Saturday, October 31, 2020

Goodbye Ronni, you are loved and will be missed

I got on my computer this morning to check my email and a couple other things, logged off to make some breakfast, then logged back on at 10am to visit “Time Goes By”. 

For as long as I can remember, Ronni Bennett (the owner of TGB, a blog about growing old) posts “Interesting Stuff” on Saturday mornings, an assortment of videos and news articles she gathered during the week.

I was surprised to see no ‘Interesting Stuff’ when I went to her site just now, just a sad note from one of her followers that Ronni died overnight.  I’m shocked.  I shouldn’t be, all of her followers (she has hundreds) knew this was coming; she’s been dealing with pancreatic cancer & COPD for a couple years now.  But she just posted an ‘Alex & Ronni’ video yesterday, a bi-weekly conversation between herself & her ex-husband Alex on politics, aging, etc.  Also, I knew she was very excited about the upcoming presidential election, she despised Trump (as any left-minded person would) and half-joked to her readers fairly regularly she wasn’t going anywhere until she saw the results of that election.

Oh Ronni, it was just a couple more days away.

While I didn’t know her personally, I did talk to her briefly, once.  Back in March of this year, I was on my own blog one morning and saw something strange; the Visitor Counter in the right sidebar was clicking upwards as I watched.  When I looked at my Blogger Stats, I’d gotten over 100 visits just that morning.  What the heck was going on?  My little blog rarely got more than 8-10 visits a day.

It wasn’t until later when I visited ‘Time Goes By’, and saw Ronni’s piece about getting more emotional in old age, that I discovered she had referenced me—and my blog!  (You can see it in the photo at top.)  I sent her a thank you for the acknowledgement, and she responded I was very welcome, she always enjoyed my comments on TGB and she found my own blog funny and interesting. 

Coming from Ronni Bennett, that meant a lot.  From her work in radio in the 1960s, meeting people like John Lennon & Yoko Ono, to producing the Dick Cavett Show & Barbara Walters specials in the 1970s-80s, she had quite the life & career.  I’m just glad I got to know a little part of that, and be known by her as well. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

ApacheDug digs some strange chicks: Halloween Edition

This is my friend Danielle.  This is her camping with her in-laws (yes, she’s happily married) last October.  It would appear she’s wearing a hockey mask and brandishing a blade of some sort… it looks like a machete.

Why do I like her so much?  Well for starters, this.  She’s also a heathen like myself, but shows more kindness to people & critters than most so-called Christians.  She’s a hot-headed Democrat too, you should hear our phone calls about Trump and those GOPea-brains--whew!

Anyway, I wanted to blog something creepy for Halloween and seeing how that day is also my birthday, make it my own kind of weird.  Danielle’s photo has things off to a good start.

So here we go with a few disturbing videos I’ve come across recently….  I’m sure they’ll leave you scratching your head:  Doug, I don’t see anything so strange here…

Just remember who you’re dealing with  Winking smile

1.  If I should die before I wake, I pray my soul Youtube won’t take…

I can’t go to sleep at night unless I have my earbuds in and an ASMR video from Youtube playing on my tablet.  (ASMR videos are designed to put you to sleep.) 

Lately a Korean woman feeding snackos to her French bulldog zonks me right out; but sometimes I awaken to another ASMR video, like a young man slowly peeling strips of tape off a microphone.  Autoplay will always surprise you.

Then the other night after I fell asleep, Youtube switched over to this ASMR, causing me to awaken with a jolt.  Why, youtube, why??  Imagine the first couple minutes of this at 3am!

2.  Happy Talk!  Gooey, squishy Happy Talk…

Don’t get me wrong, I love Emma’s Goodies—she nukes mugs full of brownie batter in her microwave and cooks birthday cakes in a skillet on the stovetop like nobody’s business.  But the first time I heard her off camera, it sounded like she couldn’t stop grinning madly while she spoke.  I kept picturing that clown from “It”, if he was a she.  Am I demented?  Maybe, but you’ve got to hear for yourself.

(But I’ve gotta say, her mug pancake here is the best!) Smile

3.  Yes I know they’re the Lennon Sisters but they’re coming to get you

I’ve been in love with this fresh-faced quartet since I first saw ‘em on my grandma’s television in the 1960s.  They’re as wholesome & sweet as cold milk & apple pie.

Then there’s THIS song, and if you listen to the lyrics: Can’t bear to think you’re kissing her, it tortures me the whole night thru; but I won’t take that torture anymore, I’m coming back to you!

Now instead of watching Kathy, Diane, Peggy & Janet singing from the bus stop with those cute hat boxes in their laps, listen to it while looking at Glenn Close here from Fatal Attraction.  Creepy, huh?  Whaddya mean, you’re worried about me?


4.  What do The Exorcist, The Omen & The Lawrence Welk Show have in common?  There was an evil kid in all of them.

Speaking of The Lawrence Welk Show, in 1975 Mr. Welk introduced a new Polish singing group, the Semonski Sisters.  My sister would tease me and say I was in love with ‘em.  Well I was 14 at the time, so yeah--they looked pretty good to me!

EXCEPT ONE.  The one with the sly, evil grin who was their leader; the one with madness in her eyes.  Yes, I’m talking about the youngest Semonski. 

I used to call her the Devil’s Daughter Don't tell anyone smile

I liked her sisters though, so I’d focus on them.  And then one awful night, they sang Hot Diggity.  Boom, I was done with them forever.

45 years later, still horrific (I’m kidding)

5.  Some eye of newt—and hair (and I’m talkin’ BIG hair)

Okay, for Halloween’s sake I’m including Jan Terri here.  She’s harmless— it’s her 3 giant-haired backup whatevers you need to watch out for!  Ah the 90’s…

Happy Halloween Everyone

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Morris kids today (well, most of us)

Last night I got to spend some time with family, we met for dinner at an Italian restaurant with outside seating.   That’s my sister Courtney & brother Steve on the left, my sister Shawn & myself on the right.

(They came with their spouses, I came alone, but we took this picture of just the Morris Kids.)  It’s surprising how long it’s been since we’ve been together;  I haven’t seen Steve in nearly 4 years, Shawn only once in 2 years & Courtney with the big smile in front—it’s been 20 years.  I last saw her in person at our Dad’s funeral in February 2001.

We have yet another sister in South Carolina and an older brother that no one has seen in several years.

It’s a bit sad and strange how the years have put distance between us, but I suppose it’s not surprising.  I just know that when we were growing up, our dad & HIS four siblings all lived minutes from one another. Unlike us, none of them ever moved away. 

Ah well!

Nothing eventful or very interesting to add here, just wanted to share this nice photo while I work on a couple upcoming blogs.  Hope everyone has a nice weekend.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Smoke gets in your eyes, but smoked paprika should get in your chicken & potatoes

I was at the supermarket this morning, browsing the meat aisle when I stumbled across a 4-pack of plump BONELESS chicken thighs for $1.37.  Whoa, Nellie!  Four chicken thighs at that price is nice, but for boneless I think somebody boo-booed. 

I snatched it up with plans to make my Asian chicken again (I blgged about it a month ago, click here).  But back in June I paid a small fortune for a small tin of smoked paprika, and I’ve been anxious to cook with it. 

I washed & patted them dry, then dumped ‘em into a Reynolds cooking bag (not to cook, but to marinate) along with 2 tblspoons olive oil, 1 tblspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic, & a couple shakes of pepper. 

(You’ll notice I didn’t add salt, you’ll see why shortly.)  Anyway, I tied up the bag and SQUEEEEEZED those thighs good to soak up everything, then let it sit in the fridge for an hour.

Don’t these look nice?  I plopped the chilled thighs down into a pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil to fry 2-3 minutes on both sides.  (They’ll cook fully later.)


I added one small onion chopped, a bag of those mini Gold Yukon potatoes (around 10, halved) & one cup baby carrots.  Stir everything around on low-medium heat for 10 minutes or so, until the onions turn translucent.

Now I’m pouring in one cup of chicken stock.  You can probably get away with using one cup of water, but I made my stock using a Knorr Chicken Bouillon cube in a cup of boiling water.  This brew is salty, which is why I didn’t add salt earlier. 

I put a lid on (at an angle, to let steam escape) and let it summer & reduce for 20-25 minutes.

Here we go!  I sprinkled a little dried parsley on top.  You may need a knife for the chicken but it’s supersoft tender, and those potatoes and carrots will melt in your mouth.  

(Psst… I added a dollop of sour cream on the side after I took the picture.  So good!)

Friday, October 9, 2020

In for a pennie, in for a pound… wait, what’s a pennie?

Yesterday I received a letter from the Healthcare Marketplace (also known as the Federal Exchange).  Managed by the Federal government, it’s for people like me who no longer have employer based health insurance but can still show an income of at least $17,500, aren’t poor enough for Medicaid & aren’t old enough for Medicare.

Also known as Obamacare, I’d be a goner without it.  My monthly premium would be $758.00—5 times what I pay now for a no-frills silver plan.  I could never afford that.  

Some states like New York, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Vermont, Minnesota & Washington have their own State Exchanges—and according to this letter I received, effective November 1, 2020 Pennsylvania will join that list.

I went to and took a look around.. it’s an impressive setup, I’m surprised this is the first I’ve heard of it.

I’ve never had any real problems with the Federal Exchange, but I suppose now there will be a couple less hoops to jump thru.  Governor Wolf (our Democratic governor) says that by having our own exchange, the state will save at least 50-75 million dollars a year (versus paying the Feds 90 million to manage things, wow!) and guarantees those savings will be used to reduce monthly premiums 5-10%. 

I can’t speak for others who may be dealing with higher costs than myself, but I’m already grateful for the affordable insurance I have.

Of course, it warns if President Trump is successful in having the Supreme Court strike down the ACA, “pennie” will also cease to exist.

I believe that most people assume such a thing wouldn’t REALLY happen… but more & more, I can see it.  Trump succeeded in having the individual mandate that required everyone have insurance struck down… why is he going after the rest of it?

Because he’s an effing lunatic and he can. 

A few days ago, several of us were outside “on the front stoop” (the wide entrance to our apartment building) sitting in chairs and enjoying the last of the warm weather, when another tenant (don’t know the man’s name) came out and said “Can I ask everyone something.  My sister is coming to visit, and we’re both… we’re patriotic, we support our president.  I know how most of you feel, but I don’t want my sister to hear it.”  

He went back into the building, and Helen said “Well!” and a couple others snorted or laughed.  I said “Sometimes I wish I could turn myself into a monkey.”   Mary Bean said “Why?  So you can fling your poop at him?” and everyone laughed.

I laughed too, but that wasn’t the reason.  I wanted to rip his face off.  And on that wicked thought, I sure hope we can keep the ACA—and pennie!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Forty years later and yes, I’d do it all over again

Last night on the local news, they were talking to two young men who were best friends and Biden volunteers.  They had voted for Trump in their first election in 2016, but now regretted it.

They should’ve regretted it the day after that election when Trump won!  Anyway, I’ll never forget my first election, Jimmy Carter vs Ronald Reagan in 1980.  I registered as a Democrat the year prior when I turned 18 and had to sign up for Selective Service. 

Are 18 year old males still required to register with Selective Service?  Yep!  (I just checked.)  I’ll never forget my older brother Duke teasing me about getting drafted, as he never had to worry.  Selective Service was halted in the early 1970s when Gerald Ford was president, but after Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976, got reinstated. 

But it only affected guys born 1960 & up (like me).  Males born between 1957 & 1959 (like my older brother) were never required to register.

Speaking of Duke, in the fall of 1980 he was a senior at Pitt University and married to his first wife Cheryl.  I was still at home, and went along with Mom & Dad to cast my first presidential vote.  Sometime after we got home, Duke called and asked if I’d voted and who I voted for.  (He knew better than to ask Mom or Dad that!) 

I told him Jimmy Carter, knowing fully well my brother (who was ultra-Republican and a Nazi stormtrooper in a previous life) would go ballistic—which he did.  I could almost hear the veins in his head popping as he told me I was worthless and that after he got into politics he’d ensure commies like me never got near a voting booth again.

(That sounded so crazy back then, but if you’re a minority or a Democrat now… you know.  Good luck getting your ballot to count.)  

Anyway, we know how things turned out—Reagan got like 500 electoral votes, I think the entire country voted for him except for the state of Georgia (Carter Country) & me.  President Carter got a raw deal over that Iranian hostage crisis and Reagan took all the credit.  I’m still ticked about that.

Speaking of Jimmy Carter, this biography was just released September 29 and my copy is on its way!  Say what you will about his presidency, the man is a saint

I will admit I didn’t vote in ‘84; I knew Mondale didn’t stand a chance against Reagan, and he got creamed alright.  But I never skipped an election again, and in 1992 when the VP of Omega Systems (my first IT employer) pleaded with everyone to vote for Bush and not “that socialist Bill Clinton”, I couldn’t vote for Bill & Hillary fast enough!

Weirdly, this happened again in 2008 when I worked for UPMC and our IT manager asked everyone to pray Barack Obama not get elected, or we’d all lose our jobs to socialized healthcare. 

(I’m still waiting for that, by the way.)

And on that happy note, I just got an update—my vote for this presidential election has been received & recorded.  Donald Trump, you’re about to become Donald Toast!

Friday, October 2, 2020

Shopping at A whole lot of shaking, a whole lot of Zen going on

Okay, be honest with me:  what do you think of this glass art piece?  Last August, I wrote on here about Regan, an artist who works with molten glass and is very into “zen”.  She creates these wall hangings based on your favorite color and what vibes she gets from you.

I had seen a green piece she’d made, admired it’s modern look and tranquil nature.  I talked to her briefly, said I’d be in touch.  Shortly after, some personal issues arose and I held off commissioning one until I was in better spirits.

The green one I saw that intrigued me

Anyway, I never forgot it and several weeks ago, decided it was time.  I contacted Regan, asked if she remembered me (she said she did) and after a brief chat, told her I’d like to order one of these puppies in red.

Is it just me or does mine (at the top) seem unusually “busy”?  Is that the vibe she picked up from me?  Kind of… wigged out & stuff?


ME:  Hi Regan, this is Doug from Pittsburgh and I wanted to let you know my art piece arrived today.


ME:  Haha… well, it’s pretty flamboyant.   


ME:  No, not at all.  I was just—are you alright?

HER:  Crying face

ME:   Regan I like it, honest! 


ME:  Yes, yes—I promise!


ME:  Eye rolling smile

What the heck just happened?  Anyway it is a bit wilder than I wanted, but I take responsibility for that.  I should’ve told her upfront I wanted something a little more subdued… or at least taken my anxiety medication before speaking to her!  Oh well, I still like it.  It’s well made, surprisingly heavy & different.  I plan to hang it in the corner of my dining room for a little “pop” in there.

I just hope it doesn’t over-excite my new glass-top dining table, the last thing I need is another dining table going to pieces…