Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Let’s Be Honest

Thursday is National Honesty Day. No, I’m lying. It’s actually today. See what I did there? It’s just a little honest humor. Honestly, National Honesty Day is today. What kind of person would I be if I lied to you about National Honesty Day? If you play it straight and honest just one day this year, surely it will be today, right?

As usual, I’m not sure what the best way to celebrate National Honesty Day is. I’m thinking it does involve a measure of oh, telling the truth? Even if the girl in the cubicle across from you asks what you think of her new hairdo inspired by Prince and Tina Turner (that would be purple and sticking out all over the place for anyone currently suffering from Mental Imagery Deficit Disorder), you can’t tell her how good it looks just to avoid hurting her feelings. I realize the moral dilemma with this, but it is National Honesty Day. Perhaps your best response to this should be to tell her to ask you tomorrow. Don’t give her a reason, because most likely it would involve you lying. Just simply ask her to ask you (I realize that’s a lot of asking) about her hair tomorrow, when it isn’t National Honesty Day.

Since today is National Honesty Day, I probably shouldn’t ask you if you like my idea of trying to get the phrase ‘excuse me, but I have to go x-ray my chicken’ to catch on. It was inspired by a real life conversation with some friends of mine and it seems like such a good alternative to saying goodbye or coming up with an excuse for why you have to leave. I’ll pose the question to you again later in the week so I can get your un-honest opinion. I feel like I should insert a winky smiley face after that last sentence for some reason, but saying winky makes me blush, so I won’t.

It seems that a day about honesty would be a good day to come clean about things that I may have been less than honest about. As embarrassing as that may be, I have never come across a holiday I didn’t celebrate, except for any holiday honoring tall people (no offense) or holidays that slander Barry Manilow. That’s just unacceptable. I guess the first thing I should be honest about is that I really, really like The Ray Conniff Orchestra and Chorus. The Conniff love started early and innocently enough as I grew up with their Christmas albums being played in the house. Then, I started seeking out his music on my own so I really can no longer blame the folks. There is just something about a bunch of men and women singing a slightly elevatorized version of the biggest hits of the 50s, 60s and 70s that makes me happy, dare I say, giddy. Don’t knock it until you’ve heard them sing such gems as Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ or Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Sundown’ or even Paul McCartney’s ‘Live and Let Die.’ Then, you can knock it, because I know the temptation to do so will be immense. Honestly (again, it seems saying that should be followed by a winky face).

I should also be honest and say that I still wear Hawaiian shirts even though they appear to have gone out of style in about 2002, if you use Target’s clothing racks as an indicator of fashion, which I do. If you are over 50 and drive a PT Cruiser, they MAY still be in vogue, but neither of those criteria fit me. Either do the jeans I had in high school, but that’s really not important to this discussion. I’m just being honest. I wish the Hawaiian shirt would come back into style because I have so many of them. Perhaps if I threw more BBQs I could get to wear them more without feeling the social awkwardness that comes with being a thirty-something wearing a Hawaiian shirt to a cool hang out (which for me is someplace like Chili’s).

One more thing I would like to be honest about is that I recently used what I believe is an ‘imitation’ cheese product instead of the real (and delicious) deal when I was making a quesadilla at home. I know, I know. The horror, the humanity, the absolute degradation of my morals and values. I am a cheap, slimy rat-like creature that hangs out in the bottom of portable toilets at county fairs and other public places where extra temporary rest rooms are a necessity. Before you judge me though, I want you to stop and realize two things. 1: I had the guts to be honest about it and 2: I have a very nice smile and am good with old people and little kids. Well, let’s make it three things. 3: I was with Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School and we were at the local 99 cent store and thought that a dollar was a great price for pre-shredded bagged cheese.

Honestly, it never occurred to us to look at the package to see if it actually was a cheese product. In fact, had it not been for the fact that IT WOULDN’T MELT, I never would have had a reason to look at the package. Apparently, she experienced the same thing when she cooked with it. Seriously people, who the heck makes a heat resistant cheese-like product? Having cheese and not melting it is like having an entire container of new Play-Doh and not sniffing it. Well there ya go, I just honestly shared another thing. Yep, I am a Play-Doh sniffer. I can’t get enough of its doughy, salty aroma. Yes Lucy and Ethel have caught me PD sniffing twice, but I don’t care because the aroma is so dang intoxicating!

Well, I’ve run out of things to come clean about, honestly. No if you’ll excuse me, I have to go x-ray my chicken. See, it works almost anywhere!

Monday, April 28, 2008

All Growed Up?

Do any of you feel like grown-ups? No, I said feel LIKE grown-ups, not feel UP grown-ups. I’d hate to be accused of promoting inappropriate touchyness. Any way, touching isn’t what I wanted to touch upon today. I know you ARE grown-ups, but do you FEEL like grown-ups? Perhaps it was my death experience, which I detailed yesterday, or the fact that I spent 2 hours eating at Lucy and Ethel’s ‘pretend restaurant’ dining on plastic steak and ice cream on Sunday, but whatever the reason, I still don’t feel like a grown-up.

I am just months away from 35, but don’t really feel like an adult. Does that make sense to any of you? Now I know I am not the tallest dude on the ranch, but there has to be more to it. Yes, I have to look up at most people, but that can’t be it. I have a family, I have a corporate drone job and leave the house every day wearing a real tie (as opposed to the clip-on type that I want to wear), I have bills and I even have plenty of that four-letter word: responsibility. Ok, since you are such a go-getter you have probably already figured out that ‘responsibility’ contains at least 6 letters, but surely you view the word in the same context as ##$%$# and %&%* or even $%%$#()^%@#, just as I do. I meant 4-letter word in the comparative sense, not the literal sense. If I had meant it in the literal sense, I would have had to spell responsibility as ‘resp.’ That would truly be a 4-letter word, though it might not make any sense, just like the majority of this paragraph, or the report I had to turn in this morning that dealt with financials and stats and other squirrely stuff like that. When doing that type of report with so many numbers in it, you just eventually succumb to the temptation of throwing random figures in there to see if anyone notices them. Ok, I’m kidding. Or am I?

I can’t help but think that I’m not the only one who feels this way (about being a grown-up not fabricating numbers on reports). I’m sure most of the readers here (hello and thank you to all 8 of you) have at least one of the following: family, real job, bills, a car, a spouse, a pet, a velvet painting of Elvis, a subscription to Junior AARP Magazine and yes, responsibility (although if you don’t, can we trade places for just a day?). You know, those things that qualify us to be adults. Is there some magic experience that makes us officially adults? That moment when we hear chimes and then go ‘wow, I’m grown up now’ and are greeted by a marching band and the huge, cardboard ‘key’ to adulthood or maybe a symbolic grandfather clock?

Well, it doesn’t HAVE to be a parade or clock, perhaps it could be a pie or a commemorative shirt or maybe even cash. Yeah, ‘Growed-up Bucks’ would be kinda cool. Of course so would getting to spend a day with Tina Fey (yes, that rhymed. I’ve been trying to bust my mad rhyming skillz lately), but like they say when it comes to Tina Fey (I know, I rhymed again), ‘you can’t always get what you want’ (Rolling Stones). Did you remember to lower your voice when you said ‘Rolling Stones?’ It was kind of a test to see if you remember my song title post from last week. I have soooo many bonus points to hand out before the end of the month…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining that I don’t feel like an adult, I’m just not sure I want to wake up one day at 53 years of age and have it hit me like ‘oh blurg, I’m an adult now, how the wrinkles did that happen?’ I’m usually good with surprises, but I don’t know if ‘hey you’re old now’ is the type of surprise I want. And before anyone fires up the ole email account, yes I did use 53, but that doesn’t mean I consider 53 to be old, it’s just a random number I threw out there like oh, ‘007.’ Ok, ‘007’ isn’t random; it’s a number I use a lot because it was James Bond’s number. ‘3’ would be a random number. No, I gotta be honest; that’s not random either. That was Dale Earnhardt’s and Babe Ruth’s number. 13,456 would be random, but it wouldn’t make much sense in this context, contextually speaking.

Lately I have tried to do things to help make me feel like an adult, but they haven’t worked yet. I tried to yell at all the neighborhood kids when they were on my lawn, but I ended up playing tag with them. I got ready to wear a short-sleeve dress shirt to work, but gave in to peer pressure (for lack of a much better word) when Lucy and Ethel told me I looked funny. I sat in front of the window staring at all of the gopher mounds in my front yard and started mumbling about how I plan on getting that dang gum vermin. In fact, I’ve taken to mumbling a lot lately. Heck, I’ve even tried eating softer foods and I actually wore socks with my sandals while mowing that yard a few weekends ago. I thought for sure that driving 45 in the fast lane and yelling at everyone who kept zooming by me while honking and saluting me as ‘#1’ would make me feel older, but it just made me realize how much gas I was saving by going slower (we all gotta do our part to be green ya know). One day I even took the good, took the bad, took them both and thought I finally had the facts of life, but it just made me remember how much I liked Blair when I was younger and that just made me lose my concentration. She and I share the same birthday, you know…

Despite two open heart surgeries, having been in the emergency room at least 8 times to have my heart rhythm reset, taking enough medication each morning and night to be able to stock a small mid-western main street pharmacy and visiting the cardiologist more times in a year than most 80-year olds, I still don’t feel like a real grown-up. It’s not that I feel like Peter Pan or that I am pretending, I just don’t feel like a full-fledged adult. Again, surely some of you feel the same way too?

Although, when I stop to think about it, I have never hosted a dinner party with wine or held a bunco night. Maybe those are rites of passage into adulthood? I have also never thrown a fondue party, joined a fancy lodge with a secret handshake or joined a bowling league. Maybe that’s the missing ingredient to being an adult? After all, Fred Flinstone did those things and he was certainly a grown up. Barney? Not so much. Fred was always bossing him around, thereby squelching his maturity and blossoming adult independence.

Perhaps there are things that need to be GIVEN UP instead of EXPERIENCED that will mark the passage into ‘big boydom.’ I suppose I could eliminate doing the happy dance, or the pony, or yes, even the Macarena, at work. Maybe it’s time that Lucy and Ethel get in trouble for being mischievous on their own instead of getting intro trouble for something I started doing with them. As much as I dread it, I COULD stop rhyming all the time, stop insisting that the family goes to Disneyland 2-3 times a week, or even stop making the toy aisle the first section I visit at Target. While having a PEZ collection is a glaring obstacle to adulthood, getting rid of it is strictly forbidden by my code of conduct. Another obstacle to being a big boy is adding the letter ‘y’ to the endings of most of my words, like saying wishy-washy-y or fanatic-y (as in ‘yeah, she got all fanatic-y about it). One could argue that asking themselves ‘what would Homer or Captain Kirk do’ when faced with a serious decision automatically excludes one from adulthood. While that might be true, at some point, you kinda gotta go with what got ya here, you know?

I realize I should now wrap this up since this post is starting to exceed the bounds of acceptable length and that just results in people tuning out (or actually in this case, clicking out). Trust me; I’ve done a lot of comment analysis. Wait, that sounded pretty mature. Ok, it’s settled. As long as I use fairly big words arranged in an official sounding manner, I can consider myself to be all grown-upy. Dangit, I just couldn’t resist it…

Sunday, April 27, 2008

When Duck Doesn’t Really Cover It

My friends, ‘technically’ I am writing this from the great beyond. There is a belief at the moment that I am dead. Like right now, while I type this. I know, it’s all spooky and stuff, huh? It sounds shocking, but I apparently perished in an unfortunate emergency of some sort or another that was very nondescript in its nature but ‘should’ have involved ducking under my desk.

I say ‘should’ have involved ducking under my desk because well, I didn’t duck or cover or even cower for that matter. For the record, I did squat but apparently in the case of this emergency ‘drill’ squatting doesn’t amount to, yes you guessed it, diddly. Oh crap, I meant to say ‘squat’ but I messed up the punch line again. Death makes it pretty hard to concentrate. You see, I was caught during this untimely and unfortunate emergency of some sort another that was very nondescript in its nature but ‘should’ have involved ducking under my desk (I guess I could have just said ‘drill’) in the hall speaking with another coworker. Well, that’s what I hope people think. In reality, I was doing a dance from the 60s called ‘the pony’ while waiting for a fax to go through to try and break up the morning monotony. Ok, I was trying to do ‘the pony,’ but I fear it came off more like ‘the donkey’ or more to the point, ‘the drunken jack ass.’ Sadly, I did not make it back to my desk in the allotted 30-seconds that work believes is long enough to reenact the unfortunate emergency of some sort or another that was very nondescript in its nature but ‘should’ have involved ducking… drill. The closest I got was squatting in front of my desk, which made me feel kinda weird because squatting just doesn’t seem right in public.

So, long story short, my safety warden told me I was dead. As the drill occurred at the end of the week, I am wondering if I should not bother reporting to work on Monday. Or, perhaps I should go to work to see what they are saying about me. Since I’m dead, no one will see me, recognize me or have anything to do with me. I guess it truly is ‘A Wonderful Life,’ except whenever I hear a bell ring; another HR rep is getting their wings…at my expense.

I gotta tell you, I never got to see that bright light at the end of the tunnel that everyone talks about. I did hear Don Pardo introduce me, but since it was neither a Saturday night or 11:30PM and I could plainly see Liberace pointing at me and laughing while holding up a salmon colored, diamond studded fur coat for me to try on, I’m assuming I missed heaven by a couple of exits. Oh wait, that was the dream I had last night after eating at that ‘B’ rated Chinese take-out place. Mental note: Female Coworker was right; only eat at places that get an ‘A’ rating. The after life looked a lot like my office cubicle. No light, no tunnel, just cubicle walls. Friends, I must’ve ended up in hell and to make matters worse, the heater is on.

There was so much I didn’t get to do in my life. Yep, I had a list and yes, I am going to share it with you. I was going to take out the trash, call the doctor about that thing on my eyelid, get more Englebert Humperdink on my Ipod, edge the back yard, wait, sorry, wrong list.

There were several bloggers I wanted to finally meet, get picked to feed Shamu during the Killer Whale show at Sea World, overtake Oprah or Rachael Ray as the Queen of All Media (wait, that didn't sound the way I wanted it to), get the gopher that has tormented me for 4 straight summers, finally beat Lucy and Ethel at a board game, write a sitcom that involves the ghost of Cub's broadcaster Harry Carey, open a restaurant, rent a karaoke bar out for just me, my friends and family one night and get to read the Top 10 List on Letterman. I also wanted to do the weather for the local news show dressed in a plaid sport coat and Bermuda shorts, establish a professional BBQ Team (called the Midnight Smokers), cook an egg on the sidewalk in the middle of the summer, be mistaken in public just once for John Wayne, get through work one day without causing a 'situation' or 'HR reportable event' and play ATV Polo. I really wanted to legally change my name to Calhoun C. Callahan, but I’d have settled for the other stuff on the list.

Now all those wishes have been dashed. And for what? A silly dance in front of the fax machine because I was bored and whomever I was faxing had a busy signal. Damn that unfortunate emergency of some sort or another that was very nondescript in its nature but ‘should’ have involved ducking under my desk.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Even More End Of The Week Randomocity

The weekend is finally upon us. What better way to ease out of the work week than to slowly drain the extraneous thoughts from our mind in the same manner that you’d wring out a rag after using it to wash your car. For some reason that doesn’t sound like a very desirable thing to do though, does it? I’ll work on better segues for next week. Now, let the randomness begin…

* If Joe Cocker had a seizure while performing, how would you be able to tell?

* I like to hum while eating hummus. It just feels right. I do not, however, like being smashed between two objects when eating a sandwich.

* Want to feel like a complete failure? Get up early, get dressed to go walking, go downstairs, put your walking shoes on and then go back upstairs and get back into bed. You could try to be cool and call it a run-through, but you’d just be denying your laziness. Though, I did go up and down the stairs twice…

* Isn’t Rory Calhoun a great name? Would it surprise you if I told you that he starred in Westerns? These aren’t rhetorical questions. I really do expect an answer.

* ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ has the BEST BACKGROUND VOCALS OF ANY SONG, ALL TIME, EVER. This is not a random thought. This should be made into law. In all 52 states. Wait, that doesn’t sound right…

* How to succeed in the office tip: no matter how slow your computer is, don’t spend the time waiting for it by spinning around doing full circles in your desk chair. Your boss will walk by. If you are prone to dizziness and vertigo like I am, then you’ve actually got TWO reasons why you should not engage in this activity.

* Tina Fey spoke directly to me last week. In one episode of 30 Rock, she made reference to not knowing about the latest news because the Food Network doesn’t have a news show and that she feels pocket-sized deep fryers would sell well. It’s like our minds melded or something. Oh great, now I’m just asking for a restraining order!

* I was reminded how tragically unhip I am earlier in the week when I was having a conversation with a coworker. She was telling me that she got bit by a mosquito and feared having the Nile West virus. I told her that wasn’t right and that Nile West was a rap singer. She laughed rather loudly in my face and told me that’s Kanye West. I later realized she meant West Nile, but was not around to vindicate myself for the Kanye/Nile West faux pas I committed.

* I spent almost 20 minutes explaining the difference between sautéed, grilled and BBQ’d to Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School the other day, but I ended up looking like the jerk. I’m thinking this might be related to the fact that she was having a conversation about cooking with another coworker that I happened to overhear and she never really did ask for my opinion on the matter. You are aware that grilled is different from sautéed, right? I’m mean it’s not just me, right?

* Do you think Barack has ever slept in a barrack?

* When any female member of your extended family tells you that she has to have surgery on her mouth, do not ever, under any circumstances, respond by saying ‘is that because you use it too much?’

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ho AND Hum

I’m taking a new path today, blazing a new trail, breaking new ground, going where no man has gone before (oh wait, that one is probably copyrighted), going where no male has gone previously (ha, try to get me now!), forging new frontiers, being unique, exploring, mapping new vistas. I am hunkered down in the fetal position of the old cold war bomb shelter that we writers know as writer’s block. Instead of taking the easy way out and declaring defeat by subjecting you to a repost, I am going to write through my writer’s block and you are going to come along with me. What will happen? Where will we travel? Beats me. If I knew, I’d have a decent post to treat you to today, but since gas is just about 4 smacks a gallon here, it won’t be far. Plus, I don’t feel that usual limber feeling in my fingers which tell me that I am about to hunt and peck my way to writing satisfaction.

Well, I’ve managed to come up with one paragraph already. I was tempted to do an entire post today using nothing but song titles or lyrics. I did that one several months ago, so I’m overdue for another one. Here’s how it works: after every song I reference, you will find the name of the artist that performed that song in parenthesis. When you read the artists in parenthesis, promise me you’ll do so by saying it one octave lower than everything else you are reading. Why? Because it’s fun and that’s how I do it. Let’s practice: you might be saying right now that “Michael, we don’t want to do ‘the way you do the things you do’ (The Temptations). See, did you lower your voice when you said The Temptations? If you did, then we’re all set to go.

That’s two paragraphs right there in no time flat. I know I don’t often share intimate details with you, but since I’m blazing new forges today (or whatever), I am going to be very honest with you. Breaking through this writer’s block thing is a lot easier than I thought it would be (oooooooh, I hope I didn’t just jinx it. I’d knock on wood, but no one uses real wood anymore. It’s all laminate. I think it’s time that that phase is updated, don’t you? So, knock on laminate, this post is going as smooth as a baby’s butt after a close shave. Wait, am I mixing my metaphors again??). I think in honor of National Karaoke Week, I will continue with the song reference theme because, well, ‘I like it, I love it, I want some more of it,’ (Tim McGraw).

Three paragraphs in the can. Seriously, I am getting ready to start boasting here. It feels like I’m ‘on top of the world’ (The Carpenters). Of course, many of you have probably sensed the lack of substance and have decided to be ‘Movin’ Out’ (Billy Joel) in favor of a better blog, but it’s ok, I understand. ‘I will survive’ (Gloria Gaynor). Honestly, ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ (Paul McCartney) that any of you are still reading this. I figured by now that I’d be ‘alone again, naturally’ (Gilbert O’Sullivan) after putting up such a fruitless effort today.

Wow, four paragraphs already, though that last one really shouldn’t qualify. It was ‘Bad’ (Michael Jackson). I promise I won’t ‘do it again’ (The Beach Boys). Really, ‘I should have known better’ (The Beatles) then to try to get something that lackluster by you all. ‘With a little luck’ (Paul McCartney), I’ll find something better to write about ‘tomorrow’ (Annie soundtrack, though don’t start thinking I go around singing that one much). Thanks for your willingness to ‘Keep on truckin’ (Eddie Kendricks) with me though. How do you all deal with writer’s block? For some reason, my writing today didn’t come as ‘easy as Sunday morning’ (The Commodores/Lionel Ritchie).

I was also tempted to write about all the things I am going to have to sacrifice now that gas is just about 4 ‘green back dollars’ (The Kingston Trio) a gallon here. I took my Chevy to the levy (Don McClean) (assuming that the rest of you refer to the gas station as the levy, like I do so that I can make yet another futile attempt at being clever) this morning and had to spork out about $3.80 a gallon (it’s time we updated that phrase too, because many people do actually favor the spork to the traditional spoon or fork. It’s so much more efficient). Not only is that way too much ‘Money’ (The Beatles), it also caused me to use way too many parenthesis in that last sentence and since I used to be a copywriter (as in: I actually used to get money for my writing), I should know better. It’s that type of poor composition that will prevent me from ever becoming a ‘paperback writer’ (the Beatles).

The first place I’ll notice the pain of the 4-dollar thing is at the convenience store. Getting gas seriously ‘cuts like a knife’ (Bryan Adams) into my Slurpee and Diet Mountain Dew purchasing when I’m out ‘Cruising’ (Smokey Robinson). When I am out driving around for work, I gotta ‘get my drink on’ (Toby Keith). I think that means that I get thirsty. I guess I should’ve just said that. I think Mountain Dew is actually an older word for ‘White Lightning’ (George Jones), which is another word for moonshine, which looks like ‘cool, clear water’ (Marty Robbins), so I need to make sure that you understand that I mean the soft drink, not the illegal liquor that led to the birth of NASCAR. Perhaps many of you didn’t know that little tidbit about this country’s biggest spectator sport. After reading that you’re probably thinking wow ‘ain’t that a kick in the head’ (Dean Martin). That’s the problem with useless facts: you don’t get to share them that often. Eventually, you have to let all those little Cliff Clavens floating around in your head out to ‘Breathe’ (Faith Hill).

Ok, I’m done now. This is ‘the end’ (The Doors). I’m not sure I actually accomplished anything today, but at least you didn’t have to read a repost. And now you maybe have a little better insight into why I rarely meet deadlines, think something all the way through or make decisions easily. Or have trouble putting my pants on, matching my ties to my shirts for work, am not able to navigate easily through the city I have lived in since 1997 without my GLAND (Getting Lost Avoidance Navigational Device), am not able to go to a drive-thru and get the orders correct for my coworkers, have to sometimes walk around with Post-Its attached to my shirt to remind me to do something or tell my twins apart in the middle of the night without asking ‘which one are you again?’

Didn’t I start this post writing about the circus down the street from my office? What happened?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Groovy TV

When the discussion and idea of today’s post initially started between me and the way cool Sonia, it was going to be inspired by and about the Match Game or possibly, Match Game ’76, the ultra cool game show from the 70s. As we thought of how best to pay tribute to The Match Game, well, we drew a…blank. If you’ve seen the Match Game, trust me, that was funny. That was a great show with such wicked-hip panelists as Richard Dawson in his pre-Family Feud swinger days. Even Charles Nelson Reilly was part of the gang. I swear it was like a senior citizen’s Rat Pack. If you had asked me growing up what Florida would be like, I would have directed you to The Match Game. Anywhoo, we modified the theme ever so slightly so that we can discuss how 70s TV influenced our lives, and in my case, at least half of my cultural references.

Being yanked from the warmth of my mother’s womb and placed into the cold harshness that was the last week of 1973 (I’m thinking of starting a novel using that last sentence, but wanted to try it out here first), I don’t remember a lot about 70s TV as it was happening. I did however grow up on 70s reruns. Lots of them. In fact, by the time this post is over, you may well think I grew up on too many 70s reruns…

Do I really need to tell you that everything I expected high school to be was inspired and influenced by The Brady Bunch? You can imagine my shock and I dare say disappointment when I got to high school only to discover that kids didn’t go around in butterfly collar jumpsuits or sing songs like ‘Keep On Keeping On.’ Nope, we had MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, who of course today goes by the name Vanilla Iced Macchiato. I debated and I debated and went ahead and kept that line in there. I do apologize and understand if you are already clicking to a different site…

If only Marcia Brady had been in my class so I could have fawned over her and befriended Jan in order to get closer to Marcia. I mean I like Jan, don’t get me wrong, but I swear Marcia winked at me once in that episode where Tiger runs away and fathers poodle pups with Sam the Butcher’s prized toy poodle. I’m making that up, but surely Tiger ran away at least once. Heck, weren’t there entire seasons where Tiger was MIA?

Then there was the phenomena that was ‘CHiPs.’ Lo, the countless hours me and all the neighborhood kids rode our bikes pretending to be the CHP motorcycle riding cast of that fine cop-show drama. For some reason though, I always had to be Sarge or John Baker. Once, just once, I wanted to be Ponch, but the neighbor kids never let me. There was also ‘Emergency,’ with the delightful Nurse Ratchett. Ahh Dixie. Do you know how many times in my life that I’ve said ‘Squad 51, squad 51,’ followed by an imitation of the alarm that rings whenever John and Roy got a call to go help someone? You can imagine my surprise as I got older only to discover that Dixie was the same Julie London whose singing sends shivers up my spine (the good kind, not the uh-oh do I have Meningitis kind) or that she was married in real life to the man who played Dr. Joe Early, who wrote the song ‘Get Your Kicks on Route 66.’ File those away for your next Trivial Pursuit Game!

There was the time that I had to wait in the psychiatrist’s lobby at my doctor’s office and I kept
seeing Dr. Bob Hartley’s door from ‘Newhart’ in my mind. I also love to spontaneously sing the chorus of ‘The Love Boat,’ just to annoy people. When I wrote once about how I wanted my final blog entry to go, I made mention of wanting to do it Mary Tyler Moore style and have a group hug as we all shuffle to the door before I turn out the lights. Obviously, the practicality of doing this makes no sense, but I was caught up in the moment, the finale, if you will. I am also pretty sure that I called an idiot co-worker at my past job a ‘Ted Baxter’ once. He didn’t get it. In the same ‘how I’d end my blog’ post, I also said I wanted to display the words good-bye in rocks, ala the finale of MASH. Yes, I am aware that MASH ended in like 82 or so, but it began in the 70s, so my argument trumps yours.

One of the best things to happen to 70s TV was WKRP in Cincinnati. If you’ve never seen it, I just want to say: ‘Thanksgiving Episode.’ Possibly one of the finest 25 minutes of television, ever! If you do remember that fine ensemble show, you will no doubt remember news man and Silver Sow
Award winner Les Nessman. His cubicle had no walls and no doors (yes, I bastardized adapted that from Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion) so he outlined where walls should be with tape and wouldn’t acknowledge anyone in his ‘cubicle’ unless they pretended to knock on his imaginary door. Many, many times have I asked people to knock before entering my cubicle. Sadly, no one has yet to honor this request and only a few have any clue as to what I am even talking about. It makes me chuckle though, so it’s worth it. But then seeing someone hit in the man area makes me chuckle too.

Who could ever forget that one of TV’s finest and longest running institutions, SNL, debuted in the mid-70s? And while the late 80s-mid 90s cast is probably my favorite, the original cast and first 5 years was AMAZING. I seriously think that not a day goes by where I don’t quote from the original SNL, particularly ‘Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute,’ just don’t ask why. I also love to
quote Scooby Doo and say ‘if it hadn’t been for those meddlin’ kids’ whenever Lucy and Ethel (or LaVerne and Shirley as I also call them every now and then) do something they shouldn’t have. For the last few years, I have found myself eschewing (that’s what she said. I know it doesn’t really fit here, but it just sounded so good) the ‘OK’ hand signal in favor of the ‘thumbs up’ signal. We all know where that came from. AAAYYY.

I could go on and on about my recollections of 70s TV, but then you wouldn’t have time to read
Sonia’s 70s TV post, and that is something you MUST do. So, head over there now and enjoy. Be sure to come back here tomorrow though, or in other words: come and knock on our door, we’ve been waiting for you. I’m done now. It’s out of my system. I promise…

Monday, April 21, 2008

It Makes Me Want To Sing!

I know you all have been waiting for this one! Yep, even though you were clueless about it, I know you’ve still been waiting. In fact, I’m not really sure how you even were able to contain yourselves. I mean I barely could and I knew about it. It’s probably been tougher on me since I’ve had to wait while anticipating it. Isn’t waiting hard? It’s probably not as hard (that’s what she said) as weight lifting (sadly, that was the only other play on the word ‘wait’ that I could come up with), but still, it’s pretty hard. How hard is it? It’s like ‘smelling bacon coming from your neighbor’s house and having to fight the urge to barge in and join them for breakfast even though you didn’t return their weed whacker and you still have their cat (don’t ask why)’ hard. That, my friends, is hard.

You might be wondering what I’m talking about right now. Folks, it’s National Karaoke Week. That’s right, it’s time to honor that age old tradition where we get up in front of mostly complete strangers and belt out tunes that really weren’t that good when they were originally released 20 years ago. In anticipation of writing about National Karaoke Week, I decided to break with tradition and do a little research on the topic I was going to be writing about. It hurt my head, but I am now able to ask you the follow question. Did you know that ‘karaoke’ is Japanese for ‘those who sing look like ass of overweight water buffalo?’ Have you ever seen an overweight buffalo? Friends, that’s one big backside. Though contrary to popular belief, water buffalo don’t actually become ‘overweight’ in the terms we are used to. They actually bloat because they are retaining water, because they are ‘WATER’ buffalo. I swear next time you are drunk, going under from anesthesia or suffering from blunt force head trauma, you will find that funny. In fact, when any of those 3 things happen, you may want to reread most of my posts…or maybe add me to your will, or pretty much anything that will benefit me by virtue of you not being able to make sound decisions. And do I really have to tell you how thankful you’ll be when you get either the karaoke or water buffalo question next time you are playing trivial pursuit? I bet that pompous ass Alex Trebec didn’t even know about those two factoids.

You may be wondering what the best way for you to celebrate karaoke is. You may be wondering a lot of things after reading that last paragraph. Namely, if you were speed-reading this post because I write way too much for you to have to try to read every day, you could easily have missed the fact that this post is about karaoke. Maybe you thought it was about water buffalo or dungarees or maybe even a salutation to the hits of Engelbert Humperdink.

Don’t worry; I’ve known for a long time that I write too much. After all, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make the connection when my ‘bullet’ posts continually get more comments than my ‘paragraph’ posts. Dang it, now it sounds like I am venting when this post is actually about singing. OK, I’ve ordered my microphone shaped cake, warmed my vocal chords and put on my ‘hustle’ shoes so that I can help you celebrate the one thing guaranteed to help ensure that you are ridiculed publicly by your friends and strangers. Friends, it’s time for karaoke!!!

It would be way too easy to jump on stage and sing ‘I Will Survive’ or ‘Friends in Low Places’ or Jimmy Buffet’s ‘Let’s Get Drunk’ and announce that you are doing so in honor of Karaoke Week, but I say dig deeper, try harder, forge some new musical ground. Try a tune from the back of the song catalog that doesn’t get picked so often. Try a song you’ve never sung before, throw in a few new dance steps and belt one out! I know this will seem intimidating, so I am going to provide you with a few gems that are sure to get the audience on your side in honor of this joyous week…

Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Alone Again Naturally’ – sure it’s slow, sure it’s depressing, sure it’s about suicide. That’s what is going to make this one a sure hit. No one will expect it and I bet you’ll have everyone singing the chorus with you before you are done!

Helen Reddy’s ‘Delta Dawn’ – Yes her version of ‘I Am Woman’ is a popular Lady-Anthem, but we don’t want to alienate the guys. After all, this is a holiday. Have you ever heard a room full of people sing the chorus of Delta Dawn? Well, I haven’t either, but 2 college girls in the car next to me heard me singing it at a red light once and they couldn’t stop smiling.

The Pips’ ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ – I’ve got two words for you: ‘Woo Woo.’ Just do the ‘ole ‘pulling the train whistle’ move during the ‘woo woos’ and you’ll have them eating out of your hand!

Don MacLean’s ‘American Pie’ – You may have never taken your Chevy to the levy, but I guarantee you won’t be the cause for the day the music died if you sing this one. It’s long (that’s what she said), the chorus repeats too many times and everyone has heard it. Plus, it mentions pie and people like pie.

The Carpenters’ ‘Close To You’ – Sure everyone is going to be hesitant to join in at first because they don’t want their social status questioned, but just sing it 3-4 times in a row without getting off stage even when people are hurling objects at you and eventually everyone will be swaying back and forth, arm in arm to this feel good love gem. I think.

Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’ – This one just straight grooves baby! It tells a great story and you can do the little finger gun dance move to the ‘who shot who’ line. I don’t mind admitting that my friends and I made this one famous in college. But then, we were reduced to singing karaoke in a Japanese restaurant on Friday nights, so really, how popular could we have been? Don’t let this deter you though. Look where I am today!

The Tramps’ ‘Disco Inferno’ – Seriously, do I really have to explain this one? A room full of people singing ‘burn baby burn’ for 14 minutes at the top of their lungs? I can see the lighters being held up proudly now…and maybe a visit from the fire marshall.

George Jones’ and Tammy Wynette’s ‘We’re Not The Jet Set’ – We’re not the jet set, we’re the old Chevro-let set. If you can’t sing this one arm in arm with your neighbor then you must be a supporter of communism, or, you own a Ford, which might as well be the same thing. I’m kidding! Well…

Frank Sinatra’s version of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs. Robinson’ – Does this song swing! That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is yes. Just make sure you have your totty glass handy and throw in lots of ‘goo-goo-go-joobs’ and ring-a-ding-dings,’ baby. That Mrs. Robinson is one cuckoo bird. And yes, for the record, that is how I talk when doing Sinatra karaoke.

And lastly, The Kingston Trio’s ‘Tom Dooley’ – Because there just aren’t enough good songs about hanging dead from a tree anymore.

So there you have it, just a few songs to help you get into the karaoke spirit. I know I am going to fire up my karaoke machine every night this week and sing like it’s going out of style. The only question is which song to do first, ‘You Light Up My Life’ or ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing?’ I’m kidding. It’ll be Kenny Rogers’ ‘Daytime Friends and Nighttime Lovers.’ Or maybe, if I’m feeling saucy enough, ‘Mr. Bojangles,’ the Sammy Davis Jr. version.

La, la, la, la, me, me, me, me, me…

***And now for the previews: stay tuned Wednesday for a special look at 70s TV and how we base our lives on it by me and Sonia Sunshine***

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wait Until They See What I Hid In My Fake Arm…

Don’t you love tomfoolery? I don’t mean the word (though that’s pretty cool too), I mean people doing less than smart things. According to the AFP news service, tomfoolery can be done with limbs. You may not think that’s possible but the story I’m about to make fun of comment on totally proves it. Are ya ready? It’ll be good. I promise. A man was recently convicted for smuggling baby iguanas from a small South Pacific island into southern California. I guess he was thinking ‘Iguana have lots of illegal baby lizards in my home.’

Or not, but admit it, you saw that cheap line coming from a mile away. Seriously, these ARE the jokes folks. I’ll be here all week and remember to tip your waitresses please. Maybe he had just finished watching ‘Bizarre Foods and had a hankering for reptilian relish. I’m kidding, I’m kidding. But, I hear it’s really good on all beef hot dogs. Again, kidding!

Whatever the reason, he stole them from an island preserve, and if I remember correctly, they are called ‘preserves’ because the areas are set aside especially for, well, PRESERVING species that otherwise might become endangered or extinct. Let me translate this for you: preserve is another way of saying hands off. Now, while that may be incredibly uh, ‘anti-smart,’ the story gets even anti-smarterer. How did he smuggle them into the states? Inside of his prosthetic leg of course. Now granted, I can’t tell you whether it was the right or left leg, but that’s not super important, right?

I’m just hoping that part of his fake leg had some type of compartment or pieces that closed up tight because frightened baby iguanas probably bite and since they can only crawl up, well, you know what I’m getting at. I’m sure they move around a lot when in confined spaces too. Can you imagine what that flight must have been like? No? Let me give you some examples…

Older Refined Woman With The Window Seat (ORWWTWS): Excuse me, do you hear that hissing sound? Hearing it in mid-flight is making me nervous, sonny. (Sorry, I had to add the sonny for effect)

Fake Leg Smuggler (FLS): Hissing? Really, hissing? Uh, um, well, it’s probably just the hydraulic fluid leaking from the plane’s wing flaps or something.


ORWWTWS: Excuse me young lad, are you quite all right?

FLS: Me? Yes, uh why?

ORWWTWS: Well, I hear a lot of banging around and it seems to be coming from your leg.

FLS: Oh, that’s called Rickets. I’m surprised you haven’t already had them.

Perhaps this is what might have transpired…

ORWWTWS: Pardon me young man, but did you just put reptile food down your leg?

FLS: Yes, I was bit by a snake on vacation resulting in a custard thick greenish yellow puss-filled abscess. Shoving reptile food that will dissolve inside of it is the only known antidote. However, I am very self-conscience about it and I embarrass easily, so I’d rather not give you all the details, except of course to use the unnecessary and highly descriptive words ‘custard thick greenish yellow puss-filled abscess,’ ma’am.

And that’s why we should never steal baby lizards from South Pacific Island preserves by hiding them in our prosthetic body appendages.

The End.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More End Of The Week Randomocity

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but randomocity isn’t even a real word. What? Well anyway, we’ve made it to the end of the week, unless you work during the weekends, which makes today Sunday night, maybe? Just as you clean your desk off at the end of the day (unless you want your boss to think you’ve been really busy), I am clearing out my mind at the end of the week and this is what I came up with…

* It occurred to me the other day that I am now past the age that they stop singing about in the Beach Boys’ song ‘When I Grow Up To Be A Man.’ I am now 2 years past the last age they mention (and I should mention that you have to turn the volume up very, very loud during the fade out to even hear the last age they mention). I’m not sure how I feel about this. Maybe you female readers feel the same way when you hear ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’ after you have become a woman? For clarification purposes, I mean ‘becoming a woman’ in the age sense, not in the bow-chicka-bow-bow sense because that’s really none of my business.

* I have finally decided that there are really only 2 types of people in this world: those that think Paul Simon and Chevy Chase’s video for ‘You Can Call Me Al’ is the funniest music video of all time including any video that may ever be made from this day forth and those that do not. Yes, I am in the first group. At parties in high school, a friend and I would routinely perform our version of it, provided of course that a performance of ‘You Can Call Me Al’ still constitutes a party…

* Being bored is a state of mind. Being bored in the boardroom is not. It’s called work or possibly being held hostage. OK, I have to admit that all flowed a lot better in my head when it first came to me in the shower this morning. I’ll keep working on it…

* Things always seem better when in the presence of bacon, but they still won’t let me cook it at work. And no, Baco-bits do not serve as a good substitute in these instances. I have tried, oh Lordy how I’ve tried.

* I wish more songs used the phrase ‘tenement slum’ in them. That’s why The Supremes’ ‘Love Child’ is such a great and snappy tune. A real pick-me-up, if you ask me! Though I am still trying to figure out what the heck ‘Stoned Love’ means. I don’t want to get all biblical here, but where I come from, stoning most certainly does not equal love. That reminds me of a useful tip I’ve been meaning to share: when you get in early to work, do not ever stand up, dance around your cubicle to ‘Stoned Love’ while singing along with the background ‘ooh, ooh, oohs.’ Invariably, someone else will also show up early to work and then wait until lunch to tell all of your coworkers what they witnessed even after they promised you they wouldn’t.

* I can’t wait until I’m an old man. Then, everything I say will just be overlooked and ignored instead of it getting me in trouble all of the time. I think being irrelevant is going to work out quite well for me.

* Without even realizing how loud I was speaking, I blurted out ‘I don’t know how you all work 8 hours a day’ the other afternoon. I don’t recommend doing that.

* I recently asked Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School if she had heard back from the mime school she applied to not long ago. She told me they said they were interested but then never called her back. To make her feel better, I told her that they did call her back, but she just couldn’t hear them because they mimed it. It didn’t make her feel any better. It sure lifted my spirits though.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah

It’s another useless and quite possibly anti-real holiday Thursday (Hi Kat, sorry). It’s not everyday that we get to celebrate bogus holidays (when you count yesterday’s 3 celebrations ) during back to back days. Well, that’s excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas (I get my birthday on the 24th and then Christmas on the 25th. It’s ok; you can go ahead and write my birthday down just in case I forget to give it to you again. Though that is as likely to happen as it is having photos of me wearing a sombrero and hula skirt dancing to ABBA hits surface on the internet).

Today is Blah Blah Blah Day. I had my own idea regarding what the day celebrates, but it’s a good thing I went ahead and looked it up. I would have assumed (and no, assuming does not make me an ass, it makes me a motivated go-getter for postulating a theory without adequate information. I’m a trailblazer, if you will) that it was just a day where we are supposed to go around saying lots of meaning less things like blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada. And I gotta tell ya, the prospect of spending an entire day (especially while at work) just walking around getting to say ‘blah times three’ in response to everybody was really twitter-patting. Yes, I know it should be ‘titillating,’ but I blush and then start giggling whenever I have to say that word, which as you can probably imagine, is not very often. After discovering what Blah Blah Blah Day is really for, my twitter-pattingness decreased exponentially, which is science speak for ‘a whole lot’ or in some regions, ‘a bushel’s worth.’

Through my dogged research and hunt and peck techniques – and a little something called Google (don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it, it’s kinda new), I was able to find more about this holiday so that I could share it with you. It turns out that Blah Blah Blah Day is for getting all the things done that people have been bugging you about. Now see, that’s going to involve some work and let’s face it; if people have been bugging you to do something, it means you haven’t done it yet, although you probably should have and you are putting it off for a reason. Not a lot o’fun there, I’m thinking. Reenacting the bloodiest battle of the Civil War using Fisher-Price’s Little People? Funtastic! Doing chores and other annoying things that require effort you would rather devote elsewhere, like towards eating cheese or staring at a wall with textured surfaces? Not fantastic.

It seems that’s what this holiday is all about, Charlie Brown (to butcher slightly paraphrase one of my favorite all-time TV specials). Has your boss been on you to get that report done (I won’t hold it against you if it’s actually your fault because it’s overdue)? Were you supposed to clean out the gutters about 13 weekends ago? Forget to pick your child up at soccer practice this afternoon? Well ok, that one is nag-worthy, but you get my point. I guess we are supposed to make our lists of undoneables today and turn them all into doneables so that we can avoid being the recipients of blah blah blahings. And no, you don’t need to read that sentence again because I assure you that it really was written in English.

Wait, wait, wait, all these chores and crossing things off lists does not sound like fun. I have now completely lost any excitement I had for Blah Blah Blah Day. And let me tell you, I was mighty excited. We’re talking ‘I began The Happy Dance’ excited. That feeling of good well and yes, even a touch of merriment, is done now. In fact, I no longer wish to write about Blah, Blah…actually, I don’t even want to finish typing it. You can nag me about it, but I’m still not going to finish typing it!

So now, I am left having made a big deal out of a holiday I don’t plan on celebrating. Wow, this is awkward. So very awkward. ‘Carrying on a 30-minute conversation with someone (yes your new neighbor) after he has introduced himself and then having to ask his name again at the end of said 30-minute conversation’ awkward. Really awkward. I’m really wishing right about now that Blah Blah Blah Day WAS about just walking around saying ‘blah’ to finish my sentences. I could certainly use that conversational avoidance technique right here. Yeah, I’m done.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Busy Celebrating Wednesday

If you thought you were going to be busy Wednesday because it’s the middle of the work week and studies have proven that the 16th day is the busiest day of every month* (the asterisk I just put there means you need to skip forward to the very bottom of this story and read the little footnote I added. It’s ok, you can do that now and then come back), wait until you find out about the not 1, not 2, but 3 incredible holidays that need to be celebrated. And because I am writing about more 'bogus' holidays, this is where I say ‘Hi Kat, I’m sorry.’ So, clear your calendars, get out the streamers and Smore making kits because it’s time to celebrate International Moment of Laughter Day, International Stress Awareness Day AND National Wear Your Pajamas To Work Day.

Where to begin? Well, let’s get the negative day out of the way. If I recall, it was recently National Stress Awareness at Work Week and now we have International Stress Awareness Day. That’s really not important but I just wanted to weave that into the story, you know, to make me look all smart and stuff like Alex Trebec or that Miss America contestant that was really, really good at geography. I don’t know about you, but I am keenly aware of my level of stress EVERY DAY. I really don’t need Wednesday to celebrate being aware of my stress. I can however tell you what I am thinking when I am aware of my stress. It usually is when I am looking at Female Coworker or my cubicle or my work email or when my office phone rings. By the way, does anyone else equate that little red voicemail light on their office phone with Darth Vader’s breathing like it’s a warning symbol of impending doom? Oh, ok, maybe it’s just me.

Why does my job stress me out? Well, I have thought long and hard (That’s What She Said – admit, you saw that one coming) about it and have finally figured it out. Though I am horrible at math and numbers and geometry and cooking pastries and tying my children’s shoes or trying to give them pony tails, there is one mathematical equation I have been able to solve: Work Cubicle does not equal Island Retreat. With that problem solved, we can now move on to the better reason for celebrating today.

Up next on the celebratory platter for hump day (now I can cross that phrase off my unused list) is International Moment of Laughter Day. That sounds like a fun one. My only concern is if a moment of laughter here in the U.S. translates internationally, since it is an international day of celebration and all and I would never, ever want to be accused of offending someone with a culture or background that I do not understand. And yes, that does include polka musicians, those high school boys that are wearing those skin-tight ladylike jeans and anyone who says they don’t ‘get’ the 2 Airplane movies).

I’m not sure what my international moment of laughter will be on Wednesday. I’d like it to happen naturally, but I do have a few go-to plans just in case nothing materializes. Take for instance my twins’ favorite knock-knock joke : ‘knock, knock, who’s there? Boo. Boo Who? Why are you crying?’ Don’t worry, I may have mentioned it first, but that’s my deep, deep pocket go-to. Prior to that, I have a few ‘that’s what she saids’ I can always pull out as well as my patented skipping wildly down the hallway, bobbing my head back and forth while singing KC And The Sunshine Band’s ‘My Boogie Shoes’ (from The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack) at work routine. Granted, when I do this one I know I am being laughed at instead of laughed with, but what the hay fever, I figure it’s all in the spirit of the holiday. You’re right; let’s hope that something just happens naturally to provide that moment of laughter. Why is that I have the Bee Gees’ ‘I Started A Joke’ playing in my mind right now? Better yet, in the 550+ posts I have written, why can’t I reference a song title from the 90s or 2000s (or would that be The Ks)?

Last up for today’s party time is National Wear Your Pajamas To Work Day. I don’t know if we have been cleared to celebrate this one in my office yet or not. Since I have yet to see a memo saying NOT to wear our PJs, I’m going to go with the ole it’s easier to ask for forgiveness after the fact thing (like those rare but sweet occasions when I feed Lucy and Ethel key lime pie for breakfast – on a school day) and wear my PJs to work, thus guaranteeing that there WILL be a memo sent next year. Don’t worry, it won’t be the first time that a memo has been distributed to EVERYONE but is really only meant for me. Our HR department is so thoughtful sometimes. Hey, I just thought of something: when I show up with my Grinch Stole Christmas PJs, it just might provide that international moment of laughter thing.

So there you have it, a plate chock-full o’celebrations for the day. I am going to wrap this up so you can get off the computer, be aware of your stress, laugh for at least one moment and wear your PJs into the office. Now if only they made the PJs with the back-end trap door and rubberized footsie things for grown-ups…

* Though I have no statistical numerical stuff to back up my claim that the 16th is the busiest day of the month, I’m sticking to it. The number 16 was given to me in a dream by famed Cubs broadcaster Harry Carey and this was the only way I could find to work that number in.**

**Yep, now I have to admit that I’m making that up too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What Do You See?

I know that I am very behind (would that make me ass-inine?) in getting this story out into blogsville, as it has been circulating for almost a week now, but I had to write about what I think makes up the reflection in the now famous photograph of VP Dick Cheney with his shades on taken while he was fly fishing. Let’s just say it hadn’t eluded my ‘noticement’ (I’ve had such a hard time finding other places to use that word lately). After all, this is the VP who takes congressmen out into the woods and shoots them for sport. I’m kidding. Really! Got that Secret Service? I’m making that up.

Though it does sound like something a James Bond villain would do doesn’t it? Don’t believe me? Just watch Goldfinger, or Moonraker or A View To A Kill or even Shadow of Gold. Yes, I made that last one up. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. In fact, other than Goldfinger, I’m not sure if Bond is hunted in the woods in any other Bond film, but once I made the statement, I kind of had to stick with it. I’ve seen them all a gazillion times, but after about so many viewings, they all start to blend together. I will say this though; there is a good chance that a cute woman with a highly suggestive name like Booty McGee or Icey Cans will be in Goldfinger, Moonraker, A View To A Kill AND Shadow of Gold.

Yes, I was testing you again. It’s the same proven technique I use whenever playing that game where you have to write a definition and I always use the same definition for each word even after I tell everyone that I’m going to do it. Or, the way that I always hold one card face out so everyone can see it while playing poker. Since no one expects behavior like that, I know it’s going to give me the upper hand because it causes my components to be confused.

Enough about that though. Let’s get back to the Veep’s shades. A lot of people on the intraweb have put forth theories of what is reflected in those ‘semi-aviator, every VP has to have a pair’ sunglasses and most of those theories say that it’s a naked female (pronounced feee-mall-ee in Spanish; that’s right, just like tamale). Ok, all of the theories deal with female nudity. After all, it is the internet we’re talking about here. Well, there is ONE theory being postulated by a Nerdy Nerderson in the mid-west that says it’s an image of a bald eagle carrying a red hammer and sickle passing majestically by the Veep; thereby representing Capitalism’s triumph over Communism. It’s a nice theory, but where would an eagle find the symbolic tools of communism or better yet, how would the eagle know what the symbolic tools of communism are? And why am I using such big words in that last sentence?

I have my own theory. Remember my little diatribe on speculation yesterday? Well, I’m going to speculate again. I’ve looked long and hard (that’s what she said) at the image in Cheney’s glasses and I have to tell you that I think the image is pretty obvious. If you look (and you really don’t have to look that closely to tell), it’s without a doubt a Battle Droid from Star Wars. Seriously, compare the image to the left with the image in the sunglasses! I have no idea WHY the VP is fishing with a Battle Droid, but then I have never fly fished so it would be just as bad for me to criticize him as it would be for me to tell you that the directions you gave me to get somewhere I have never been are wrong, which I have done before, by the way.

Maybe because everyone is now afraid to go hunting with him, he has to take a Battle Droid for company. Maybe the Battle Droid has a built in fish finder feature. I know we can all see the undeniable usefulness of that. Perhaps George Lucas sent one as gift. It could be that Mr. Cheney just feels better when he takes the replica of a Battle Droid with him wherever he goes. It’s like a security blanket, except it’s not soft and he’s not Linus Van Pelt.

Now we can put this little bit o’gossip behind us. We can all go to sleep tonight knowing that our Vice President is not doing anything inappropriate with a woman who is lacking clothes on the bank of his favorite fly fishing spot. Honestly, I never, ever thought I would get to put that sentence into writing. Wow, I’m achieving more and more of my personal goals through this writing thing. Before I wrap this up, I can put it another way: and I repeat, he did not have sexual relations with that reflection. Wow, that’s two writing goals achieved in just one paragraph.

I’ll remember this day for a long time, just like when my dog Mable saved my life last 4th of July by licking my fingers until I woke up after I had fallen asleep in the kiddy pool for 3 hours and had become the color of a ripe plumb. Ok, maybe saying she saved my life is a bit dramatic. Now that I think about it, what the heck was she doing for the 3 hours until she finally woke me up? A battle droid wouldn't have waited that long...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This Wouldn’t Happen With Barney Fife

I recently read a Reuters story about cops in China. In China, it airs on the Panda Network. Get it, Cops is on FOX here and in China it would be a Panda? Seriously, I worked on that one during my entire conference call the other day. Oh well. It seems that a new policy has been issued for police in one of China’s provinces. I guess instead of a police policy, it should be called a policey? You’re right; that wasn’t funny. The new policy states that officers who have received a write-up (as we call it here in the states. My Chinese is a little rusty, so we’ll just go with that) or are facing relationship or financial stresses are going to lose their department issued guns. Uh, does that strike anyone else as you know, ODD?

Does this redefine the term ‘police state’ for anyone else? Does anyone else wonder how bad things are when officers can still be on patrol but are deemed too ‘something’ to be able to carry weapons? Does anyone else refer to police as ‘Barney’ or ‘Ponch?’ Is anyone still reading this? Do you know where I put my sunglasses when I got home from work Friday? Can I write an entire paragraph consisting of nothing but questions? Yes, I can! Oh crap, that wasn’t a question. That’s what I get for gloating…

I thought that law enforcement organizations have strict background and personnel checks for the officers they hire to prevent possible mentally unbalanced people from getting the authority that comes with being a badge-carrying officer. I’m guessing China’s police force doesn’t have a ‘personal leave’ program either. ‘It’s not that we don’t trust you with a gun, we just don’t want you to have a gun until you get out of debt or your divorce is final. Now go out there and keep the streets safe! Well, just keep your hand in your pocket and point it at the suspect as if it were a gun. I swear no one will notice the difference, just don’t make those fake shooting sounds with your mouth again and everything will be fine.’

The story I read didn’t say what the officers stripped of their guns are being given as a replacement, which allows me to speculate about it, which will be much more fun than if we had all been told what the officers were being given instead of guns. Isn’t speculation exciting? It allows us to just throw things out there as if we know what we are talking about and it certainly sounds more official than guessing. When you think about it, it really IS guessing, just in a much fancier wrapper. It’s a lot like those generic brands of soda at the grocery story where the label looks a lot like the original, but instead of being called Dr. Pepper, it’s called Doc Salt or Hill Mist instead of Mountain Dew or Sprike instead of Sprite or something like that. Essentially, it’s the same thing, just with a different presentation.

Is it apparent to you yet that I really hadn’t thought out what else I was going to say after I told you about how odd I thought it was that officers in China of questionable mental state were losing their weapons instead of their jobs? It’s a shame too because the idea seemed so full of potential and then it just ran out of fizz, just like those generic brands of soda at the grocery story where the label looks a lot like the original. I’m now thinking I should have allowed this post to more fully explore the whole world of generic supermarket sodas instead of the whole Chinese Police losing their guns but keeping their jobs thing. Or, perhaps I should better think out what I want to write next time instead of just typing out what occurs to me as I am pounding away at the keyboard. Oh am I getting hungry. I wonder if I remembered to turn off the coffee pot this morning. Right behind my left ear itches, I’d better scratch it with my right hand. But scratching my left ear with my right hand isn’t as efficient as scratching it with my left hand since my left hand is on the same side of my body as the scratch. See what just happened there? I just kept typing as I was thinking. Although on the bright side, I was finally able to prove to you that I don’t think about cheese every minute of the day. However, on the downside, you can now see why it takes me 40 hours to do 8 hours worth of work. I guess that’s just good job security though.

Oh shoot, I forgot to speculate on what police officers in China are being given as weapons when their guns are taken away. Well, in light of how unorganized I was today, I’ll just write down my speculations and present them to you another time. After all, you the reader deserve a well organized and completely thought out post instead of me saying that police officers in China should be issued rubber chickens, silly string, skunk smell in aerosol cans (I think it’s called Essence of Skunk) or a 45-second recorded loop of Rachael Ray laughing. Phew, for some reason now I am exhausted…

***Programming Alert: Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what is reflected in Mr. Cheney’s sunglasses in the photo below. The answer will rock you to the very core of your existence. Or possibly just surprise you.***

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wild Schmild

Today is officially (Hi, Kat. Here’s my useless holiday warning) ‘Take A Walk On The Wild Side’ Day. So, I am celebrating by doing something that is very wild and crazy for me and that I don’t do much of anymore (at least for the last several months anyway). I am writing the elusive Saturday post. Well ok, that’s done. Have a great weekend!

And a very, very, very special thanks to Meleah for this awesome award:

It’s not everyday you get an award. It doesn’t happen a lot, so it’s a pretty nice feeling when it finally happens. A lot like bathing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

End Of The Week Randomocity

In lieu of actually thinking today, I present the following to you packaged as something that hopefully appears to have taken more thought and time than it really did. Although after rereading it, I think that eventuality is rather doubtful.

* Is the Flowbee considered an antique yet? I ask because I can’t find one. Yes, I’ve been looking. I’m all for self-induced haircuts. I want a haircut, I own a vacuum, what could be better?

* Turns out that if a flight leaves Dallas and another flight leaves Waco at the same time, it really won’t matter which one arrives first because both flights were cancelled when the airline went out of business at noon.

* When you take your children to a bounce-house place for a birthday party and you end up playing in the bounce houses, is it a good or bad thing when you are leaving at the end of the night and the birthday girl’s parents pat you on the back and say ‘thanks for being the entertainment?’ They did say it with a smile, but my sarcasm detector was picking up a little something.

* I’m hoping there is no special afterlife place for insects. With Spring in full bloom here, I think I killed about 3,000 butterflies yesterday while driving through the countryside for work. And what’s worse is that I forgot to clean the evidence mess off my windshield last night. I did try to use the windshield wipers in cleaner mode this morning, but it really didn’t help and just streaked everywhere. I just kept trying it in vain like in those made for TV movies where the killer feels remorse and stands in the shower trying to wash the blood off. Great, I’m driving around in a freakin’ crime scene now.

* Has anyone else ever had to try to kill a gopher (I say try because I am in my third year of ‘trying’) that your children think is cute every time it pops its sinister head up? I feel like the stern cowboy father in those sappy movies who is the one that has to take the old dog or horse outback and put it to sleep by shooting it. Why does the mother or uncle or next-door neighbor or hired hand or grizzled old grandmother never have to do it? I guess I should stop complaining since these are the problems you face when accepting the challenge of living on the frontier (of new suburban developments, I mean).

* My coworker and I spent an hour at work the other day with our assistant trying to figure out what the difference between an FYI and a ‘heads up’ is. Turns out there really isn’t one, but we did finally come to an agreement that ‘heads up’ sounds less official and creates much less anxiety. We went with ‘FYI.’

* Social Acceptance tip: If your Ipod contains the Carpenters (and I won’t ask why, as I’d like the same treatment in return), don’t bring your Ipod to work unless the shuffle feature is off. Or at the very least, pause it when you leave your desk so you don’t return to a cubicle full of coworkers saying things like ‘yeah, I think it is the Carpenters’ or ‘gheesh Michael random male coworker, how old are you?’

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Work – Where People Come Together

Perhaps it’s the fact that 30 Rock and The Office are finally new this week (they aren’t on yet, get back here), but I feel like sharing the latest in my office with you all. As you know, I suck excel at coworker relations. Though to be honest, I thought it would be boring and quiet (which means peaceful) with Female Coworker in Texas for the week. That is until two of my coworkers, Mr. Laylow and Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School gave me a present.

There are a few things I should mention first that will help set the scene. First, our boss was on vacation, two, it was late in the afternoon and finally, NO gift is given in our office without it making fun of someone or to mockingly celebrate some unfortunate mishap, achievement or occurrence. Why yes, I’ve received a lot of these gifts, why do you ask?

The minute I received my gift, I recognized it immediately (this is where the picture gets all wavy and fuzzy as we prepare for a flashback. Join me, won’t you, as we travel back in time a few months to explain where I remember my gift from). It was the battery operated water fountain in the highly detailed and exquisitely photographed picture to the left. Looks pretty snazzy, doesn’t it? Would you believe me if I told you that Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School bought it for $2.97 at the ‘Cheapy But Not Cheapy Enough To Qualify For Dollar Store Status’ store? She bought it right after Christmas and was just so excited that at the time she had to share her great find. I must have been the only other one in our office that day because she shared her find with me. Well, when we opened it after Christmas, it didn’t work. I know that’s a surprise to you. Then we put water in it. It still didn’t work though, but you’re gonna give us an ‘A’ for effort, right? That’s the spirit of our office team; we are always looking outside the box to overcome our challenges.

At the time, Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School was determined to return her cheap water fountain back to the store to get her less than three dollar refund. Mr. Laylow and I convinced her how embarrassing it would be to try and return a $2.97 item and told her it could probably be fixed. It turns out that a little wire wasn’t connected right and when we attached it properly (and yes, put water back into it) it worked just fine. It lit up and had 5 little jets of water shooting out, which made a wonderful ‘is someone urinating in here’ sound about it. If you’re into lavatories or hanging out in public restrooms, then I’m pretty sure you’d find it to be a very relaxing addition to your home or workspace.

Ok, the flashback is over. Join me now as we return to present day. I filled up the fountain and excitedly switched it on. Much to my horror (ok, that’s a little too dramatic), much to my surprise (well, that’s just an outright lie, I mean the thing was less than 3 bucks), much to my noticement (is that a word), it barely worked. There was only one stream instead of the 5 that were intended. And even worse, that one stream wasn’t even enough to reproduce the sound of bodily relievement.

I asked out loud ‘did you give me a broken water fountain on purpose?’ At the same time, Mr. Laylow and Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School both said that it worked just fine before they gave it to me. Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School then said she had spent the last few days eagerly awaiting when she would be able to give me my present. That is when I asked ‘was that before or after you realized it didn’t work?’ They both swore again that it worked fine before it was given to me and said that if I believed the damage was done prior to my receiving it that I was free to provide documentation of such and present the case to my boss. They argued that the water-spotted mirror on the water fountain was proof of its prior operational condition. I counter-argued that the little mirror looks like my twins’ bathroom mirror after I let them use their electric toothbrushes without supervision. EVERYONE in the office pointed out that what I said wasn’t really an argument but more of a statement that really didn’t support my position. I in turn stated ‘that’s what she said.’

At this point, Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School came into my office and took the water fountain back. Feeling an impending defeat as she began to storm out of my office with my former gift in hand, I said the only thing I could think of: ‘do you have any more of those yummy Reeses’ Peanut Butter eggs?’ That whole mime school thing must really be working out because without saying a word, the look on her face told me EXACTLY what she was thinking.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Important Information Concerning Blogging

Wow, do I hope that got your attention. If I learned anything while doing PR, it’s that a catchy press release title really works. I also learned that the folks over on the creative team had a lot more fun than I did, but now I just sound bitter. I read (and chances are that many of you did as well) recently that bloggers can be at a health risk. I’d say that I feel obligated to weigh in on this matter, but I really had nothing else to write about today and let’s be honest, just throwing up a Podcast of me singing Elvis’ ‘Do the Clam’ kinda seemed like taking the easy way out. Plus, you might laugh at me.

It turns out that a tech blogger recently died while covering a tech conference and a few other bloggers who write for tech type blogs have all had health troubles. Apparently, in the world of 24/7 blog writing, these bloggers feel much more pressure to come up with good stories and the newest scoop so that they can continue getting paid for their blog writing.

Hit the brakes for a second! Paid for blogging? What the hell? Wait a damn minute here, NOW I feel stressed. You can get paid for blogging? I was just content with nice comments about my writing (and by nice I mean any comment, even those spam ad comments because it makes me figure that at least someone is paying attention), but people give out money to other people who blog? We’re talking real money here, not Dwight Schrute bucks or Monopoly bills, right?

More importantly, some of these people actually make enough money that all they can do is blog, which leads them to be stressed about coming up with more blog content? This means that they can essentially make a career out of blogging? If you haven’t sensed it yet because I’ve been downplaying my astonishment, I am having a really hard time accepting this. Huh, money for blogging. Go figure. What’s next, being able to grind coffee beans in your own home? I suppose you’re also going to tell me that celebrities are adopting babies from foreign countries, aren’t you? Have you ever had that feeling that you are on the outside looking in? Like you accidentally discovered that your coworker threw a BBQ for everyone in the office but ‘accidentally’ ‘forgot’ ‘to’ to ‘mail’ you your invitation? Well, I offer that last scenario purely as a hypothetical. Fortunately, I made it up and have NO idea what that feels like. But if that HAD ever happened to me, it’s exactly like how I feel right now learning that others are making money blogging.

I guess I can understand the stress they feel about having to come up with new ideas or stories to blog about. I feel that way every day (even more so when there isn’t some half-baked holiday I can pretend to celebrate) and I don’t make a dime from my blog. If I was getting paid for it and had no story idea, I would feel a lot of pressure. (Note to editors: that last sentence is not meant to imply that I could not handle the stress and pressures of coming up with content in the event that you wanted to pay me to blog. In fact, for the right price, I am an idea machine. Let me offer you an example - two words for you: flying reptile warriors. See, I just gave you three words and I only planned on two. I’m telling ya – idea machine).

Since blogs and all other forms of internet news or information translate into what is essentially a 24/7 ongoing operation, the flow of information and the need to continually out-provide someone else causes tremendous pressures. This is especially true given the fact that most paid bloggers are paid by what they write or how many readers they can get and some are supporting themselves and their families with that income. Gheesh, just imagine how all those people who operate CNN’s news-ticker at the bottom of the screen feel. They must be jitterier (I swear that my spellchecker thought that was a real word. Bonus points awarded to everyone who works that into their daily vocabulary) than an air traffic controller standing in front of the soda machine when they notice that all the energy drinks are out of stock.

So, I guess with my questionable heart I should consider giving up blogging. Like I said, I already feel the pressure to get daily blog content WITHOUT making my livelihood by the key stroke. Can you imagine how difficult and stressful it is to try to be the first to post my blog everyday so that I can beat out all those other bloggers writing about walking into walls, deep frying things you never would have thought of or trying to compose the perfect sentence-ending double entendre so that you can insert a ‘that’s what she said’ after it (which I must add leaves me giggling like a 12-year-old school girl for the next 3 hours)? It’s hard I tell ya (oh hey, that’s what she said)!

Wow, I feel better now. But not as good as I could feel if I had been paid for this post (894 words if anyone out there wants to pay per word, or whatever. I’m willing to negotiate).

Monday, April 07, 2008

Time To Go Exploring

Exploring is fun. Exploring is exciting. Exploring is perhaps the most enjoyable of all the words that begin with ‘ex.’ I offer as examples (oh hey, that’s another one and that wasn’t even intended) exit, excruciating, excavate, ex-boss, ex-girlfriend, ex-person I used to hang out with before they got annoying because they always said ‘that’s what she said’ in the middle of every sentence, exhume and expatriate. See, not a whole lotta fun going on there, which makes explore that much more desirable, as opposed of course to it being expendable…

Why all this focus on exploring? Well, it’s simple (and I once again must apologize in advance to Kat). This week is ‘Explore Your Career Options Week.’ If only I had known this last week when I wrote about my TV show idea where I try out all types of jobs. That would have been perfect for celebrating this week. But once again, I have fallen victim to premature blog posting. It’s a complex issue that can be very embarrassing for the sufferer and I’d rather not deal with that right now. So, I am left to try to explore my career options in a different way.

One form of exploring is spelunking (can you tell I’m focusing this week on my segues?). However, as opposed to spelunking, I will not be using hats, lanterns, pick-axes, ropes or maps to explore my career options. I decided to use an online career assessment test. It was free. Just remember that tidbit as I guarantee you it will resurface in just a few minutes. I can’t say that I really enjoyed answering 500 questions about myself in 30 minutes, though I suppose it could slightly be related to the fact that my Mtn Dew downgraded to room temperature during this time. The questions explored how I viewed myself as a leader, whether I took initiative, if I make friends easily, how I feel about crowded situations and if I ever blurt things out without thinking first (and we all know the answer to that one). The only problem is that those basic set of questions were rephrased in what amounted to 500 different ways. As my attention span drifted to thoughts of things fried or cheesed, I cannot honestly remember how I answered some of them.

Finally, after having to register and being subjected to at least 20 great offers meant to make my life easier, I got my test results. It said that I am ‘best suited to a creative job.’ Oh my! Really? Who’d have thunk it? You mean all those times I got in trouble for being late on my projects at work because I was busy writing or trying to perfect Christopher Walken’s accent was because I have a creative side? I gotta tell ya how relieved I am. I had just assumed I had some type of tick that made me socially awkward and unemployable. It turns out that I need creativity. Whew! Yes, I am being sarcastic, which I believe was the answer to number 243. Really, 500 questions to find out what counselors and career guidance professionals have been telling me since junior high? I’ll admit I’m a bit miffed, which can happen to me easily sometimes. That was the answer to number 92.

At least I could still look forward to the site’s recommendation of what jobs were suitable for someone assessed as creative. I clicked with unbridled anticipation. OK, that’s stretching it. My anticipation was pretty bridled. And what were my top 3 employment recommendations?

1. Funeral Director
2. Bookkeeping

3. Personal Care or Service

Uhhh, did I miss a step here? Creative people are suited for bookkeeping? To be honest, I had always believed that putting the words creative and bookkeeping in the same sentence equated to an illegal act or at the very least a tax audit.. And do we really want to put someone who answered ‘yes’ to the question about whether or not you blurt out things without thinking first in the position of a funeral director? Perhaps even more importantly, do we really need creativity as a trait for a funeral director?

Call me old-fashioned, but I have always tended to think that preserving people for burial and carrying out the deceased’s funeral plans is pretty straightforward. I mean there are ways I can think of injecting some creativity into the proceedings, but who really wants a casket covered with works of fine art, family pictures or a coconut-scented cremation? I personally think that funeral parlor karaoke would be the perfect way to help a grieving family, but I’m sure there are volumes of research somewhere that prove very convincingly otherwise. At least that’s the case with most things I have recommended, especially at work. Seriously, who thought to do actual research on placing a kiddy pool behind our office so that we can dip our feet into it during breaks BEFORE I suggested it? It just seems like every time I come up with a good idea that someone says ‘well Michael, we already looked into this and it appears it is not a good idea.’ Heck, you’d almost think they were making up the fact that they did research just to keep me from recommending more ideas to improve the workplace. If that were true, it would mean that people are conspiring against me and I don’t believe that. Yes, that was my answer to number 338.

Well, I did my part and honored the spirit of the weeklong holiday by exploring my career options. I guess my next step is to enroll in Funeral Director College. In fact, I’ve already started working on my deep monotone voice and will probably start pricing black suits and carnations tomorrow. I can hardly wait until I can brag to people that I am a graduate of Bury U.