Frequently Not Asked Questions: Six


How much money do you make?




It’s illegal to make money unless you are the federal government, so I’m surprised you would ask me that.



Please note that Lincoln looks reserved.


Like me I’m sure you have bookmarked Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which grants the federal government the right to “coin” money. That meant gold and silver. Our Founding Fathers distrusted and eschewed* paper money, so they expressly prohibited states from “emitting” it.



You probably also know that Abraham Lincoln signed the first U.S. federal emission law allowing the government to print bills. In 1862, government IOUs in the form of “greenbacks” began circulating their way throughout the land until they landed in the pockets of the rich. It’s been that way ever since. The government called these bills Tender Notes, which I find rather endearing. Now, of course, the government no longer sends out Tender Notes; instead, they send out Reserve Notes. On our new colorful missives, the government promises that the Federal Reserve Banks have purchased enough U.S. Treasury securities (i.e., government debt) to cover “all debts, public and private.”



If that doesn’t make you feel secure, I don’t know what would. As a nation, we have debt coming out of the “wazoo” (French for “Congress”), and as of today, it stood (momentarily) at $16,804,904,109.526, give or take 25 cents. An endless supply of debt means an endless supply of securities, which means an endless supply of Reserve Notes promising to cover any and all other debts.



Please note: The writer of this blog reserves the right to interpret history and facts in a manner that tickles her fancy. If your fancy starts to itch when reading this post, please stop immediately and read your nearest economics book.



*Use of the word “eschew” entitles any writer or reader of this post the right to liberate one piece of chocolate per writing and/or reading.





Frequently Not Asked Questions: Five



Are you a nosy person? Do you ever check your husband’s cell?



Only when I let him out for good behavior….



Oh, you meant his cell phone. No, I never check that.



I hardly ever check my own phone, much less anyone else’s. If phones were like dogs, the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cellphone Abstention) would rescue mine and put it in the hands of someone who would give the phone the attention it deserves.



Since I am fairly good with faces,  I don’t need to check an online book to remember who my friends and family are or to discover they wear shoes (see the photos!), spend a good part of the day finding YouTube videos (follow the links!) or can’t spell (see the werds!) I don’t like online games and on my morning drive, I see plenty of road hogs and angry birds flipped in every direction; I am not interested in playing games based on them. I tried wearing earphones and listening to music while I walked, but I missed the natural sounds around me. My favorite tweets come from the birds in my neighborhood, and I’ve been streaming reality so long, I prefer it to all other kinds.



When I was a young girl, dogs were everywhere, free to roam, and phones were on leashes. Now phones are everywhere, free to roam, and dogs are on leashes. I’m glad to have a cellphone untethered from the wall that can stay by my side throughout the day, an ever-faithful companion, but I never could abide a yappy dog. Some days I see my cellphone as a Saint Bernard, ready to rescue me in any emergency; but most of the time, I see it as a Golden Retriever, sent to fetch the voices of the ones I love and miss.



Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear some funny noises coming from the cell. I better see what my husband needs.



It's for you; Nature's calling.

It’s for you; Nature’s calling.




Cell can be found at







Frequently Not Asked Questions: Four


Why do you have that perpetual bedhead look?


First, thank you for noticing and pointing it out. Heaven forbid I should go one day without being reminded. Second, why the sudden interest in my hair? The last frequently not asked question was about my still-brown hair. Third, looks are deceiving: it’s not a bedhead; it’s a cowlick.


I have a beef with the cow that licked the top of my head with her big slobbery tongue. Since that time, I have lived in a whorl of pain. I am forced to wear left-headed hairstyles, in spite of the fact that I am right-handed. This leads to a lot of mental confusion, which explains much of what you read on this blog.


Cow Snout


I suppose it’s better than a calf-lick, which happens when the smaller, less slobbery tongue of a calf licks your forehead. In that case, you are forced to face the permanent tuft of hair sticking up. Since my cowlick is on the back of my head, I am able to forget  about it until some kind reader points it out and asks me about it.


Although I wear corrective lenses for my focus-challenged eyes, I have yet to find a truly corrective hairstyle. On a website I will not name, one writer mentioned the seriousness of cowlicks. Apparently, they’ve been known to turn hostile and threaten someone’s image. Since reading that, I have grown afraid and keep anticipating turning on the TV and hearing the news anchor say, “Spencer, we’re here at the Cow Palace near San Francisco. The entire building was evacuated earlier this evening during a concert when the cowlick on the singer’s head suddenly stood up and threatened the singer’s image. Our sources tell us this that the cowlick has shown signs of belligerence for years, but no one has been able to get to the root of the problem. Earlier tonight the mayor called in the SWAT team; you can see that they’re lobbing canisters of hair gel and hairspray into the building now. Soon they’ll storm the building with curling irons. It’s been a hairy night for all of us, Spencer, but we’ll be here until the cowlick is forced down.”


Thankfully I don’t have an image to threaten, but just knowing that cowlicks threaten some people unnerves me. I guess you could say I’m a tiny bit cowed.


Now do you see what I mean about the mental confusion?




Photo: stuartncook on Flicker

Frequently Not Asked Questions: Three


Why is your hair still brown?


First, let me say that I have never seen or heard of the color “still brown,” so I cannot answer your question.


However, since you asked and made me look, I checked online and discovered that a number of stills are, in fact, brown. My hair color is very close to the still used to make Ukrainian vodka that is pictured in Wikipedia, kindly offered to the world by Arne Hückelheim. So that answers the question you didn’t ask: Is your hair still brown? The answer is yes; however, I much prefer that you call it moonshine brown.


Now back to your question. What exactly are you trying to imply? Are you interested in probability theory? Did you suddenly notice the green grass in the picture of the vodka still and realize that I have green eyes? Do find that odd? Or is it just me? More importantly, shouldn’t that last question really be: Or is it just I?


Naturally (and that’s what were really talking about when we speak of hair color) all those minor questions lead to the ultimate question: What are the odds of having both brown hair and green eyes?


I don’t mind answering that question, but if that is what you are asking, I wish you would have come out and asked me that in the first place.


As you know if you have ever taken Biology 301 Biomathematics at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Sarah Otto asked her students that very question in her lecture notes and gave a simple formula to discover the answer based on Bayes’ Rule.


P(B|A) = P(B) P(A|B) / P(A)


If you are like Dr. Otto, you probably understand this; if you’re like me, you don’t. To me, it looks like someone stuttering in math.


(Oddly, the motto at UBC is “a place of mind,” written in lowercase letters. Apparently the Biomathematics department took all of the capital letters to use in its program, so none were left for the motto. The world is full of these small sorrows.)


Third (and this is my last attempt to answer your question), I entered the world with dark brown, almost black hair. Somewhere along the way, I lost it and started wearing blond hair. In adolescence I grew tired of that, looked in the mirror one day and noticed I was a brown-haired girl, the literal meaning of brunette, so I forsook blondism. My freshman year in high school, I grew nostalgic, remembered the fun I had as a child and bleached my hair blonde. I didn’t have more fun, so my sophomore year I returned to my roots and went au naturel, hairwise.


Fourth, if you must know, my hair color is merely a pigment of my imagination.


Frequently Not Asked Questions: Two



Why is “Poetry” listed as one of the categories on your blog? Aren’t you a failed poet?




Thank you for asking.



First, please note that you should be asking only one question at a time. Did you realize you asked two?



Second, do you have a problem with me listing “Poetry” as a category?



Third, I really wish you would capitalize the word “failed.” I just so happen to write in the literary style of poetry known as Failed. Surely you have heard of the Baroque1 or Metaphysical poets, Imagist poets, Confessional poets, and Martian poets? I am part of that great tradition and subscribe to the tenets of Failed Poetry, so technically I should be referred to as a Failed poet.


Martian poet, Christopher Reid, looking good, but a bit spaced out. (On Wikipedia.)


Like all great poets, Failed poets have one long foot and one short foot. (By the way, the easiest way to determine if someone has an ability to write poetry is to ask to see their feet. Don’t be fooled if they are so-called “Long fellows.”) Those of us who are part of this movement favor mixed metaphors and imprecise language, with an occasional forced rhyme in tribute to early rhymers like Shakespeare and John Donne. To us, poetry is music and every poem a song to sing, so when we’re feeling metrical we write singsong verse. Otherwise, we just write down whatever we are thinking but without the punctuation. We love words and like how they look on paper or computer screens. Many of us like to spell our words correctly, but it’s not required.


John Done is now done with poetry. We miss him. Thank you Wikipedia for this portrait.

Fourth, I put that category on my blog because I believe in the U.S. Constitution. For a little over a year, I submitted my poetry to various journals. Although one online and one print journal accepted my work out of pity, the majority wrote back to express regret and sorrow. Apparently editors all over the nation were filled with sadness and grief after reading my poems. I felt guilty singling them out and making them bear the full burden of reading my poetry, so I chose to include some on this blog and make that pain available to anyone and everyone. It is the American way.



Fifth, please keep in mind that on this blog I use the word “Poetry” in its broadest sense:  a bunch of words.





1 The Baroque movement never died. Most poets since the 1600s consider themselves Baroque; however, they now use the modern spelling “broke.”