Tag Archives: Today Show

What’s your sign?

This is the dawning of the Age of Ophiuchus.

Facebook was ablaze yesterday with people renouncing their newly assigned astrological signs. I suppose people have become so comfortable with the signs they’ve had since birth–or since the 1960s, when we first knew we had signs.

Capricorns who woke up Sagittarii and Tauruses whose bull horns are now rams horns felt their identities had been stolen. Even the Today show’s Ann Curry yesterday feared that, now that she’s no longer a Scorpio, she’ll no longer be good in bed. Just think how many of our friends we’re offending, though, when we shun our new zodiac designations. The moment I read that someone didn’t want to be a Sagittarius, my hackles went up.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, it seems the Earth has tilted and, hence, requires our 12 astrological signs to be compressed to make room for a 13th.

If this is true, then I am now an Ophiuchus, the serpent holder.

When I learned this, I immediately set out to learn the traits of my new sign, pronounced “oh-FIE-uh-cuss.” For decades, I have felt so aligned with the distinctive Sagittarian traits, candor and philosophical adaptability.

I haven’t come upon much information about my new sign except that, anecdotally at least, Ophiuchus is a healer, a doctor and a scientist. He is “intellectual and enlightened — achieving high success and authority in life.” This descriptor was followed by, “If you are a woman…well…you are just badass.”

Elsewhere I read that we have lofty ideals, are seekers of peace and harmony and like to wear plaid. Alrighty then.

It all boils down to this: I went to bed a candid, yet open-minded archer and woke up a lofty, plaid-wearing badass. This might take some getting used to. Then again, some might say the new persona isn’t that far off base.

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Like the corners of my mind

Actress Marilu Henner has been getting a lot of air time lately for a rare skill—some are calling it a diagnosis—known as Superior Autobiographical Memory. Henner is one of only six people in the world who are confirmed to have this gift.

She has talked about her gift for years and has recently written a book about it. The book is due out this Spring.

Henner appeared on the Today show yesterday, and maybe some other programs, in follow up to a more in-depth piece that ran on 60 Minutes last month.

I was struck in a deeply personal way upon hearing both of these accounts. I may not have Superior Autobiographical Memory, but I dare say I have something similar. Let’s call mine Excellent Autobiographical Memory. My friends tease me about the details I remember about specific days of specific years—what happened when, what day of the week an occasion fell on, what I was wearing, what song topped the charts and what was going on in the world.

The autobiographical part might seem a bit ego-centric but, as Henner does, I also recall details about other people, conversations we had long ago, what they were wearing (including in many cases, a fragrance) and, often, something about music. I can hear almost any popular song dating back to 1960 and tell you the year it came out. This isn’t superior, maybe not even excellent. But it is my thing.

I don’t know about people with Superior Autobiographical Memory, but I know the birthdays of all my friends and family, without having them written down anywhere. I know my credit card numbers and expiration dates by heart (too much online shopping perhaps?). I even remember the phone number we had when I was six (CL6-2808).

In this blog, I have shared a number of childhood memories that my family members barely remember. Often the memory is as clear as the day it happened, though it’s my memory, and not always 100 percent historically accurate. Usually I’m pretty close.

This is not to say that I have a great memory. I’ve been known to put my car keys in the medicine cabinet. I can be in mid-sentence and forget the simplest of nouns. (Humorist Dave Barry claims the nouns are the first to go.) The day before yesterday, I started out for Jazzercise and ended up at the grocery store on autopilot. Sadly, the names of rivers, mountain ranges, poets and playwrights appearing in crossword puzzles will forever elude me.

Yesterday I wrote about how dancing is considered to have a positive impact on memory. I’m dancing like crazy to keep my wallet out of the refrigerator, while my life’s DVD plays in my hotwired head.

Now where did I leave that crossword puzzle?

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No skein, no gain

All this week, the Today show has been running a series in which the hosts revisit their first jobs. Whether delivering newspapers, babysitting, cleaning pet store cages, stocking grocery shelves or teaching dance, hosts shared what drew them into their first jobs and what challenges and rewards they had experienced. Some even talked about how much they were paid.

What was your first job? What obstacles did you overcome and what reward did you reap?

I too was a babysitter for years, from age 12 up until the day I got engaged. Even in college, I used to line up my New Years Eve gigs well in advance. Even though my wage at retirement was $3 an hour, I did what most highly paid nannies did and more.

Aside from that, though, my very first job was working as a bus girl at a hotel restaurant in Virginia Beach. I cleared dirty dishes and cleaned tables for a dollar an hour plus tips. Only there were no tips.

My second job was at a place called—you’ll love the name—VIP Yarns. Why did I choose to work there? Because I didn’t have a car and I could walk to the store. In an early Word Nymph post, I talked about what happened when I lied and told them I knew how to do all kinds of needlework. That was probably the last lie I ever told. Actually the story is that, once I realized I needed actual skills, I asked my friend’s nine-year-old sister, who had just gotten a Girl Scout merit badge for needlecraft, to teach me. Thank you, Little Susie Lewis, wherever you are.

Thinking back, I wonder if breathing in all those yarn fibers contributed to my battle with chronic bronchitis. Or my 30-year battle with crafts.

I was the youngest employee at that VIP Yarns store, by about 40 years. And just for the record, I wasn’t fired. I was part of a 20 percent reduction in force, when the store went from five employees down to four. There went $2.35 an hour.

We’ll just say I never attained VIP status.

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Filed under Family and Friends, Foibles and Faux Pas

Today is history

My blood was literally boiling (just making sure you are paying attention).

Yesterday morning on Weekend Today, an error-filled news caption hit me like finger flick between the eyes.  Occasional errors happen—everyone’s human—and,  given it was Sunday, I decided to be charitable and give the show a chance to notice and correct it before the end of the piece.  It almost always happens that way.  A misspelled word or other error appears in the caption but the next time it appears, it’s been corrected.  Not this time.

The caption read, “Single Mom’s of Choice” and focused on women who opt for artificial insemination over waiting for a mate.  Of course the first thing that jumped off the screen (not literally but almost) was the misplaced apostrophe in Mom’s.  Then I noticed the erroneous preposition.  It should have read Single Moms by Choice, not of Choice.  Single moms of choice would mean someone chose them.  The whole caption needed to be scrapped.

Jenna Wolfe had introduced the piece by saying that “one out of four children are raised by a single parent.”  Come on, where are the editors?   As the sloppy caption popped up for about the fourth time, “Relationship Expert” Robi Ludwig explained that for women over 35, “their options for fertility is decreasing.” 

I had already choked on my French Roast during Jenna’s earlier blathering about something, I can’t recall what because all I heard was, “I was like…and Lester was like… and then I was like…and then he was like…”  Is this a morning news program or the cafeteria at San Fernando Valley Junior High?

That’s it.  Charles Osgood, I’ve loved you for years.  You are smart and articulate and your stories are intelligent and interesting.  I’ve seen the error of my ways.  I am moving to CBS where the writers, producers, anchors and reporters don’t share one brain cell.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Movies, Television and Radio, News, Rants and Raves