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Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday odds and ends

Hang on, friends! I’m hell on wheels today.

Questions going through my brain today

• “How awkward will the holidays with the Bushes be now that Bush the First’s pals have mapped a way for W to fix the Iraq quagmire?” Did anyone see Larry King ask James Baker and Lee Hamilton why they didn’t consult George H.W. Bush? Hilarious!

• “What is the average life expectancy of a washer and/or dryer?” Mine are 14 years old and it’s taking 90 minutes to dry the typical load, thus prolonging the already agonizing exercise of laundry for five. I’ve already warned The Big Guy – major appliance purchase is coming in ’07. Who knew those cute little baby clothes could grow into an assortment of gi-NOR-mous jeans and sweatshirts (times 3)?

• “If I wear my wool coat tonight, it will probably be warmer but get all smoky. If I wear my leather, it will be less warm, but I’ll be able to hang it in the garage tomorrow to air out while I wear the warmer wool coat shopping with Mom and Jenny. Hmmm, which to wear?” Danny’s 40th birthday party is tonight and as much as I’d like to think the establishment will be smoke free, the events manager informed me that enforcement of the new smoke-free law doesn’t begin until January. Need – OXYGEN – can’t breath.

• “How much would it cost to hire someone to organize my office?” Seriously. The problem is not so much the dreaded piles right now as an effective filing system so that the many ideas swimming in my head can actually be acted on in a timely manner.

• “How many ideas can one person hold in their head at one time?” A-one, a-two, a-three…

• “What did I do with that big receipt?” Hmmm. Better check online to make sure the checkbook is up to date before embarking on tomorrow’s Christmas shopping excursion.

• “Should I bundle up and run outside, skip the run and just take Riley for a walk or stay indoors and do my cardio Pilates?”

• “How long does it take to switch my blog to the new Beta Blogger?" Answer: two hours!

Another example of why I read the sports pages

It’s no secret that I live with four sports-crazed men. So of course I’m going to absorb some of their sports-loving vibe. One of my more annoying qualities (to them, anyway) is my propensity to ask detailed questions about rules, penalties, plays, etc. At Ryan’s last away game, Danny physically positioned his body away from me when I asked about a foul. Okey dokey then, I’ll just sit here quietly — or not, because I can't, because I'm curious.

I was asking them recently about the origin of the Heisman Trophy (which Ryan has been following closely, seeing as though he's a huge Troy Smith fan). They tended to blow me off or give me some lame answer about who is in the running this year and why. But that wasn’t my question. Who started the Heisman and why?

My thanks to PD reporter Mark Gillispie for this and this in today’s PD. My guys didn’t know that John Heisman (they didn’t know he had a first name that wasn’t Heisman and ended with Trophy) was from Cleveland. And they certainly didn’t know about his impact on the game – the center snap to the QB, the "I" formation, the flea flicker, the sweep (Ryan’s favorite) and the forward pass.

Nice job, Mark. I love that kind of backstory reporting. is new and improved has launched its new and improved Web site. Check it out for yourself. I love the new My Manuscripts and My Folders section. I’ve already filled My Manuscripts with nuggets of ideas I’m working on. I’ve bookmarked the site and now have a better mechanism for searching and querying the many ideas in my head and markets I can pitch. Always good to offload ideas into paying work.

Help the homeless
Last February I wrote about the annual Homeless Stand Down. This is an important social service for our city’s homeless. Here’s a look at the dates, what’s needed and how you can help:

The Homeless Stand Down is just around the corner and we need your help. For those of you who are not familiar with the Homeless Stand Down (HSD) it is a winter festival of respite, resupply and reconnection for the homeless in Cleveland. Over the course of four days we provide hot meals, haircuts, massages, access to health and social service providers, free winter outerwear, toiletries and much more.

Dates: Saturday, Feb. 10 (at Pilgrim Congregational Church) Friday, Feb. 16 (at the Cleveland Convention Center), Sunday, Feb. 18 (at Trinity Cathedral) and Monday, Feb. 19 (at First Church Cleveland UMC)

Donations Needed:
• 700 each NEW ONLY men's winter coats, men's boots, men's underwear, men's socks, men's winter gloves, hats, scarves, and totes/backpacks (these can be used)
• 700 Men's personal care kits (see attachment for details)
• $20,000
• 2400 Bag lunches (see attachment for details)

Volunteers Needed (application due by Jan. 12, 2007 and available by request):

-- 400 event volunteers

-- 100 office and sorting volunteers

-- 50 haircutters (applications upon request)

-- 10 physicians (applications upon request)

-- 50 massage therapists or Reiki practitioners (applications upon request)

For further information on how you and/or you congregation can become involved, please contact Sarah Sommers at 216.271.0230 or

My “Recommended for You” reading list from Amazon
Isn’t it spooky how Amazon makes suggestions of what to purchase based on what you’ve bought. It’s all very Big Brother. Here’s what they suggest for books:

Six-Figure Freelancing by Kelly James-Enger (definitely, yes)

The Tulip and the Pope: A Nun’s Story by Deborah Larson (possibly, looks interesting)

Writer’s Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing(probably not because I've never been very impressed with Writer's Digest books)

Get a Freelancer Life:’s Insider Guide to Freelance Writing (nope, because I've been a freelancer for a while)

Humble Pie: St. Benedict’s Ladder of Humility by Carol Bonomo (not sure)


Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions by James Martin (not sure)

Now, here is what is definitely on my Christmas book wish list in no particular order:

“Intimate Journalism” by Walt Harrington
“Writing for Story” by Jon Franklin
Chekhov short stories
“A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor
“The Looming Tower” by Lawrence Wright
“The Woman at the Washington Zoo” by Marjorie Williams
“Personal History” by Katharine Graham
“Lincoln at Gettysburg” by Garry Wills
“Little Girls in Church” poems by Kathleen Norris
“On Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time” by Marcus Borg

Of course this a fluid and ever-growing list.


Kelly Boyer Sagert said...

You know, although the appliance lifespan question was only a small part of your post, I actually wrote an article about home appliance lifespans and warranties . . . It's buried in a file somewhere.

Wendy Hoke said...

Hi Kelly,
Any tips on the life expectancy of washers and dryers?

Jill said...

Jeff purchased a washer and dryer in 1989 when he moved out here in order to continue making $ during school by detailing cars. We still use them. I'd say that I hope they die, but that would just be asking for it at a time when I do NOT need that to happen. :)

Kelly Boyer Sagert said...

I'd have to find the article (I wrote it quite a while ago), but for some reason, it seems to me that the figure was around 15 to 17 years.

If I find something more specific, I will most definitely let you know!

Wendy Hoke said...

Thanks, Kelly. Now I've got to run and check the dryer -- again! Nice to have you reading.

Kelly Boyer Sagert said...

Humorous update . . . I got a recommendation from Amazon suggesting that I'd like a baseball book about the Deadball Era of the American League -- and I wrote one of the chapters!