Monday, August 16, 2010

The Dept. Is 5 And I Have A Little Something For You

In spite of dire predictions from Conventional Wisdom, right-wing pundits, Interpol, and several Celebrity Astrologers from all over the Interwebs, the Dept. of Nance is celebrating its Fifth Anniversary!

It's true: the Dept. has been bringing you a fresh perspective on shoes, cows, polar bears, politics, bad fashion, and oh hell, just about everything for Five Whole Years now. Probably you cannot imagine Life Before The Dept., and it's best you not try. Instead, let's have a little revelry to commemorate this milestone.

As Longtime Reader Ortizzle once sagely commented to me: Without you, My Readers, this blog is nothing but an Internet Diary. Therefore, I'd like to include you in this celebration of 5 by asking you to be active participants. Choose any of the following 5 activities/questions to respond to in comments. Or, run with them on your own blog and link to them in comments. Ready? Let's celebrate 5!

1. Did anything of major cultural or historical significance happen when you were 5? In 1964 when I was 5, my older, cooler sister was already a Major Beatles Fan. On February 9, 1964, at 8 P.M., life at my house came to a standstill so that we could all sit around the black and white television and watch The Ed Sullivan Show. When The Beatles came on, Patti was enthralled and I, already in the throes of idol-worship, copied her every move. She was leaned forward, eyes glued on the screen. I didn't know I was watching history then, but I still remember every minute of it.

2. What are 5 things that really, really frost your cupcakes? My longtime readers know I have more than 5 of these, but here are 5 of my pet peeves: flip-flops in public, people dressing poorly in public, inappropriate cellphone usage in public, parents who don't control their children in restaurants, lateness, improper apostrophe usage on signage.

3. Are there ideas, topics, issues in the past 5 years that you wish I had written about but I never have? Maybe you have a great idea or maybe you're curious about something. Let's hear it. It's been 5 years. Why wait?

4. 5 Degrees of Separation? How did you find/hear about/get to the Dept. of Nance? Most of you are Longtime Readers; I have no way of knowing who my lurkers are (Come out, come out--5 years is long enough to hide! Give me a thrill). I'm curious. How did you find me amid the millions and millions of blogs out in the cyberworld?

5. Fab 5. I've got Favorite Posts, of course, and even I'm not vain enough to think that you remember enough of my Archive to have them too. But here are 5 of My Best Ones, in my opinion, should you care to browse:

1. Personal Jesus
2. The Dept. Presents "What Not To Wear" Meets "Hardball"
3. ...But Fear Itself
4. My Latest Obsession: I Stand Up For Mary Lincoln
5. Watching And Thinking About Blueberries

Finally, here's a photo of me standing in front of my grandmother's house, taken when I was 5. It's a bit prophetic, really. I'm blissfully holding a kitten. I have no idea whose it was, then or now. Oddly enough, it looks quite a bit like Piper, my new Boy Kitten, who I very much enjoy holding now. I was always finding stray animals to rescue in some way, baby birds who had fallen out of their nests, sad little wandering kittens, trapped butterflies or moths struggling in spider's webs. I'm sure that after my mother took this picture, she firmly impressed upon me that I was not taking that cat home. And I didn't. One of the few times that I listened to Mom about a pet.

But I digress. (Again.) If there's anything else you'd like to add to help celebrate the Dept.'s Fifth Anniversary, please do! It doesn't have to be 5 things. But it can...!

Oh my, where are my manners? Do have some cake.

(But just a little cake. Remember, I'm trying to cut back.)


  1. 5 is my favorite number because it is the number of the greatest 3rd baseman in history. (George Brett, of course.)

    In the year that I turned 5, two significant events occurred. I debated which one to cite for you, but in the end the Camp David Accords really aren't as important as the birth of Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby.

    (Thanks for the cake. It was just the right size.)

  2. I turned five in 1970, but it was the very last day. My sisters were born that year, which was a pretty big deal, though I didn't meet them until 1988. In 1971, which was the year I was 5 for all but the very last day, NPR started broadcasting, and I lived in a homestead out in the wilds of Alaska, with no phone or running water, with my mom and my brother.

    I remember vividly when we met, because I made some snide remark on my blog about trying to buy gifts for teachers, and hoping they would be satisfied with a gift toward one of my favorite charities, the Child Abuse Prevention Council. I worded it poorly, and you took me to task, believing that I took issue with the profession. I was horrified, as my intent was to impart my frustration of buying gifts for people I do not really know but feel obligated towards, because of the important role they play in my child's life. I fixed the wording, apologized, and told you that my own beloved mother, sister, brother-in-law, and great grandparents are/were all teachers, and there is no profession that I hold in more esteem. Oh, and my husband too, for awhile. You very graciously forgave me, and we've been fast friends ever since.

    And what frosts my cake? People who vote without thinking. People who hurt those weaker than themselves. Poor grammar (though I make exception for poor spelling, as this is a gift I DO NOT HAVE, and I consider to be totally separate from grammar). Misplaced and abused apostrophes. People who say "me and her". I'm beating a dead horse, am I not? Oh, people who think I'm going to Hell because I'm an atheist. Really, I shouldn't bother to care WHAT they think, but in my heart of hearts, I find it mean spirited, so I care.

  3. Congrats! While I've contributed a few times, mostly I lurk...

    I must be a late bloomer, or had a boring life as a child as there are few memories of being 5. I was 9 when the Beatles made their appearance, and my only memory is of my hissy fit because my visiting cousins would not let me watch Lassie because of the Fab Four!

    And kitties... I must have had 5 cats at some time, but it was only for a short time. We're up to 11 now, and while we're trying to do with less in these lean times, what can you do?

    Long may you blog!


  4. Dean's wife here...
    I think that the Mary Lincoln entry may be my #1 favorite, as Bellvue Place is a short 10 miles from our home and I'm very familiar with it! You may be interested in knowing that it has also been a "home for unwed mothers" (as recently as 1978). It currently is one of the 'tonier' condo residences in Batavia, IL. There is a sign, however, on the main road near there that states that it was "Temporary residence of Mary Todd Lincoln". My understanding is that she resided on the top floor of the very imposing, limestone, mansion. All in all - nice entry. Thanks, and congratulations on your anniversary of a very entertaining blog!

  5. Congrats on your anniversary ---and what a great way to celebrate.

    When I was 5:

    Besides starting kindergarten, the only thing I remember was that there was a massive snow storm in November that dumbed about 40 inches of snow in my area. My father shoveled paths in which the walls of snow on either side were well over my head.

    Of course I didn’t know it at the time, but now I can see that the following events had some significance for my life:

    Bertrand Russell won the Nobel Prize for literature, “In recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.” ---the kinds of ideals that are important to me.

    The Tony Award for best musical went to “South Pacific” ---one of the first mainstream plays that addressed issues of hate, racial issues that sparked years of activism in me.

    “Annie Get Your Gun” was one of the top-ten movies that year ---a film about a liberated woman ---a feminist before her time.

    Truman announced there was a national emergency because of strains on economic and military resources caused by the Korean War. How many times have we heard that speech from various presidents over the years? It seems that during my lifetime, this country has been in a perpetual state of war, military action, or threat of war. Think of all the lives and money we would save if we waged peace.

    Joseph McCarthy accused the Dept. of State with being filled with 205 communists, starting the Second Red Scare. It was the kind of witch hunt that frightens me. If they go after the communists today, who will they go after tomorrow? Maybe me!

    Getulio Vargas was elected president of Brazil, where I would serve in the Peace Corps 17 years later.

    Disney released “Cinderella” --- a story that makes one believe that wishes can come true ---and despite all of the events I’ve listed above, I am still an optimist at heart.

  6. The year I was five, 1976, our country turned 200. When I think of being five mostly I remember an exuberance of patriotism everywhere I looked.

    I was also the year that NASA released that picture that looked like a face on Mars. Everybody was pretty excited about that including me.

  7. Many congrats on turning 5! Even though I've been a slacker in the comment department lately, I still stop by and read whenever I can. Your interesting perspective combined with a snarkiness that I thoroughly enjoy always brightens my day.

    I found your blog through my mom. She mentioned that there was an article in her paper about the BriWi tie report, so I looked it up, found the Dept and have been a fan ever since. Life before the Dept is hazy at best, but now is clear and makes complete sense.

    I was 5 in 1961. Kennedy was inaugurated, we invaded Cuba in the disastrous Bay of Pigs debacle, and we sent a man into space. None of which I remember in any way. I have a hard remembering things from 5 minutes ago, let alone when I was 5. I HATED being a kid, so there are huge portions of my childhood I simply can't recall.

    My favorite blog entry by far was Ben and the bread. I also liked the one with one of your sons who went to the dentist and freaked out about the fish tank. Funny stuff.

    There are a LOT more than five things that frost my cupcakes, but here are a few: oblivious people, slow drivers, bad grammar and punctuation (I'm noticing a theme in these comments), people who treat other people and animals with complete disregard for their emotional and physical well-being, and bad fashion (don't these people own mirrors?).

    The cake was delicious, candles and all.

  8. Life at the Funny Farm--Thanks for stopping by. I like the Ben/bread story too. I'll miss Ben this year; he will always remain one of my favorite students. Isn't it astonishing how much of historical significance we've lived through, whether we remember it or not? So many important things happened (and are still happening) during our lifetime. It's dizzying. The Brian Williams Tie Report story breaking in the AP and getting picked up all over the world was also a dizzying time around here. It sent a lot of interesting people my way!

    J.--Wow. In 1976, just by way of reference, I was a junior in high school. Sigh. But I remember the Bicentennial very well. We traveled all over the northern West that summer, and it was interesting to see each state and town's expressions of patriotism.

    CJ--Thanks! You've had an interesting life, so it's great to hear your perspective on events. You know, looking at the ones you've elected to share, it really gives more truth to the saying about history repeating itself. In a smaller way, I'm finding that so true just by watching the reruns of the series The West Wing on Bravo this summer. The discussions they are having about China, North Korea, education funding, political dealing, transparency, etc. are just as current today. It's very disconcerting.

    Melinda--Oh, hello! And a warm welcome to the Comments at the Dept. I was--and continue to be--so moved by my reading and research into the life of Mary Lincoln. For some reason, I feel a great deal of sympathy and empathy for her. There were stretches when I was reading about her that I had to stop for a day or two because I would just become so melancholy. The post was sort of an enlistment exercise: I wanted to gain more sympathetic people for her rather than those who, upon hearing her name, say, "Oh, yeah. She was crazy, wasn't she?" I'm sure Mary Lincoln would be pleased, as a devoted and indulgent mother, that Bellvue Place was a home for mothers, and then, as a woman to whom image was everything, it is now an uppercrust residence. Thank you for reading, and thank you for reading that post, esp.

    Dean--Long may you read! Thanks for coming out and commenting. I cannot imagine 5 kitties, let alone 11, but I know the charm of cats, so I understand. Piper and Marlowe were very convincing at the animal shelter, and that's how we ended up with two cats instead of just one. Best of health to all eleven of your pets, and thanks for your loyal readership and kind encouragement.

  9. Nancy1:02 PM

    Hi Nance,

    I was born in 1928 so I was 5 years old in 1933..Here is what was happening that year.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt became President..

    Bonnie and Clyde were on their crime spree..

    The ban on James Joyce's ULYSSES was lifted in the U.S...

    The city of Chicago hosted the World's Fair..

    Don't Blame Me, Blue Moon and Night and Day were the most popular songs..

    Prohibition was repealed December 5,1933..

    Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made their first film together, "Flying Down To Rio"

    Average yearly income in 1933=$1,048.00..(That's about what I pay my paperboy in 2010..)

    Albert Einstein emigrated to the United States..

    Woman of The Year; Katherine Hepburn..

    NBC does first broadcast from its
    newly completed Rockefeller Center..

    Miss Hungary of 1933..Zsa Zsa Gabor

    I am sorry that I cannot remember where I first learned of your site.
    I am just happy that I did find you because your posts are always interesting,sometimes controversial and often funny..

    Here's to five more years for both of us...

  10. j@jj--I vaguely remember that whole Comments Imbroglio, and I'm sure that it was equally my own sensitivity about how some people just love to do Wholesale Teacher Bashing. Which is clearly not your issue. Anyway, glad we moved past it with grace because I really love reading you over at your spot, and I'm very glad to have you here. I very keenly feel your frustration over the atheism issue; my son is an atheist also. He came to the decision after careful consideration and study of most of the world religions, even attending several different religious services at churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. Yet, even relatives say, "Oh, he THINKS he is an atheist." Sigh. He is over 21, college educated, and didn't decide this lightly. He never tries to talk anyone out of his/her religion, yet others try to talk him out of atheism. So, I get it.

    S.--Hi! Thanks for taking the time to sneak in here. I know you've been busy at work and I know you've had some stuff going on. I really remember the Louise Brown story, too. Isn't it funny now to think of what a Big Deal it all was? Now, "test tube baby" is a NonStory. Turkey Baster babies, now that's a story!

  11. Nancy--Thanks for the good wishes and the kind words! I always look forward to a comment from you because I know I'll usually get a chuckle or two. Your fifth birthday year was packed with some pretty significant stuff--I think Bonnie and Clyde and the repeal of Prohibition and the World's Fair are major deals. The Katharine Hepburn mention is astonishing to me. How old would she have been in 1933? Pretty young and new to Hollywood to be named a Woman of the Year, I'm thinking. Impressive!

  12. Um... I was a pre-teen when the Beatles made their famous debut, and I remember every minute of it.

    So what happened when I was 5? Apparently Larry King made his first radio broadcast. I didn't have a clue. I was busy getting through kindergarten and ten inches of snow in the winter. One of the things I remember most was getting my first bike ever. My dad built it himself. It had no training wheels. It also had no brakes, so I learned fast.

    I don't think there's anything I wish you had written about, although I always did want you to post a photo besides your furry face with sunglasses. And now you have! A furry face AND you! :-)

    Mary Lincoln was one of my faves. Enjoyed reading the ones that were 'before my time.' It's very hard to pick a favorite post, but I am definitely partial to the ones that feature the word 'smackdown.'

    I found your blog by reading your comments on another blog. You sounded like just my kind of sarky, and I wasn't disappointed.

    Where DO you get these perfect pictures? Only you would find a teeny weeny Alice-in-Wonderland cake with 5 little pink candles on it.

    P.S. I hope people don't think I actually said such a dreadful thing, lol. Happy 5th, dear. Here's to many more! (*raises glass of slightly dirty martini*)

  13. Ortizzle--Oh, it wasn't a "dreadful" thing when mentioned in the context of an interactive post idea, which is what we were emailing back and forth about. Admittedly, it does sound a bit abrupt here. Sorry!

    RE: the pictures. you know, it is getting harder and harder to find them. google is really becoming an unwieldy entity in every sense of that adjective. now their image search is absolutely horrid. but i am the Queen Of Great Image Search Terms, and that's how i get such good pix. you'd be surprised what i type in that query box to get the graphics i use.


    Anyway, so glad you're here again after your Hiatus. You were missed.

  14. The most significant event I remember during my 5th year was the assassination of President Kennedy. In fact, I had just had my birthday. I will never forget it. My kindergarten teacher received the news with understandable freaking out but did not tell us why. Then I was all upset because we got sent home and I WANTED to be at school! I remember how eerie the streets were--even the busy streets--as I was walking home. No one was out driving and no one was out walking. It was as if I were alone in The Twilight Zone. When I got home my mother was weeping, and then the explanation came.

  15. Oops, one more thing. I think I first found your blog because you might have left a funny comment on crazyauntpurl? Does that sound familiar? Anyway, I know it was from a comment I saw on someone else's blog and I was intrigued so i followed the link.

  16. sputnik--my father, a sorta catholic and back pain sufferer, was a huge Kennedy fan. he felt a strong bond with Kennedy and I think truly loved him. he was devastated when Kennedy was assassinated, and i sat on my father's lap and watched the funeral. even though i was only about 2, i remember vividly the caisson and the solemn beat of the drums and each horse hoof as it struck the pavement. i also remember his subsequent disgust when Jacqueline married Aristotle Onassis. He never really forgave her for that.

    I am, wait...EXTREMELY flattered when I read that anyone came here to the Dept. after reading one of my comments on another blog. That pleases me beyond measure. I want to hug you so damn hard.

    But I want to hug all of my readers. Can I come over?

  17. Nancy8:48 PM

    Oh,Jeez,Nance, I just remembered where I first heard of you.

    I read one of your comments on another blog...

    Do I get a hug,too?

  18. First off, felicidades, chica! I'd like to respond to all of your Fab Five, but I'll limit my points to #4. I found you in The Washington Post. An article about you, Brian Williams and his ties. And the rest, as they say, is history. I can't believe school is right around the corner. Major bummer!

  19. Melissa B.--Thanks! Oh, why limit yourself? LOL. I still get a little thrill to know that I was in The Washington Post. Hee hee. (Among other wonderful newspapers and The TV Guide!!) Glad you're here. And I'm sending you some updated pictures of your "Foster" Gatos soon.

    Nancy--Oh, heck yes! Especially if you live in a Warm State and have a guest room available in January. LOL.

  20. Anonymous11:24 AM

    When I was 5, I broke my arm, watched Howdy Doody and lke was elected President.
    Five, what is it about that the number “5” ?
    Oh yeah, it has been more than 5 years since MVBF and his wife have visited So. MD and that makes me sad.

  21. Ooh ooh...I pick number 1...and number 4! For number 1, and please know that it took a lot of guts for me to really come out and say this, but when I was 5, I made a HUGE mistake and passed gas in front of a boy who I absolutely adored at school. :-( There was no way to hide it, (of course) no way to disguise it, it just happened and that is that. Of course it scarred me, because here I am twenty-(cough) years later and I can barely even think about it without getting sad and embarassed.

    And of course for number 4, I learned about the Dept. from my good friend Nina. Nance I don't know how I would have survived in Blogland without your humor and inspiration. Of course I have also confessed a time or two that you also make me feel compelled to go back and check for spelling errors...of course only when I comment on your blog :-)

  22. Tera--Welcome back from...wherever you've been! I have to laugh that your, er...Personal Flatulence Episode is what you consider to be of "Major Cultural Or Historical Significance." Oh my. Hee hee. Well, dear, for some of us (me included, more often than not), it really is All About Me. ;-)

    And thank you for your very kind and flattering compliment. I'm sure you exaggerate terrifically my role in your cyberlife although probably not when it comes to grammar and spelling. But that's a good thing in general, I think. (Of course!) So nice to have you back!

    Anonymous in SoMd--Sigh. So many factors have kept us all apart, I know, but there's nothing that says you cannot call RWD or email him on your own. AND, you have been conspicuously absent from the Dept. as of late as well.

    Were you a Clarabelle fan and did you "Like Ike"?

  23. Five Things That Frost My Cupcakes

    Pajama pants in public

    Babies in public swimming pools

    Big box restaurants

    Loud music

    Self-check out at the grocery store (along with the disappearance of bags AND baggers)

  24. V-Grrrl--Welcome back to the Dept. I share your disdain for the self-checkout at the grocery store, especially when A)there are more of them open than there are lanes with actual human checkouts; B) there is no discount for YOU doing THEIR job; C) there is one cashier who stands around actually WAITING FOR THERE TO BE PROBLEMS AT THE SELF-CHECKOUTS (what does that tell you?!?!). As far as pajama pants in public, imagine my heartbreak every time I am forced to look at them in my classroom for forty-five minutes solid. Sigh. It is tragic.

  25. Why thank you Nance! ;-) oh and I do love your colorful description..."Personal Flatulence Episode" I am laughing out loud!

  26. Such a cute picture of you! And thanks for the cake! Happy 5th Anniversary! I'm playing along and have 5 major things that happened in my 5th year birthday month, September 1969.

    According to Wikipedia:

    ~ A coup in Libya brings Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi to power.

    ~ The first ATM in the US is installed in New York state.

    ~ Ho Chi Minh, former president of North Vietnam dies.

    ~ The movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" opens in the U.S.

    ~ The Brady Bunch premieres on ABC.

  27. Anali--Thanks. And I can add yet another spelling of Libya's Most Famous Citizen to my collection. Hee hee. This time, though, it's his first name. I remember how the news outlets had a field day trying to decide whether to spell it with a Q, a G, or whether to double the D, etc.

    No controversy regarding the popularity or significance of The Brady Bunch, however, just which kid was everyone's favorite. I liked Jan. "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!" What a great show then, and what a great show to make fun of now.

  28. Very late congratulations on your fifth anniversary and may you have many, many more.
    I have a photo of myself, aged five, clutching a kitten beside my grandmother's house. I was told very firmly that I was not to take it home. Later that same year, the now adolescent cat hitchhiked somewhere in my parents' car and arrived with us at our house. And my horrible parents took it back to my grandmother's.

    I was five in 1947 - a year of far fewer events than those previous.

  29. Five years? I am impressed. I haven't been reading you that long; maybe only a year or so. And how did I come to be a reader of your blog? Why, by being a reader of The Boston Globe, which one day mentioned The Brian Williams Tie Report. Let's just say my internet surfing is rarely linear but it wasn't much of a jump, was it?

    Having mentioned the Globe, may I say that one thing that frosts me is that the only local daily paper, that New Hampshire rag founded by William Loeb, lists so far to the right that I--a lifelong Democrat--have to balance it somehow. So I have to do TWO daily papers, one for local news and one for the rest of the world.

    And I don't remember the event or anything else outside my little suburban world, but when I was five the Supreme Court made its decision in the Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education. That sure changed the way a lot of things were going back in those days.

    As for comments, mostly I lurk but I do pop up from time to time.

    Glad to have you to read.

  30. Anonymous6:48 PM

    5 Things I Can't Stand:

    1. People who walk slowly and/or hog the Entire Sidewalk: Get out of my way! I have somewhere to be. Don't you? Go! Now! Stop wasting space! And air!

    2. Hipsters: Does this even need an explanation?

    3. Whatever Sickness I Have That's Causing Me To Have A Loss Of Appetite: When homemade French onion soup sounds disgusting, you know there's something wrong.

    4. Students who don't show up to class but then expect to pass: Are you really that stupid? I guess so.

    5. Weddings: I've been to five weddings in my life, and I've been in every one of them. The fun is never worth the work put in. I want my wedding to be on a beach with a flying trapeze rig installed for the guests to play on during the reception. People will have fun, dammit!

    - Mikey G.

  31. Mikey--Wow. No offense, but your wedding is the antithesis of fun to me. I dislike the beach and would never, ever play on a trapeze. Plus, you know I do not eat outdoors. The bright side of #3 is that you'll lose weight? Sigh. And I'm with you on #4, of course. I detest having my class--or school in general, for that matter--treated like a correspondence course. Even Woody Allen said that 80% of life is just showing up. So students who don't should be content with their 20% and just shut the hell up.

    Phyll--Hi there! I think you commented once or twice over at the now-defunct Stuff On Our List, too. At any rate, glad to have you here, at The Report, anyplace you read me. I've never been to New Hampshire, but any state whose motto is "Live Free or Die" certainly ought to have a better press than what you describe!

    Mary G--Oh, hello, dear Mary From Canada! Thanks for the well wishes, and how funny that you have a similar story to mine regarding the wayward cat. I'd love to see your picture. Did your mother make you wear two pigtails all the time too? ;-) Mine did.

  32. Anonymous2:40 PM

    Nance--That's acceptable (about my wedding), but when have you been to a wedding that you would have described as fun. It just doesn't happen. And it really should happen more! I've hauled ass across the country for weddings that were Hectic, Impersonal, Crowded, Overdone, and Boring. They're all the same, and that's a shame.

    - Mikey G.

  33. Sister Susan4:40 PM

    I love that picture of you! Sam and Zach all over!!!

  34. Sister Susan--I look alarmingly like my father. So scary, really. And both the cat and I have very bad posture. I must be a terrible mother/parent, too, because I can never see "who looks like me" in my own children. I don't think they look anything like either Rick or me. But thanks, and I like this picture, too.

  35. Yes I it does, given the difference in time of year. Disgruntled
    Ok on faces of cats identical.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...