Monthly Archives: January 2013

Public Health Problem

Let’s put this in perspective, now.  Gun violence is a public health issue.  Period.  We reduced other public health threats by taking appropriate action.  We can fix this one too.

From the Journal of the American Medical Association — information on how we reduced deaths from other causes and what we need to do to reduce deaths from this one:

Public Health approach to Guns

(Mozaffarian D, Hemenway D, Ludwig DS. Curbing Gun Violence: Lessons From Public Health Successes. JAMA. 2013;():1-2. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.38.)

But of course, this shows the heart of the problem:

more alcohol

More guns aren’t the answer.  Guns in schools and shopping malls and office buildings aren’t the answer.  Fewer guns — and guns with smaller magazines that’s the ticket.

To contact your Congressional representative and Senators and ask them to help enact reasonable gun laws, follow these links:

House of Representatives:



Filed under Elections, Gun control, Health and Medicine, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Mental Health, Stupidity

Sticks and Stones — The Poll

You remember it as well as I do:

Sticks and stones

May  break my bones

But names can never hurt me.

But they can sure as hell piss me off.  Especially when someone refers to folks, readers, women, whomever as “bitches.”  As in “yo! Bitches!  Listen up!”

It is meant affectionately, I’m told.

Ummm. No.  I don’t think so, buckaroo.  I think it’s offensive.  Very.

Am I alone though?  Am I the only one?  Am I the only person of my gender (or any other gender) who is offended when referred to collectively as “bitches”?  Female dogs?  Am I the only person of either gender who thinks it is annoying or offensive?  Am I truly a fuddy-duddy?

I thought I’d take a poll to see what my millions of readers think.  Because I always forget to post the results of “Other,” I won’t include it in my poll — instead you’ll be able to see where your opinion is in the greater scheme of FiftyFourAndAHalf-dom.

Feel free to expand on your answer in the comments, folks.  I’m sure I’ll be adding mine to yours!


Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Dogs, Pets, Stupidity, Writing

How to Lose Your Friends and Your Job

It was not my fault.  Really.  I would admit it if I were responsible.  But I was asleep.  Snoozin’ in my bed.  After all, it was 2 a.m.

The other night I sent an email out to everybody I know.  Friends I correspond with a lot.  Friends I haven’t corresponded with much lately and probably should have.  Friends I really have lost touch with.

And then there were my clients.  Yup.  They were there too.  Clients I deal with routinely, and those we do business with periodically.  Some who haven’t needed help from my company in 7 or 8 years.  Some who probably can’t quite recall who I am, and others who have changed jobs 3 or 4 times since the last time we chatted.  My business is like that.

And last, there were my business contacts.  Folks I might need to look up should I, say lose my job.

You know, if I were to devise a way to get back in touch with everyone I have ever known, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do it by sending them a link to a miracle diet aid.

As a fake medical professional, well, I don’t recommend diet aids.  Nope. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  That’s my firm belief when I see recommendations for miracle pills that will let you lose weight while still stuffing your craw with McD’s.

[As a fake medical professional, though, I just love the idea of liposuction.  Although I will never forgive the industry for not using the motto I developed when liposuction was brand new:


Why diet when you can vacuum!

Still, I’m pretty sure I’ll never have liposuction, either.]

So the other day I woke up to an email by my nephew, sometimes commenter and friend Clinton.  He was a little perplexed as to why I sent him a link to a diet website.  Clinton is pretty trim, actually.  If I were going to send diet recommendations to anyone, Clinton would not be tops on the list.

And then I noticed that there were lots of failure notices in my Yahoo account inbox.  Lots of the emails that I had not even sent did not go through.

But a whole bunch of them did.  Shit.

And in these emails, I apparently told my friends to visit a diet pill website.  So that they would no longer be so damn fat.

I apparently told my clients and business contacts to visit a diet pill website.  So that they would no longer be so damn fat.

I apparently told my boss to visit a diet pill website.  So that she would no longer be so damn fat.

Do you think I can get into the Witness Protection Program?


Filed under Criminal Activity, Health and Medicine, Humor, Stupidity


For a while, I’ve kind of wondered why the issue of gun sanity makes me so, well, crazy mad.  More than any of the other issue I feel strongly about, this one runs the deepest in my heart.

But thanks to Lisa of Life with the Top Down who commented on my last gun control piece and told the story of her father-in-law leaving a loaded gun in a drawer where her young son found it, I figured it out.  (Lisa’s story ended happily, thankfully.)

Yes Lisa reminded me of one of my own stories.  One of my earliest memories, in fact.  A clear as a bell memory where I am inside my own head as I acted out the events.  Remembering it made me wonder if this might explain why I feel so strongly that guns should be handled, well, differently in the U.S. than they are today.

So here is my story.

It was summer, probably 1960, but maybe 1959.  I was playing in my backyard with Debbie A who lived next door.  I didn’t really like Debbie.  Nobody did.  She was argumentative and we always fought.  Everyone always fought with Debbie.  But that day, Debbie said something that made me mad.  Really, really mad.  And so I went into the house to get my Dad’s gun so I could shoot her.  I don’t remember wanting to kill her; I just wanted to shoot her.

I went into the house, past my mother who was doing dishes, watching us out the back window.  And I opened the drawer where I knew my dad kept his gun.  He had been in the Navy in WWII, and he had kept his gun.  I knew that.  I was sure of it.  And I knew exactly where it was, too.  It was in the bottom drawer in the den.  And I was gonna get it.

Dad's Gun

But I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I emptied the drawer but couldn’t find it.  I asked my brother, Fred, who tried to help me find it.  Finally I asked my mother, who told me with a laugh, “there’s no gun in this house!”

I was crushed.  Disappointed.  I really wanted to shoot Debbie.

Years later I told my Dad the story.  His eyes widened when he thought of what might have been.  Would I have accidentally shot myself?  Would I have mistakenly blown my wonderful brother away?    Would my mother have been blasted as I headed out the door to shoot Debbie?

Would I have shot Debbie?

Dad told me that he had kept his navy revolver, but only for a short while.  When my mother first got pregnant he got rid of it.  “Kids and guns don’t mix,” he said.  “That’s a recipe for disaster.” He was right.

I was 3-1/2.  What would my life have been like had I found the gun?  How many other lives would have been ended or ruined by my action?  My really delightful childhood would have been much, much different if I had murdered someone before even starting kindergarten.

So today, on “Gun Appreciation Day” I celebrate my Dad, who was a smart guy.  Thanks Dad, for protecting me (and who knows who else) from myself.  Because you were right — kids and guns don’t mix.  Trouble is, a lot of the adults who have them don’t mix well with guns, either.

This song is about fathers.   Not guns.  It is beautiful, though.  And it makes me think of my Dad and the wise choices he made that helped me navigate life.


Filed under Childhood Traumas, Criminal Activity, Family, Gun control, Neighbors, Stupidity

Some Things Do Change With Age

Before 1986 there were two things in life I was certain about.  Things I never got wrong on a pop quiz.  Things that I could recite in my sleep.

First my name.  Elyse Ellen E….

When I got married I didn’t have to change my name.  That was until the woman I worked for at the time announced that I absolutely could not change my name.  So naturally the decision was made and I changed it.

Besides, nobody ever pronounced my maiden name correctly;  it drove me crazy.  Nobody pronounces my married name right either, but it’s John’s name not mine, so I don’t care.  Butcher away, folks.

The second thing I always got right was my birthday.  January 18, 1957.  Simple.  Easy.  I had a document from the State of Connecticut with a raised seal to prove that I was born on that date around 3 a.m. in the morning (sorry Mom and Dad).  But I didn’t know that I would end up changing my birthday when I got married too.

Actually, I can blame this one on the same boss.  It was Anna’s fault.  Yup.

The summer before we got married, I was working as a high level lobbyist and John was a lowly government employee.  OK, actually, I was a lowly lobbying flunky and John was pretty high up in the U.S. government.  But still.

One afternoon when I was supposed to meet John for some wedding prep stuff, something earth-shatteringly important happened involving my job.  It was so vitally important to the rest of the history of the world that I can’t at this moment quite put my finger on just exactly what it was.

Anyway, we were supposed to go to the DC City Office and get our marriage license.  Now stop it, readers.  This event was nothing like you see in those old movies, with movie stars in great hats.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Really, there was nothing romantic about it at all.  I don’t think.  Not so I’ve heard, anyway.

So anyway, John got our marriage license, and we got married a month or so later in a lovely church service in the church where John’s parents had been married 40 years earlier.  Family and friends were in attendance.

All was good until my birthday rolled around, when John made a major confession.

“Ummm, Lease,” he said quietly.  “When I got the marriage license, I mistakenly put down January 17th  not 18th as your birthday.”

“You what?”

“Yeah.  Oops.  I guess that means that either your birthday is January 17th or we’re not married.”

“No, I’m pretty sure it just means that I married an idiot.”

We would have happily left it at that if it hadn’t been for my family.  They betrayed me.  Each and every one of them called me on the 17th to wish me a Happy Birthday that year — thinking my new husband would be taking me out to dinner on my actual birthday January 18th.

I have a large family.  Even distant cousins nine times removed called on the 17th.

“See,” John said proudly, “I was right.  Your birthday is obviously on the 17th because everybody is calling to wish you a happy birthday!”

This scene has been replayed every blippin’ year for 25 years.  This year it will be an even 26 birthdays.  And never a call on the 18th.

To make matters worse, though, I put the final nail in my own coffin myself last year.  You see, I wanted to let all my bloggin’ buddies know it was my birthday.  Plus I needed to address the glaring issue of my stupid blog name.  And so I wrote this post:  People My Age.

And because I didn’t know how to schedule posts in those days, and because a lot of my readers were from Europe and Asia, well, I posted it on January bloody 17th.

So this year I’ve given up.  My birthday is January 17th from now on.  Or the 18th.  Whenever.  Gifts will be gracefully received all month long, however.


Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Family, Humor, Stupidity