A Grandma’s Guide to Personal Pronouns

(n.) A noun that has lost its amateur status.

The English language has (or had) two gender-specific subject pronouns: she and he – and the gender-neutral they.  (These become her, hers, herself; him, his, himself; them, their, theirs, themself when used as other parts of speech.)

Now, according to LGBTQ Nation, (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) there are thirteen additional subject pronouns – and possibly more because people keep adding new ones. If that isn’t confusing enough, some people use a different set of pronouns (rolling pronouns) depending on how they identify that day.

It is trendy (virtue signalling in some cases, perhaps) for people to add their preferred third person pronouns (ce, co, cy, ey, he, hey, ne, qui, she, sie, tey, they, xe, xie, yo, ze, ve – etc) – either after their name in correspondence or orally if in person. While I respect their intent, it isn’t information I would need at the time, because if I was corresponding with that person, or speaking to them,  I would  use the pronoun you (your, yours).

While I certainly don’t want to be offensive, it is a virtual certainty that if I had to use the new preferred pronouns to refer to someone in a third person circumstance, I would fail.

When English Majors marry the Minister says:
I now pronouns you he and she.
– BIZARRO Comics –

I call everyone dude. Don’t get offended because it doesn’t fit with your gender pronouns. My dog is dude. My mom is dude. My brother is dude. Everyone is dude.
– whisper –

If you’re under 5’5″, your pronouns are
If you are tall, your pronouns are
– c.sinclair tweet –

What’s a chocolate bars preferred gender pronoun?

That’s an alien. I just saw an alien. Not just an alien ship. An alien being. I mean- just his claw- er… hand. But yeah.
Well, I say “his hand”, but maybe it’s her hand. Or some other pronoun I don’t have a word for. They might have seventeen biological sexes, for all I know. Or none. No one ever talks about the really hard parts of first contact with intelligent alien life: pronouns. I’m going to go with “he” for now, because it just seems rude to call a thinking being “it.”
Also, until I hear otherwise, his name is Rocky.”
― Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary –

It’s in the Eyes

The Laughing Cavalier, oil on canvas painted by Frans Hals in 1624

When I was a kid, this framed reproduction of ‘The Laughing Cavalier’ hung in our living room. I disliked it because the eyes followed me.

Our house had a forced air gas furnace that had only two large floor ducts – one in the kitchen and one in the living room. On cold winter mornings I would get dressed while standing on the heat register in the living room. The established rule of family privacy meant the only eyes that would watch me were those of The Laughing Cavalier – which is why I draped a small blanket over the picture every morning…

Things that watch us at our house

Margo Magnifica Barista
Clippy Crab
Henry the Chicken (see Forge and Welder for the story about how Henrietta Hen became Henry. The purple flowers discreetly hide the gender change.)

Sometimes when you look in his eyes you get the feeling that someone else is driving.
— David Letterman –

As a child I watched Mary Poppins so many times I suffered from a condition with my sight – Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle Eye.
— Milton Jones –

Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking.
— Dave Barry –

On respect for the Queen: When I lick a stamp I always do it with my eyes closed.
— Russell Brand –

Maybe curiosity did kill your cat. But it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on the neighbor’s rottweiler just the same.
— Lois Greiman –

One day in the park
I had quite a surprise.
I met a girl
who had many eyes.

She was really quite pretty
(and also quite shocking!)
and I noticed she had a mouth,
so we ended up talking.

We talked about flowers,
and her poetry classes,
and the problems she’d have
if she ever wore glasses.

It’s great to know a girl
who has so many eyes,
but you really get wet
when she breaks down and cries.
― The Girl With Many Eyes, Timothy Walter Burton –

Photo Challenge – if you have a blog and run out of ideas to blog about, try ‘personifying’ your toilet, then taking pictures with your ‘eye phone’!

Charlie Crapolla

This and That – Cats, Dogs and Butter

I recently saw the tail end of a bobcat. By the time I got to the patio door to see the whole cat, it had disappeared around the corner of the house. By the time I got my camera and reached the corner of the house, the cat was gone. So – no photo to support my claim of almost seeing the bobcat, but here is ‘evidence’ of a human-big cat encounter:

In the same vein as my bobcat, here is a photo I found (on the internet) that almost contains a dog:

Here is a real dog with a stick and the story that goes with the photo: Ghost – Sticks and Car Shows.

Note how the bumper of the car is more in focus than the stick and the dog’s nose. That is because the car was ‘parked’ and the dog wasn’t.

“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!” This is a brand of a spreadable emulsion (vegetable oil in water) that has a butter flavor. It was introduced in 1981. That’s all you need to know if you are unsure what the punchline of this meme means:

When I was a kid (in the 1950’s) , my grandparents could afford real butter. My parents couldn’t, so they used margarine that came with a package of yellow colouring. (Margarine was banned in Canada from 1923 until 1948 when the Supreme Court of Canada lifted the ban. In 1950 Canadian Provinces were given the right to regulate the product and impose rules regarding colour. It had to be bright yellow, orange or white.)

What do you call the last of the toast topping?
The butter end.

One stick of butter to the other stick of butter – There he is! My butter from another udder!

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit! Look who’s here!

Speaking of edibles:

Last but not least: Spring will eventually come to places where summer is 4 months of poor sledding. When it does arrive:

Faces in Things

Now that I know what Pareidolia is (seeing faces in inanimate objects) I might pursue the topic until either I, or more likely you, tire of it!

Jesus has also been seen in toast, as well as a taco, a pancake and a banana peel, while Buzzfeed recently ran photos of peppers that look like British politicians…

In the 1950s, the Bank of Canada had to withdraw a series of banknotes because a grinning devil leapt from the random curls of the Queen’s hair…

Various studies have shown a simple picture of a pair of eyes can lead people to act more honestly – a “nudge” technique that has been shown to reduce bicycle theft by more than 60% in certain areas.
BBC Future: Neuroscience: Why do we see faces in everyday objects?

I tried to find the British Politicians /pepper photos, but the photos have been taken down. They were posted by someone called greggdd69 who says “I definitely have Pareidolia”. Of the 12 BuzzFeed posts where he compares things to famous people, nine posts have had the photos removed. Sadly, that also means you won’t see the 15 Orangutans that look like Boris Johnson or the 16 horses that look like Miley Cyrus.

As for the Devil’s Face in the Bank Notes, I don’t see that – do you?

It doesn’t take long to discover that many people see faces in inanimate objects and post them on the internet – often with captions. Here are ten of the best that I found:

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My other posts about Seeing Things That Aren’t There:

Eye Spy! Arizona Car Shows

Pareidolia – Seeing Things That Aren’t There

Pansies – Flowers of Many Faces

The Cancellation of Dilbert

There are many instances where mass and social media misrepresent the news by deliberately excluding context, thus inflaming the public with their bias.

This is how the reaction to statements that were labelled by the media as ‘racist’ got the Comic ‘Dilbert’ cancelled.

The Spark: The Rasmussen Reports conducted a survey of American Adults on February 13-15, 2023. They asked if the people agreed or disagreed with the statement: “It’s OK to be white.” They also asked if the people agreed or disagreed with the statement: “Black people can be racist, too.” (‘It’s OK to be white’ is a statement that is deemed to be racist by some people.)

According to the Rasmussen Reports on Twitter, 53% of blacks agreed with the statement, “It’s OK to be white.” (72% of all polled agreed.) To the statement, “Black people can be racist, too”, 76% of Blacks agreed (79% of all polled agreed.)

The Fire: Scott Adams, creator of the syndicated cartoon ‘Dilbert’, is well known for his satire and use of hyperbole. He reported the results of the poll on his podcast – then, in what he later reiterated was hyperbole, he declared:  “If nearly half of all Blacks are not okay with white people—according to this poll, not according to me, according to this poll—that’s a hate group. I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people. Just get the f*** away. Wherever you have to go, just get away. Because there’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed.”

The Result: The five sentences (without the context of the rest of his video), were deemed racist by the media.  Adam’s cartoon strip, Dilbert, was cancelled by the syndicate that carried it (Andrews McMeel Universal). (Scott does not condemn the syndicate for that decision.) His book publishers have cancelled him too.

Scott Adams did not break any laws because in the United States of America,  speech that might offend, insult, or intimidate a person or group is protected by the First Amendment – an individuals right to Freedom of Speech.

Therefore, Mass and Social Media appointed themselves judge and jury and caused, by the process of Cancel Culture, the removal of a Comic Strip that had been entertaining the public for 33 years.

The Aftermath:
Those who want to hear Adams expanded explanation of why he said what he did can watch the following video. It is quite long but well worth viewing.  He explains why he thinks race relations have become worse and how he thinks they could be repaired: he suggests the single most important thing that has to be done to help blacks is education choice for youth (see Education Choice for All Students).

Be sure to watch the facial reactions of the black interviewer, Hotep Jesus. Hotep is the stage name of Bryan Sharpe, an African-American media personality, performance artist, marketer and author.

“The price of free speech is really high and there are only a few people willing to pay it, so I decided to pay it so that I can extend the conversation to something every body needs to hear… I’m opposed to any form of discrimination against individuals.
– Scott Adams,  Sharpe Conversations –

Guess Who Came for Breakfast?

Few things get your heart racing more than a 2 ft long (61 cm) stocky brown blob bolting out from under the back porch stairs just as you are passing by in the morning.

The Javelina that was feasting on the fruit on our orange tree.

From the Javelina’s perspective – nothing gets a Peccaries short legs pumping faster than  a 5 ft (152 cm) stocky white haired human walking right by your nap spot.

After two such events in 20 minutes, it became apparent that ‘Porky’ wasn’t going to leave our yard without encouragement. The Car Guy and I eventually herded it to the gate and out of our fenced yard (I guess we hadn’t latched the gate very well!)

From the Javelina’s perspective – when people advance on you, yelling and waving a little stick and a light weight lawn chair, you want to get away from the crazies as fast as your little legs can go – even if you have to leave those luscious oranges behind.

Javelina (Collared Peccary) Facts
Scientific Name:  Tayassu tajacu
Mainly short coarse salt and pepper colored hair, short legs, and a pig-like nose; long, sharp canine teeth which protrude from the jaws about an inch. Javelina have a scent gland on the top of their rump covered by long hairs.
Average weight:  35 to 55 pounds; 16 to 25 kg
Average length:  3 to 4 feet long, 2 feet tall; 91 to 122 cm long, 61 cm tall.
Average lifespan:  10 years in the wild
Food:  Chiefly herbivores, javelinas feed on desert plants, cactus stems, pads and fruits, agave hearts, roots, and flowers. They have sharp tusks, just like that of an elephant. Their small teeth tear apart cactus plants. Their snouts detect the portions of the cactus that are safe to eat.

Prickly Pear Cactus with chunks missing thanks to a Javelina. 

Other Info:  They are not pigs, though they look similar. Found as far south as Argentina and as far north as Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

For those familiar with wildlife indigenous to the American Southwest and Central America, the javelina was as unexciting as a resident raccoon rummaging through the garbage… If javelinas could wear glasses, they probably would. Their eyesight is known to be terrible… While javelinas can be a smelly nuisance, they are truly one-of-a-kind.
– Taylor Haynes, Arizona Oddities –

Smelly nuisance – it is why we had a fence built around our back yard. Pre-fence, the fruit trees attracted herds of ‘porkies’ that rested (and pooped) under our large Ironwood tree. The fence works almost perfectly (unless the gate is accidentally left open)! No big deal – it is why I got this good photo of the ‘Fantastic Beast’!

Nuclear Energy – Growing Support for this Source of Power

 Are you afraid of Nuclear Power because of the way it has been portrayed by the media, the government and/or activists?

If so, here are some facts that fear-mongering groups don’t tell you:

1. Natural sources of radioactivity are found in soil and stones; cosmic rays from outer space, the food we eat and the water we drink. Only 0.005% of the average American’s yearly radiation dose comes from nuclear power. It is about the same as eating 1 banana per year.

2. In over 18,5000 reactor-years of nuclear power operation in 36 countries, there have been only two accidents that resulted in radiation doses that were greater than regular exposure from natural sources. The two major accidents were: Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima Daiichi (2011). In terms of total human fatalities at Chernobyl, 2 workers died in the blast; 28 workers and firemen died within weeks from acute radiation syndrome. At Fukushima, two people died from direct impact of the accident and or radiation exposure.

A detailed list of the death toll from these two accidents has been posted by ‘Our World in Data’: Death Toll from Chernobyl and Fukushima.( I found many internet stories with far higher death toll numbers, but generally they do not cite sources for the information like Our World in Data does.)

Last week, Japan’s prime minister said the country is restarting idled nuclear plants and considering building new ones. This is a sharp reversal for the country that largely abandoned nuclear after the tsunami-led disaster at the Fukushima plant in 2011.
– NPR: Why Even Environmentalists are supporting Nuclear Power Today –

3. In the resulting 30 kilometer Chernobyl exclusion zone, the radioactivity decayed rapidly. Within a month, only a few per cent of the initial contamination remained. After a year it was less than 1 per cent and animal populations in the zone exploded, along with the development of more biodiverse primary forests.

4. A nuclear reactor can not explode like a nuclear weapon.

An Environmental Activist Becomes a Nuclear Power Advocate

Michael Shellenberger Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Only nuclear can lift all humans out of poverty while saving the natural environment. Nothing else – not coal, not solar, not geo-engineering – can do that.
– Michael Shellenberger –

Environmentalists have much less to fear in reality from the current nuclear power industry than they think, and much more to gain from new and planned reactor designs than they realize.
– Steward Brand, Editor, Whole Earth Catalog –

Professor Gerry Thomas, Chair in Molecular Pathology, Imperial College London: We should have less fear of radiation

Other Sources:

Argonne National Laboratory: 10 Myths about Nuclear Energy, used with permission of the American Nuclear Society

World Nuclear Association: What are the Effects of Nuclear Accidents

Chernobyl: Has the area recovered since 1986’s nuclear disaster?

Pareidolia – Seeing Things That Aren’t There

Show a fellow human being a picture of two dots and a curved line, and he’s going to interpret it as a human face.
– Summer Beretsky, PsychCentral –

If you imagine you can see faces or characters in clouds, the moon, a tree, a flower or rock formations – you are experiencing a psychological phenomenon called Pareidolia. Seeing patterns in random data can also include hearing things (such as the urban legend of a message when the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever” is played backwards). I hear a word being repeated over and over in the ticking of a loud clock on my wall…

Pareidolia may also explain UFO, Loch Ness Monster or Elvis sightings. The Rorschach inkblot test uses the phenomenon to gain insight into a person’s mental state.

I document my Pareidolia when I take pictures:

A derelict house – I see a sad face under the curve of the roof on the right side of the photo.
At Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. This pair of rocks looked human like to me.
A home in Bourton-on-Water, England. Precisely trimmed hair frames a pair of close set eyes. The ‘X’s are a twirled mustache. The upper half of the door is a toothy mouth.
No need to explain this pansy face!

I remember drawing houses like this when I was a child:

Grand childs drawing of the Red House. She emphasized the ‘faceness’ by drawing eyebrows on the roof.

One place where this (pareidolia) commonly happens is with cars: the headlights become eyes, the grille becomes a mouth (possibly nostrils or a mustache if split), the logo becomes a nose, etc.
– Tyler Duffy, Gear Patrol, 2020 –

“The original PT Cruiser made some interesting design choices. One of them was the grille below the bumper, which resembles a grin that says, “I just raided the Monopoly bank while you were using the restroom.”
– Tyler Duffy, Gear Patrol, 2020 –

The logical (to me) next step is to add faces where there are none!

I  photoshopped these taco chips for my post Best Puns Ever – Let’s Taco ’bout Them

One Last Story

The Car Guy was in a motorcycle accident in 2012. He had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). There were certainly some interesting and even amusing moments during his recovery. For the first few months, he was unable to retain memories, but more spectacularly – sometimes he saw people that the rest of us couldn’t see!

One afternoon he woke up after a nap in the Guest Room at the Cabin and announced there were puppy faces on the ceiling over the bed. This was a new hallucination. He insisted I come and look. I stretched out on the bed and looked up at the wood paneled ceiling.

“See – there.” He pointed at the wood grain knots and swirls. “Two eyes and a nose. And over there. Two eyes, a nose and ears. And another one over there!”

Relief – yes, I could see puppy faces in the knots and swirls too! Then – I thought about all the people who had slept in that bed, but had never mentioned seeing puppy faces! It takes a certain freedom of thought, I guess, to see things like that.

Do you experience Pareidolia?

More about this phenomenon: Why People See Faces When There Are None: Pareidolia

Bulwer-Lytton Quotations #6 (2002, 2003)

The English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest since 1982. It is a literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence for the worst possible novel. The following submissions are the ones I liked best from the years 2002 and 2003.

And so rosy-fingered Dawn awakened him, first with light counterclockwise strokes, then with gentle kneading, and finally with relentless ticklings that made him rue ever buying her finger paint.
– Thomas Fox, Riverdale, New York –

Dispatched to the steamy tropics by crusty editor, Warren Pease, to interview renowned spiritualist, Serrafima Raire, in her grass shack, which he truly feared would exacerbate his chronic asthma, London Times ace reporter John Donne found her dying of jungle fever, forcing him to write despairingly in his cable to the home office, “Medium Raire not well – Donne.”
– Allan W. Eckert, Bellefontaine, OH –

Had Dorothy known Duncan was a psychopath who would seduce, then brutally murder her, and that her best friend Dana, a forensic pathologist would investigate her death and also fall in love with him, but be saved just in time by Dwayne, her much maligned colleague, perhaps she wouldn’t have bought him that Screwdriver.
– Karen Clark, Barkers Creek, Victoria, Australia –

Having opened my 40th birthday present from my husband – a kitchen window fan – and now on my way to the bakery to pick up my cake, I started thinking: What if I get hit in this intersection, and, struck with amnesia, I hobble to the edge of the highway, hungry and confused, and am picked up by a lonely trucker headed for McDonald’s and since I have no memory, I’ve forgotten I hate McDonald’s, so I hop in, and he – just thankful for the company – figures I’m a middle-aged housewife looking for love in all the wrong places and he’s got several of them?
– Cynthia Mizner Walgren, Chadron, NE –

I’d stumbled onto solving my first murder case, having found myself the only eyewitness, yet no matter how frantically I pleaded with John Law that the perp was right in front of them and the very dame they’d been grilling – the sultry but devious Miss Kitwinkle, who played the grieving patsy the way a concert pianist player plays a piano – the cops just kept smiling and stuffing crackers in my beak.
– Chris Esco, Miami, FL –

It had started off as a prank, but when Major Elyse Livesay discovered (during her solo space walk, no less!) the tarantula that the boys in the crew had slipped into her spacesuit, she knew that while in space no one could hear you scream, it was damn sure not for lack of trying.
– Matthew Chambers, Hambleton WV –

It was a barky and wormy night at Dr. Kilmore’s 24-Hour Veterinary Emporium when, right in the middle of his 3:00 AM stool watch, Alberto suddenly realized that, pound for pound, Shih-Tzus swallow more tennis bracelets than most dogs twice their size.
– Jan Socie, Campbell CA –

It was just as she had always imagined celebrity would be, Cindy thought as she stepped dramatically into the limelight created by the flash of what seemed to be hundreds of reporters’ cameras all going off at once as they screamed her name in hopes of getting just a moment of her attention – well, except for the handcuffs, the tack orange overalls, and the decidedly unglamorous sheriff’s deputies leading her into the courthouse.
– Debra Allen, Wichita Falls, TX –

On the fourth day of his exploration of the Amazon, Byron climbed out of his inner tube, checked the latest news on his personal digital assistant (hereafter PDA) outfitted with wireless technology, and realized that the gnawing he felt in his stomach was not fear – no, he was not afraid, rather elated – nor was it tension – no, he was actually rather relaxed – so it was in all probability a parasite.
– Chuck Keelan, Stern Stewart, New York –

Sarah felt bored and unsatisfied, even though her job as a nurse’s aide included helping patients and keeping track of the billiards equipment in the recreation room at the Venereal Disease Treatment Center, and she wondered what her mother had been thinking all those years when she repeatedly told her that a young lady should mind herpes and cues.
– Brad Jolly, Longmont, CO –

‘Theeeey’re here!’ whispered Billy Joe under his foul breath through yellowed teeth as brilliant white light permeated all of the windows of his trailer, and he flashed back to fragmented recollections of the previous four abductions – the questions, the pain, the probe – which he was powerless to stop but this time was better prepared for, having just finished a seventh bean burrito, a case of Bud, and four packs of Pop Rocks.
– Jim Sheppeck II, Newtown, PA –

Throwing his moccasined feet forward with the delicate assurance of a skilled tracker, Silver Cloud Stevens paused to cautiously swing a flaxen braid over his manly right shoulder, and in that brief pause became intensely and intoxicatingly aware of the one sixtieth Navajo blood surging through his veins and steering him toward the grey SUV he had earlier nestled somewhere in the vast metallic foliage of the mall parking lot; his instincts whispered “Row J, near the Cinnabon.”
– Brook Sprague, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho –

From Balloons to Bowls

The Letter ‘B’. A few years ago I did a series of posts that had photos (mine) that sort of contained objects that looked like letters. Where is the Letter ‘B’ was the second post in the series.

I abandoned the Alphabet project at ‘F’, but today I’m bringing back the letter ‘B’ because I keep finding it in my rambles around the internet.

Balloons – a somewhat accurate report
The buzz this past week was the Chinese Balloon that floated over Alaska, Western Canada, Montana, Nebraska, etc before being shot down over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina. It was said to be at an altitude of about 60,000 feet and was reported to be the size of three buses or 200 feet or a regional jetliner.  It was believed to be a surveil… espion… spy balloon.

There does not seem to have been any pushback to suggest that using the word ‘Chinese’ stigmatizes the country that launched the balloon… which is different than if viruses are called Chinese.

It has now been revealed that similar balloons briefly floated over the USA during the Trump administration but were apparently not revealed to Trump who perhaps would have had them shot down sooner than later. Now that Canada and the USA are on Balloon Alert, several more balloons have been shot down recently.

Buttons – if I happened to ‘push your button’ about balloons:

Parents know how to push your buttons because, hey, they sewed them on.
– Camryn Manheim –

Who Has Got Your Back?

An old friend will help you move. A good friend will help you move a dead body.
– Jim Hayes –


Living on a budget is the same as living beyond your means except you have a record of it.
– Author Unknown –

The AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs and NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles met for Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, February 12, 2023 in Glendale Arizona. (Kansas won.)

Here is a report from someone who envisioned  what might have happened if a guy took his girlfriend to her first football game.

And that’s it for the Letter ‘B’!