Wrinkled Wisdom: It Ain’t Easy Going Green

A newspaper headline recently blared that it ain’t easy going green. No kidding! Recycling sure ain’t easy. Know you are not alone if you often find yourself scratching your head about what goes in your recycle bin. Three out of four of us are confused. 

Okay, let’s see if we can help. Paper is easy. Books, magazines, and newspapers are recyclable. Oops! Shredded paper may not be recyclable in your area. Each ton of recycled paper is turned into new products, saving 17 trees. Yes! Cardboard boxes are a go, too. But, toss those tissues, napkins, and paper towels in the trash if you don’t compost. Just learned that’s because they contain fibers too short to be made into new paper. Good trivia question!

The American Forest and Paper Association hit the media before the February Super Bowl, urging people to recycle pizza boxes. People watching the game at home ordered over 12.5 million pizzas. Yikes! That’s a lot of cardboard to be transformed into new products. Not to mention the calories! There has been mixed messaging on this because of the grease, but mills overwhelmingly say yes…yes we accept pizza boxes.

Okay, recycling aluminum and tin cans, plastic bottles, jars, and glass bottles is a gimme. But, we didn’t know that you shouldn’t smash your soda can or recyclable containers. The machines will get confused since they separate based on dimensions.

Yes, we all agree that the recycling process can be stinky, but we mean that figuratively, not literally! If your bin is stinky, you flunk recycling, literally. You’ve got to make sure containers are free of food. You’re supposed to rinse out that leftover soup and those brownie bits. So, here’s the dilemma. In Colorado, we are hurting for water. Guess you could start by licking up the residue. But, how about this?? Clean out the container with your dinner napkin. A two-fer!

Lids are really tricky. If your yogurt container has a foil top, toss the foil in the trash. If a container is plastic and the lid is as well, keep the lid attached. Think juice bottles and those ubiquitous prescription meds. Glass container and metal lid?  Remove the lid and put both in the recycle bin.

Wow, we’ve really been screwing up. We knew ice cream containers couldn’t be recycled, but didn’t know you can’t recycle frozen dinner boxes. Heck, frozen dinners have been our go-to during the pandemic as we tired of cooking and sought immediate gratification. Sorry!!!

Bad news for junk food lovers. Potato chip, Cheetos, popcorn, and other snack packaging are not recyclable. That bag is often made of aluminum or a special mixed plastic to keep the junk food fresh. This includes the wrappers inside cracker boxes. Hmmm…better munch on Cheez-Its or peanut butter Bits. Their recycle info is actually clearly printed and readable. Wow! Recycle the box and drop off the inside plastic bag at the grocery store. Helps minimize guilt for craving that yummy, fattening stuff.

Another eye-opener is what can be recycled at the grocery store. Thought it was only plastic grocery bags. No. It’s way more. Ziploc-type bag. Bread bags. Plastic liners from cereal boxes. Produce bags. Dry cleaning bags minus the stapled receipts. Newspaper delivery bags. Even bubble wrap if you are willing to pop all the bubbles. Maybe pop those bubbles with passion while watching the news about Ukraine rather than shouting obscenities at the TV. If you are gritting your teeth worried about whether to toss some plastic in with the stuff going to the grocery store, do the crinkle test. Crush the questionable wrap in your hand. If it bounces back into shape after you scrunch it or makes a crunchy sound, in the trash it goes. When in doubt, throw it out.

Check and see if your trash company’s website has a search section so you can type in a tricky item and get info on whether it’s recyclable. We all sure need the help.

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today? Shop products made from recycled plastic. There’s an amazing variety of stuff. Increasing demand will motivate companies to make more stuff out of our recycled junk. If you really want to freak out, google microplastics—the tiny particles formed by the breakdown of plastic products. We are breathing, drinking, and eating them. Even in beer! Hopefully, not scotch! If things don’t change, we could end up in a recycle bin. Pull out the old Tupperware; ditch the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. And put your glasses on when looking for that damn, tiny recycling symbol!  Oh, and our favorite, clever message is on Coke cans: Recycle me…see you again soon. 

Wrinkled Wisdom: Death and the Tone-Deaf

In the 1980 movie Fame, the theme song included the lyrics: “I’m gonna live forever.” The British rock band Queen took the opposite tact in their 1986 song “Who Wants to Live Forever?”

The book of Genesis claims that Noah lived to be 950 years old and that Adam lived to be 930.  At odds with those numbers, the bible quotes the Lord saying, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Who knew?  Right on!  Recent research indicates that the maximum life spans for humans are now projected to be between 120 and 150 years. OMG! That’s a lot of social security dollars and makes IRAs look pretty useless.

Living longer also means attending a lot more funerals. That made us think. Kudos to those who warn friends, who have recently lost a loved one, to prepare for the tone-deaf comments that unthinkingly tumble out of some peoples’ mouths. Maybe all of us could use some tips about what to say to the one fighting back tears. But, first, a sampling of the tone-deaf remarks made to grieving friends.

Are you going to get married again? Huh?? My husband has been dead for less than a week! No, I’m busy planning his graveside ceremony, dealing with paperwork, and trying to keep breathing. Why aren’t you having the memorial service at the club? He didn’t like the club. But, he won’t be there.  What?? You can’t fix stupid.

Gee, I know just how you feel. My dog just died. Okay, we all love our pets dearly. But, is that really an appropriate analogy?? To the widow of the man who died on the golf course:  At least he died doing something he loved. This is not a comfort or helpful in any way. He’s still dead!  Actually, when talking to the bereaved, avoid starting any sentence with “At least….” You are sure to be headed for trouble. Like…At least she’s in a better place. But, she’s not here!

Grief counselors have some suggestions to better handle expressing sympathy. For example, “all I can say is how sorry I am. They were a special person and will be sorely missed.” Or, “I know no words can ease your pain but please know I’m thinking of you.” Less is more to keep from stumbling into that dreaded tone-deaf category.

Since it is so tough to put yourself in another’s place and say the right thing, just admit that to the heartbroken. One of our favorites from the grief experts, which can also be written in a sympathy note or card, is: “I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you’re feeling right now and I honestly don’t have the words. But I care so much about you. I’m hurting with you. Love you.”

Friends who recently suffered a loss say they most cherished comments that mentioned activities done with the deceased. “Our golf games won’t be the same without his sense of humor.” “I’ll so miss our Wednesday lunches together.” If you want to keep it simple and heartfelt, you might say: “I just loved Bud. We all loved Bud.” (Bud was our dad’s nickname.)

Empathizing with words can be tough and even unhelpful. One grief expert points out that people experiencing loss are so grateful knowing that their friends and relatives care. Don’t underestimate the power of showing up and being present in that person’s life. Get them out of the house and surrounded by friends. If you don’t live close by, continue to call, text, and email.   

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today? There is no exact science to loss. Each individual grieves differently. Applaud the grief experts who are attempting to give us some guidance in expressing sympathy to those who have recently suffered a loss. Save this Wrinkled Wisdom with experts’ advice on some tried and tested things to say and do. Yes, create a new file and name it “don’t be tone-deaf.”  We all think we’re going to remember stuff, but haven’t we all experienced a bit of short-term memory loss?? Come on; admit it! And, do your newly-grieving friends a huge favor. Give them a heads up about the tone-deaf. Many people aren’t walking talking Hallmark cards. P.S.  We do not mean to insult anyone who is really tone-deaf by lumping them with people who make insensitive comments. The medical term for their condition, the cognitive inability to discriminate between pitches/musical notes, is called Amusia. Although it’s not very…well…amusing to sit next to them at a concert as they sing along off-key.

Wrinkled Wisdom: More About Words

Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt us. So, the saying goes. No, some words and phrases just drive us crazy. You know what we mean. They push our buttons. They drive us to groan, cringe, or roll our eyes in frustration.

They come out of the mouths of pundits on television and are included in newspapers and books. They crop up in everyday conversations. To use Valley girl vernacular that overuses the word “like” to place emphasis on what is said, these words and phrases are…like…so annoying!

Every year, Michigan’s Lake Superior State University (LSSU) publishes a Banished Words List including 10 words based on submissions from people around the world. The goal is to “uphold, protect, and support excellence in language by avoidance of words and terms that are overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical, and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating.”  Last year, the number one choice was Covid-19. Wishful thinking! 

Its 2022 winners include “new normal,” emphasizing that in the third year of the pandemic is any of this normalcy still considered new? “Wait, what?” topped the LSSU’s banishment list. The list includes ditching the phrase “no worries,” suggesting that people, instead, simply say “you’re welcome.” It also proposes banishing “asking for a friend,” noting that it’s just a ruse that isn’t fooling anyone.

So, we’re going to do our annual venting! We never again want to hear the word “irregardless.” It’s nonsensical. Spell Check doesn’t even recognize it! Use the appropriate word, “regardless.” The ir– prefix usually indicates negation. So you’re saying the opposite of what you mean? Merriam-Webster responds to criticism noting that it includes it in its dictionary because of its widespread use. Huh? Sort of like “ain’t.”

Then, there is the overuse of the word “literally.” Many people use the word “literally” like literally way too much. No, recipes don’t literally take no time at all, and those books didn’t literally fly off the shelves. 

And, how many times have you heard: “To make a long story short?” Just give us the short version! Then, there’s “the bottom line.” Just cut to the chase, please, unless you are discussing a profit and loss report. “At the end of the day?” Which day? “Nothingburger.” We thought that one was dropped years ago, but it has been reheated. “Period; end of the story.” Really??? That’s the best you can do for emphasis?

Remember all the exclamations that were common decades ago and have, thankfully, aged out? Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Hunky-dory! Holy Moley! Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! What do they even mean? Or antiquated words that show our age like “beehives, dunce caps, dungarees, pageboys, pantyhose, pedal pushers, and saddle shoes.

Then there are the old terms and expressions that have become obsolete because of improved technology. Don’t touch that dial. Carbon copy. You sound like a broken record. Hung out to dry. Yup, who today would link them to rotary phones, manual typewriters, vinyl records, and clotheslines. Okay, vinyl records are coming back into fashion. Ditch that example.

One word we would love to see become obsolete is “pandemic.” Not surprised by Merriam-Webster’s 2021 Word of the Year…vaccine. It was selected based on lookup data and searches online. Makes sense.

Heavens to Murgatroyd! While we are groaning about words and phrases, let’s include all the new techie ones like Ethereum blockchain, bitcoin, dogecoin, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and more. We don’t even know what these words mean much less how to make payments using them. We need to create a Coinbase Exchange account? Heck, we still write checks. So, our wrinkled wisdom for today?  If you want to vent about words or phrases that annoy you, click on “comments” at the top of the page and share them for all to enjoy.  If you want to see them banished, nominate them on LSSU’s website: https://www.lssu.edu/traditions/banishedwords. No, don’t waste your time nominating words like blockchain. Face it. In this age of technology, maybe just try to get help and assistance understanding them from Siri?? Just kidding! See ya later, alligator!

Wrinkled Wisdom – Fashion: We’ve Forgotten How to Dress

As we’re feeling a bit more positive about Covid’s fading future and venturing out, there’s just one problem. We’ve forgotten how to dress. Sure, one leg at a time. But we’ve spent two years simply pulling on those sweatpants and leggings with elastic waists. Have those muscles needed to fasten buttons and zip zippers atrophied? Does it still fit? Is it still in style? We haven’t been challenged to dress for the occasion since there’s been no occasion.

We used to stick to the axiom that if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing for a year, it’s time to get rid of it, donate it, repurpose it, or downgrade it for wearing to clean, paint, do yard work, or sleep in. That’s a problem in light of the pandemic. It literally describes a huge chunk of what’s in our closet, plus most of our accessories and shoes!

Speaking of sleeping in it, fashionistas are freaked by people wearing pajamas in public during the pandemic although people have long been doing it. Years ago, Teen Vogue published an article titled “Stylish Ways to Wear Pajamas in Public.” Another old article opened, “If you’re a grown-up person who has not recently been diagnosed with a mental disorder and you’ve gone out in public in your pajamas, you need to know two things. First of all, you look like an idiot; and, secondly, stop doing this. Immediately.”

We all want to be fashionable or, as with some of our younger relatives, be deliberately unfashionable or retro or artsy or Goth or hipster, or rapper, or Lady Gaga or Pharrell, or imitative of other trends we “seasoned” citizens don’t always get.

And, think about it. Fashion is cyclical. It’s promoted in magazine ads, introduced on runways, and flaunted on TikTok. What have we missed during two years of lockup? Clothes are a form of self-expression. They make a statement. We are all guilty of making split-second judgments based others’ appearance.

Yves Saint Laurent once said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” We’re giggling. Yes, wide-legged slacks, tie dye stuff, bell-bottoms, maxi skirts, minis, and hot pants have faded from our closets. Remember Saturday night parties with black velvet hot pants, fishnet stockings, and heels? We do have clothes from the ‘80s we still wear, but did take the shoulder pads out of the jackets. Thankfully, jeans have survived since James Dean popularized them in the 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause. Entertained by the articles saying we’re too old to wear the trendy ripped jeans? And, we’d want to????

That brings up the question many ask about dressing appropriately for our age. Stop worrying! Of course, there are limits. Don’t wear that dress Cher wore to the 1986 Oscars. Or look like someone who still has a landline, as the kids say. “Dress your age” is a line more appropriate to throw at that teenager who spends her time taking photos of herself in suggestive apparel and posting them on internet sites. Be a kid while you can.

Staying fashionable requires shopping. We like hands-on shopping. We like to feel the fabric.  We like to try it on. But we are finding, like many people, we don’t have our old shopping stamina. Shopping online surged during the pandemic. But, beware! Companies are cutting corners, using cheaper, synthetic materials for clothes that are poorly made.  Make sure you aren’t shy about returning!

We like timeless clothes. We like black. We like well-fitting jeans, though that may be an eternal quest. We like a flattering bathing suit, which is probably an oxymoron as we age. And, that’s if you’ve got the guts to wear one.

And, some fun news! “At Prada, It’s in With the Old” shouted a recent headline. Instead of waiting for us to check into an old folks’ home, Prada’s Milan show featured actors Kyle MacLachlan and Jeff Goldblum, both old enough to collect social security. The point, the article’s author underscored, is that Prada is recognizing that people are living longer and baby boomers outspend consumers from any other age cohort. Finally, a market-driven decision that recognizes “vintage humans.”

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  We’re not suggesting you buy Prada’s Re-Edition 1995 brushed-leather medium handbag for $3,050. Just smile smugly in appreciation of the fashion brand’s recognition of us in marketing. Never ever be a slave to a fashion trend that looks terrible on you. Clothes in your closet should be items that fit and that you look forward to wearing. Starting to again wear clothes that need dry-cleaning is a positive. Reintroduce yourself to your favorite dry cleaners and keep it in business. They’ve had a tough time surviving Covid since everything we’ve donned during the pandemic can be tossed in the washing machine.

Wrinkled Wisdom – The Advertising Industry Has a Problem

We hate ads. We’re not alone. People of all ages hate ads. Companies worldwide spend more than $300 billion annually on advertising that over 90 percent of us pretty much ignore! People also complain that ads today are more intrusive. No kidding. We’re bombarded on television, Facebook, YouTube, apps, games, and even old fashioned billboards.

We will admit to enjoying some humor in ads and those featuring “our” music. Loved learning that most ads for wristwatches have them set to 10:10. That way, the hands frame the brand name and create a smiley face.

And, yes, we do raise our heads and look at the TV when commercials feature classic rock. California Raisins once used Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Carnival Cruises once used Bobby Darin’s Beyond the Sea. But, Geico made a blooper using the Allman Brothers’ Midnight Rider to promote its motorcycle insurance. Duane Allman and the band’s bassist were both killed in motorcycle accidents. Oops!

We are especially ticked by the ageism that is alive and well in advertising. What’s the key to marketing to us?  Use some common sense. Don’t call us old in the ad. We also aren’t excited about being called seniors citizens, elders, or even boomers. Okay, got to admit those terms are better than the days when people our age were labeled geezers, codgers, duffers, and old farts.   

A recent focus group came up with calling us advisers, coaches, wise ones, masters, experienced, and seasoned citizens. Huh?? Seasoned? What are we, food?

The view of the human race would be distorted if it were based on primetime advertising alone. You barely see older people. Only about five percent of U.S. advertising focuses on people over 50. Fifty! Apparently, we don’t exist… except for Depend diapers and ads for drugs that reportedly improve memory.

Yet, in a study polling people of all ages asking when you’re too old to do things like go back to school, start your own business, or date romantically, an overwhelming majority answered that you’re never too old. So there. Quit focusing on age as an indicator of consumer habits.

America does have an obsession with youth so most marketers focus on millennials and Gen Zers. Not smart! Not only do they not have the big bucks; apparently, they are not very loyal to products and services. Ageism in ads could be the consequence of the average age of employees in the advertising industry…34.  Hey, run some of your ideas past mom and dad!

Ignore us at your own peril! There are lots of us and we’ve got money! Respect “seasoned” citizens!

Eureka!  How about ads that focus on our actual needs and lifestyles instead of our age? This would increase the ad’s appeal to all potential buyers. Heck, we eat in and dine out. We drink alcohol. We wear clothes and wash them. We take care of our lawns. We update our homes. We use hair products and lotions. We exercise. We own computers and cell phones. How else would we communicate with the younger relatives? And, we buy lots of stuff at the pharmacy like everyone else for the sniffles and headaches, in addition to the Rogaine for our thinning hair.

Laughing over a number of news articles recently talking about Facebook and Google banning ads for sexual wellness products aimed at people over 50. Are their employees aghast that “seasoned” citizens are having sex?? Read the stats, millennials. ED can hit at any age!

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  Social media gives us a voice to criticize condescending and stereotypical ads. Let ‘em have it on Facebook. Boycott brands whose ads tick you off. Don’t underestimate our clout! Yelling obscenities at the TV doesn’t do a thing, but sure makes us feel better. Smile when you see age-appropriate actors pushing products. Otherwise, hit the mute button and tackle a crossword puzzle till the show comes back on. Oh, and, could we dump the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” ad? It’s been on and off TV for 33 years. How about, um, I ate too many edibles and can’t get off the couch!

Wrinkled Wisdom – Post Holiday Ruminations

Hanukkah…Winter Solstice…Christmas…Kwanzaa…New Year’s. Well, we’ve just lived through another holiday season as the Omicron variant surges throughout the world. This year, thankfully, even the grandkids were vaxxed and home tests were available to confirm that no one had to stay in lockup while we partied. We hugged! We stashed the masks!

Wow…some of our friends, who haven’t seen relatives or pals for two years, actually celebrated together. That is, if their flights weren’t canceled because Omicron is hitting airline employees hard. Yes. Omicron! For inquiring minds, the World Health Organization skipped over the Greek alphabet letter Nu because it sounds like “new.” That would be redundant. They skipped over Xi because China’s president is Xi Jinping. That wouldn’t be politically correct. If these variants keep popping up, we’ll need to find a different alphabet!

We all might consider avoiding trips to the mall for a bit since experts predict that about two out of three of us will return at least one gift after the holidays. An alternative? Regifting! Reportedly, the most commonly regifted items are socks, alcohol, and scented candles. Huh? Socks?  We’re not regifting that scotch, for sure. Candles? Maybe. We regift sugar things. The mailman loves candy, and we sure don’t need more calories.

Food, which translates into calories that translate into fat, is a huge part of the holiday season. Some of us look forward to holiday celebrations just because of the specialty foods that will be welcomed on our plates. Some may not be seen or eaten for another year! Home-grown turkey.  Noodle kugel (not kegel).  Yummy mashed potatoes, stuffing, and orange gravy.  Coconut cheesecake.  Carrot cake.  Forget the fruitcake. 

The food is, of course, complemented by multiple wines and our favorite mixed drinks. Yup. More calories. We used to be able to handle three drinks. Now it’s two since hangovers aren’t fun. That’s one of the perks of hosting the party. Yes, you have to cook, prep, and clean up, but you don’t have to worry about driving home.

Then there is the holiday Annual Sugar Exchange. That’s what we call it when the neighbors think it’s neighborly to gift us with their favorite homemade cookies, cakes, or candies, much of which ends up in the compost or trash bin. Of course, that means it’s incumbent upon the receiver to reciprocate with a sugar gift. Oops, be careful about regifting food. One of us once did; then was asked for the recipe. Ouch.

After decades, gifting, in general, has become a challenge.  No one in the family really needs anything, except the grandkids who, of course, want things. So, we’ve established some traditions in giving. It works! We don’t buy that imported canned tuna fish we love because we know we’ll get a bunch for Christmas. We look forward to receiving an expensive scotch we wouldn’t buy but just love. Donations to favorite charities in our name.  Gift cards.  Lottery tickets. 

We had no problem with the answer to a crossword clue recently that read:  Thanks, it’s just what I’ve always wanted. It’s a lie! Well, fib would have fit too. Three in five of us have lied about liking a gift we just opened, according to a recent poll. Guess the others just say thanks and give it away.

One of the positive things about the holidays is that spam calls usually drop. What a relief! But, spam emails increase like crazy. Why? They are trying to dupe us with fake shipping notifications for holiday gifts. With age comes wisdom. If it lands in our junk mail, screw it.

So, our wrinkled wisdom for today? The simplest way to make a person happy with a gift? Ask them what they want. Gifts don’t always have to be a surprise. A wanted gift makes people smile. Hope you got a cute baseball cap this holiday. According to our hairdressers, the pandemic has apparently caused lots of hair loss. Thought that was aging. And, don’t instigate a holiday Sugar Exchange with neighbors. Trust us on this.

Wrinkled Wisdom – Did You Know?

We hope you will smile and laugh at some fun facts we’ve uncovered as we continue to ignore the news.  Smiling and laughing trigger the release of endorphins, making us feel happy.  But, oh, dear, they also cause wrinkles, which are, of course, emphasized as we age.  Crap.  Botox??

While feeling a bit guilty about deepening those wrinkles, we are going to share these tidbits with you.  Enjoy!  Smiling and laughing are optional.

Did you know that Purina has launched a line of pet food that uses bugs?  Well, specifically the food includes black soldier fly larvae and plant protein.  They are promoting it as a way to better use the planet’s resources.  Bugs are a great protein source and our pets have no mental hang-ups about eating them. 

Heck, that should come as no surprise.  Remember, people eat bugs too!  The selection on Amazon is mind-boggling.  Crickets, ants, and even beetle larva, can be found, covered in rich, dark chocolate.  Something called EntoMilk is used in some ice creams.  It’s made from the larvae of that popular black soldier fly.  But, let’s talk ants.  Did you know that all the ants on the Earth once weighed as much as all the humans?   No longer, as one expert points out, “We’re not just increasing in population, we’re increasing in fatness, so I think we’ve left the ants behind.” 

Speaking of fat, the Washington Post has published its Annual Neologism Contest winners, who offer entertaining alternative meanings for common words.  Our favorites?  Flabbergasted: appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.  Abdicate: to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

And, don’t forget that the majority of the brain (60%) is fat!  That explains so much.

We were very surprised to learn that Competitive Art was once an Olympics competition.  Painters, sculptors, writers, and musicians battled for the gold, silver, and bronze.   After the Olympics were put on hold during World War II, the new IOC president insisted that the Olympics be absolutely pure.  He believed that winning an Olympic medal for Competitive Art was an advertisement for the artists’ work and made them more money on their sales.  Another victim of war.

Oh, my God!  That was our reaction to learning that the ubiquitous text abbreviation OMG is more than 100 years old.   A British Naval admiral included it in a 1917 letter to Winston Churchill.  What is old is new!  Recycling at its best. 

Air fresheners, perfumes, and aftershaves can cause allergic reactions in cats.  Makes sense.  They have a keener sense of smell for survival.  We know how they feel.  Ever been in an elevator with a heavily-fragranced individual??   Thank heavens, we don’t react like some cats and vomit or have diarrhea.  Even our Covid masks don’t help.  When it comes to fragrances, less is more!

Pope Francis worked as a nightclub bouncer in his hometown in Argentina to support himself when he was a student.  Not sure what implications to draw from this!

Historians guess that Genghis Kahn’s conquests killed around 40 million people.  Yet, one in every 200 men today is descended from this murderous Mongolian.  Huh?  Scary?

Before mercury, brandy was used to fill thermometers.  What a waste of good alcohol! 

Hot water freezes faster than cold water. We knew that but forgot.  Because, who cares?

The first McDonald’s drive-thru was created in one of its restaurants in Arizona, located near a military installation.   Military rules at the time forbade soldiers from wearing their uniforms in public.  The manager had a hole cut in the restaurant’s wall so military members could pick up their Big Mac and fries without stepping out of their cars.  Thank you for your service!

So, our wrinkled wisdom for today?  Amuse yourself with interesting facts.  Get with the program; eat bugs and help save the planet.  Suggest to your young relatives that they get an ancestry DNA test for their fiancé before marrying the guy.  And, know when you think someone is a fathead, you are right.  OMG!

Wrinkled Wisdom – Random Thoughts

Random Thoughs

We had toyed with the idea of writing a selection titled: Ten Top Reasons We’re Glad It Is Not 2020 Anymore….a cumbersome title and a blatant play on David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists.  (So fun not to have to explain who Letterman is to our readers.)  We also had a humorous Top Ten Reasons to Keep Some Masks idea, another cumbersome title.  However, things have not progressed as we had hope, so we nixed both ideas.  Consequently, we are left with… random thoughts.

Wow.  Disruptions in the supply chain are really screwing things up and driving up prices!  Costco is again limiting purchases of some items.  The issue isn’t panic buying.  They just can’t get the products to their stores. Thankfully, it’s not as bad as last year when everyone was hoarding.  Example?  Someone’s mega-package of toilet paper was strewn on the street recently and no one stopped to pick up the rolls!

Speaking of disruptions, if you need to schedule any medical appointments, do it now.  One specialist we called is now taking appointments in March.  March????

As more people are posting on various media, it’s driving up our blood pressure as we are constantly struck by poor grammar and spelling.  Sure, we all make mistakes, but we do know how to use an apostrophe!!!  And, please, there is the correct usage of “regard” versus “regards.” 

Mercedes once ran an ad bragging…More power.  More style.  More technology.  Less doors.  Less doors?  Wait, doors can be counted so, using proper grammar, the ad should have boasted fewer doors.  Some claim that companies use bad grammar to sell their products or services, arguing that it grabs people’s attention causing them to stop and focus on the message.  Nope.  Not buying that.  Just some ad writer’s clever response when caught screwing up.

Viruses constantly change through mutation.  So, we are lobbying for use of the word “mutant” over “variant” to describe the new forms of Covid.  Mutant sounds more negative to us, while variant seems more benign…like abnormal or different.  And, we are sure feeling negative about the Delta mutant taking us backwards.  

Regeneron is available to those over 65, so a positive for oldies who are suffering from breakthrough Covid cases.  Got to look for the positives these days!

Cooking has lost its appeal.  Thank goodness for microwaves and toaster ovens…and delivery!

We are noticing an increase in roadside litter.  Yes, people are back in their cars and going places, but has the pandemic made us less thoughtful about the environment???  “Leave no trace” should be honored everywhere.  Google its principles not the movie.  

We’ve noted that some do not do solitary very well; no wonder it is used as a penal punishment. 

Some people feel masks limit interpersonal communication.  There is truth to that.  Masks muffle sounds and cover facial expressions.  However, after more than a year of this mess, we’ve learned to better read body language, eyebrows, eyes, and upper cheeks, which are keys to understanding the big picture.  Listen for those audible signs of frustration.  Watch for that twinkle in happy eyes.  

The pandemic has spurred gambling from anywhere, any time, and on anything!  Even we can name multiple betting sites available to us on our phones.  And the initial no loss come-ons are way too inviting.  We don’t even understand half the betting terms, and we have limited to no knowledge about some sports.  Arm Wrestling and Rock Paper Scissors Championships! Really?

We’ve watched our screen time increase each week.  Gee…could it be killing time with online games?   Okay, maybe not Minecraft or Fortnight, but solitaire, poker, bridge, Words with Friends, or Candy Kush?  Not telling.

So, our wrinkled wisdom for today?  Continue to wear those darn masks to protect yourself and others from the RISE of the MUTANTS.  Hmmm…in addition to storing personal protective equipment for the next pandemic, maybe the government should offer free American Sign Language classes so we can better communicate when masked?  Beware of online gambling!  Even if you know the terms parlay, bad beat, and vig, you can still lose your shirt.  Consider supply issues and shipping times when planning to cook or bake.  The strawberry jam bundt cake is on hold because the strawberry extract is weeks late.  We’re not advocating hoarding…but.  

Wrinkled Wisdom – Ouch!!!

What the heck? We had planned to suggest fun ways to use our stash of unused masks instead of tossing them. But, the coronavirus has reared its ugly head again. That nasty, aggressive Delta variant is taking us backwards. We knew we’d need to keep some masks as we planned trips, since wearing them in airports and on planes is still a must. Now, we’re thinking about cancelling the trips. But, didn’t think we’d be pulling them out again when heading to stores and indoor gatherings! We’re pissed.

Oh, no! We freaked when we read the headline: “Sorry, We Aren’t Going Back to the Movies.”  What? For over a year, we’ve been stuck at home watching movies, favoring those with predictable, happy endings. Why would we want to continue to do that?  We love the big screen. Yes, we understand that Hollywood coped with the pandemic by streaming new movies, but do studios still have to stream movies at the same time they release them in theaters??  

There is hope that this studio strategy will taper out and help theaters thrive. A bunch of households have cancelled their streaming services. And, the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise broke box office records recently. It debuted exclusively in theaters. While some of us have outgrown movies like Vin Diesel’s Fast and Furious F9, we did find one worth seeing and hit the theater for the first time recently. Fun! We hope more people are hungry to return to theaters, with a mask for sure.  But, most movies today are for young people and kids.  A lot of animated films.  Great for taking the grandkids to the theater, but what about us?  

Gulp!  People drank more and ate more unhealthy food during lockup. Calories! A jokester noted that, after 25 million Europeans died from the bubonic plague in the mid-1300s, Italian Renaissance paintings that followed are full of overweight, naked people lying on couches. A doctor at the time may have contributed to the weighty people in the paintings by recommending they ingest “select wines” as they lived in fear of getting the plague. Or, maybe it was just a time when good health and wealth was firmly associated with “stable plumpness.”  

The big uptick in sales, surprisingly, was in distilled spirits—tequila, gin, and whiskey. People treated themselves by splurging on more expensive brands. Liquor companies also saw a rise in two- to three-ingredient cocktails, selling more “premium mixers” such as cordials, flavored liqueurs, and aperitifs. Sales of vodka mules and other premixed cocktails in cans nearly doubled during the Covid lockdown. 

Takeout cocktails helped bars and restaurants stay in business during the pandemic. At least 33 states temporarily allowed cocktails to-go. The Colorado House of Representatives recently passed a bill extending to-go cocktails from distillery pubs, restaurants, and bars for five years.  Hmmm…any link to the increase in DUIs during the pandemic even as driving decreased?? 

Ouch!  Tattooing is booming and many are asking for Covid-related designs. As someone said, tattoos are the body’s “refrigerator magnets of memories.” The more entertaining include Corona beer bottles in various states of explosion, hand sanitizer, and rolls of toilet paper. A heart surrounded by coronavirus spike proteins is popular. It’s the logo of a group that connects Covid-19 survivors. Tattoos featuring semicolons, interestingly, are some of the most moving.  Coupled with a butterfly wing, it’s a symbol of freedom. Coupled with a heart it represents the love of partners, family, and friends, who helped the person through the pandemic.  But, we truly hope young people consider aging and sagging skin when choosing a location for that tattoo!

Egad!  Fashion torture devices are suddenly looking appealing. After wearing sweats, pajamas, and leggings for over a year, high heels, tight pants, strapless bras, and even pantyhose are looking less painful as we welcome the eventual resurgence of a social life. Fun earrings!  Bracelets and necklaces! Cocktail outfits! Tossing those sweats might be a challenge at first.  Need to reintroduce ourselves to our closets.  And, it’s going to be great for our favorite dry cleaners’ business. The Delta variant might slow us down a bit, but….

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today:  Focus on you! Get those masks out! Go to the movies in the afternoon when theaters are pretty empty!  Suggest ankle tattoos to the kids. Head back to the gym but don’t forget to sanitize that treadmill. Even if you have exercise equipment at home, other body parts need work. Spend more time with friends, which will cause you to laugh five times more, says the research.  Stay optimistic. “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere,” wrote Erma Bombeck.  

Wrinkled Wisdom – Crosswords…Not Cross Words

We love crossword puzzles. They were a comforting friend and welcome bit of normalcy throughout the pandemic lockup.  We had no idea that crosswords were once touted as an antidote to dementia.  Wow.  But, not true.  Yet, some researchers think doing crosswords can delay cognitive decline by a few years.  Yes!  Many believe that working a puzzle daily helps keep our brains active, improves memory, and builds vocabularies.  We’ll settle for that.  They certainly helped ward off Covid boredom.  Less time to be irritated and, well, use cross words.  

Science also confirms that solving a puzzle in a group strengthens social bonds.  We have no shame.  We’ve asked bartenders, fellow diners, and middle-seaters, among others, if they can help us with an answer.  And, no fellow “crossworder” is a stranger.  One of our favorite stories involves a group of old men (we were much younger then!) at McDonald’s.  We asked if they wanted a crossword puzzle answer they were struggling with.  From that day on, they called us the “Crossword Ladies.”  We all met around the same time on Saturdays to tackle a puzzle.  This relationship developed into true friendships way beyond “words.”

We are so glad that Sunday dinner is back on the agenda.  It is de rigor to do a puzzle at our family dinners.  The kids were introduced at an early age to the joys and aggravations of the puzzle.  They love crosswords!  Also, luckily their brides either embrace or tolerate the puzzle.  Once we complete it, we google a blog written by an English professor under the pseudonym Rex Parker.   He opens by addressing the relative difficulty of the puzzle.  Then he comments on the puzzle’s theme, where he stumbled, and what he found annoying.  The annoying part is the most entertaining.  If you need to cheat, you’ve got all the answers from Rex.

Success with the puzzle is definitely improved by the various generations at the table!  Take one recent puzzle.  Who our age knows the name of a basketball game in an arcade?  Pop-A-Shot?  Huh??  Do any of us know what Sta4nce is?  Can’t even give you a definition after googling it.  But, we oldies nailed a number of answers unknown to the younger crowd. For example, they were clueless about the name of the heavy metal band that earned a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.  Black Sabbath!  Ozzy Osbourne rose to prominence during the 1970s as their lead vocalist. 

If it weren’t for grandchildren we might not know Olaf, the friendly snowman in Disney’s Frozen franchise.  There are techies in the family who help with answers beyond the obvious word “byte.”  And, some who know many of the sports answers as that is certainly not our forte!  Superman and Batman have been minimized by so many more superheroes that we have difficulty keeping up.  Not to mention the villains. While we took four years of Latin, it’s more likely French or Spanish answers the puzzles want.  We are pretty good with the gods and goddesses and mythology stuff.  Forget questions about recent movies.  Most are simply not made for our demographic.  

We find some clues silly, yet very hard.  Queen Anne’s lace?  The answer is “hers”?  What?  And, speaking of improving vocabularies, where else would we learn that a pismire is an ant or the source of the word pissant, a pejorative.   Or that an ort is a scrap of food.  

Another distraction for crossword fans and others is Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Crossword Mystery movies.  Crossword puzzle editor Tess Harper always finds herself swept into the investigation of a bizarre murder and unofficially teams up with Detective Logan O’Connor to find the killer.  

Let’s close with a little history.  Although similar word games can be traced back to Pompeii, the first known published crossword puzzle was created by a Liverpool journalist and appeared in the New York World on December 21, 1913.  An opinion column followed in The New York Times calling crossword puzzles “a primitive sort of mental exercise” and a “sinful waste” of time.  However, just two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the NYT  Sunday editor sent a memo to the publisher saying, “We ought to proceed with the puzzle, especially in view of the fact it is possible there will now be bleak blackout hours—or if not that then certainly a need for relaxation of some kind or other.”  Guess we can all appreciate that take after the last year.

So, our wrinkled Wisdom for today?  Create a crossword group like a book club!  Meet once a week with friends and do a puzzle.  You don’t have to read the assigned book to have fun.  It’s immediate gratification.  It’s cerebral.   It provokes fun conversations about clues and answers.  Everyone can participate.   Do buy erasable pens, which are a thing.  Mistakes happen.  And, best of all, the puzzles come in large print!