Monday, October 31, 2011


Here they come: Ghosts, goblins, aliens and zombies, some on foot, others in strollers or atop their parent's shoulders. However they arrive, may these monsters be civilized, and those doling out the loot be pleasant and gracious tonight. Not everyone welcomes this ancient celebration - cavity-conscious parents, irascible neighbors, homeowners with newly-seeded front lawns, but as sweet teeth rejoice, there is something undeniably Fall-ish about costumed-children criss-crossing the street, trick-or-treating from house to house. Inevitably, there will be some for whom creepy costumes and wickedly bad behavior will crawl out of the woodwork hand in hand this evening. With that, here's a Halloween primer guaranteed to make fright night a pleasant one for everyone. If your youngsters are ringing the bell, remind them to be respectful and appreciative, and say thank you. If you are the one handing out the goods, be kind and generous. I blogged about this last month, but it bears repeating: If the lights are on, the candy store is open for business. No costume, no candy. My cutoff is 14 and under. No teeth, no stash. Grown men and women with pillow linens needn't waste their time. If you fall into one of these categories, don't curse at me or steal my yard decorations. Some neighbors will go to great lengths to avoid foot traffic on their front lawns by cordoning them off with crime scene tape. As for the rest, use the front walk or driveway. And even though the excitement will be too much to contain, no one wants strangers trampling overthemselves into the entryway, hands first into the candy bowl. Believe me, we have been expecting you - for 364 days! We know you're coming, and one knock or ring of the door bell is sufficient. If our house is darker than the morgue, just assume no one is home and move on. This year Halloween falls on a school night, thankfully. Homework and a good night's sleep will trump the fun at some point. If you are the designated door greeter in your house, even though this mob might be high on sugar, greet Willy Wonka and Lady Liberty with cheer. If you run out of loot, don't panic. But don't start handing out loose change or cans from the pantry either. When your supply has dwindled, turn out all the exterior lights. Everyone knows that's Halloween code for ‘do not bother’. Unless you want to invite disappoint, don't answer the door anyway to explain how sorry you are that you have nothing left to give. Whichever side of the door you are on this evening, have fun and keep it civilized. Afterall, it really DOES 'Manner A lot'. Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Forget Reality television, the real motherlode of televised incivility these days appears to be presidential debates. This week's GOP debate in Las Vegas showcased would-be world leaders behaving worse than mean girls at the junior high lockers. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry, interlocked in a verbal wrestling match over fact versus fiction, did little to demonstrate their gentlemanly side, but spun the 'impolite' ball around the room like a roulette wheel. Perry couldn't wait to finish Romney's sentences; Romney found Perry irresistable apparently. Evidently Romney decided it was time to show America, and his challengers, that he really is a 'hands on' sorta guy. What a guy! Now they can add 'poster boy for rudeness' to their political resumes. A person's public personal space should always be respected. It is a golden rule in business and professional settings. Keep your hands to yourself. It was condescending of Romney to place his hand on his opponent's shoulder just as much as it was disrespectful of Perry to continually interrupt his neighbor. It wasn't as if these two 'buddies' had just finished shooting hoops and were headed out to grab some cold ones. Nor was this the warm, touchy-feely exchange of a few years ago between First Lady Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth, with each woman genuinely patting the back of the other, inspite of centuries-old protocal. The gesture had Fleet Street up in arms, but was never really viewed as anything other than an expression of sincerity. This week's behavior by men who aspire to be the next president of the United States was embarrasing, juvenile and uncalled for. Next time these guys get together, make sure they are separated by lucite panels and Anna Post is the moderator. After all, it really DOES 'Manner A lot'.

Monday, October 17, 2011


"OhNoHeJustDidn't!" That was my first thought at the conclusion of Saturday night's football game in Eugene between the Oregon Ducks and Arizona State Sun Devils. There stood perenially-wound up Coach Chip Kelly, the night's victor, about to answer a question from perky ESPN's Erin Andrews. Mid-syllable, Kelly turns to the overzealous fans behind him and spoke the two words i'm sure he'll never utter again, at least on national televison: SHUT UP! Seriously? I may have been stunned, but Andrews clearly was thrilled to know that Kelly had her back when she said very matter-of-fact, "thank you." In her defense, anyone who has worked in front of a television camera knows what it is like to have morons jumping up and down in the back of your live shot. It can be unnerving to say the least. And she gets that stuff alot more than Kelly does, yet i've never seen her sink to the depths he did on Saturday night. His scolding of his own fans on national television ignited a debate in our house. Full disclosure: We are Oregon Duck fanatics, so the discussion of whether it was a big deal was a spirited one. I agree with my husband, the true Duck in the family, who acknowleged that Kelly could have used a bit more tact, or turned around and said politely, "hey guys, show some respect." Bottom line, telling someone to shut up, let alone a group of them on national television when you should be on top of the world is NEVER OKAY! If it is a co-worker or airline seatmate babbling incessantly, pop in head phones or mention that you have some work to do. It is a popular command among siblings, I know. But may Kelly's final play of the night serve as a reminder that asking someone to quiet down should never include the words 'SHUT' and 'UP'! Afterall, it really DOES 'Manner A lot'!

Friday, October 14, 2011


I've blogged about this before, but channel surfing through E Entertainment Television made me drop the remote. Surely Lamar Odom, handsome from head to toe in the front row of sister-in-law Kim Kardashian's Fairy Tale Wedding that by now has been viewed by billions of people, shooting stars, aliens and even groundhogs - was not chomping away on a piece of gum before television lenses!
It was someone else, I thought. It wasn't. He's not really chewing, probably just yawning in boredom until the NBA matter is resolved, or the vows are over, whichever comes first. He was. I wanted to grab him by the bow tie and dunk him!
And we've all seen our share of Lamars: the mourners at a funeral, the church-goers at Sunday's service, the peppy secretary at the front desk - all chomping away on a wad of gum! Emily Post once wrote, 'It is still impossible to imagine a lady walking on a city street and either chewing gum or smoking.' Sure, she wrote that before color television, ipods and the Kardashian clan came along, but imagine what she would think today? It is a bad habit practiced so regularly now that many people aren't even aware that it is in poor taste and disrespectful. If polite, civilized behavior is based on the tenet of respect, then how inconsiderate is it to worship in God's house, gather to witness a marriage, or conduct business while chewing like a cow? Not only is it rude, but it is a guaranteed impression-buster. If you're going to go to the trouble and expense of suiting up for an important or special occasion, why undo your efforts with gum-chewing? You might as well light up a cigarette and grab a flask while you're at it. This nervous habit is not lady-like nor gentlemanly and is best left in the privacy of your own home or car. So from my keyboard to Lamar's ears, here's hoping before the Fairy Tale Reunion episode, Kris or Bruce discreetly offered the Laker a tissue. After all, it really DOES 'Manner A lot."