January 9, 2016


My mom called to chat this evening. She was “Granny Nanny” this evening; she was baby-sitting my seven-year old nephew this evening as my sister went out for a night on the town. My nephew had a friend over; they were watching a wrestling movie. My nephew then apparently decided to relocate the cat’s bed while she was eating in the kitchen. My mom had to pause our conversation to ask why the cat’s bed was being relocated. There was no real response except my mother let out a little bit of a noise that resembled what I would have heard at my nephew’s age when I relocated the cat’s bed. It was good to hear that even though it was 40 years later, the old girl still has that feisty kick.

I mentioned in a blog entry earlier this week that my family didn’t really talk about politics when I was growing up. My mom apparently still reads my blog (hi Mom!) because she thanked me for recognizing that she made thought out choices when she votes. This spurred a conversation about the upcoming Presidential elections. We actually talked politics. She’s the more liberal minded of the family. My social awareness, such as it was when I was growing up, was definitely influenced by her. I remember her telling me that Anita Bryant was a very mean lady that didn’t like some people when I saw her on the news with a pie in her face. She didn’t get wicked upset when a distant cousin came out as gay in the late 1970s (others in the family kind of had a freak out). We talked about taxes and our impressions of the New York State Welfare System and both agreed that it is way too easy to abuse. It was a great conversation. When talking about the Presidential elections, we both agreed that neither of us were thrilled with the choices that were shaping up for November but we further agreed that we didn’t think it would be a good thing if Trump became President (I really can’t see that man with access to the nuclear codes). We would vote for whomever we thought was the least damaging to the country as a whole. I told her I would have a gun in the house if the wrong choices were made and chaos insued. That sparked a conversation about my dad teaching me how to shoot all sorts of guns when I was a late teenager and that I was still pretty good at it. There were other points of the discussion that were quite nice and refreshing. I’m happy that I can talk to her about these things as an adult. It was a great conversation.

I can’t imagine living in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina right now with the barrage of political ads that they must be enduring. With the GOP beating the war drums of fear in an unprecedented fury, Bernie Sanders yelling about his far-left social ideals and Hillary doing her thing again, I don’t know if I would be able to watch any media in those influential states without quivering in fear that another attack ad was going to grace my television screen.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that my ideal candidate just ain’t gonna happen in November. The best we can hope for is to weigh all the points and plans and elect the person that is going to do the least amount of damage by respecting majority opinion, the Constitution and the recognition that “all men are created equal”. I want a Patriot, not a Grandstander.

I want us to move forward again. And I look forward to talking to my Mom about it.


Every year we get warm tidings from my inlaws. The card or text or email or whatever will say something like “We hope youses have a wonderful Christmas”. Not only is the sentiment much appreciated and well received, I am also fascinated by the pluralization of a word that is not part of my regular vocabulary, and that’s “youse”, Philly speak for “you guys” or “y’all”. 

When I was first acquainted with my in laws, it was pointed out that I have a very distinct accent that places me well above the New York City limits. The similar sounding words in the sentence “Mary was merry when she got married” all sound the same. Mary, Merry and marry are all the same word as far as I’m concerned. Apparently my face is very wide when I say “dollar” or “collar”. “Wallet” sounds similar to “dollar” not “wall”.  A big wide “ah”. 

Having grown up right on the soda/pop line, as I kid I would hear both, especially if we were getting a treat at Westons Department Store, in Oswego (20 miles to the west) the cashier rang up a “pop”, but in Watertown (30 miles to the north), the cashier rang up a “soda”. Living in the Southwestern corner of the state for several years solidified “pop” in my vocabulary and I never bothered to change it. When I was in California a couple of years ago I asked for a diet pop and there was much discussion amongst the counter staff at Chipotle about what I had just said.  They were amused as they sipped their Evian. 

I lived in the greater Boston area for a few years in the late 1980s but I don’t think it affected my accent all that much.  Earl and I were in New England a few years ago and I was talking with some of the natives. I mentioned that at one time I lived right outside of Worcester, which I pronounced “Wooh-steh” like a native and it caused Earl to give me a second glance. The only holdover I really have is the use of “wicked” for emphasis, but that was common where I grew up as well.  “He was wicked angry about the toll about the Thruway”. Just this week at work I said, “she’s wicked smart”. My manager, originally from Maine, agreed that the woman we were referring to was wicked smart. 

Working with folks based in South Carolina finds its share of “y’all”s but I try not to use that phrase because I think I sound like an ignorant Yankee when it comes out of my mouth. It’s easy to pick up, though. We don’t really have a second person “you” word up here in Central New York unless it’s “you guys”. It perfectly normal to hear “what are you guys doing tonight?”  As I’m typing this I’m saying that sentence out loud with different dialects and “you guys” and the Pittsburghese “yunz” feel the most natural to me, though the Philly “youse” feels quite natural to me as well.  “Y’all” brings up the ignorant Yankee bit. I think some “yunz” might have snuck into Southwestern New York, or at least people I knew, maybe because I used to DJ in the thriving metropolis of Erie, Pa.  And by the way, we never went to Erie, we always went to Erie P-A. 

I find the varying dialects and such in the Northeast and Midwest to be quite fascinating. New York (City) and Philadelphia are just a couple of hours apart but the accents are nowhere close to each other.  Boston is in a league of its own (“use yah blinkah”). And Pittsburgh has its own Pittsburghese, which I’m trying to figure out how it influenced my speech patterns because I say “let it alone” instead of “leave it alone”.  I’ve never lived in Pittsburgh. My friend Matt in Williamsport says “slippy”. When asked by Earl how many beers I had after flying with other pilots, I usually say, “I don’t know, two, tree”.  The “tree” is not a drunken slur.

The one term I have always said that catches people off (though I don’t know why) is when you’re at the office gossiping around “the water bubbler”. I was 19 when I first started working in a corporate environment and I remember a glance or two when I asked where the water bubbler was. 

I was thirsty.