Meaningless Political Phrases

Back in the year 2000, I remember having a short discussion with my father about the upcoming presidential election. We never talked about politics much because I suspected we might have differing opinions, even though I was pretty sure he was an independent with a bit of a lean to the right. I had always thought discussing politics something we might want to avoid. But this particular day, he mentioned to me that it was “time for a change”. This meant that because of all the scandal during the Clinton administration, which must have really disgusted a lot of people of that generation, it was time to throw the Democrats out.

People all over were saying it, that it was time for a change. It was a phrase circulated, spread from conversation to conversation, and it started me thinking about those kinds of phrases and how they become important, if said often enough, and can affect elections, which of course, is the desired outcome. Naturally I had to write about it in my new novel, out this spring (self-promotion alert!), Perigee Moon.

Gertie and Randy didn’t seem to be too well-informed and could make no real valid arguments that defended their position that it was “time for a change”. When asked exactly why that would be they could only point to the Lewinsky Matter. So it would seem that no matter that Mr. Clinton was an adept politician and had kept the peace for eight years and balanced the budget and governed rather well, the fact that one naïve girl, rather sluttily inclined, could tempt and tease and torment a man who, as are many powerful men, might be more sexual in nature than the  average eight-to-fiver, it was still time for a change. Luke saw this, in that instant, that people around dinner tables all over the country were saying the same thing that Gertie and Randy had just said.

 “Al Gore is going to get screwed, because of Clinton,” Luke said.

This year, we have similar phrases circulating around, and two have caught my attention:

Obama is bad for our country. Okay. Just how is he bad for our country, could you elaborate on that please? No, he’s just Bad. Bad for Our Country.

We must take our country back. From whom must we take it back? The House of Representatives is controlled by the Republicans. The Senate is split pretty evenly. The Supreme Court, even though they are directed not to, seems to be a little top-heavy which is causing that right lean. Yes, the President is a Democrat so I guess we need to take the country back from him.

This is not meant to be a political blog, it’s a blog about writing. I was interested in the way phrases circulate and people begin to say them, without knowing why they are saying them. And besides I like to throw a bit of politics into my novels occasionally.

Recently, I went to a Newt Gingrich Rally. There are many reasons one would attend such a rally.

  1. One is a die-hard Newt supporter and wants to yell and scream so Newt knows someone loves him.
  2. One is a supporter of Mitt Romney and is out to gather information, which can be used against Newt in the future.
  3. One is an Independent voter and is out to become educated about each of the two men, one of which will surely be the Republican Nominee.
  4. One is an Obama supporter but wants Newt to win because they believe he will be easier for Obama to beat in November.
  5. One who has nothing else to do but visit an airplane hangar on a 75-degree day in Florida.
  6. One who wants to see Callista’s hair up close.

Because I don’t want to offend any readers of my blog who might be of a different political persuasion, I will refrain from saying which category I fall into, except 6 for sure. The turnout was disappointing, only 300 or so supporters or “supporters”, but we got to get pretty up close and personal to Newt and Callista, who was wearing a beautiful shade of blue suit that day.

We were stopped outside and interviewed by CBS who, while they paraphrased what my husband said, they did not show him on TV. This was a big disappointment but I’m pretty sure they liked what he said, which was, “With Newt, what you see is what you get. If he’s elected he won’t flirt with liberals.” And he also said, when asked about Newt’s marriage baggage, that “we are Christians and as such we believe in redemption.” Now, this may or may not be the true feelings of my husband, depending on his reasons (see above) for attending the Newt Rally.

Once inside, there was a cheerleader, who yelled out periodically “We gotta take our country back!” and when that began to fall flat she’d just start up the chant, “Newt! Newt! Newt! Newt!” Here is out cheerleader:

Is this Ben Kingsley?

Bill Gates?

I believe Ellie Mae Clampett was there, and she looks real good:

Mike Raegan was there:

Herman Cain was there:

Finally! Newt and Callista arrived! The crowd went wild! Or as wild as 300 old people can get. Here they are arriving at the hangar:

Newt speaks, and says that between the swearing in and the inaugural balls, on the day he becomes President, there will be a working session and he expects to be sent bills from the House that will:

Repeal Obama Care! (applause, hollers, whistles, and sign pumping)

Repeal Dodd-Frank! (applause, hollers, and sign pumping)

Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley! (applause, hollers, whistles)

I turned to a woman and acted dumb. “What’s that?” I asked, meaning SOX. “It’s got something to do with Medicare,” she said. Well, actually not. People are clapping and yelling to repeal something and they don’t know what it is they are repealing. That’s okay, it must be good. Newt says we should repeal it.

Callista clapped at everything Newt said. You can’t see it here, but the rock on her hand sparkled while she was clapping. Damn phone cameras aren’t worth much, they can’t even capture the flash of a multi-carat.

Other observations at the Newt Gingrich Rally.

Is this Michael Moore? What’s he doing here?

I don’t think this person is a Republican, do you?

This guy looks like his rug shrunk. Aren’t those square pieces supposed to go in front of the ears?

I think this is Barbara Bush, but I’m not sure.

Here’s a nice elephant hat, complete with American flag. And that’s Tiger’s ex-wife behind her there.

Does this man have pants on?

Is this Viggo Mortenson? If only I’d known he was going to be here, I’d have worn my I Love Viggo pin.

It’s Stephen Colbert! Are we going to be on the Report?

Alas, Newt did not take Florida. But I did get both his and Callista’s autograph on the back of my “DON’T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA!” fan.

Disclaimer: The people in these photos may or may not be who they are depicted to be by their labels, which may or may not be misleading, and should be left to the discretion of the viewer and/or reader to discern if they are or are not, who they are or are not.

Three Deceptive Food Labels That I Found in Ten Minutes

Without much difficulty, make that without any difficulty, you can find examples of stupid food labels that are nothing more than deceptive advertising, euphemisms designed to make you think you are eating better, healthier foods, when clearly you’re not.

I do not eat two of these foods but do fancy a nut or two once in a while. Sometimes questionable items end up in one’s pantry though and one has no memory of how they came to be there. When there are children around, unhealthy stuff has a way of sneaking in. One would think the way we protect our kids nowadays, we’d protect them from eating junk but, alas, I guess the protection stops at the nearest Burger King.

Triscuit Rosemary & Olive Oil Crackers – Kids would never eat these. This is grownup junk food. These crackers are so flavorful with artificial ingredients that they completely disguise the taste of the cheese, which is the only way crackers should be eaten anyway. Everyone thinks Triscuits are good for you, and contain fiber, which they do, but they also are loaded with fat, carbs and sodium. But the fun part is the claim on the front of the box: NATURAL FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVOR. What is the natural flavor and what is the “other” natural flavor? Sounds like a good letter to Nabisco, to ask that question.

Kirkland Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts – Nuts are good for you, a good source of protein, unless you have some digestional issues like diverticulitis. My question here is the application of the “extra fancy” description. Are nuts fancy? What exactly makes these nuts fancy? Is it their shape that makes them fancy? Their size? Their color? And once one has determined why these nuts are fancy, what exactly makes them “extra” fancy? This is a great puzzle to me.

Aunt Jemima Butter Rich Syrup – Note that the word “syrup” is in small letters and the “butter rich” is in big yellow letters. I would not eat this particular food but for those who would, there are a few issues here that need some discussion. This looks suspiciously like something that should not be consumed by anyone who is not a grizzly bear. It looks scary, even to the untrained eye, in its artificiality. But wait! Our fears are assuaged because in small letters it says “Natural Butter Flavor With Other Natural Flavors – Contains No Butter”. Yes, I know it’s hard to see that on the picture here, but it really says that. I am not making it up. This opens up a crapload of questions, so I needed to put them in a list.

  1. Are the letters yellow because that’s the color of butter?
  2. When people put syrup on pancakes, they usually also use butter, so is this extra butter?
  3. Should we not put real butter on our pancakes if we are using Aunt Jemima Butter Rich Syrup and would that be too much butter?
  4. What is Natural Butter Flavor?
  5. What are Other Natural Flavors?
  6. Is Natural Butter Flavor also an Other Natural Flavor?
  7. How can there be Natural Butter Flavor if there is No Butter?
  8. Do we really need butter in syrup anyway? Shouldn’t syrup just be, well, syrup?

These are three items I found with hardly any searching. There are others, probably even funnier than these. Yet it’s kind of sad to think consumers can be fooled by these kinds of phrases which are designed by experts in marketing and the English language (and probably psychology) to dupe the public.

Watch your labels, and better yet, try to buy things that don’t have labels. Things like fresh vegetables and fruit. And if they have labels, it’s a lot better if the ingredients are pronouncable. Stuff that ends in “acetate” or “oxide” or “phosphate” should probably be bypassed. Other questionable ingredients contain the word “gum” and anytime you see “natural flavorings” be concerned, be very concerned.

So, how about commenting about your favorite misleading food label? I’d like to hear about it.


Toys Then and Now

Much as I’m sure I probably shouldn’t rant and complain at this time of year, I guess it’s what I’m doing, as this is the time when us helpless grandparents are out Christmas shopping for toys. I think about the subject all through the year too, and decided it’s as good a time of the year as any to rant, and complain, and be generally disrespectful to major toy chains and the marketing of junk to small children.

At Christmas, if one doesn’t do a good enough job ordering online, one might be forced to venture into the dreaded [insert name of huge megopoly toystore here] in order to pick something out. Oh, how hard can it be, I ask myself. I can get puzzles, or coloring books, or story books, or whatever.

No. Not really. These items are located in Aisle 37, just before you get to the restrooms, and it appears as if no one is looking after this particular area. The merchandise is scattered and disheveled and misplaced.

Once inside the place, the agoraphobic comes out in me, and I want to go home and sit in a chair and pull a blanket up around me and think how glad I am to be where I am and not at [insert name of huge.. okay, it’s Toys R Us, but you already knew that]. You enter the fluorescent-lit cavern, accosted by screaming children, excited children, running children, in the company of frazzled parents.

I always stand for a moment, get my bearings, before actually getting up the nerve to move past the shopping carts (super-sized for your convenience). My husband and I kind of look at each other and I expect him to lead the way, and he is clearly expecting me to. A few blank stares, a shrug or two of the shoulders, and we start wandering aimlessly, and I mean that literally, aimlessly.

Legos. We need Legos. Do we find them in the Age 5 – 8 aisle? My husband always asks, I never do. We’re the opposite of the norm, where men don’t ask for directions. He wants to get it over with as much as I do, so he asks, and we are directed to the Lego Aisle. Yes, there is an aisle just for Legos.  A set of Legos only makes one thing. That’s so you build it once, get bored with it, and buy another one. I don’t think buying a set of generic Legos – that you could build and tear down and build up again – is really encouraged. That would mean the Lego company made less money. Less Profits = Not Good. Maybe it’s possible to get a set of basic Legos, but I didn’t see them at Toys R Us.

Back then, in the fifties, there were no Legos, but I had a set of bricks, made out of some kind of clay-like substance. They hadn’t (and I’m not making this up) really invented plastic yet, or at least it hadn’t yet been used for toys. The bricks were about the size of a domino, and there were half-bricks too, so you could build window and door frames and angle up the sides so the cardboard roof would fit over. The doors and windows were cardboard too, painted on pictures of doors and windows. I loved those bricks, and then wonder of wonders, the plastic kind came out and they were the same size but they had (get ready) white plastic doors and windows that actually moved! You could swing them open! How cool was that?

Here is the picture of the 1950s version of legos:

Remeber Lincoln Logs?

And Jacks?

And of course the favorite Viewmaster:

And finally, the popular Slinky:

Today, there are huge, elaborate swing sets, with built-in clubhouses. There are bars to climb, and a couple of slides, and different kinds of swings, and some black rubbery stuff has to be put down all around the thing so that no one gets hurt. It’s probably a law, I’m not sure about that.

Back then, my father hung a swing from the old Umbrella Tree (I was never sure of the correct name for that tree, but it was shaped like an umbrella and if you pumped high enough your feet might touch the leaves.) And we had clubhouses too, where we took our comics and our dolls and other stuff, and there was a secret password you had to know to get in. The clubhouse was usually nothing more than a few boards and whatever material could be scrounged, which was the fun of it. We did it ourselves.

Today, backyard children’s swimming pools are ten feet high, and need a special pump to blow them up, and there’s water slides and they’re shaped like castles or pirate ships, in garish colors, and they’re so… well, plastic.

Back then, when it was hot, if we were lucky our Moms would fill up the old washtub and we could sit in it and play with water.

We didn’t have that much to play with. We made do. We played tag outside, we raked big piles of leaves and jumped in, we played hide-n-seek, we built tents by throwing blankets over card tables. I had a playroom that was nothing more than a closet under the stairs. It was fine by the door but you couldn’t do too much in a room that’s a foot high, as it was at the other end. Some kids didn’t even have that, I was one of the lucky ones.

I remember all of this fondly, of course.

What will happen to all the plastic we cast aside today? Plastic toys are never recycled, plastic swimming pools spring leaks, and we don’t fix them. Just throw them away. Get something bigger, better, more plastic, more fun.

We baby boomers think we were more resourceful than children today. Today’s kids are scheduled up with baseball games, and soccer games, and gymnastics, and swimming lessons, and ballet, and music lessons and have the technology that makes it possible for them to not have to think up ways to have fun. It’s kind of sad.

But I don’t think today’s children think they’re missing anything. It’s all they know, as it was for us; we, who couldn’t imagine what it was like to grow up in the depression.

I wonder where it will take us. To a new level of plastic and technology? Or maybe back to basics.

Shopping Trends – Changes in 50+ Years

A few scant decades ago, shopping was different than it is now. Back then we had semi-weekly visits from The Bread Man and The Milk Man. They brought us various consumables, produced locally but without storefronts to sell them.

We’d leave a note saying how many bottles of milk we wanted. I think that was all that was delivered. Milk. Whole milk with the cream in it, which rose to the top and got scooped off to use for coffee. There was no such thing as Half ‘n Half.

The Bread Man left mushy white bread which wasn’t too much different from the stuff they sell today. Sometimes we’d get sweet rolls, which were a special treat reserved for weekends.

We shopped at Pat Kayes Grocery, which was a small establishment on West State Street. There was a butcher shop in back and a few shelves of staples. Everyone knew your name when you went in, since there were lots of small grocery stores in the area and everyone had a favorite that they patronized.

Typical grocery stores in the ’50’s (Market Basket and A&P but, alas, no picture of Pat Kayes Grocery).

Here is what was known as a “Super” market in the 1950’s.

There were no coupons then, so customers were loyal and we went to Kayes for years, until The Big Grocery Store moved in. These were wonderful to us, with aisle after aisle of boxes and cans, and produce and meats, and freezers full of things we’d never seen. And big round automatic revolving conveyor belts that you put the items on. A cashier picked up each item and tap tapped in the price and put it on another belt to be moved to a guy who put the things in brown paper bags. Wow, that was progress.

Pat Kayes Grocery suffered for that and disappeared after trying to compete with The Big Grocery Store.

We visited The Cake Shop weekly too, and it lasted a bit longer than the Mom and Pop grocery stores. Baked goods of all kinds, cookies, cakes, pies, éclairs, lady fingers and coffee cake rings. Over the years we tried everything and loved it all. They used to give kids a chocolate chip cookie when their mothers made a purchase.

When you needed prescription drugs you went to a drugstore. Not a grocery store or any other kind of store. There was a pharmacy at the back, and revolving racks of drug store items in the middle, racks of magazines and newspapers in the front and along the side, a long counter where we bought flavored cokes (vanilla, cherry, chocolate) and root beer floats.

There was even a separate store for bras, girdles, and corsets. It was called Woodward Corset Shop and I went in there with my mother and grandmother sometimes when they bought those strange undergarments. I used to look up at the dummies wearing their brassieres (which were really big in those days) and girdles and none of them had any heads. They sat on poles or shelves. I figured they had no heads because if they did, they’d be embarrassed at being seen in their underwear.

Here’s Woodward’s to the right of the movie theater:

Shopping was a big deal back then. We got dressed up. We went from store to store, saw people we knew. It was social. The stores were open at 10:00 AM and closed at 9:00 PM. Closed on Sundays.

Through the sixties and seventies we saw larger department stores emerge, and the specialized dress shops and bra shops and hat shops disappeared. The Cake Shop went under, and of course Woodward Corset Shop did too. It was the age of The Big Department Store, and they sold a lot of good stuff and they had window displays and sometimes they had escalators! We no longer knew the people who waited on us, and it wasn’t quite as social any longer. We only talked to the people we were with.

This was our largest department store back then, Bradner’s.

In the eighties and nineties we saw the rise of K-Mart, and Wal-Mart and Target. Now The Big Department Stores are in trouble too, because many people would rather buy everything in one place. We never saw the same person twice at the checkout, and it was a rarity to run into anyone we knew.

Today, we still have department stores in malls but a lot of them have tanked. There are a few smaller places, like J Crew, Banana Republic, Abercrombie & Fitch, but these all have the same merchandise, and it comes from China, or Taiwan, or Burma, or Bangladesh, or, well, you get the picture.

And we no longer dress up. Now we don’t care what we look like when we go out to a public place. Take a look at the website, which is devoted to pictures of people seen in Wal-Marts across the country.

I don’t personally see them, because it would take a natural disaster where Wal-Mart was the only store left standing for me to venture into one. But I trust that if you wanted to waste a lot of time in any Wal-Mart in any city, you could find pretty much the same sightings.

This is a sampling of shoppers at Wal-Mart.

You must have just come from the doctor’s office, right? I think you forgot something.

Whatever it was you were trying on in the dressing room with that saggy black halter top, well, you left it behind.

I know I like it when my outfit matches. I think the pink boots are a nice touch! No really. Everything about this offends me, right down to the blotchy hip tatt.

Sometimes, I’d like shopping to go back to the way it was back then, something to be anticipated. Now it’s just another thing to get done.

Gotta go to Wal-Mart. I need cheap work shoes, and a few Big Johnson tee shirts, and the latest romance novel, and Cheez Whiz is two for the price of one, and I could use some ammo.

Secret to a Happy Marriage in the 50’s – The Mixmaster

All you needed in the fifties was The Mixmaster and all your marital problems go by the wayside. So it would seem. She lived happily ever after, because she had The Sunbeam Mixmaster. If only I’d known that!

I’ve been dwelling on Blog Stats this week. I’ve also looked at the “Freshly Pressed” blogs, which are picked by WordPress to appear on their home page. Once your blog is selected, it will receive greater amounts of traffic by virtue of it being there. To have this great honor bestowed upon my blog would be a gift from the BlogGod.

This week, one of the Freshly Pressed blogs was Life in the Boomer Lane, A Guide to Life After 50. It’s a very funny blog. Click here to view.

It listed the recommendations in the following categories from AARP and then added more:

  • What Not to Wear
  • Things Never to Do
  • Words to Ax
  • What to Do at Least Once

It is very funny, and very true. But it started me thinking about my Boomer life and, I think I might have been unloading the dishwasher when it occurred to me how very different kitchens are today, than they were in, say, 1956 when I was, well younger.

We had a typical kitchen back then, broken up by four doors and two windows.

The first wall had the two windows and there was a sink between them, one of those white things that hung on the wall with the plumbing showing underneath. The sink part always had one of those three-cornered garbage collector things sitting in the corner, and there was a drainboard next to it.

The second wall was without either doors or windows and along that wall were floor to ceiling cupboards.

The third wall was for the refrigerator. I guess back then, it was better than an “icebox” where you had to buy ice, but not much. Remember those tiny little freezers and how they got all coated up with that hard white ice stuff and you have to “defrost” it every week? And that always had to be scheduled before you went shopping for groceries.

And the fourth wall was for the stove, one of those monstrosities with the double ovens and that was all that fit on that wall.

Forget your stone countertops. As I remember it, there was only the Formica kitchen table to use as a work area.

And also forget small appliances. There was a toaster, a pancake griddle and The Sunbeam Mixmaster! Here it is, in all its high tech splendor.

And here it is again, but wait! How’d she get those cool green bowls? Our bowls were white. Everything was white in those days.

I loved the Mixmaster. Many cakes were beat up in that thing, and frosting, and cookie dough, with beaters to fight over to lick. That was the good part of food in the 1950’s. The desserts were great.

But the rest of the food wasn’t. An example of what wasn’t so great back then:

  • Pear salad – This was a summer substitute for a vegetable. It consisted of one half canned pear, sitting on one piece of iceberg lettuce, topped with a maraschino cherry. (Do you really want to think about maraschino cherries and how they get to be that color? I didn’t think so.)
  • Lime jello with shredded carrots – Whoever thought up this combination? Does anyone even eat jello anymore? Although you never really “ate” it, it was more like you sucked it into your esophagus. Sometimes it would have pineapple added. That was good. Sometimes it would have walnuts added. That was bad. Something about that crunch and slippery jello didn’t sit right with me. Sometimes it would have a dollop of mayonnaise on it. Blechh. And, we were one of those “Miracle Whip” families. That stuff is just gross.
  • Fruit cocktail – In a pinch, instead of the above two delicacies, this canned concoction was substituted. Do they still sell this? The stuff where every single fruit looks and tastes the same?
  • Sweet potatoes with marshmallows – This was a special treat, at Thanksgiving usually. Some sort of candied mushed up sweet potatoes, whipped up (in The Mixmaster) with butter and brown sugar and topped with those smaller sized marshmallows, the kind that got stale after twenty minutes. And sometimes, it would appear with those colored minis. What fun! Pink and blue and yellow things on top! But the color combination, the pastel with earthy orangey, was visually upsetting.
  • Chipped beef on toast – This is an abomination. A terrible thing to do to children. This is what you got when your parents were going out to dinner but still had to feed you.
  • Creamed chicken on biscuits – This was where a few cans of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup mixed with milk are placed in the big yellow bowl (remember those nesting bowls, the largest was yellow, then green, then red, then blue but the last two might have been reversed). The biscuits were placed on top of the soup and baked in the oven. The biscuits were always soggy, because they sat in that soup too long.
  • Goulash – This was a combination of four things, hamburger, ½ teaspoon diced onions cut up until they liquefied, tomato sauce, elbow macaroni. There might have been a little salt and pepper in there too. Baked in the big yellow bowl.
  • Chef Boyardee Pizza – This was a pizza “kit”. It consisted of some flour stuff that was mixed with water and formed dough, which you pressed onto a cookie sheet. Pour the Chef’s pizza sauce on and top with the Chef’s parmesan cheese. Talk about a boring pizza. But back then it was delicious. We weren’t creative enough to imagine anything else on it.

There’s more, but these stand out in my memory. Got any cool fifties recipes to share?

Treadmill 101

I’ve started a cardio fitness program and have been using the treadmill nearly every day. I do this for 40 minutes, the first 5 is a warm up, 30 at top speed, and the last 5 a cool down. Treadmilling has never been my favorite activity but recently it has become a lot more enjoyable and I thought I’d share my thoughts. So today is one of those “and a little more” days, because this post has little to do with writing, except maybe practice in writing a hopefully educational post.

Never mind what I looked like before. This is what I look like now.

Isn’t that great? So short a time and what an improvement!

Don’t believe that? Well, okay.

The success one has at a treadmill cardio program is directly proportional to the quality of his or her diversion. Anyone who thinks they will keep up with it without benefit of 1) nice scenery, 2) television, or 3) music, is bound for failure. Two of these diversions are nice to have, although one will usually be enough and 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive. I do not have the benefit of nice scenery, and television doesn’t do it for me, so I am a #3 person.

As such, I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting my iPod Treadmill Playlist and I thought I’d share it. Keep in mind, this is a beginner regimen, so my MPH might not be as fast as a more experienced exerciser. I start my warm up at 2.0 MPH and increase it on the whole minute up to 3.2 MPH at the 5 minute mark. That’s 2.0, 2,2, 2.5, 2.8, 3.0 and 3.2 MPH. I have a playlist that is approximately 42 minutes in length and it will be good for 3.2 – 3.5 MPH at least. After that, I may need to make adjustments.

I have found the group ZZ Top to be the best, for general, medium stride beat-thomping music. Consistently excellent for walking in time. Every second song on my playlist is a ZZ Top song. Here is the playlist, in order, with comments.

1. Proud Mary (CCR) – This plays during the beginning of the warm up. It isn’t noteworthy for it’s ability to get the walker pumped up, but good to get going. A pleasant diversion to the start of what seems an insurmountable 40 minutes.

2. Gimme All Your Lovin’ (ZZ Top) – Now the warm up is about half way through, the MPH increased enough to walk exactly in time with this very upbeat piece. By the end of the song, I’m at maximum speed, and still I can walk in time with the beat.

3. Old Time Rock & Roll (Ron Dante) – Now we’re at about six minutes and this song is a medley of Old Time Rock & Roll and Mony, Mony. The first part is fast, I have to really speed up, take small steps, I’m almost at a half jog here. Mony slows it down just enough that I’m back to a fast walk. This one makes me want to almost march, it’s very uplifting.

4. Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top) – A great song. I wish I could more adequately describe music here, but the pulsating beat in this is enough to keep anyone going. And the funny lyrics, “every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man”. This song is over before I know it, and by now I realize I’m not keeping an eye on the timer every 20 seconds, I’m just enjoying ZZ Top and how my walking is exactly timed with the music. (“Yeah, Baby!”)

5. Crumblin’ Down (John Mellencamp) – Another #1 excellent treadmill song. Long stride, I’m walking along (going nowhere) arms swinging, having fun. And the walls come tumblin’ down! Great, great song.

6. Doubleback (ZZ Top) – This one is not my favorite ZZ Top song but the worst song in this list is still great. After #5, I’m ready to just stride out for awhile, take it easy before the next onslaught. This one allows me to do that.

7. King’s Highway (Tom Petty) – This speeds me up. I’m almost running again, because my steps have become so short in order to keep up with it. I can feel it in the back of my thighs and my butt.

8. Give It Up (ZZ Top) – This one has a great beginning. After #7, again, I’m glad to lengthen my stride and chill to this (yet again) excellent rock and roll song. The beat pulsates, I’m getting heated up, I’m loving it.

9. She’s Not There (The Zombies) – This is a really old sixties song. It doesn’t start out too well, so I stumble trying to find the rhythm for a bit, then on the chorus it speeds up and I find it and it’s great. Repeats three times. Slower, faster, fast. It’s a good addition to the playlist.

10. Gun Love (ZZ Top) – Starts out pretty well, same beat that allows me not to think too much about adjusting my steps. I love the lyrics of this one, “Playin’ Russian roulette but she’ll load all six”.

11. Makin’ Some Noise (Tom Petty) – This may be the weakest link in the playlist. It’s too fast for this portion of the workout, because now it’s cool down time. I usually just give up here and listen. This one might be replaced at a future date.

12. La Grange (ZZ Top) – This is good cool down tune. Funny lyrics, “They’ve got a lot of nice girlsa”. But usually the 40 minutes is up before this one finishes anyway.

The warm up and top speed songs are the most important to my workout. By the time 35 minutes have gone by, I could listen to anything.

So, if anyone actually gets much out of this post, please let me know. And also, if anyone has any good selections that I could try, I’d be interested to hear about them. Maybe there’s some even better than what I’ve listed here.