Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com


Home of Jenny the Pirate



This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.


We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.


 Nice is different than good.


Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962



Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors


I am a Blue Star Mother




Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =



The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were






Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.


Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson



When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks



 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.


Keep To The Code








You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts




Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move



Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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Melanie in so many words ... and pictures

I need to talk about my Melanie. This has been welling up for awhile.

For those of you who may not be aware, Melanie is our eldest grandchild. The first child of our first child.

And as everybody knows, there can only be one first.

Melanie was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on December 21, 2004. In a few months she'll turn seven.

She arrived in mid-afternoon on the shortest day of the year and it got very dark indeed within moments of her birth.

Melanie was not breathing when she emerged from her mother. The doctors got her up and running momentarily, but clearly she'd sustained some damage. How much, we will never know.

Then there were the other issues: a cleft palate (minus a cleft lip), and a condition known as micrognathia, or small jaw.

A diagnosis was quickly made of Pierre Robin Syndrome. None of us had ever heard of it.

The most pressing problems at first were Melanie's breathing difficulties and an inability to suck normally.

Melanie came home from the hospital on Christmas Day, after new-mom Stephanie had mastered getting formula into her baby daughter with a Haberman feeder.

On the morning of the first night Melanie spent at home, I got up to find Stephanie sitting in the living room where she'd been for at least eight hours, coaxing Melanie to ingest nourishment one agonizing drop at a time.

My daughter, who is pale-skinned to begin with, was nearly transparent with fatigue.

We sent her to bed with instructions to sleep until she was ready to get up.

When the home-health nurse arrived later that morning, a feeding tube was inserted through Melanie's nose so that other family members could -- using an outsized plunger-type device -- deliver the formula straight to the baby's stomach.

Aunt Audrey became a real pro at that. Erica ran her own special brand of level-headed auntly interference. Stephanie was able to rest undisturbed that day and we got some very welcome hands-on time with our new baby.

We left for home on New Year's Eve. It wasn't easy to do.

As the Pennsylvania winter wore on, Melanie landed back in the hospital a few times with respiratory distress. Due to ongoing breathing and feeding issues, she gained weight with excruciating slowness.

When I returned to Williamsport in early March of 2005, at nearly three months of age Melly still looked remarkably like a newborn ... but with her little head held high and long stick-thin legs hanging down.

My granddaughter resembled nothing so much as a tiny elfin being, bewildered as she was determined. When her daddy handed her to me and she snuggled into my arms, sucking on a minuscule finger, making a subdued throaty nom-nom noise to herself, I thought my heart would break.

Each breath was labored as Melanie struggled to get an adequate supply of air through her small windpipe. Persuading her to eat enough was still a monumental task. Her muscle tone was poor; nearly all of her energy was spent breathing.

Due to Melanie's glacial-paced weight gain and apparent failure to thrive, a few (I prefer to believe well-meaning) long-distance family members hinted on more than one occasion that Stephanie needed "to be encouraged" to feed Melanie more formula more often.

To do better!

As though my daughter had not been quite diligent enough in properly caring for her child.

But anyone who observed Stephanie with her baby even once -- and I did, more than once -- knew the lengths to which she would go to get the prescribed amount of formula into Melly's tummy.

Let's pull over and park here for a mo.

Are not the best coaches always in the stands? The Monday-morning quarterback is well-established lore. But when it comes to other people's children, a wise woman once told me you'd better think carefully before you speak.

Because usually in such cases, you are not in possession of all the facts. Consequently your freely-shared opinions and suggestions have the potential to be more hurtful than you realize.

Never forget: no matter how close you are (or think you are) to a situation of a mother dealing with a disabled child -- or any child -- and regardless of how many wisdom-dispensing privileges you perceive to be yours, unsolicited advice is never anything more or less than a vague form of criticism.

All any new mother needs is prayer and encouragement. Unless she asks for more than that, don't offer.

The only exception would be gifts for the baby and delicious donated meals, which are always welcome.

At any rate, God has blessed and provided for Melanie and her family. Her palate was closed in a single surgery when she was eighteen months old, by the gifted Dr. Joseph G. DeSantis at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania.

Although all of her normal childhood milestones were delayed and she still moves with a somewhat awkward gait, Melanie loves to run and play.

She goes to school in a special classroom presided over by exceptionally dedicated teachers and with classmates who have various physical and mental challenges of their own.

But although she uses fairly effective forms of communication -- to include sign language and a few one-syllable words -- Melanie has yet to talk to us.

Nobody knows why. Dozens of doctors have evaluated her and not one has offered an explanation.

I cannot tell you how often I wonder what my Melanie would say to me if only she could. Sometimes I wake up thinking about it, and I ponder it for most of the day. What does Melly think about her life and the world around her?

What does she she think of me and her Papaw, and of her doting grandparents in Pennsylvania, and her many aunts, uncles, and cousins?

Does she wonder why I talk so much? Does she wish I would stop grabbing her and hugging her till her feet are dangling six inches off the floor? Does she know how important she is to me and to all of us?

For the past couple of years TG has been working in North Carolina much of the time. As such, on most Monday nights he was invited to have the evening meal at Stephanie and Joel's house. Because that would mean an extra chair was needed at the supper table, Melanie's job as everybody assembled was to drag her pink chair from the living room play area over to the table, and sit in it.

That's all over now; TG is home for good. No more Papaw showing up around suppertime on Monday nights. And yet Stephanie told me that for the past few Mondays, when called for supper, Melanie automatically drags her pink chair to the table. Nobody told her it was Papaw's usual night to join them, or that he wasn't coming.

Melanie is a happy child, and obedient. She enjoys life. Her smile could melt the polar ice cap. She has many favorite activities and seems to revel in her daily routines. She loves to be read to, and she likes to be around people.

Unlike the early days, she now eats like an over-the-road trucker. Set a plate of food down in front of that young'un and turn around to tidy up, and when you look back she'll have scarfed half of it down without dropping a crumb.

As often as not she makes it clear she'd appreciate seconds, and she inhales those too.

But Melly's stamina is short-lived; she's frail. There are some pesky food allergies and her skin is prone to itchy rashes. Her immune defenses tend to be low, especially during the cold-weather months.

As for me? I'm crazy about her. We're all over the moon about our wee Melly. You can't not love her; she's just too cute and too precious.

I have told my daughter many times: whatever happens or doesn't happen with Melanie, no matter how much we ever know or never know, we'll simply love her and take care of her and forever cherish the gift of her unique and irreplaceable life.

(Of course that's easy for me to say. It's Stephanie -- with Joel's support and help, of course -- who does the daily heavy lifting, with the irrepressible Allissa ever at her heels, and another baby due in February.)

It's all good. Melanie is fearfully and wonderfully made, and she is ours, and we are eternally grateful.

Come what may.

The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

Psalm 126:3


The vintage people

Vintage photo of Wrigley Field courtesy of TargetEvery once in a while I clean house, to include dusting and perhaps rearranging a thing or two.

(I know, right? The pods in the basement occasionally open up.)

But today wasn't one of those days.

I'm not sure why I decided to share these vintage photos I have lying about, but I did so here we are.

Many years back I happened onto a pile of old portraits in an antique store in Findlay, Ohio.

Thinking they might class up my domestic decorating scheme -- which is decidedly eclectic -- a trifle, I bought a few. I wish I'd bought more.

This is Flora. Flora Schubert of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to be exact.

How's that for stage presence? Something tells me she was a force to be reckoned with even before her first birthday.

According to the back of the photo whereon it is recorded in perfect Copperplate rendered from a fountain pen, Flora was ten months old at the time ... and the time was 1894.

This next one is unidentifiable except for the photographer's mark: Miller of Tiffin, Ohio.

I like her necklace. And I've been to Tiffin.

Next up is a photo I cadged from Find A Grave. The couple pictured are PFC Christine Agnus "Chris" Clunie Maynard (1928-1995) and Sergeant Major Hubert Auther "Topper" Maynard (1922-1987).

They both served honorably in the United States Marine Corps.

Sgt. Major Maynard was ultimately decorated with two Purple Hearts for two separate conflicts: World War II and the Korean War. He also served two tours in Vietnam.

But even in the face of such valor and heroism, I cannot get past the romantic intrigue of this picture. His fingers tucked up under her sleeve ... ah. I love it.

This next one, circa 1918, is of TG's paternal grandfather, Andrew Weber (1887-1960), who served our country in the Army during World War I.

The grinning collie is Shep, who waited at home on the farm in Ohio.

And here's a scan of a postcard sent by Andrew to his nephew, Aurelius Weber, from what was then Camp Jackson right here in Columbia, South Carolina.

Fort Jackson during World War I:

Here is the envelope of a proper letter Andrew wrote to his nephew from Camp Jackson:

This past July we visited Aurelius's grave:

During the next great war my father-in-law, Stanley (far right), and his brother, James (far left), sons of the aforementioned Andrew, paused for a photo with an unidentified Navy man on the front walk of their maternal grandparents' home in Pettisville, Ohio:

I took a picture of that house on July 7, 2011. It's hardly changed but the men, their smiles, their youth, their shadows are all gone.

And here is TG's father posing with his buddies in the South Pacific, where they defended your freedom and mine:

Stanley Weber (1925-2011) is fourth from the left, top row. I hope he didn't accidentally step on that miniature guy to his right.

Then there's this postcard, another relic from the Findlay antique store:

I am sorry to say the postmark on the back isn't complete enough to read the year, but the card was mailed on an August day at 4 p.m. from Brooklyn, New York, addressed to Miss Blanche Meech, 19 1/2 Merrick St., Adrian, Mich.

The message reads as follows:

Was quite surprised to hear from you, I am still here at Nora's, we get along fine with the boarders and also get a tip once in a while $2.00  from the Columbus, O. girls going some. Come up and see what you can get.

And it's signed, Alma Marie.

My mother gave me this picture a long time ago:

Which clearly needs no explanation.

In that same antique store I picked up a piece of vintage sheet music:

Just because it's romantic and patriotic, and I love classic films, and Joseph Cotten is a favorite of mine and who could fail to adore the adorable Deanna Durbin?

But I doubt we could make these lyrics fly in a Hollyweird film made today:

All of us are working hand in hand;

We're working to preserve this wondrous land;

But there is something more we all can do,

That will help to bring our loved ones safely through:

Say a pray'r for the boys over there

When they play the Star Spangled Banner

Picture them by the dawn's early light,

And ask the Lord to watch over them each night;

Lift your eyes as you silently rise

When they play the Star Spangled Banner;

As the song of freedom fills the air,


Say a pray'r for the boys over there.

The muzzies and the atheists and progressiliberals of every stripe would get their knickers ALL in a twist if they heard it.

Boo Hoo. They can collectively go and jump in the nearest lake.

God bless America.

Someday we'll all be vintage people, y'all. Carpe diem.


Don't take me for a fluo-ride

Yesterday I did one of my favorite things:

I had my teeth cleaned.

Just kidding.

About it being one of my favorite things, that is.

However, now that I've found my Happy Dental Home (my dentist's words, no lie), even my less-favorite things are better than they used to be.

For example, due to a hard-fought battle won (by me) nearly two years ago, I am no longer subjected to even the merest suggestion that I indulge in an apres-dental-hygiene-appointment fluoride swish.

Beth, the adorable and sweet hygienist who took care of me yesterday, eyed my chart for a few seconds, then said:

"No fluoride for you, right?"

Right! Let's sing it in unison!

No fluoride for Jenny!

I've trained them well.

This post from November of 2009 -- when I had a completely different dentist -- will explain why.


I visited my dentist's office on Monday for a routine teeth cleaning.

The practice charges $119 for one of their excellent hygienists to perform this service.

So naturally, when the ordeal procedure was over and I went up front to pay, clutching my plastic goody bag of two extra-soft toothbrushes, a quarter-sized disc of dental floss, and a runt tube of toothpaste, I expected the receptionist/cashier to say: "The charge is one hundred nineteen dollars today, Mrs. Weber."

Or, "That'll be one hundred nineteen today."

Or, "A hundred and nineteen dollars, please."

Or at the very least, "One nineteen."

But she didn't say any of those things.

Cool as an out-of-order Cavitron she enunciated, and I quote: "That will be two-oh-three."

Two-oh-three what? Dollars? For a one-hundred-nineteen-dollar cleaning?

Something seemed to have gone awry.

I looked behind me to see if perhaps I had inadvertently volunteered to pay for someone else's dental services in addition to my own.

Seeing no one, I asked the extortionist receptionist to explain.

"You had a fluoride rinse and an exam today too," she said.

Well, yes. Yes, I suppose I did enjoy a fluoride rinse. My, was it ever tasty.

Following my cleaning I'd been instructed to swish for 60 seconds with a half-ounce of blue mouthwash that the hygienist dispensed into a plastic thimble from a gallon jug with a pump on the top.

Turns out that half-ounce swish cost me $36.

In case you do not have a calculator handy, allow me to do the math.

The gallon jug contained 128 ounces of fluoride mouthwash. Each dose measures one-half ounce, so that means that there are 256 swigs in the jug.

At thirty-six bucks a dose, that comes out to $9,216.

I do believe Kryptonite is much cheaper, makes your choppers glow in the dark, and gives you superpowers to boot.

By the way, I checked out some dental supply web sites. The jug of mouthwash cost the dentist about $60.

Who said capitalism is dead?

Forget gold coin! The smart money is on fluoride rinse! It's recession-proof and you get an 8,000-percent return on your investment!

On second thought, is there a dental mafia in Columbia nobody is telling us about?

When I picked my jaw up off the floor, being careful not to sully my very clean, very expensive teeth, I asked what -- and why -- the "exam" cost me extra.

(See, I was under the impression that the dentist moseying by after your cleaning -- and swishing -- and peering around inside your mouth and asking the hygienist for the lowdown on the happy-camper quotient of your gums and teeth, was all part of the deal. Silly me.)

"That was $48," replied the book-cooker cashier. "He examined your teeth."

Again I was agog and attempted to argue.

"He looked inside my mouth for all of 90 seconds," I spluttered. "For the rest of the four minutes he was in the room, we talked about the weather! He must make, like, three grand an hour!"

She shrugged and recited automatically: "I think you'll find our prices are competitive."

I don't know about that, but it certainly all added up ... $119 plus $48 plus $36 equals $203.

Still, at $72 an ounce, I might as well swish with Chanel Number Five.

And I can't help but wonder about the street value of that $9,216 bottle of mouthwash.

Before long there will be stories in the news about automobile-trunk fluoride labs.

I'll make it my personal mission to bring the Caped Crusader up to speed on that ... next time I see him around Gotham.

Smile! It's the weekend!


Badgered into oblivion

Badger photo courtesty of National GeographicGood grief.

Would you like to be badgered day and night with calls, emails and texts?

Just make an appointment with a dentist or doctor.

That is, providing you are able to actually reach a real person at said office in order to make an appointment in the first place.

For example.

Recently I needed to set a date with my dentist for a routine cleaning.

It was nighttime when this was on my mind, so I clicked into his Web site and filled out a handy form requesting an appointment.

Which request was ignored.


Three days later I called the office. A very saccharine (on her end) exchange ensued between me and the lady who answers the phone.

I mentioned being ignored on the Web site but she offered no explanation or apology.

I made an appointment for this coming Thursday.

And that's when it started. The texts!

People. I do not text. I despise texting.

But when texted, I usually respond ... albeit even more cryptically than necessary.

The first text came last Friday.

Jennifer! Please call or text "YES" to confirm your appt. at 12:00PM on 8/25/11 (Thu.)

I texted back:


But that wasn't good enough.

This morning I received yet another text, to wit:

Jennifer, Your appt. is at 12:00PM on 8/25/11 (Thu). See you then! Pls affirm receipt of this msg.

So I responded:


Another rountine doctor visit in recent days prompted not only a hard-copy confirmation letter but two phone calls to make sure I "remembered" the date and time of said appointment.

People. I know when I make an appointment. I have a datebook and I use it. In fact I live by it.

It's because I'm well acquainted with a concept known as personal responsibility.

Do you really encounter it so seldom that you must spend all day reminding people of self-inflicted commitments to show up and be quasi-tortured?

On second thought don't answer that. But do stop badgering me.


Crazy good

I don't know about where y'all live but here in Columbia, South Carolina, there is new construction everywhere.

I'm talking huge ambitious projects, be they retail developments or office space or multi-family residential or what have you.

This can only be good; right? At least that's what I figure.

Just yesterday these recent observations of mine led to an interesting coincidence.

TG, Audrey, and I were tooling around town, several stops to make, all of them fun.

One of our many plans was to lustily consume an early supper at the Senate Street Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

What did I tell you? F-U-N.

Audrey was home for the weekend.

Audrey! Double FF-UU-NN.

She's shopping for a few new items of furniture for her apartment and we were helping.

Shopping! Triple FFF-UUU-NNN.

But in addition to furniture places and eating places, we wanted to visit the Fresh Market, which is on the other side of downtown Columbia from where we live.

So we were obliged to drive through downtown Columbia in order to reach that particular destination.

What you do is, you take I-26 East toward Columbia. A couple miles later, you run out of interstate.

You reduce the speed of your auto and go up a little ramp, and the interstate becomes Elmwood Avenue.

Once you're on Elmwood, headed for Bull Street where you'll turn right in order to access all the downtown streets, the first thing you notice, about a mile ahead, is the rusted dome of an old brick white-columned building.

And if you live here, you know you're approaching the mostly-defunct campus of the South Carolina State Hospital.

As in, mental health facility.

Normally I would avoid such places -- and for the nine-plus years we've lived in Columbia, I have avoided this one -- but yesterday was special.

See, the gates to the property are always open and consequently I've been tempted dozens of times to drive on the acreage and take pictures of the old sad-looking structures.

But of course I'd never do that alone, and most of the time when I go downtown I'm alone because I'm headed for some law firm or other, to a deposition.

So yesterday as we queued up on Elmwood, waiting to turn right on Bull Street, I asked TG if instead of turning, he'd just go straight. Straight onto the old State Hospital grounds.

Of course he said yes, and that's what we did.

Y'all! It's scary!

And it's huge. Phenomenally huge.

In fact as I found out later, the one hundred sixty-five acre property is one of the largest in-town tracts of land available for sale on the East Coast.

How do I know that?

Because after spending half an hour roaming said grounds, stopping several times for me to take the pictures embedded in this blog post, we did in fact end up at the Fresh Market.

While Audrey and I cased the joint for delicacies and bargains, TG picked up Saturday's edition of The State newspaper.

He glanced at the headline and said, you won't believe this.

So I was like, what won't I believe, and he told me.

The campus of the old South Carolina State Hospital is slated for some serious urban renewal, to include a minor-league ballpark, a luxury hotel (in the aforementioned rusty-cupolaed Babcock Building no less, the one you see in my photos), offices, major retail space, restaurants, a new YMCA, and other goodies.

All the grand plans hinge on a pending sale of the property to a developer who has offered the South Carolina Department of Mental Health fifteen million dollars for it.

So finally I turn in at the gates of the state mental hospital, and on that very same day it makes headlines.


All I know is that, as we drove away from the Babcock Building which within the next few years may become a hotel, I said to TG that when they tore the place down -- it's half falling down already --  I wanted a piece or two of the wrought iron that covers the hundreds of windows.

And he said, keep your ear to the ground and when they announce the demolition, show up to claim your prize.

I didn't have long to wait -- about twenty minutes, to be exact -- before learning of plans for the place. But lo and behold, it's not slated for destruction.

I still hope when they do the reno, they'll give me a chance at owning some of that wrought iron.

Consider: when old Comiskey Park in Chicago (site of TG's and my first date, thirty-three years ago this coming Wednesday) was torn down in 1990, I wasn't paying attention and didn't get so much as a brick.

Even though we lived less than thirty miles from it.

I have no such fond memories of the South Carolina State Hospital, but I still would like some of that wrought iron.

In fact, knowing that so many human beings suffered in the presence of the deceptively delicate-looking filigreed window covers -- after all, the builder could have opted for plain utilitarian iron bars but instead chose the moonlight-and-magnolias route -- only makes it more valuable.

Here's to capitalism: the precious concept that creates not only jobs and a robust economy, but as a bonus, has the ability to transform something heartbreaking into something beautiful and useful.

Here's to American entrepreneurs and investors with wallets full of money and heads full of crazy ideas.

Long live the free markets.

And here's hoping there's some historically-significant salvaged wrought iron in my future.

I'll keep you posted.