegal, he doesn’t sleep much and is very run down.
When Lions Club members decided to host the wrestling fundraiser again this year, they wanted to have “celebrities” from Oxford and Orion fighting each other.
If you looked at the story in the paper last week about the event and you felt like counting, you’d probably notice there are less Oxford names than Orion names.
Does this mean there are less “celebrities” in Oxford? Or could it be possible those people to the north of us are afraid of Orion Tough (previously used to describe the high school varsity football team)?
Something seemed to be missing at the first village council meeting in February. A date was set to discuss the Lions Club’s application to host its annual Jubilee event. But nothing was on the agenda about setting a public hearing date to talk about shooting off fireworks during the July 4th holiday.
Usually the Lions and the LO Fireworks Association make their requests at the same time. The absence of an application from the association makes we wonder.
Are there going to be fireworks over the lake this year? If association members plan on having fireworks, why haven’t they asked to come before the council yet?
I’m going to assume there is some kind of initiative underway to find funds to support a fireworks show.
And if there are fundraisers this year, may I suggest events a little less elaborate than a Pub Crawl — activities that don’t cost a lot of money.
I’m predicting the Lions will have a successful wrestling night. The cover charge is only 5 bucks and it sounds like fun.
And the Orion Chamber seemed to have a winner in the Santa Claus breakfast this past December. The cost — $5 for all the pancakes you could eat and a chance for you to be embarrassed when your child throws a fit and doesn’t want to climb on Santa’s lap.
How about putting donation canisters out as soon as possible? Well maybe as soon as it looks like spring is coming. It’s hard to imagine right now that July is only four months away.

It’s only fair that since I poked fun of Oxford Leader CJ last week, that I “eat crow” this week.
I soon discovered after slipping on that sumo wrestling suit on Friday night that I wasn’t in very good shape. Beads of sweat dripped down my face, my feet wobbled and I continuously gasped for breath.
CJ just grinned and laughed and kept on pushing me with his hand.. I think I went down for the fall at least three times, but I lost count.
He admitted he might have had more sympathy for my plight, but he just couldn’t get that “column” out of his mind.
I haven’t been in Sears in a long time, but did make a stop at Summit Place a couple of weeks ago. I like the new look of Sears. It’s open and airy and light.
What I wasn’t impressed with was the computer system. Upgrade the appearance of the store, but not the technology? That doesn’t make sense to me.
The computer monitors appeared to be antiques. The amount of time to ring up some purchases (appliances) took forever.
I’m guessing the only thing that’s keeping Sears in business is its Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools.
People are spending more on appliances these days. At least they were before the economy hit a tailspin.
And one stove in Sears caught my eye — the Polara Refrigerator Range. It cools, it cooks, it liberates said the sign.
So picture this. Someone puts a homemade lasagna into the oven before going to work. The refrigerator mode is activated to keep it cool all day.
About 5 p.m. your oven begins baking the lasagna at 325 degrees. At 5:45, your oven stops baking and keeps the food warm. At 6:30 when everyone in your family arrives home, they can sit down to a homemade dinner. Wow!!
Or, by the way, if you come home really late, the range will automatically re-refrigerate your cooked meat for up to 24 hours more.
You know what I’m thinking? Most of us store our dishes in the dishwasher now, dirty or clean. We don’t even need a cupboard to put dishes in.
Do you think it’s possible to just keep our cold stuff in the oven? Of course, you’d have to pull the lettuce and milk out when you need to bake.
I recently read in a newspaper that those self serve check out units are becoming more and more popular in stores and even in libraries.
They’re supposed to be faster than a cashier that only takes 12 items or less.
I’ve used them several times and found them easy to operate. Of course my daughter Molly was along and packed the groceries and reminded me to pick up my change and receipt.
I’ve always liked standing in a check out lane in a grocery store. You have a chance to read the covers of magazines, grab a small Betty Crocker paperback cookbook (that you’ll never use) and pick up a package of mints you keep forgetting to buy.
Then, best of all, you can eavesdrop on the customer in front of you and feel good that her grocery bill is $200 and yours is only $50.

In these days of uncertainty over a possible war and a continuing sluggish economy, I thought I’d share this poem I read with you.
It was written by a terminally ill young girl in a New York hospital.
Slow Dance
Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun in the fading night?

You better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say, “Hi?”

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It’s like an unopened gift….Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower.
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
A laugh is always good even in sad times. Here’s a cute kid story.
A three-year old went with his dad to see a litter of kittens. On returning home, he breathlessly informed his mother that there were two boy kittens and two girl kittens.
“How did you know?” his mother asked.
“Daddy picked them up and looked underneath,” he replied. “I think it’s printed on the bottom.”

I realized while interviewing former financial director, Larry Gruber, that my job as a reporter for the school district has come full circle.
I first starting covering school board meetings 12 years ago. Fred Snow was the school district superintendent.
The school district had been going through some trying times. Passing bond issues was impossible.
I had personally come out against one issue (my only one ever). Supporters of the bond issue didn’t do a very good sales job and it failed.
I also felt Snow really didn’t care if the bond issue passed or not. He was headed down the slope to retirement.
One administrator at the high school believed the failure was totally my fault. He canceled his subscription.
Snow was an unusual administrator to work with. He didn’t want us to do a story on any thing the school board was considering doing until the board members had taken action on it.
That seemed odd to me. If people didn’t read anything about proposals being considered, how could they protest if they didn’t like it.
During my first year attending school board meetings, auditors made public the school district had a $1 million deficit.
Snow retired. Bob Bass was hired. The financial director resigned. Gruber took his place.
School board meetings lasted forever as person after person spoke out against particular cuts needed to balance the budget.
Once the money situation became stable, Bass, Gruber and a set of parents began the momentum of what I call the Golden Years.
A bond issue passed. I remember stopping by the board office to find out the results. It was hard not to be influenced by the heady excitement that was being passed from one person to another in the board room as the voting tallies were put on a black board.
I soon lost count of the ground breaking ceremonies I attended — the first shovel in the ground, the refreshments under the tent.
It seemed as if school buildings were being built overnight. We even built a first class nature center.
With construction underway, new programs/projects followed suit. Three schools of choice centered around year-round school, multi-age classroom teaching, focusing on the arts.
The idea of teaching kindergartners a half day, every day became obsolete. Plugging in computers in every classroom and emphasizing technology was a district-wide goal.
Even at the high school, a ropes challenge course and the Matrix program told people we were ready for the 21st century.
The mid-1990s flew by. I hardly noticed. I was too busy writing stories and taking pictures.
Of course, it’s now 2003. And guess what, the school board’s primary concern right now is slashing the budget.
Even though the governor has not decreased the state’s per pupil allowance in her proposed budget, it was apparent after last week’s school board meeting we’ll still be facing some tough times ahead.
I think the Golden Years are over.

I may be criticized here, but I haven’t spent all of my time watching the Iraq war unfold on television.
My son Jason tells me he’s addicted, can’t stay from watching war coverage. When I stopped by his house on Sunday, he was scrolling through an Arab television station website. I’m not sure why; he couldn’t read any of it.
My TV watching has focused on the college basketball tournament which bounced back and forth from CBS to ESPN for a few days.
CBS asked ESPN to broadcast the tournament occasionally if it looked as if CBS was going to have to broadcast extensive coverage of the war.
During halftimes or breaks in the basketball action, I would switch to a channel where someone was talking about the war.
Some times Dan Rather would come on the CBS channel and interrupt for updates on the war action. He always ended his two minutes of news by saying “when the war breaks out, we’ll break in.”
Most of his break ins were a repeat of the previous update. It seems to me no changes in the war status would mean no need for any updates.
And how many times did we hear “We interrupt this program to bring you the latest missile attack on Iraq’s capitol?” Most broadcasters admitted at the time they didn’t know what the targets were, just that there were a lot of explosions/fires in Baghdad.
We were seeing lots of live feed, not a lot of concrete information.
On Thursday morning, reporters said the quick bombing of a government building was planned at the last minute.
By Thursday afternoon, these same reporters were saying the bombing time table could have happened earlier than planned to influence secret talks by US officials with Iraqi generals.
Could this have been misinformation to trick generals into thinking another general was ratting them out?
Might not have been a bad military plan, but I bet some TV watchers (me included) got the feeling the war was really going our way and it might be over by Monday.
We started seeing anchors trying to outdo their competition on the other stations. Time was being filled with all types of stories, most not relevant. War was being analyzed by people no one had ever heard of.
It reminded me of all the experts we listened to during the east coast sniper shootings. Most of them got their profiles wrong.
Why is it TV stations equate quantity with quality? And isn’t it possible this constant live war coverage could actually desensitize us to the horrors of war — the pain, the anguish, the fear.
Journalists have always followed the stories of war — Civil War photographs, World War II newsreels, up close and personal newscasts during the Vietnam War. What we learned from them was the cruelty of conflict.
I’m not sure what we’ve learned from present day reporters.
My biggest fear is some TV producer will someday sell a “war” reality series that’s on every day of the week. The team with the most kills wins a million bucks.

I had a good time. The LO Fireworks Association hosted its third annual Pub Crawl last Saturday night.
Last year, if you remember, it wasn’t successful because the same night the Red Wings were skating their way to the national championship via the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Also, the event took place on a Thursday night. Hmmm…not my favorite day of the week to be out partying.
I haave to admit I didn’t manage to visit every establishment on the crawl list so I can’t be a judge of who did the best food presentation, but I did like what The Boathouse had to offer.
Silver serving dishes were set out on a nice tablecloth, giving the night a special feeling.
Son Jason tells me the Wagon Wheel served oysters on the half shell. Now if I would have known that, I would have made sure to drop by there.
Orion House had an extra added touch — musical entertainment. Hamlin Pub provided plenty of TVs to watch the NCAA basketball tournament.
Daughter-in-law Kelly volunteered to help out with this year’s fireworks fundraising. She and her crew of cute teenage boys managed to sell $600 worth of red, white and blue beaded necklaces.
Two restaurants wouldn’t let the Kelly team sell anything saying they didn’t allow solicitors. That’s hard to understand because all the sales were going to fireworks and that’s what the night was all about.
Maybe because the boys were involved, employees at the two restaurants thought they were just kids out selling stuff to make money.
It’s hard to tell just how well the night went. Every restaurant seemed packed with people, but I didn’t get the feeling everyone was there for the fundraiser. Plus, I didn’t see many people I knew.
Never having been involved with a pub crawl before, I wasn’t quite sure how the shuttle service was supposed to work. Did the vehicles park outside a place and wait until someone came out? Or did they keep moving, going from place to place to see if anyone was waiting for them?
Because of the cold weather, it’s my guess not many people stood outside waiting for a shuttle.
At our last stop of the night, we were anxious about returning to our car in a timely fashion. Fortunately, someone had a cell phone and knew the phone number of one of the shuttle drivers. (Cell phones are good for something.)
The wait wasn’t too long after the phone call..
Speaking of shuttles, if you weren’t interested in eating or spending time in any of restaurants, I guess you could have spent the time riding around in one of the limousines. That alone would have been worth $15.
Kelly said on Tuesday morning $4,500 was made at the pub crawl with ticket tallies from several restaurants not yet counted

I missed them after they were gone for about — 10 minutes.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only mom or dad that got to know their adult children and grandchildren up close and personal during the recent ice storm.
I think it’s hard for someone who lives alone (except when daughter Molly drops by for about six months or so) to get used to having a gathering of people around for five days straight, regardless if you’re related to them or not.
Son Jason and I only had one verbal disagreement. Every time I turned around he cranked the furnace thermostat up to 74 degrees. I like it at 70.
I thought I compromised when I only dialed the temp down to 67 or 68 at night. I usually drop it down to 64.
‘You got kids in the house mom,? he said to me as a reason the temperature should be so high.
I felt like mentioning to him his kids, Cole and Brock, walked around the house with very little clothes on most of the time. They kept telling me they were too hot.
Then there’s Rudy the dog. One day I came home for lunch to find my kitchen garbage all over the floor. His family had gone some place.
I think he just wanted to get revenge for being left alone, because Rudy could do this at night when everyone’s sleeping, but never did.
Jason, Kelly and kids left another time. About three minutes later I was sitting in the front of the house reading when I heard a rustle. I jumped up, ran into the dining room and found Rudy on top on a table checking out several bags of snacks.
I scared the heck out of him . I don’t think Jason’s best friend realized I was still home. Oh, did I mention the dog loves my son more than my grandchildren?
I basically only have one good TV in the house. Molly has one in her bedroom, but it’s small.
Although I never lost power, I didn’t have any cable because it was yanked out at the house connection when a branch fell.
For the first 24 hours or so that the family came to visit, DVDs were watched over and over. On the first night, the younger Stieb family slept on the living room floor in front of the TV even though I had empty beds upstairs. Jason said he couldn’t fall asleep unless he was watching TV.
He finally figured out how to hook the cable up temporarily. I became very familiar with what cartoons the kids liked to watch.
Being the good person that I am,. I feel compelled to mention a few good moments during the five days.
Kelly cooked a complete meal — roast chicken potatoes, vegetable, salad, dessert (bought pie). That’s the first time since Christmas that the table had that much food on it.
I got a chance to sit down with first grader Cole and listen to him read. What a rewarding experience!
Brock and I hung out together each morning while everyone else still slept. He just jabbered away while I attempted to get ready for work.
And Jason and I finally made it out into the yard the Sunday after the ice storm. He cut up some of my larger fallen branches, while I hauled the small stuff to an ever growing pile by the road.
And the best joy of all. The boys have been taught to put the toilet down. Now if they only remember to flush.

I think I was about five when one of my grandparents died. It’s funny, I can’t remember if it was my grandmother or my grandfather, but I remember things about the funeral.
The body was laid out in a casket in the living room (the first room you came into when you walk in the front door) of my grandparents? house.
Wooden folding chairs for us to sit on were set up in the dining room. I sat in the back, but occasionally peeked around the adults in front of me, wondering if my grandparent was going to pop up and miraculously become alive again.
My aunt inherited the house and the rest of the family came over what seemed like every weekend to play cards.
Men played poker in the kitchen. Women dealt canasta cards in the dining room. All of us cousins had to find something to do in the living room..
It took me years to become comfortable in that room after the funeral. All I could think of was that casket, my relatives sobbing, and the cold fear I felt that my grandparent was still in the house somewhere.
Now a funeral home in St. Louis is creating sets in rooms that will remind family of home and having nontraditional services.
A funeral director said the homey setting ‘makes it just a happy place to be.?
One of the funeral home’s extra special rooms is called Big Mama’s Kitchen. A stove contains fake pies and a platter of real fried chicken.
On top of the refrigerator is a loaf of bread. Dishes sit in a drainer on the sink. Visitors to the room have a chance to sip on tea or Kool-aid.
If your dear departed loved sports, there’s a sports setting where mourners may find a basketball hoop, a football poster or a small fishing pond. And what about the recliner chair and TV remote control? They’re there.
Funeral directors say more and more people are looking for nontraditional type services. I can’t say that’s all untrue, but going to the extreme of homey settings is just a little creepy.
Remember now, I don’t have any happy thoughts about my only experience with a home funeral service.
At a recent visit to a funeral home for the showing I heard big band music from the ?40s being played in a traditional parlor room setting. A can of beer was slipped into the casket
At my mother’s funeral, my children put a deck of cards in their grandmother’s casket.
I also like the idea of displaying photo collages or photo albums of the recently departed.. Another appealing departure from the traditional funeral is having people stand up and tell stories about the person in the casket.
Although sometimes tearful for the storyteller, I’d rather have those kind of past memories than having thoughts of being in a fake room surrounded by fake props, surrounded by people drinking ice tea.
I could be in the minority though. An employ of this funeral home in St. Louis says about half of his clients are picking theme rooms over the traditional parlors.

Read this in the Michigan Press Association’s The Bulletin.
Did you know you may be liable if your employees do business by car phone?
“You want your managers to stay productive, so you suggest they get wireless phones. You may even buy phones or reimburse for them.
This is fine as long as the employees don’t drive carelessly.
In a Pennsylvania case, a Smith Barney broker who allegedly was talking on his cellular phone dropped it, bent down to get it, ran a red light and killed a motorist.
Smith Barney agreed to pay $500,000 to the motorcyclist’s family, which sued the firm for contributing to the accident.
Despite the company’s big settlement, it argued the accident occurred outside the scope of employment — at 9:30 on a Saturday night. And the firm didn’t own the phone or the car.
If you expect staffers to use car phones for business, be sure to write a policy that requires them to pull over while they talk. And be sure to consult your legal advisor for more information and advice.”
Do you remember when I made a comment last year in my column that transmission of my cable “sucked?” Shortly afterwards I received a letter to the editor from someone who wasn’t happy with me using the word sucked.
I recently came across a book called “Why Your Life Sucks,” written by Alan Cohen. It’s basically a self-help book that tells you what to do if you feel sucked in.
Cohen asked the Harris Interactive Poll to survey 2,500 Americans on the main cause of stress in their lives.
Twenty five percent blamed their bosses or their jobs. Nineteen percent said it was their families. Eleven percent chose getting older.
One percent of college educated men on the West Coast mentioned cell phones.
In Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary “sucks” is defined as “slang: to be objectionable or inadequate.”
The phase popped up into American speech back in the 1970s. If you were young, you probably used it instead of the word ‘stinks.?
If you weren’t young, you might have thought the phase impolite or maybe dirty. For instance, hearing ‘x sucks” for the first time, you might have thought that kid was being pretty obscene.
Since the `70s, the phrase has become pretty much part of the modern language.
Cohen writes, “When something sucks, it saps your energy and undermines the quality of your life.?
The writer suggests we speak up and tell others what sucks.
OK, here’s what I think has been sucking in my world lately: Signs on M-24 that read the right lane is closed when in reality it’s the left lane; Kroger selling milk at full price shortly after the ice storm (April 9) with an expiration date of April 13; smelling skunk around my house just about every night (just when do these fellows go to bed?); reading on my last savings account update that I’m now making .79 percent interest.

Former owner of The Review, Ellen Carlson, recently sent me a photo that was printed in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The clipped out photo was actually sent to Ellen by Bill Haight, who was a co-publisher of The Review along with Ellen’s husband Marty.
Bill lives in Vero Beach, Florida. The photo was sent to him by a family member so he sent it on to Ellen, who now lives in California (but not in San Francisco).
The headline on the photo, taken by Paul Warner of the Associated Press was ‘Ice storm aftermath.? The cutline said: After an ice storm swept through on Saturday morning, Clint Welch of Lake Orion. Mich. removes tree branches from the front yard of neighbor’s rental property. Freezing rain, sleet and snow encased trees, cars and roads across upstate New York and some areas around the Great Lakes, leaving more than 300,000 homes without power.
The world gets smaller every day!!!
For most of us who no longer have mothers living, Mother’s Day brings about poignant memories of someone who for many of us was the most important influence in our lives.
I think this is changing with the children of our children. Dads are now actively involved in their children’s day to day routines. .
Dads are now a physical presense at their children’s births. Dads change diapers. Dads put the kids to bed. Dads push their children in strollers to parks and take them to the malls.
In my day, dads were good for passing out the punishments and making sure you did lots of yard work.
But since I’m still my mother’s daughter, here’s a nice tribute to moms everywhere.
My mother kept a garden
My Mother kept a garden,
a garden of the heart,
She planted all the good things
that gave my life its start.
She turned me to the sunshine
and encouraged me to dream,
fostering and nurturing
the seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rain came,
she protected me enough–
but not too much because she knew
I’d need to stand up strong and tough.
Her constant good example
always taught me right from wrong–
markers for my pathway
that will last a lifetime long.
I am my Mother’s garden.
I am her legacy–
and I hope today she feels the love
reflected back from me.
While reading information for the fire call, I noticed the fire department had been dispatched for smoke investigation to both Orion Township Krogers on Saturday about 20 minutes apart.
My reporter mind began working furiously. It’s about 10-15 minutes travel time between stores. Maybe an arsonist had been in both stores lighting a fire. Not true.
Upon checking with the fire department, we learned firefighters were first dispatched erroneously to the store on Lapeer Road.

For the first time ever, I didn’t visit a beach while I vacationed in Florida — and I didn’t miss the experience.
For the first time ever, I spent lots of quality time in northern Florida
I was visiting friend Susan in High Springs, about 20 minutes away from Gainesville. She and her husband moved to High Springs three years ago.
The area consists of rolling hills, lots of trees, horse and cattle farms.
They ended up with acreage, a nifty ranch house with porches on three sides, pole barn, swimming pool, three dogs and two horses, and the sounds of coyotes howling in the night.
The pool is right behind the house and is screened. This actually lets you sit out at night without fear of being attacked by exotic bugs.
Bedrooms have doors that open onto the pool area. Because of the pool screen, we were able to keep our screenless doors open all night.
Part of my trip included us driving down to Homestead (south of Miami) to visit Susan’s brother Pete.
We passed a huge body of water called Lake Okeechobee — part of the Everglades. I was told the lake was very shallow.
That was hard to tell because you can’t really see it. It’s completely surrounded by an earth berm. The side of the lake we were on consists of numerous little fishing camps — trailers and cabins.
We stopped at Gator Hole Tavern which seems to attract locals and old bikers. It’s now my favorite watering hole because it has a sign hung near the door that says ‘Children left unattended will be sold as slaves.?
Peter rents a room from Rodney who grew up in Homestead.
You can tell Rodney currently has a single status. ( He was married when I met him almost 11 years ago). He has cupboards that are mostly bare of kitchen stuff and food.
His bathroom’s only electrical plug is in the light fixture above his mirror. The fixture appears to be about seven feet off the floor
Rodney is one of those men who have roamed around the country doing various jobs. He has many interesting tales to tell.
He owns three alligators — not big ones, at least not yet. Rodney takes them to shows and schools so people can learn all about alligators.
Most of us don’t care about alligators especially those who are living about eight feet from the room you’re sleeping in.
Rodney also likes to fish so Susan and I went with him down to his boat anchored at someone’s house on a channel in the Keys. We planned to spend the night on the boat.
After sharing a bottle of wine and ripping apart a cooked Cuban chicken, I settled in to watch Rodney fish. Susan went to sleep.
He baited two poles with squid and anchored them behind the boat. Within minutes, the tips of both poles bent over and we were the unsettled owners of two small white hammerhead sharks. Back in the water they went. Two minutes later, two more hammerheads. Disgusted, Rodney quit fishing.
In the early morning hours, the three of us were awake to gaze at the star and watch the sun come up. There’s nothing quite like this in Walt Disney World — and no entrance fees either.

Can someone help Melanie, a homeowner on Overlake Drive? She’s giving a $100 reward for the return of a red-wheeled walker.
The walker disappeared on May 15 during a Long Lake Woods garage sale. It was specially designed for a child with cerebral palsy.
Call Melanie at 248-693-2507. No questions asked.
My only question is why would anyone steal this walker?
My trip to Florida recently was the first time I’ve flown since the disaster of 9/11. To be honest, I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of going through security checks.
The only problem I had was for some reason they ran my purse through x-ray twice. No explanation was given to me — just the observation that the female security officer looked pretty intent while the purse moved through the piece of equipment.
I can’t imagine what they were worried about. Let’s see, my purse contained wallet, lipsticks, lipstick brush, pens, lots of obsolete pieces of paper and a small plastic hairbrush.
Travelers in front of me at both the Flint and Jacksonville airports had bags searched.
At Flint a black woman’s cosmetic bag (an older type, hard plastic rectangular case) was opened. The male security person struggled to close the case that was filled with at least one pair of shoes and items of clothing.
I had to laugh. The woman turned around, just shook her head and said, ‘I had a hard time closing it too.?
An Arab couple with two small children were targeted at Jacksonville. By their actions (the woman volunteered to take her shoes off), this wasn’t the first time this had happened.
Taking photos during Memorial Day activities continues to be one of my favorite pastimes. No matter how cynical I can get on this job, hearing Taps being played, watching little kids waving flags and seeing smiles on parade participants always brings a few tears to my eyes.
This year I watched numerous young moms and dads pulling wagons and pushing strollers, coming to the parade from the Roberston subdivision.
What an asset this new community has become to the revitalization of the village’s downtown!
This year was extra special with the participation of Livonia’s 70th Army band and two military planes flying in formation after the end of the parade.
I read recently that because of the stock market decline over the past several years, people over 65 are coming back into the job market. This isn’t because they want to; it’s because they’ve lost retirement funds and need supplemental income.
Seniors in Florida, for years, have made extra money by working for grocery stores. They bag groceries and automatically push shopper’s carts out to their cars.
While shopping on my vacation, one man almost became insulted when I grabbed one of my bags and attempted to put it into the cart. And we couldn’t decline his offer to take our groceries to the car.
Mmmm.. good idea to try in this state. What do you think?

I swore after last year’s summer drought, I would buy very little flowers or none at all this year. So where was I on Sunday? Buying flowers.
Maybe my problem with flowers is I’ve committed to planting most of them in pots.
It seemed like a good idea at the time since I have very little space in my yard for flower gardens. I could move the pots around to different locations and decorative pots on my deck would add that creative flair (so says Martha Stewart).
The first sign I had of possible difficulties with the deck pots was with Cole, the oldest grandkid. He would ride his little plastic bike around the deck and I would constantly be on edge telling him to stay away from the flowers.
Then his brother Brock came along. Because he’s a demolition kind of kid, he’s always tempted to pick the impatient blooms.
And nobody told me that plants growing in pots and not in the soil dry out faster, thus needing more water.
The last couple of summers have been warmer than normal. Practically every night you’d find me out in my yard watering those darn flowers in those darn pots.
If I went away, I’d have to beg someone to come over and water those #$%$# plants.
And of course as soon as September hits, you don’t care if they live or die. You’re sick of them anyway.
Now I suppose you’re asking why I just went out and spent over $70 on flowers after what you’ve just read.
I think it’s that neighbor guilt. They’re all done grooming their lawns, planting their flowers in flower beds. And all they see in my yard is empty pots with dead stems sticking out of them.
I’m not doing my part to make the neighborhood pretty I say to myself. I’m a bad neighbor.
It also crosses my mind that the folks on my street might think I’m too old to be outside lifting those clay pots up.
After all, says my son Jason, I’m the matriarch of the neighborhood now that the oldest neighbor died last year.
I convince myself that’s it’s for the good of all that I plant this year.
My plan was to go ‘native.? I have friends who know plants and they preach using perennial native plants/flowers in landscaping because they’re already adapted to Michigan’s strange weather.
My only problem with doing this is I only for sure know one native plant — the dandelion. I don’t think the neighbors would be in favor of me cultivating this flower. Plus, darn it, it only blooms in the spring.
When I visit the greenhouse I look for perennials and avoid the geraniums, the impatiens, the petunias.
I discover that one container filled with perennials (not a whole flat) aren’t cheap — anywhere from $7.98 to $12. I figure this new native look in my yard would probably cost me a couple of hundred dollars and that would be just to get me started. Impatiens, petunias and geraniums looked mighty appealing.
I think I’ll grow my perennials from seed next year.

Read in another paper last week that a new product is soon to come in to the market place — movies the consumer can buy for only $6.99. The catch here is it self destructs in 48 hours.
Now it wasn’t clear to me whether the movies would be on VHS or DVD. The writer of the article compared the self destruction to what we used to see on the TV show Mission Impossible, which implies a tape.
At first I laughed at this idea, but changed my mind the more I thought about it.
The theory here is many of us are just renting movies because we missed them in the movie theater. We don’t have any desire to build a ‘library? and watch the same movie over and over.
And actually going to see a movie isn’t cheap. Matinee movies cost $6 for an adult. Myself, son Jason, his wife Kelly and grandkids Cole and Brock saw Finding Nemo recently. The tally for the day was $29 worth of tickets and $12 in popcorn and pop.
How bad could it be to not have to return movies to a rental store or not have to worry about paying overdue fines?
Recently, a friend of mine decided to switch from cable to using a satellite dish to provide his television service.
He called Comcast and gave the reason for canceling the service as financial. That wasn’t really accurate, but the easiest way to avoid any drawn out conversation.
Several weeks went by and the friend received a phone call from a cable company representative. The gist of the conversation was he was a valued customer and would he be interested in a better rate than he had to return to the cable service.
Now, if I was a cable provider and was seeing my ‘valued customer,? base eroding due to some rather attractive packages by satellite TV companies, I would consider offering those better deals before someone cancels the service.
Instead, the companies continue to raise their rates on an annual basis (or more) and don’t really give us ‘more TV for our bucks.?
And have you seen those cable commercials that say service by satellite dishes isn’t as good as cable because their programming often disappears during bad storms?
Acquaintances of mine who have satellite dishes swear that’s not true.
In this week’s paper is an envelope that provides our readers with an easy way to donate to the fireworks this year. This same envelope also appeared in last week’s Ad-vertiser, which was in mailboxes last Wednesday.
At the fireworks benefit at Bonzai Bob’s on Saturday night Carl Cyrowksi told me 44 donations had already arrived at his office. He hadn’t opened them yet, but was impressed so many had mailed in donations in just a few short days.
The philosophy of my publisher Jim Sherman Jr. in helping out the firework’s committee was if everyone in our readership area just sent in $1 (or more), it would easily cover the costs of a great fireworks show.
Let’s prove him right!! Don’t forget, July 4 isn’t that far away. Use those envelopes!

‘Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.?
–Franklin P. Adams

Several years ago, I printed some helpful hints from a book called ‘Uncommon Uses for Household Products.
Here’s a few more, just in time for summer.
Ease insect stings: If you get stung or bitten by an insect, you probably have just the thing in your kitchen. Make a paste using baking soda and rubbing alcohol and apply to the sting or bite.
Hold flowers in place: If you’re making a flower arrangement in a bowl or basket, put a berry basket in the bottom and stick stems through the holes.
Clearly beautiful flowers: Don’t draw attention away from your beautiful flower arrangements by letting the water in the glass vase get cloudy and murky.
To keep it clear and sparkling, add a tablespoon of bleach for each quart of water in the vase. This will also keep your flowers from drooping and fading so quickly.
Fix a salad boo-boo: If you went a little overboard with the mayonnaise in your tuna salad, egg salad or other mayonnaise-based concoction, add some bread crumbs. They will absorb the excess without affecting the flavor.
Get rid of driveway stains: An oil stain on your driveway may seem like a permanent problem, but it doesn’t have to be. Pour some paint thinner or mineral spirits on the stain and sprinkle it with cat litter or sand. Let it sit for 12 hours, then just sweep it up.
Fertilize your garden: Sprinkle coffee grounds around the plants in your garden to give them a little nutrient boost. But be sure to use grounds from a drip coffeemaker, not boiled grounds from a percolator. The drip grounds are richer in nitrogen.
Don’t use coffee grounds for your plants indoors. The acid may be too strong for potted plants.
Nonstick lawn mower blades: Grass often will stick to your lawn mower blades and the dampness can cause the blade to rust and become dull more quickly. If you spray a little cooking oils on the blade before cutting your lawn, the grass won’t stick and your blade should last longer.
Repel mosquitoes: For a natural mosquito repellent that will leave you feeling as cool as a …well, you know…try this trick.
Peel and puree a cucumber. Strain the liquid into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Before you go outside, rub your face and hands with ice cubes, Mosquitoes wills stay away.
Give bugs the spray: If you don’t have bug spray handy when a pest starts buzzing around you, use hair spray. It will make the bug’s wings stiff and sticky. He’ll drop like a stone and then you can swat him.
Get between the cracks: Add a few tablespoons of salt to boiling water and pour it between the cracks in your sidewalk or driveway. This should spell the end for the stubborn weeds that seem to thrive in cracked pavement.
To keep them from coming back, sprinkle more salt into the cracks after they’re gone. But don’t overdo it. The salt can damage your garden or lawn if the rain rinses too much of it in that direction.

Did you know bowling’s become trendy again? And so has enrolling kids in dance school.
Granddaughter Ryan, 3 1/2, performed in her first dance recital last Saturday, along with a couple of other hundred area children — for the most part girls.
Ryan did have one little boy in her class and that’s the only one I saw at the 4 p.m. show.
I’m just guessing at the amount because there were two shows — one at 1 p.m.and the other at 4 p.m. at the Lake Orion High School’s Performing Arts Center.
Friends, family and maybe a few extra people with nothing else to do packed the theater. Put it this way, 750 people were expected to attend each performance.
I never thought about enrolling daughter Molly in a dance school. She never asked even though her cousin Trisha lived in that world of tights and colorful costumes for a few years.
I was telling Molly on the phone on Sunday about the recital, about how big it was. I asked her if any of her friends had attended dance school.
She could only name one or two. That’s when she told me going to dance class has been become popular again.
I don’t know how she knows that because she’s living on the other side of the world. But, hey, maybe it’s popular in South Africa too.
I guess I never pushed her into anything like a dance class because of my past memories with the experience.
First of all there was a tap dance class. My shoes were black patent leather with these medal pieces on the bottom that made funny noises when my teacher suggested I move my leg back and forth.
Those sounds were as good as it got.
I know a lot of people who have had knee replacement surgery in the last couple of years. It’s probably due to all that knee action in tap dance class.
Then came the ballroom dancing class in my late preteen years. This class contained creatures known as boys.
The ‘fancy dance? to end the class can only be described as awkward. Everyone dressed up in party clothes and we girls had to wear white gloves.
I remember standing around nervously waiting for some boy to ask me to dance and not liking it one bit.
When I look back on it now, the class was a total waste of time. Rock and roll music soon became the ‘in? sound and our dance mode was fast dancing, the stroll and the twist. You didn’t even have to get close to a boy.
Ryan’s recital was cute, especially the younger dancers. They twirled; they kicked their legs; they made the appropriate arm moves.
They might not have been in time with the music, but they tried.
I suspect someone was hiding behind the curtains, because the dancers, especially the ones on the end, always were looking off stage.
At the end, moms and dads felt proud, told their children they did good, bought them bouquets of flowers and snapped a few photos.
I can’t wait until next year.

A long investigation as to why there was a major power outage in this country last week isn’t necessary.
I know why. The companies who bottle water did it.
Can you imagine how much bottled spring, purified, mountain — you name it — water must have been sold.
Not only did the companies knock out our power, but when it finally came back on, they must have convinced health officials the water might be full of bacteria.
Detroit water users had a choice of boiling water or buying water. I bet I know what you chose to do.
I wish someone would explain to me how it happened that communities like Lake Orion and Oxford managed to keep their power.
It was puzzling to listen to TV announcers say all of DTE’s 2.1 million customers were without power while I sat in a lighted room, watched fans moving around on my ceiling and heard the washing machine running.
It seems logical if all of us are on the same electrical grid, if that power source is taken away, all of us would lose power.
When I lost electricity over the July 4th holiday due to a transformer blowing, my whole house went dark. I didn’t have one room where the lights still worked.
When I first drove onto M-24 on Friday morning, traffic going south was horribly backed up. I assumed there was either traffic light problems or an accident had occurred. For some strange reason, just after getting to work, I decided to hop back in my car and go buy coffee.
It took me a few minutes extra, but I managed to reach the Sunoco station. A sign on the door said the station was out of gas. I didn’t care about that. All I wanted was a couple cups of coffee.
Once inside, I spotted only empty coffee pots. Let’s see here — We didn’t have any water at the paper to make coffee. Why would Sunoco have any? What was I thinking?
I wasn’t thinking because I had water at my house. Although having to deal with rusty well water, it’s occasionally nice to have water when city water lines shut down for whatever reason.
While talking to LO Police Chief Jerry Narsh I askd him why traffic was so backed up. He just shook his head and told me people from everywhere were just driving around looking for gas.
Around noon, I attempted to drive up to the Oxford Leader and pick up our checks. Traffic came to a dead stop just after the Kroger shopping center.
It took about five minutes to reach Indian Lake Road. That’s when I and numerous others turned around and headed back to Lake Orion.
Much later I tried again, using back roads. I made it, but it seemed to take forever.
Restaurants that were open on Friday morning had long lines outside. Narsh said Seros and CJ’s Cafe were able to stay open because they brought water in so the public toilets could be flushed.
No public facility was allowed to put signs on its bathroom doors saying “not open for public use.”
Even though Lake Orion wasn’t officially part of Blackout 2003, we’ll still have tales to tell 20 years from now.

You know you’re getting old… when everyone you know seems to be retired.
Spent Friday night celebrating with people from the village saying goodbye to Pat Fry, who has been a police dispatcher for a very long time.
Although officially leaving the police department as a retiree, Pat will return this fall working some hours — probably the midnight shift.
Pat is just one from the village who made my job just a little bit easier. I have to include dispatcher Deb Waldo and former police Jim Leach and Barb Howe in the front office on that list.
The two dispatchers would occasionally provide me with some news tidbits that would lead to a story
Leach had no trouble promoting the local Lions Club when he was a member. He made sure I knew of every photo opportunity the club had.
Howe never flinched when I meandered into the village hall asking for information, information that I needed right then and there. She stopped what she was doing and found it for me.
And don’t let me forget all the people in the school district who opted to take advantage of a nice severance package.
Most of the retiring staff who I’ve dealt with over the years worked at the high school. Some of them taught my kids. Others were coaches/teachers who I often met up with in the teacher’s lounge at the old high school. ( I have to admit I don’t know if I could find my way to the lounge at the new building.)
Then there were the teachers who called me asking for coverage of some of their finest and most talented students.
One teacher who is retiring this year stopped by my office to pick up a couple of newspapers. We were talking about the number of ‘old timers? who will no longer be working in the school district.
The woman told me she saw a lot of unfamiliar faces when she would attend school meetings.
Probably the person I was most surprised about was Jim Wood. Here’s this man who was picked for a ‘dream job? — athletic director.
Here’s a guy who ‘managed? one of the finest high school sports facility in the state. Here’s a guy who had people flocking to his office begging him to let them hold state tournaments in Lake Orion.
He must have liked the job. Jim choked up just a bit at the last school board meeting when he said goodbye. Maybe he’s having a mid-life crisis, taking about doing some officiating. Now that’s a stress free job!!!
—-when two almost 4-year-olds run you ragged and you feel as if you have to go to bed at 8 p.m.
Grandchildren Ryan and Brock have this love/hate relationship. They either play well together or try beating each other up.
At the fireworks brunch at the boat club on Sunday, it was evident they were in the ‘I hate you? mode. My attempts to play the good grandmother included dragging them around and around the island, hoping to find something they could do well together. It didn’t exist.
Speaking of something done well, the fireworks volunteers raised $4,000 from the brunch. So many people showed up, the cooks ran out of food and boats had to keep circling the island waiting for a parking space to open up.

Let’s see, my car was rear-ended on M-24 last December. During most of the winter months, I suffered through frozen pipes on a regular basis.
In April, like everyone else, I experienced the ‘ice storm of the century.? And my car hood became decorated with dents from fallen branches.
To get away from it all, I escaped to Florida early in May. When I arrived home, I discovered another branch had fallen from my maple tree in the front yard onto one of my relatively new patio set chairs and ripped a big hole in the fabric.
And then there’s the Fourth of July.
Living on the lake, you always attract a lot of company on that day. Some discussion took place early on about the severe thunderstorms expected. The talk centered around the possibility of the fireworks being rained out.
Not much was mentioned about ‘what if? it rains during the day.
By one o’clock, kids, dogs and adults frolicked in the water. By 1:15 it became evident by the appearance of a black, purple sky that bad weather was on the way and people crowded into the house.
Wet dripping bodies and three barking dogs (also very wet) watched in awe as wind and rain whipped across the water.
I’ve lived on the lake for 35 years and I’ve never seen such strong winds. Boats ran for cover. If they were filled with people just out for the day, I can’t imagine where they ended up.
Tree branches (both dead and alive) snapped and fell to the ground. Bunches of maple leaves covered the lawn.
Soon some people were yelling that they saw sparks on a nearby electrical wire. Looking out a window, I saw smoke pouring out of a transformer. That’s when the power went out
I noticed when doing the fire call on Monday that many of the problems with power outages came from areas around Heights Road. It must have been a small corridor of very high winds.
On my street, there were seven or eight homes that didn’t have any electricity. I think something or someone was getting even with us for not having lost our power during the ice storm.
The worst thing about not having electricity is the inability to pump water to your toilets if you have well water — and I do. This isn’t easy to deal with if you have lots of guests who are drinking plenty of liquids.
The word soon spread to not flush the toilets and put used toilet paper into a waste basket. Then we figured out we could use lake water. That meant someone had to carry the bucket of water up about 30 steps from the lake and then into the house. It wasn’t done very often.
At night, all those decorative candles I’ve got scattered around my house that I can’t bear to light were put to good use. I knew there was a reason I was saving them!!!
It took two and a half days to restore the power. I know I shouldn’t whine about the inconvenience as compared to the ice storm incident.
I could use lake water to flush. I could jump in the lake to ‘clean up.? I didn’t have to go to a motel because the temperature in my house hovered near the freezing mark (it was more like 85 degrees).
What’s really making me nervous is thinking about what else could happen in 2003. There’s still six months left.

Sometimes being in the newspaper business can be quite rewarding. Latest case in point. Lori Tirpak’s daughter Gina graduated from Lake Orion High School this year.
Mom took plenty of pictures during the graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, the place where she took her film to be developed had a machine that ‘ate her film.?
So here the Tirpak family was — no pictures from one of Gina’s most memorable events in her life and feeling pretty unhappy about it.
When Lori was thumbing through our annual graduation special she spotted not one, but two photos featuring Gina at the ceremony.
She rushed down to our office and ordered two prints of the pictures Lisa Valentine had taken.
The unusual thing from our end of the story is I try very hard to make sure photos of the graduates at the ceremony aren’t duplicated. With hundreds of graduates I try to feature as many faces as possible.
The two photos of Gina slipped by me.
Kathy Wieland couldn’t wait to run down to our office last week. She had to show us her copy of The Review from July 2.
Some of the edges of the paper were charred. Evidently someone fire bombed Wieland’s mailbox, where the paper was waiting to be carried into the house.
And why did Wieland bring in that newspaper? On the front page was a story about the fire, police departments taking a tough stance on the use of fireworks.
Kathy thought it quite odd that her paper should be ‘firebombed? the same time the story was featured.
You already know I’m not a cell phone user. I just don’t have any need for one. Consequently, I’m having a hard time understanding why so many people use so many cell phones so often.
I know I’m out of the loop on this, but here’s a story that proves my lack of love for this piece of equipment.
We were in a car taking a young man (14-15) to a friend’s house. This is a gray area in age.
These adolescents don’t want to be anywhere near an adult, but don’t have drivers? licenses. Thus they need adults to drive them places where they can ‘hang? without having any adults around.
We pull up to this boy’s friend’s house and tell the kid to get out of the car and go get his buddy.
‘I don’t have to do that,? he said. ‘I’ll just call him on my cell phone.? ‘Eeeek,? I think. I can’t believe I heard that.
You have to understand the door to the house was 25 feet from the car — not a lot of travel time here.
I no longer wonder why experts say children aren’t getting enough exercise. They have no need to.
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is promising our branch offices will speed up driver’s license renewals. Data will be stored in magnetic strips on the backs of licenses.
State employee keyboards are being equipped with magnetic-strip readers. All of our data will be retrieved from the license. This eliminates the need to enter it manually.

The boating accident on Lake Orion on Saturday night reinforced some of the worries lakefront owners expressed in a recent survey conducted by the Lake Orion Lake Association.
LOLA received 229 survey responses back from the 950 it sent out last fall. Questions centered on summer and winter usage, water quality, weeds, zoning and public access improvements.
Many people who responded to the survey felt (myself included) the major problem is new boaters don’t know what they’re doing.
I think they just buy a boat, plunk it in the water and just do whatever they want to do, not thinking there may be some rules they have to follow.
I’ve seen boaters speeding back and forth in front of my house, going the wrong way on the lake and ignoring the no-wake rule around buoys.
Last weekend, I was talking with OCSD Marine Deputy Jim Frye near the Bellevue Bridge. Every once in a while he would have to yell at a boat or jet ski to slow down around the buoy near the bridge.
We watched while kids all stood up when their boat traveled under the bridge. I guess they didn’t see Frye’s boat idling just a short distance away or maybe they didn’t care.
LOLA’s survey indicated people want to see Oakland County patrol the lake more, but not necessarily give out more tickets.
I’ve always found it odd that the police boat is on the lake well before noon when there aren’t that many boats on the lake. Based on lake usage, it would seem they would start later in the day and stay later at night when boaters tend to get a little crazy.
Some people suggested the lake would be less dangerous if usage by non-residents could be limited. That was supposed to happen when they limited the amount of parking spaces at the public access lot.
The several private access areas on the lake are not regulated. They can put as many boats into the lake as they want. One even rents boats.
Responders also complained about noisy watercraft. My problem is with jet skis/wave runners. Some seem nice and quiet while others have that whiney sound that drives me nuts.
People who live on Lake Orion also want something done with the weed problem. It was mentioned in the survey that non-residents who use the lake should be charged an extra fee for weed cleanup.
I like that idea. If outside people love boating on Lake Orion so much, maybe they should financially support keeping it in good condition.
The majority of people filling out the survey said they would be in favor of a lake wide aquatic weed management program supported by establishing a special assessment district.
That wouldn’t have worked a few years ago because of the numerous older residents on the lake who didn’t use it much. But with the recent influx of new homeowners, a majority of the people who live on the lake might easily approve a SAD.
I wouldn’t have a problem with paying extra money as long as some good hard research is done on the best way to control weeds.

Remember all the stories about bulimic and anorexia teenage girls from a few years ago? Although eating disorders are still a national problem, the focus has changed to adolescents/teens who are overweight/obese.
According to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, obesity increased dramatically during the late 1990s.
The study showed that nine million children between the ages of 6 and 19 are considered overweight These numbers have doubled for children and adolescents in the last 20 years.
Ten percent of preschool children between the ages of 2 and 5 are overweight, up from 7 percent in 1994.
School board member Jim Weidman is asking fellow school board members take a look at nutrition in the school district. I think that’s a good idea, but they may find out there’s no clear answers to their questions.
A few years ago while doing a small story on school lunches, I saw school menus that centered around hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, french fries, etc.
I immediately confronted the then food director about why so much ‘fast food? type lunches were being served.
She assured me the school district followed all the federal standards for school lunches and she was constantly looking for ways to add nutritious food to menus.
The problem she faced was creating lunch programs that kids actually wanted to eat. If she offered nothing but salads, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, low calorie snacks, etc — you know, the food that’s good for you — probably not many adolescents would eat lunch at school.
So what should a school district’s goal be in feeding our children? Entice them to eat something/anything or offer them nothing but ‘healthy? food.
Experts say the primary reasons that being overweight is on the rise among children are widespread inactivity and poor eating habits.
Almost half of young people between the ages of 12 and 21 don’t participate in any heavy-duty physical activity.
Forty three percent of adolescents watch more than two hours of television each day. I also guess they spend some time in front of a computer or playing video games.
Children dealing with being overweight are usually dealing with poor self-esteem. I know that’s true because even though I lost a lot of weight in between ninth and tenth grade, I kept seeing that chubby image in a mirror all through high school.
We should all be concerned about this growing weight problem with our children. Studies show most children who are overweight grow up to be overweight or obese adults. This puts them at greater risk for health problems such as heart disease.
So parents, encourage your kids to eat only when hungry; cut down on their time in front of the TV and computer; persuade them to be more physically active.
Contact your school board members and tell them to find a balance between providing healthy food and enticing food and make sure the school district has physical education programs that reflect diversities and interests.

Here’s some human body trivia that’s sure to impress friends and family.
Medical researchers contend that no disease ever identified has ever been completely eradicated.
The attachment of human skin to the muscles is what causes dimples.
In 1972, a group of medical researchers reported you could cure the common cold by freezing the big toe.
Between 25-30 percent of the world’s population sneeze when exposed to bright light.
Men have more blood than women. Men have 1.5 gallons and women have .875 gallons. This is due to physical size and muscle mass.
Each year over 50 million prescriptions are filled to battle the common cold in the US. There are no known cures.
During the average person’s lifetime, one will grow 590 feet of hair on their body. On average, men spend 160 days of their life shaving.
You lose 40 pounds of dead skin cells (dander) in your lifetime.
Your thumb is the same length as your nose.
The substance that human blood most closely resembles chemically is sea water.
The average human bladder can hold 13 ounces (about one bottle of beer).
It’s believed that the memory storage capacity of the average human brain is four terrabytes. Also, the average short-term memory of a person is between seven and nine digits. That’s why phone numbers have been kept to seven digits (excluding area codes).
The right lung takes in more air than the left one does.
There are 10 trillion living cells in an adult’s body and the average person generates 1,000 pound of red blood cells in their lifetime.
Females are physiologically more complex than males and women have 500 more genes than men. Because of this, women are generally more immune to common male problems like color blindness and hemophilia.
The strongest muscle (by mass) in the human body is the jaw muscle.
During a kiss as many as 278 different types of bacteria colonies may be passed from one mouth from another. A passionate kiss may use 6.4 calories per minute.
Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by up to 60 percent.
The little lump of flesh just forward of your ear is called a tragus. Also, it only takes seven pounds of pressure to rip off a person’s ear.
Every person has a totally unique tongue print.
Blonde beards grow faster than darker beards.
By age 60, most people have lost half of their taste buds.
Undertakers report bodies don’t deteriorate as rapidly as they used to. This is attributed to the preservatives prevalent in today’s modern diets.
The human kidney consists of over 1 million tiny tubes with a total length (stretched end to end) of over 40 miles.

Telemarketers should close up shop and find a new career.
The Federal Trade Commission announced last week, more than 30 million of us signed up for the government’s do-not-call list.
For those of you who have been out of the country for the past year, the list is a free registry for blocking unsolicited phone pitches.
Telemarketers are nothing but creative. When they figured out we caught on to their tone of voices, they changed their ‘professional business? styles.
Now I’m hearing a friendly ‘Hi, is —– there?? Of course they don’t know that I go by my middle name, except for those legal situations. Not many people have learned my first name and those who do would never, and I mean never, say that name to me.
For some strange reason, I recently stayed on the line when a telemarketer called. Normally, I hang up immediately when I hear a second of silence.
This guy asked me if I had received his company’s brochure. It invited me to one of those free three days, two night trips to check out Marriott’s latest golf resort out west.
I actually had been interested in the trip for about two minutes, but then I read all the info. Lodging was free; golf was free but you only received some voucher money for food.
Getting to the place was my responsibility.
Since I don’t play golf, I didn’t think it was such a good deal. The brochure got tossed in the waste basket.
By the time the telemarketer called, I was rethinking my haste. I told him I had received the info, but couldn’t remember where it was.
Could he send me another one, I asked. The guy told me no. I hung up. They don’t want my business that bad, I thought.
I don’t know if you are aware of this, but telemarketers have gone to court over this list. They’re saying it will cost them $50 billion in business and cause the loss of two million jobs.
I know logically the telemarketing business is lucrative or the concept would have disappeared from our lives. But $50 billion????
Everyone I know complains about telemarketers and their mode of operation. Could we have millions of closet telemarketer lovers out there who actually listen to these people and buy things from them, but keep it a secret?
This do-not-call list appears to be a good idea. Beginning in September, telemarketers are required to check this list every three months. If a listed person is called, those who called could be fined up to $11,000 for each violation.
The term ‘up to? always bothers me. We’ve all read stories about the government fining companies.
For instance: How about a company that pollutes the environment illegally as part of its manufacturing process. It make millions of dollars and is fined a couple of thousand of dollars. The amount of this fine would scare me away from continuing the pollution. Yeah, right.
And of course the people called would actually have to take the time to call and report the telemarketer’s violation.
People can still register for the do-not-call service by calling toll-free at 888-382-1222 or visiting

Another of life’s most embarrassing moments…
Ex-husband Mike was in town for a couple of days last week.
He and I were chatting away and for some reason he brought up Bob Hope. Of course, I had to relate my famous Bob Hope story that I’ve been telling to people for years.
I told Mike that a former boyfriend and I were on I-94 years ago, heading to Marshall to check out the town’s annual tour of historic homes.
I happened to glance out the window and saw a limousine move slowly by. One of the back windows was down and there was Bob Hope staring out. He probably was on his way to the airport.
I almost went into a state of shock because he looked so awful. He obviously wasn’t wearing any of that heavy TV makeup designed to cover up wrinkles and age spots.
Mike got this funny look on his face as I was telling this story and he started grinning. “Elaine,” he said. “That was you and me going to Marshall.”
“No, you must be wrong. I don’t remember it that way at all,” I added.
“Well, I have that same memory,” Mike added, “Don’t you think it would be odd that we both experienced the same thing, but at different times?”
Then he went on to embellish the story, including a few facts I had neglected to mention.
Dream Cruise, more than classic cars…
Went to a different area of Woodward for this year’s Dream Cruise. In the past, I’ve always hung out at Duggan’s because you tend to run into numerous Lake Orionites at that spot.
This time, I begged my son Jason and wife Kelly to let me go with them. Kelly’s brother Dennis works for Detroit Edison. Detroit Edison employees can use DTE’s property at Woodward and South Blvd.
This spot has many advantages. It’s private property, so you can drink an alcoholic beverage right at the curb.
Someone had a key for the power station building on the site, so we could use its bathroom facilities — which were really clean by the way.
Pontiac firefighters on Engine 29 parked their firetruck on the property for a while. They were nice enough to let grandsons Cole and Brock and other kids climb up into the cab to get a sense of what a firefighter feels riding in that monster truck. Cole’s friend Blake even had chance to pull the siren wire.
And best of all, we were almost right across the street from Ducky’s Bar. Jason suggested we eat lunch there (we stayed at the cruise all day) because it served the greatest burger around.
Ducky’s had the feel of a biker bar. A few patrons looked they’d done some hard living.
The waitress came over to take our order and said the menu was somewhat limited. She told us the bar had some violations and was supposed to have closed down during the Dream Cruise, but it was then allowed to stay open until after the event ended.
The hamburger was superb!!! — all juicy and messy — just the way I like them. The trip down to Woodward was worth it for that alone.

Will the awkward moments never stop…
A few weeks ago I left work about 3:30 on a Friday to do some birthday shopping for granddaughter Jillian who’s celebrating her first year of life.
I headed to Meijer in Oxford. While zipping up and down the isles in the grocery section, I noticed my old boss Jim Sherman Sr. hanging out in the dairy section.
He seemed to be just staring at something, maybe trying to figure out what kind of cheese to buy.
Without thinking, I decided to go over and say hi. I don’t see the man much. He is supposedly retired.
He glanced up as I approached, then quickly looked down at his watch.
“Out of work a little early, aren’t you?” Jim asked.
“Um — um — um,” I stuttered. “Um, I’m taking a break..”
He didn’t say much.
You know how it is on a cop show, where the detective doesn’t say anything to the crook, just stands and stares at him? All of a sudden the crook starts talking and confessing to every crime he’s ever committed.
My moment with Jim was like that.
“Well actually, it’s my granddaughter’s birthday party tomorrow at my house. I’m just picking up a few last minute presents,” I said.
I knew the word granddaughter would soften him up. He seems fond of his.
Jim then peered into my cart and spotted a half gallon of milk.. “You need milk for that party?”
“Um, I’m just getting a few grocery items that I needed.”
I see,” he said. I bet he does.
New fax rules….
I just read in my Michigan Press Association newsletter that the FCC has new rules on unsolicited faxes. That’s the first I’ve heard about this.
They were to have gone into effect Aug. 25, but are now delayed until Jan. 1, 2005.
The Review, I think, was one of the last offices in the world to have a fax machine. All of our faxes were routed to the Oxford Leader’s fax.
To be honest, I didn’t think much about it until quite a few people kept saying, “I can’t believe you don’t have a fax.”
Now, we’ve had one for a few years and I wonder how we ever got along without it.
But with the good, comes the bad.
We received faxes telling us about great deals on trips, faxes that told what specials there were that day at a local restaurant, faxes from far away organizations that wanted free publicity.
The new rules prohibit anyone from sending a fax to a business of a person if that person has not given signed written authorization allowing the fax to be sent
Currently the rules say that faxes can be sent to people or businesses as long as long as there is an established business relationship or the sender has obtained prior express permission to send a fax..
I guess the new rules are being held up until some group gives its OK to a new definition of what constitutes a business relationship. The new definition is so wordy, I don’t have room to print it here.
Now that the FCC has a handle on faxes can computer spam material be next?

Every year about this time members of Lost Lake Woods Club in Lincoln hit the road for a mini fall trip.
Two years ago friend Carolyn and I went with them to see the Soo Locks. This year we joined 92 other people to view the Pictured Rocks in Munising.
Although checking out a tourist attraction is supposed to be the focus of these trips, it appears visiting casinos heads the list for a large portion of the group.
And I’ve finally figured out why. Indian owners of casinos and owners of motels like senior citizens. They like them so much that they entice them in with deals.
Let’s look at the first casino in St. Ignace. Quality Inn gave us a coupon for $10 worth of gold tokens. When Carolyn and I reached the casino, we were also given tokens because our birthdays were in September, it was Ladies Day (there never seemed to be a Gentlemen’s Day) and we were “senior” citizens.
That means we had $40 in hand without even spending any of our own money Plus we all had coupons that allowed us up to $10 off on a meal eaten in the casino dining area
The catch here is the tokens are only good at six slot machines that are in a certain area. You can imagine the groups of people just standing around waiting for their turn.
It’s my guess, based on my own experience, that the average slot player will probably win between five and six dollars in quarters depending on how many tokens you start with.
So what’s the next step? I don’t think anyone just grabs the quarters and walks out the door. They turn and head for their gambling game of choice. In about five minutes, for most of us, the casino has been given all of its “free” money back
Now we have to start spending our own money. And we all do.
Some people in the group came back from the casino bragging that they had won $300, $600, even more. What I’ve never been able to figure out is when frequent gamblers mention a winning figure, does that include the money they’ve spent to win that amount?
Club members moved on to Christmas after staying the night in St. Ignace. Christmas is about five miles outside of Munising.
I wasn’t looking to spend any time at this casino. I had visited it once before and remembered it as a building like a pole barn with an interior atmosphere that reminded me of a smoky old bowling alley.
Christmas now has a brand new casino with wood siding on the outside. Inside, the ceiling is two stories high. Gamblers now have to put up with seeing a huge Christmas tree as they walk in the door and walking past some Christmas-themed murals hung on the some of the walls. At least it was new!!!
The building was convenient to my fellow gamblers. It was right next to the Pair-a-dice Inn.All we had to do is roll out of bed each day, throw on some clothes and walk over to collect our tokens for the day.
This casino was a little different. You received a coupon worth $10. All you had to do was cash it in. No one cared if you spent it in the building. I was $30 ahead by the end of the trip thanks to the generosity of the Indians.

We have to love government once in a while or we would all start popping Prozac.
The latest case in point is a village council discussion about the bottom draw down tube that was constructed in Green’s Park back in 1991.
You have to understand I’ve been editor of this paper since 1989 and have covered village meetings longer than that. I wrote God knows how many news stories on the tube.
The tube agreement with the DNR and the village was mentioned in the paper often, because as government officials so often do, they take forever to agree on most things.
They like to see the i’s and t’s crossed. They need to cover liability issues. They like to offer their viewpoints on a subject that could politically have many ramifications.
I have to laugh now 13 years later. No one remembers exactly what was in the agreement. After all that discussion and agony of having the right agreement, no one remembers — including myself.
The question is ….does the village have the responsibility of operating the tube or is it the DNR?
I heard two view points at the last village meeting. I had to check through back issues of the paper and read my own writing.
Because I couldn’t find any issue where I wrote the village did take the tube over, it’s my guess it didn’t.
I’m not picking on members of the village council or the administration. Most of them weren’t around when that agreement was hammered out.
The point is, what seemed so important to everyone 13 years ago doesn’t mean anything to most of us now.
As I listened to the council talk about the tube, my mind wandered a little. I wondered if the DNR ever came back to even check on its tube or was it just one of those projects that was created and then ignored unless there was a maintenance or repair issue?
Now that I’m on a roll with the village as a topic….I’ve been wondering about the sign ordinance.
A while ago, (I’m not hunting up any information on this one, so the years are just a guess), the village council passed a revised sign ordinance.
Village signs was another hot topic that went on and on for a few years. I probably bored readers, because I wrote a lot of stories about that too.
When all the talking was done and the ordinance approval was complete, village officials agreed to allow protruding business signs (before, the signs had to be flat against the building) in the downtown area.
Business owner Lloyd Coe, a former council member, was in favor of the change saying it would be easier for potential customers to see where a place was located as they drove through the downtown area.
The only problem with the change is I haven’t seen any business exchange a flat sign for a protruding sign.
Either Coe was exaggerating about the importance of allowing a sign to stick out or no new business owner knows about the change.

I consider myself a pretty good tipper, mainly due to having two relatives (daughter and daughter-in-law) who work in the restaurant business.
If I didn’t tip appropriately, I would hear about it.
It’s been a few years since I’ve frequented any type of “fast serve” anything. So I admit I was rather dismayed to find out that tip boxes are popping up in these types of establishments..
Daughter Molly and I were in the drive thru lane at Starbucks recently so she could order some type of coffee that included a couple of shots of raspberry flavor.
While waiting to pay I noticed the driver in front of us reach out and drop a bill into this box sitting by the window.
“Wow,” said Molly. “I knew they had a tip box inside, but I didn’t know they had one outside too.”
Shortly after, we were power shopping at Great Lakes Crossing and stopped at this small place that sold fruit smoothies made to order. Sitting on the counter next to the cash register was a box with a sign on it — Help us pay for our trip to Hawaii — it read.
When did this new type of tipping start? And why did it start? It’s not as if these people were giving us extra special service. Granted, it was service with a smile, but should we have to pay for this?
Lake Orion’s Downtown Coordinator Becky Goodman called me last week. She let me know there were two protruding signs in the village — Paint Creek Bicycles on East Flint Street and Ye Olde Stuff and Antiques on Front Street.
I admitted I didn’t ever drive in that direction down those two streets.
Goodman also wondered why there weren’t more protruding signs being put up by business owners. Both of us agreed such signs would help people locate a business, especially due to the fact there are two South Broadways.
I received a letter dated Sept. 22, written by a veteran LOHS teacher. The writer criticized me for a few paragraphs about high school floats that showed up in this column a few weeks ago.
The letter explained in detail why there weren’t any floats in this year’s Homecoming parade.
Unfortunately the person didn’t put a name on it. I do have a policy of using Name Withheld if a letter writer requests this and gives a valid reason as to why a name shouldn’t be used. But I do require a real name and phone number for my records or I won’t print the letter.
Wasp/bees continue to plague the police department. Several weeks ago when I was in the police chief’s office gathering information for a story, Jerry Narsh jumped up, grabbed a can of hair spray, rushed out to the dispatch area and blasted one of the pesky creatures.
They’ve been around all summer. No one can find out how they’re getting into the building. And that puzzles the police chief because his department is full of “investigators” who should be able to figure it out.

If you want a glimpse of real life, turn on your TV. Reality series have captured the attention of the nation whether we wanted them to or not.
This past year we’ve been bombarded with shows about a famous chef opening a restaurant, a TV star’s wedding preparations, getting up close and personal with the not-so-private lives of famous people, bachelors and bachelorettes seeking the perfect mates, gay guys helping straight guys improve their looks and lives, people eating bugs and climbing tall buildings to earn some cash.
So I don’t think it’s outrageous for me to suggest someone might be interested in doing a show on the Stieb family.
Picture this TV script: Longtime single woman has lived in a home by herself for a few years, has a daughter that visits occasionally for a few months at a time, two sons and daughters-in-law and four grandkids who live contentedly in their own homes and visit only once in a while
Then overnight, this woman, who is quite happy in her empty space has her life turned upside down.
First the daughter returns, quite low on cash. Then the oldest son, who plans to build a new home in Grand Blanc, sells his house in Berkley and has to quickly vacate.
No one wants to rent to him and his family on a month to month basis. The woman, who is kind and generous, suggests they temporarily move in with her while their house is being built.
She knows the chance she’s taking. Other people have told her horror stories about their adult children moving back home while they wait for a new house. These parents were told it would only be a couple of months and the visit turns into almost a year.
But this woman has a positive attitude. Besides, she’s an editor of a local newspaper and is always looking for new material for her weekly column. She feels her changed living situation will be a gold mine for writing opportunities.
In her zeal for doing the motherly thing, this woman has forgotten what it’s like to live with other people.
First of all, these other people own pets — a chocolate lab and two grown cats — pets that need bowls of water and food — pets that need space to evacuate their waste products.
These other people like to keep their bodies and their clothes clean. That means using plenty of hot water — and I mean plenty.
These people like to turn on all the lights and leave them on. The woman is used to living in semi-darkness because she has no curtains on most of her windows and she’s too cheap to want to pay high utility bills.
The son and daughter-in-law have been married for seven years. They have two small children. They have accumulated lots of stuff. Not all of the stuff fits nicely into the woman’s small house.
The front section of the house fills with boxes and boxes of stuff. Toys begin to appear on floors, on tables, under furniture. Bottles of hand cream, hair gel, hair spray, toothpaste, tooth brushes clutter the bathroom sink counter.
The woman’s kitchen, which once was empty of anything edible, is now stuffed full of healthy eating items.
You get the idea of this Stieb show and it’s only the first episode. Stay tuned.

The 10 most-stolen cars in Michigan in 2001 include eight DaimlerChrysler products: 1. Jeep Cherokee (2000); 2. Dodge Intrepid (2000); 3. Dodge Stratus (2002); 4. Chrysler Sebring (2002); Dodge Intrepid (1999); 6. Pontiac Grand Am (2002); 7. Dodge Neon (2001); 8. Plymouth Voyager (1994); 9. Dodge Stratus (2001); and Chevrolet Caprice (1989).
October is the busiest time for car thieves and Monday is the day most thefts occur. The most popular stolen car color is white, according to Michigan Auto Theft Prevention Authority.
Apple lovers across the state are bowled over by the size and quality of Michigan apples this year. That’s because our apple growers are having a ‘king bloom” year, a year when Michigan apples uniformly grow bigger and better because conditions were optimum during pollination.
An apple tree bears clusters of four to five blooms. The central and first bloom, or king bloom, has the natural capacity to produce the biggest and best fruit.
Michigan farmers, according to the Michigan Apple Committee, will be picking about 23 million bushels (970 million pounds) of apples this fall.
Each year, about 40 percent of Michigan apples are sold as entire apples in grocery stores or directly from farm markets. The remaining 60 percent are processed into applesauce, slices, juices, cider and other products.
The 2002 Southeast Michigan Traffic Crash Facts report says nearly 85 percent of belted drivers escaped injury altogether, but only 56 percent of non-belted drivers were uninjured.
Drivers ages 16-34 were least likely to use restraints. More than twice as many males as females were not wearing their safety belts at the time of a crash.
Many of us want to know why mobile homes are taxed different from the way our homes are taxed. Michigan’s Legislature has been focusing on this and other mobile home issues this year.
So far in 2003, 50 pieces of legislation have been introduced to amend state laws related to mobile home parks.
I think three issues should be targeted. Mobile homes in mobile home parks should be taxed the same way they are taxed outside the parks.
Mobile homes park developments should have the same site plan review in the same manner that local government reviews all development within their communities. And these governments should be able to inspect mobile home parks in the same manner that all other property is inspected.
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.
Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.
Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

I knew something was wrong when I watched the first Survivor TV show and didn’t throw up while I watched the guests eat bugs — some alive, some dead.
I’ve never been too squeamish except for anything to do with eyes. I can’t imagine putting contacts in with the help of a finger that could slip and push right in to your eyeball
And I’m sure I would faint if someone in front of me pulled a fake eye out of his socket and I had to look at an empty hole.
Now, except for the eye thing, I don’t seem grossed out by anything gruesome anymore. I used to at least wince when a head was lopped off by a deranged killer.
Now I can sit through a whole movie and not be bothered by killing after killing with blood squirting and human appendages flying.
In fact, my only thought was if anyone had done a body count in the Quentin Taratino’s movie Kill Bill.
When daughter Molly and I considered going to the movies last week the two choices were Kill Bill and Mystic River.
I decided I was more up for mindless violence than a movie I might have to end up thinking about.
And I got my money’s worth in Kill Bill — which by the way, I really, really liked.
I was never a big Uma fan, but I think she’s got a movie franchise going for her if she wants to continue her nonstop Japanese samurai sword killing spree. Uma’s got her technique down — slice and dice.
I can hardly wait for part two of Kill Bill coming out in February. It was originally just supposed to be one movie, but the time of the movie crept up over three hours and the powers-that-be decided an audience couldn’t handle that amount of gore for that long, so they split it in half.
I think the long movie would have worked. You really get desensitized to watching the killing after a while. A shower of blood shooting out of a shoulder where an arm no longer is attached — no big deal.
Movie fans will remember this same type of scene in Taratino’s last great movie, Pulp Fiction.
Bad stupid guy John Travolta turned around in a moving car and shot someone sitting in the back seat.. Blood and tissue spattered all over the vehicle, Travolta and Samuel Jackson, the driver.
Jackson was mad. The two had to find someone to clean the car up before they could use it again. Pretty darn funny.
But back to eating disagreeable things. For some strange reason, I’ve tuned in the TV show Fear Factor lately.
Let’s see, I’ve watched contestants eat very alive weird looking long legged spiders, crunch cows’ eyes in their mouth to try to squeeze whatever liquid is in them into a glass and lay down in a bed of thousands and thousands of busy roaches.
Except for the cow eyes, nothing bothered me. And the contestants didn’t look too sick either. Of course these people would do anything for money.
Have a happy and gruesome Halloween!!! And watch out for those buckets of blood that may be falling off someone’s roof.

How is it your life can run so smoothly and come crashing down twice in one week? And it’s all due to two things I had absolutely no control over.
First incident: I opened up my credit card statement last Monday and casually glanced at what I had charged last month.
I knew the amount owed was going to be a little higher than normal because of shopping sprees that involved buying three pair of shoes and lots of bucks being spent on clothes at Kohls.
The last line item puzzled me. It said TLGPrivacyGrd followed by a bunch of numbers; amount due, $79.99.
What the heck is that I thought? I just don’t remember this charge. I quickly dialed the 800 number for the service center. I connected with a friendly service representative who pulled up my account.
“Have you called the company?” he asked.
“Well, no. I thought I should be calling you,” I answered.
“Is there a phone number listed?”
“You have to call them and get it straightened out. When you do be sure to get a cancelation number and the business days it will take to have it taken off your credit card.”
Dialing again, I reached another cheery rep who explained that the charge was for a service that would protect me from identity theft.
“But I never asked for it and I don’t want it,” I said.
He rattled off some more sales pitch and then asked if I had a computer.
“No, and I don’t want your service. That’s why I’m calling.”
“OK,” he answered. “Here’s your cancelation number and it will take 10 to 15 business days to clear your card. It might take one to two billing cycles before it shows up on you statement.”
How did this even happen? I never checked any box, never filled out any application form. How can a company just charge you something and then it’s up to you to make the effort to get it off your bill? Isn’t this illegal?
A few days later: “We’ve got a minor problem,” my son Chad said. (He and his family moved in with me a month ago).
It seems Consumers Power is confused. Chad tells me he pays all of his bills online. He had informed the gas company to forward any last charges he had before he moved to my address.
When he pulled up the information it seems it now is listed under my account and indicated my next payment was due to be paid online.
“No big deal,” I said. “The payment’s just automatically deducted from my checking account.”
Well, not anymore. When I received my statement a few days later, no gas company deduction was listed.
Chad and I were on the phone on Saturday morning for 45 minutes with a kind service rep trying to get the mix-up straightened out. I emphasized I wanted my bill paid out of my checking account again.
“OK, but you’re going to have to fill out an application again to do that,” she said
“But why?” I asked. “None of this has been my fault.”
“We don’t have your application on file anymore.” Why me???

I know July and September are the big birthday months, but for some reason a lot of people I’m acquainted with or related to celebrate their birthdays in November.
The 11th month isn’t one of my favorites. Fall has ended and I’m starting to dread the long cold dark days of winter.
Thanksgiving, although a holiday with a lot of rich history, now seems buried under the barrage of Christmas hype.
It’s turned into one of those “just a day off work.”
It’s hard to get excited about birthdays this time of the year. Parties can’t take place outside. It’s too cold.
It doesn’t seem like a good idea to rent a motel room for the night either so everyone can go swimming. That’s something we do in January or February to escape the winter blahs.
Plus you’ve got to spend lots of money on Christmas presents — no bucks left to swim in a pool.
Grandchildren Brock’s and Ryan’s birthdays are about three weeks apart. They both just turned four.
Brock’s birthday is in October; Ryan’s is in November. The two get along — sort of.
I watched them holding hands and strolling along at Ryan’s party and thought it was so cute. But I’ve also observed Brock smacking Ryan and heard Ryan bossing him around continuously, driving him nuts.
Ryan’s party was at Caesarland in Waterford. The concept is similar to Jeepers at Great Lakes Crossing.
I think my family should throw some money together and get a Caesarland franchise. It’s got to be big money-maker.
And really, it’s a great way to celebrate a young kid’s birthday. Instead of your house being trashed and you feeling like you need to sleep for a week, you walk into Caesarland for two hours, let them take care of the food and the party-goers can run to their heart’s content.
About 10 parties were going on the same time as Ryan’s. In a two hour span, I probably heard “Happy Birthday” sung five times.
I counted 15 adults wearing pointed cone birthday hats. I saw 100 pizzas (just an estimate) being consumed.
And I figured out kids buying tokens for games and winning tickets so they can trade them for toys was the biggest money-maker in the building.
For one dollar you received four tokens. Where we were, one token was needed for most games. Maybe the video games cost more, but four year olds weren’t too interested in those.
As my son Jason kept saying over and over, “Yeah, it takes 100 tickets to buy an eraser” as he kept forking out the money to his two kids.
The selection of toys wasn’t very good at Caesarland, so the kids didn’t have to agonize too long over their choices..
Two hours for a birthday party was long enough. The parents had spent all their money. The kids were pooped from climbing around all the play equipment. And the rest of us were stuffed from eating all that pizza, bread sticks, cake and ice cream. I was in heaven!!!

After 18 years of hanging out in my office letting everyone do my work for me, I’ve decided to leave my job at the end of December.
If you notice, I’m not saying retiring. That’s too old sounding, plus the fact I can’t collect social security for another two years.
Actually, the man in my life has made me an offer I can’t refuse (no, I’m not getting married).
I’ve known this guy for a long time. He hasn’t let me write about him in years. I think it was the time I made fun of him for running out of gas while out on a date that put him over the top.
Thanks, Jim Sherman, Sr. for hiring me. I first met you when I was ending my college career.
You hired this single mom who had no experience, but was willing to give you 100 percent. I hope I didn’t disappoint you.
Thanks, Jim Jr. You took over from your dad and had enough confidence in me to let me go my own way. I hope you don’t feel you made a mistake.
What stories will I never forget?
My obvious first choice is Sagebrush burning down. The adrenaline in our office remained high all day. And what other job can you have where you can go to work in your pajamas, have no makeup on and you aren’t worried about not brushing your teeth.
We couldn’t keep papers in the news stands during the Jenny Jones murder hoopla. Jonathan Schmitz was accused of killing Scott Amedure at the trailer park on Brown Road.
Amedure, who was gay, admitted having a crush on Schmitz on the Jenny Jones Show.
I was in the center of things during the 90s when the school district couldn’t build school district buildings fast enough. I can’t even remember how many ground breaking ceremonies I attended.
The then school superintendent Bob Bass was a leader in establishing new programs such as all day kindergarten, year-round school and schools of choice.
Good or bad, I was right in the middle of attempts to disband the village. So many people were on one side or the other that some meetings had to be moved to school gyms to accommodate all the people.
Some people told me they liked when I wrote about my everyday life, about my kids and about my grandchildren. Others found it boring.
I had some pretty good office help on this journey. Ellen Carlson kept me in touch with the old-timers. Sally and Jody calmed down angry readers.
Reporters Deborah, Darryl, Mike, Derek, Brad and Dan were very talented. Lisa, my current reporter, is very professional and is taking over my job.
And thanks Don Rush, assistant to the publisher, and Eric Lewis, advertising director. You kept me honest.

So busy and so little time. I’m printing this from another source so I can go shopping for all the wonderful presents my family has asked for.
You think saving for a new flat-panel plasma television or iPod Nano for the holidays is daunting? Be thankful you don’t have to save for the original gifts of the ?12 Days of Christmas.?
To buy the partridge in a pear tree, the 12 drummers drumming and all the gifts in between in the verses of the famous song you’d have to shell out $18,348, according to PNC Advisors? annual survey.
And if you were really true to the song, buying all the gifts including the repetitions, those 364 items would cost a cool $72,608, up 9.5 percent from last year’s $66,344.
This year’s headlines had an impact on the index. Avian flu? Those swans and geese are going to cost you more because of a spike in the price of large birds.
And the French hens? You can’t import them from France this year ? though there are domestic suppliers. Meanwhile, energy prices are driving up some delivery costs.
The holiday survey is used as a tongue-in-cheek indicator of inflation, though this year’s increase in the Christmas Index outpaces the government’s measurement.
PNC’s Christmas Price Index is up 6.1 percent from 2004. The core Christmas index, excluding the swans, is up just 2.6 percent this year.
Inflation fears have stoked the price of gold and so you’ll have to dig a little deeper if you want those five gold rings. They’ll cost you $325, up 27.5 percent from last year. The jump in price for those six geese ? up 42.9 percent to $300 ? outstripped even the hike in gold bands.
The Christmas Price Index reflects the economic trends during the past year.
Not only are avian flu fears and fuel costs driving prices higher, but gold prices are also on the rise. Meanwhile, wages for skilled laborers are struggling to keep up with rising expenses.
The prices in one area of the index seem to be holding steady. The wages of Maids-a-Milking, Lords-a-Leaping, Pipers Piping and Drummers Drumming did not budge in 2005, PNC Advisors reported.
According to Philadanco, the Philadelphia Dance Company, the Nine Ladies Dancing received a pay raise of 4 percent , but they were the only lucky ones to get a raise this year.
Any way you look at it, bringing the song to life is an expensive proposition, romantic though it may be. Maybe your true love would just rather have the cash.

What’s it take to get kids from swearing — at least in front of adults?
Two high schools in Hartford, Conneticutt think they might have found a way.
Police liason officers in the schools have fined about two dozen students for swearing. Their cursing has cost them $103 each.
This new program is an attempt to lessen unruly behavior. It targets students who curse while defying teachers and administratorrs.
If the teens can’t pay, their parents have to.
One student, a sophomore, said she was ticketed for shouting a bad word in an officer’s face while handcuffed for taking a swing at him.
She said the fine won’t stop her from swearing, but she’ll stop ‘cussing at the teachers.?
According to reports, ‘The incidents involving swearing are almost nothing. The halls are now quiet.?
I guess that’s a plus.
Some people are skeptcal. One man says that research indicates punishing kids doesn’t teach them the right way to act.
Just how do we teach kids the right way to act as far as refraining from cursing?
Adults swear in public all the time.
We watch TV shows where expletives are sometimes cut out, sometimes not
Kids hear curse words in today’s songs.
I’m not a big user of curse words. I don’t know why. Maybe I didn’t feel they were necessary.
One of my children, she who shall remain nameless, cursed in front of me all the time. This started in junior high school.
The other two kids probably cursed, but they knew better than to do it front of me.
I guess the other kid didn’t care what I thought. I would try to explain that I wasn’t too happy to be hearing the words, but that didn’t really work.
This kid of mine just seemed to ougrow the habit one day. Maybe she just grew up or learned not to do it in front of me.
Maybe issuing a fine for everytime this kid cursed might not have been a bad idea.
This child of mine is pretty tight with her money. I think asking her for a buck every time I heard a bad word coming out of her mouth would have worked.
Why didn’t I think of that years ago.

My friends living in Harbor Springs sent this to me to share with my readers. They don’t have much to do in Harbor Springs this time of the year.
If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you might live in Michigan.
If you’re proud that your region makes the national news 96 nights a year because Pellston is the coldest spot in the nation, you might live in Michigan.
If your dad’s suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead, you might live in Michigan.
If you have worn shorts and a coat at the same time, you might live in Michigan.
If your town has an equal number of bars and churches, you might live in Michigan.
‘Vacation? means going up north on I-75.
You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.
You often switch from ‘heat? to ‘A/C? in the same day.
You can drive 65 mph through two feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching.
You see people wearing camouflage at social events (including weddings).
You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.
You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them.
You design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
You know all four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.
Your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your blue spruce.
You were unaware that there is a legal drinking age.
Down South to you means Ohio.
A brat is something you eat.
Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new pole barn.
You go out to a fish fry every Friday.
Your 4th of July picnic was moved indoors due to frost.
You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.
You drink pop and bake with soda.
Your doctor tells you to drink Vernors and you know it’s not medicine.
You know what a Yooper is.
You think owning a Honda is un- American.
You know that UP is a place, not a direction.
You know it’s possible to live in a thumb.

Thanksgiving is the time of the year when we all sit down and think about the good things in our life.
Thinking doesn’t cost us any money. Thinking can be done in the privacy of your own home.
Thinking is a solitary pursuit. You don’t have to go out and find a partner to share the things you’re thankful for.
So here’s my list of things that I’m oh so thankful for….
I’m thankful I don’t work for Delphi.
I’m thankful most of the orange barrels have been put away for the winter.
I’m thankful Michigan State University has ended its football season.
I’m thankful the Lions are in the final stretch of their season. It’s too hard to watch their games.
I’m thankful for grandson Cole. He’s on the honor roll at Blanche Sims.
I’m thankful for our letter carrier Charlotte. She’s retiring. While she was ‘working the streets,? she did a fast job of delivering The Review’s mail.
As usual, I’m thankful I don’t have to cook this holiday. Thank God for adult children who actually like to cook.
I’m thankful a new restaurant is coming to the downtown area. Times Square Restaurant is opening where the Helen Cunniff Studio used to be.
The owner currently has another restaurant in Romeo. He hopes to be open sometime in February and says his new place should be able to seat about 50 people.
I’m thankful the TV shows Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives aren’t as good as they were last year. I’m not spending as much time in front of the TV set as I did last season.
I’m thankful the wind as been blowing strong and in the right direction this fall. Most of my leaves have disappeared from my lawn and I didn’t have to rake many of them.
I’m thankful there’s so many good people on the Orion Area Parade Group. They work so hard every year to make sure the Christmas Parade is a huge success.
And finally, I’m thankful to Tony Jones from the Cutting Edge. I saw him walking across the street from the salon’s new spot carrying some carpeting.
I ran out and asked him if he was throwing it in the dumpster. He said yes. I then asked if I could have a piece for the floor in The Review’s kitchen.
No trouble he said. They were throwing all the old carpet away. We got a piece just the right size and Tony brought it over.

Amanda Narsh came into our office last Thursday. Her son Alex found a ring in his Halloween bag full of goodies.
She wanted to put a little ad in the paper saying the ring had been found.
The ring was a class ring with a graduation year of 1931. It’s everyone’s guess the ring fell off the owner’s finger when she was reaching to put something into Alex’s bag.
Jody, our office manager, helped Amanda with the ad. As soon as she left, Jody thought to look in last week’s paper.
In the classified section, she found an ad about a lost ring in the Lost and Found category.
She immediately contacted Amanda on her cell phone and told her about the ad. Amanda called the owner of the ring and, along with Alex, went right over to the house to drop it off.
The woman was thrilled. It was a special ring. The ring had been her mother’s and was given to her by her mother 10 years ago on Halloween before she died.
And you have to think it’s interesting that the ring disappeared from the woman’s finger exactly 10 years later on Halloween.
The ring owner had offered a reward for the return of the ring, but Alex turned it down. Good kid.
The Christmas Parade is coming.. the Christmas Parade is coming (Dec. 3). I’m reminding you again to mail those donation envelopes that came in our paper and the Ad-vertiser.
Members of the parade group work very hard every year to make the downtown parade extra special. They need our help.
This community always comes through for the fireworks. Can we do the same for the celebration of Santa arriving in the village? I’m sure we can.
Kitchen Plaque Sayings:
* A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand
* A Clean House is a sign of a Misspent Life
* A Husband Is Someone Who Takes Out The Trash And Gives The Impression He Just Cleaned The Whole House
* A Messy Kitchen Is A Happy Kitchen… And This Kitchen Is Delirious
* Help keep the kitchen clean – Eat OUT
* Housework Done Properly Can Kill You
* If we are what we eat, then I’m easy, fast and cheap.
* My next house will have no kitchen ? just vending machines.
* No Husband Has Ever Been Shot While Doing The Dishes
* Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator

I’m sure some day the new Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly will be beautiful. It’s not now.
I visited the 544-acre site several weeks ago for a burial service. I was actually looking forward to seeing the cemetery.
I had visions of the national cemetery in Arlington, not the farmer’s field off Belford Road.
Before I write about what the cemetery looks like, lets back up and do a little history.
The first part of the construction project was awarded to Edge Construction of Farmington Hills in September 2004.
The first phase included an entrance area, an administration/maintenance complex, a public information center and two committal service shelters.
Expected completion date was by Memorial Day 2005.
Due to the contractor’s failure to complete the job and for deficiencies in workmanship, the contract was terminated this past September.
Soon after, employees of the National Cemetery Administration began working to prepare an area for the first burials. The first burials in the cemetery began on Oct. 15.
By then the bodies of over 700 veterans who had died were stored around the state, waiting to be buried in the new cemetery.
The cemetery is out in the boonies. No signs have been put up to help visitors find their way there. Right now the entrance area is quite unimpressive.
The burial service I was attending started at 2 p.m. When we found the spot, we noticed lots of vehicles lined up next to several buildings. I think one was permanent; the rest seemed temporary. I saw no sign indicating one of them was a public information center.
We stopped to ask a woman standing next to her car if she was at the cemetery for the same funeral we were. She wasn’t. Hers started at 2:15.
That made me think burial services were every 15 minutes — fast service, I guess.
We found where we needed to go. The service was fine — gun salute, flag folding ceremony.
I followed the casket to the area where the actual burial was to take place. I saw a long line of rectangle holes — some already filled, some still empty with pieces of plywood laying on top of them.
My first thought was it looks like an assembly line.
Off in the distance (there’s no trees, so you can see a long way), stacks of cement vaults wait to be used.
I’m now reading major construction will continue through mid-2006.
Maybe I’ll try visiting the cemetery again in a few years.

My dentist, Dr. Keith Allain, emailed me recently, chastising me about not calling him about my grandchildren’s teeth.
If you remember, I wrote a couple of weeks ago that Brock’s and Ryan’s teeth were freaking me out.
Both had two sets of teeth in the front — adult ones coming in and baby teeth still hanging in there.
Here’s Dr. Allain’s explanation: Elaine, you do have a dentist last I heard! Anytime you have any questions pertaining to dentistry it is my honor and pleasure to help you out.
The situation with your grandchildren is more common than people know. When the permanent teeth are erupting the roots of the baby teeth should be dissolving due to this eruptive process.
Many times the permanent teeth divert a bit and do not erupt right over the root of the baby tooth. This causes the two rows of teeth look and these ‘baby? or deciduous teeth need to be extracted.
Doris Groll, retired Orion Township employee, enjoyed my column last week, on living on a cruise ship after retirement.
She wanted to share the following with us:
There will be no nursing home in our future. When we get old and feeble, we are going to move to a Princess Cruise ship.
The average cost of a nursing home is $200/day. I have checked on reservations at Princess. I can get a long term discount and senior discount price of $135/day.
This leaves $62 a day for:
1. Gratuities which will only be $10/day.
2. We will have as many as 10 meals a day if we can waddle to the restaurant.
3. Princess has as many as three swimming pools, a workout room, free washers and dryers and shows every night.
4. They will even treat you like a customer, not a patient. An extra $5 worth of tips will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.
5. TV broken? Light bulb need changing? No problem. They will fix everything and apologize for your inconvenience.
Now hold on for the best — do you want to see South America, the Panama Canal, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand or Asia? You name where you want to go and Princess will have a ship ready to go.
So don’t look for us in a nursing home — just call ship to shore!
PS: If you die, they just dump you over the side at no charge.

Here we go again — changing the rules.
After spending a few years of life slathering my body with sun screen, I’m now reading if I do that too much, it may contribute to my death far more than it prevents any health problems.
As we all know, vitamin D is good for us. For most of us it’s hard to get enough vitamin D through milk and other foods.
I probably drink a half of cup of milk a day and that’s only because I put it on cereal.
So where else can we get vitamin D? Why from the sun of course. So if we never expose our bare body to the sun, how are we going to get enough vitamin D?
Scientists are suggesting that taking in sun 15 minutes a week without sunscreen is a healthy thing to do.
And did you know that people in the north part of this country have higher cancer rates that those who get more sunshine year-round?
I need to hear from a dentist. Two grandchildren, Brock and Ryan, had loose front teeth for so long that the two kids had two sets of front teeth for a while — scary.
I had Brock’s mom so worried about it that she took him to the dentist.
I remember when my kids were losing their baby teeth. You could see their new ‘adult? teeth popping through just barely when their baby teeth were literally ‘hanging by a string.?
Do kids now have better, stronger baby teeth that tend to stay in their mouths longer? Or do I just have weird grandchildren?
It was great to see Kevin Spencer get recognized for his dedication to baseball.
One of the baseball fields at Friendship Park was recently renamed Spencer Field.
I first met him when I was covering sports for the paper. He was a hardworking volunteer in the boys? baseball league.
We worked well together. He liked to see his league get mentioned in the paper. I obliged him as much as I could.
I don’t think there’s been anyone in that league since then that’s been as publicity savvy as Kevin was.

Turning 50 was fun. The kids decided I needed a surprise birthday party and invited all my friends.
The day was captured on video. I looked like I was having a good time.
That was 10 years ago. Since then it’s been a slippery downward slide to 60. I haven’t handled turning 60 well.
In 10 years I’ve — started to wear glasses. At first they were just needed to read the small print in the telephone book.
Now I need to wear glasses to read the print in the big print books I take out of the library.
My note writing to myself has increased dramatically. Ten years ago the only thing I wrote out was the grocery list.
Now I have to remind myself in writing to tell people something, when to pay a bill, what to buy the grandchildren for their birthdays, when to get my hair done.
My intake of vitamins has increased. I don’t leave home without popping pills that supposedly will keep me healthy.
On the plus side, I’ve not yet had to buy one of those plastic containers that’s divided into sections for each day of the week.
Maybe that happens when I turn 70.
Between 50 and 60, I found out I have high cholesterol and osteoporosis.
Between 50 and 60, I’ve had lots of conversations with friends about people we know who have cancer, people we know who are having knee replacements and people we know who have had heart attacks.
My bathroom vanity is now cluttered with products that ads tell me will reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging. They don’t seem to be working, but I know I’ll keeping buying them until I find the right one.
Ten years ago I didn’t care how much time I spent out in the sun. Now I lather up with 15 sun screen and hope it’s good enough.
I know time is going by faster than it used to. I just get done celebrating a Christmas and, what do you know, there’s another one coming right up again.
My children never seemed to worry about what was going to happen to me in my later life. Now I hear them arguing about who’s going to have the responsibility of taking care of me in my old age.
They also suggest I should get a dog or a cat. I never heard those words 10 years ago.
I’m never warm enough. I don’t think I sweat anymore.
And I never thought I’d be writing a column about getting older either.

Turning 50 was fun. The kids decided I needed a surprise birthday party and invited all my friends.
The day was captured on video. I looked like I was having a good time.
That was 10 years ago. Since then it’s been a slippery downward slide to 60. I haven’t handled turning 60 well.
In 10 years I’ve — started to wear glasses. At first they were just needed to read the small print in the telephone book.
Now I need to wear glasses to read the print in the big print books I take out of the library.
My note writing to myself has increased dramatically. Ten years ago the only thing I wrote out was the grocery list.
Now I have to remind myself in writing to tell people something, when to pay a bill, what to buy the grandchildren for their birthdays, when to get my hair done.
My intake of vitamins has increased. I don’t leave home without popping pills that supposedly will keep me healthy.
On the plus side, I’ve not yet had to buy one of those plastic containers that’s divided into sections for each day of the week.
Maybe that happens when I turn 70.
Between 50 and 60, I found out I have high cholesterol and osteoporosis.
Between 50 and 60, I’ve had lots of conversations with friends about people we know who have cancer, people we know who are having knee replacements and people we know who have had heart attacks.
My bathroom vanity is now cluttered with products that ads tell me will reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging. They don’t seem to be working, but I know I’ll keeping buying them until I find the right one.
Ten years ago I didn’t care how much time I spent out in the sun. Now I lather up with 15 sun screen and hope it’s good enough.
I know time is going by faster than it used to. I just get done celebrating a Christmas and, what do you know, there’s another one coming right up again.
My children never seemed to worry about what was going to happen to me in my later life. Now I hear them arguing about who’s going to have the responsibility of taking care of me in my old age.
They also suggest I should get a dog or a cat. I never heard those words 10 years ago.
I’m never warm enough. I don’t think I sweat anymore.
And I never thought I’d be writing a column about getting older either.

Turning 50 was fun. The kids decided I needed a surprise birthday party and invited all my friends.
The day was captured on video. I looked like I was having a good time.
That was 10 years ago. Since then it’s been a slippery downward slide to 60. I haven’t handled turning 60 well.
In 10 years I’ve — started to wear glasses. At first they were just needed to read the small print in the telephone book.
Now I need to wear glasses to read the print in the big print books I take out of the library.
My note writing to myself has increased dramatically. Ten years ago the only thing I wrote out was the grocery list.
Now I have to remind myself in writing to tell people something, when to pay a bill, what to buy the grandchildren for their birthdays, when to get my hair done.
My intake of vitamins has increased. I don’t leave home without popping pills that supposedly will keep me healthy.
On the plus side, I’ve not yet had to buy one of those plastic containers that’s divided into sections for each day of the week.
Maybe that happens when I turn 70.
Between 50 and 60, I found out I have high cholesterol and osteoporosis.
Between 50 and 60, I’ve had lots of conversations with friends about people we know who have cancer, people we know who are having knee replacements and people we know who have had heart attacks.
My bathroom vanity is now cluttered with products that ads tell me will reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging. They don’t seem to be working, but I know I’ll keeping buying them until I find the right one.
Ten years ago I didn’t care how much time I spent out in the sun. Now I lather up with 15 sun screen and hope it’s good enough.
I know time is going by faster than it used to. I just get done celebrating a Christmas and, what do you know, there’s another one coming right up again.
My children never seemed to worry about what was going to happen to me in my later life. Now I hear them arguing about who’s going to have the responsibility of taking care of me in my old age.
They also suggest I should get a dog or a cat. I never heard those words 10 years ago.
I’m never warm enough. I don’t think I sweat anymore.
And I never thought I’d be writing a column about getting older either.

I have the solution to the peanut problem in this school district. Let’s just make all the schools (yes, everyone of them) peanut free.
You know it’s probably going to happen anyway sooner or later
The elementary schools, one by one, have put up those small banners — a peanut with a red circle drawn around it and a line drawn through it.
I have a reason for my suggestion. Maybe some individual can suggest a committee be formed, studies done, invite experts to speak — anything that will wrap up this discussion once and for all.
Here’s another suggestion. Have a big public meeting. It’s been done before. Trust me, I’ve been to them over the years.
Coming to the school board doesn’t really work. It has a 30 minute public comment rule. That’s not enough time for a controversial topic.
I’ve been given information on several websites that seem to provide a lot of insight to peanut allergies.
I have to admit this information comes from people who are against a total peanut ban.
Try reading the Massachusetts Department of Education publication ‘Managing Life Threatening Food Allergies in Schools. It’s at
It’s actually quite readable.
Also, check out The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network at
I’ve not received any info from any pro peanut ban parent. If anyone would like to share any literature with me, call me at the office.
A dialog website in Orion can also be accessed at:
I’ve never been so excited about a football game in my life. I thought this was the year Michigan State was going to run all over Michigan. I’ve never been so disappointed in my life.
Our football group no longer travels to MSU’s campus for a game. Tickets are too expensive. No one has a motorhome anymore, so if it rains we have no place to stay dry.
Last year, we hung out at Buffalo Wings. We had such a good time, we tried it again.
Friends of mine arrived at the sports bar shortly before 11 a.m. (the time the bar was supposed to open). While they were sitting in their car waiting an employee came out and told them the bar had opened at 10.
We got the best area in the bar.
About 25 of us cheered on the Spartans. One of us wore maize and blue. He was the only one smiling at the end of the afternoon.

Bring back old fashioned fun…
Our family was in Fenton recently (eating at the Sagebrush of course) when we came across an event called Applefest.
It took place on the grounds of the city’s big catholic church that takes up about a block in the downtown area.
The carnival was similar to the one that comes here to the Lion’s Jubilee every year — but the event was so much more.
It was the tents scattered around the carnival that attracted my attention. Groups and organizations were able to conduct their own events to raise money.
One large tent housed a ‘yard? sale. Another one contained food and apple pies for sale. The pie selection was so huge, I’m thinking everyone in town baked one. Another smaller tent had a cake walk.
Granddaughters Ryan and Jillian had fun playing some very simple games run by what looked like Girl Scouts.
One local organization sat at long tables and sold raffle tickets for a new car. Business was brisk.
About the same time this was going on, I ran across stories and photos on the 1985 Donut Festival at Keatington Antique Village (now Canterbury Village) while I was researching Looking Back.
Cars were displayed. Music throughout the event was provided by many local groups. Hayrides, pony rides, a variety of games occupied kids. Festival-goers got a chance to dunk local and state politicians in a dunk tank.
Members of the Knights of Columbus hosted nightly bingo games. Booths offered a variety of craft items for sale.
Creative local people got a chance to win awards for their quilting, crocheting, canned goods, pies, fudge, and decorated cakes.
I know this was 30 years ago and times have changed. But don’t you wish the July 4th Jubilee was like these two events I’ve described?
The Lion’s Club has never seemed interested in expanding and involving the whole community in this one event that everyone looks forward to each year.
I still have people say to me they miss the beer tent, not because of the drinking, but because this was the only time they saw old classmates and old friends.
I know club members got tired of dealing with the time and hassles it took to run the tent. They didn’t have the manpower.
But I have to think with the success of Barn Daze and now the Main Street Mingle, people are looking for something more than an event that only has expensive carnival rides — something that adults can enjoy too.

What’s to rebuild???
I’ve never been to New Orleans. I had several chances to go, but they never worked out.
The friends that I would have gone with love the city’s Jazz Festival. They tell me it’s expensive but worth the trip because the music is so wonderful.
New Orleans is definitely a primary cultural town. It’s historically important.
Of course there’s talk about spending billions of dollars rebuilding the levees that hold back water from a city that’s seven feet below sea level.
After watching on CNN the constant coverage of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, it soon became evident there are lots of very poor people in the city.
According to Jack Shafer who writes for Slate, a website, about 27 percent of the population of 484,000 lives under the poverty line.
Romantic, New Orleans may be, but in reality it doesn’t appear like a nice place to live.
It’s a place where 67 percent are African-American. In 65 percent of families living in poverty, no husband is present.
Shafer writes (and he backs up his information with linked sites) that New Orlean’s public schools are 93 percent black.
Louisiana rates 47 percent of the city’s schools as ‘academically unacceptable? and another 26 percent have an ‘academic warning.?
The city lists 188,000 dwellings. Housing is older than the national average with 43 percent built in 1949 or earlier. Only 11 percent of them were built since 1980 (US average is 35 percent).
As I watched the hurricane coverage, it was evident most of the homes will have to be demolished, if fire or toxic mold don’t take them first.
New Orlean’s homicide rate is 10 times the national average.
The national government, which runs the flood-insurance business, sold only 85,000 residential/commercial policies. Remember how many dwellings there are?
I’m guessing businesses will decide to locate else where. There were plenty of World Trade Center businesses that moved to places like New Jersey after 9/11.
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was interviewed for a story in an Illinois newspaper.
He was asked if it made sense to spend billions and billions of dollars to rebuild New Orleans.
‘That’s seven feet under the sea level. I don’t know. That doesn’t make sense to me. It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed, ‘he said.
Should we rebuild this area of poverty, crime and bad schools? What do you think?

No plane traveling for my friends and I this year over the Labor Day weekend. After missing our flight out of Flint when we flew to Denver last year, we figured we would be better off driving to Tennessee.
Of course, who would have thought we would be on the road during the highest gas prices in my lifetime.
If you’re familiar with my column, I’m sure you remember I belong to this club whose membership meets officially once a year over Labor Day.
We now have over 40 members. It’s hard for me to imagine how much bigger we can get because finding lodging to fit all of us is pretty darn difficult.
Four years ago we visited Gatlinburg, liked it so much that we returned again, just to a different lodge.
Rentals in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge area are all over the place, mostly up in the hills surrounding the towns.
This year’s destination, Crest View Lodge, was really up in the hills — on the very top.
It’s three stories, 7,000 plus square feet and sleeps 46. It has eight bedrooms, eight and a half baths.
And we just couldn’t get over the kitchen. It had two refrigerators, two stoves, two dishwashers, a stand alone ice maker and enough dishes to serve 100 people.
A huge TV room and game room were on the third floor of the lodge. The TV room consisted of two separate sofa units, one behind the other, slightly elevated off the floor.
The game room, which we used very little, had five tables. They included a 14 foot shuffle board, pool table, bumper pool table, basketball for two, foose ball table and air hockey.One large hot tub sat on the balcony. The place even had two charcoal grills.
The size of this place makes you wonder how many times it’s actually rented out.
Do church groups use it or maybe it’s a great spot for family reunions.
The view from the balcony was spectacular at night. We saw twinkling street/house lights scattered all over the hills.
In the morning, patches of fog hovered over the scenery below us.
The first time our group came to Tennessee, we stayed out of the towns. This time we braved the thousands of tourists locked in a traffic gridlock attempting to drive down main street.
Our destination was Ober Gatlinburg. We wanted to take a tram ride up the mountain top. The tram held 120 people.
The area around Gatlinburg is gorgeous, but unless you have kids who need to be entertained constantly with rides and freaky museums, I’d find another area of Tennessee to visit.

This is an excellent idea. Although Orion Township’s Fire Department personnel has no training in this yet, it could be a good time for them to look into it.
The idea is that in a case of emergency, paramedics could check out a victim’s cell phone for clues to that person’s identity.
The simple idea is called ICE. It stands for In Case of Emergency.
Add an entry in the contacts list in your cell phone under ICE, with the name and phone number of the person who the emergency services should call on your behalf.
You can save them a lot of time and have your loved ones contacted quickly.
A happy ending…
The short story about the couple who got engaged to be married on the lake last weekend was fun to do.
Just before it started to rain on Saturday I looked out my window and noticed a white blob on Bellevue Bridge.
Being the nosey person that I am, I picked up the binoculars and took a closer look.
It turned out to be a banner that said, ‘Will you marry me Jackie??
I gotta get a picture of that I thought. My clever idea was to put the photo in the paper asking for information on the identity of the couple.
When the sun finally came out, I called a friend who lives near the bridge and begged for a quick boat ride so I could take the photo.
Because of a strong wind, the banner kept flipping back into the inside of the bridge, but I managed to get a half-way decent shot.
Later, still hanging out by the bridge I noticed a black car stopping near the banner.
I saw a man get out and start flipping the banner back so it was again on the outside of the bridge.
This must be the groom-to-be, I thought. I ran over and asked the guy if he was.
‘No,? he laughed, ‘My wife would kill me.?
Later I would hear that people were stopping all day and putting the banner back on the outside. That’s rather odd because they didn’t even know the couple.
Now it’s late afternoon and I’m taking a boat ride with the friend. We’re just getting ready to come under the bridge when I notice there’s a strange pontoon boat full of people parked at my friend’s dock.
We rushed over to find out who it was and I saw a man carrying the banner back to the boat.
I know this has to be the groom-to-be. It wasn’t, but it was one of his friends.
I never did meet the newly engaged couple, but the boatload of people gave me all the information I needed. Someone even volunteered to send me a photo of them.

If you divide $2.8 million four ways, how much does each person receive?
That was what I had to figure out after reading one of my Review emails recently. The email indicated ‘you/your company? was one of the winners of the Uthingo Champion Sweepstakes.
The sweepstakes originated in South Africa. The email told me participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 25,000 addresses of individuals and companies.
Although the email looked very professional, I was leery this was a scam.
I read the email quickly to see if it mentioned anywhere that I had to send some money first in order to get the millions. (first sign of illegal activity). Nope, it didn’t.
The email did say I had to contact my claims agent immediately to begin the process.
I didn’t want to take that next step until I talked to my co-workers. For about 30 seconds I considered not sharing this new found wealth, but discarded that idea thinking that was pretty selfish of me.
Conveniently, I never thought of sharing this information with my bosses, who technically ‘own? my email address. Splitting the money four ways was good enough, I rationalized.
When Jody and Sally arrived, I asked them to read the email and give me their opinion. Jody seemed ambivalent, Sally appeared more excited about the possibilities of sudden wealth.
After reporter Lisa read the information, she immediately said ‘identity theft.? She thought this was a new creative way to get personal information.
We guessed that probably happened on the next step of the process.
To be sure, she emailed the information to her computer whiz boyfriend and he agreed with her..
We never took the next step.
Last week I received a letter from Oxford’s Stanley Lechert. Guess what? He also received a letter informing him he’s won a lump sum of money.
His payout from the Euromillones Loteria International /Mid Year Highstake International Program was $815,960.
Not surprisingly, both letters advised winners to keep ‘this award from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your nominated account as this is part of our security protocol.?
Stanley wrote me a letter because he wanted help in receiving his money.
He called two telephone numbers. One was a recorded message. He didn’t mention what it said. He then tried a 900 number but wrote that it didn’t work.
No address was indicated.
Remember that old adage, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.? In our cases, I think it’s right.

Much of my week was spent up north last week, so I’m sharing some chicken trivia with you.
The average American in 2004 consumed 86 pounds of chicken versus 67 pounds of beef and about 52 pounds of pork.
Chickens have no stomachs. When ingested, food passes from a chicken’s mouth to its crop. From there it moves to the intestine where it’s more fully digested.
If you don’t want to count them, I can tell you a chicken has 8,325 feathers. However, the number of feathers varies according to breed.
How fast can a chicken run? 25 miles per hour (Who takes the time to study these things?)
I bet you want to know what came first, the chicken or the egg.
Biblical evidence indicates God created fowl on the morning of the fifth day to fly above the earth. Later the same day He commanded birds ‘to multiply on the earth,? thus producing the first egg.
On the other hand, economists using US Department of Agriculture data have proven statistically that the egg must have come before the chicken. It all depends on who you believe.
How much did the largest chicken weigh?
According to the Guiness World Book of Records, a chicken named Weirdo grew to 22 pounds in Calareras, California in 1975. Weirdo was not only large, but rather aggressive. Chasing dogs was one of his pastimes.
You must have a minimum of three chickens in order to have a ‘flock.?
When chickens roll in the dirt, they are often said to be taking a dirt bath.
Chickens that aren’t killed for food usually live about eight years.
It’s against the law to eat chicken with a fork in Gainseville, Georgia, the ‘Chicken Capital of the World.?
You can literally hypnotize a chicken by holding it and drawing a line in the dirt over and over. The chicken will stay and watch as long as you do this.
Beijing boasts the world’s largest KFC restaurant.
In Fruita, Colorado, the townsfolk celebrate ‘Mike the Headless Chicken Day.?
It came about in 1945 when farmer LA Olsen attempted to butcher Mike in anticipation of dinner, but botched the decapitation.
Mike lived four years without a head.
Annual festivities in Mike’s honor include a 5k ‘Run Like a Headless Chicken? race, egg tosses, ‘Pin the Head on the Chicken,? chicken bingo and the Chicken Dance.
And finally…the average laying chicken hen lays about 255 eggs a year.

This is what we people who perch on the waters of Lake Orion live for — a hot summer.
At least most of us do.
I’m sure there are a few lake people who crank up their air conditioning and hide behind their windows watching the boats go by.
For me, it’s been a summer of cheering and yelling for the grandchildren who just can’t seem to stay out of the water.
With the help of dad Jason and Aunt Molly, Cole and Brock are working on their diving techniques off our raft.
The boys? parents also bought two quality snorkeling sets. In the past, they’ve picked up the cheap ones, but they’re not very good.
Cole and Brock have spent hours under water with their dive masks, looking at I don’t what (but having a good time doing it).
My mother taught me how to do the dead man’s float at the beach. It didn’t seem as if she spent a lot of time in the water with me, but I do remember her patiently standing with her hands under my back moving me slowly along in the water.
I did the same for the boys, but it didn’t take a whole lot of effort on my part. They seemed to pick up on the technique in just a few minutes.
I’ve spent a lot of time cutting weeds.
If you noticed my photo page last week, it’s pretty evident lake weeds are growing rampant this summer. As early as the first part of July they were sticking out of the water.
Years ago I attended a meeting where a DNR guy was in attendance. He was asked a question about the excessive amount of weed growth in the lake that summer.
He indicated weed growth was cyclical, probably depending on how hot the summer was and how much it rained.
I think there’s a new element that has to be considered — zebra mussels.
When I pulled weeds out I was shocked to find the little buggers clinging to stalks of the weeds, maybe 50 to 100 on each clump I handled.
Zebra mussels clean up a lake by eating microorganisms. The lake was so clear in the spring that it felt as if you were looking at a mirror.
But… the clearer water allows more sunshine to penetrate deeper. That stimulates even more weed growth.
I always try to take out of the lake most of the weeds that I cut. I know there’s plenty of people who don’t, but I figure my cut weeds end up in front of someone else’s lake frontage if I just let them float away.
The cutter is ‘Y? shaped with a long handle and rope. I just had to throw it out, yank on the rope and let the blades cut down all the weeds close to the bottom. It works like a charm and costs about $150.

My policy on writing letters to the editor won’t allow me to print the following letter on the letters page. The writer didn’t give me his name and a phone number.
As a reminder, I’ll print letters using name withheld if requested to do so, but I still have to have a name for possible verification.
But editors can be more flexible in their own columns. I feel the writer has made some valid points which the village should be made aware of.
I couldn’t help but make a comment about an article in The Orion Review.
I will give the LO Police Ordinance officers the benefit of the doubt when it come to property maintenance – BUT it seems with the 40 hours a week they are on patrol they must be fatigued or just blind.
I have seen a house with Tyvek on it ( Lake Orion’s preference of siding) for three years after a stop work order and auction of the property.
The new owner put siding on it but now has had a dumpster out front with decaying trash over flowing on to the driveway for over three months. No deck railings either.
I have another neighbor who drives a flatbed utility truck 3500 series with his business name on it and parks it every night in his drive way and has a two car garage full of junk and can not put any vehicle in it.
I have another neighbor who has five or six cars and only parking for two, but can’t park in their driveway because of the junk.
So they park across the street on village owned property on the hill at Swiss Village Park with the back ends sticking out in to the street by three feet. A few weeks ago, one vehicle rolled down into the park across Barron and into another neighbor’s new garage door, while kids were playing at the park and almost got run over by this car.
These are some of the issues I have been contacting the ordinance officers about for over a year. I call, get their voice mail and I have not received any phone calls back. I now put everything in writing to the village manager.
It seems the officers only enforce or investigate complaints if a citizen calls. Then they tell the neighbor who complained which causes even more problems.
I would like to know what are they doing in their cars while they are driving around – do they not see these violations? Looks like all they are going to enforce is dogs at large or fireworks, again.
Name Withheld

I would recommend the writer step up in his attempts to contact the police department to correct the violations he has written about. Tell them I told you to.

This is what we people who perch on the waters of Lake Orion live for — a hot summer.
At least most of us do.
I’m sure there are a few lake people who crank up their air conditioning and hide behind their windows watching the boats go by.
For me, it’s been a summer of cheering and yelling for the grandchildren who just can’t seem to stay out of the water.
With the help of dad Jason and Aunt Molly, Cole and Brock are working on their diving techniques off our raft.
The boys? parents also bought two quality snorkeling sets. In the past, they’ve picked up the cheap ones, but they’re not very good.
Cole and Brock have spent hours under water with their dive masks, looking at I don’t what (but having a good time doing it).
My mother taught me how to do the dead man’s float at the beach. It didn’t seem as if she spent a lot of time in the water with me, but I do remember her patiently standing with her hands under my back moving me slowly along in the water.
I did the same for the boys, but it didn’t take a whole lot of effort on my part. They seemed to pick up on the technique in just a few minutes.
I’ve spent a lot of time cutting weeds.
If you noticed my photo page last week, it’s pretty evident lake weeds are growing rampant this summer. As early as the first part of July they were sticking out of the water.
Years ago I attended a meeting where a DNR guy was in attendance. He was asked a question about the excessive amount of weed growth in the lake that summer.
He indicated weed growth was cyclical, probably depending on how hot the summer was and how much it rained.
I think there’s a new element that has to be considered — zebra mussels.
When I pulled weeds out I was shocked to find the little buggers clinging to stalks of the weeds, maybe 50 to 100 on each clump I handled.
Zebra mussels clean up a lake by eating microorganisms. The lake was so clear in the spring that it felt as if you were looking at a mirror.
But… the clearer water allows more sunshine to penetrate deeper. That stimulates even more weed growth.
I always try to take out of the lake most of the weeds that I cut. I know there’s plenty of people who don’t, but I figure my cut weeds end up in front of someone else’s lake frontage if I just let them float away.
The cutter is ‘Y? shaped with a long handle and rope. I just had to throw it out, yank on the rope and let the blades cut down all the weeds close to the bottom. It works like a charm and costs about $150.

Thank god for Lance Armstrong.
Sunday morning the sky was black, the rain beat against windows. It was a perfect time to watch the final leg of Armstrong’s career as the top cyclist in the world.
My daughter Molly involved me in the Tour de France race about three or four years ago when she came home from her dad’s.
She had started watching it in Oklahoma and wanted to continue watching it at my house.
I didn’t care. The month of July doesn’t have any ‘must see TV.?
Of course, you know what happened. Molly would turn the TV on, I’d be reading a book, start glancing up at the screen and soon became absorbed in the action.
Molly told me the story of Lance, who overcame cancer while he was in his 20s and began his streak of winning this bike race in France every summer.
Not being a longtime fan of this three week endurance race ( up the mountains, down the mountains, flat country), I surmised Americans? winning history in this event wasn’t impressive.
The way I understand this bike race is it lasts three weeks. Each day is called a stage (of the race) and there’s a winner of each stage.
But it’s an accumulation of time on each day that determines the winner of the overall race.
Lance only won one stage and that was time trials on Saturday.
It was interesting to tune in early on Sunday (8 a.m.) and watch Lance and others sipping on champagne during the part of the day’s ride before some of the bikers started actually racing in Paris.
The bikers laughed and talked with each other and looked happy the race was finally coming to an end. It seems many of them, according to OLN announcers, are good friends away from racing.
My only disappointment watching the award ceremony was Lance not singing the national anthem.
It’s always bothered me sports figures don’t sing that song before a game or some type of competition begins. It just seems appropriate that they do.
I used to be like that, but now I sing. I don’t care if I can’t sing and everyone around me isn’t.
I hope Lance stays retired. After all, he’s 33. I wouldn’t like to see him as another Michael Jordan who tried coming back out of retirement and didn’t do well.
That’s the last memory I have of Jordan, not the fabulous career he had.
And I have in mind some professional football players (primarily quarterbacks) who should have retired this year, but insist on playing again.
I would like to tell them to let us have our great memories of them, not the potential sad ones.

Village resident Rosemary Ford, stopped recently by to tell us a happy ending story.
It seems she lost a ring during the Flower Fair. It had plenty of sentimental value to her because it was her grandmother’s.
After the fair, she stopped by the police department and asked if anyone had turned in the ring.
Dispatcher Barb Agro told Rosemary no, but suggested she try putting a classified ad in the paper asking if anyone had found the ring.
Rosemary took Barb’s suggestion, putting it in the local newspaper.
Not too much time went by before Rosemary received a phone call from a woman who informed Rosemary her daughter had found a ring near where the Sagebrush had served food.
It was Rosemary’s ring. The mom told her she suggested to her daughter that she put it away in a safe place because someone probably really loved that ring and would be looking for it.
Rosemary offered to give the girl $25, but mom said no, her daughter was just doing the right thing.
I’m happy Rosemary got her ring back and I’m especially happy The Review was able to help her.
Sometimes it pays to be an avid sports fan. And parents, if your kid wants to bug a baseball star for his signature on a baseball, encourage him. He might end up paying for his own college education.
In conjunction with baseball’s all-star game in Detroit last week, Hunt Auctions sold $1.5 million in sports memorabilia.
Baseballs in the auction were brought to Hunts by a Michigan collector whose deceased family member was an employee of a New York baseball team in the early 1900s.
Sold was a Christy Mathewson autograph baseball for a record price of $110,000. It’s supposed to be the second highest price ever paid for any single signed baseball.
A collector from Nevada bought the baseball. Over $1.5 million worth of sports stuff traded hands.
A world record was also set by a Roberto Clemente 1958 Pittsburgh Pirates road jersey selling for $71,500.
I have bottles of water all over my house — big ones for adults, little ones for kids and a cold gallon size in the refrigerator.
I couldn’t have imagined this 10 years ago. I thought bottled water was frivolous. Now Kroger devotes a large amount of shelf space (and sometimes floor space) to this product.
The average American drank 22.6 gallons of water in 2003. That’s more than double the amount consumed in the early 1990s.
Someone’s making a lot of money.

My son Jason hopes he’s started a new Fourth of July tradition. He single-handedly talked seven people into decorating their boats with lights and forming a parade to go around Lake Orion on Flare Night.
I also participated with a friend who has a boat. We had a blast and I’m sure we’ll do it again next year.
We used five strands of lights (100 in a strand) to decorate our boat. Jason used six.
Stringing lights wasn’t labor intensive. It took us about two hours.
One boat used a smoke machine. Another one put lights behind an American flag. It looked so good, I thought it was one of those lighted flags you can buy in a store.
Another boat owner strung his lights on his power boat to make it look like a sailboat.
See how easy it is to be clever.
Boat owners need to buy (or borrow) an invertor to make the lights work. I’d say it costs about $40 to power up to 400 watts.
We all met at the sand bar to line up. It was rather exciting to be circling around seeing the other boats and knowing we were participating in a first time ever event.
The only disappointing part about the parade was the weather. It was chilly and most people were inside their homes watching us go by.
Those who braved the cold cheered and whistled their approval at us.
Come join us next year. It’s a guaranteed good time.
It’s a bird’s world…
Lake Orion’s Police Department loves birds.
Last week officer Chuck MacLachlan became a hero when he saved three ducklings from certain death.
The babies hatched at a nest at Sparks Griffin Funeral Home. Mom and kids were on their way to Paint Creek when the young ones managed to fall into the storm sewer drain.
Obviously there was a witness to the incident and the police were called.
Chuck and Lieut.. Harold Rossman showed up. Chuck rescued one of the baby ducks, but the other two managed to find their way into the pipeline.
The new DPW director Scott Baker was called. He took off a nearby manhole cover and Chuck crawled down and found the other two.
Funeral home director Tom Griffin carried the kids to their mom waiting for them at the creek.
Remember the chicken that was found in downtown Lake Orion a few weeks ago? No one came forward to claim it. (Having chickens in the village is illegal).
The cops named the chicken Penny, kept it in cage until they managed to find a home for it in Auburn Hills.

Always wash it first…
Here’s another interesting email sent to me. I have to admit I never ever think about cleaning off the top of a pop can or a box of some type of food.
A stock clerk was sent to clean up a storeroom in Maui, Hawaii. When he got back, he was complaining that the storeroom was really filthy and that he had noticed dried mouse or rat droppings in some areas.
A couple of days later, he started to feel like he was coming down with a stomach flu, complained of sore joints and headaches, and began to vomit. He went to bed and never really got up again.
Within two days he was severely ill and weak. His blood sugar count was down to 66, and his face and eyeballs were yellow. He was rushed to the emergency at Pali-Momi, where he was diagnosed to be suffering from massive organ failure. He died shortly before midnight.
No one would have made the connection between his job and his death, had it not been for a doctor who specifically asked if he had been in a warehouse or exposed to dried rat or mouse droppings at any time.
They said there is a virus (much like the Hanta virus) that lives in dried rat and mouse droppings.
Once dried, these droppings are like dust and can easily be breathed in or ingested if a person does not wear protective gear or
fails to wash face and hands thoroughly.
An autopsy was performed on the clerk to verify the doctor’s suspicions….
This is why it is extremely important to ALWAYS carefully rinse off the tops of canned sodas or foods, and to wipe off pasta
packaging, cereal boxes, and so on.
Almost everything you buy in a supermarket was stored in a warehouse at one time or another and stores themselves often have rodents.
Most of us remember to wash vegetables and fruits but never think of boxes and cans. The ugly truth is, even the most modern, upper class, super store have rats and mice.
And their warehouse most assuredly does!
Whenever you buy any canned soft drink, please make sure that you wash the top with running water and soap or, if that is not available, drink with a straw.
The investigation of soda cans by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta discovered that the tops of soda cans can be encrusted with
dried rat’s urine, which is so toxic it can be lethal.
Canned drinks and other foodstuffs are stored in warehouses and containers that are usually
infested with rodents, and then they get transported to retail outlets without being properly cleaned.

Whew! It’s darn hot. I’m not a big lover of air conditioning, but I’m liking the constant blast of cold air in our office.
Usually, I complain because it’s so cold, I have to wear something long sleeved. The complaining stopped a few weeks ago.
What a difference from last summer. I hardly wore shorts and can only remember one 90 degree day.
I don’t mind a little sweat. I wait for nine months of the year (in mostly freezing weather) anticipating sweating.
Sweating makes me appreciate living on the lake more. I can throw on a bathing suit and jump into the cool water within five minutes of arriving home.
If I need some wind blowing in my face, I can beg for a boat ride.
One negative aspect of one of the hottest Junes in history is the weed growth on the lake. At the fireworks breakfast fundraiser on Sunday, the talk was how much the lake weeds were already sticking out of the water. It doesn’t usually happen until the middle of July.
Or maybe the weeds are growing faster because of the zebra mussels in Lake Orion. We’ve been told the little creatures eat microscopic organisms in the water. That makes the water clearer and allows more sunlight to penetrate the water, thus stimulating more weed growth.
How did we get so dependent on living in a cool environment?
I was reading a fiction book where a character from another country was visiting America. He was carrying on a conversation with another character in the book and asked, ‘Why are all the buildings in America so bloody cold??
I have a friend that lives in England and he says there aren’t many places that are air conditioned. You might find a few pubs in London that supply cool air, but Alan says that’s done to attract American tourists.
My daughter Molly has lived off and on in South Africa and she tells me there’s very little places that have air conditioning, not much in cars either.
My house isn’t air conditioned. I’ve never really thought I needed to have it. The house is surrounded by big maple trees. The house faces the north, so if there’s any north wind it blows right on through the house.
In fact, I’ve often felt cold at my house when everyone else is telling me it’s gorgeous at their home.
I do have two ceiling fans. Just sitting under them makes me feel cooler. I know it’s psychological, but it works.
Sleeping is the worst. A few years ago, I finally purchased a floor fan. It moves back and forth, blowing air on my body.
Maybe the fan is just drying the body sweat, but I don’t seem to feel so hot. Again, it’s probably all in my mind.
You can stay cool, even without air conditioning or living on a lake. Jump through the lawn sprinklers or take a dip in a kiddy pool.
Eat light meals which include fruits and vegetables. Avoid vegetables that heat you up — tomatoes, hot peppers, beets, onions , garlic and spinach.
If you have a stand alone fan, put a bowl of ice in front of it while it’s running. Or make an icy neck wrap by placing ice cubes on a wet face towel and rubbing it on the back of your neck.

Pork producers for years have been listening to consumers wanting leaner pork. Though genetic selection has improved lean growth rate in pigs, it has also caused a decline in meat quality.
Now, thank God, our pork could start tasting better.
The US Department of Agriculture recently awarded to a Michigan State University research team a $1 million grant. The team will be doing DNA research to determine the genetic components that control lean growth and meat quality traits.
Taste of Home’s Country Store knows all about cooking for two. It sells a West Bend bread maker that makes bread for two-four people in only 45 minutes. The bread is an oval, 3/4 pound loaf.
It needs only a little counter space — 10-inches by 11-1/2 inches and has a one hour keep warm cycle. Cost is $79.99.
The store also features a nifty mini fry pan. I know some of you don’t know what a fry pan is. (Put it this way, I received one as a wedding gift in 1964).
It has its own legs and heat control. No need to put on stove. Taste of Home’s mini fry pan is 6-3/4 inches in diameter and is just right for smaller surfaces. Cost is $24.99.
I did this week’s Deputy Reports and noticed several credit card fraud reports. This type of fraud seems to be in the news a lot lately.
Newspapers recently reported a major theft of information from a Master Card processing center. Not to worry said news reports. The center didn’t have our social security numbers or birth dates. That’s good news, right?
Don’t you think the increase in identity theft is scary? I can imagine some day this country and maybe the world will fall into financial chaos due to this problem.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Michigan is ranked 16th nationwide for identity theft victims (per 100,000 population). However, the FTC also believes less than 20 percent of victims report the crime.
The number of identity complaints in Michigan grew from 6,566 in 2003 to 7,307 in 2004. The state’s identity theft growth rate involving victims over 40 years old exceeds the national average.
Michigan State Police has a toll-free phone number — 1-877-644-3843. Citizens can call the number to receive information on how to report identity theft when they believe they may be a victim.
Thinking of a little nip and tuck? The top five surgical procedures for women are liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck and face-lift.
The top five for men are liposuction, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), male breast reduction, hair transplantation.
In 2204 alone, plastic surgeons performed nearly 2.9 million Botox injections. That’s a 25 percent increase over 2003.
Temperature control is the hot trend in instant food prep. A San Diego company has partnered with a number of beverage distribution companies to launch its self-heating plastic containers — you can warm up your soup or latte right in your hand.

According to Fireworks Committee members about 500 people attended this year’s breakfast benefit that took place at the Lake Orion Boat Club.
That’s pretty good considering the only way to get to the island is by a water vehicle.
My daughter-in-law Kelly and son Jason have worked on the committee for a few years and came up with the idea of having two breakfasts, one at the boat club, one at the Friendship Park pavilion.
The breakfast at the park would give people who have no access to the lake a chance to support a good cause.
Unfortunately, (and I didn’t know this) the pavilion is booked up (at least on the weekends) for months and months ahead of time.
This is sad for this year’s committee, but it’s great to know the community is taking advantage of a nice facility.
The annual benefit breakfast must be getting a reputation. As I pushed my way to the front of the food line, I noticed the back of someone who looked familiar.
I tapped on his shoulder, and, yes, I was right. L. Brooks Patterson turned around and looked at me.
I wondered what he was doing at the event. It’s not an election year. Patterson told me his son lives on Lake Orion. I hope the top county guy bought some raffle tickets.
Do you remember what it was like as a young child? Do you ever wish you could go back to those days when everything was magical?
Most of us would probably say no and I would be one of those, but…sometimes…
The grandchildren over to my house again this past weekend. After all, I do live on the lake, the kids are getting older and do appreciate swimming more than they did when they were two.
Any way, Brock is a climber and I have a cedar tree that’s easy to climb. He began climbing it this past weekend and discovered a nest of baby robins.
He was so excited. Granddaughter Ryan was excited. Although tiny, we managed to lift her up so she could see the birds, which she told us, their eyes are still closed.
Kids are thrilled over this kind of stuff and it was magical to experience their excitement.
As adults, we just tend to worry birds might build nests in dumb spots like our gutters and create drainage problems.
The one thing I have noticed this spring is I have more robins hanging around in my yard.
A talented musician died last week — Glenn Schultz. I’ve known the Oxford resident for a long time, but I admit, more as the husband of friend and fellow traveler Viki Toll than as someone I was close to.
I know his children loved him. I know he had many fans and admirers of his musician talent. His creative ability to make whistles was known around the world.
I visited with the family on Sunday at Sparks-Griffin Funeral Home. I noticed a group of people standing around a TV set and wondered why.
The funeral home lets people bring in photos of the deceased and it puts together a collage of the pictures that can be watched by visitors to the funeral home.
Watching Glenn holding his children or playing an instrument was very touching and memorable.

Kids aren’t easy. Since I haven’t been around them for more than eight or nine hours at a time, I’ve forgotten that important fact.
I had a chance to catch up though when for the first time I baby-sat for grandkids Cole and Brock on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Their parents took a quick trip to Florida and for some reason trusted I could take good care of their children.
I never was much of a doctoring mom. I think I invented the sayings, ‘Just shake it off, you’ll be all right? or ‘You don’t need a bandaid, it’s not bleeding enough.?
I only had to test those doctoring skills twice during the weekend.
When I picked up Cole from the bus stop on Friday, I noticed his cheeks were all red. He must be sunburned I thought.
The next day while putting sun screen on the boys before they went swimming, I found more red blotches on Cole’s chest and back .
‘Does it itch?? I asked him. He said no. ‘Must be no big deal then,? I told him.
Brock managed to find a sliver of wood on my deck that ended up in his foot. He’s crying, I’m looking for a pair of tweezers.
I found one and attempted to pick it out with no success.
‘Oh well, you’re going swimming soon. It won’t hurt then.? That actually worked out to be true. The parents will have to deal with the sliver.
On Friday, Brock was dropped off at my office. I anticipated working for another hour/ hour and a half before taking him to my house.
Didn’t quite work out that way. Brock likes to talk, as in nonstop. It’s hard being creative when you’re hearing, ‘hey, grandma? about every 10 seconds.
I tried the crayons and coloring book routine. That lasted three minutes. Brock’s attention was then directed to building a paper clip necklace. That took up another five minutes.
I decided to go home.
Kids eat constantly. So you have to have all kinds of snack food in the house. In an ideal world, the snacks would always be of the healthy variety.
Not at grandma’s house. It’s junk food all way. I take that back, I did buy bananas and grapes. The grapes were eaten in one day. The bananas were ignored.
I didn’t cook. I bought pizza on Friday; went out to lunch at daughter Molly’s place of work in Rochester; picked up KFC chicken on Sunday.
Brock is the type of kid that loves to open the refrigerator and look in. There really isn’t much to see so I can’t figure out what the appeal is.
When my kids were young and I was a stay-at-home mom, they spent most of their summers down at the lake. That meant I had to be there too.
The same thing happened on the weekend, except Cole and Brock don’t care about staying down near the water all day.
They swim for a while, come upstairs (with me dragging behind them carrying sun screen, towels, cast off clothes) and change back into their clothes.
An hour later the clothes come back off, the bathing suits are put back on, I gather the towels again and its back to the lake.
Babysitting your grandkids is worth all the extra work, when you kiss them goodnight and they tell you they love you — priceless.

Bits and pieces of traveling…
Took a couple of days off to head up north. It still boggles my mind that gas prices can vary so much from one place to another.
When we left on Thursday, local gas stations were selling gas for $2.13/$2.15. Up at Oscoda, one station was selling gas for $1.97 while just down the street the cost was $2.10/2.11.
What happened to the days when gas costs only varied by one or two cents around the state? And why are they so different now?
In the area where I was staying, I was outside and spotted in the distance a golf cart turn ever so slowly around a corner. Oh, oh..I thought. The driver must be having problems and he might need some help.
As he got closer, I saw the man was holding a leather leash with a beagle at the end of it. The golfer was out walking his dog (or should I say driving his dog).
I wonder if he plays golf from his cart too.
The Detroit Free Press has been running articles on up north. They asked readers to tell them where they think up north starts.
Some said West Branch, Pinconning, the Zilwaukee Bridge, the big Jesus sign south of Flint (that person must be from Monroe).
If I’m traveling on I-75, it’s always been West Branch. I think it’s because it starts to become rolling hills and dense groupings of trees.
According to AAA, the most popular destination for Michigan residents is Mackinaw City. Second is Traverse City.
If I was a betting person, I guess I would have picked Traverse City. It’s gorgeous. It has plenty of wineries and places to enjoy water activities.
Expenses for vacation travelers are increasing says AAA.
A family of two adults and two children can expect to pay an average of $247 per day for food and lodging. Lodging rates average $129/night, up 3.9 percent from last year.
Meals will cost $118, up 6.5 percent.
The average cost of meals and lodging in 1950 was $13 per day.
It did rain one day while I was on my mini vacation. I decided to turn on the TV and watch the Travel Channel. If I couldn’t be somewhere sunny and warm at least I could visualize it through someone else? eyes.
Instead the Travel Channel was showing a program about building two motor homes. It took this company about three months to finish construction.
One motor home bus cost over $2 million, the other $1.4 million.
The most expensive one had TVs and DVDs scattered throughout the motorhome. In fact, there were so many of them, one drawer was full of remote controls.
A plasma TV was installed in one of those lower storage units at the bottom of the bus. It was on a shelf and could be pulled out for outside TV watching.
Another storage area contained a grill and small refrigerator that could also be pulled out.
Both of the motorhomes had one of those drawer pull out automatic dishwashers.
Happy vacations this summer, no matter how or where you travel.

Don’t you want to be rich too — buy whatever you want, whenever you want?
In preparation for the day when I do become rich, I’ve been investigating rich people with the help of Forbes magazine.
The best place to be rich is:
1) Aspen, Colorado
2) Palm Beach, Florida
3) San Francisco
4) Santa Barbara, California
5) New York City
6) Las Vegas
7) San Jose, California
8) Miami
9) San Diego, California
10) Denver
It’s obvious rich people like living near water or mountains. When I become rich, I’m thinking Denver is where I want to be.
The most expensive Zip Code in this country is Atherton, California. The median sale price of homes in this area is $2,496,553. It’s near San Francisco.
Homes of the rich:
Bill Gates lives in Medina, Washington. His net worth is $466 billion. Gates? 66,000 square foot compound includes a 60 foot long swimming pool and a 1,000 square foot dining room.
His property has been valued at $140 million and this year’s tax bill was $1.1 million.
The world’s greatest stock market investor, Warren Buffet, lives in Omaha, Nebraska. His net worth is $44 billion.
Buffet lives in a 6,000 square foot house that he bought in 1958 for $31,500.
Lakshmi Mittal, a steel magnate, is worth $25 billion. He lives in London and paid $128 million for a townhouse.
Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, lives south of San Francisco in Woodside. His house sets on 23 acres and has been built in the style of a Japanese palace. He’s worth $18.4 billion.
Michael Dell, of Dell Computer fame, resides in Auston, Texas and is worth $16 billion. He bought his 33,000 square foot home in the late 1990s. He spent some time wrangling with the local assessor over its value. It was finally pegged at $12 million.
New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is worth $5 billion. His townhouse has five floors and totals $7,500 square feet. Bloomberg paid $3.5 million for it in 1986.
Most expensive houses in America:
Three Ponds is in Bridgehampton, New York. This 25,000 square foot home is for sale for $75 million. It has a US Golf Association-rated golf course and 14 gardens.
You can buy the Pierre Penthouse for $70 million. It’s believed to have one of the largest privately-owned living rooms (43-foot by 75-feet with 23-foot ceilings) in Manhattan.
The apartment has 16 rooms, five bedrooms, three powder rooms, six baths and a private elevator for all three floors.
If you put down a $14 million down payment and obtained a 30-year mortgage on the apartment, your monthly mortgage payment would be $372,569.40.
Tara Plantation in Kauai, Hawaii is on the market for $46.5 million. This 171-acre oceanfront property has a 15,000 square foot main house, two 4,000 square foot guesthouses, a yoga studio, horse stables and a three bedroom caretaker’s home.
I like Tara Plantation. No one should be without a yoga studio.

Thanks Detroit Edison. Because of you, I’ve been able to fill column space over the years when there didn’t seem to be anything to write about.
My latest interaction with the utility company came about because of the fallen tree limb that was pictured on the front page a few weeks ago.
The day the huge tree fell over didn’t start well and got more depressing as time went by.
I spent hours watching the snow blow off the lake, covering the green grass, the yellow flowered forsythia bushes and my patio furniture.
On Sunday, the Weather Channel guy (the one who always has his hood up around his face) was standing in Pontiac telling me there was a winter storm warning for the area — anywhere from six to 10 inches of snow expected.
A little after eight o’clock, I wasn’t too happy. I had just turned the TV on and found out one of my favorite shows, Cold Case, was again delayed for some reason.
Through most of the winter the show was pushed back until 8:30 or 9 because of slow playing football games. The season has been over for a while so CBS’s Sunday night scheduling should be running right on time.
About the time a few nasty thoughts were running around in my head, the house shook and I heard a loud thunk.
My first reaction was my 100 hundred year old maple tree had fallen on my house. I ran to a window, saw the limb (from my neighbor’s tree) across the road and sparks flying from a transformer.
That’s when the electricity died. I immediately called DTE, told them about the tree limb, fallen wires and the arcing transformer.
I kept running to the window hoping to see someone.
I couldn’t drive away. A fallen line was directly behind my car.
First on the scene — a firefighter. He was moving around, wrapping yellow tape all over the place.
‘Pardon, me sir,? I yelled from my open door. ‘Is the line behind my house live??
‘I don’t know, you have to stay in your house,? he said.
DTE came at 10:30. You can tell, can’t you, I didn’t have much to do except look out my window and wait.
‘Pardon, me sir,? I said. ‘The line behind my car, is it live?? I need to get out of here.?
‘I don’t know and I don’t know when it’s going to get fixed. We need to bring a bigger truck in. But I’ll clean up the line for you before I go,? he added.
I think the bigger rig arrived at 11:30. I was trying to sleep on the sofa when I heard that diesel sound.
The next thing I know my DTE guys hopped a ride in the other truck and disappeared off the road. The first truck, also a diesel, was left running directly behind my house.
I went back to the sofa and woke up abruptly much later. The lack of that diesel sound must have woken me up. The lights were still off.
Back to the window I ran and saw no trucks. The utility wire behind my car was gone.
Oh, well, it’s too late to find warm shelter someplace else, I thought to myself, as I crawled back on the sofa.
The power was fixed by the time I got home from work the next day.

I confess, I’m a big fan of several reality shows. I can’t wait until American Idol, The Amazing Race and Survivor are on each week.
I’ve watched Survivor from its very first season. Each season seems to have its own twists, at least enough to keep me interested.
But….I have to admit I wouldn’t do well on answering Survivor trivia questions on the Pringle cans.
It appears Pringle eaters have to know the locations of each season, the names of all the participants at each location and some of the things they did during their stay.
That’s just a tad bit over the top.
This year’s twist is for the first time one tribe (Koror) wiped out another one (Ulong). Usually as one tribe dwindles down in numbers, a merge takes place or names are redrawn to even up the teams again.
The Ulong team, which had younger people, was so pathetic, it was a relief when they finally disappeared into the darkness of Palau.
The only problem with this kill-off is the cameras focused more on the losing team than the winning one. We hardly know the Korors and hardly care who wins.
I’m rooting for Tom the fireman. I know it’s an odd concept for this show, but it’s time someone who actually won lots of challenges, provided lots of food and was a team leader gets the big bucks.
Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?
I wasn’t an American Idol fan at first. It took my son Chad and his family living with me for five months to expose me to the thrill of watching would-be singers being beaten up by Simon each week.
As the contestants get voted off, the show is filled with more and more commercials. How else can you take up the time?
The biggest conflict this year is how in the world is Scott Savol still in the running. I have to admit some weeks he hasn’t done a bad job, but he’s not a real likable guy.
I did go online and check out The site’s asking American Idol viewers to vote for Savol, ‘the bad contestant.?
The reason: ‘A pattern has emerged. The producers and judges pick one contestant to ‘pimp? and this contestant ends up winning, making the American Idol less a show where the viewers pick the winners and more a show where the judges and producers get the viewers to vote for who they like.?
For myself, I love watching Paula Abdul and the stupid things she has to say. Is it an act or is she for real?
I’m leaving the best for the last. The Amazing Race is by far the best reality show on TV and well deserves the Emmys it has received.
The show each week allows us to catch just a glimpse of countries and cultures we’ll never experience.
For the most part, the contestants could be any one of us. I would be terrified to pull myself up the side of a mountain, but with a big money incentive, maybe, just maybe, I would try.
And that’s what these people are doing.
I’m hoping Rob and Amber win. I know they’ve already won a million bucks from being on Survivor, but Rob’s been so much fun to watch on Amazing Race. Go R&B.

Did you know that a hole 35 feet deep has to be dug to support the 200 foot communications tower that’s being constructed behind the village hall?
A friend and I were arguing over a word a weather forecaster used over the weekend. The man said to expect several inches of snow.
I thought that was an incorrect word to use because everyone else was calling for six to 10 inches. To me, several is similar to couple.
My friend said no, several is a lot more than a couple which means two.
So we looked up the word several in the dictionary. Here’s a definition for you. Several means more than two, but not many.
We then thought to look up the word many. It means consisting of some large, indefinite number. So…several means more than two but not some large, indefinite number. Got that?
Jody Osborn, who works in our office, and her family are involved big time in Oxford’s Relay for Life event in May.
They decided to earn some money for the event by holding a can and bottle drive a few weeks ago at Kroger’s in Oakland Township.
Over a two day period they made over $800, about half from bottles and cans, the other half from Kroger shoppers just giving a donation.
They also sold homemade jars of cookie and chili mixes and earned $90.
The Osborns even talked super basketball player Ben Wallace and a Piston’s trainer into tossing $20 each into the donation jar as they walked into the store.
Maybe they should ask their new friend Ben if they could set up their donation table at the Palace.
Speaking of the Pistons…My daughter Molly now works at a sports bar in Rochester. I asked her if the bar was very busy when the Pistons played on Saturday. She went in at 2 p.m.
She said business wasn’t bad, but it seemed as if their customers were more interested in the NFL football draft than the Piston’s first playoff game.
Molly mentioned some of the people in the bar were actually wearing Lions jerseys.
I’m somewhat of a football fan myself, but there isn’t any way I would be watching the draft for any length of time.
The top picks might be of interest, but after that it gets darn boring in-between picks.
Get a life sports fans. Try kicking the soccer ball around or tossing a baseball with your son or daughter, niece or nephew.
I know you miss watching hockey, but take a break from football. I’m sure you can find something else to do before football practice starts in July (I think).
Try calling Detroit Edison to report a power outage. I did just that on Sunday night. They have a different kind of message you can listen to. I gained plenty of experience with DTE after the ice storm and one summer weekend when a transformer blew up on our road.
The woman on the automated message told me I would be asked questions and I could interrupt her anytime with the answer.
Did I have fun or what!! I interrupted her often and she didn’t even care. But…it still took me nine minutes to talk to a real person.

Only the smartest people I know can read this column. This week it’s a test for dementia.
So if you’re afraid you won’t do well, skip Notes. You’ll be a happier person.
Below are four questions and a bonus question. You have to answer them instantly. You can’t take your time. Answer them immediately!
Let’s find out how clever you really are.
First question:
You are participating in a race. You overtake the second person. What position are you in?
Answer: If you answered you are first, then you are absolutely wrong. If you overtake the second person and you take his place, you are second.
Try not to screw up on the second question:
If you overtake the last person, then you are …?
Answer: If you answered you are second to last, then you are wrong again. Tell me, how can you overtake the LAST person?
You’re not very good at this are you?
Third question: Very tricky math. Note: This must be done in your head only. Do NOT use paper and pencil or a calculator, Try it.
Take 1,000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1,000. Now add 30. Add another 1,000. Now add 20. Now add another 1,000. Now add 10. What is the answer?
Did you get 5,000? The correct answer is actually 4,100.
Don’t believe it? Check with your calculator. Today is definitely not your day. Maybe you will get the last question right.
Fourth question: Mary’s father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2. Nene, 3. Nini, 4. Nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter. Answer? Nunu?
No, of course not.
Her name is Mary. Read the question again.
Okay, now for the bonus round: There is a mute person who wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing one’s teeth, he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done.
Now if there is a blind man who wishes to buy a pair of sunglasses, how should he express himself?
He just has to open his mouth and ask, so simple.
Baby Boomers, then and now…
Then: Getting out to a new hip joint
Now: Getting a new hip joint
Then: Mood Stones
Now: Kidney stones
Then: Moving to California because it’s cool
Now: Moving to California because it’s warm
Then: Passing the driving test
Now: Passing the vision test
Then: Long hair
Now: Longing for hair
Then: The perfect high
Now: The perfect high-yield mutual fund
Then: The Grateful Death
Now: Dr. Kevorkian
Then: Acid rock
Now: Acid reflux
Then: Keg
Now: EKG
Then: Screw the system!
Now: System upgrade
Then: VW microbus
Now: Voyager minivan
Material provided by friends

A month or so ago, a representative of a company that’s contracting with Detroit Edison stopped by my house.
My son Jason was doing his ‘have to help my mother remodel her bathroom? project.
The man told him the company was planning on trimming branches away from the utility lines. The tree they were going to work on is in my yard close to my house.
Jason called me and said the guy offered to take the whole tree down and it would cost me nothing. The man told Jason with all the large branches that were being removed on one side, the remaining branches would grow even more toward my house.
‘I told him to go ahead,? Jason said.
‘What?? I yelled. ‘He can’t take that tree down. It must be 100 years old. I love that tree.?
‘I can’t believe you’re saying that. It would cost you $3,000 to have it done. It’s too late, I already told him to do it,? Jason said. ‘You know the next owners of the house will just chop it down.?
‘Don’t do anything; I’ll be right home,? I screamed into the phone.?
I have to admit this tree has caused me problems in my 37 years of living in Lake Orion.
The tree is so huge that roots as big as a football player’s leg are growing out of the ground where we park our cars. It doesn’t make for easy snow shoveling.
Its spreading branches have created such a large area of shade in my yard that it’s difficult to grow much grass underneath it.
In the three major ice storms that have taken place in my lifetime as a lake resident, two vehicles have been damaged by branches.
And this is the tree whose roots have cracked my sewer line going to the road. Because of this, periodically the drain must be cleaned out (about every two years). Hiring a company to clean roots out of a sewer drain isn’t cheap.
I remember joking with one of these clean out guys.
‘Maybe I should chop the #$%^ tree down,? I told him. ‘I getting pretty tired of paying for cleaning out the roots all the time.?
‘It wouldn’t do you much good, at least right now,? he said. ‘A tree that big, it would take at least five years for the roots to die off.?
While I was driving home to confront the tree trimmer, I imagined chaining myself to the tree to save it. It didn’t happen.
I didn’t see any equipment when I neared the house. Jason told me the man had left, but gave him his business card. If I changed my mind, I had a couple of days to call and tell him.
I didn’t. My God, it’s a hundred year old tree. How could I possibly think of killing it. Let the future owners of the house figure out what they want to do with it.
It’s my guess they’ll tear the house down, put up a 3,000 square foot house with a two and a half car garage. The tree will have to go and no one will care.
The tree trimmer hasn’t come back yet, but I hope I’m there when he does arrive — just in case I need to do some chaining.
One last note: Detroit Edison was trimming on our street after the ice storm two years ago. A trimming crew was seen again last year and of course we’ll be seeing them again soon.
Why do they keep coming back? Can’t they get the job done all at one time? Just asking.

I’m a blue person. I love the color and my house reflects it. Somehow my remodeled bathroom is green. My kids describe it as mint chocolate chip ice cream green.
My son Jason has installed a wood door. The door and all the trim are stained medium dark (cherry) with a hint of red.
The trim has four or five lined grooves running the length of it with squares of wood with a circle in the middle at the top of each piece.
I wanted a different look for my new window. It’s small so I figured I’d have to special order some type of window treatment.
At Penney’s I spotted something that would probably work — a Roman shade.
These are ready-mades the sales associate told me. The smallest shade available was 27-inches wide by 64-inches long and was on sale from $120 down to $18. Somehow I don’t think that shade was ever $120.
The length was a problem. I only needed a little over 21-inches. Well, the woman said, you can special order it in the right size, but it’ll cost you $50, almost three times as much as the ready-made size.
I guess I can cut it, I told her. She didn’t think it would be a problem. I wanted the shade in white, but was told I would have to order it out of the catalog. Beige is now the in-stock color of choice. I ordered the shade.
If you’re not familiar with Roman shades, they pull up similar to blinds and that creates a puffy look.
By the time Jason cut the shade to the right length, most of the layers were gone, leaving little left to puff out. The shade’s all right for the moment, but I’m going to look for something else.
Still unable to figure out what material was going to be used for the vanity counter top, Jason and I traveled to a granite shop in Utica.
I’m not a big fan of granite, but I thought I’d take a look. The store had little in the way of display and we were having a hard time getting waited on.
Finally a young woman came out of an office and told us all the granite was in a back room. I had wondered why all the customers seemed to disappearing through a door. I thought maybe there was some illegal gambling going on.
The back room was filled with huge pieces of granite standing up. We were supposed to pick out one and go tell the girl what we wanted.
The woman apologized and said she didn’t do quotes. Finally, another man came along, took our measurements, said he’d be back shortly.
As he walked away, Jason whispered $675. The quote? $1,372. Now remember, this is a rather small cabinet the top was going to sit on.
Shocked, we left, knowing the vanity top wouldn’t be made out of granite.
We visited a store called the Tile Shop, also in Utica. I went wild, loving every display (there were lots of them). As I roamed around, I felt as if I were strolling through a home remodeling magazine.
Jason ended up making a top made out of three by three inch pieces of ceramic tile. It’s pretty darn good looking and was much cheaper than anything else we looked at.
I haven’t been involved in any big remodeling projects since the divorce (1981). I’ve been surprised at all the new materials there are to choose from. It boggled my mind.
I’ve also been very been impressed with my son Jason. He is very talented at building and remodeling. Hmmm…what’s the next project I can talk him into?

Well over 30 years after the downstairs bathroom had been ripped out and remodeled by the ex-husband, my son Jason convinced me it was time to tackle the job again.
It could have had something to do with the shower leaking, creating damp flooring that someday would probably go crashing down into the house’s crawl space.
The bathroom had been somewhat upgraded over the years. The red shag carpeting had been replaced with stick-on 12 by 12 tiles. The red flocked wallpaper had been peeled off and replaced with beige/blue wallpaper featuring seashells.
With this newest planned remodeling, most everything was going right back to the bare studs. I kept the toilet; it only had a little chip in it.
Out the door went the tiles from the shower, bathroom cabinet, cabinet top, sink, floor tiles, window, drywall pieces.
It’s funny what you discover when a room returns to its ? bare roots.?
Jason and grandson Brock were over one day while I was home. Brock went upstairs to use the toilet in the second floor bathroom. I heard Jason yelling for me to come into the bathroom.
I ran and he just pointed at a drain pipe in the wall. Water from the flushed toilet upstairs was seeping out of a hole in the pipe close to the floor. I was shocked and mortified.
The leaking pipe was black, not white PVC. It was made out of some material that didn’t last forever. Obviously, that was a repair we hadn’t planned on.
Oh, did I mention my ex-husband wasn’t a very good plumber.
The next stop was Home Depot to pick out material for a counter top, the new cabinet, shower and tile for the floor.
I wanted the counter top to have some green in it. Corian had the look I wanted. My tile selection for the floor wasn’t wonderful, but it would do. I found a basic cabinet style. I thought it looked OK.
I didn’t end up using anything that I picked out.
Finding a shower proved the most difficult. I thought a nice corner shower with a clear door front would be perfect.
The shower we found looked perfect in a 36 inch size, not the size I needed, 32 inch. The smaller sized ones seemed cheesy.
We finally decided to buy the plastic insert shower pieces and Jason built one. It wasn’t as ‘rich? looking as I wanted, but I rationalized no one would look inside the shower anyway.
We couldn’t find the sizes we needed in the ready made cabinets either. That actually worked out to the good because if we had it would have cost over $1,000!! We’re talking a small corner cabinet here, not a big one.
Jason ended up finding a cabinet guy to build one for us for a reasonable price.
The Corian top also was out of my price range. Jason nixed my tile choice because it wasn’t designed to put a small matching border trim around it.
Meanwhile, the stress picked up as the project slowed down. Daughter Molly and I are fighting over shower time in ‘my? bathroom upstairs that’s connected to my bedroom. Jason and I are having conflict about some choices.
Is the bathroom done yet? Have I managed to find bathroom materials that I’m happy with? Find out next week as the remodeling story continues.

Don’t we all live for the college basketball tournament this time of the year? Well, I know I do.
I’ve had a few friends complain as to why CBS needs to tie up prime time for two weeks to broadcast a sports event that not a whole lot of people have an interest in.
It’s easy to figure out if you watch several days of games. It’s all about the money — ad money.
Let’s see, if you figure in about 11 hours of coverage for four days and the considerable amount of time outs that can be taken during the games, that’s a whole lot of money coming in from showing ads
I filled out a bracket again, even though I knew this would probably be a tough year to pick a winner because of all the strong contenders.
Even if you discount the shocking upsets, most of the other games were close.
A ‘true? fan must watch all or part of the games. You never know when you’re going to choose a blowout game (and be bored) or a close game (when you’re riveted to your seat).
And it’s Murphy’s Law that the last television game of the night will run well past the time it’s supposed to end. Example: Michigan State’s game against Old Dominion lasted until 12:13 a.m (due to an incredible amount of fouls) and the Connecticut/North Carolina State (two overtimes).
Oh, by the way, my pick for the winner has the initials NC.
I’ve had mud up to my eyeballs this winter. I’m tired of it and I’m not going to take it anymore.
I know I live on a dirt road. I know I don’t have any kind of a paved driveway. I should be used to it by now, I’m told.
Well, I was used to it. Then we didn’t have much snow for a while. Or if we did, there seemed to be melting periods and the snow piles disappeared early.
That didn’t leave much snow left when the ground started thawing. Consequently, there wasn’t much standing water around.
This year, my parking area had mounds of shoveled snow which have been disappearing slowly for the past month. The sun hasn’t been out much to dry up the puddles.
When I get out the car, my shoes sink into the mud. I track the stuff into my house. I sweep the floors every day. My car is always dirty.
It’s time for spring. Oh, that’s right, it is spring.
I’m giving up on the gas game. For a couple of years, I’ve been trying to anticipate if gas will go up or down in any given week.
I’ve been filling up if I think the price is going to go up, just putting in a few dollars if I think it’s going to go down.
Now, if you believe everything you read, the gas prices are just going one way and that’s up. It’s hard to imagine that we could actually be paying close to $3 a gallon.
I’m glad I have a job close to home.
Did you know? The first toilet ever seen on television was on ‘Leave it to Beaver.?
On, average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year. Or…The phrase ‘rule of thumb? is derived from an old English law which says that you couldn’t strike your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

Being part German and a Lutheran, the City of Frankenmuth has a fascination for me. I could use this headline, ‘Hard workers do well? if I were writing a story about this town between Flint and Bay City.
I was baptized a Lutheran because of my mother. I’ve always thought of myself as a Hungarian because of my father’s excessive drinking, big eating family.
They were more fun than my quiet church- going, ‘let’s have a sauerkraut dinner fundraiser? relatives.
And that’s what I think of when I see Frankenmuth — quiet, solid people living in this flat, boring part of the state being successful at enticing crowds of tourists to their town.
Frankenmuth was founded in 1845 on the Christian missionary ideal. Before then the area had to make do with preacher circuit riders.
One of those circuit riders, German-born Evangelical Lutheran pastor Friedrich Wyneken, sent an appeal back to Lutheran churches in his country. He wanted some pastors to come to Michigan and do mission work.
A small group from the Kingdom of Bavaria left for this country in spring 1845. It was August before the colonists reached their destination — a small ridge overlooking the Cass River.
The two small communal huts they built marked the beginning of Frankenmuth, a name which translates as ‘courage of the Franconians.?
The next spring another group of more than 100 men, women and children arrived. Frankenmuth was rather a closed community and those early settlers liked it that way.
The population grew primarily from large families and more immigration from Germany.
But as urban growth increased in Flint, Saginaw and Bay City, Frankenmuth became a stopping place between them. One hotel was built, then others as the demand increased.
Travelers staying at the hotels loved the locally grown meat and vegetables. Farm-trained cooks created tasty meals, served in generous portions.
The first family-style chicken dinner was served at the Commercial House Hotel. Because of the popularity of the food, hotel owners dropped the lodging and concentrated on cuisine.
At my most recent visit to Frankenmuth, the family at Bavarian Inn devoured chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry/orange relish, coleslaw, chicken noodle soup, a pasta salad, applesauce, peas and carrots, ice cream and cookies — all for $16.95 a piece.
You can box up the leftovers so there’s no reason to eat as if it’s your last meal (yeah, right)!
The waiter received a good tip because I felt he was especially attentive and I liked the look of his legs in his German-style shorts.
The restaurants have so many employees that I’m positive there can’t be any unemployment in that community.
If a kid wants a job, he can find one at the eating places, the hotels, the tourist shops, the Christmas store. Oh, and did I mention they’re building a big water park addition to one of the motels at the beginning of the town.
Isn’t it funny that this town whose early settlers loved their isolation has become a major, friendly tourist destination.

Americans put on a big show this past weekend and I was there. It’s an all-American show time that involves monster trucks.
I don’t know much about monster trucks. I’ve seen the promos on TV where they seem to flip over a lot.
The trucks have huge tires. I’m guessing if I stood next to one, the tire would be taller than me. Maybe if Michael Jordan stood next to the tires, they would be bigger than he is.
They also have fancy paint jobs with neat names such as Medusa, The Grave Digger and Superman.
I’ve been told The Grave Digger made a special appearance several weeks ago on the CBS TV show ‘House.? Monster trucks are a really big thing, people. You ought to go to a show just once.
I’ve forgotten how big the Silverdome is, but it was packed with roaring fans, fans that seemed to eat a lot.
Up and down they went, carrying containers full of pop, popcorn, nachos, hot dogs, beer, hamburgers, cotton candy.
I know a hotdog cost $3. That should be an indicator of how much money was being spent that night.
I liked the monster truck show. I do have a few problems with it, but I’m admitting (due to small children) that I didn’t stay very long.
On the plus side for the show was I didn’t have to inhale any gas vapors. The ventilation worked well. Ear plugs were recommended which I didn’t know being a first-timer. I didn’t really need any, but then I only saw a couple of heats.
Not knowing much about monster truck racing, I depended heavily on the shows announcer to explain things to me.
I think he tried doing just that. Unfortunately because of a sucky sound system, I couldn’t understand a word he said.
Unfortunately because of the sucky sound system, I didn’t understand how anyone won. I think it must have been fastest times, but I’m not sure.
I didn’t see any trucks roll over or any kind of fancy jumping or stunts. I was told that came later in the evening, after the race.
I know it will never happen, but it would have been nice to have display first to keep the little kids interested.
People were fighting over seats. The Silverdome doesn’t do a good job with seats. Tickets seemed to say sections A or B (at least where I was), but none of the ushers could agree on which section was which.
Introduction of the drivers was dragged out. They had to climb out of the window, stand on the truck and wave at the fans. That took a while.
I was impressed to see a female driver. I think she was a good driver the two times I saw her.
We were asked to stand before the show began. I assumed someone was going to sing The Star-Spangled Banner. Nope, the song I’m Proud to be an American (not sure of the title) played.
Don’t send me hate mail. I really do like the song. I just don’t understand why we had to stand up for it. A woman sang the national anthem after that.
I think I need to go to one more monster truck show. I need to have someone explain to me what it’s all about. I need to stand next to one of those tires and have my picture taken, Yep, that’s what I need.

Molly talked me into trying out a pedicure while we were in Phoenix.
I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never had one, never wanted one. I’m sure I have the ugliest toes in the world and didn’t want anyone to get up close and personal with them.
I’ve changed my mind.
The woman who performed the pedicure was oriental, spoke very little English and was probably just concerned about being paid.
I plopped myself down in this very unusual high, padded, upholstered chair. In the front was a water well where I guess I was supposed to stick my bare feet.
The woman gently guided my legs into the water, figuring out I was inexperienced with the proper technique.
She clipped the nails, used some massaging oils and painted the toes a shiny pink in a matter of 30 minutes.
Trying not to look too attentive, I played with a remote control. It allowed me to access some massage equipment built into the back of the chair.
The options were to have the equipment move up and down or stay in one place simulating the actions of someone’s fingers.
Pretty darn nice except the time when it felt as if someone was beating on the back of my shoulder blades. I could only take a couple of minutes of this, but couldn’t figure out how to change modes.
It took another five minutes of pushing buttons before the pain stopped. I hope no one noticed.
Once painted, the woman put plastic sandals on my feet, pointed to a table where I was supposed to sit down and stick my wet toes under this light. That took a few more minutes.
I walked out to the car with the sandals on. I know you can’t do that in Michigan in February.
It’s too bad no one can see my ‘pretty toes? this time of the year. I know now I’ll get another pedicure before summer starts. The place I pick will have to have one of those chairs.
Flying has definitely changed. And I’m not talking about the long security check lines where you remove your shoes and belt.
I’m talking about the food. Lots of people are brown bagging it.
I didn’t know you could do this. Just before the gates are areas where you can buy snack food to take on the plane.
Other travelers stop at places like Subway’s and buy subs/sandwiches or fruit. I saw people eating salads while sitting in their seats waiting to board the plane.
America West did sell a hamburger or a turkey roll up for $5. Pop/water/juice and peanuts were still free.
A movie was played on small LCD screens hanging down every few rows or so. The earphones to hear the movie cost $5. A guy sitting next to me had earphones for his CD player that seemed to work all right for the movie. The flight attendants didn’t seem to care.
Speaking of flight attendants, they were all men. And not real young men either, guys in their 40s. Maybe they were all homeland security men in disguise.

Phoenix — a land of brown colors, cacti, golfers and of course the Grand Canyon. I managed to experience the cacti and the golfers, but missed the brown and Grand Canyon on my five day trip there last week.
The golfers I could do without. Their bags full of golf clubs took up way too much room on the shuttles. My garment bag seemed to always be hidden in the back of luggage racks. That meant it always seemed to be one of the last bags pulled out of the shuttle.
I didn’t see much brown either. The Phoenix area has had 10 years of drought. Not this year though. Rain’s coming down in buckets on almost a daily basis.
It’s gotten so serious that the TV stations are emulating the midwest/east newscasts. They too have Storm Teams, but they’re talking rain not snow.
It’s mostly drizzly rain on an off/on schedule, but it’s causing creeks to overflow, roads to close and rocks to fall down off the mountains.
This environment isn’t really a hardship though, because the temperatures are in the 60s and you don’t have to deal with all day snowstorms.
My daughter Molly and I were in Arizona for a wedding. Her best friend Jennifer Kowalewicz was marrying Mike Armenta. Molly was the maid of honor.
Jennifer dreamed of an outside wedding. You can’t do one in the summer in Arizona. It’s too hot. You can’t do one in February now either. It’s too rainy.
The ceremony was scheduled to take place at a golf course. Running waterfalls, a background of spectacular mountains and large adobe homes made for an ideal setting.
It was iffy all day if the rain would stop long enough for the wedding to take place. It looked like a go about an hour before.
In the meantime, while we waited, we were entertained by two wild boars who were very, very friendly with each other near the waterfall.
For those not interested in amorous boars, a mariachi band strolled around playing their tunes.
When the rain started up again, golf course employees hustled around pushing back tables in the open air reception room. When I say open room, I mean a room with a roof, some walls and open archways and no windows.
In bad weather, shades in the archways are drawn down and tall propane heaters (they’re shaped like street lights) about nine to 10 feet tall are lit. It felt cozy.
Two archways were left uncovered at one end leaving the view visible. That’s where the wedding took place.
And of course the wedding ceremony was wonderful and lovely.
I have to tell this story about Molly. I’m sure she won’t mind. And besides, she asked my advice first and I thought it was a good idea.
I believe her bridesmaid’s dress cost her $140. The alterations were $70. The dress was designed to train in the back. After the ceremony the extra material could be bustled for easier walking and dancing.
The only problem was Molly forgot to have the alterations person install some sort of hook so the dress could be put up in the back.
We discussed her choices — use a safety pin or cut the dress. The safety pin really didn’t do the job. About half way through the reception, the dress was cut (much to the horror of a few people).
Molly had a great time.

Take the age test…
Molly and I are flying to Arizona this week for a wedding. It’s my first time in this western state.
The bride-to-be tells us it’s been raining for a week. At least they don’t have an ice storm.
Have some fun while I’m gone and take the following test
1. Name the four Beatles____________,
2. Finish the line: ‘Lions and Tigers and Bears_____ _______!?
3. ‘Hey kids, what time is it??______
_______ _______ _________.
4. What do M& Ms do? ________ ____
_______ ________.
5. What helps build strong bodies 12 ways? _________ _________.
6. Long before he was Muhammed Ali, we knew him as ________ _________.
7. ‘You’ll wonder where the yellow went, _____ ____ _____ ____ _____ _____ _____
8. Post baby boomers know Bob Denver as the Skipper’s ‘little buddy.? But we know that Bob Denver is actually Dobie’s closest friend, ________ G.________.
9. M-I-C,….See ya? real soon, …..K-E-Y,
____? ______ ______ ______ _____!
10. ‘Brylcream: _____ ______ _____
______ _______ _______.?
11. Bob Dylan advised us never to trust anyone _____ _____.
12. From the early days of rock and roll, finish this line: ‘I wonder, wonder, who oo, oo, who ____ ____ ____ _____ _____ _____??
13. And while we’re remembering rock n roll, try this one: ‘War, uh, huh, huh, yeah; what is it good for??_________ _________.?
14. Meanwhile, back home in Metropolis, Superman fights a never ending battle for trust, justice and ____ ____ _____.?
15. He came out of the University of Alabama and became one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. He later went on to appear in a television commercial wearing women’s stockings. He is Broadway ___ ________.
16. ‘I’m Popeye the sailor man: I’m Popeye the sailor man. I’m strong to the finish, _____
_____ ______ _____ ______, I’m Popeye the sailor man.?
17. Your children probably recall Peter Pan was recently played by Robin Williams, but we will always remember when Peter was played by _______ ______.
18. In 1962, a dejected politician chastised the press after losing a race for governor while announcing his retirement form politics. ‘Just think, you won’t have _____ _____ to kick around any more.?
19. ‘Every morning, at the mine, you could see him arrive. He stood six foot six, weighed 245. Kinda? broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip, and everybody knew you didn’t give no lip to ______ _______ ______.
20. ‘I found my thrill _____ _____ _____.
21. ________ _______ said ‘Good night, Mrs. Calabash ______ _____ _____.
22. ‘Good night, David.? ?___ ___, ____.?
23. Liar, liar, _____ _____ _____.?

1. John, Paul, George, Ringo
2. Oh, My!
3. It’s Howdy Dood Time!
4. They melt in your mouth, not in your hand.
5. Wonder Bread
6. Cassius Clay
7. when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.
8. Maynard G. Krebbs
9. Why? Because we like you.
10. A little dab’ll do ya.
11. over 30
12. who wrote the book of love
13 Absolutely nothin?
14. the American way
15. Joe Namath
16. ’cause I eats me spinach
17. Mary Martine
18. Richard Nixon
19. Big Bad John
20. on Blueberry Hill
21. Wherever you are
22. Good night Chet
23. pants on fire

How did you do?
21-23 correct = 50+years old
17-20 correct = 40s
14-16 correct = 30s
11-13 correct = 20s
0-10 correct = You’re like, sorta? a teenager, dude

What are we talking about here?
‘Short leads give more maneuverability. Long leads and lead lines limit your ability to go where you need to go. The more traffic the more important.?
This might sound like directions to get through rush hour traffic. It isn’t. It’s a fishing tip.
Did you know?
We all love to travel to Frankenmuth for its famous chicken dinners. In the early days the Cass River was a source of major annual flooding in the downtown area. And the flooding seemed to take place during tourist holidays.
On Easter Sunday in 1947, six inches of river water covered the main floor of Zender’s Hotel ( now Zender’s Restaurant).
Because of all the days of business lost, the US Army Corps of Engineers constructed a dike in 1952. The days of flooding disappeared.
The Bavarian Inn was known as the Union House Hotel in 1888. For 75 cents, guests received a room, breakfast and shelter, and feed for their horses.
A traffic stopper
It’s obvious Lake Orion people missed eating at Taco Bell. For those of you not traveling down M-24 this past weekend, you missed some major tie-ups near the recently reopened fast food restaurant.
I was driving south, early afternoon on Saturday when the traffic in the right hand lane slowed. I couldn’t figure out why until I got close to Taco Bell.
The parking lot was packed with vehicles. The drive through lane was backed up to M-24.
It obvious the people living in this area are big Mexican food lovers and really, really miss eating at the missing (never to be mentioned again, until construction starts) restaurant.
Speaking of eating
You have to love the American Legion’s once-a-month breakfast. It takes place the first Sunday of the month.
For $6, you can order a good size steak, two eggs, all the toast you can make, potatoes, orange juice, milk, coffee. And you might see a neighbor or two.
Herbal remedies
Are you surrounded by sick, coughing people? Try some of these old fashioned herbal remedies. Are you on any medication? Check with your doctor before taking herbs.
? For a cough: Steep some sage in freshly boiled water for at least 20 minutes, Drink hot or cold.
? For head congestion: Steep fenugreek in boiled water for five minutes. Drink this tea warm.
? For nausea: Steep two tablespoons of freshly grated ginger in three cups of boiled water. Use it as a gargle or soak a hand towel in it and hold towel to head.
? To boost your immune system: Take a daily dose of echinacea during the winter months as a preventative measure. The herb should not be used by anyone with a severe illness or an autoimmune disorder, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
? For chest congestion: Steep the herbs mullein or lobelia in boiled water. Saturate a hand towel with the warm liquid, place it on your chest and relax.
When in Rome
I’m a big fan of The Amazing Race. Last week the competing couples were in Shanghai. One of the women, I think it was Rebecca, told the others not to say they were going to get Chinese food, just say food. she said.
She’s right. Americans don’t say ‘lets go out for American food.?

A lot of talk about providing design rules has been going on in the village for a long time.
Village council members early in January declined to go along with a recommendation by the planning commission to come up with some regulations that speak to appearance or architectural styles.
While saying no to village-wide regulations, council members rightly so left a door open to apply architectural standards to the downtown area.
They should do this soon.
Right now under the village’s current zoning laws, if the owner of the Sagebrush Cantina wanted to, he could construct an ultra modern building.
Fortunately, the Zaraga family and their architect Steve Auger have designed a building that will closely follow the looks of the old one.
They weren’t forced to. They just wanted to; they’re people who desire to preserve the old downtown look.
Restricting styles in a residential area is a gray area that should be looked at more carefully.
Just what defines a certain style in a certain neighborhood? I’ve never been able to figure it out around here.
Driving through the village, you’ll see bungalows, two story historical homes, large ranch homes and houses that looked like they were built sometime in the 1950s.
These could all be in the same block.
And as councilman Harry Stephen mentioned at a council meeting, how could you really tell people how their dream house should look.
Now, here’s where the gray area comes in.
Because the village has no design rules, we are starting to see big foot homes pop up on Lake Orion.
In fact, Stephen has one built right next to his house. I’m sure he wasn’t happy when that house was constructed. It seems as if it’s blocking some of his lake view.
Other new homes built or under construction on North Shore and Lakeview loom so large it appears as if their next door neighbors? houses are garages.
I have a two story house on two lots on the lake. I’m absolutely positive when I sell it, the new owners will tear it down and construct a monster home. I feel sorry for one of my neighbors. His house is probably about 900 square feet.
I know Birmingham had problems with big foot homes being built in its residential areas. The city had to establish some rules to restrict very large homes being built next to small ones.
Somehow both the village and the township need to come with some type of standards to prevent this happening on the lake.
On another note, businesses are reinvesting money back into the downtown.
According to Downtown Lake Orion statistics, current businesses spent in 2004 over $188, 000 in improvements.
Interiors were rehabbed. New signs were installed. Exteriors were painted. New awnings were put up.
Some of the $188,000 included fire restoration projects at CJ’s Cafe, Verwood Apartments and Ed’s Gifts.
What do you think of design rules? Email me at

It’s a celebration of women and The Change.
It’s called Menopause The Musical and it’s been at Detroit’s Gem Theatre for 10 months. According to our waiter at the restaurant in the theatre, it will continue to wow audiences into July.
Six of us last Thursday night snacked on mussels, crab cakes, gourmet pizzas before the musical. Our waiter said Menopause The Musical was really good, but sounded as if he preferred Escanaba, a play about deer hunters up north.
I don’t know if that was a male thing on his part or the fact he’s probably been serving women primarily for 10 months — and we all know they’re lousy tippers (ha, ha).
You have to be impressed with a musical that’s been in town for 10 months, it was darn cold the night we went and it still managed to pack the place. A few men were even scattered around the theatre.
And it’s my guess that many in our audience had seen the musical before, maybe more than once before.
The show starts with four women (Power Woman, Soap Star/Dance Captain, Earth Mother, Iowa Housewife) at a New York City Bloomingdale lingerie sale.
They have nothing in common but hot flashes, night sweats, the daytime listlessness, the memory fuzz, the weight gain, the chocolate binges, the mood swings that send husbands out of the house. They spend about 80 minutes singing, laughing and eating throughout the store.
Looking around the theatre, it was obvious this musical appeals to women in age ranging from their 40s to their 60s.
Obviously, younger women don’t care to think about menopause and older women have forgotten they ever had it.
The playwright, by the way, is 53 and described as a ‘free spirit.?
Menopause The Musical is a musical parody set to 28 relyricized, classic, baby-boomer tunes (I recognized them all).
How about ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine (You’ll no longer See 39) and the disco favorite Stayin? Awake, Stayin? Awake.
To the tune of Wimoweh I heard:
In the guest room or on the sofa
My husband sleeps tonight…
or to the tune of Heat Wave:
I’m having a hot flash,
A tropical hot flash.
My personal summer is really a bummer,
I’m having a hot flash…
or to Chain of Fools:
Change, change, change
Change, Change, Change
Change, Change, Change
Change of Life

My body tried to warn me
The signs weren’t too cool
It’s treat’n me mean,
It’s treat’n me cruel.
At the end of the show the audience was invited to jump up on stage and dance to the song, New Attitude. Most on the lower floor did. Those of us stuck in balcony didn’t. Too far to walk I guess.
Thank God, the Big M is out of the closet. ‘We’ve come a long way, baby.?

The vinyl records are gone. The cassette tapes are collecting dust. Soon I’ll be throwing out the VCR.
My kids think a cell phone is a necessity, not a luxury.
Televisions get bigger and programs are broadcast in high definition. Digital cameras produce instant photos. Video cameras are no bigger than the palm of your hand.
Houses are built with one room devoted to your own personal theater system. Paved driveways have heating coils to melt the snow.
We now listen to satellite radio and some vehicles have a mapping system to help travelers find their way.
I can send files created in my office on the computer to the company office in Oxford. And I can pull files from Oxford to here. Ditto for photos.
My mother died nine years ago in January. If she was able to come back and visit she wouldn’t understand some of the technology we’re already taking for granted.
She might know what a cell phone is, but she would be puzzled by one that took pictures or one that could send a text message.
If I mentioned that I was thinking of buying a plasma TV, she wouldn’t know what I was talking about.
If mom dropped by my office on a Tuesday, she might notice that I have a flash drive on a string hanging around my neck. She would have no idea what it’s used for.
Most of us depend on using computers for work, to find out information on the Internet or to email friends across the country.
My mom knew what a computer was. She probably had never heard of Google, or cookies or seen any type of www address.
Of course, mom went to grocery stores. But I bet she never thought that someday people would be scanning, bagging and paying for groceries without the help of a grocery clerk.
My mom had a radio and a record player. She wouldn’t believe me if I told her she could now store hundreds of songs on a computer chip or a miniature hard drive and play them using this tiny piece of equipment called an iPod.
My mom ordered items out of a Sears? or Penney’s catalog. Delivery sometimes took several weeks.
She would be fascinated to see that I could pull up a Target website, scan through pages and pages of products, pick out some to buy, put them into a shopping cart, charge them and have them come to my house in a matter of days.
In the old days, when mom went to movies she actually had to stand in line to buy tickets. Now she could purchase them online or go to the movie theater, stand in front of a kiosk, touch the screen, make her selection, and pay for them with her charge card.
Speaking of charge cards, if mom was around today she could pick and choose what type she wanted — one that would give her grocery money back, one that would give her dollars towards trips to Disney World, airline tickets, money towards the purchase of new cars.
I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in the next nine years. If mom comes back to visit me then, I’m sure she’ll think she’s in a strange, new world.

A perfect diet…
Lose any weight yet? I’ve read that the average person puts on five to 10 pounds during the holiday season (Thanksgiving).
Then of course, these same people who don’t have any will power (about 90 percent of the country’s population) decide they have to get rid of it before the bathing suit season.
Peggy from the internet has a great diet to help us lose weight and help with the stress of it all.
1/2 of a grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast
8 oz. skim milk
4 oz. lean broiled chicken breast
1 cup steamed spinach
1 cup herb tea
I Oreo cookie
The rest of the Oreos in the package
2 pints Rocky Road ice cream, nuts, cherries and whipped cream
1 jar hot fudge sauce
2 loaves garlic bread
4 cans or 1 large pitcher of Coke
1 large sausage, mushroom and cheese pizza
3 Snickers bars
Entire frozen Sara Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from freezer.
l If you eat something and no one sees you, it has no calories.
l If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the diet soda cancels out the calories in the candy bar.
l When you eat with someone else, calories don’t count if you don’t eat more than they do.
l Food used for medicinal purposed, NEVER counts, such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast and Sara Lee cheesecake.
l If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
l Movie related foods don’t have additional calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one’s particular fuel. (Examples: Milk Duds, buttered popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Hots and Tootsie Rolls).
l Cookie pieces contain no calories. The process of breaking causes calorie leakage.
l Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something.
l Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. (Examples: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and mashed potatoes.
l Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color.
l Anything consumed while standing has no calories. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.
l Anything consumed from someone else’s plate has no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to his/her plate. (We all know how calories like to cling!).
And remember…’stressed? spelled backwards is ‘desserts.?
Like to share a diet with the readers? E-mail it to:

Who would have thought playing dominos would have become so popular that people everywhere are buying their own sets.
And it’s not just the regular game we grew up with, it’s Mexican Train, which requires at least a double set of dominos.
I played Mexican Train a few years ago in Grand Haven so I’ve had some exposure to this version that lots of people can play at the same time.
I played it again while I was up north last week. It’s a good winter game because Mexican Train can last a long, long time.
Bring a sleeping bag, lots of refreshments and calculator. Also, bring a rule book on how to play the game, because there seems to be different versions on exactly how you play.
I got that opinion sitting at the table waiting for the game to start. It was finally determined that the rules of the evening would apply. Translation: Make up your own rules as long as everyone agrees to them.
Jim, who appears to know what he’s talking about, says the rules he’s read aren’t clear.
I have to agree with him. After learning the game in Grand Haven, I too bought a set. I had visions of playing at family gatherings (trying that bonding thing).
Of course, I forgot the grandchildren are still little and need attention. They especially seem to need attention when their favorite adults are trying to have a good time without them.
Family dominos hasn’t happened yet.
But I did read the directions on how to play and got confused after the first paragraph.
I have a question for an experienced player. I know how to ‘satisfy,? but where did that word come from in relationship to the game?
The calculator is needed to add up all the dots on the dominos that you have left in your ‘hand? when someone goes out.
Oh, by the way, the winner of Mexican Train is the player who had the least points (dots) in the final score.
By the time a winner is declared after five hours, it really doesn’t seem that important.
I suggested bringing a calculator to the game because it would be a big help in tallying up your dots after each hand.
I know the object of the game is to get rid of as many dominos and the ones with the most dots on them as your can. But that doesn’t always work.
The only way I could count my left over dominos was to count each colored dot separately (1 and 2 and 3….). I was never able to look at the domino and see a certain amount of dots on one half the side and on the other half (For example: 12 plus 6).
The colors of the dots are supposed to indicate how many there are. The trouble with that is some of the dot colors were just a shade different, bringing some confusion.
It would have been worse if the game was played with old fashioned dominos (all black dots).
I thought I was the only one having trouble until someone suggested making a key showing a colored picture of each grouping and how many it was.
I have to admit when I was counting I did it in a hurry. I got the feeling it didn’t matter if my counts were off. No one really cared. It’s the camaraderie, not the final score that’s important.

Who’s Ben Affleck? Not anyone we care to go see in any recent movie. You think maybe it had anything to do with his overhyped relationship with J-Lo?
Now Jude Law, on the other hand, has to be the new sex symbol and hot movie star. I liked him in ‘Closer? and wouldn’t have a problem with seeing him in other movie flicks.
Toyoto’s new Scion could be the next car you could fall in love with. My friend Vicky has one and people stop on the street to take a look at it. Yes, she calls it ‘her clown car,? and yes, it’s not very pretty on the outside.
But just sit in it for a minute. It’s roomy, it has plenty of extras and, yes, it’s cheap.
Someone described it as a stretched out Mini Cooper.
Barbara Streisand may be making a comeback — not as if she really cares. I’ve been reading she’s the best thing to go see in the new movie, Meet the Fockers.
Could Botox be on its way out? Maybe aging gracefully (a face to match your hands) is back in style.
After watching the final of the TV reality show, The Swan, (there was nothing else on) I believe women are rethinking this type of extreme makeover. After 12 operations and four months of work no one cares who or what you are, they just think you’re somewhat freaky.
Have you seen any of these women’s husbands? Not so good looking. I wonder if they would put up with a tummy tuck, teeth straightening and endless workouts.
Can’t get enough of Lost and Desperate Housewives. And the two coolest shows on TV are both on ABC — a network I hardly looked at a year ago.
Both have made the Best TV shows lists of all the critics.
I know you won’t believe me, but I’ve been hearing stainless steel appliances are on their way out. Sorry, if you’ve spent thousands of dollars on upgrading your kitchen. The new hot color, why red of course!!
Fake and real fur are quite in fashion this year. But…if you remember last year, chenille was seen all over the place. And where is it now?
Being a slave to high fashion isn’t worth the time and money. Here today and gone tomorrow.
My daughter Molly loves her very nice cool pink purse, but will she love it as much next year? I doubt it.
Women can’t get enough of brooches this year.. They go well with the short jackets. My trouble is I have a lot I inherited from my mother and they all look like they belong on a basic black dress. That means they’re too big and too gaudy.
Speaking of jewelry, now that I’ve invested lots on money on silver, I know gold will be making a big comeback next year.
I talked myself into buying two pair of pointy shoes. Why? Because they’re hot right now. I conveniently forgot my toes don’t like to be squeezed together. I now have a corn between two toes and can’t wear either pair.
Being in high fashion doesn’t mean being stupid.
I hope someone decides the color purple should be in again. I have a closet stuffed with clothes in various shades of purple.

It’s about time. A bakery in Montana is making half loaves (eight slices and two heels) of bread to sell. It also plans on selling hamburger buns in packages of four instead of eight.
These bakery people expect to sell these smaller loaves of bread to empty nesters, people living alone, or small households.
As a person who lives alone, except when daughter Molly shows up for a while, I never buy bread and I never buy hamburger buns — unless it’s for a July 4th party.
I don’t buy these products because I end up throwing half of the bread and buns out. I don’t freeze them for later use. I think they taste terrible when thawed out.
The Montana bakery is selling their small loaves at $1.35. This will cost buyers more per ounce. But when you figure you’re throwing out some of the cheaper loaf, I’m sure smaller loaves end up less expensive.
And no, I will not use the bread slices to feed ducks!!!
Unfortunately the Montana bakery won’t be selling its loaves in Michigan. It’s my fervent hope local suppliers will pick up on the idea.
A local business recently sent us a letter outlining its gift policy for the holidays. It’s of interest, because in all my years working at the paper, I’ve never received this type of information before.
In my line of work, you don’t really expect any holiday gifts, except for maybe calenders. Free calenders are hard to come by anymore.
My own policy on receiving calendars, by the way, is we only like ones with scenery.
This unnamed business? gift policy says:
n Meals and entertainment are only to be accepted when both the employee and the individual or representative of a business are present and a substantial business discussion takes place during, directly before or directly after the activity. (Hmmm, this seems like an easy one to circumvent).
n The solicitation, purchase or acceptance of entertainment or sporting event tickets for personal use is prohibited. (A hockey season is unlikely, so who cares about Red Wings tickets).
n Personal purchases or discounted merchandise through business contacts are prohibited.
n Travel or lodging for business or personal purposes may not be accepted.
n If any employee receives a gift either at work or home, it should be returned to the sender with the business bearing the cost of the return. (It wouldn’t be hard to cover up those home deliveries).
Won myself a $10 coupon for Jet’s Pizza at the Holly Jolly Folly fundraiser a few week’s ago.
My name came up immediately following a whining session by me. I was telling someone I never (and I mean never) have my name drawn for anything.
I’ve never had a Jet’s Pizza before. We ordered one while decorating the Christmas tree on Sunday.
It was darn good — a meat lovers deep dish one. I haven’t had so much meat in weeks.
Hooray for Chris, the last man standing and winner of Survivor’s million dollars. It just goes to show you the best liar wins the money.

What would Lake Orion do without the annual Christmas parade?
It brings people downtown that probably never set foot in the village any other time of the year. But that’s all right. At least they’re here to see the village at its best.
I wandered up and down the streets last Saturday night taking photos. I know at least spectators at Flint and Broadway were standing six to eight people deep.
Kids were laughing. Pets wore accessories in keeping with the holiday spirit.
Speaking of pets….Friend John came bursting into The Review office before the parade started, all excited about seeing a goat down the street.
‘Yeah, right, a goat. It’s probably just a strange looking dog,? I told him.
‘No, really, it’s a goat,? he said. ‘Let me show you.?
Being the investigative reporter that I am, I told John I would grab my camera and follow him.
Several blocks later, there it was, dressed in its holiday finery, being petted by two or three children.
I asked them what the goat’s name was and no one knew. They told me it belonged to the parade.
I tried taking its picture, but the cute little parade viewers just wouldn’t stop petting the goat long enough for me to get a good shot. All I got was the back of their coats.
Come to think of it, I never did see that goat in the parade.
This year they put the stage where the parade announcers stand next to my office. It seems too bad it had to move from Flint/Broadway, but I can guess why it happened.
After the parade, it took a good 30 to 35 minutes to dismantle the stage, on loan from Oakland County. I can see why the police would rather have any stage stay away from the major intersection. It would help move the traffic out of town faster.
The Big Chief Chorus from Waterford and female singers called the Mood Swings entertained the early spectators that were wandering around town.
The barbershop singers managed to get the crowd singing Christmas music, but I think it was the Mood Swings (think of the Andrews Sisters) who were really pleasing the crowd.
I was invited to attend the Holly Jolly Folly at Wally Edgar’s place on Friday night and admired the hard work of all the volunteers.
The Orion Parade Group has about seven core members who do most of the work. Money needs to be raised for such things as paying for liability insurance, those costumes you see people wearing along the edge of the street (Mickey Mouse and Blues Clues), participating bands, the horse carriage, etc.
I was told the volunteers even bought their own tickets for the Holly Jolly event. Members of the parade group are looking for help already for next year. If you want to keep this event a success, call them at 248-693-0991.
And thank God for corporate sponsorship.
I think an hour of a parade is just enough and the lights make it special So there, Rochester!!

Reader Mary Beth Anker says she’s a veteran shopper. She sent me a list of tips for shopping survival and success on the day after Thanksgiving.
Although I wasn’t able to print the tips last week, I think Mary Beth’s advice can help throughout the Christmas shopping season.
1. Pick a shopping partner wisely. My rule of thumb is, if you can’t vacation with them, don’t shop with them. Also, notice that ‘partner? wasn’t plural. Keep it simple folks. Three is a crowd and all that.
2. Don’t attempt to shop by memory. Both of you should prepare and prioritize a shopping list ahead of time. Include pictures if you wish.
Be sure to include all store hours, early bird specials and free gifts. Include any items you have already purchased so as to not over shop. Finally, be sure to carry sale ads with you at all times. You’ll need them for #6.
3. Dress appropriately. Leave your jackets in your car so your arms are free for packages. Wear loose clothing and a purse that slings from shoulder to hip or one of the backpack varieties.
Fanny packs will work, although I feel they never really do anything for anybody’s fanny, especially mine. Wear something that is easy to spot in a crowd like deer antlers or a holiday hat.
Consider a jingle bell around your neck to use in times of panic. Jingling that bell for your partner means one of two things (a) it’s almost time to check out so get your buns back to base or (b) I need help getting this fantastic sale item and I’m outnumbered.
4. All diets are off. Nothing counts as carbs, points or calories the days you shop. It’s necessary to keep your strength up. I promise you’ll burn it off as fast as you can shove it into your mouth.
5. Avoid cell phone calls. Your family and friends are not calling to see if you’re having fun; they’re calling to see if you can run some errands for them. I have two words for these people — ‘vacation day.?
6. Know what your stores have to offer. In many stores, if you produce your sale flyers, they will price match. If a store has a free give away, take it and walk away without guilt.
7. Always be sincere and friendly to store employees. Remember they are overworked and your greatest allies. A heartfelt complement or two and they’ll gladly scale the highest shelf for that last sale item.
8. Think Olympics when the lines are long. This is what I call ‘relay shopping.? One stands in line pushing the items ahead with their feet while the other is sent out to shop in five or 10 minute intervals.
A little ‘Go, Go, Go? as your partner heads off will boost their adrenaline. Remember to listen for that frantic jingling, indicating the race is over and it’s time to check out.
9. Practice good shopping karma. If someone asks for something they can’t reach or needs direction on a color/size, please help them out. Warning! If helping this fellow shopper means turning away from an item your were about to grab, this is a trap. Chances are their partner is lurking and will snatch that item right out from under your nose.
10. Spread good vibes all around. If you’re waiting for a store to open, start The Wave or Macarena. Once you’re in the store, if the music is great, take a moment to wiggle your hips, snap your fingers and sing…even if it’s off key.
Happy shopping!!!

Could the recent announcement that Sears and Kmart will probably merge be the nail in the coffin that ends the dynasty of a business that’s been around since 1886?
You laugh and say that could never happen, but where is Montgomery Wards and Hudsons? You all thought those retail stores would be around forever.
When was the last time you were in a Sears store? When I’m in one, usually at Summit Place, I’m just walking through to get into the mall. Sears is a good place to park. Its parking area is never crowded.
When I was growing up in Port Huron, it was big news when it was announced a Sears store was coming to the downtown area.
It was a stand alone store which had just one floor and didn’t sell any clothing if I remember right. Whenever I was near the store, the parking lot always seemed to be packed.
It’s hard to understand what happened to the one-time top retail store in the country. Its Kenmore appliances and Craftsmen tools have the reputation as being the best.
According to information obtained over the Internet written by Dana Pieschl, Sears, in 1992, had bad financial losses and was faced with the possibility of a deteriorating business if no changes were made.
Sears, Roebuck and Company was a dominate force in the retail industry for over a century.
Richard Sears began a company known as RW Sears Watch Company in Minneapolis in 1886. A year later Sears moved his business to Chicago.
He advertized for a watchmaker and hired an Indian man, Alvah Roebuck. The corporate name of the firm became Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1893.
The company’s mail-order company took off in the 1890s. Its catalog consisted of shoes, women’s garments, wagons, fishing tackle, stoves, furniture, saddles, bicycles, etc.
Sears for the first time in 1901, needing more financial support, offered common preferred stock and became publicly owned.
Retail stores started opening in 1925 and by the end of 1927 Sears had 27 stores. Four hundred were scattered around the country by 1933.
Between the 1940s and 1970s, Sears went through many changes and expansions. It developed and perfected the idea of developing the store around the merchandise.
Pieschl explained that meant first a selling floor would be developed where merchandise was to be placed within the store. Then the design of the outer building would be developed.
Some of the reasons for Sears decline, Pieschl said, was a lack of communication between top executives and many problems with customer service.
It also appears Sears hasn’t provided new products, new services, new ways of doing business.
The few times I’ve shopped at Sears recently I’ve noticed their computers are antiquated. What clothes I did try on weren’t made very well.
With this proposed merger, I hope Sears can return to its former superior status. It would be a shame if it didn’t.

Let’s see, 59 going on 60. Can retire at 62. Probably won’t; can’t afford to.
Figure health insurance will be my biggest expense.
So what options do I have? How long can I work? Looking at my social security benefits, age 70 would be my best bet.
Not sure Sherman Publications would want to keep me around that long. I could probably deliver newspapers to all our businesses and boxes scattered around town.
Our current newspaper guy, Charlie Ring, has been doing a darn good job of keeping our boxes and racks filled for years. He’s in his 70s.
Maybe I can take his place when he retires…if he retires.
Even though the government would like us to retire later in life (that helps keep social security funding healthy), people of all ages are retiring earlier than their parents and grandparents did.
Why do these retirees feel they have to retire at age 60 or 62? We’re living longer and if the amount of pills we’re taking is any indication, we’re healthier.
I guess this current generation has felt overloaded. For those two job families with young children, life can seem like one long race, without time for real exercise or real leisure.
I look at families in their late 30s, early 40s range and see them sprinting from one activity to another.
Drive the kids to day care. Pick the kids up after school. Then there’s the travels to soccer, piano practice, dance class, PTO meetings.
Try to squeeze in three or four days a week at the gym. Work overtime just to keep up with the bills. Work at a retail store during the holidays so you can pay the Christmas bills.
Now these people are reaching middle age. The result is a collection of stress-related, chronic ailments that are often and mistakenly viewed as the inevitable part of aging.
Did you ever notice how many TV commercials out there target heartburn, something called acid reflux, depression?
Must be a big market for this type of thing.
It’s my guess everybody’s pretty much ready to collapse and can’t wait to retire at 60.
But wait, now what do you do? Not everyone is into golfing, making crafts or watching grandkids every day.
Some of us might like to travel, but don’t have a lot of money.
There’s volunteer work. But to be honest with you, since I don’t have a lot of money, I would prefer to spend my time earning some.
Here’s a solution. Most of us over the age of 55 remain productive. How about working just four hours a day?
We could do this in many ways. Stick with our current employers and work for them four hours a day.
Phased retirement would replace the present unsatisfactory choice between full-time work and full-time retirement.
Find other employment and work some type of flex schedule. Come in in the morning only, afternoon only, work only on the weekends…whatever works best for you and the employer.
This country has to figure out what to do with us, an aging society. Let’s do some experimenting with flexible work schedules.

Commentators on two different TV stations for Michigan State’s last two football games have used the word devastating in describing their loses.
That’s not the word I would use.
The dictionary defines devastate as: to lay waste, make desolate, ravage, destroy, to make helpless, overwhelm.
So let’s see. Was MSU overwhelmed against Michigan and Ohio State? Were they made helpless? Were they destroyed?
I believe not. Unfortunately, the team lost a quarterback, Drew Stanton, who looks to be a future star in the professional world of football. And frankly MSU hasn’t been as good since that happened.
I’ve been really impressed with Stanton’s talent. The only problem I can see in his future is his proclivity to want to run the ball himself. That tends to lead to more injuries. Just remember the Lion’s Charlie Bash — exciting to watch, when he was healthy — which wasn’t very often.
How far will people go to be politically correct? You have to wonder.
I watched my newest favorite show on Sunday night — Desperate Housewives. The stay-at-home-mom (and not liking it) with all the kids was volunteering to help with her twin sons? class play — Little Red Riding Hood.
The mother who coordinated the play announced there was a rewrite. She told the other volunteers that Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma was no longer going to be eaten by the Big Bad Wolf. It was too frightening for the children.
‘It? only a fairy tale for God’s sake,? our hero mom argued. Her viewpoint prevailed in the end.
But the storyline reminded me of discussions with others around Halloween time. It seems some of our schools are telling parents their kids shouldn’t be wearing blood and gore on the day of their school parades. It’s probably too frightening.
My granddaughter Ryan is in kindergarten in the Grand Blanc School District. My daughter-in-law Tracey told me she received a note from Ryan’s teacher saying the children should only wear ‘life affirming? costumes.
What is that?
Then daughter Molly tells me, after a visit with her cousin in the Port Huron area, that her kids aren’t allowed to wear costumes to school at all anymore.
It’s only Halloween for God’s sake!!
We thought we were in a time warp in our office last month when we received the daily Oakland Press.
Jody pulled the plastic off the rolled up newspaper and started to browse through the front page stories. Something didn’t seem right to her. The newsprint looked old and yellow.
She checked out the date and discovered the paper was one printed in March. The paper deliverer must have a sense of humor. The next day’s paper had the word ‘whoops? printed on the blue plastic cover.
Of course, I guess I can’t ignore my own newspaper ‘whoops? since some readers have pointed it out to me.
I changed the date for last week’s paper from Oct. 27 to Nov. 37. This all happened when I back spaced to change the 2 to a 3, but neglected to notice I hadn’t gotten rid of the 7.

Blondes typically don’t have as much hair as people with dark hair colors. I don’t know why.
Obviously as we get older, some of us (both men and women) have hair that seems to get thinner by the day.
My mother, in her later years, had her hairdresser work in a hair piece at the back of the top of her head.
I’ve always been worried that I too someday may have to do the same thing.
I’m confessing now that I have a bald spot on my scalp that I can’t seem to stop obsessing about. It feels as if I have a hole in my head.
And it has nothing to do with genetics.
I screwed up.
The hair tale starts on a Monday morning around 8 a.m. I washed my hair and was getting ready to dry it.
I use one of those round brushes that you wrap the hair around and blow dry it.
For some strange reason, I had just bought a new one. My old brush had bristles. I thought I’d try one with plastic bristles that had little knobs on the end of them.
I rolled a big chunk of hair up into the brush and began moving the blow dryer back and forth. In a minute or two I attempted to pull the brush out. I couldn’t. It was stuck tight to my head.
Feeling a little stupid, with my fingers I tried pulling my hair out. Not one strand of hair budged.
After 15 minutes, with not much success, I ran to daughter Molly’s bedroom and woke her up.
‘You’ve got to help me,? I rattled off. ‘My hair’s stuck in my brush.?
Molly tried picking some strands out. She tried and tried and finally gave up, telling me she wasn’t doing much good.
Now I panicked. It was almost time to go to work (Monday’s a busy day). An hour had gone by.
I ran back to my bathroom and yanked and yanked and yanked. Hair dropped into the sink, onto the floor. It was everywhere.
Molly came in. ‘I think I’m going to have to cut it,? she said. ‘I guess so,? I sighed.
Finally, the darn brush fell out. I threw it in my wastebasket.
I got up enough nerve and looked into the mirror. On the left side of my head was this big pink shinny bald spot.. I quickly combed hair over the spot (now I know how bald men feel) and went to work.
For a week, I avoided looking at the ‘spot.? I wouldn’t even touch it.
It was time to go see my hairdresser Nicole. When I walked into the salon, I took her aside and whispered my sad story to her.
‘Why didn’t you come right here?? she asked me. ‘We would have picked it out for you.?
Yeah, right, I thought to myself. I can see me driving down M-24 with a hairbrush stuck to my head.
When Nicole looked at the spot, I could hear the sympathy and shock in her voice. ‘I’m not sure the hair’s going to grow back,? she said. ‘We should have some stubble by now.?
‘Maybe it’s just in shock,? I said.
I’m lucky. It’s been a month and I have plenty of little hairs popping up on that big bald spot. They’re gray, not bleached, but at least they’re the real thing.

I’m voting no on Proposal 1. It’s one of those ‘who do you believe? questions.
Granholm and Patterson say it could really hurt the state’s lottery system. It’s possible any new proposed lottery game might need voter approval.
Lottery games need to change and be fresh or otherwise people lose interest in buying tickets. Less money spent on lottery tickets means less money going to the state’s school districts.
Anti-Proposal 1 people also say the big casino’s are dumping millions of dollars into TV commercials so they can keep their monopolies.
Proponents are saying race track people are spending lots of money on anti-Proposal 1 ads so gambling can expand into their territory without any voter OK.
A recent TV commercial mentions state officials would like to see Internet gambling games that would appeal to kids so more money would be coming into the state coffers.
A teacher of the year and a professor say there’s no truth that passing Proposal 1 would hurt the state’s lottery system.
It’s my philosophy if you can’t figure out who’s telling the truth it’s better not to change anything.
Speaking of casinos, I may not be politically correct, but I think it’s time Indian casinos pay their fair share of taxes. How long do we have to pay for the sins of our fathers that happened a couple of hundred years ago.
I remember reading in The Detroit Free Press an expose of the top members of a particular tribe who own numerous casinos in the state. The gist of the article was these people were millionaires and not much gambling profits trickled down to the ‘regular? tribe members.
These ‘regular? tribe members were organizing to boot out some of the millionaires, but hadn’t had much success.
Makes me want to be supportive of Indian rights, doesn’t it you?
Opened up Sunday’s paper to a big surprise. The Detroit News declined to endorse either candidate for president.
Editors admitted they were expected to stand behind the Republican candidate because the paper has never endorsed a Democrat for president. It’s only failed to endorse anyone twice before, both times during the Franklin Roosevelt years.
The paper won’t support Bush because ‘his blundersiand misjudgments have hurt the nation.? Kerry’s a bad choice because his campaigning has suggested his administration ‘will be indecisive in the face of terror, raise taxes and spending, overregulate business.?
This decision on the part of the big metropolitan paper is another indication those of us who go to the polls next week will be picking as our next president, ‘the lesser of two evils.?
According to polls, Bush and Kerry are dead even at the polls. What scares me the most is the possibility of again having a president that ‘wins? the election, but doesn’t have a majority of the popular vote. That would make living eight years with a president that the ‘majority? of the people in this country didn’t vote for.

Here’s some words from various sources we all need to hear.
Now that I’m ‘older,? here’s what I’ve discovered.
? I started out with nothing and I still have most of it.
? My wild oats have turned into prunes and All Bran.
? I finally got my head together; now my body is falling apart.
? Funny, I don’t remember being absent minded.
? Funny, I don’t remember being absent minded.
? What were we talking about?
? It’s easier to get older than it is to get wiser.
? Some days you’re the dog; some days you’re the hydrant.
? I wish the buck stopped here; I sure could use a few.
? Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
? Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
? It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.
? The only time the world beats a path to your door is when you’re in the bathroom.
? If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
? When I’m finally holding all the cards, why does everyone else decide to play chess?
? It’s not hard to meet expenses…they’re everywhere.
? The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter…I go somewhere to get something and then wonder what I’m here after.
? If all is not lost, then where is it?
Come to think of it….
One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mom had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast to her brunette hair.
She looked at her mom and asked, ‘Why are some of your hairs white, Mom??
Her mother replied, ‘Well, every time you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.?
The little girl thought about this for a while and then said,? Momma, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white??
Frustrated mom…
When I was young, I was disciplined by being sent to my room without dinner. But my son has in his room a color television, a computer, a CD player and a radio.
So where should I send him? I decided to send him to my room.
Easy learning…
We could all learn a lot from crayons: Some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names and all are different colors…but they all exist very nicely in the same box.
If it’s true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the OTHERS here for?

I thought I could look young on my driver’s license forever. It didn’t happen. After 10 years of mailing my application in, someone decided I needed to stop by a secretary of state’s office.
Oh no, I thought, I’ll have to take the dreaded driver’s test and a vision test. I wasn’t too worried about the written test. After all, I had missed four questions once and didn’t fail it.
The vision test I wasn’t so sure about. I haven’t had an eye test in years. I do buy those cheap two pairs of glasses for 20 bucks at drugstores. I use them for reading. They work just fine.
A day before I planned on traveling to the office on Perry Street, I pulled out the old rules of the road book that probably was as least 10 years old. I read it a couple of times and assured myself I could remember signs and how to drive with a trailer attached to my car.
Not too many people were in the office when I arrived in the middle of the afternoon. I grabbed a number and proceeded to read every poster on the wall while waiting my turn.
I tried to look blase, but felt beads of perspiration clinging to my forehead.
Number 50, a woman called from behind the counter. I rushed up, threw my paperwork at her and waited for her to hand me a test sheet.
‘That will be $18,? the state employee said after glancing at the computer for a minute or two. After handing her the money, she told me to move on down the counter.
Before I could think much about what she was saying, I had my picture taken and was walking out the door.
I look like a woman in shock in my driver’s license photo. All I could think of was, I wasted a whole day worrying about nothing.
Donn Hoganson stopped by to see me last week. He’s worried that not enough tickets are being sold for the Angels for Angela benefit at Castello Di Bologna’s restaurant on Oct. 30.
The benefit is to help cover the more than $100,000 in medical expenses the late Angela Sights Guenther’s family incurred before Angela lost her battle with cancer last month.
I assured him people have a tendency to not buy tickets until just before an event happens.
As a special enticement, Hoganson mentioned Lake Orion alumni Dr. Ron Tripp might be bringing former Detroit Lions football player Billy Simms with him to the fundrasier.
Simms told Dr. Tripp he’ll come if he has no other conflict that evening.
Speaking of Joe Bologna, I stopped by his Wildwood Inn last weekend and learned he has opened Trattoria & Loft, a small intimate restaurant on the upper level of the Wildwood.
I didn’t eat there, but took a peek. It seemed charming and by looking at the menu, it appeared some great Italian food is being prepared.
I’ve been chastised. Coach Chris Bell has been praised by many. Disgruntled Parent has apologized. Its time to move on, so I don’t plan on printing any more letters on the subject that’s been dominating Letters to the Editor for the past few weeks.

Who’s going to win the presidential election? If polls are accurate, it seems George W. Bush will return to office. But….
The University of Phoenix alumni magazine tells we should pay attention to some weird predictors out there that are really on the mark.
For instance, of the 14 presidential elections since 1948, the taller candidate has won 11 of them. Bush stands 5-feet, 11-inches; John Kerry is 6-feet, 4-inches.
Halloween costumes appear to be a decent way to predict the winner. The candidate whose mask sells the best has been declared the winner every time since 1980.
It’s too bad we’ll have to wait until Oct. 31 to find out the outcome of that prediction.
Could hemlines determine who our next president is going to be? Why not?
In the 1950s, when Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower lived at the White House, skirts were longer. When Democrats John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson ran the nation, females were wearing shorter skirts.
When Richard M. Nixon came to power in the 1970s, longer skirts were back in fashion. This year miniskirts are back..hmmm.
This last predictor is as odd as it is accurate….the Washington Redskins football game immediately before the election.
If the Redskins lose or tie (which was possible back in 1932), the party living in the White House gets the boot. A Redskins win signals the reigning party’s victory.
This sounds silly, but this theory has been 100 percent accurate. It’s been correct since 1932. And how many presidential elections is that…18.
The Redskins play the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 31.
It’s hard to believe I’m no longer driving my silver 2003 Pontiac Vibe. But maybe that’s a good thing. I think it was cursed.
The car met its death on Sept. 14 (my birthday) on M-24 near my Sherman Publication’s office.
A Lapeer woman, driving a big SUV, smashed into the back of me going 45 + miles an hour.
Estimated damage to the car — $12,000 — too much to repair. The Vibe didn’t even have 18,000 miles on it.
The strange thing is almost two years ago someone else ran into the back of the car at the exact same spot.
Now two ideas come to mind as to why I can have the same type of accident in the same place on the road. One, drivers can’t see my silver car, or two, I shouldn’t be turning left for any reason on that section of the highway.
Hopefully, I’ve taken care of these two things. My new Vibe is now a salsa color and I find my way to the main office by turning at the light at Drahner and going in the back way.
Co-workers have suggested I put a bubble over my new car.
All the body work on my old vehicle has been done by Dunlap’s Collision. We all know each other by our first names.
When I was leaving Dunlap’s after emptying out my car of my stuff, I said to Joe, ‘It’s nothing personal, but I hope I never have to see you again.
Joe just laughed.

Although my recent vacation in Colorado was awesome, getting there wasn’t so great. I’m betting they’re still talking and laughing about us at Flint Bishop airport.
My travel companions (Vicky, Teri, Bree) and myself were dropped off at the airport by Teri’s husband Don before 9:30 a.m. The plane was scheduled to take off at 10:45.
Because we had confirmed our AirTran reservations online the night before, check-in was a breeze.
Going through security seemed to be tighter than it was a year ago when I flew to Florida. Now everyone takes off their shoes. I had to remove my belt.
Vicky was yanked out of line for an unknown suspicious item in her carry-on bag. It was a flashlight.
Through that line, we decided there was still time for breakfast — and maybe a Bloody Mary cocktail..
We chatted and chatted and toasted our upcoming vacation, gossiped about people and laughed a lot.
Finally someone asked Bree (she had the only watch) what time it was. When she said a quarter to 11, the rest of us told her her watch must be wrong. It wasn’t
We ran to the gate (it was only a couple of hundred feet from where we were sitting). The plane hadn’t left yet, but the AirTran employee told us we couldn’t get on, the door was locked.
The woman (in a disgusted tone of voice) told us she had called us four times on the loud speaker. We told her the sound sucked. All we had been hearing was ?&%$#.*%&>.?
Luckily, there was one more plane scheduled to fly to Denver that day, departure time: 3 p.m.
Teri called Don, (who works in Flint) to come and get us and we went out to lunch. We were warned to be back in the building by two. I don’t think they trusted us.
When we got back to the airport, we repeated our morning process (minus the cocktails).
‘Yeah, we know who you are,? all the airport employees said while smirking at us as we passed through.
It’s my guess we were the talk of the lunchroom crowd.
When you travel on AirTran, you have to go through Atlanta (the hub) — not one of my favorite airports.
Our time there was close to four hours. Fortunately, we were directed to the Budweiser Pub on the third level, a nice place to relax for a while.
Unfortunately, AirTran’s section of the airport is being renovated. All the ceiling tile had been removed and wires hung all over the place.
I think that’s why the air conditioning seemed so cold. You needed a blanket to keep warm.
While sitting, waiting to take off I heard this strange electrical noise. With the day we were having, it wouldn’t have surprised me to find out aliens were landing.
I finally figured out it was the airport’s trash containers. They’re really trash compactors. Every time someone tossed in some garbage, it was compacted.
Isn’t it interesting what you focus on when you’re hanging out in airports all day long?

I knew last Wednesday the Europeans were going to win the Ryder Cup. I’ll tell you why later.
It was my birthday last week and my ex-husband decided to celebrate my getting older by buying Ryder Cup tickets, leaving Oklahoma and coming up to Michigan for a week.
Tickets were available (unless you were a big corporation/business) by a lottery. Mike managed to snag eight of them.
Let’s see, Mike and his girlfriend Kathy got two. Their friends from St. Louis (Jerry and Belinda) got two…one for me…one for daughter for son Jason…one for son Chad.
The two from Oklahoma City managed to forget the tickets and didn’t realize it until they were at the airport. Thank God for FedEx. Mike called a co-worker to help them out and the tickets were on my doorstep Monday.
Rolling out of bed at an ungodly (5 a.m.) hour, myself, Molly and Jason met up with the two couples at seven (okay, shortly after seven, thanks to the two kids stopping for coffee).
We had decided to take a free shuttle bus from the Silverdome. Security was tighter than at an airport. I was patted down, my pockets and purse were searched. They even took my bottle of water.
That ticked me off because all the newspaper stories said about the only item you could bring in was water. The information forgot to include the bottle couldn’t have a broken seal.
This cost me dearly later in the day when I paid $2.50 for a bottle.
The golf action was on Oakland Hill’s south course. The north course was the home of the stage area for the opening and closing ceremony. It also had the huge screens and the beer carts.
We went almost directly to the stage area because both teams were there posing for formal team photos.
It was evident the Europeans were relaxed and were there for a good time. They joked with the crowds standing around the cart area. Sergio Garcia signed autographs (despite Oakland Hills ban against them).
It looked as if the Americans couldn’t wait to hop on their carts and get out of there.
During the morning practice round, the Europeans could be seen gathered around a hole talking about the greens, the bunkers.
One balanced one golf club on to another and showed off by walking quite a distance. A couple of guys were even smoking cigars. They looked like they were having a jolly good time.
Most of the crowd followed Tiger Woods around for the first nine holes before he disappeared.
The big question? Where was Phil Mickelson? We heard later he had no intention of practicing on Wednesday. He should have!!!
All the Americans were no shows for the afternoon. They must have had other obligations.
‘I like these guys (Europeans). I think I’m going to have to root for them on the weekend,? I told everyone.
As we walked along, I kept looking for celebrities. Didn’t see any. I must have been in a daze because I soon heard, ‘Hey, mom, did you see Kwame, the mayor of Detroit??
‘No, where?? I asked, as my head swiveled around. ‘He just walked by, he was going pretty fast,? Jason said. How could I miss a guy that must be seven feet tall?

Not many people experience 90 degree weather and two inches of snow in the same vacation, but I did.
This year the club I belong to managed to find a location that would put up with 41 rowdy people from around the country.
The destination: Breckenridge, Colorado.
I’m ashamed to say I’ve missed a few years of joining up with these people over the Labor Day holiday. Maybe it had something to do with traveling to places like Houghton Lake or Wolverine — not exactly my idea of exotic places.
But Colorado beckoned to me. During my first separation from ex-husband Mike, I actually packed up my car and was heading for Denver to live.
I made it to Michigan City before a frustrated husband begged me to come home and take care of the three kids.
The last time I physically saw Denver was in the 1970s. Of course much has changed — for the better if you believe former resident Billy Toll.
Billy moved out to the Denver area many years with his wife Peg and two kids. This talented guitar player and singer entertained at many venues around here. I was traveling with his sisters Vicky and Teri.
Denver is in the midst of a renaissance. Old downtown areas are being rejuvenated. Both Denver’s football and baseball stadiums are downtown — but not right next to each other.
Billy says there are 133 historic districts each with their own style and flavor. He calls his city the new San Francisco.
Restaurants have open eating areas in front of their buildings. It was all very cosmopolitan.
One thing that hasn’t caught up to the growth of the city are the roads. It seemed as if they were all being worked on.
Breckenridge has a different flavor. The house where most of us stayed was called the Hacienda, a 6,000 foot rental.
We never did figure out how many bedrooms there were, but we counted 9.5 bathrooms.
The house had four levels, a jacuzzi and a sauna (which we heard about the day we were leaving). There were three kitchens of various sizes.
Teri and I slept in the kitchen on the lowest level. (It had a double bed that pulled out from the wall).
I counted 39 steps to get from our kitchen to the big kitchen and living room where all of the club action took place.
A couple of men suffered mightily from oxygen deprivation. Breckenridge is over 10,000 feet above sea level. It has an oxygen bar where oxygen deprived people can get a quick fix.
We had an unexpected visit from a black bear. It liked our garbage which was in containers at the end of the driveway.
One of the containers didn’t latch well. When we heard a shout from someone about the bear, we all ran to a deck.
The 400 pound monster wouldn’t budge after repeated shouting and no one physically had enough nerve to try to move him on.
One thing we learned from the experience. Bears don’t like limes. About 70 slices of used lime were the only things left when the bear finally decided to split.

If future summers are anything like this year, I would like to see athletes compete in some type of Olympics every year.
If we can’t be outside enjoying nice hot weather, we might as well be glued to the TV set until midnight every night.
And let’s keep the games in Greece.
There’s got to be some way to use all those new facilities.
A commentator on NBC last night was congratulating the country for its well run Olympics (despite all the doubts). Then he mentioned the country’s big debt for hosting it.
Did anyone notice how many foreign athletes train in this country? Commentators kept mentioning tidbits such as ‘she’s been in Houston for eight years or she’s been in Texas for 11 years.?
And I wonder how many of these athletes are going to college here, more than we probably heard about.
For those long-time living in the US athletes, shouldn’t they want to compete for our country? If they’ve been here for 11 years, it seems unlikely they’ll ever go home again.
If they love their country enough to want to represent it in the Olympics, why don’t they want to live there?
Women rocked at the event. Who would have thought beach volleyball would have been one of the most watched sports.
I know some of you will say it was because of the skimpy bathing suits or the cheerleaders on the sideline. At least men would say that.
But I found it fascinating that a team of two people was able to keep hitting that ball across the net. I’ve seen teams of up to six people unable to do that.
Of course, that could have had something to do with the liquid refreshments they were drinking.
My most tearful Olympic moment was when the American women won the gold medal in basketball. Although professionals, you knew they were absolutely thrilled with winning the big one.
They cried; they hugged each other; they respected each others? abilities. And the Australians, who lost to them in the final match were gracious and also seemed pretty darn happy with the silver color.
My daughter Molly was surprised when I lacked enthusiasm for watching any more of Paul Hamm after he won the all-around gold medal in men’s gymnastics.
I told her I couldn’t stand his voice. I believe he hasn’t gone through puberty yet — and neither has his twin brother.
I predict he won’t be hounded by many companies to be their spokesperson.
Sports events I didn’t see at all and didn’t miss seeing were: Women’s wrestling, tennis, taekwondo, fencing, judo, sailing, shooting, baseball, ping pong, badminton.
Events I wish I could have seen: equestrian (dressage and jumping), synchronized swimming.
Events I saw and wished I hadn’t: mens? basketball and water polo.
I don’t remember the exact days, but I heard someone on NBC says there’s only 500 plus days until the Winter Olympics.

If you have a computer, you have to download Jib Jab for some good laughs.
My boss, Don Rush, was the first to unveil to us this two minute video on Jib Jab called ‘This Land.? Since then, I’ve been telling and showing people this parody of George W. Bush and John Kerry.
I read in another paper a few weeks ago that the site’s being hit over 5,000 times a day. It’s probably more now.
It takes a while to download — about 10 minutes — so be patient. PS: It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Both the presidential candidates get picked on.
I’m not a big fan of nail polish. I spend more time trying to peel the shiny stuff off than I do putting it on.
Then my hairstylist, Nicole of Premier Hair Studio, talked me into buying Flash Shiner. (She’s good at talking me into buying products).
It’s easy; it’s fast and you can’t peel off the shine. It just wears off after a week or two.
Flash Shiner is a buffer that has three different color sides, each one a different step. The best thing about this product? It only costs $3 and lasts for months.
Even though I always receive a tax refund, I have a hard time finishing off the paperwork much before April 15. It has something to do with the math. Adding, subtracting, multiplying puts my stomach into a knot. And who wants that to happen?
This year was no different. Even though family members were sending their tax information electronically and receiving their checks pretty darn fast, I stuck to my old ways. The forms went in the mail on April 7.
The federal refund I got back in a timely fashion. I had read in the paper state refunds (forms mailed in close to the deadline) were taking 10 weeks to receive. So I was well aware I wouldn’t be seeing any check for most of the summer.
Towards the middle of August, I started thinking about all that money and wondering where it was.
I dialed up Michigan’s Treasury Department, using an 800 number, to find out the status of the refund. After punching in a few answers to questions the ‘voice? wanted to know, I was informed that I should expect the paperwork to be processed by Sept. 24.
Now, the ‘voice? didn’t say the check would be mailed on Sept. 24, so who knows when it will arrive.
I don’t visualize hundreds of state employees in little cubicles working hard on going through the tax forms. It would seem as if most of the forms would be rubber stamped unless something was red flagged. So what’s the problem?
I wonder how many people in the state have yet to see their tax refunds in the mail. And will we all get anything back before we have to start prepping for the next tax day.
Did you know? If you spent one dollar every second it would take 320 years to burn through a billion dollars

For the past several weeks, members of the Stieb family have been traveling to Sand Lake (outside of Tawas City) to spend some time with grandfather Louie.
His daughter Joan (and caregiver) feels he might not be around much longer. Louie’s 98 and spends most of his time in a mobile home in Largo, Florida.
He’s been coming back in the summer to his home at Sand Lake. Each year he spends less and less time there.
Joan indicated he won’t be coming next year.
As his former daughter-in-law for 17 years, I too felt compelled to visit the man whom I considered my father for much of my married life.
After spending a few days with him this past weekend, I’m not so sure he’s leaving us any time soon.
Daughter Molly and I walked over to say hi after settling into the little cottage which is across the street from Louie’s house on the lake.
The heat’s on in the house. All the windows are closed. Louie’s lying on the sofa, wrapped up in a mink coat.
I know the mink coat sounds funny, but it keeps him warm. Joan cut out and sewed up the sleeve holes.
Most of Louie’s hair is gone. (He hasn’t had much for all of the time I’ve known him.) Liver spots cover his body and his skin is parchment thin..
I woke him up, hugged and kissed him.
‘I have to ask you a question. The kids and I are having an argument. I say you’re 98. They keep saying you’re 97,? I tell him. ‘Which are you??
With no hesitation, he told me he’s 98 and a half. Louie’s next birthday is in January.
Joan came up from the basement, greeted us and immediately said she and dad had to get ready to go to the center because they were in a euchre tournament.
Out the door they go and we don’t see them for three and a half hours. Does this sound like a man who’s ready to give up on life?
Louie can’t hear out of one ear. He says he can’t see out of one eye. He’s a little shaky and stiff.
It’s my guess if he hadn’t broken his hip when a car hit him while he was crossing a street in Florida a few years ago, he probably would be walking just fine.
Louie sleeps a lot, but I think it’s because he’s bored.
My son Jason loves his grandfather. He was up at the lake the same time I was. One time he came back from visiting Louie and reverently showed us a gift that grandpa gave him.
When Louie graduated from high school, he went to barber school. I don’t know how long he was a barber, because he eventually worked at Pontiac Motors for 30 years.
Because of his barber background, he had a collection of straight razors with fold up wooden handles.
That’s what Jason showed us. Louie is giving each of his six grandsons one of those razors — something I know they’ll treasure forever.
I know I’ll treasure his memory, but I’m not willing to give up on him yet and I’m willing to take bets.
Oh, did I mention he still lives by himself?

Grand Haven..a place where living there really is a vacation.
This past weekend it was time to revisit Grand Haven during the Coast Guard Festival after a six year absence.
Although loving that small town (11,000 population) hugging the Grand River and Lake Michigan, it seems as if there hasn’t been a good time to return.
Maybe it has something to do with living on a lake and trying to enjoy every minute of summer on my own personal turf.
This year, because of the frequent rains and constantly blowing north winds, all I wanted to do is get off the lake.
You have to love the drive to the other side of the state. The people I stayed with, the Sheardys, live in Spring Lake, 10 minutes or so outside of Grand Haven.
It took just three hours to land in their driveway. The only busy traffic you run into is in the Grand Rapids (natives call it GR) area.
Not once did I experience any slow down in traffic, unlike the I-75 jams you see every weekend.
The euphoria of smooth running traffic disappeared though after I got back on the road heading towards Grand Haven.
A long line of vehicles stretched out in front of me as far as the eye could see. I was supposed to meet the Sheardy family for lunch.
Once in town, there wasn’t any place to park near the Tip-A-Few, a world famous bar/restaurant that’s been prosperous for years in a town noted for businesses opening and closing rapidly.
Side streets were jammed with cars trying desperately to find a parking place. I finally did, at the Masonic Temple, where I gladly paid $10 for a spot.
The bar was a mile away, but worth the walk.
During the festival, Grand Haven’s main street is filled with carnival rides (sound familiar?). And I thought Lake Orion was the only town in the state that did this.
The big difference here is the street’s wider, allowing ample room to window shop the trendy stores.
The weekend also includes a big fireworks display over the river. It lasted about 30 minutes on Saturday.
Because of traffic jams after the fireworks (it takes about two hours to get out of town), we opted to watch them from the Holiday Inn.
The hotel is situated right on the river, has a deck eating area and bar, and plenty of big boats parked at its marina.
I felt as if we were in Florida and that’s not a bad feeling.
And of course there’s the small town parade that everyone loves. This year, there were 144 different groups participating.
It’s interesting to note they had to pay $50 to be in the parade that lasts for about two hours.
Before the parade started, we came upon two bands entertaining the crowds. One was a group of older people playing steel drums. The story here is they all took lessons at a class and decided to form a band afterwards.
They sounded great and looked like they were having a good time. I got all excited and thought maybe someone should do the same thing around here. Then I was told each steel drum costs $1,000 (you need two) — hmmm, expensive hobby.

I’m sitting on this hill. Down below me are cars crashing into each, trying to be the last one still running.
Families sit in stands or are on blankets to watch the smacking, crashing spectacle.
Kids move through the crowds carrying coolers full of ice cream — selling it for a dollar.
It’s the annual 4-H Fair and this was my first visit. Son Jason thinks this is the best fair in the state and brings his family to Davisburg every year.
This year he had to drag me along too.
Oh, by the way, I was describing the Demolition Derby at the beginning of the column, but I’ll get back to that later.
You first feel as if you’re back in time as your car zooms over the twists and turns on the road through Davisburg.
Jason told me there’s no bars in town. I find that hard to believe, but I didn’t see one.
The first stop was ‘to see the animals.? I thought that meant farm animals. Nope, we were looking at tigers, kangaroos, grizzly bears.
This is really the only thing I didn’t like at the fair. With so many farm animals, why are the ‘wild? ones needed? Most of them were spread out over the hay, sleeping.
Now you have to spend some time in the Miracle of Birth barn. We didn’t experience an actual birth, but saw piglets that were two hours old.
Another newcomer might have been a calf because he kept sucking on his mother’s neck instead of where he should have been nuzzling.
Grandsons Cole and Brock liked the baby bunnies. The chicks were cute, but then they grow up to be stupid.
When you’re going through the barns, you see the 4-H ribbons hanging from the pens. You have to wonder what best of show, best of breed, champion, etc. mean. What’s the difference?
Past the barns you spot the carnival with the rides, the food trailers, the game section.
Thank God, these grandchildren of mine are rather young. If they would have been older, I can see where a family could easily spend well over $100 for a day at the fair.
You got your pizza, your popcorn, your gigantic container of pop, your fried chicken, your hamburgers, your ice cream from those little kids roaming around the Demolition Derby.
And you have your pickles. Yes, they sell whole pickles wrapped in foil for a buck. Brock’s a pickle eater. But he couldn’t eat a whole one.
We didn’t see horses or any pig races or the chicken barn because we had to hurry in for the smash ’em up show.
The Demolition Derby, more than anything else at the fair, seemed old fashioned.
Trucks wet the dirt down. The announcer of the event kept losing power to his sound system. When he was on, he kept telling parents to get their kids involved in car racing because it keeps them off the street and they learn how to fix them. I think that’s a wonderful idea.
Sitting on the hill, with the smell of burning rubber, the odor of cooking chicken, watching the sky dim and the lights of the carnival grow bright, I knew I was in the scene of a movie — a movie of the good old days — a scene that might disappear someday in the future.

I agree with Jim Sherman about a comment he made in his column last week. He said he was disgusted with TV stations playing commercials at the same time.
I’ve noticed that too now that I’ve got into the habit of changing channels whenever a commercial comes on. It’s the new American way.
What I can’t figure out is it even happens when I watch basketball. Now we all know there are official TV timeouts. But coaches call timeouts too and those are unpredictable.
The same thing happens during those unknown timeouts. I change channels and there’s a commercial. How can that be?
The latest news out of the village hall is that the planning commission gave tentative site plan review approval (contingent upon a few minor revisions) to the Sagebrush Cantina and Oldies Ice Cream for their new building.
The village’s board of zoning appeals also granted variances for required parking and loading zone requirements.
According to LO Village Manager JoAnn Van Tassel, no revised site plan has yet been submitted to the village.
I learned a lesson last week. Don’t download anything — especially on your company’s computer.
I’ve been wanting one of those screen savers that have action. The village police department at one time had one of a stream and waterfall. Fish jumped out of the water and birds flew around.
My son Chad had an aquarium scene. I wanted one too and a popup computer ad said they were free.
So I tried downloading it last week. Every time it told me to click on install, I clicked yes and moved on.
When it finally came to the screen saver installation, 45 minutes went by and the installation still wasn’t complete. I said screw it and shut it down.
The next day I noticed new icons (those installs I clicked on). One was casino poker, another a bingo game.
Not good. My bosses wouldn’t like to see that. With reporter Lisa’s help, those evil games were deleted.
Last Friday, I couldn’t get online or connect to Sherman’s network. It took Susan (Jim’s daughter) over two hours to fix things.
No more downloading for me.
I read recently cosmetic surgery is gaining in popularity. TV shows like Extreme Makeover have shown that anyone can look so much better and younger with just a little help (and of course with some extra money).
If you wanted to do some surgery, what would you elect to do?
It’s a no brainer for me. Just give me an eye lid tuck and get rid of the wrinkles under my eyes.
Are you watching the Democratic convention this week? I’m not. I remember the days when you actually tuned in to see who was going to be picked as a candidate.
Now with all the primaries, the selection is a done deal. Political conventions are just a forum for old politicians to feel important again — if just for only one night.

I recently finished a book telling a story about scientists in England in 1998 trying to send a message back to scientists in 1966.
Their message was to inform the docs to prohibit a certain chemical from being developed because it caused toxic blooms in the oceans. The blooms killed everything in the water.
In 1998, people were dying, food was becoming scarce, resources such as gasoline were almost non-existent.
Without some way to stop the chemical from being used, human life as we know it would disappear on Earth.
This fiction book was too scientific for me to totally understand it, but the message was loud and clear. We must do anything to protect all of our water sources.
We must understand that water sources that we in Michigan so dearly love must be restored to protect our health, safety and welfare.
Right now over 170 communities in Michigan are having to comply with new federal regulations that require communities to obtain a permit for their storm water management.
The regulations encourage land-use practices that are consistent with water resource protection. They also include an educational component that will make the public aware of what they can do to reduce water pollution.
Communities in southeast Michigan are being targeted for having to comply with storm water regulations because of its rapid growth.
Paved areas such as roads, sidewalks, and parking lots are part of the problem. Any rain or snow, instead of going into the ground, travels over these surfaces picking up pollutants before ending up in storm drains.
This water eventually ends up in our lakes and streams.
One of the worst pollutants is fertilizer. While it’s really great for our lawns, it’s not so good for our water. It causes algae to grow which can form large blooms and use oxygen that fish need to stay alive.
It’s been estimated that 70 million pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns every year.
If you feel you have to fertilize, experts recommend applying it no more than once every six weeks. It should only be applied between April 1 and Nov. 15. That’s the time when the ground isn’t frozen.
In many areas, soil contains enough phosphorus to grow healthy lawns without any added fertilizer.
Here’s one you probably didn’t think up. Sweep all grass clipping that are on sidewalks and driveways back onto the lawn. That will keep them from washing into the storm drain.
Washing your car also contributes. Detergent rich (nutrients, metals, hydrocarbons) water flows down the street and into the drain water.
And did you know just four quarts of oil can form an eight-acre oil slick if spilled or dumped down a storm drain.
Dog waste is a major source of bacteria in many urban areas. This one’s an easy one to take care of. Pick up after your pet.

In the news…
Because of the long weekend, I had a chance to catch up on the deep pile of reading material I’ve been saving.
So here’s some samples.
Are you kidding?
Lots of people are on the low carb weight loss regime. The little I’ve tasted hasn’t impressed me much. How do you get past that bitter taste that lingers in your mouth?
Let’s not forget those other diets that promise quick permanent weight loss, but are really too good to be true.
? The cabbage soup diet — It was an awful recipe. It’s all you ate for several days. That’s why you lost weight.
? Nutritional ‘supplements? that claim to burn pounds overnight. How many radio personalities did we listen to every day telling us how much weight they lost by using those products?
Experts says most of it isn’t harmful, it’s just junk.
? Appetite-suppressing eyeglasses — I would hope no one took this one seriously. The bogus claim here is that these eyeglasses with colored lenses actually project an image onto the retina, which decreases your desire to eat.
? The Hollywood or grapefruit diet — Versions of this 70 year old plan permit nothing but fruit for the first 10 days or 585 calories daily. Experts say there’s nothing magic about grapefruit attacking fat cells.
? The diet patch — The FDA has seized millions of these products, which have not been shown to be safe or effective for weight loss.
The FDA reports that more than half of weight-loss ads included claims that were almost certainly false or misleading.
Don’t have insurance…
US Senator Debbie Stabenow recently sent me a press release on a report by Families USA. The report indicated that one of four people in Michigan under the age of 65 — and one of every three nationally — went without health insurance for all or part of 2002 and 2003.
According to Stabenow, the report reveals that the national problem is twice as bad — with 81.8 million Americans uninsured at some point during 2002 and 2003.
The new figures make it clear this is a problem that affects not just low-income Americans, but middle-class working Americans as well.
Clean it up…
The village has been aggressively pressing property owners who aren’t complying with property maintenance ordinances.
Winfire properties in the Pelton’s Point area have been issued tickets for violations.
At a hearing before Judge Lisa Asadoorian of the 52/3 District Court on June 10, the prosecutor for the village, along with ordinance officers, presented evidence and photographs showing progress that was made and areas that haven’t been corrected.
The judge on that day could have allowed the village to make the corrections with the cost being added to the tax rolls or to grant an extension to the defendant, Terry Winters, to complete the work. Judge Asadoorian granted him an extension until July 17.

The phone rings one night last week.
‘Hello grandma? Do you have any chores I can do?? asks grandson Cole.
It seems the kid needs money to buy a new Game Boy and his parents must have told him he’ll have to earn it.
Now I wish Cole was 12 or 13. Then he could mow the grass, rake the leaves, paint some trim, wash some clothes. But he’s eight and not quite ready for what I would call the ‘quality work ethic.?
I could have just given him a few dollars, but he’s got to start learning how to work sometime. I told him I’d think of some things to do and hung up the phone
A minute later the phone rings again. This time its Cole’s brother Brock, 4.
‘Grandma, I want to earn some money too? he said. I had to say yes. You have to treat this kids equally.
So on Saturday late afternoon the two arrive, bringing sleeping bags, lots of clothes. Brock’s carrying a plastic bag full of toys. They’re staying the night with me because their parents are working the Fireworks Breakfast Fundraiser and have to be out on the boat club’s island early in the morning.
‘So, what am I going to do, grandma?? asks Cole right away. ‘And how much are you going to pay me??
Hmmm…I tell him I’m going to dig up the Fourth of July stuff and we can put it out.
Out comes the little American flags that I put across my hill that faces the lake. I only have six or seven, because each year I seem to catch the wood sticks that the flags are attached to with my lawn mower.
The boys stick them into the ground. They’re close together…about five inches apart. Normally, I would space them out with about five feet between each one.
I thought about redoing the flags after they went home, but changed my mind. It’s the effort that counts, not how it looks.
I planned on having my crew of two helping clean out my storage shed. It’s a mess. Things have just been tossed in there with no organization. But it’s a big project and too late in the day to start.
‘How about washing my car?? I asked.
They liked that idea.
We filled up the bucket with soap and sponges. I told Cole to spray the car down completely, wash a little section, then rinse it off and dry off the car later.
I didn’t watch.
A few minutes go by. Brock comes storming in all wet, mad and tells me he’s not going to wash the car anymore.
‘It’s too hard,? he whines.
Cole finished the project. I had to laugh (to myself of course). He did the exact opposite of what I thought would happen. The higher parts of the car were cleaned. He missed the sections closest to the ground. I told him he did a good job and I loved to see him smile.
The next day I made him happy again when I handed him a 10 dollar bill. That inched him closer to his goal.
Looking back on it now, I thought he and I had learned a good lesson. It wasn’t the quality of the work that was important or his earning some money, it was the fact we were all together, having a good time.

It’s hard to believe in such a few short years, the Baldwin corridor near I-75 has become a place to avoid.
I became wrapped up in the excitement of Great Lakes Crossing, the knocking down of Zim’s Bowling Center and construction of Baldwin Commons, and the Auburn Mile shopping area.
No more having to drive to Summit Place. Every place I love to shop at will be just a few minutes away, I kept saying to everyone.
The glamour of Great Lakes Crossing has dimmed with restaurants disappearing, numerous stores opening and closing. I’ve read it’s turned into a weekend destination for shoppers, not good for little stores that need to attract people all week long.
Good luck getting in and out of Baldwin Commons during the busy traffic times of the day. And don’t think about turning left out of the Auburn Mile shopping center on Brown Road, mostly on the Baldwin side of the center.
I can’t imagine what travel will be like when the other side of Brown Road is developed.
One time I was heading home on Brown going towards Joslyn when the traffic backed up big time, I think near a light at Meijer.
The light was malfunctioning, never turning green for the Brown Road drivers. Vehicles sat and sat at the light waiting for the change. Drivers would finally realize what was going on. A few would creep through, when there was a break in the traffic coming out of the shopping center.
Then there were those who had never run a red light in their lives and weren’t about to start then — that is, until they were intimidated by honking vehicles behind them.
It took months before I was capable of driving in that section of Brown Road again. I didn’t know if the lights became wacky often or it was just an unusual occurrence I had experienced.
Let’s move on to the Brown/Baldwin intersection. It scared me years ago (which I wrote about) and the feeling hasn’t changed.
At the time I criticized road engineers for not having the foresight to anticipate the heavy increase in shopping traffic and design the roads accordingly.
Yes, we’ve written in this paper that the turn light into Baldwin Commons will be moved farther north. That should move more people in the shopping center faster. But when is it going to happen?
I’m writing this column because of an incident on Saturday when I was in the area. I was sitting in the back of my son Chad’s van after heading north on Baldwin. Chad, wife Tracey, grandkids, Ryan and Jillian, and Tracey’s mom Colleen and myself had lunch and were heading back to Orion.
We were stopped at the Brown Road light. When it turned green, there was no place to go because a big SUV, coming off of Brown, blocked the whole road. The driver couldn’t move because the turn lane she was heading for was packed full of vehicles. (This must happen all the time). And she surely could have see the backup before she moved off of Brown.
While Chad’s creeping closer and closer to her car, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. The driver behind us stormed out of his vehicle and ran towards the woman’s car.
His gestures to her weren’t very polite. I’m not sure what would have happened if the driver would have been a man.

Bits and pieces….
Forgive me if I didn’t pick your fish.
For the first time ever, someone thought I would be a good person to judge the Orion Art Center’s annual fish painting contest.
It’s my guess OAC couldn’t find any one else to do it.
I’ve got plenty of experience judging young writers. For years, I’ve been a judge of literature for Stadium Elementary School’s Reflections competition.
I admit I have some expertise in reading literature. I don’t in art.
So here I am at the art center on Friday, looking at these grand fish and not having any idea what’s good and what’s bad.
Frankly, I committed to doing this judging because I was so sure there would be plenty of mediocre painted fish, making my job easier.
It didn’t happen. I walked around and around, looked up and down, back and forth. Hmmm…that one’s clever… no, that one’s better. Let’s try this one more time.
I had some flexibility. Each category had first, second, third place winners, plus a couple of honorable mentions.
After 15 minutes or so of this, I wrote down my picks and didn’t change them. I realized I had to base my winners on my personal choices. I ignored the quality of the brush strokes and went right for — ‘oh my, that’s so clever or oh my, that’s so cute.?
It worked for me. I hoped it worked for the creative contestants.
The Lions Club invited me to its annual installation dinner last week at Addison Oaks. I was pleased to hear new president Jack Patton tell his fellow club members he would be keeping his speeches short and sweet — nothing chatty would be coming from him.
We need more of those kinds of presidents.
During the evening, I ran into Al Kassin, Mr. Lions Club himself. I’ve known the man for as long as I’ve worked here and he probably has had every position and done everything there was to do in that club. His pet project for years has been the Blind Camp that the Lions Clubs have sponsored for years in the summer.
I haven’t seen Al in a few years, but I know he’s got some kind of Dorian Gray thing going on at his house. The man looks younger than I’ve ever seen him.
Al told me he’s lost 34 pounds on the South Beach diet. Well, he describes it as a modified South Beach diet. He won’t give up eating fruit. He didn’t say why, but I assume he has a ‘passion? for the stuff.
One thing puzzled me about Addison Oak’s buffet, which was pretty darn tasty. Included in the buffet were items like cheese/crackers, fruits, vegetables/dip. I wish those things would have set out on a separate table and utilized during the cocktail hour.
It was hard enough balancing a plate and a salad bowl. I can’t imagine carrying three pieces.
Some of you are probably saying why not just go back a couple of times. Seems easy, but when the line meanders through a room or two, it’s not worth it.
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Another one bites the dust…la, la, la. I hope you all will be hearing that old song a lot in the next couple of weeks.
I swore at 10 p.m. on Sunday night I wouldn’t stay up to watch all of the Pistons? game. Midnight’s a bad time to go to bed when you have to work the next morning.
Plus, I was quite sure the LA Lakers would win the first game. After all, with all the movie stars in the audience how can you lose.
We just have sports celebrities come to watch the Pistons, oh yeah, and Kid Rock.
I thought about going to bed at 11 p.m., but by that time I was wired and I knew getting a good night’s sleep was all but gone.
I don’t understand why the games are all scheduled for 9 p.m. I know you have to take into consideration the time difference, but why not have the Sunday games earlier?
When you have a possible national champion team, wouldn’t it be nice if younger fans could actually see them play?
It’s not all about hockey and football in Detroit. At least not this year.
I don’t watch any professional basketball during the regular season. It’s got too many big stars with big egos and lots of money. But it’s hard to resist the playoffs.
And because the Pistons don’t have a superstar, it’s easier to jump on that post-season bandwagon.
And you have to love that defense they play. Even though watching them move through the playoffs, especially with the Indiana Pacers, was painful.
It seemed as if every game went down to the wire — with blocked shots, turnovers, numerous minutes when no one scored.
When watching a basketball game, it’s easier on the heart when both teams go back and forth, shooting and scoring each time. Looking at a defensive game isn’t fun.
The Lakers were heavy favorites to win — but then so was Smarty Jones. Instead this horse named Birdstone came out of nowhere and disappointed hundreds of thousands of people who wanted to see a Triple Crown winner.
I was one of them. After watching the other two races in the Triple Crown, it was pretty easy to be a fan of this horse. He came out of nowhere and made a name for himself — something like Seabiscuit did.
As Smarty Jones came around the last corner, (he pretty much led the whole race), the other horses close behind him dropped off one by one.
Here I am jumping up and down and screaming in my living room, knowing Smarty was going to win, when up pops this horse whose odds of winning were 36-1.
The finish was sad, but sadder yet, was the way the sportscasters treated the winner. A woman reporter, riding a horse, moved up next to Birdstone’s jockey, Edgar Prado, and wanted to ask questions about Smarty’s loss rather than Birdstone’s win.
Next we see another reporter talking to Birdstone’s trainer, owner or breeder or something. The man saw Smarty’s trainer John Servis, broke off the conversation and ran after John.
Typically after a famous race, the winning jockey sees a video of the race and talks the audience through his winning moves.
This time, the loser jockey Stewart Elliot, was doing the analyzing. Where are the winners, probably somewhere crying, ashamed because they did their best.

I’m sharing something with you that I read recently.
All throughout history men have appeared to have the upper hand in dictating how the world has been run.
But in actual fact, it seems it’s been more about compromise with the fairer sex. Women let men think they are the boss and it seems to work in their favor.
Think about it…if men truly ruled the world, would there be such things as air fresheners, fluffy toilet seat covers or fine crystal?
The world would have one acceptable scent, a combination of chicken wings and beer.
Toilet seats wouldn’t have seat covers and disposable plastic cups would hold everything a man’s house needs held, all in clearly marked containers identified with duct tape labels.
Conclusion? Men don’t really rule the world. They just think they do. Men may walk around dressed in the trappings of power, but ultimately they take our direction from the fairer, less hairy and more civilized women.
Imagine for a moment if men truly ruled the world. This is a shocking thought for the cookbook and interior design industry, but it would be a more macho, testosterone filled place.
If men really and truly ruled the world…
? You could never be turned down when asking a woman to dance because there’d be no more dancing.
? When your girlfriend really needed to talk to you during the game, she’d appear in a little box in the top left corner of your TV screen.
? At any time and for any reason, you would be allowed to build a campfire in your office.
? The funniest guy in the office would automatically be the boss.
? Each year your salary would be tied to the win/loss record of your favorite pro sport’s record.
? Flipping the board over in Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit would automatically make you the winner.
? Lifeguards could remove people from the beaches for violating the Speedo bikini and back hair bylaw.
? Handshakes would be replaced by shoves and belly bounces.
? Garbage would take itself out.
? Valentine’s Day would be moved to Feb. 29 so it would happen only every fourth year. Candy and cards would be eliminated and replaced with an exchange of BBQ ribs.
Mini vans would be replaced by tanks.
On Groundhog Day, if you saw your shadow, you’d have the day off to go drinking with buddies.
Car horns would be loud enough to peel paint off cars.
‘I’m a wonderful housekeeper. Every time I divorce a man, I keep his house.? Zsa Zsa Gabor.
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I remember a time when you could watch all the reality you could ever want on the Discovery or History TV channels. And the shows always had an ending.
Now the reality craze has moved to mainstream channels and our lives will never be the same.
I remember a time as a stay-at-home mom, when I couldn’t wait to put the kids down for a nap so I could watch my favorite soap.
I finally weaned myself off of this addition when the kids got older and I actually had to get off the sofa and supervise their play time outdoors.
My skin, not having felt the rays of the sun in a few years, but just the flickering of lights coming from the TV, rebelled and turned beet red.
I think this TV addition has returned. I don’t go out much at night. I have to stay glued to the TV set to see the latest Survivor get voted off or to watch tearfully as the next American Idol contender sings a song of goodbye, because the text message voters don’t think he’s good enough.
Let’s see, didn’t American Idol start sometime in January when they showed those audition tapes of all those horrible singers?
The finale’s this week. Hmmm…how many weeks have I been watching this?
I even suffer withdrawal systems the Monday nights I have to make an appearance at a village council meeting, thus missing Fear Factor.
Now, Fear Factor does have any ending each week, with the winning participant going home with $50,000. But…I crave the sight of contestants covered with roaches or bees or attempting to swallow a shake created by mixing cow brains or bad cheese or rotten garbage or something.
I cry when I watch the Extreme Make-over – House Edition. The show focuses mostly on deserving families who’ve had trouble in their lives, but are coping.
The TV cast comes in , sends the family on a vacation, then wrecks the interior of house and completely remodels it in one week.
There’s always a countdown of hours until the family returns and the crew worries the project wouldn’t be finished in time. It always is.
I tried watching The Swan, but gave up after only one episode. It was hard watching two completely made-over women stare at themselves in disbelief for 15 minutes in front of a mirror.
At the same time, all the doctors, dentists and fitness people are standing behind these women in awe that these women are now so beautiful…and it’s all because of them.
Next season, I can also expect to see new versions of both CSI and Law and Order.
I’m now tuning into the original CSI on Thursday and Miami’s on Monday.
I do watch all the Law and Order shows. I would suggest, though, that the head honchos at NBC think about moving one of them to Detroit. There’s lot of crime here too. Or how about a Law and Order reality show based in Detroit? Now there’s a concept for you.

Suspicious cart spotted in downtown Lake Orion. No, you won’t find it this week’s Police Log, but it could be.
For some unknown reason, a Kroger grocery cart has found its way into the neighborhood. I’m assuming its home is located on North Lapeer Road.
But maybe it meandered over here from Baldwin or even Adams Road.
The cart was first noticed traveling slowly going north down North Broadway. Intermittent gusts of wind pushed it to the corner of The Review office where it settled in on Thursday and Friday.
On Monday morning, the cart had managed to make its way behind our building. Its front is nuzzling the bushes that separates us from the municipal parking lot.
I imagine its lonely; it wants to be back where it belongs. Won’t someone take it home?
It’s nice to laugh at a meeting once in a while. And I did it at the expense of village council president Bill Siver, who, by the way, runs meetings quite well.
Village manager JoAnn Van Tassel usually writes and reads out loud memos given to council members in their meeting packets. At the last meeting, she wasn’t there, so it was up to Bill to read them.
He was reading a memo giving information about the size of a proposed monument that will hold a plaque that will be placed on the gazebo in Children’s Park.
Bill rattled off the size of the base piece — three feet high, 16 feet front to back, 14 feet side to side. It took a second, then everyone started laughing.
The right measurements are supposed to be three inches high, 16 inches front to back, 14 inches side to side.
Bill took the laughter well.
Niles Olson is passing around a petition and he’s looking for more signatures. If you sign it, you’ll be saying that you approve of a union between one man and one woman as the only agreement in this country that should be recognized as a marriage.
Olson said this question will be on the Nov. 2 ballot. For more information, contact him at 248-393-9800 or email:
Petitions must be in by June 17.
We’ve all seen gas prices increase dramatically this year, but did you know:
? Mideast War (August 1990-January 1991) — The national gas price average jumped more than 30 cents.
? Federal Gas Tax (October 1993) — Federal tax increased 4.3 cents to 18.4 cents per gallon as a federal deficit reduction measure.
? OPEC Production Cuts (June 2000) — Gas prices reached record highs in many cities. Some averaged more than $2 a gallon.
9/11 (Sept. 11, 2001) — Short-term price spikes in response to terrorist attacks in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania.
? Iraq 2003 (February 2003) — National average reached record high for the month in response to oil strike in Venezuela and mobilization of US troops to the middle east.

I don’t think Deb Waldo liked me very much at first.
We met when I started coming to the police department every Monday to jot down information for the police log and fire call.
After several weeks, she asked someone, sarcastically, if I was always so perky and happy all the time. (This information was passed on to me much later.)
I’m sure Debbie didn’t realize how much entertainment I got out of sitting there listening to her argue with Jim Leach about everything and complain that some particular officer wasn’t turning in his overtime slip.
I was happy just being in the same room with her. I think Deb learned to like me.
We’re weren’t girl friends; we were two women who shared some common traits. We were feisty, had a good sense of humor, and sometimes what came out of our mouths was just a little too sarcastic.
Many a police officer heard her say, ‘I’m going to rip your lips off,? if she wasn’t happy with something they did. She scared them.
Sometimes I was in the office when she was handling a 911 call. That cool, calm voice had to have comforted the person on the other end of the phone.
As crusty as Deb could be some times, she had a way of gathering many loyal friends around her, maybe because she gave so much of herself.
Along with her husband Bill, she worked hard for the Lions Club. Because he was a firefighter, Deb was an important part of the Ladies Auxiliary.
I attended Bill’s retirement party and remember Deb standing tall and proud beside him. They were a team.
I heard at the funeral on Monday that Deb, up until this year, hadn’t missed the Firemen’s Ball in 20 years
A few weeks ago, at a village council meeting, one of the council members asked JoAnn Van Tassel if there was going to be a village appreciation dinner this year. The dinner honors those volunteers and the police department for all their hard work.
Jo Ann hesitated for a second, then said there’s been some problems getting it organized because Deb Waldo wasn’t there to work on it.
When I talked to Chief Jerry Narsh about Debbie, he said the little work area that had been created when she came back to work as a part-time clerk looked much the same as it did when she left.
He needs a clerk because of the increase in paperwork in the police department. He hasn’t hired one since Deb left last year. He knows she would have been mad at him for not keeping the job open for her.
I admired her and will miss her terribly. For almost two years, I listened to her talk about her trials and tribulations with cancer.
All of us kept saying, if anyone can beat cancer, Deb will. If one treatment didn’t work, she’d try another one. If one doctor didn’t seem to have the right answer, she’d try another one.
Even at the end, I’m sure Deb was thinking a miracle was going to happen.
Nancy Kolodziejski writes about Deb in a poem titled, ‘An Unfinished Life.? All of us feel a sadness that this special friend couldn’t have had many more years of the life she loved.

This is my third annual tip column on using products you probably have in your house for some very uncommon uses. These came from a company in Peachtree, Georgia.
? Lemon juice and salt will remove rust stains from a counter top.
This one’s real handy because we’ve all stored sauces with tomato in them.
? You’ve made a double batch of spaghetti sauce, but hate to store it in your plastic ware. In the past, tomato sauce has left stains that just won’t come out.
You can avoid that problem. Just coat the inside of your container with vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray before pouring the sauce.
This one seems a little extreme. I think I’d get rid of the cat.
? Does Fluffy insist on walking all over your clean countertops? Put down double-sided sticky tape. She won’t like the way it feels on her paw.
Or, for a noisier solution, assemble a collection of tin cans or aluminum cookware near the edge. Next time she pounces, all that crashing metal will give her a start. She’ll think twice about getting up there again.
? Add a little vinegar to your four-legged friend’s water bowl. Fleas and ticks should stay clear after he drinks this unusual potion.
I wonder if we could use all ready chewed gum for this one. It doesn’t say.
? Place pieces of mint-flavored gum — wrapped or unwrapped — where insects enter your cabinet. They’ll likely head back out the way they came.
? Dust a sprinkling of talcum powder on your plants and rabbits will steer clear of your garden. And the plants will smell good too!. Be sure to reapply after rain.
Here’s a natural way to repel insects. My only problem is what the heck is pennyroyal? Maybe it’s something found only in the South.
? If you don’t like spraying chemicals on your skin to keep the bugs at bay, try one of these.
Mix one ounce of oil of spearmint, peppermint, citronella or pennyroyal with a few drops of baby oil, vegetable oil or a bit of petroleum. (Never use the herbal oils full-strength), Rub this onto your skin before you go outside.
Are birds really this stupid?
? Last year, the birds ate all your strawberries before you had a chance to enjoy them. This year, get a head start and discourage the raids.
Paint some stones red and scatter them among your strawberry plants before the fruits have formed. When birds peck at them, they’ll find them hard. They’ll give up before the real strawberries are ripe.
For women only
? Store your nail polish in the refrigerator and it last longer and go on more smoothly.
? Apply hair conditioner all over after a bath or shower. It makes a pleasant body lotion. ? Before you paint your nails, clean them with cotton balls soaked in vinegar. Your manicure will last longer.
Don’t try this one!!!
To keep from going gray, some first century Romans covered their hair with a paste of herbs and earthworms and wore it overnight.

So many things to do in the township and not enough money to do them. That’s what taxpayers are now facing with discussions ongoing about the possibility of building a new community center.
If only we could turn back time..before the economy took a nose-dive.
Voters were saying yes to every millage request asked of them. You want a swimming pool at the high school? Sure. You want a nature center at Webber Elementary School? All right.
You want every elementary school and middle school remodeled so they’re all equitable? No problem.
Now, you might be able to squeeze a new school building by residents if other schools were really overcrowded, but it might not be a sure thing.
I don’t know about you, but I’m leery about spending extra dollars right now. I think the economic is improving. At least I’ve read it is. You never know though — it is an election year.
When the high times busted, I saw my mutual fund almost cut in half. Currently, we’re dealing with higher gas prices, both at the pumps and in our homes. And I don’t want to talk about cable charges or the high prices of prescriptions.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m making it OK, and I’m sure you are too. I’m just being cautious. Wall Street and the actions of some US government officials don’t seem to be all that stable right now.
And before I would generate any excitement about some type of community center, I would like to see some tax dollars spent elsewhere first.
Remember a few years ago when the township library asked for some millage to finance an ambitious remodeling/addition project?
It was turned down not because it wasn’t a good proposal, but because of the times. The project would have allowed more space for children’s programs (they’re all overcrowded), more public meeting space (desperately needed), more computers and other technology (there’s not near enough).
So if I had to choose how to spend my money, it would at the library.
Parks and rec activities have increased in this community. Makes sense, there’s a lot more people.
Have you been at Civic Center Park when soccer games are going on? It’s back to back soccer fields, numerous parents sitting around, lots of parents attempting to find a parking spot. And I haven’t even mentioned baseball games.
If you want to give our kids someplace to go to, give them more soccer/baseball fields — maybe even some tennis courts. Not only are sports fun, they’re a good healthy thing to do.
Let’s spend more money at Friendship Park. We’ve already dumped plenty of money on that piece of property. Why stop now? The park already exists. It appears large enough to support more fun things to do.
In a perfect world, a new community center would be wonderful. As an almost senior citizen, I would welcome any place that would entertain me in my old age.
I just can’t justify building it now.

For the past several weeks I’ve been staring out my window at an American flag that looks pretty darn disgusting. It’s all tattered and torn and is no longer attached to the flag pole at one end.
The flag pole sits at the corner of North Broadway and Shadbolt Street.
The same thing happened a few years ago. The flag finally disappeared and the pole stood empty until a new flag was hung during the patriotic fever shortly after 9/11.
I would rather look at an empty pole than an American flag that no one seems to care about. My message to the flag owners: If you can’t take better care of a new one, don’t bother replacing it.
Had breakfast at the American Legion in downtown Lake Orion a couple of Sundays ago. This was the first time for me and I’ll do it again.
For years our local vets have cooked steak and eggs on the first Sunday of every month. It costs $6 and it’s a good deal. Besides the eggs and a big chunk of steak, you get toast, juice, coffee, potatoes.
The downstairs of the building, where you eat, has been completely remodeled. Stop by and check it out.
Speaking of stopping by, lots of people did on the first Sunday after the downtown fire. I figure they were driving by to see the burned out buildings and decided to stop for breakfast at the Legion.
Although breakfast is usually served from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., according to my son Jason who eats there a lot, the veterans ran out of food well before the stopping time.
Blame it on me that it hasn’t rained much this spring. Shortly after the family moved out of my house, I spread grass seed all over my yard. This was an attempt to get rid of all the brown spots left by the family’s big female dog.
It’s only rained one day since then.
Someone asked me why I haven’t been using a sprinkler. It’s because the weather forecasters had pretty much been calling for rain showers every day. I believed them. Silly me.
Be on the lookout for the Bucket Brigade on Saturday. Kids and parents will be out soliciting donations to support this year’s LOHS Senior All Night Party.
This annual party takes place after graduation and is a good way to keep celebrating graduates off the streets.
Parent volunteers work hard all year long to drum up funds to make sure the kids have a fantastic time. Support this worthwhile effort.
An ad seen in Spokane Washington’s Local Planet Weekly.
Dog Owners! Complete dog-waste removal; $795/wk/1 dog, $395/add’l dog; Satisfaction Guaranteed. A Lucky Dog Yard Service.
My advice: Just take the dog!
Advice from a reader:
We could learn a lot from crayons:
some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, some have weird names,
and all are different colors…but
they all exist very nicely in the same box.