Things I learned from fourth graders

1.  When operating the computer next to the electric pencil sharpener by the blackboard, the screen jiggles in time to the revolutions of said pencil sharpener.

2.  Duct tape is vital in the assembly of a native american long house.

3.  Owls don’t poop.

4.  Verizon is better than AT&T because Verizon’s service is “only ten dollars a month!!!”

5.  When someone has passed gas, it is necessary to discuss it for ten minutes.

6.  When critiquing  fellow classmates’ oral presentations, no observations should be off-limits  including “your nose does a weird thing when you talk.”

7.  How to reprogram a firewall.



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Happy Holidays from the Stegersons

Wow!  It’s so hard to believe a whole year has flown by since our last family Christmas letter!  I hope this year’s newsletter finds all of you happy and healthy!  As usual, it has been an eventful year for Bob and me, and for our kids Tiberius, Caesarea, and Kevin.   First, last year I reported that I had a polyp removed from my colon.   Luckily it was benign – thank goodness for BIG favors!  I was so excited by the news that I contacted the Pathology Department at Fort Wayne General Hospital and asked if I could have the wayward polyp so that I could add it to one of my scrap-booking pages wherein I hoped to journal about  the experience.  As you might imagine, Pathology has these pesky “rules and regulations” about releasing human waste and air-borne pathogens, so I had to take matters into my own hands.  At around noon on a Tuesday I snuck into the residents’ locker room and took a pair of scrubs from one “Ira Rothstein” from Cardiology.  When the pathology lab was distracted by the intake nurse showing them photos of her new niece, I squeezed past them and into the refrigeration unit where the tumors and polyps are kept.  Guess what!  The samples are all alphabetized and the S’s were at the far-end of the refrigeration unit so I was in there an awfully long time before I found “Stegerson.”  When I had my mitts on the opaque lab sample, I rushed out as fast as I could and unfortunately I slipped on a puddle of water left by te melting Lean Cuisine the receptionist put on the floor by her purse. The lab sample went flying, and landed on the very desk where the crowd was viewing the niece-photos, The packaging split, and my poor polyp landed on the intake nurse’s collar-bone.  Fortunately, the crowd was more concerned with comforting her than helping me to my feet, so I was able to slip-out unnoticed.  That meant I went home empty-handed, no polyp!  I was able to fashion a suitable facsimile from Caeserea’s modeling clay, and so I took a photo of the model and used that for my scrapbook page.  Sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways!

Now onto Bob.  Bob retired last February from the barbershop quartet he had been touring with, the “Barbers of He-Ville.”  He was depressed for some time, not having much to occupy his time.  Then he discovered horse husbandry.  It was quite by accident, the ag-department of our local community college needed a night-time janitor, so he applied for the job.  He soon discovered that his habit of singing Michael Bolton’s ballads to the animals had a soothing effect.  No one knows why!  He was asked to submit to some experiments with the larger cloven-hooved beasts, and he gladly complied. The results of the experiments aren’t in yet, but here is a photo of Bob with one of his favorites, a pony named Patches:


Our twins Tiberius and Caesarea are still sharing a dorm room at Fort Wayne University, and we simply can’t understand why a brother and sister need to spend so much time together!  We’ve tried to encourage them to live apart but they won’t have any of it.  Maybe the fact I named them after incestuous Romans has something to do with it!! Hee hee!

As for Kevin.. .well…. we are bit concerned.  He and his girlfriend Olivia recently announced that they will be having their first child this May.  I’m not sure I’m ready to be a Nana!!!  And Kevin is only 29!  He is too young to leave his parents’ home. I don’t know what I will do with the extra room, set up my Raquel Welch exercise equipment I guess. Anyhow, I had a baby-shower for Olivia and Kevin a few weeks ago and I’m so proud of the cake I had made for the event:


Pastor Randy from our church was so funny – when we cut the cake he kept shouting, “I want the birth canal!  I want the birth canal!!!”  What a day it was!  Kevin and Olivia will be making their new home at the Lancaster Apartments right behind the Fort Wayne slaughterhouse in the event you want to visit the new addition when he or she arrives (they’re keeping the sex of the baby a surprise!!)

Well that’s all for now!  I made myself a Coffee Nudge with extra brandy before I sat down to write this and now it’s cold!  Here’s to a peace-filled holiday to all of you and yours!  Remember, Jesus hates bickering and pouting!!!

Love,  Linda, Bob, Tiberius, Caesarea, and Kevin Stegerson

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Family Christmas Photos


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Exerpts from Thomas Jefferson’s Diary


June 11th 1776

10:00 a.m. – Received call from Declaration of Independence subcommittee notifying me that I’ve been “nominated” to write the first draft. I’m pissed. I’m supposed to be in the Hamptons in three days. Now I won’t get my deposit back.

 11:00 a.m. – Texed JA (John Adams) asking why me? JA said it was because I’m the only loser not headed out of this stifling Philadelphia humidity. “Since you’re here anyhow,” he said, “why not write a few pages and see where it takes you?” Fine, I said, and then I asked him to do me a favor and stop by Office Depot on his way out of town, pick me up some watermark on 24# paper and some Sharpies, preferably not red, and drop them off. But since JA can’t remember to close his mouth while chewing, I doubt he’ll remember my supplies.

 June 12th 1776

8:30 a.m.- My neck was so stiff when I got up this morning because I fell asleep watching The Biggest Loser. It’s a good thing the room I’m renting has cable because I was able to find Hip Hop Abs and work out before writing. I’m not even sure where to start. My Writing 101 instructor at Alexandria Community College said I always need to start with a “zinger.” A zinger is the first sentence of any great work of fiction or non-fiction that keeps the reader interested. Vladimir Nabokov, wrote, “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.” Albert Camus wrote, “Mother died today.” Here’s a few first lines I came up with:

  •  King George is a drunk.
  • Free your mind, and your ass will follow.
  • I’m not a rocket scientist, but I’d say we’ve got us some taxation without no representation.
  • England, we’re tired of your pasty-faced, inbred monarchs.
  • Why are you being so mean?

 I didn’t like any of these so I kept writing.

 4:00 p.m. – I spent all afternoon on the first paragraph, then got writer’s block so I made some Top Ramen in my hotpot. I forgot to unplug it and around 3:30 the fire alarm went off and the whole hotel had to evacuate. The Philadelphia Fire Department showed up, found my charred hotpot, and I got a citation. I talked the landlord into letting me stay, though – I sort of bribed him with my front row tickets to the American Idol Gives Back tour. I can’t go because I’ll be presenting my draft to Congress.

June 18th 1776

9:35 a.m. – I’ve been trying to work the word prestidigitation somewhere into this draft because Madison once said he didn’t think I was the brightest bulb and he couldn’t figure out why I was a delegate when I never say anything. It’s such a big word, and I really like the way it sounds; it has a sort of choo choo train sound: preh-stuh-di-gi-tay-shun. The problem is that it means “slight of hand”. I’m not sure “slight of hand” fits into what I’m trying to say. I also like the word balls. I’ll try to fit that one in somewhere.

 3:30 p.m. Abigail Adams stopped by to see how I’m coming along on the draft. She’s such a fine woman, and I have never understood just what she sees in John. She appears to think quite highly of him, though she did allow that his shoes smell so she makes him leave them on the porch. And he cries when she’s gone to the hen house for more than five minutes. If she weren’t taken, I’d probably ask her over to listen to Led Zeppelin and smoke a bag of weed. She’s also got a nice rack.

 6:00 p.m. – After Abigail left I got a few more sentences in, now I’m past the first paragraph – the “when in the course of human events” part which sort of explains why we’re writing all this down – and now I’m onto the list of grievances. This is my favorite part.

 June 26th 1776

12:30 p.m. Ben Franklin and JA came over today to read my draft. I’m no suck-up, but I have to admit I was a bit nervous about their response. It didn’t go too badly at first; Ben changed, “we hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” to “we hold these truths to be self-evident.” Benjamin said my version “smacks too much of the pulpit.” I guess the old geezer is serious about this separation of church and state-thing. I became a bit unbraided, however, that their editing then took the form of making my draft “nicer.” Nice doesn’t put money in the bank and a chicken in the pot, baby! Who cares about NICE? For instance, I called George a “tyrant.” They struck it. I wonder what they would have said about these earlier grievances that I struck:

  •  We don’t mind quartering your soldiers, but would it be too hard for them to clear their own dishes and put the seat down on the latrine?
  • Dentistry – a modern but necessary invention.
  • Don’t bother trying to corner the market on automobiles. Stick with what you know.

 In their defense, Ben and JA were complimentary, and they said I’d probably be on the one-dollar bill. I’d prefer I larger denomination, if it were up to me.

 July 1st 1776

8:00 a.m. Today is the big day!! After I washed up, I put on my clean linen breeches and stockings. (I might run into Abigail!). With any luck, Congress will ratify the revised draft and we’ll be on our way to war! Yippeee!

 July 4th 1776 – Well, we presented the draft, and after a few more edits, we’re ready for everyone to sign it. There are 56 delegates, and with any luck, we’ll have it signed within a month’s time. Thank goodness we have the modern conveniences of the messenger on horseback!

 P.S. Diary: Abigail invited me to a candle party. I feel kind of funny because I don’t think John is in town that week. More later!!!!


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An Open Letter to the Programming Department of the History Channel


Dear Gentlemen[1]


I am writing to you to offer my assistance in your Department of Programming.  Apparently, you have only some guy you found at a Star Trek convention and an aerospace engineer working for you.  I hate to be blunt, but I have your best interests at heart.


For starters, Merriam Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines “history” as  a branch of knowledge that records and explains past events.   If we assume that “events” can be defined in this context as things that can be verified through half-assed fact checking, then shows like Monsterquest , Weird US, and UFO Hunters can not accurately be called “history”  unless one accepts the existence of monsters, local myths, and UFOs, respectively.   Maybe the idea here is that you are describing the searching for monsters and UFOs as the historical event.  If  you’re operating under this expanded definition of history, then you should then logically include searching for unicorns and Barbie Rapunzel.  I know an eight year old girl who could help you with this.  Her name is Georgia.  


Also in this Not History-Category are shows having nothing to do with past events but are really about big stuff and blowing it up:  Mega Movers, Mega Disasters, Sandhogs, Ice Road Truckers, and Battle 360.   Honestly, the dude you found at that Star Trek convention really needs to get laid. 


 The remaining majority of your programming deals with WWII.  Make no mistake – I am deeply grateful for and respectful of these heroes who literally saved the world from a raging psychopath, but enough already.  Besides if the history about which you’re reporting happened within the lifetime of anyone still living on the planet, I’d argue it really isn’t history. It’s a memory.


In the law we have this thing called the Rule Against Perpetuities, a principle that no interest in property is good unless it must vest, if at all, not later than 21 years, plus period of gestation, after some life or lives in being at the time of creation of the interest.  (I know, I know, stay with me here).   This Rule prevents a  conveyances that can’t be ascertained, they’re so far into the future.  If we reverse this rule to go backward, it presents an awfully good definition of “history” for purposes of your programming decisions: 


Past events do not become History unless they occurred, if at all, not earlier than 21 years, plus period of gestation, before some life or lives in being at the time of past events.



To the extent you think I’m overly critical or just a blow-hard, you underestimate my eagerness to help the History Channel reach its fullest potential.  Thus the tough love.  History is such fertile ground, and we can learn so much from it.  For instance, why have I never seen anything about Napoleon I, Elizabeth I, or John the Baptist I?  When the Roman Empire lasted only about 700 years,  could the US – only about 232 years old – learn something from Rome?  What do we know about John Wilkes Booth’s mother?  


I hope you take the foregoing in the spirit  in which it was intended.  I love history more than anyone.  When my friends had posters of Peter Frampton on their bedroom walls, I had a poster of Alexander Hamilton.    Together, I think we can achieve a History Channel everyone can be proud of.  Rock on.



[1] How do I know there are no women among you?  Because by my rough calculations, approximately 98% of your programming is related to firearms or explosives. 


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Four Seconds


should probably go running. . . . .hate the way my ass jiggles the first couple of miles. . . . .king tut, how’d you get so funky. . . . .mmmmm cinnamon toast. . . . .whatever happened to neneh cherry. . . . .is it really torture to pull a ali ghraib prisoner’s underwear over his head. . . . .i wonder if today’s Greeks speak the same Greek as Alexander the Great did. . . . .a beer sounds really good right now but it’s only noon. . . . .could I pull off the Katy Perry look  probably not. . . . . man we go through an awful lot of toilet paper. . . . buried with a donky, he’s my favorite honkey. . . . . i can’t picture michelle obama hula hooping. . . . .if i ever get to london i’m definitely going to the tower. . . . .mmmmm    swiss steak. . . . .born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia. . . . . mmmm cupcakes. . . . .born in Arizona . . . . .the yankees suck. . . . .got a condo made of stone-a


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Anyone self-conscious about the size of her butt hasn’t seen Ramona’s behind.  Ramona is a Black Forest Draft Horse, a breed a little smaller than a Clydesdale but more stout than a Morgan.   Riders smaller than I don’t ride Ramona because their shorter legs don’t reach around her gigantic midsection.  If Ramona doesn’t feel the heel of a boot in her side, she won’t giddy-up.    

Ramona looks like Sammy Hagar.  I don’t know if she likes Van Halen – she seems a little too docile to me.  Maybe she prefers David Lee Roth.  But when she’s hungry, she’s deadly.  Today I opened the gate of her stall and stepped inside to brush her.  When she smelled hay just outside the gate she pushed through it with impunity, pinning me between the open gate and the outside of the stall.    She definitely wasn’t self-conscious about her big rump swinging to and fro and squashing me flat.   

But Ramona is the perfect horse for me.  She could easily become exasperated with my  nonsensical commands and throw me off  or hold her breath until she faints.   Despite my amateurish direction, she just plods straight ahead, waiting until I figure out what I’m doing.   

Ramona is zaftig.    She is a BBW.  I love her.  







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