Tuesday, January 31, 2006

One Last Basic, before the questions start.

One last basic thing to always remember. Nobody deserves anythng. What you get you get, bad or good, and if you think it's either punishment or reward, forget it. That's the thing about the rules, you can follow them or break them, it might be a good or bad thing, who can say, not me. I'm not even trying. I'm just laying things out for you so you won't be completely surprised.

Monday, January 30, 2006

FBI- Family Brass Indicator

It is always good to be realistic. The Madrone’s FBI (Family Brass Indicator)
helps in this regard.
First determine numbers: Only include those relatives who would take one on the jaw for you.
For each qualified relative figure
How strong are they –
How many pounds of lasagna each can eat at one sitting?
How fast are they?
Assuming no traffic, how many exits of the LIE or some equivalent expressway can they cover in twenty minutes?
IF there is traffic, how willing are they to drive on the shoulder and cut in when it runs out?
How mentally tough are they?
When they curl their nose, how far do people back off?
How fiercely will they fight?
Like Al Pacino in Scarface?
Like Ray Liotta in Wiseguys?
Like Robert DeNiro in Meet the Parents?

This will give you some idea of how much back up you can count on.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Take the heat up front

Let's say for example that your mother-in-law is a nudge, always with the remarks and the rolling of the eyes. Now, there's nothin you can say to her directly,that only makes it worse. If you've ever tried it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't please don't, save yourself the trouble. By the rules, however, you may talk to your husband about it,assuming you and he have really made a new family together in which case he cannot fault you. Of course there are ways to put it, some better than others. I don't recommend you saying Yknow something your mother is the burr on my ass. THis will not go over well. It won't kill you to use a little class. Anyhow, you know he's going to be aggravated, he worships his mother, as he should, but still, he's got to step in if you ask. If you decide not to speak to him, and keep it bottled up, because you don't want to rock the boat, the boat will rock none the less from your shaking with repressed agita every time she gets on your nerves, and you either get an ulcer, or throw a plate at her head. Then you will be the bad guy.

PS- If you speak to him with respect, and he tells you, that's my mother, watch it, you have a bigger problem, which may be what she's trying to tell you, in her own way. But in that case, better to know where you stand, sooner rather than later.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Favor Bank

Too many people out there do not understand the favor bank. So they either ask things they shouldn't...for example like when the neighbor asks you to take in the mail for the tenth time this year, and you haven't been away once, so you never asked back, and they don't bring you some fruit or a bottle of B and B to thank, so after the eleventh time you don't have the gracious heart, and you either have to tell them to get lost or be a doormat. Not good. OR- People don't ask when they have a perfect right to, like time after time you drop your cousin off at the train station each morning and you don't mind, because it's on your way, even if he doesn't pay gas, but then your
computer crashes, and you don't ask him to help you even though the job you are dropping him off to is with Circuit City where he works with people who have crashing computers because you don't want to impose. That is an error. Ask, it will even things out in a good way.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Let me tell you a little something about money

It's never just about money, trust me.

Money stands in for things like muscle, respect, independence, love and revenge, sometimes all at once. It's nothing by itself. The sooner you learn this, the better off you're gonna be. Let's say you are a poor shmoe without, excuse my French, a pot to piss in which translates to a rustbucket for a car and clothes from St. Vincent de Paul. Therefore, no girls will give you the time of day. Or so you think. But then one day, your number comes up and you hit the lotto. Made in the shade? I think not. You'll have just as hard a time finding one who loves you even if you weren't rich, as you did finding one who would have loved you when you were poor. And it will be worse, because when you were broke, you could count somewhat on the sincerity of the person in question because what was in it for them?? It happened just that way to my sister's nephew Al, who won the tri state powerball, married an extremely well put together blonde who he met on the round the world cruise he took to celebrate and ended up six feet under three months after they tied the knot, under mysterious but
not indictable circumstances.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Why we have families.

Every once in a while, some smart alec asks me this question...why do we have families, madrone? Don't they cause more trouble than they're worth?. This is crazy talk. Why do we have to breath oxygen? and why does sauce taste better when it's simmered for eight hours, and the onion is merely browned and then taken out, not chopped and left in as soggy little pieces? There are some things that are not worth even thinking about because they just are. Oh you can come up with what ifs and theories, and set up all the experimental lifestyle communes with swingers and anything goes that you want to but in the end, it always comes back to a family. Always. And by a family, I mean a group of people who lives by the rules I am telling you about. That's how it is.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Another thing to consider

If you could talk people out of being crazy, the looney bins would be empty.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Waste of Time Hall Of Fame

The following are not worth one second of ANYONE's precious minutes on this earth:

Guilt- Wallowing in it, either as a giver or a getter is pointless. Even dipping your pinky toe is worth niente, nada, zip, jack, bupkis... however you want to say it. Same difference.

Regret- Useless, learn and move on

Whining- Goes along with regret, no one want to hear it.

Pity- Insulting all around

Nagging- You can't care more than they do, believe me, it never works. Unless you do it because you love the sound of your own voice, in which case it's a sport, and I know some Olympians.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Gracious Heart

If you can't do something with a gracious heart, then don't. Better to take the heat up front because if you don't it comes around to bite you guarantee. This is always the case.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Something to consider:

Power should only be exercised in the interest of justice and safety.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Human History, what else about it?

Dear Readers,
You might be wondering what's up with human history these days, and what can I say, it's doing what it always does. All the families are figuring out how to get what's theirs, and then some.
Or they ought to be. It's a real shame when that doesn't happen. Now notice I said get what's theirs, not steal it.

Anyhow, you can trace any current fuss you want back to that. It's all about the big pie and who gets what size slice. All these new types of families popping up everywhere, the only real reason to fuss is that the slice gets smaller everytime you say another whole category of families has rights to a share.

But Madrone, I can see you thinking it, even if you don't say anything. What about Mother Teresa and Gandhi, and people like that?? They don't even have families, do they?? And I say, yeah they do..And you say how so?? And I say, they defined their family as everyone in the frigging world. That's what's called a saint. Look it up.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I Now Explain Human History

Friends, as I have said, there is a great deal of confusion out there, and it's too much for me to sit here and listen to it, when I can set you straight. So, here is all you need to know about human history.

There was the first cavewoman, because believe me, it was a woman, who put two and two together, or rather one and one together and figured out what was causing all the babies. That started the first families.

They caught on early that the strongest families got the most stuff, so families started trying to outmuscle each other. That went on for a long time, ended up with REALLY heavyweight families, the biggest shots were the kings and the emperors. Then there was a pecking order, down to the poor slobs who did all the dirty work, serfs and slaves, who weren't barely allowed to have any real families of their own, which was very savvy on the part of the big shots.

But the rulers got greedy, and savvy went by the wayside. They wanted more and more stuff and they got so much of it, they couldn't just go and knock the block off some joker who tried to take it away. And they still wanted more. SO they let some of the slobs become merchants, and have families of their own. That was an error, because those families, one by one, weren't all that much, but they started banding together. Not because they loved each other, but they caught on that if enough of them co-operated, then the kings were in the soup and the soup was tasty and the pot was big, and lots of families could have a spoon, even if it was tiny.

That's how we ended up with democracy. Which is basically all the little families saying to each other- look, we'll agree on some rules, my kids can get stuff, your kids can get stuff, and some kids will have more than others, but nobody's kid can get all the stuff, and everyone's kid has a fair shot at some of it.

But Madrone, you say, what about communism and socialism? If anyone had explained the rules of family to Karl Marx, he would have realized he was barking up the wrong tree. Communism is nuts- who is going to work and work and work, and not make their family better off?? Never happen. Socialism has a better shot, but it depends on the generosity of the better off families, who will only be generous as long as they're pretty sure their own kids will come out on top, no matter what.

Soon I will set you straight as to what human history is up to these days.

Friday, January 13, 2006

What I can do for you.

Sometimes people say to me Madrone, what do you offer that I can't get, say from my best friend, or even my worst enemy? Who died and left you boss? This is a good question, if by good you mean idiotic and question you mean insult. But I am a going to show you how much I love you and explain myself...this once.

The giving and getting of advice is either very simple or very complicated, depending. For example, you ask your best friend Santina whether the $400 number you want to wear to your cousin Magnolia's second wedding is the the right color. She can say yes or no. End of story, but not really. Because Magnolia is getting married to someone she must have had hiding under the bed, since the daisies have hardly had time to droop on the grave of her first husband. Now hubby number one was no prize, everyone knows this, but a reception for 300 at the Huntington Swan Club complete with open bar, cocktail hour and Venetian table is not generally part of the required year of mourning. So you might just want to know if the color is right, but only if you have the imagination of a stick, which does happen, but most likely you are also asking if you should attend at all, and if you do, how large should the envelope be. She however can say nothing except, you look fabulous, not everyone can carry off eggplant chiffon.

When Santina goes home, she will get on the phone with her sister Roselle, and tell Roselle that the dress, as great as the color is, makes you look like an elephant, and that Magnolia is in for it, as hubby number two is way too young and the inheritance from hubby number one is far too large to mean anything but trouble. But you'll never hear it , because Santina is not your blood relative and Magnolia is. Which is to say you would be aggravated the minute she starts telling you how to think about your own family

Here's what I can do for you...I will tell you what other people would tell you if they could, but they can't. What you do with it is your business.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Some basics

Friends, here are some basics, to save you the trouble of having to ask me.

  1. Never get in between someone and their mother. If you just followed only this rule you’d be better off then 90% of the mamalukes out there who have no sense.
  2. Never refuse family a favor.
  3. Never ask family for something you know they can’t give.
  4. Never believe it’s just about the money.
  5. Never pretend it’s nice when it’s not.
  6. Never expect thanks when you kick someone in the teeth
  7. Never mix up the people who have what you want with the people who want what you have.
  8. Never fight a battle you know you can’t win, except if your honor is involved, then always fight it.

There is more, but these are the main ones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What is family?

I get tired of repeating myself, no one listens, but it can’t be helped. Madrone, you keep asking me , what do you mean by family? My neighbor’s cousin Dolly adopted a boy from one of those countries where terrible things happen…is that family? Or Sylvana treats her husband’s aunt like it was her mother... is that right? Well, first let me say for ME, family is blood. What can I say, in the village where my people came from, a stranger was someone you didn’t have blood ties with, and we didn’t marry strangers. Most people have eight great grandparents, I only have four. It’s true, my hand to god.

All I can tell you who is MY family and don’t try to tell me otherwise. Which is what I’m saying…no one can tell somebody else who is or isn’t their family. Oh you can try, but it doesn’t matter. It’s beyond both your understanding and your power to change. But once it’s decided, the rules are the rules. End of story. . So now where were we?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Why do I bother?

Lately, all of this talk about values and family, drives me up the wall. And it causes no end of trouble, because it gets everyone confused about what's what. And I know what's what. Listen, don't get me wrong, I won't be mad if you don't go along with what I tell you, what do I care? But I'm right, you know it in your heart. And I don't tell people what to do, what do I look like, a nut job? No, I just tell them how it is. IF they ask. And they always do. It's my way of helping out.

Monday, January 09, 2006



It’s January. Hop in de ass, as my grandfather, may he rest, used to say after a glass of two of home made muscatel. Time to remind you of the resolutions you should be keeping although you won’t, why should this year be any different?

1. Take stock of who has what you want, and how badly you want it. Kiss up accordingly.

2. Figure out who wants what you have. Decide whether or not you want to give it to them and what they have to do to get it.

Lots of times the same person ends up on list 1 AND 2. Then it depends which list they are higher on.

3. To hell with diets. Especially one that doesn’t know the difference between good bread and the crapola that most places pass off as the staff of frigging life. Please.

4. Don’t let me stop you from exercising, but don’t come crying to me when you find out you’ve jammed up your knee or given yourself a hernia.

5. Family first. Now this isn’t always possible, there are a lot of real crumbums out there and they have to be related to someone. In that case, you might be better off taking whatever heat comes from putting them second.

6. Screw guilt, and regret, too while you’re at it. In my book they are just barely above pity in the Waste of Time Hall of Fame. So you made a mistake, ok, you meant to do it, whatever, take your lumps, learn and move on. For the love of Pete spare everyone your whining about rigged juries or narcoleptic attorneys. No one wants to hear it.

God bless, Donna