Category Archives: Traffic

People Are Strange

A fellow paralegal I didn’t particularly like gave me a memorable piece of advice over thirty years ago.  And I remember it clearly to this day.

“Never get a vanity license plate,” she said, “Because if you rob a bank or are involved in a hit-and-run accident, witnesses will remember it.”

In spite of the fact that I have never actually robbed a bank or run anybody over, I’ve followed that piece of advice.  But mostly it’s because I tend to change my mind about stuff.  (Like the time I decided that I really didn’t like my choice in between special ordering a new sofa and when it was delivered.)  So if I get a vanity plate, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to go to the DMV weekly to change my special plate when I decide that it isn’t quite as clever as I thought at the time.  [See:  Stupid blog name.]

But I love vanity plates.  I missed them when I was overseas.  I search the road for them while commuting and on road trips.  Sometimes, I laugh at the cleveness.  Often I try to figure out what a message might mean.  Sometimes I shake my head and try to figure out what insanity might possess someone to saddle themselves with such a stupid plate.

The one I saw tonight though, made all others pale in comparison.  It reached an entirely new dimension.  Beyond the earth’s stratosphere, mesosphere and thermosphere.  To Infinity and Beyond.  Literally.

It said:


OK, so that doesn’t seem all that ground-breaking, now does it?

The plate was on a hearse.

About this vintage.*

About this vintage.*

The hearse itself had seen better days, but it was pretty much like this picture that I found at this website, where they sell hearses, should you be at all interested in procuring one.  It was not at all like the fancy schmancy hearses I see regularly leaving this appropriately named local funeral parlor:

Photo from (I kid you not)

Photo from (I kid you not), a Northern Virginia Funeral Parlor

My hearse, I mean the one I’m talking about, had broken down in the left turn lane to get onto a major highway.  I drove past as the traffic in my lane flowed by, cursing myself for having my camera/cell phone in my pocket instead of ready for this photo op.  [Curses, foiled again.]

That was when I saw the pièce de résistance!  The driver stood in front of the hearse (making it far more likely that HE, and not EWE would, in fact,  be NEXT).  He was dressed in black jeans, black shoes and a black Panama hat.  Oh, and a black Blues Brother T-shirt.

Oh Yeah! Image from

Oh Yeah!
Image from


I’m pretty sure it was the reincarnation of John Belushi.

Honestly, I don’t know where I’d get my entertainment from if I worked at home.




Filed under Driving, Huh?, Humor, Traffic

HE is Pissed

It finally happened. God woke up and got pissed.

He realized that there is a whole group of fanatical jerks, using His name to bash just about anybody else who believes that there is an important role of government in the lives of American citizens.

The Rally for Which Tens of Millions Stayed home and dry

The Rally for Which Tens of Millions Stayed home and dry


What does God do when he is pissed?

God sends natural disasters, of course.  Just ask any TV preacher when he’s not asking for money.  (OK, you’ll have to interrupt him.)

This time, he sent rain. And not just any rain – but about 4 inches of rain in a 12 hour period to an area that was already saturated.

God obviously is pissed at the Tea Partiers.  Can you blame him?  I am too.

*     *     *

My thanks to my friend X, at List of X  for inspiring this post.


Filed under Adult Traumas, Disgustology, Elections, GOP, Gun control, History, Huh?, Hypocrisy, Law, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Traffic

I Coulda Been a Contender!

Have you ever wanted to leave a different impression on folks around you than you actually do?

Yeah, me too.

In high school, boys found me cute.  Now to all you high school age boys reading this, please note that the way to a girl’s ummm, heart, is not via the word “cute.”  By the end of my senior year, I had had it with that word.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my older sister, Judy, was seriously sexy.  Nope.  Nothing to do with that.

As I entered English class one day, my friend Jonathan was still chuckling over something adorably cute I had said or done in the class we had together earlier in the day.

“Elyse,” he said, chuckling, “you are so cute!”

“Really?” I responded.  “Damn it, I always wanted to be voluptuous.

Jonathan’s mouth, no doubt, is still hanging open.

Years later when I played basketball for a law school team (I was an honorary student at the time with gym privileges), I wanted to be tall.  Very tall.  Sadly, tallness is something you cannot fake.  Especially if you are 5 foot 2.  Damn.  And did I mention that I’m slow, too?  Yeah.  Molasses.

But I’m resourceful, so when my opposing guard, all 12 feet of her, hovered over me whenever I got down court towards my basket, I improvised.  I shot the ball from center court.  Of course I made the shot.  Alas it was before you got 3 points for such skill.

Shooting hoops is a skill that has helped me throughout my lifetime.  I am never, ever, out of reach of the trash basket.  Yes, I am that good.

As I’ve aged, though, I reluctantly accepted the fact that I would never be either voluptuous or tall.  So I wanted to be intimidating.  Physically intimidating.  At 5’2″.  You got a problem with that?

You’ll be pleased to know that now, and for the near future, I could scare the hell out of you.  Or anybody.  If only I’d remember to.

Where I live, the guys who design the roads like to pretend that we are waaaaay out in the country.  They do this by insisting on putting one lane bridges over bridges that cross streams connecting two pieces of major roads.  These road designers either have bizarre senses of humor or a sadistic streak.  Maybe both.

As you drive towards the one lane bridge, you note a white line and a “yield to oncoming traffic” sign.

(Google Image)

(Google Image)

It’s terribly quaint.  You are expected to take turns.

But this is 2014, and there are lots of overachievers around here who flunked only one course on the way to their advanced degrees:  Turn Taking.

On Sunday, I approached one of these bridges, slowed down, and stopped at the white line.  It was the oncoming car’s turn.  After the driver of the oncoming car went, I started forward to take my turn.

Flying down the hill towards me and the one lane bridge I hadn’t yet reached, was someone who didn’t know how to take turns.  And she wasn’t going to stop her Mercedes SUV for me.

My mouth ran on with some choice words, but my foot wisely pressed the brake, and the collision that would have otherwise occurred, didn’t.  But I was, pissed.  And swearing.  And really wishing that I was a frightening, imposing looking person so that I could chase after the asshole and confront her.  Yell at her.  Threaten her.  Teach her how to wait for her bloomin’ turn.

A mile down the road I stopped short and pulled over.

“SHIT!” I shouted as I realized that I had missed my chance.  My chance to stand in front of someone and scare them.  To make them wonder just what I am capable of.  To wonder if they would be able to survive an encounter with me.  All 5’2″ of me.

Because you see, these days I’m a wee bit scary looking.  I look like I’ve been in a knife fight.  Like an abused wife.  But like someone likely gave way more than she got.

Yup.  You can call me Scarface.

Remember last month when I told you about the Valentine’s gift I got? You remember, don’t you — I got melanoma!  (Although, I would have preferred flowers.)

In the intervening weeks, I’ve de-melanoma’d.  Yup, I’ve had it taken out by a plastic surgeon.  And while I will look just fine in two shakes of a dog’s tail, right now I look a bit intimidating.

OK, So I have no makeup on.  Sue me.  Just Don't Mess with Me!

OK, So I have no makeup on. Sue me. Just Don’t Mess with Me!

AND I DIDN’T USE IT!  I didn’t chase after her and make her fear for her life!  I didn’t teach her how to take turns!  Damn it!  I coulda been a contender!

*     *     *

This was just a little ditty to let you know that I had my surgery, that I am now cancer free and just fine, thank you very much.

But what about you?  Did you do what I told you? (No comments from you, Guap!)

Save your skin.  Right now.  Listen to me, and follow my instructions precisely:

  1. Go into your bathroom
  2. Take off all of your clothes
  3. Examine your skin
  4. Check spots, moles and discolorations carefully
  5. If anything doesn’t look right, if you have a bad feeling, if something is bigger or darker or just different, go to a dermatologist and have it checked out.

Even though I look pretty scary now, I won’t for long.  But I won’t forget to use what I have — I will intimidate assholes for several weeks until my scar fades.

But you know what?  The real way I’ll get back at folks who don’t know how to take turns is to take away their sunscreen.  That’ll fix ‘em!


Filed under Cancer, Driving, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Humor, Melanoma, Out Damn Spot!, Stupidity, Traffic

Sharing the Boss

Some things are just too good to keep to myself:



I found this at, and it made my morning– enjoy!


Filed under Campaigning, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Daily Kos, Disgustology, Driving, Elections, GOP, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Stupidity, Traffic

Five Hundred Miles

Four years ago on a gray August day in Cleveland, nobody knew what to do with my sister Beth.  Except me.  I knew exactly what to do with her.  Nobody listened.  But I’m tellin’ you, I was right.

My sister Beth was a born wanderer.  Wherever she was, well, she wanted to be somewhere else.  For nearly 20 years following her divorce, Beth worked as a traveling nurse.  She criss-crossed the country, falling in love with California wine country, Albuquerque, Florida and points in between.  Just when she seemed to be settling in one place, she’d get that urge to go again.  And go she did.  She wanted to see all of America.  She said she never wanted to stop traveling.

So when Beth died due to complications of a stroke and kidney failure on August 11, 2009, I knew just what to do.

“She wanted to be cremated,” I informed my nephews, Dave and Chris.

“Why didn’t she tell us that?” Dave asked.  “Are you sure?  Nobody else has been cremated in our family.”

“Worms,” I responded simply.

They both laughed, realizing just how well I knew my sister.   Creepy crawly things?  Beth wouldn’t be caught dead with a worm anywhere near her, dead or alive.  Cremation it was.

“But what do we do with the ashes?” Chris wondered aloud.

That was a dilemma, because Beth hadn’t filled me in on the second half of the plan.

“Well, she really hated it when she could no longer travel,” I said.  “Let’s pour her into a cardboard box, poke a small hole in it, and tie it to a freight railroad car.  Let the train scatter her ashes across America.”

Sadly, and to my regret, Dave and Chris didn’t take me seriously.  They flatly refused to break all kinds of laws and get arrested for terrorism or littering by letting their mom wander like Marley’s ghost, only without the chains.

So poor Beth is still in Cleveland – the one city in America she lived in that she hated.

When I read this story about a woman who placed her husband’s ashes into a bottle and threw it into the ocean in Florida, where he got to visit parts of the state that I’m sure he never would have visited otherwise, well, I was delighted.  Finally, I’d found a different sort of after-death experience for Beth.  Naturally, I sent the story to my nephew Dave.

“But Lease,” he responded.  “She has a new great-granddaughter.  She’d never want to leave Cleveland now!”

Ellyana, Sitting in a Bug

Ellyana in a Bug

Beth never did like the beach much, anyway.

*     *     *

Thanks to Diatribes and Ovations for their post which inspired me to share this story with my Word Press Family.


Filed under History, Music, Stupidity, Traffic

All I Want

For years they’ve irritated me.  Those vile ads.

Around here where I live, there are always a bunch of shiny new cars on the road on Christmas Day.  Lexuses.  Mercedes.  BMW.

It’s so annoying to see the conspicuous consumption.  Folks who, on top of every other luxury they already have or have gotten that morning, need to have a brand, spankin’ new luxury car.  Jeez.

Well, that’s how I felt until today.

Today I’ve decided to jump on the “gimme” bandwagon and demand a new car for Christmas.

Now, there are three problems with my new plan.

First, I don’t know quite how to convince my husband that I’ve changed my mind.  You see for years I’ve been commenting on how disgusting, decadent and indecent it was to expect someone to buy you an expensive car like that.  It’ll be tough, but I’m pretty sure I can convince John of my new found fondness for fenders.  I am quite an actress, you see.

Second, I’m not sure exactly where we’re going to come up with the money.  But it’s never all that tough to come up with $100 K in cool cash around the Holidays, is it?  We can cash in everything for it because I’m worth it.

The third and last problem is the most difficult one.

I’m really not sure how I can drive my current car to the dealership to trade it in without John seeing the enormous dent I decorated it with this evening.

I wonder if I can trade my car in for a used AMC Gremlin.  That’ll impress the neighbors.



Filed under Conspicuous consumption, Driving, Family, Humor, Stupidity, Traffic

Angie’s Visit

My bloggin’ buddy Angie of Childhood Relived is coming to DC next month, and we are going to get together for lunch!  I’m so excited – she will be the first blogging buddy I’ll get to meet.  The thing is, though, that I just can’t decide where to take her for our rendezvous.

Angie, as you may know, writes extensively about her childhood in the 1980s. She remembers everything that happened during that decade.  Angie has a photographic memory for every single TV show and every bit of food she consumed during that decade.  It’s awesome.  Or terrifying.  Or both.  And while I was not a child in the 1980s, her posts always make me nostalgic for that time in my life.  Back when I was young, single, sick and poor.  Ah yes, the 1980s.

I am pretty sure that Angie is (1) Superhuman; (2) will remember each and every detail about the restaurant I choose; and (3) remember every single fact I tell her about Washington, DC, whether it is in fact, fact or not.  I can’t believe I even agreed to meet her.  Can’t I be out of town that day?

Oh, yeah.  I will be out of town that day.  Out of my town.  You see, I hardly ever go into DC any more.  I work across the river in Virginia; I live in the Virginia sticks with the deer.  In fact, I do everything south of our nation’s Capitol, you know, where the Rebs lived (and seceded).  (We will not comment on how a nice Connecticut Yankee like me ended up here.  Please.  It’s painful.)

The tour I can handle.  Buildings are buildings and Angie won’t know if I’m right or wrong when I tell her which is which.  The hard part is deciding where to have lunch.  It used to be that this wouldn’t have been a problem.  Yup, I used to really know the city.  I lived in DC; I worked downtown.  I hung out on Capitol Hill.  In fact, I used to work really close to the hotel where Angie is staying.  But my familiarity with DC restaurants is current only up to 1989, when I moved away.

So rather than sweating it, I decided to give Angie a 1980s tour of Washington!  That’s the Washington I know.  Knew. Whatever.  Wouldn’t that be appropriate?  I’ll start with a 1980s restaurant!  I figured I’d see which of my favorite restaurants of the 1980s were still open and take her to one of them.  Brilliant, right?  Because after all, a trip to our nation’s capital requires a bit of history.  For US history, well, Angie’s on her own.  I’m going to give her some of my history.  Yes Angie, I am going to treat you to a dose of “This is Your Life,” DC Restaurant version.

Of course, there aren’t too many of my favorites left.  In fact, there are only three.  Which do you think she’d like best?

Health Hazard of Hunan:  This restaurant is where I learned to eat interesting spicy foods.  I went there all the time.  Whenever we worked late at the office our clients would buy us wonderful Chinese food from Hunan.  Better still, one night I organized an incredibly fun birthday dinner there for a friend.  A total of about 20 of us had a wonderful meal, where the staff gave us tastes of everything on the menu.  Exotic, delicious Chinese delicacies.  The next day the restaurant was closed for health violations.  Don’t worry though, Angie.  It’s back in business.

Rumors:  Rumors was a meat-market when I was still single, a place to go to pick up men/women for one night stands.  That’s not why I went, actually, because I never was that kind of girl.  Besides, at the time I was attached.  But it had great food and a different ambiance at lunch time.  It’s not at all far from where Angie and I are meeting.

The last time I went to Rumors was at nighttime, though, when the meat-market was in full swing.  At the time I was dating Erik, who at the time (1980), I fully expected to marry, and he and I were there with some friends.  That night began the process that led me to a much better mate.  That’s because Erik excused himself to go to the restroom and came back quite quickly looking rather confused.  He couldn’t figure out which bathroom to use.   “Ummm, Elyse?” he asked quietly.  “Am I a ‘tweeter’ or a ‘woofer’?”  I decided that perhaps I wanted more of a woofer in my life.

The Sex Change:  Actually, the restaurant is called “The Exchange” – but our name was much more fun.  I worked in an office upstairs from the Sex Change.  We actually had a convenient back door into the place that we used when we were supposed to be working.  My friends and I spent many, many lunch times, work afternoons and evenings there. The Sex Change is possibly the first place where I was ever publicly drunk, although I don’t really remember.

The Sex Change was actually the site of my first foray into public storytelling.  Yes, it was at the Sex Change one winter night, where I stood on a table in the most crowded part of the bar, my third or fourth or fifth beer of the evening in hand.  I told the world of my most shameful, completely embarrassing, life changing childhood trauma.  I stood on a table and told how I ruined my life in 2nd Grade by wetting my pants during Show & Tell, one week after moving to a new town.  It was the story I had never admitted had happened.  Not to anyone.  It was the story I feared would one day come out when someone from my past appeared unexpectedly and let it slip.  And the bar patrons loved it, and me for telling it.  They were there with me, in 2nd Grade.  Of course, they were drunk too.

In fact, it was this story that brought Angie and I together, because it was the heart of the comment I left Angie about a year ago when she wrote this post about embarrassing childhood birthday parties.  The full story, including my revenge on the kid who bullied me in grammar school, is here.  Because there is a god.

So as you can see, it’s a tough choice.  Food poisoning, sexual confusion, or humiliation.  I think that sums up my life pretty nicely.  Which would you choose?

And after lunch, I’ll take her on a driving tour.  I’ll drive her past the White House and we will wave (or gesture in an altogether different manner) to Ron and Nancy.  Reagan and O'NeilWe’ll drive up to Capitol Hill walk right in to her Congressman and Senators’ offices.  We’ll climb to the top of the Washington Monument, get into the museums without waiting through endless security lines.

Yup, a 1980s tour of Washington sounds like just the ticket.  But maybe we should just grab a hot dog.


Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Childhood Traumas, Conspicuous consumption, Driving, History, Humor, Mental Health, Traffic, Word Press