The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Michele Bender

December 8, 2013

MICHELE M. BENDER | Shop until you drop

NANTY GLO — Is it my imagination, or have advertisers dialed back the Christmas hype this season?

Shaq’s peddling pain meds, Gold Bond everything and Buicks, while Brooke pitches milk, Foster Grants, Lazy Boys and Latisse (“Miracle Gro” for eyelashes), but that’s pretty routine.

K-Mart shows a couple suffering uncontrollable spasms. Neighbors explain they’re “gifting out.” They’re also insulting everybody’s intelligence.

The Miley Cyrus Obscenity Prize goes to “Joe Boxer Underwear.” Six young men sporting tuxedo tops, Santa hats and boxer underwear equipped with bells, gyrate to “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

Advertisers drag out the old reliable stuff when shoppers approach desperation. Only folks in late stages of agitation and frenzy would purchase Clappers, Snuggies (blankets with sleeves and hoods, ideal for cult members), chia pets or the singing fish mounted on his wooden plaque.

Have you seen the ad for the colorful, motion-sensitive talking plastic parrot on his gold perch? The “voice-over” points out his “advantages” too enthusiastically ... actually scary. “No food to buy,” says the voice. “No water, no mess, no cage to clean. Enjoy your pet effortlessly.”

A STEPFORD PARROT!!  Have mercy!

Readers, do you have a senior on your list? Let me, for once, seriously, help with gift ideas!

1. Gripper sox. Readily available, low-priced grips keep seniors snug and safe.

2. Old Brooklyn Lantern. Rarely costing more than $15, this battery-operated gizmo requires no oil, wick, or flame. (I have two!)

3. A copier. We don’t need a multi-tasking unit that scans, faxes, prints and makes breakfast. A simple copier will help us geezers preserve documents, receipts, instructions, RXs and more. An actual copy of something is awesome to prove YOU are not some senile wingnut.

4. A Trac Fone. I have a “landline” and a cell, but my Trac Fone is strictly for emergencies. The phone itself is usually under $20. And, yes, you have to purchase time cards three or four times a year to keep it active.

Consider the alternative: a pricey “life-saver” system. A Trac hour is $20. Three or four times a year adds up to maybe $80. And you only buy the phone once. My gal pal Denice gave me mine eight years ago. It’s always in my walker bag, or in one of those inconspicuous “wristlets” that are popping up everywhere. Men can easily hook one to a belt or pocket.

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Michele Bender
  • Michele Bender Licorice lends a paw

    I bet you expected to find Michele Bender’s column here today.
    She just came home from the hospital. She’s doing fine but resting, so I thought I’d lend a paw.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender MICHELE M. BENDER | Time to can clutter

    I’m “downsizing.” Sixteen years ago, this house was perfect for me. I gave parties. Friends came and stayed for weekends. Great insulation protected visitors from highway noise.
    Yep, I had the time of my life.
    But I’m 16 years older, and my friends are, too.  They no longer travel like they did. Parties wear us out by 10 p.m.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele Those oldies, but goodies

    Twice yearly Hollywood marches out a platoon of war movies.

    May 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Living life out loud

    “If I make it to Medicare,” I declared, “I’m going to throw a party people will not forget! It’ll be something no one’s ever done!”
    Well, I made it to 65.

    May 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Watch the stars come out

    Every spring, I catch drive-in movie fever. We are blessed to have three outdoor theaters in a 30-mile radius. Movies under the stars … heavenly!

    May 3, 2014

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele.JPG MICHELE M. BENDER | Whisper sweet nothings in my ear

    “Your call is very important to us,” growled the crabby lady at the utility company. “Please wait for the next available representative.”

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele MICHELE M. BENDER | Sock it to me


    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele.JPG MICHELE M. BENDER | What happened to Christmas?

    Headaches rarely bother me. I always felt sorry for folks trapped in the Advil/Dristan web.
    I woke up at 4 a.m. Dec 17 with a headache that probably registered on a Richter scale. (People in New Zealand experienced aftershocks.)

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele.JPG Judge Judy’s tough in any language

    In her relentless effort to “correct and serve,” Judge Judy Scheindlin is “on the road” promoting her new program, “Hot Bench.”

    February 8, 2014 1 Photo


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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