I don’t have much in the way of thoughts about vice. I’m not even sure what it is any more. This morning, in one of those online chat things I do these days in lieu of actual conversations with customer service people, I discovered that “LYING” is only lying if I do it. If they tell me something that is completely untrue and I believe them, it is a misunderstanding. So when they said “We are fixing this and should have a solution soon” and they really meant “This is the way it’s going to be and we’re not going to change it. Ever.” And I believed them, it was my misunderstanding rather than their outright lie. I would normally have categorized it as “vice,” but give the state of the body politic and all the crap I see in the news, I’ve decided telling the truth versus lying is no longer meaningful. If I say something without any basis in fact and claim it’s the truth, but you later realize it is not the truth and, in fact, bears no relationship to truth as anyone understands it … it’s just a misunderstanding.

So how can there be vice if there is no truth?

Fortunately, there still is AD-vice, which is free. Sometimes, it even contains a particle of useful information. I hesitate to suggest that it might also be true because … well … you know … what IS truth?

72-BAFFLE WITH BULLSHIT-Canal-082216_52

As the years have crept by, I have given up a lot of stuff, most of which (it turns out), I didn’t need in the first place. I gave up worrying. I gave up working. I gave up on the lottery, even though I still occasionally buy a ticket (just in case).

I gave up wanting a new car, expecting old friends to call (some of them don’t remember me any more — some don’t remember themselves). I’ve stopped hoping Hollywood will make movies I like. I’ve stopped trying to like “new” music, most new TV shows. Or hoping to remember the names of new “stars.”

Some stuff gave me up. Some people gave up on me. Other things, just slipped away. In the end, it’s the same.

So. Now. If anyone asks me how or why I have given up whatever it was, virtue, vice, or anything, I tell them it was for religious reasons. No one ever asks what I mean by that. But just so you know  …

It doesn’t mean anything.

It’s a misunderstanding. Not a lie. Just a way to end the conversation. No one wants to offend me by asking for details of my beliefs. They might turn out to be embarrassing or bizarre. Thus my all-purpose answer to everyone is “on religious grounds,” “for religious reasons,” or “on the advice of my spiritual counselor.”

These powerful words can make any conversation vanish and I never have to tell someone to shut up. It works on everyone except those who really know me. They will raise one or more eyebrows, and fall over laughing.

It’s similar to (but entirely different than) my all-purpose answer to “How are you?” With the biggest, broadest, fake smile I can muster and with heartfelt enthusiasm, I say: “I’m FINE!” 99.9% of the time, this does the job. Test drive it yourself.

I’m fine. For religious reasons.




List 2 things you have to be happy about.

It’s the end of the month and we aren’t completely out of money.

It’s not (quite) as hot as it was last week. Or the week before.

If you could take a photograph, paint a picture or write a story of any place in the world, what and where would it be?

I can’t comment on places I’ve never been or am unlikely to ever be. How do I know how I’d feel about it if I haven’t been there?


So, from among the place I have been, I would love to go back to Jerusalem with a camera. When I lived there, I didn’t have a camera most of the time. I’m so sorry to not have pictures from those years.

This is notable largely for being unprocessed.

Of the places I have been with a camera, Arizona wins, hands down. Desert. Mountains. Cactus. Landscapes from every western I’ve ever watched. What’s not to love?


In the meantime, I’m pretty happy taking pictures right here. Home or nearby. We have some lovely scenery.

Should children be seen and not heard?

I firmly believe no one who has had children could ask that without laughing hysterically. As if we actually have something to say in the matter! Hah!

List at least five of your favorite first names.

When I was a romantic teenager, I wanted to be called Delores. I thought anyone who had that name had to be beautiful.

Otherwise, just call me Maggie. I don’t actually have another three favorites. I’m okay with almost any name that isn’t obviously awful. I have trouble understanding parents who give their children dreadful names sure to get them teased in school. What are mom and dad thinking?

A final thought. Name your child something easy to spell — without a crib sheet. An entire lifetime of no one spelling your name right is exhausting.


This just tickled my fancies while confirming my long held belief that those little people are messing with me, hiding my stuff, and stealing my socks!


When we go to bed, they sneak in
and loll about on the chair cushions,
combing their coarse straight hair,
leaving traces we’ll brush off with the lint brush, blaming the cat.


They mine the refrigerator,
looking for wine spills or crumbs of cheese.


The more intrepid jump on the rubber pillow of the sink squirter,
starting a slow drip they can drink from like a water fall,


then make the long trek into the cave of my computer room,
their eyes on the precarious towers of books.
They give each other a hands-up
onto the power key of my computer,
then all jump in sync to turn it on.

Read the rest of the story: Fairies