The Generic Linguistic Placeholder

 BKELEC“WIDGET” is my favorite term to call an object when I don’t know its proper name. I first heard it used at least ten years ago, and was charmed by it immediately, but it is much older than that.  Its first use in print is said to be as a “hypothetical product” of a factory in a 1924 play. I suspect that’s how the now legitimate generic name for a small, functional application on a webpage was born: some web designer did not know what else to call a small functional application, so s/he called it a “widget.” And it stuck. Now everyone with a webpage, blog, or smartphone knows what a widget is.

This is not true of the perhaps dozens of other habitual terms that we substitute for the correct one because we can’t think of what it is called, or never knew in the first place. The most popular slang term now used among younger people is “thingie.” Before that one came along, what you used as a placeholder depended on what your friends were saying, or what you grew up hearing in whatever part of the country you lived.

I’m going to list every generic placeholder that I have ever heard used in place of the correct name for an object  (or person.) I invite you to add one or more that are new to me, in your  comments.


I really thought I knew more, but I can’t remember DIDDLYSQUAT anymore! What’s in  your vocabulary?–Kaye/Sis G


“2016 Obama’s America”–a mini-rant


And now, appropriate or not, I feel a moral responsibility to present a mini-rant here–not about my church, or about religion in general, but about something that is hugely important. I may not persuade anyone who reads this blog, but I need to share what I believe. This is my opinion, and I am responsible for it.

Have you seen the movie “2016 Obama’s America”? I saw it with 4 friends on Friday. You need to go see it.

Does Pres. Obama not see that America really is the “Shining City on a Hill,” where even the poorest citizen lives in a higher standard than most people in the Third World countries? America was not taken over by exploiters, whose purpose was to use its resources for their own gain. Once our founders declared Independence, we were here to build a country such as had never existed before on earth, where its people had as much freedom as possible, and were governed by its own representatives. It has been a country that developed the greatest economy in the world by a system of free enterprise, where anyone with a good idea could invent something, provide a service, find a better way to power our industries and transport our goods, or communicate information, and can not only prosper himself and his employees, but improve the standard of living of the entire country–or the world.

We built a country from the bottom up, admittedly at the expense of the native people who were already here, and in our early years, by using slaves. But since 1865, we have done all in our power to enable these people to have the same opportunities as anyone else to become the best individuals that they are capable of being, if they are willing to work for it.

The first Americans may have come here as colonists from England, France, and Spain, to develop the natural resources of the land for the benefit of those empires, but once we became the Republic of the United States of America, we were building a home for our descendants and all who wanted to come here to make a new start. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama does not see the difference. In fact, he appears to hate America and wants to bring it down to the level of the “Third World.” I guess he believes that if no one has more than the rest of the world, there will be peace, and no one will be able to take over another.

Nothing could be farther from the truth! Why should we feel guilty for our success? Why would anyone want to regress to a common level with the rest of the world, seeing the conditions in which most of it lives, and has been unable and unwilling to drag itself up from? Have all our dreams and struggles been for nothing? Will we tear down the Shining City on a Hill?



Ah, Spring! The bees are buzzing, flowers are blooming, and the birds…are doing what birds DO-DO!! All over my car! I can’t park my car in a garage, so  it sits in my driveway, near a tall tree. Now, I love birds–I have about 500 of them that visit my two feeders in the back yard. Most of them are sparrows that can perch on the feeders, but the heavier birds–small and large doves, blackbirds, jays, and long-tailed grackles–eat what spills on the ground.

Now, I expect a little do-do to drop here and there, even on my car, unfortunately. But recently I began to see copious droppings every day on the driver’s side door, beside and under the sideview mirror. It got to the point where I had to carry a wet paper towel out to the car every time I wanted to drive somewhere. And one day I caught the culprit in the act, just before the big black yellow-eyed b*st*rd flew away!

What on earth was I going to do to shoo him away? Well, I thought of hanging a kind of shiny scarecrow made of aluminum foil on the mirror, and had actually made one, which worked for one day. But that evening I was talking to a friend on the phone and mentioned the mirror problem. “Put a sock on it!” he said.

He told me that he had had the same problem with birds sitting on the side mirrors of his car while it was parked in an open carport. He finally figured out that the birds could see their reflections in the mirrors, and would fight with them as rivals! In the process, a great deal of excrement would be squirted on to the car door! It became a really annoying problem, before he thought of covering the mirrors with sox, so that the birds could not see themselves. It worked!

Well, next morning I stretched a white cotton sock over that side mirror, and there has been no more bird poop on my car door ever since! It’s easy to pull the sock off when I need to use the car, and put it back on when I get home.

White cotton sock over mirror
It works!

The big black bird now sits on the mirror of  my neighbor’s car. (And yes, of course I’ll share my solution with him if I see him having to deal with the problem.) 😉

Wrap Your TV Remote

My small TV remote control used to slide off my lap when I stood up, or was knocked off the chair arm regularly onto the hard floor, where it almost always came apart. It didn’t damage any of the parts, but having to reassemble it  became so annoying that I tried to think of a way I could keep the device from coming apart, yet still not interfere with the infrared beam or my ability to press the keypad easily. I also didn’t want to make it sticky.

The first thing I tried was a Peds(TM) nylon sock liner–the kind that only covers the toes and heel. That worked all right, but partially blocked the keys. Finally a bright idea hit me! I wrapped the entire remote in a piece of thin, stretchable plastic wrap! This not only keeps the device together if it falls on the floor, but keeps it clean and dry!

tv remote ctrl

Wrap it up!
When you do need to change the batteries, the wrap can be removed easily and a new covering applied–cheaply and easily!

Tort Reform Already a Fact (in Texas and Mississippi)

While politicians rant about the need for tort reform in our efforts to fix the current American healthcare system, the states of Texas and Mississippi have already enacted legislation, with the results that doctors are being attracted by the thousands to practice there.

An editorial appeared today in Investor’s Business Daily, revealing the little-known facts of how the situation has been improving in these two states. Read the article “Tort Reformed” here:

Investor’s Business Daily editorials can now be found as part of “”. The site also publishes excellent daily political cartoons by  prize-winning cartoonist Michael Ramirez.

Although IBD is predominantly a conservative publication, it includes every day at least one editorial by a writer identified as being “On the Left,” to present an alternative view.