Snarky Lawsuits or How to Use Your Family Tree to Make Money


It seems that the Led Zeppelin trial has been getting a lot of airtime lately. For those of you who must have grown up on another planet, (Do Aliens Exist? You might want to follow former Blink 182 member Tom DeLonge to find out for sure) it has been reported that the iconic guitar solo at the beginning of Stairway to Heaven has been stolen from another song written prior to 1969 (47 years ago for those of you who abhor math.)

Now, I’m not interested in the actual specifics of the trial, the lawyers can spend their time with that. What I am curious about is how the plaintiffs failed to notice any similarities for 47 years. Specifically, it would appear that the gentleman who wrote the song did not notice any similarities that were significant enough to file suit 47 years ago, as it is his estate that has filed the lawsuit.

If you have been to ANY middle school dance, high school prom, or guitar store in which budding 13-year-old guitarists are sampling the wares, you have heard Stairway to Heaven. I’m not an expert on music theory, although I understand that the similarities revolve around a missing E in the chord progression. What I do know is that there are only so many notes and chord progressions available, and it would seem to me that the odds of duplication in over 2000 years might be fairly strong.

If lawsuits can be filed for similarities, I have compiled a list to assist the relatives and/or estates of a few people who may want to file a lawsuit.

The family of Pachelbel (he wrote Cannon in D in 1694, and yes you have heard it) may want to pay attention here. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know), Canon in D was described by music producer Pete Waterman as “almost the godfather of pop music because we’ve all used that in our own ways for the past 30 years”.

The following songs are purported to be based on Pachelbel’s chord progressions:

I Should Be So Lucky- Kylie Minogue; All Together Now- The Farm; Go West- Pet Shop Boys; C U When U Get There- Coolio; Basket Case- Green Day; Don’t Look Back in Anger- Oasis; and Christmas Canon- Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I think you get the idea. I’m sure there are more but quite frankly, I’m tired of doing the research.

This got me thinking. There are only 26 letters in the English and Latin alphabet. That means that every book written since the English language was first written in the Anglo-Saxon futhorc runic alphabet, in use from the 5th century, has been a variation of those 26 letters. If you had Anglo Saxon relatives, you may want to put a law firm on retainer.

Why stop there? Do you have relatives from Mesopotamia? (Mesopotamia is the present-day area of parts of Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey and Iran) Do you remember studying cuneiform in 6th grade? Cuneiform is a system of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia around 3500-3000 BC.  You may want an established law firm to take on that case; but hey, it’s worth a try.

How did all of those letters, words, musical notes, thoughts, melodies and ideas get spread? The printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440. If you are a descendant, you can bet the farm that famous pieces of literature would not have reached any level of notoriety had we still been using the oral tradition to pass on information.

Let’s see, who else can jump on this snarly lawsuit bandwagon? Did you use electricity in any way while you were writing that song or book? Take note all you descendents of Edison. What kind of guitar did you use? The modern classical guitar is credited to Spanish guitar maker Antonio Torres circa 1850. Adolph Rickenbacker, George Beauchamp and Paul Barth (Bellis, n.d.) formed the Electro String Company and in 1931 produced their first Hawaiian guitars. Their success prompted Gibson and others to start producing electric guitars.

(Mary Bellis

What we can all learn from these snarky lawsuits is that there is money to be made, and notoriety to be had, if you have the skills needed to notice similarities. Go buy one of those “Can you spot the differences in these pictures” books and practice your compare and contrast skills or spend some time investigating your family tree and you might be able to file a snarky lawsuit as well. By the way, don’t quote me on any of this…my cousin is a lawyer.





Creating Elegant Disorder Out of Chaos


I will never be able to understand those casual, yet perfect people, who have mastered the art of messy chic. These are the people who instinctively know how to drape material over a curtain rod for a casually elegant look, who can literally throw a “throw” on the back of a chair or sofa and have it look like it was casually dropped by someone who had wandered off to do something noble and erudite, or to my great despair, those who have mastered the messy bun.

I am vexed by the ease at which some women can casually toss a band around their hair and have it look both casual and sophisticated.  I have witnessed women who have performed the mysterious twisting and turning of their hair with one hand, while driving through suburban traffic with the other. These are the women who understand the understated significance of the loose tendril.

I have been cursed with thick, wiry hair. My hair could be identified with Oppositional Defiant Disorder; no brush, flat iron or curler will keep it from doing exactly what it wants. This defiance seems to increase, like each strand itself, when it is humid outside and I am entering the season of “big hair.”

All I want is a casual upswept look that will disguise the unruly mane that I have inherited. I have tried different types of fasteners, different placement of bobby pins, and different levels of cleanliness – everything from squeaky clean to grungy. My last attempt at the messy bun was successful for about 30 seconds until all of the bobby pins I had meticulously placed in my hair shot across the room with the speed and force of a Chinese Throwing Star flung by a ninja.

I long for the life of the woman, with the messy bun, who leaves her bottled mineral water on the sunny and perfectly decorated patio, to answer the door of her impeccably clean house and welcome the impromptu gathering of her friends who have stopped by to discuss their understanding of the motivation behind the protagonist in the novel they have just read.

Instead, if I were to be honest (which I always am), I am sitting in my messy kitchen, at an island covered with the mail and debris that piles up because nobody knows what to do with it. It is 4:00 PM and I am wearing my pajamas. I have a cup of cold coffee sitting next to me and a half eaten bag of tortilla chips. I am currently at the opposite end of the spectrum from this ideal woman who taunts me like a school-yard bully in the disorganized chaos that goes on in my head. In my mind, the only thing keeping me from achieving this oft-dreamt of lifestyle is the ability to master the damn, messy bun.

So, I guess it is time for me to stop my rant, and begin my hair tutorial search by utilizing the hallowed source of all knowledge – You Tube, in order to discover why this messy bun arranging talent alludes me. If all goes well, you will find me casually strolling through my local vineyard, while perusing my iPad for the latest information about the most exquisite grapes used in wine-making, and planning my casual, yet perfectly arranged, weekend with my spouse.

If you can’t find me at the vineyard, look for the woman with the unruly hair trying to discretely run to the mailbox in her pajamas.  I’m sure she would invite you in for a cup of cold coffee and a bag of Doritos; but, watch out for flying bobby pins!


Contemplating a Career Change After Age 50 or How Does a Snarky Woman Decide What She Wants To Be When She Grows Up?


So, I recently left a high-stress position (school administrator) for another high-stress position (caregiver to my mother-in-law.)  I know, right?  Things are not going as well as I expected because I have a little known disorder called Norman Rockwell Syndrome. NRS is a very real disorder that causes me to wear aprons, try to bake cookies, make extravagant dinners and generally think that EVERYTHING must be perfect for my day to be considered a success.  My husband prefers to call it bossy, control-freak syndrome, but I am ignoring his input at the moment.

Because I tend to channel Martha Stewart when I spend a significant amount of time at home, I have decided that I need to get out of the house and be around normal adults again. Yes, my MIL is here; and yes, she qualifies as an adult but… I would like to have a conversation about more than  bunions, dietary fiber, or Family Feud.  What I really need is a part-time job!

Unfortunately, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow-up. Who am I kidding?  The reality of the situation is that I  don’t want to grow up. I have had jobs in the restaurant industry and the retail industry. I worked as a preschool teacher, an elementary school teacher, a high school teacher, a director of religious education, and a district administrator. They were all jobs I enjoyed ( OK, I did not enjoy all of them); however,  I’m not sure that I want to go back to any of them.

I feel as if I need to pursue something I’ve always wanted to do, a lifelong dream, something major, a significant contribution to mankind. That’s where I get stuck…

My short list of careers, occupations, and future monetary pursuits is just that-short. I’d like to be a writer, a yoga instructor, a musician, or an artist. This blog is the extent of my writing, a only do yoga when I’m extremely stressed, I don’t currently play any instruments, and my artwork resembles the icons used when explaining how to construct Swedish furniture.

All of the websites give me useless advice: Dance Like No One is Watching, Dare to Dream, Be Who You Want to Be. None of the websites I have checked tell me what I need to know…How does a snarky women over 50 decide what to be when she grows up?

So, I send it out to all of you in the Internet Universe…any ideas?



Don’t Call Me Ma’am


Nothing can ruin a concert like a polite 20-something, who has been taught manners by a loving mother.  Don’t get me wrong, my hope is that my 20-something-year-old sons would ruin a concert for another menopausal woman, but that is not my point.  My point is that youth is wasted on the young! I won’t say that I am immature (although many others have said it) but I do like my Converse Chucks, a slouch beanie, and a loud stereo.

I also enjoy going to concerts with my younger son. I like Pop Punk Music…Green Day, New Found Glory, Jimmy Eat World, Good Charlotte, and Blink-182 can all be found in the CD changer of my car. An added bonus to being menopausal and immature is that I have a really sweet ride and all my punk tunes are blasted from a Harmon Kardon sound system. Good quality sound systems come with a price and after you reach a certain age, you have money to spend.

All of this background information is primarily to prove (either to you or to me, I’m not sure) that some people think I’m cool. That being said, the people who think I am cool are not the ones who exited my womb 20-something years ago. Anyway, my ADHD has hijacked my writing again, and I am off point. What you need to know is that I am somewhat cool, have some money to waste, and I like concerts.

OK, back on track… so, I am standing at a concert with my son. We have pushed our way to the mid-front. I am ignoring the incredibly sweaty and hairy guy to my left, and I am in the groove. Big screen TVs show Travis Barker breaking drumsticks, I am doing the pop-punk jump (which takes a lot of synchronization skill, so as to not get motion sickness if you should get out of phase with those around you) and I am just sucking up all that youthful energy. The Fountain of Youth is not in South America, but rather, in the mosh pit of a high energy show.

I am only feeling my age occasionally, in my left knee, when I land from a jump; but, as the bumper sticker proclaims, life is good!  My son and I are singing filthy lyrics at the top of our lungs when… it happens.  I feel a hand on a part of my body that lies between my waist and my knees (closer to my knees than I would like to admit) and I turn around. A 20-something young man, looking like the poster child for an affluent liberal arts college, looks back at me with an expression of shock. His face turns red, his eyes have the look one expects to see in an advertisement for a 1950s horror film, and the dreaded words are uttered. “I’m so sorry ma’am; I didn’t realize you were old. Please forgive me.” This kid’s mother has reason to be proud. I on the other hand wish he would have just shrugged his shoulders and moved on.

The fact of the matter is that I am an anomaly. Society’s mores dictate that with age comes wisdom, maturity, and a sense of decorum. I agree that I shouldn’t wear my Green Day tee shirt to a job interview and that when attending a Board Meeting, I need to suit-up; but, why does society dictate that acting young is only acceptable for the young?

I think more 50-something adults need to embrace their younger selves.  As Dylan Thomas said, “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Don’t pass on the torch, make them take it from your arthritic hands. Don’t let your age prevent you from living the life you want. Remember forgetfulness is not a symptom of old age, even the younger generation suffer from this malady. To quote Mark Hoppus, “What’s my age again?”

Snarky Women Over 50


Welcome to my first blog. I am a snarky woman over 50 but you will never hear me admit to that again. I am married to a wonderful man who appreciates snarkiness. I have two snarky children and a snarky dog. We are a snarky family.

If you are unsure if you are a snarky woman, just replace the word snarky with any of these synonyms: crabby, cranky, crotchety, fiery, grumpy, peevish, petulant, snappish, and my personal favorite, snippety. I have been snarky since birth and come from a long line of snarky ancestors. If this applies to you, or someone you know, read on and enjoy the show!

My hope for this blog is to present some ideas to you, the reader, that might spark some conversation about things that snarky women over 50 (or under 50 for those of you, like myself, who have forgotten your true age) are going through.  Things like empty nest syndrome, taking care of aging parents, boomerang kids, hot flashes, being called Ma’am, and all the nasty things that gravity does to a body.

If you have a question or a topic to discuss, you can email me at