The spy who bugged me.

Tonight as I close 368, I was simply going to post the above image (since this all started because of my photography).  Yes.  I intended on thanking all of you for reading, for being supportive of my creative efforts, and for sticking with this column day in and day out.   Then…. close 368 at that.

But dang it… I woke up this morning thinking about Mati Hari.  Sure enough… I opened my eyes and skipping across my thought waves like a broken record… Mati Hari, Mati Hari, Mati Hari….  Why, I ask you. Why?

It actually happens to me on a great many mornings. I think it is because I fall asleep with the TV on … very quietly … and I somehow get a brand of subliminal messaging throughout the night. I awake the following morning, and think… “Jane Pauley.” Or…. “Is Kim Kardashian the same person a Snooky?” Or sometimes even more strange than that… “Don’t set the big skillet near the kittens.”

This makes no sense. What in the world is wrong with me? But it happens.. and so…. this morning it was none other than Mati Hari.

She was born Dutch you know. Her real name was Margaretha Zele and she was an exotic dancer, courtesan, and…… an accused spy. Not only was she accused…. they killed her for her alleged spy-dom. Yep. She was executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage. The French (& British) claimed she was giving information to the Germans during WWI… though they didn’t have any substantial evidence. So BLAM. Firing squad. End of Mati Hari.

Here’s something most people don’t know. After she was executed, there was no one to claim her body. So it was used for medical study. But….. yikes….. her head was embalmed and kept in the Museum of Anatomy in Paris. And here’s another twist. Museum archivists were doing their note taking in 2000 and discovered her head was gone. Missing in action. I’d love to know who has it on their living room mantle.

And why did I feel the need to tell you this? Well… again, there are some neurotransmitters in my brain that are just a little lame…. I suspect. And that is how 368 has gone all year long. My disconnected thoughts fly through cyber space to the RGB pixels on the monitor in front of your eyes…. in a flash. BLAM. Sort of like an online firing squad. But sometimes it isn’t so quick….. or painless.

So here’s to Mati Hari… the Naked Spy. And…. to the last night of writing at 368…. for just like Mati Hari…. I think I’ve lost my head.

But I have NEVER…. NEVER…. spied for the Germans.

Gute Nacht. Und Aufwiedersehen Meine Freunde.

Vielen Dank.  Many, Many, Thanks.


Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  –Marcel Proust

The King of Carols

Carol King turned 70 today.
Yes. Carol King. What the heck? I mean it… emphatically.  How in the holy-smackerolly could something like this happen? Right now… I feel older than dirt.

I am not sure the younger readers will know who she is. If not…Google her…. young readers. Yes…..Google her….. young Grasshopper.

So I read this today… that Ms. King is now 70 years old….. and I felt the earth move under my feet. I felt the SKY tumbling down… a tumbling down. 

I swear the wrinkles on my face deepened by at least an 1/8 of an inch right there and then.  I feel my heart start to trembling…..

That’s how time flies. I suppose. It just spreads its wings and flies. Except when you are sick in bed with the stomach flu. Then time stands still…..but the room won’t.

Funny time. Oh that funny, witty, comedian time. A laugh a minute, I’ll tell you.  I’m hysterical right now.

I never used to give it much thought. And then, you hear that Carol King is 70. Whacky-Doodles. The next thing you know, they’ll be telling us Robert Redford is 75 or something crazy-go-nuts… like that.

It seems that the aging topic is a persistent leaky-faucet-drip on my mind.  Plop.  Plop.  Plop.  Always there in the background… just filling up that bucket… on drop at at time.

I still have the chronological age number of 27 in my head. I don’t know why 27 in particular. That was a pretty great year for me. Maybe that is why. But when I go out running in the morning… or when I lift heavy furniture and such… I STILL think Polly is 27.

Heeeaaaavvvve Hooooooo. Heeeeeaaaaaavvvvve Ho, Ho, Ho. And it is about at that time that I hear the Rice Crispies Guys… Snap. Crackle. Pop. Are backs REALLY supposed to make those noises?

Yep. I always pay for it later. Hot showers and Tylenol are sometimes two of the things I most look forward to….on any given evening. Twenty-five years ago… I had a much different list of things to do, on a big night out!  But that is the point of this.   I am feeling older by the minute. Yesssirrrreeee….. me and Methuselah…. are two peas in a pod. Methuselah!

I thought of tattooing my age on my forehead… because I always forget what my age is.   Yet again, another one of my dumb ideas. Not only is the tattoo good for just a single year… it looks backwards in the mirror. I tried this with a black permanent marker…. so I know.

This past year at 368… I have written about aging a lot. Oh, I seriously don’t know how you all aren’t bored out of your silly, silly gourds with all of this…. Other topics have included…. and spanned my childhood, pets, food, my crazy likes and dislikes, dreams, quirks, sayings, what-ifs, pop culture and every day occurrences….. just to name a few. Tomorrow, I will wrap this thing up (last writing for 368 on February 10th, 2012) . And then, I will start anew.

But with 368…. I’ve realized, probably more than anything, that I am blessed with some really wonderful people in my life. For that I am thankful. I hope you friends know that I appreciate you for your beauty and all that you offer life…

In the past year, I have also learned one very important thing. Each day is a lesson. Sometimes each hour… depending on the day. Now my big trick is to learn from those lessons, and be a better Polly.

So the thought that is really coming to mind is this:
You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face,
And show the world all the love in your heart…..
Then people gonna treat you better,
You’re gonna find, yes you will…..
That you’re beautiful as you feel.

And there you have it. Carol King is 70 today. Happy Birthday King of Good Tunes… you rock.
You ALL rock.



Roll out the barrels….

All right. This last week of Project 368 wouldn’t be complete without re-visiting a smattering of the things that make me a little crazy… you know… things that I find a bit “askew” on any given day….

The kind of things that Get My Goat….. or Grind My Gears. They Stick In My Craw. Push My Buttons. Rub Me The Wrong Way.

So…. now…. a few more items that wrinkle my Chi….


People who ask if something is in “walking distance.”   That’s relative, isn’t it? I mean… if you have enough time… anything is within walking distance.

Those whacky little folks…. who write on Facebook (or anywhere) in a language that vaguely resmebles the English language. In fact, I think they ARE trying to speak us…. I am just not sure of the grammatical choices they are using. Here is an actual post which appeared in one of my feeds…..
“Sitting Herr on the fone But nun to do sumone Please. Hmu if u don’t Got ma number juss..Inbox me for it.!”
If this is what kids are learning in school, we truly do need Education Reform.

Bad hair on people who can afford to do better.  Donald Trump is the obvious one. And….  Oh Cally. Cally.  I am neither Republican or Democratic. Each election, I vote for the candidate who I believe is best suited for the job. So this next comment has no political leanings whatsoever.

Somebody HAS to tackle Newt Gingrich’s wife. Normally, I am not one to notice things like hair or clothing. But someone simply must tackle her. 

When I was a kid, we used to have those plastic golden Roman helmets… and we would play-fight with fake swords. Well, honest to goodness…. I think Mrs. Gingrich was wearing one of those VERY SAME helmets at the last press junket.


People who fake laugh. Loudly.

Rappers who drop the F BOMB about every third word or so…… are demeaning toward women, and glamorize violence in their songs and videos. Then… they thank the “Great God Almighty Above” in their award acceptance speeches.
They will often thank their mothers too. Okay then.

Double Dippers. Since I was little… the “double dipping” thing has made me woozie.

So the thing of it is…. I don’t want your slobber in my chip dip. Please don’t put that chip in your mouth, and then put it back in the community French Onion Dip. This is similar…. very similar… to peeing in the pool.  I don’t want to swim in your pee..   and I don’t want to sample your saliva while snacking.

And the number one thing that bugs me…. people who right blogs… and talk about the things that bug them. They use a bunch of cliches to denote their annoyances. Phrases like….It Really Boils My Water.   Doh.

Okay… so to make up for it…. here is a little fun.

Go to and do these three things tonight. For hours and hours of family fun.

First, type “do a barrel roll” (no quotation marks)….. and hit the “Search Google” Button. You’ll see….

And since this all started with things that I think are askew…. type that into Google.
“Askew” and hit search.

Last but not least. Let’s chase these things down and gobble them up…. go to for some retro fun!
Brought to you by 368…. A Guaranteed Helping of FUN…. one byte at a time.

Where heroes are… like you.

I am fairly certain we all need to go where we can shine.

When I was a little girl, I had lofty aspirations that I would do something spectacular with my life. I would find my purpose and achieve brilliance. When I was a starry-eyed little girl….

As it has turned out, I haven’t really managed anything on the “remarkable” scale. I never won seven gold medals in swimming at the Olympics, or was the starting shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds. I never made it to Broadway (well… I’ve been there to see several shows… but not to sing and dance in one). And I didn’t discover that beaker-full-of-something-sensational in the chemistry lab… like Madam Curie. I never became Batman, Aquaman, or even Speed Racer (well… maybe a little Speed Racer).  But no Super-Hero status.

It seems though…. even in my adult life, I have continued to wish that I would find that niche. Whatever the “phenomenal” thing might be. Now, as the years pass by, I kind of think that may not happen. Nope. Not even. (This is a bit hard for me to talk about really…. and I am not quite sure why I am doing it now. But I started this bundle of yammering, and now I will finish it….)

I have friends… great friends in life….. who “shine” like crazy. I have a friend who is serving in Afghanistan right now. She has the best attitude about everything. Amazing. I have other friends who do great volunteer work…. at soup kitchens, food banks, clothing drives, toy drives, ministry work, community service, and on and on. I have some friends that are SO outside of themselves… it makes me wonder how they do it.  You people are my heroes. My every day heroes.  I love you for those remarkable things you do.

And maybe that is the point I need to learn from all of this. We have to go where we can shine. In our every-day-ness of life. We have to be every day heroes in whatever way is ours.

I’ve heard this message more than once this week….. it has popped up all over the place. Am I adding to the “virtue and decency”? Am I doing the next right thing? I am putting in more than I am taking away? Am I doing more good than harm. It reminds me of the quote by in Heaven Can Wait (1978 remake): “Are we hurtin’ anybody?”
You know…. if I am hurting anyone… I should stop it. Right now. If I have made a mistake, I should make amends, and do better next time. That’s what I am thinking. That is Polly’s advice to Polly tonight.  To be the best version of me… that I can be.
Even if by a very small measure… am I making more positive energy than negative energy? And if we all did this… Oh what a world we’d live in…..

Yep. Go where we can shine.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.” – Buddha

Here’s pie in your eye.

This weekend I watched a little news program about pi. I am a real “numbers” sort of gal. I have numbers in my head all the time. So it would follow that I like pi.

π      pi = 3.14159265

It is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of any Euclidean circle’s circumference to its diameter. Ratio of circumference to diameter.

It is all telling, really. Our personality… our distinctive character…. is mostly made up of the same ratio. The “line” that goes right through the center of us … in ratio to what is all the way around us. pi.

Lots of people love pi. There are pi clubs and societies, and pi admirers. They even have a National pi Day which is… of course… on March 14th. (3/14) I like pi too… but not fanatically. I bet they have things like pi tosses, and pi eating contests. pi ala mode.

It always reminds me of the old song… “Let’s have another cup of coffee…. Let’s have another piece of pi.”

Which, speaking of numbers, also reminds that 368 comes to a close on Friday, February 10th. It has to end. Just the nature of the Projects. 372 came and went. And now… 368. Today is 364.

A friend of mine posted a Far Side comic strip this evening on Facebook. Wow do I ever miss The Far Side. That was shear genius. I used to laugh out loud… sometimes spraying coffee from my nose….(great visual there)….. at some of Larson’s strips. But he couldn’t keep it up forever. I bet he had a hard time keeping it freshy-fresh every day.

I am not sure how much “fresh” I have left in my Idea Bin…. but I’ve decided to keep this up for a while longer. I love doing it most nights. But sometimes it is hard to come up with a single thing to say. From time to time, I feel like Sargent Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes…. “I KNOW NOTHING!”

I have decided to commit…. not to a full year… but a little more than half a year. For many different reasons… the new number is 188. So off we will go for another 26 weeks, or so….. of the unknown. Project 188.

It seems… that yes….. the band will play on here. The Butcher will fix another ham. The Candlestick Man will dip more strings in wax…. and the Baker will make another pi.


“I don’t like to commit myself about heaven and hell – you see, I have friends in both places” – Mark Twain

Head you lose. Tails I win.

There are a lot of things in life that can be the proverbial Double Edge Sword. Yes. Two sides with two sharp blades. The old tricky “Catch-22” where one is damned if one does, and one is damned if one doesn’t. Two sides of the flippin’ coin.

Today is one of those days for me. I love Football…. both college and pro. But the NFL is my big GO-TO sport I like to watch on TV. The Superbowl, obviously, is the climax of the season. So while I love to watch the Bowl… I become equally sad, because it means that football is gone until next the next season.

Everything about this game is incredibly interesting to me. It doesn’t matter if one of my teams are playing or not. (Well….. I don’t actually own any NFL teams.  But I DO have one of those games with the metal football field that buzzes when you turn up the black knob …. and then…..  you put the little plastic players on it… and watch them all fall down.  I love that thing.  But what I meant originally is the teams I “root” for all year long.)

But back to the game.   In addition to the actual competition….. I like  ALL the other things that go on “around” the game.  The BIG snacky-time  for one. I went to a Superbowl party tonight and we ate great food the entire time. Yay for us.  Among other things… we had Sausage Dip, Crabmeat Dip, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Nacho Dip…  what a bunch of Dips!

Here’s the other thing.  I never drink too many Diet Cokes during the game.  No way.   If you drink too much of anything… you have to pee.  That means getting up and going to the restroom.  That means missing the commercials…. which is unacceptable. (My favorite this year…. Doritos Great Dane Commercial. “You didn’t see nuttin.”)

Yes, the hype is not hype when it all turns out to be true. Right from the flip of the coin….. which is also interesting. In 45 Super Bowls to date, the opening coin toss has come up heads 24 times and tails 21 times. The NFC has won the toss 31 times out of 45, including a remarkable 14 straight years. The team that wins the coin toss is 22-23 all-time and has lost 10 of the last 15 Super Bowls.

Tonight the Patriots won the coin toss. Heads. They lost the game.

The big winners were any people that registered for a free Papa John’s Pizza …..IF the coin toss came up heads.  As mentioned before…. it did.   The big losers…. those who didn’t register…. and of course…. Papa John’s.  They will be tossing a whole bunch of free pies.

Some people don’t like pro sports saying the athletes get paid too much, and are idolized by society. I think both are true. But just like I know that Hellman’s Mayonaise probably isn’t the best food for me… I sure do love to slather it on a turkey sandwich.

Others purport that football is a violent sport. Again, I agree. But just like I know banging my head against the wall probably is the thing that is giving me a headache… I continue to do it anyway.  I like the big “thud” noise it makes.

It is Human Nature. And a Double Edge Sword.

I’m bacon ya’ …. to have a little fun.

These are some things that have crossed the old noggin’ today…. so I will recount them here… just for fun.

Well… right off the bat… why do they call your brain…. the old noggin’? Or the nut, the dome, the noodle? I’ll just play along. Here is what has buttered my old noodle today….

Since we were speaking of the skull….. I saw an old photo of a Kamikaze Pilot this morning. The guy was wearing a helmet. I have to wonder why the heck he’d be wearing a helmet? Seems like a moot point, doesn’t it?

I guess sometimes… when it gets close to “The End of the Line”… people do strange things, or come up with some profound thoughts…..

On W.C. Field’s deathbed, he began to read the Bible. He was a proclaimed Atheist. His good friend asked him…”W.C…. why now, are you reading the Bible?” To which W.C. replied…. “I am looking for a loophole.”

Loophole. Now there is another. Seems redundant. By definition it is an ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules. A gap. An opening. A means of avoidance. People are always looking for Loopholes. Ways to make their case, or prove their point.

What you really need in life…. is momentum…..  yes… good old momentum.  Gaining Steam.   It comes in a lot of different forms, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet, in , in the land of Physics….. Momentum is…… Mass multiplied by Velocity.  But it turns up all over the place.

Speaking of momentum. It takes momentum to make a guillotine work. Dr. Joseph Guillotine was not the inventor, contrary to popular belief. He just thought something like this would make a good way to perform executions. A German guy named Tobias Schmidt actually designed the thing in 1792. It was first used in the execution of Nicolas Pelletier.  Joe, CEO.  Toby, Chief Designer.  Nick, Head of R & D.  (No pun intended).

Speaking of the morbid.  If you want to be on a postal stamp…. you gotta’ be dead.  The U.S. Government will not allow portraits of living persons to appear on stamps.  I’ve seen flowers, trees, and other living things on stamps.   I am not sure how they feel about farm animals….  like pigs.  Pig Stamps would be cool.

While we are speaking of pigs… I am told that it is physically impossible for a pig to look up into the sky. Come to think of it… I’ve never seen a pig watch an airplane or a bird fly by. They can…. however…. look over the counter at Arby’s.  In fact, the third little piggy, did just that…. AND he had his Roast Beef.  It made him very happy. I am not sure what made the fifth piggy pee all over the place.

Perhaps it was….. Cherophobia. The fear of fun.

And here we are right back to the point of all of this…it is all just for fun.   Holy Smokes…. I hope I never suffer from Cherophobia.

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” – Thomas Edison

“Fun is Good.”  – Dr. Seuss


An Aquarian in Paris

Today, as I write, is February 3rd.

On this particular day, in the year of 1874…. one extremely rocking individual entered this world in the form a little baby girl. Yes, Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (which later part of became Pittsburgh).

It was a Tuesday. They say that Tuesday’s child is full of grace. (I was born on a Wednesday. Woe is me.) February 3rd also would have made Stein an Aquarius.

Here’s what Astrology says about Aquarians…… These folks not only march to a different drummer, they make up new music as they go along.

They seem to be very ‘mind oriented’ individuals…. whose thoughts never stop rolling over and over again.  Roll over.  A whole big old bunch of inventors, eccentrics and highly original creative types are born under this sign.  (I am a Taurus.  Boring Bulls.)

The Aquarians have an exceedingly intense ability to live on many mental levels. This can cause both pain and pleasure for Aquarians.

I just read that in the “American Hall of Fame” there are more Aquarians than any other sign. But get this……. those same statistics reveal that in mental institutions there are more Aquarians than any other sign too.
THIS… is what one might call… “A Fine Line.”

At any rate, Gertrude rocked. She was an amazing writer, highly creative, and…. one of my very favorite things about her…. she was a collector, and appreciator of ART. Good art.  Not Elvis-Presley-Black-Velvet-Painting-Art.  NO.   She knew a talented painter when she saw one.

By early 1906, Gertrude Stein’s studio had many paintings by Henri Manguin, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Honoré Daumier, Henri Matisse, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Holy Crap.

Stein met her life partner Alice B. Toklas on September 8, 1907. Quite a couple, they were. And what a life they must have led.  With great walls.

She said many important things in her life…. but had many “quips” too.

Like “The deepest thing in any one is the conviction of the bad luck that follows boasting”


“Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.”

Stein died at the age of 72 from stomach cancer. When Stein was being wheeled into the operating room for surgery on her stomach, she asked Toklas, “What is the answer?” When Toklas did not reply, Stein said, “In that case, what is the question?”


She is buried in Paris… where she had lived most of her life.

Yep. She was one spectacular, intelligent, and visionary woman. Thank you very much Gertrude Gerty Gert. For all the totally cool and profound things you gave the world.

Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was an American writer, poet and art collector who spent most of her life in France.