Department Of Peculiar State Mottos
I love my state, despite its having these three flaws:
(1) the 46th ugliest  state flag in the USA (it violates at least one of the Five Basic Principles of Flag Design, as per the North American Vexillological Association, 
(2) as well as one of the more perplexing state mottos.
(3) There is no third flaw.
Who was the person who first decreed, “States must have slogans – oh, wait, let’s call them, ‘mottoes!’ ” ? Who convinced others in the government that, with all the to-dos which come with qualifying for statehood, motto-composing is a good use of time? That person is lost to history.
Moiself (motto: “It’s my blog, so there.”) decrees that there are four states vying for Worst State Motto award. Besides Oregon, they are:
* Connecticut (“He who transplanted sustains.”)
Oh, yeah. That goes without saying.
* New Mexico (“It grows as it goes.”)
Imagine what the NM motto committee was smoking when they thought up that one.
* Maryland (“Manly deeds, womanly words.”)
Oregon’s state motto is in Latin, because the same doofus who sent out the, “Every state must have a motto” memo also apparently added, “…and if you can’t think of anything profound or at least plausible to say, say it in Latin.”
Thus, Oregon’s motto: Alis volat propriis. Which translates as…
She flies with her own wings.
Many Oregonians do not know what our state’s motto is. And when they find out, their reaction is not what moiself imagines was the goal of the motto committee:
WTF does that even MEAN ?!?!?
The general consensus of historians and People Who Try To Care About Such Things ® is that the motto is meant to convey a sense of Oregon’s “tradition of independence and innovation” (e.g., the nation’s first bottle bill, the public beach access bill).  So yeah; there’s that. But, couldn’t it have been phrased in a more accessible way (“Oregon: pick up your trash and get off our lawn beach.“)?
On the other hand, it could be seen as reassuring to residents of other states: if you meet an Oregonian and she looks like she’s about to takeoff, don’t worry – she has too much pride and self-reliance to steal *your * wings. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the air show.
* * *
Department Of Best Song Couplets, V. 2
♫ The weeks went by and spring turned to summer and summer faded into fall/
And it turns out he was a missing person who nobody missed at all. ♫
( from “Goodbye Earl,” the [band formerly known as the] Dixie Chick’s
ode to taking revenge on an abusive husband )
* * *
Department Of Seriously, You Need A List For This?
On Monday, an ad with this headline appeared on my FB feed:
“Five Tips For Wearing Less Makeup.”
The ad’s headline accompanied a picture of an attractive Woman Of A Certain Age ®, which made me think the ad’s content could be along the lines of the standard advice that women who wear makeup should tone it down as they age…or perhaps the ad was related to the COVID shelter-in era, with people not wanting to deal with their usual routines?
I didn’t click on the ad, but instead of just scrolling by, I stared at the inane headline which had caught my eye, and repeated to moiself the Five Tips For Wearing Less Makeup I would give, gratis, to anyone who asked:
1. Wear less makeup. 2. Wear less makeup. 3. Wear less makeup.
4. Wear less makeup.
5. Set your smartphone’s alarm reminder: Wear less makeup.
* * *
Department Of, Once Again, Reality Outdoes Fiction
You cannot make up a line this…rich.
Context: MH and I, watching a Netflix show, Indian Matchmaking:
“Matchmaker Sima Taparia guides clients in the U.S. and India in the arranged marriage process, offering an inside look at the custom in a modern era.”
I thought at first the show was fiction, then, a documentary, then, after two episodes, I said to MH, “This is a reality show, right?” (Translation: “We can’t watch it anymore. We don’t watch Those Kind of Shows. ® “)
The line in question came from an Indian-American woman, who spoke with snort-worthy distain about rejecting a man who wasn’t as travel-knowledgeable as she:
“He didn’t know that Bolivia had salt flats.”
That particular woman was one of the matchmaker’s clients featured in the two episodes we watched. She was in her mid-30s, a lawyer, very busy, a world traveler when not working. Once she’d agreed to matchmaking services ( via evident pressure from her mother and sister ) she began noticing how her married female friends actually spent a significant amount of time with their husbands – an idea which seemed to disgust her. And she found excuse after excuse to object to any matches the matchmaker suggested.
Her predicament led to this tender exchange between me and my life match:
Moiself: “Why is she doing this? She so obviously doesn’t want to be married.”
MH: “She doesn’t need a husband, she just needs a vibrator.”
* * *
Department Of The Convoluted Path Of Memories
Dateline: last Saturday. I posted on Facebook a list my Swenadian  friend had sent me: five anecdotes with the theme of memorable, embarrassing misstatements. I actually remember reading (in a newspaper) about the fifth one:
What happens when you predict snow but don’t get any? We had a female news anchor, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn’t, who turned to the weatherman and asked,
“So, Bob, where’s that 8 inches you promised me last night?”
One of the main reasons I tell my stories or share the stories of others is because of what I call the 99% reaction motivation: ala the *I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours* approach to life, sharing a story almost always prompts others to share their similar stories. Whether it’s an anecdote of a major parental fail I pulled, or imparting someone else’s *yes-she-really-said-to-the-handsome-golf-pro-that-she-liked-playing-with-men’s-balls* tale, I know that I will soon hear from a buddy about her worst mothering incident (which makes me feel better about mine), or a face-palming moment of their own which will make me laugh harder than the original story.
It’s what I live for. 
Given the number of writers and reporters I know, I was certain that the last of the Five Embarrassing Misstatements stories would generate  a story in response. What with newspaper editors asking for copy in terms of inches of print space (“I need six inches for the op-ed….”) I knew my journalism buddies would have similar stories. Sure enough, SDH, a comrade since our junior high school days, posted a doozy.
The next morning at breakfast, MH mentioned SDH’s story, which sent me on a memory flashback. I think about my high school journalism friends often – even posted about them six years ago. Since it’s summertime, I’ll indulge moiself with a bit of a rerun:
(5-16-2014, excerpts from The Tattoo I’m Not Explaining )
I am currently reading Weedland by Peter Hecht. Subtitled Inside America’s Marijuana Epicenter and How Pot Went Legit, the book, as per one blurb, is “essential reading for anyone who is a fan of California’s most lucrative agricultural product.” Which, I am not. However, I am a fan of Peter Hecht.
I’ve known (and admired and adored) Pete since junior high school. He was one of my buddies from a group of friends and acquaintances I still think of as the high school journalism gang.
The Write Stuff
Neither K nor Belle have ever brought home (nor even mentioned, sans my prompting) their high school’s newspaper. They both know I’d written for my school paper.  They know it was a “real” newspaper, with separate pages (and editors and reporters) devoted to news stories, editorial/opinion pieces, entertainment/feature and sports writing. They know that when The Generator, Santa Ana High School’s award-winning biweekly newspaper, was distributed in the school’s classrooms, the teachers and students stopped what they were doing and read it, cover to cover. They know that students’ parents also read the high school newspaper, and that The Generator ran stories with enough substance to garner parental interest… and complaints.
(“I can’t believe what your reporter/ smart aleck columnist ____ wrote about! That’s no subject fit for a high school newspaper!”) 
They know all of this because of the stories I’d told them. And they could not bear to disappoint me when it came to their own school’s pitiful excuse for fishwrap newspaper.
Son K, ever the diplomat, laid it out for me after my third or fourth Why-don’t-you-ever-bring-your-school-newspaper-home? whine petition.
“Mom, our school’s newspaper sucks.
It’s embarrassing…nothing in it but rah-rah stories…
No one reads it and no one cares.”
Think back to your high school history, chemistry, English, or PE classes: how many of those classmates went on to become historians or chemists or English teachers or pro athletes? It still amazes me to think of how many of my peers who wrote for The Generator went on to pursue careers in journalism in one form or another. Along with Peter Hecht, there are:
* Scott Harris, former Los Angeles Times and San Jose Mercury reporter/columnist, Scott is currently one of “The Expat Files” contributors, living in/freelancing from Hanoi;
* Janis Carr, longtime Orange County Register sportswriter;
* Tim Ferguson, – Wall St. Journal reporter and current Forbes editor;
* Victor Cota, reporter for the Orange County Register
* Phil Blauer, So-Cal area news anchor;
* Deborah Franklin, “my” editor,  whom I greatly admire for finding a way to combine her two loves, science and journalism. Instead of (as the dubious voices advised) dumping one to concentrate on the other, Franklin became a science and medical reporter. Her works appear in a variety of venues, from VIA to NPR to Scientific American.
…and oodles of others I’m probably forgetting. 
Three of those previously mentioned: Back row: the striped shirt and boyish-grin belong to Tim Ferguson; front row: L, Pete get-a-load-of-that-1974-hair Hecht; R Scott Harris, who was engaged in a campaign to get me to leave student government (“The BOC”) and join The Generator staff, which almost excuses his scribbled commentary;
second from R, Janis Carr.
Back to the breakfast table of the present: After MH told me about reading SDH’s story, I told him how delighted I was that SDH had shared it, then repeated two observations I’d made many a time: (1) I am amazed at how so many of my high school peers went on to have long careers in “actual” journalism, and, (2) of all the different sub-groups I was involved with in high school – the “gifted’ academic program; athletics; student government; the school newspaper – it is the journalism group I think of most frequently, and most fondly.
I got a good-natured, well-of-course-and-duh-you-are-all-writers reaction from MH the first time I told him that. This time, his expression was open and interested, beyond mere tolerance mode to an actual, tell-me-more-of-what-you-mean way.
And so, I did.
What was so great about that group was that, although they were all different, unique students, definitely not cut from the same “cloth,” politically or personally or socially or emotionally, they were all really…. *smart.*
They were intelligent, if not necessarily in the academically-gifted-program way (most of them were not enrolled in our school’s ‘s gifted program)…but it was more than that. They were informed and inquisitive; they were both interesting, and interested – attentive to people and events and ideas outside of themselves…which was a refreshing change from the ubiquitous high school, *it’s-all-about-me* mentality. Even those who “just” reported on sports (sorry, guys) were also conversant on politics and culture – they had a wide variety of interests, beyond their personal (and later, professional) specializations.
And they were, almost without exception, *wicked* funny.
Trading barbs, making wittily snarky observations of our fellow students – you had to have a thick hide to survive that group, and be able to take it as well as dish it out. We were fast on the draw, quick to mine any seemingly innocent comment for innuendo potential. Speaking of which, how convenient of moiself to provide a segue to this apropos example: One afternoon during my senior year, I was in our newspaper’s office, shooting the breeze with one of our newspaper’s reporter’s as he had a late lunch. He told me that someone had asked him for a clarification for the usage of the word, * innuendo,* then spat out part of his sandwich when I told him that “innuendo” was Italian for “anal sex.”
* * *
Department Of, It’s Her, Again? But She Won Last Month….
* * *
Pun For The Day
When you get a bladder infection you know urine trouble.
* * *
May you visit Oregon, but remember to bring your own wings;
May you have fond memories of at least one of your high school “groups;”
May you never reject a potential romantic partner because they
don’t know obscure geographic facts about Bolivia;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Beating it in ugliness are the state flags of Hawaii (A union jack? Seriously? With all the gorgeous Hawaiian colors to choose from, you steal from the Brits?) and the flags of Georgia and Mississippi, which incorporate part of the Confederate flag, tackily celebrating one of the ugliest chapters in American History.
 Vexillology is the study of flag history and symbolism. Yes, Virginia, there’s an organization for everything.
 Oregon was the first state to enact a container-deposit bill (1971); Oregon’s landmark beach bill (1967) declares that all “wet sand” within sixteen vertical feet of the low tide line belongs to the state of Oregon, and recognizes public easements of all beach areas up to the line of vegetation, regardless of underlying property rights, so that the public has “free and uninterrupted use of the beaches,” and property owners are required to seek state permits for building and other uses of the ocean shore. Wikipedia, Oregon Beach Bill.
 A Canadian married to a Swede.
 Well, that and Grey’s Anatomy reruns. And world peace.
 Only a select few of my readers will get that reference: My high school’s student newspaper, where I met most of these fine folk,s was named The Generator.
 Primarily Parnal Knowledge, my regular op-ed column, plus miscellaneous reporting, ranging from “hard” news to satire to cultural reviews to sports.
 The Generator’s faculty advisor (English teacher Ted Clucas), was never happier than when he’d received a parental complaint. “It proves they’re paying attention – you made somebody think about something!”
 Franklin, The Generator’s Editor-in Chief my senior year, displayed support and discretion above and beyond the call of journalistic duty by allowing me free (mostly) range in writing my op-ed column, Parnal Knowledge.
 I have not updated this list; some of the members have retired/moved on. One of the “oodles” I forgot to mention was the venerable Peter Schmuck (all together now: yep, that’s his real name), who recently retired from over 30 years of sports reporting for The Baltimore Sun.