Sunday, August 31, 2008

Q & A Monday Sunday Holiday Edition

First off, to quote one of my favorite SNL characters (Christopher Walken’s ‘The Continental’), I just have to say ‘Wow Wee Wow,’ did you all come through with the Q’s for my A’s this week. I suppose if you read what I just wrote very quickly, it might sound like I was saying ‘you really came through with the cures for my a$$ this week.’ Because this is a family blog, the a$$ in this case would be my donkey. Seriously, the ‘a’ word is in the Bible, so I feel pretty confident in using it. Sadly however, ‘hilariosity is not.’ There really is no logical explanation for me having just informed you of that, but let’s face it, the more the word gets used, the better chance it will end up in the dictionary or be recited by James Earl Jones in his Darth Vadery voice.

And once that happens, I can pass away peacefully someday knowing that my headstone will say something like ‘here lies the man who invented the word ‘hilariosity because he was not smart enough to know that the word ‘hilarity’ already existed. He also had a freaky obsession with cheese, which isn’t really an appropriate thing to carve into a headstone, but his will stipulated that we did, so we obliged, though when no one is looking we’ll probably carve a line right through the cheese part, like people do on their blogs, thereby denoting that it was a piece of information that we wished would be omitted. RIP. RIP it good. (Again, his will stipulated that we also insert that ridiculous take on Devo’s song.’

I seem to have wandered off on a tanget. My deepest apologies. There are so many great questions for this week’s Q & A that it will be the definitive ‘Hey Jude’ version. Of course, if the ‘Hey Jude’ length doesn’t suit you, we can refer to it as the ‘Disco Inferno’ version of Q & A because that song is actually a bit longer than ‘Hey Jude.’ At any rate, or should I say at any length, let me quickly review the rules so we can get started on today’s epic Q & A. If it helps, you can break it into segments while you read or read half in the morning and half in the evening. The rules: I generally don’t proofread the longer Q&As because it makes me sleepy. I have never been (que the Chris Farley air quotes character again) what you might call a ‘go getter.’ I’m not ‘the studying type.’ I tend to ‘goof off’ when I really should be ‘working.’ What all this means is that there are bound to be ‘factual errors’ due to my shoddy ‘research techniques.’ And let’s not remember the last rule: I find it much easier to make something up than to verify it. Just don’t apply that last rule to your workplace.

This week’s first question is from Ralph. Ralph asks ‘For grilling beef, do you buy cheap cuts of steak, like London Broil, that must be marinated to get that great taste grill char? And does it taste better than the expensive cuts that you wouldn't marinade before grilling?’
I like to use the cuts with a lot of marbling in them. I have always read that the high marbling content makes the steak taste better because all the fat in the marbling renders down and we all know how tasty meat fat is when it bastes the selected piece of meat on the grill. The only problem with the marbling is that it can really hurt your teeth. Seriously, those marbles are made of glass, which is not a good thing to have in your food, for obvious reasons.

Next up is Selma. Selma asks a question that a lot of writers from other countries might be curious about. Her question is ‘Why do Americans drop the 'h' when they say 'herbs'? Do you drop the 'h' for every word beginning with 'h?’
First off Selma, the dropping of the ‘H,’ which I think is also the name of a very old religious practice, is not done with every ‘h’ word. 'Herbs’ is the only word I can think of right now, but then as you may have already suspected, I’m just guessing and my bulb's wattage has never really shone too birghtly. Interestingly, I think the ‘h’ in the group ‘Peaches and Herb’ is not silent. But then again, we ARE talking about ‘Peaches and Herb,’ so I’m pretty sure no one cares. I often drop the ‘h’ from the word ‘hello,’ but I like to impersonate the Beatles’ Liverpudlian accent or Dick Van Dyke’s character from Mary Poppins. I’m thinking I should not ave shared that with you. See what I did there? I dropped the ‘h’ from the word ‘have.’

Eva asked a question that challenges every rule I have about doing Q & A. She asked ‘My question requires some homework on your part: When and how did Labor Day come about? And why do they call it Labor Day?’
I’m sure you can easily spot the problem here. Yep, it’s her question’s preface that I will need to do homework to answer. Nowadays my homework consists of cleaning the kitchens and bathrooms, doing the lawns and making sure the pool filter is cleaned, but I’m not sure that will help answer her question. Maybe this will. Labor Day was created in the late 1970s in response to the gas/oil crisis. Lawmakers, Hallmark greeting cards and the Kingsford charcoal briquette company got together to combat the problem and created a day where we wouldn’t have to work but called it Labor Day to confuse people because they were bored. This new holiday had many positive benefits. It reduced fuel use on that day and increased the amount of charcoal purchased. Research is sketchy on why Hallmark participated, but it did give them another holiday for people to exchange cards. I personally love going to the mailbox at the end of every summer to see how many Labor Day cards I have received. I’m not sure about you Eva, but I am glad that bored lawmakers created a day named after work where we aren’t supposed to work and can honor those who do work, just not on the day named after work.

Amy joins us after taking the summer off (welcome back, by the way) to ask ‘what is your favorite potato chip flavor? Black or red licorice? Favorite Brady Bunch episode ever?’
I shall tackle these in the order provided, so as not to confuse anyone, though I am probably just projecting my confusion onto you. My favorite potato chip flavor is definitely BBQ, followed closely by Sea Salt and Vinegar and then Garden Rhubarb. I made the last one up, but it does sound good. As far as licorice, definitely the red, unless I want to upset those around me, in which case it’s the black. I put a few pieces in my mouth, partially chew them and then run around yelling ‘I’ve got the black plague, I’ve got the black plague’ with my mouth full. So far it hasn’t amused anyone but me. I used to try the same thing with the red and go around yelling ‘uncooked meat, uncooked meat, get it out of my mouth, get it out of my mouth!’ Ditto on people’s responses to that. I think there is a tie when it comes to my favorite Brady Bunch episode. I love the Don Drysdale episode (because he was a great Dodger pitcher and broadcaster who is now dead) and the Johnny Bravo episode with Greg. That was so way groovy, man! It makes me want to keep on, keep on, keep on dancing all through the night.

Moonspun is new to the blog, but she wanted to ask a question. Before we answer it though, let’s have everyone say ‘Hi Moonspun!’ Just don’t do it in the ‘Welcome to AA’ voice, ok? Moonspun asked ‘what kind of shampoo do you use and does it matter to you what it smells like?’
I know everyone thinks I’m hip and fashionable and ‘with it’ (ok, I WANT TO BE PERCEIVED as being all of those things) but I use the ole standby Head and Shoulders. I am currently using a H&S bottle that is sea scented but really doesn’t smell like the sea, though it makes me think of the sea every time I see that on the bottle, so it gives me the sea effect, see?

Up next is the wonderful E, who despite actually knowing me (I’m sure she doesn’t want that embarrassing fact released) since my formative (or mostly lack there of) years, still drops by from time to time. E asked ‘Do you have any irrational phobias or peculiar dislikes. For me it is grasshoppers and onions, what is it for you? Also...What are the best and worst children's shows you have had to endure over the last five years?’
First off, E, you should tried grilled onions. Hopefully it will help you accept them. I don’t know that I have any real phobias, aside from me believing that not going to Disneyland once a week will make be old. And the belief that charcoal grilled food is better than gas grilled food. And that brown sugar has to be sprinkled liberally over ham before it can be eaten. And my assumption that The New Kids On The Block was actually a Nazi scam to influence the youth of America, which almost worked. I know, I know, none of those are phobias, but I didn’t have time to look up the definition of phobia, so I just answered based on how I think I have heard the word used in a sentence. Was I close? The peculiar dislikes question is very easy. 1. Cubicles. 2. Neck ties. 3. Celery.

5 best children’s shows: The Simpsons, King Of The Hill, NASCAR Today, America’s Funniest Home Video’s and Wipeout. Yes, I am kidding about the first 2, so everyone can call off Child Protective Services, thankyouvermuch. I do really like Phineas and Ferb and Kim Possible (it’s kinda James Bondy). Least fav 5 children’s shows: Callou, Teletubbies, Barney, Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals and Fleischmann’s Bread Yeast Children’s Happy Hour.

Hallie is next and asked ‘If you had to come back in your next life as a bug, which one would you want to be and why?’
Possibly a Beatle – George or Ringo (I know it’s spelled beetle, but indulge me, please) or a cricket. Crickets make noise and seem to enjoy bugging people. Get it? Bugging? I’m crying over here! I also like any bug that has an incandescent rear end or that gets to make honey. What an enlightening and sweet time those 2 bugs must have!

Meleah offered up a question this week that mentioned cheese. The question is ‘Have you ever had the 'Laughing Cow' cheese? In the wheel?’
I think I may have a long time ago, but now that you have asked, you can bet your Brie that I am going to go get some this week. I was allowed to be a taste tester for Mad Cow Cheese, but although it was good, I fear the name prevented it from really driving people crazy about it.

Patti capitalized on one of the pleasures of summer by asking ‘When you go to the Angels games are you prone to singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" while on the way there in the car? Or when you are in your seat?’ Follow-up question: ‘Do you eat peanuts and Cracker Jack when you attend a baseball game?’
We actually listen to country or just incessantly talk about the food we are looking forward to eating when my friends and I go to the Angels games. If we are not up in the concession stands during the 7th inning stretch then we do sing ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ because not doing so when everyone else is would just be wrong and un-American. We do not consume peanuts and Cracker Jack, but we do eat the $24 dollar pregame buffet, chili cheese fries, pulled pork sandwiches, ice cream sundaes and Pepto Bismol.

Mel asked ‘I would like to know (because you are a cheese expert) why we cut off the moldy parts of most cheeses, but then go eat blue cheese? I'm allergic to penicillin, doesn't it seem like I shouldn't be able to eat blue cheese?’
I keep trying to answer this, but end up rereading the part where you called me a cheese expert. I shall force myself to leave the compliment and move on. We only cut off the moldy cheese parts because the thought of wasting an entire block of cheese has been known to put people in comas or make them paralyzed with fear. I think you can have bleu cheese, even though it contains Penicillium, because the flavor is so strong, aromatic and palette pleasing that it actually overrides the effects of your allergic reactions to it. I believe and suggest that eating bleu cheese before taking Penicillin would cure all of these issues. Then you could get a shot of penicillin and yell ‘Yahoo’ instead of ‘uh-oh.’ Plus, Bleu is fun to pronounce. I realize this has nothing to do with your allergy, but I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. Go ahead everybody, say it with me: ‘bleu.’ ‘You can do anything, but don’t step on my Bleu suede shoes.’ See, wasn’t that fun?

CMK asks a question that makes me think of nice, cooler climates. The question is: ‘Santa Claus lives in Northern Finland, or Lapland--also referred to as Sampi. The Sami people are the residents of Sampi. Some of my ancestors were Sami. Can I claim Santa Claus as a relative, or is that a bit presumptuous on my part? I will accept your answer and behave accordingly. Thank you in advance for helping me with this dilemma. All of my ancestors came from Finland, so I think I have a legitimate claim to Santa as a long distance cousin, at the very least. Right?’
Before I answer this very interesting question, I have one for you. What type of dancing do they do in Lapland? No, not THAT type of dancing. I was thinking of the hula or polka or hustle. If you are short, have pointed ears and can only wear hiked up striped socks and a hat with a white pom-pom on it, then yes, you may very well be a distant Claus descendant. Do you like to make toys? Do you enjoy making cookies in a tree house? These could all be definitive, but muted, Clause bloodline characteristics. I think the chances are very good that you are in some way related. Now you may also be a very direct descendant, but that depends on a few specific genetic traits. How does Christmas Eve make you feel? Does it stir up strange and wonderful emotions in you? Are your cheeks rosy, your hair as white as the pure driven snow? Are you a little driver so lively and quick? Do your eyes twinkle, are your dimples so merry? Does your droll little mouth turn up like a bow? Ok, I could keep going on, but I’ll stop now. You get the point. Oh and CMK? For Christmas, I want a Red Rider BB Gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. Thanks in advance for passing that along for me.

My fellow cubicle dweller, Employee No. 3699, asked ‘Have you ever broken the law? If so, we need details. Do you have any phobias, besides becoming lactose intolerant, which would make you unable to consume cheese? What is your favorite board game and why?’I only fought the law once, and the law won. I fought the law and the law won. Actually this is a pretty timely question because I just got MY FIRST EVER STINKIN’ TICKET last month for not slowing all the way for a stop sign, which was brand new, by the way! I had honestly never thought of fearing that I would become lactose intolerant. I guess I have just always taken it for granted that I will always be able to consume dairy products, with the well documented exception of a can of very expired whipped cream. Great, now I’m starting to freak out about it. Help me down, please help me down! My favorite board game is Monopoly. I like trying to wheel and deal with other players to avoid having to pay them because I NEVER have good luck when I roll the dice. My favorite BORED game is eating or napping, not that you asked.

Last up this week, we have Just Telling It Like It Is who asked ‘what is your most embarrassing adult moment?’
I’ve been thinking of the answer to this one for a few days now. There are so many choices here. There’s the time that I was looking back at someone while walking down the office hall and slammed right into a file cabinet that was taller than I am. There is the time that I accidentally drove up the wrong way on a one-way street with a fellow employee who waited about .5 seconds to tell everyone after we got back to the office. Then there is the time after coming out of anesthesia that I offered to take the doctor that operated on me out to buy a steak, only to figure out when I was a little more ‘awake’ that the cow is sacred to his religion. I also had a good part of my left nipple shaved off once by a nurse that was in a hurry while prepping for a cardiac procedure. All of those pale in comparison to what happened to me at a family get together on Saturday when my Uncle felt he had to remind everybody that I used to delight in doing Fonzie impersonations as a little boy. As if that wasn’t bad enough, everyone there who was older than me seemed to remember it too. Is anyone looking for a 34-year-old male to add to their family by the way?

Whew, we are now done. We’ve finished the last chorus of ‘Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah Nah and sang ‘burn baby, burn’ for the last time. It took a while but hopefully everyone is happy with their answers and I did not forget anyone’s question. Now, I am off to see a doctor about the crippling feeling in my knuckles and fingers that seems to have developed while typing this. Have a great Monday holiday everyone!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It’s So Random It Almost Seems Planned

It’s the end of the week again, holiday style! I was going to follow up last week’s introduction to Marty Robbins with a refresher on Karen Carpenter (she is not the person on the left, although the undeniable similarities are striking), because her voice was equally amazing. However, I fear doing so might overshadow Random Friday and lead to something like ‘Music you would never be caught listening to, but Michael thinks you should know about anyway.’ And let’s face it, that is way too long of a title. So, in keeping with tradition, I present a bunch of random stuff that has been laying around for a few days instead. It’s like a garage sale of really bad ideas, just without the hand made signs and arrows directing you to my front yard.

* Why aren’t there more opportunities to use the word ‘Fragile’ in our daily lives so that we can say it like Ralphie Parker’s Dad in ‘A Christmas Story?’

* I learned a very big lesson this week. I have been giving Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School a hard time for days because she keeps parking her car too close to my truck’s driver’s side. Yesterday she purposely parked extra close to me just to show me what parking too close actually means. Rumor has it she had to pull in and back up 3 times to get the closeness just right (that’s what she said). Touché Ms. I Want To Go To Mime School, touché. I tried to one up her this morning though. I waited standing by my truck in her usual parking spot this morning to monitor her parking attempt, only to realize 20 minutes had passed and she had not showed up yet. I later learned she wasn’t coming in until the afternoon. Who has the last laugh now, huh? Oh wait, it’s me.

* I’m on day 4 without the Olympics and the withdrawals are not getting any better. The human mind was not made to be exposed to such gratuitous sporting competition and then have it removed cold turkey. I had hoped the 4 nights of DNC coverage would give me something to take my mind off the Olympics, but it’s missing something, like angry Hungarians, underage athletes and smog. Damn China and their multibillion-dollar Games!

* I was reviewing something with our secretary this morning when she said ‘yum, I smell coffee.’ I replied with ‘it’s my breath.’ At that point, she no longer craved coffee. She’ll thank me later, even though I was already on my 5th cup and it most likely was my breath.

* I grabbed a piece of licorice from my coworker’s desk this morning and in the process of flipping it towards my mouth, I actually hit myself in the eye with it. It was no big deal though because I was pretty sure I got away with it and played real casual. Then a few seconds later, a coworker asked me if I was ok and admitted he saw it by saying something similar to ‘you are such an idiot.’ This of course brought it to everyone’s attention and now I’m the guy that hit himself in the ocular region with a piece of licorice. I’ve definitely had better nicknames.

* I learned a valuable workplace lesson the other day. When your boss asks you to do something, don’t ever reply by saying in a low voice ‘I shall do your bidding, my master,’ nod to him and then walk away. It turns out that not everyone feels imitating Darth Vader is as appropriate in the workplace as I do. And ditto for imitating Beavis and Butthead. It’s odd, Ross Perot=acceptable. Darth Vader=unacceptable. Maybe it’s because Perot had charts and graphs.

* I got my ‘new’ cellphone at Christmas time last year and loaded it up with a bunch of Frank Sinatra Christmas songs and then forgot completely about it after the holidays were over. That was until I had the phone in my pocket at lunch and sitting caused the play button to be depressed and everyone within a 30-foot radius of me got to hear Sinatra’s Jingle Bells. Wait, that sounded dirty.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend everybody!!! Oh yeah, don't forget to send me your questions for the special Labor Day Monday Q&A, even though it won't really be special. The name is just a gimmick to get you to stop by. It will, however, be on Monday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hilariosity Ensues.

Ok, I’ve had that title in my head since I woke up this morning. Then I typed it and realized that with the Democratic National Convention going on right now, you might think this is a Hillary Clinton post. Sorry for misleading you.

The title is actually supposed to be interpreted as:
‘hilariosity – adj. a fabricated and nonsensical word used to convey that something was hilarious. The word is usually applied when the author cannot think of a suitable real word, which has since been anonymously pointed out as being ‘hilarity,’ but then the whole definition gimmick would be shot, so ‘hilariosity’ stays. The word is also used when one of the author’s life goals is to have one of his (or her) words coined in the national lexicon, added to the dictionary and to be said during a National news broadcast by someone newsy and believable like Brian Williams or Anderson Cooper and maybe even Walter Cronkite or Tom Brokaw, even though they both are retired. I The author also uses the word in hopes that James Earl Jones will say it in his Darth Vader Voice.

The author would also like to hear James Earl Jones say ‘gratuitous,’ ‘pork chops and applesauce,’ ‘cheery disposition,’ ‘thank you very much,’ ‘that’s what she said’ and ‘supercalifragilisticexpealidocious in his Darth Vader voice, but that doesn’t have to appear in my ‘hilariosity’ definition. Go ahead and correct me on the Mary Poppins word. I took a stab in the dark with that one and accidentally struck the cat. Don’t be offended though, I mean it metaphorically in the sense that my stab in the dark was not successful.

I hadn’t really come up with much more than a title for today’s post. Then New Female Coworker mentioned to me as I was helping myself to a Red Vine from a vacationing coworker’s desk (which, for the record, he does not mind) about a study she had come across on the ole’ happynet that showed that workers who keep candy on their desks are much less likely to be shot during a workplace-shooting rampage. I don’t want to go all Mr. Spock on you or anything, but that story is fascinating. Did you raise one eyebrow quizzically as you said ‘interesting?’ That’s how Mr. Spock would do it.

First off, how long did this study take and how many workplace shootings did they study until they said something academic like ‘ok, we can now discontinue said investigation as we have obtained a satisfactory amount of empirical data concerning the topic and its relativity to the original purpose of our study. Now let’s commence to endeavor towards the cafeteria for sustenance of tasty cellular combinations.’ Did they start with a workplace shooting that happened in 1987 and just keep waiting for more to occur to see if the guy that had skittles in the bowl on his desk was the only survivor? After 2 or 3 shootings did they run computer software projections that look similar to ‘The Sims’ so they could see how many times the candy dish guy did or did not get shot in relation to the rest of his coworkers?

Then you have to start wondering if other things showed up in the study. Were certain kinds of candy preferred by enraged coworking gunners over other types of candy? Was candy dish guy more likely to perish or be injured if he had cheap hard candy instead of mini-Heath Bars available? Perhaps brown M&Ms are more likely to enrage a disgruntled employee than blue ones? What if a mini-Butterfinger was broken and spilled everywhere? Is that a violence trigger (pardon the pun)? What happens when the candy dish guy’s candy dish is left empty over a period of several days, not because of negligence but because he had a meeting, then a sick day, then had to take his kids to the doctor and then had a vacation day to go pick avocadoes or something? It doesn’t have to necessarily be in that exact order, but does every day that disgruntled coworker sees the empty candy dish push him further and further to the breaking point?

Let’s not overlook the size of the candy dish or the amount of candy remaining every day. What happens when the bowl that earlier in the day had Heath, Kit-Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Krackle Bars and Hershey’s Dark Chocolate is partaken of into until it only has the not as popular Dark Chocolate Hershey Bars left? It sounds to me like being the candy dish guy is a very involved and important responsibility. Providing the candy to the office may be the only determining factor in who is a target and who is not. Wow, that’s a heavy burden.

And speaking of Target, I am going there first thing tomorrow to buy as much candy as I can. Heck, I might even skip the candy dish part and just spread it out on the desk with a sign that reads ‘help yourself and don’t shoot me. My Grandma thinks I’m handsome.’ Please, oh please have the Halloween Candy on sale now. After all, it’s late August and school has started. It’s a retailer’s duty to have everything necessary to celebrate the next upcoming calendar holiday on the shelves as soon as the current holiday ends, not that everyone considers back to school a holiday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Seriously? Seriously? Nawwwwww

I was surfing the web yesterday, ok I was boogie boarding the web the other day and came across a very interesting story on Conde Nast’s Portfolio website. Don’t worry; I haven’t gone all high brow, it’s just that the caption on Yahoo said something like ‘man makes a living with Legos.’ Now how in the heck could I see that and not click it. It would be like seeing that you have new mail and ignoring it, not having ants rush to the Diet Mountain Dew you spilled all over your brand new patio (I’m starting to get over that, thank you very much) or smelling bacon and not running to find the source.

I read the story and sure enough, it says that a former Wall Street attorney now makes six figures building Lego-y things. That’s right, Laaaaayyyy-Goooooos (I hope you read that slowly and sarcastically, because that’s how I said it. Not that you need tips on how to read what I write, but I just wanted you to get the full effect of my disbelief, jealousy and general Whiskey Tango Foxtrot reaction). I played with Legos as a kid. What kid didn’t? Granted I couldn’t build more than a really tall tower (no, it wasn’t that fancy. I just stacked brick on brick as high as I could. I suppose it was more like a column now that I think about it). I have never been to LegoLand, but I am anticipating it greatly. I have bowed to the Lego Darth Vader at Downtown Disney and even kissed the Storm Trooper and R2D2 there, because, you know, I’m a dork. I always figured some Lego Store employee was paid over time to follow carefully detailed schematics to reproduce them in Lego form. Ditto with Lego Land.

Just like my theory that I could eat Reddi-Whip 3 months after the expiration date was incorrect, so was my theory on Lego representations of things we all recognize. I just never realized artists were involved, or that something containing a trace of dairy product might have an expiration date FOR A REASON – though you really don’t want to hear much more about that, I am sure. A Lego artist. And one that makes a great deal of money playing with them. Go figure.

Somewhere I might still have my collection of Smurfs (don’t you dare say a word. Not one!). I wonder if I could assemble them in neat little vignettes and charge people to listen to nice music (like stuff with fiddles violins and walk around with tea and little napkins and comment on the irony and biting social commentary of the way my Smurf Vignettes portray today’s current events. Gargamel (don’t ask. Somehow I just remembered the name, that’s all) could represent Bin Laden. Papa Smurf could represent the old times of turn of the century America (the older century, not the one from 8 years ago). Smurfette could be the victim of a society based on looks. You know what, I am just going to stop right here. I was about to mention Brainy Smurf and am starting to freak out at what I’m doing. The words just keep coming. It’s like an out of body experience where I see myself being an idiot but can’t reach out to stop myself. Damn stream of consciousness…

Oh to be a professional Lego guy. My cubicle could be made out of Legos – real colorful Legos, with one of those pre-fab Lego windows that were all the rage in the 80s. I could assemble a small downtown LA with Legos to make it look like it is a reproduction of downtown LA done with cheese. Yeah, that would throw people for a curve. Even I had to read that last sentence three times and I’m the one who wrote it.

I could reproduce the scene from A Christmas Story when Flick gets his tongue stuck on the flagpole – in all its life-sized gloriousness. Then comes the piece de resistance (translated as resisting of piece, for those of you who wondered). It would be a life-sized representation of me (no strike that – a 7 foot 2 kilometer representation of me) sitting at my desk, asleep. This way, my face won’t be visible and sleeping with my head on the desk won’t look out of place to anyone. By ‘being’ in the office while out creating my Lego masterpieces (think Lego brick alone in the dew on an early morning and other random dreamy motifs with goofy names like that) I can earn two paychecks.

Yes, I think I have found another dream job. Playing with toys for a living must be as great as being retired and still well below the average age that people get strokes and stuff. I think it might indeed be the time to Lego my day job and start creating Lego statues. Yep, I do recognize that was a lame line to use, but who will be laughing when I get paid for building a Lego John Wayne? Me, I’ll be laughing. Just wanted to make sure you got that part.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation Work Time

Remember all those ‘what I did this summer’ things we had to write at the beginning of every school year. In ‘A Christmas Story’ they called them ‘themes’ but I don’t remember what we called them at my school, though ‘pain in the arse’ comes to mind. With that being said, I shall honor the traditional last week of summer by writing what I did this past summer just for you. For musical accompaniment, may I suggest a few songs? There is the Lettermen song that was also covered by the Beach Boys – ‘Things We Did Last Summer,’ The Beach Boys’ ‘All Summer Long,’ The Beach Boys’ ‘Keep An Eye On Summer’ (there’s a pattern here, but I can’t put my finger on it) or Kid Rock’s ‘All Summer Long,’ for the hipper kids in the audience.

You could also play it safe by using any Jimmy Buffett song (or for a melancholy end of summer accompaniment, may I suggest Jimmy’s ‘When the Coast is Clear’ or Billy Joel’s ‘Famous Last Words’). That’ll really help you keep it real while you are reading this. I didn’t overdue it on the hip scale there, did I? I try to be hip, but I fail so often. Perhaps I should go ahead and get a hip replacement? It’s OK, you don’t have to dignify that with a remark. Enough of the Jive Talkin’ (Bee Gees), let’s get to the good stuff. And now, what I did this summer:

I had a good summer. It was fun. Summer is hot. My mom does not let my friends play in our house at summer. I like the beach. It is nice. The water is cold. I went on vacation. It was fun. I played with my dog. She is light brown. It was fun. I made a sandcastle, but my dog stepped on it. That was not fun.

Ok, that’s more like what I would have written back when I was getting my hands slapped with a ruler by my school marm. I just wanted to relive the glory days (Bruce Springsteen) before I reflect on my summer. Thanks for indulging me.

Now, as far as this summer went, it wasn’t that spectacular, but it’s not unusual (Tom Jones) to have less than stellar summers in these days of working for a living (Huey Lewis and the News). I did get to start the summer with a visit to the hospital to kick start my heart (Motley Crue) back into normal sinus rhythm. I really don’t recommend the shocky shocky as a way to start summer, unless you really want to jump start it with a jolt.

Then came the morning I shall never forget. As I was getting in my Saturday morning walk and try to jog session, I came across a real deal Weber Kettle grill that was being given away FOR FREE. Some people may dream of winning the lottery or the gold medal, but finding a free Weber Kettle grill is my big moment. And then to make it even better, I finally found my Shasta Grape soda at the store a week or so later.

That was followed by my family trip to Oregon so that Lucy and Ethel could be flower girls in my cousin’s wedding. This made them get very excited about weddings and marriage in general. I told them they could wait and told each one of them ‘girl, you’ll be a woman soon (Neil Diamond) and that seemed to calm them down. While the mini-family reunion during the wedding was nice, the countryside where my Aunt lives in McMinville, Oregon was amazing. On top of a hill surrounded by wineries and real deer, not that fake Bambi crap at Disneyland, was a sight I will not soon forget. My mom’s constant and unrelenting insistence that once I finally got up there I would want to move there proved accurate. However, living somewhere requires one to have a job in the same general area, so no dice.

The best part of the trip though was the well-planned and ever so highly anticipated trip to the Tillamook Creamery, better known as the place they make Tillamook cheese, which is in my opinion the best made cheese on the planet. Keep in mind however that ‘the planet’ to me consists of parts of the US, 2 of the Hawaiian Islands and Needles, California. Though there is only one weekend of what we consider to be summer left, I do not think it too premature to officially declare that this was the highlight of my summer. The more than 3 trips (basically, whenever they changed employees) I took through the cheese sample line was Heaven (Bryan Adams). The joy derived from their ice cream and all the cheese I brought home cannot be put into human words. Trying to do so would make me sound like Darryl Hannah when she tries to speak in ‘Splash.’ It was a good time. I may or may not have mentioned the cow we saw that gave birth on a farm on the side of Highway 1 on the way to the cheese factory. When you think about it, we got to experience that whole circle of life thing. Cow is born, cow is milked and cow’s milk makes cheese. I’m teary just describing it, really.

After that came the 4th of July, my second favorite holiday after the two day celebration known as Christmas Eve (my birthday if you don’t have Facebook and need to set a reminder for yourself right now) and Christmas. I’ll remember this year’s 4th for the steroidal kiddy pool we got and swam in all day and for American Joey Chestnutt’s thrilling overtime victory in Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. We were so close for Corona’s fireworks that the ash fell on us after each shell burst. Actually that wasn’t so cool since I washed my truck the night before. The stretch between early July and mid August was quiet, save for the weekly trips to Disneyland to bask in the glow of the happiest place on Earth. That all changed in mid-August though. Because…

The Olympics this year were amazing. The competition was outta sight, as was most of Beijing because of the smog. Wow, it’s sad really. That was the last Beijing smog reference I’ll ever get to make. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the closing ceremonies because the ending of the Games took a little piece of my heart (Janis Joplin/Faith Hill). I have no idea what I will do each night until my grieving is over. Even the Angels game I went to with the guys tonight didn’t dull the pain. It’s a shame that the summer had to end at the same time the Olympics did. There is a tiny little bright spot though. NASCAR hits the Auto Club Speedway here in So Cal this weekend. Am I going? Nope, I’m watching Lucy and Ethel alone this weekend. Wait, that’s not a bright spot. Awww man…

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Q & A Monday

I have thoroughly enjoyed Q & A Mondays. Much like my Ipod after work, I’m glad I brought it back. It’s a simple concept really, I ask you for questions, you provide them and I answer them with as little effort possible. And that leads to me a little issue with this week’s Q & A session. You see, as I detailed above, the whole process depends on my asking you for questions and then you submitting them.

Hence the little dilemma I am facing this week. Apparently, (and I blame the Olympics and possibly the higher prices for corn) I forgot to ask you for questions at the end of last week. In fact, I straight up completely neglected to mention it. While I enjoyed writing last Thursday’s post, I can assure you that the joy was not great enough for me to have forgotten to remind you to send me your burning questions. Inadvertently, I extinguished the questional flame. I realize that questional is not a word and that I probably just mixed metaphors for burning and stuff, but it just goes to show how completely amiss I am starting at this week.

Will I ever be able to forgive myself for such a heinous and woeful lack of respect for you, the question submitting public, with my inexcusable lack of mental recall last week, you ask. Well, sure, it’s just bunch of questions. Ok, I didn’t mean that. Clearly, I’m just using rudeness and meanness to hide my shame. I have no excuse; I even have MS Outlook and could have sent myself a reminder through its calendar. Don’t worry though because I have learned something from this embarrassing situation. I just can’t remember what it is because I forgot to use that Outlook calendar thing again to remind me. Perhaps it’s time to hire a personal assistant. You know the kind I mean, right? The one that will show up for me at work, the dentist, my funeral and all the other places I don’t look forward to going to. That way, I will only have to focus on reminding myself about upcoming things that I do not want to forget. I won’t be able to pay this person much, but I will share my cheese, which as well know is the strongest show of love and respect that one person can bestow upon another. Well, other than linking them or mentioning them on your blog. But cheese tastes better.

Fortunately every cloud as a silver lining, every tunnel has a ray of light at it’s end and that little piece of mold can be cut off the block of cheese without harming the rest of it. Somehow, through the darkest of times, I received two questions for the week even though I forget to remind you all. Does the fact that the two questions came from longtime beloved readers of this blog WHO HAPPEN TO BE MARRIED? Yes, most likely, but that’s not the point here. The point is that I do have to questions to answer this week and I shall get to them now…

First up this week is Patti who asks ‘I know this is a bit personal, Michael, but since you brought up the topic here, how tall are you?’ She also asked 'I've often wondered how the makers of the TV commercials for AFLAC get the duck to quack on cue? Any idea?
Yes, it is a bit personal, but then so is telling everyone I got in trouble for blogging at work in about every third post I write. Patti, I am 7 feet two inches tall. That of course is in kilometers or meters or whatever that other measuring system is that they use in the Olympics and high brow places like France and Target, thereby giving all of us Americans no clue or unit of measurement to base the Olympic distances on. In our world of measurement, I am a 4-year-old oak sapling, plus 2 branches. Alright fine, I am 5 feet 6 inches tall and am tired of repeatedly telling people to stop being taller than me. Constantly showboating their tallness is just plain rude.

The Aflac duck is a very good question. I’m pretty sure it’s through some form of electrocution. It really is the best way to get people to do something they don’t want to. Although I’m sure to be fair, the Aflac people would refer to it as ‘electrical line delivery stimulation,’ but it’s still the same thing.

Our second and last question this week comes from Patty’s husband Ralph. I’m actually not even sure his recent blog comment was meant to be a question for today, but when times are tough, you don’t turn away the free filet mignon. Ralph asked ‘If you take beach volleyball, can you even follow the ball in motion? If you take up javelin, and were good at it, could you finally receive as an aim the respect of your co-workers? Does this mean that your newest co-worker a 'Refuge' from the real Tom Petty? Or is she a real 'American Girl'? Perhaps she 'Won't Back Down'
Wow, as you can see those are all excellent questions and I shall take them on one by one. No, yes, no. Thanks for your questions this week and…ok, I guess I SHOULD respond to them appropriately. It’s not like I’ve got a huge list to tear through this week. I would love to play beach volleyball and probably would not be able to follow the motion of the ball. This will most likely be attributed to that white, lightheaded vision you get after something of great velocity strikes your head.

I would also like to take of javelin and believe I could earn the respect of my coworkers, mainly because they will have no other choice but to respect me after I accidentally impale a judge measuring distance. Seriously, have you all seen that video where the judge has a thrown javelin go straight into his shoulder? I can’t stop laughing whenever I think about that. HELLO! How do you not pay attention when you are down field from someone throwing a large pointy object in your general direction?!

My newest coworker might just be a refugee. Or perhaps she is a traveler, like a Wilbury, just traveling with other Wilburys who are traveling and she happened to travel with those Wilburys to our office. Hmm, sorry if I was a little heavy on the hints there. Or maybe she is the symbolic Alice who fell down a really large manhole cover and landed in our ‘Wonderland.’ I hope you all used your exaggerational air quotes when I just referred to my office as a ‘Wonderland.’ I’m pretty sure she will realize one day that she shouldn’t come around here no more because we have no windows in our ‘Wonderland.’ All the same, please remind me to sing her the Unbirthday Song tomorrow.

Ok, that is this week’s Q &A. Have a great last official week of summer and remember to get those questions in for next Monday. Seriously, I’m going to lose my credibility if I forget to remind you again at the end of the week.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Friday (through Sunday) Randomocity

It’s finally the end of the week. NASCAR is at Bristol Motor Speedway under the lights and beef ribs are in the freezer. Before we start the randomness today though, I’d like to introduce you to the man on the left there. His name is Marty Robbins. A few of the visitor’s here had never heard of him when I mentioned him yesterday. I am aware that the picture does nothing to help you realize that you have indeed heard his work before, but I can’t figure out how to post a song on my blog and most of you would probably not appreciate my emailing you his most recognized song, El Paso. Perhaps I should sing it on my next podcast. Yep, that was a joke…

* Does anyone else find it odd that female Olympic runners wear what is practically a bikini bottom when running, but wear full body suits when they swim? Do you think they ever feel overdressed?

* When going to a completely unnecessary demonstration off work property for more than half a day, never, under any circumstance, say not one, but five times how you can’t believe you are getting paid for it, unless you are special and DO remember that your boss is standing right behind you.

* You know you are pretty much ‘over’ (as in done with, not being physical above your job, even though you may be above other employees, but not in the literal sense because then HR would have to be involved) your job situation when you actually look up and realize that you drove right past your office because you were grooving to a song that you liked. Some of you may prefer to call that (get out the air quotes in your best Chris Farley impersonation!) ‘not paying attention to driving’ or ‘unsafe driver’ or ‘should be uninsurable,’ but I call it ‘being in the zone musically.’

* I am officially taking up beach volleyball, marathoning, swimming, diving, javelin, hurdles and possibly gymnastics. I have no idea what’s come over me.

* Has anyone else had this experience- You have a song that seems like you’ve been hearing and singing along to your entire life (for me Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Downbound Train) but there is a little part somewhere in it that is basically unintelligible to an English speaker, so you just mumble that part, even though it completely renders the song meaningless? And then comes the day where you FINALLY see the real lyrics somewhere, but you have been mumbling it so long that you realize you will never be able to sing it correctly. Nope, hasn’t happened to me either.

* We have been busy decorating our coworker’s cubicles with every company promotional posterboard that is in our department. We have also been taking pictures of us standing in front of our accomplishments. There are two problems with this. We took pictures, which is like filming our crime and I realized in the middle of my redecorating giddiness today that mine is now the ONLY cubicle that hasn’t been done, which means now do I not only need to get in early to prevent my cube from being attacked, but I have to start staying late too. Damn. Double Damn!

* When our newest coworker heard that another of our coworkers was seeing Tom Petty tomorrow night, she responded by saying she thought Tom Petty was dead. Not wanting to create a riff with the newest employee, I explained to her that yes, Tom Petty was indeed dead after suffering a ‘free fall’ while parachuting and that our coworker was actually seeing the Tom Petty Tribute Group, Tom Pity and the Heartbrokers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Culmination Of All My Hard Work (Or Thinking About Hard Work) May Have Finally Paid Off.

So, here’s the deal my friends, I used to lobby for a change to our calendars. In effect, I wanted to turn Monday into Funday, thus doing away with the worst day of the week, Monday. I wrote about it here back in August or September of 2006. Instituting Funday would basically make it a second Sunday, even though that would technically make Tuesday the new Monday and then we’d crappy up what has normally been an inoffensive day for most people, but much like toxic atmospheric destroying gasses in the developing world, we’d just overlook it.

I’ve been reading a lot online and even in Time Magazine (are you impressed, because that’s why I read Time Magazine to be able to say that I read Time Magazine. Time Magazine) about school districts moving to a 4-day school week to save money, like electricity and bussing costs and yes, the lunch lady down in Lunch Lady Land (note to self: prepare sloppy joes for dinner tonight). Some of these school districts are taking Friday off and others are taking Monday off. At first I though to myself: why does radio no longer play Marty Robbins? Wait I think I shared the wrong thought. The thought I meant to share was the one where I thought: why in Barry Manilow’s name would you take Monday off and not Friday when the weekend is still ahead of you and not behind you? Then it hit me, several hours later mind you, but at least it hit me, those Mondayless school districts are in effect observing my Funday!

I was so excited; I got ready to Google all the school districts observing this Funday, but then I started wondering if they had encroached on my idea and how much it might be worth in court. Then I remembered I am as anti-litigation as I am anti-celery and I should just spend all my happy energy about Funday catching on by bragging to you, the reader. I also decided to petition Microsoft to add Funday to MS Word’s spellchecker because it infuriates me every time I type Funday and it gets that red line underneath it like I did something wrong. Augh, it just happened again!

There is one thing I am slightly regretting, lamenting and bumming about in general though. Why couldn’t there have been 4-day school weeks when I was in school? It kinda burns the same way moving around hot, white ashen pieces of charcoal with my bare hands when barbequing does. Or, if you have never gotten to feel that skin scarring pleasure, it kind of stings like strolling through the toy aisle at Target and seeing all the Star Wars and GI Joe action figures that are now made much cooler and with more gadgets. Seriously, I have lost sleep by thinking of all the cool things I could have done with them when I was a wee lad. And don’t even get me started about how much more poseable they are. Realizing that analogy might not resonate too much better, I say it burns like chugging half a can of Diet Dr. Pepper after running. At that point, you might as well que the Tramps from the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack. I should probably explain that – you’d be saying ‘burn baby, burn.’

It would have been nice to only have 4 days of school though, especially in high school when I drove the same ’68 VW Bug that I was brought home from the hospital in. We used to go to the Beach what seemed like almost every other Sunday in my senior year. Yep, we were OC when OC wasn’t cool, or a crappy teenopera. And I haven’t mentioned (even though I’m about to, which really makes me look dumb) that it would have been one less day of school, because I felt it was so obvious that it didn’t need mentioning (even though I just mentioned it).

This may come as a surprise to you (although if you read this blog and this is a surprise, there is a very good chance that your eyes may have stopped sending signals to your brain) that I really wasn’t ‘in’ to school. The closest I got was walking INTO school. Ha! Get it? I was more into the social aspect and the recesses and all the bathroom breaks I took so I could wander around aimlessly until another student was sent to retrieve or ‘fetch’ me. They may call it Attention Deficit Order today, but I just call it my alone time, like a coffee break for a kid. In high school the trend continued, except for the fact that I had to substitute wandering campus (the high school cops carried pepper spray, which was every intimidating) with trying to make highly intellectual jokes about the subject matter like ‘wow, the Civil War wasn’t that civil was it? Unless of course you consider civility to be shooting your next door neighbor and letting him moan to death in a field somewhere,’ or may favorite, ‘what do mermaids wear to hide their chest barnacles? Yep, an algae bra!’

I just wish I had known more about Johnny Cash back then because my American History teacher wore black every single day. Imagine the jokes there. All that fun was balanced out though on the one day where I goofed off a little too much when we had a substitute teacher (ironically in the woman in black’s classroom). It was only for an instant where I made the connection that his last name was the same as my mom’s aunt and therefore all of my cousins. In my defense though, it is a fairly common last name. Sadly, mine is not…and the sub, my cousin who I hadn’t seen in a number of years, noticed my not so fairly common last name. He called his mother, who (and let me reiterate this here) is my mom’s aunt. My mom’s aunt called my mom. What was the aftermath you ask? Well, the first hint is that I referred to it as an ‘aftermath.’ Talk about a Ring of Fire…(see, NOW I can make the Johnny Cash jokes!)

A 4-day school week? Lucy and Ethel would LOVE that. In fact, the idea sits pretty well with me too. Well, not the school part, but the whole having to show up somewhere at the same time every day only 4 days a week. In fact, I put a copy I made of one of the articles about the 4-day school week up where my boss could see it, you know, just in case my boss gets the hint and feels inspired. Did I mention that the article I photocopied was from TIME MAGAZINE? Yep, TIME MAGAZINE.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I’m Looking At The Menu, But Nothing Sounds Good

So, here’s the deal: I just got home from a long work day and I’m only running on one wondrous hour of sleep. 9 out of 10 doctors say that’s not enough. I tend to agree with them. I thought long and hard (that’s what she said – because you can never be too anything to miss a TWSS opportunity) about what to post, but I swear to you that my fingers are hitting the keyboard with what seems like a several second delay. This isn’t good because I tend to lose a thought before I can – aw crap, I already forgot where I was going with this.

I am left with what I am told is a conundrum. I’m pretty sure it’s a condominium but I also realize I shouldn’t be arguing with someone who was sleeping while I was softly humming The Beatles’ “I’m So Tired” last night. Hence, we shall use conundrum, which in this case refers to whether or not I should try to write something good because I like to post daily, or to search for a good repost since I can’t leave yesterday’s post up due to the fact that it didn’t seem to generate much interest. I blame the economy and the judges in last night’s parallel bars women’s final.

Seriously, the Chinese girl (because we can’t legally say woman when referring to her) messes up her landing and Nastia sticks it resulting in a gold medal tie and our Nastia gets a silver? And writing about Santa in the middle of the summer? Did the earth slip off its axel. Actually, I think the word I was searching for might be axis. Now I understand why all my meds say not to operate heavy machinery because the pills may make me drowsy. I’d like to also add that an electric toothbrush is apparently classified as ‘heavy machinery’ because I caught myself brushing under my nostrils at one point this morning. And since I will forget doing that by the time I wake up tomorrow, can someone please remind me to get a new brush head in my comments section? Thanks in advance.

Where is this all headed you have probably gotten sick of asking yourself. Well, I will not attempt a post tonight and will instead suggest that you go to Wikipedia and look up ‘Tillamook County Creamer Association,’ ‘cheddar,’ ‘SNL,’ ‘cubicles’ and ‘Barry Manilow.’ Doing so will give you a really good chance of reading something I probably would have mentioned in today’s post anyway. And thank you for your understanding. By the way, does anyone know how Nastia Liukin fared against China on those parallel bar thingies Monday night? I hope she won gold.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ho Ho No!

Ahhh, it’s that time of year when the weather becomes unbearable and a young man’s thoughts turn to cooler weather and the flurries of winter. While that may or may not actually happen, it did give me an appropriate intro to today’s topic – Santa Claus. What? Santa Claus? As in the big guy? The Jolly dude in red? Yep, but even better - how about several hundred jolly dudes in red, most of who are currently seeing red.

I recently heard on NPR and read online about a nasty feud occurring within the Amalgamated Order of Real-Bearded Santas (AORBS). Though no one has been around this blog long enough to remember (although it’s probably like no one wants to admit being around this blog long enough), I actually wrote about the AORBS meeting in Branson, Missouri as one of my very first blog posts back in the summer of 2006. So, it brought back memories and stuff when I came across them in the news again. I guess a summer convention of the Amalgamated Order of Real-Bearded Santas is about as predictable as the Perseid Meteor shower every August, or perhaps the complaints of Olympic athletes about the level of smog in Beijing.

For detailed reasons that I will not go into here because of time, space and not wanting to spend the energy typing them constraints, we’ll just say that the Santas are not all getting along too well right now. We shall call it (and get your air quotes ready) a ‘power struggle’ on the AORBS board of directors. The struggle originated with one of the Santas profiting from essentially acting as a Santa casting agent for a movie that needed Santas. From what I heard on NPR, the Santas are accusing each other of doing very Grinch-like things and not acting true to the beard. For the record, ‘true to the beard’ is something I made up. I doubt seriously that they talk like that. However, if they wish to use the phrase, the rights to it are definitely for sale.

I don’t want to be a downer, but this is another sign that the world is ending. I mean we know it’s ending. All signs and predictions point to December 21, 2012, which is why I have already prepared my resignation letter for December 15th, 2012 and will be celebrating Christmas on December 20th that year. That’s all beside the point though, unless you believe in this prediction, but then that really has nothing to do with my topic here. My concern is with how much further our society can fall. When professional Santas who take their jobs seriously enough to have real beards of white start infighting, what’s next? Now the obvious thing to do here would be to insert some random holiday analogy, but I’m not going to stoop that low. Are we next going to start doping our reindeer so they fly better? Crap, I did stoop that low!

Really though, pro Santas fighting and slandering each other? Now what type of model behavior is that during a presidential election year? Santa (or Santas) need to set a good example. When the arbiter of naughty and nice can’t get along well with others or behave in a positive way, then why should we expect the same from our Presidential nominees or anyone else for that matter? By dissing (is it still cool to use that word) fellow Santas, they are saying it’s ok to slander or spread false accusations about your opponent or enemy or frenemy and the last thing we want is a dirty Presidential campaign. Although on my final read through of this before posting it, I am still not sure why I had to equate fighting Santas with Obama and McCain. I’d like to blame the eggnog, but those misers at the grocery store don’t feel they need to stock it yet.

Hopefully the Santa Wars are resolved before this affects Tom and Tami Kiddy at Christmastime. Do you remember how disruptive the writer’s strike of earlier this year was on our lives? Now just imagine having your child right in the middle of the battleground on Santa’s lap at the mall or down at the local Home Depot (where you can do it and we can help). Your cute little offspring is about to tell Santa they want a pony or Red Rider BB Gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time at the same moment that rival bearded Santas take aim at the Santa holding your dear child. Now we have an injured innocent child whose only crime was picking this mall or Home Depot (remember where you can do it and we can help) to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas.

As you can see from the story above, this has the potential to be a very serious epidemic. Ok, epidemic is way too strong a word and you either:

1) didn’t know anything about this before I brought it to your attention

2) were aware of this but couldn’t muster up enough concern to validate it because you are currently focusing all your attentions on more troubling issues like the plight of the Topaz Ringed Lima Bird in the Amazon

3) didn’t know about this until I mentioned it blah, blah, blah and still could care less because you are focusing on other bad things and injustices and so on and so forth.

However, when innocent kids come home with the battle scars of Christmas and we are opening our daily papers to read about Santa accusing the other Santa of being a two-timing, no good louse with a belly full of vodka instead of jelly, please don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And now that this story is over, does anyone know a good lawyer who would be willing to represent me in the case of the Amalgamated Order of Real-Bearded Santas vs. Michael C. because of slander? I can pay you with PEZ.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It’s The Day For Q&A. Yay!

I really do like rhyming. I won’t go so far as to say I bust a mad rhyme, partially because I have no idea what that means, but I do enjoy it. It’s Monday again and what better way to get back into that workweek mode than some questions and answers. I find its structured format perfect for preparing me to put my dreams aside and obey someone else’s commands. With that said, let’s get started!

As usual, please don’t repeat my answers, mostly because I did not research them, but also because I’m writing these at night this time and made the mistake of taking my prescribed sleeping aid BEFORE I sat down to type. Actually, that illustrates another reason why you should not repeat my answers or use the “knowledge” gained from them to impress your friends: I’m not that bright. Seriously, my dimmer switch is set way down towards the low position, almost off. Oh yeah, one other thing, I usually overlook someone’s submitted question because of my faulty filing and organization skills, which is spelled ‘organisation’ in some countries. See, you just learned something right there. Too bad you can’t repeat it to anyone…

This week’s first question is from
Wonderful World of Weiners (it’s cool you can check it out, it’s safe for work…and VERY fun stuff to read!). Hallie asks ‘which Muppet is Your Favorite?’
I would have to go with Fozzie Bear (who always reminds me of Ralph Malf on Happy Days. Right? Seriously, I can’t be the only one), followed closely by Gonzo. I just like Gonzo’s attitude. I’d put Kermit higher up on the list, but Miss Piggy has really messed him up. I also really like Beaker; I just have no idea what he is saying. And he’s tall. I am jealous of the height endowed.

Next up is
Employee No. 3699, who asks ‘What in the Wonderful World happened to Window Wednesdays or Wednesdays with Windows or whatever that was?’
Remember that thing where I said that this WOULD NOT be a cheap gimmick to get more hits and give me a blog post idea at the same time? Ok, I have to be honest about that. It still wasn’t about that, I just love building up the suspense and it sounds so much better than my actual answer, which is: I keep forgetting to print a window picture that was sent to me. I’m pretty sure having to answer to you will make me remember this week. Call it hunch, but I’m feeling pretty sure about that, like Phelps-winning-type-sure.

Ralph stopped by for a question this week, a question that I shall delight in answering because it is about something I love so much, it might as well be my third child. Ralph’s question is ‘Since your heart sometimes aims in the direction of Downeast Maine. I have a lobster question: What constituted a true lobster roll in your opinion? Is it:
- Pieces of lobster claw and tails sautéed in lots of butter stuffed into a toasted New England hot dog roll?

- A lobster salad shredded and blended with chopped celery and mayo in the same toasted roll? Both are great, but is one or the other the 'true' lobster roll?"
Well Ralph, I’ve often wondered that myself, because of the love I feel for it and all. I’ve often assumed that the ‘true’ lobster roll, or ‘delicacy of the gods,’ which is how it should appropriately be referred to, is the second one you listed. While I heart Mayo, as the cool kids say (or at least they were saying that last year), I don’t heart celery in the same way that septic tank owners don’t heart backups and leaks. And let’s be honest here, clarified butter would make an old Goodyear taste yummy. So, for me the butter sautéed lobster roll is the real deal. I just hope my preference doesn’t make everyone in Maine hate me when I finally move there. That might be awkward.

Aislinge had questions of truly Olympic proportions this week. Ok, they were questions about the Olympics. After rereading that I’m pretty sure they do not actually mean the same thing. She asked ‘What is your favorite summer Olympic event and why? What did you think of: 1. The men's 4x100m race where the US team won the gold by 8/100s of a second and the French lost by that amount? 2. The Chinese women's gymnastic team (the term "women" here is apparently used quite loosely) - comprised of mostly what looks like 12-year-olds? 3. The bronze medalist for (I think) wrestling, who seriously felt he should have the gold and threw down the bronze in disgust and was shipped home? 4. London's hosting the 2012 Olympic Summer Games: will they or won't they try to outdo the Chinese for Opening Ceremony glamour/amazing-ness?'
Ok, my favorite sport is a hard one to name. I really do LOVE the Olympics and am basically glued to the TV 24/7 during the two week period of the games. The athletes are so amazing in terms of ability, physique and the training regimens used to get them to the games. Obviously I enjoy watching our NBA stars play and have always enjoyed the swimming and running but honestly, the rowing, sailing, marathons and whitewater kayaking are my favorites. But again, remember that part earlier where I tried to appease everyone and say that I like all of the sports, although I really don’t ‘get’ gymnastics, but do appreciate the gymnasts amazing athletic ability.

The mens’ relay race was amazing and the fact that we beat the country that bad mouthed us makes it all that much sweeter. What makes me chuckle now (because yes, I do actually have the chuckle gene) is how large that margin of error is compared to Phelps’ fingertip win the other night. I’m not sure what to think of China’s almost-women gymnasts. Gymnists have often had small statures (seriously, Mary Lou Retton makes me look like Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Well, that may not be entirely accurate, but it’s my blog), but their faces made them look very young, which isn’t fair to anyone, including the young girls who have been forced onto the Olympic stage at such a relatively young age, if they are indeed younger than the age limit.

I thought what the bronze medallist did was about as dumb as the idea of introducing New Coke was, or to use a more recent analogy, it was as dumb as me blogging at work…about work. Apparently yesterday he was stripped of the medal, which is what he deserved since he clearly didn’t want it anyway. Think of how many other athletes would have gladly traded places with him! As far as the officials in London having to equal the Beijing Opening Ceremonies, I’m pretty sure they are all sitting around thinking ‘Oh bloody hell!’ Although they might be doing so over a cup of tea, which I’m sure makes it much more bearable. And speaking of the Olympics, part of me looks forward to them being over (albeit a very small part, like my pinky toe) so I can get back to blogging at night instead of watching 6 hours of Olympic coverage.

Last up this week is
Patti. She asks ‘why is it called "the World Series" when it only involves teams from the USA, except maybe sometimes Canada?’
Well, back when the World Series was started in baseball, we had no idea there were other continents and countries, with the exceptions of Canada and Mexico. This meant that we truly thought our teams were playing in a World Series. Wait, that might not be completely accurate. I may have to revisit that whole ‘no-research’ part when I do these things every Monday…

Ok folks, that’s it for this week. Thanks for your questions about Q&A today and feel free to send more my way. Oh hey, there's that rhyming thing again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Randomocity Friday

It’s the weekend! Well almost, but we’re still close enough to it for me to be able to yell ‘It’s the weekend!’ Seriously, before you continue, just yell it once. There, doesn’t that feel good. Nothing beats a summer weekend, except for maybe a fall weekend. But then a spring weekend is so nice and pleasant. Actually, here in So Cal, winter weekends aren’t that bad either. Ok, nothing beats ANY weekend. Can I get an amen? Yeah, that was probably a bit over the top. I’ll try to tone it down for next week...

* Apparently me and my coworker telling a secretary in the office that ‘we work really hard, our jobs are very stressful’ while we are eating ice cream with our feet up on his desk doesn’t come across as very credible. It probably didn’t help that we said that while our mouths were full.

* I’m not sure which was worse last week – the fact that Rite Aid had Halloween candy and decorations already for sale or the fact that I used that as an excuse to ask if we could go ahead and decorate the house. The answer, in case you were wondering, was no.

* When one of your 5-year-old daughters asks ‘how do you spell this,’ she actually means the word ‘this.’ I’m telling you that because if you know that ahead of time, it will save you a few agonizing and frustrating minutes of:
‘Daddy, how do you spell this?’
‘Spell what?’
‘I can’t see which word you are asking me to spell’
‘This, Daddy, how do you spell this?’
‘Lucy, what word do you want to spell? If you don’t tell me, I can’t help you.’
‘This, this word right here.’
‘You mean the one with t-h-i-s?’
‘Yes Daddy’
‘Well why didn’t you tell me that?’
‘I did (full of attitude with head shifting from side to side) tell you!’

* A coworker went shopping during her lunch and brought in the bag of dog food she purchased. In the feeding recommendations, it actually refers to female dogs as bitches. Really, right there on the label. It said something like ‘Bitches: feed 3 cups twice daily.’ It took me all day to get over that. I even shared it with the family at dinner. Then realized that probably wasn’t a good idea.

* And speaking of good ideas. Here’s one that wasn’t. I was playing Kid Rock’s ‘All Summer Long’ while driving the twins to school the other day. You know the song, the one with the lyrics that include ‘we were trying different things and we were smokin’ funny things…’ I got a little worried when they got out of my truck still singing it, but since neither their teacher or any of their friends’ parents said anything to us, I guess I dodged that bullet. In my defense, I just thought they’d like the song because it uses some of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and has a good beat. I guess it’s back to the High School Musical soundtracks….

* When Mrs. Dash gets angry, does she pepper people with her salty language or does she only do that seasonally?

That’s it for the week. I now prepare for the weekend when the blog world seems to descend, like a bear, into hibernation. The only difference is that technically a bear doesn’t really hibernate because they can be awakened so easily from their slumber, like me, dammit! Not sure where I read that. Maybe it was in Time Magazine, which I read by the way, in case I haven’t mentioned that. I find it makes me smarter it makes me think I sound smarter. And if you wondered about any other useless facts or have any questions at all, remember to get them to me so I can tackle them Monday for Q&A Monday. Have a great weekend!

**Also, if you are a Mac/Apple lover, want to be a Mac lover or a PC lover that wants to better understand the Mac lover in your life, check out Meleah’s amazing video about her Mac Lovin’.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When The Coffee’s Cold And The Donuts Are Hard

I’m really not sure that title is related to what I am going to write, but I thought it was catchy and usually describes the state of things in my office around 10AM each day. It used to be about 11AM, but now that I have to get Lucy and Ethel to school by 7:45 each morning, I get into the office earlier, which actually means on time. However, I still have to leave at the same time I used to. This means that I am somehow working an extra hour more than I did before. I’m hoping this describes the mind-numbing fatigue I feel each day around 4PM. I know I’ve said this before but people who work 8 hours (in a row, on the same day and in an office setting, mind you) amaze me. Forget all the Olympians we’ve been giving medals to since Friday, these office troopers are the real heroes. Talk about an Olympian effort.

I took up a little project when I had the day off one day. Do you know all the things you can accomplish in 8 hours? You can drive from my home to Las Vegas and back about 2 ½ times! You can sleep in, then have breakfast, then take another nap and get up in time for lunch, and still have time for a nap and heavy personal computer use before dinner. And do I even need to mention all the errands you can do like going to Target to peruse the toy isle and then Wal-Mart to see their grilling section and go out of your way to drive by the office and wave at everyone who doesn’t have the day off. Obviously I am only scratching the surface here, but you can get a lot done in 8 hours. That’s practically enough time to watch 8 one-hour TV shows or 16 30-minute TV shows and possibly more if you TiVo’d them and are speeding through the commercials. If you just confined your time to blogging, you could practically visit every blog that starts with a-f. If you devoted that much time to Facebook, you could get your number of friends up to 500. Now granted you are not getting paid while spending 8 hours doing the things I just mentioned, but I think I’ve made my point that you can get a lot done in that amount of time.

And speaking of work (and the longest segue ever), I read about another worker who is trying to make is job a little better. I know I tend to complain about my job and often postulate about all the ways that it could be improved, but here is someone who has actually brought his attempts to the national media spotlight. And by national media spotlight, I mean that part where all the odd news items end up, so I guess it’s more of the National Media Flashlight Through A Keyhole’s worth of attention, which is still more than I’ve been able to get. I realize I may sound jealous, but that’s because I am.

A male postal worker in Washington state is trying to get approval for letter carriers to wear kilts on the job. While he hasn’t been successful yet, he has gotten attention for what he is trying to do. He said that kilts are more comfortable and less confining than pants or shorts. I just had to nod quietly to him about this because I have never worn a kilt and am not sure I would want to. Maybe a skort, but not a kilt. Actually, I am surprised that more employers aren’t requiring kilts as mandatory office attire. After all, very few men are going to kick back and put their legs up on their desks while wearing kilts. Although, doing so would be a good way to make sure no one comes into your office to bother you while your legs are up on your desk and all of your ‘office supplies’ are on display for all the world to see.

When it comes to confining, my main target is dress shoes. While I managed to graduate to slip on dress shoes with no laces, the sock and shoe thing still bugs. I think sandals should be allowed in the office. I spend the 5 ½ 8 hours I am at work with my feet under my desk anyway, so who is really going to notice? Heck, you could almost make the same argument for shorts. Now yes, it’s true that I would look like an idiot arriving to and leaving from the office (not to mention going to lunch) everyday with a tie and dress shirt tucked into my shorts, but that is a personal humiliation I am more than willing to endure for the freedom of wearing shorts to work.

A happy worker is a productive worker, or maybe just a worker who gets the same amount done, but happens to do it with a smile, or without mumbling. Perhaps the time is way overdue to accept the fact that as long as the job gets done, apparel shouldn’t be such a big concern. I would even take a pledge and promise to my employer that if they let me wear shorts and sandals I will continue to do my job just as I have been for the last 4+ years.

Ok, I’ll admit - maybe that’s not the best pledge for me to be making in the hopes of getting permission to wear shorts and sandals…

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cooking Up The Dough

Ok, I am just going to warn you right up front that this post will mention Rachael Ray, possibly several times. With that being said, feel free to click elsewhere. No, better yet, head down there on the right and check out my archived posts. Alrighty, for the two or three of you still left, thanks for sticking around. I’ll try to make it worth your time, even though you aren’t out any money, which really lowers the bar for me. However, I will try to excel for you. Or better yet, I will actually get to the point of this post before you too navigate to someplace else. Oh hey, The Carpenters’ ‘For All We Know’ just came on the ole Ipod. What a peaceful song that is.

I was reading on recently about the top earning celebrity chefs. (Warning: here comes my first Rachael Ray mention) Would you believe that Rachael Ray is the top celebrity chef? I think her total was like 16 million a year. That even beat out Wolfgang Puck, who when he found out that Rachael (oops, forgot to warn you that I was going to mention her name again, sorry) makes more than he does, probably could be heard yelling an expletive that rhymes with his last name. What? No, not that word. I’m pretty sure most chefs use a duck’s name in vain when they are angry.

Others on the list were people like Paula Deen, Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Flay. Well, actually they were Paula Deen, Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Flay, not people like them, because those would just be impersonators. One name on the list I did not see was Andrew Zimmern, the host of Bizarre Foods. Although when you see some of the stuff he calls food and subsequently eats, I guess the reasons for him not being on the list are self-explanatory. Seriously, if I was served some of the stuff he has eaten; my body would end up looking like the amazing body of 41 year-old Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, minus the really fit physique and girly parts, of course. Well, maybe scrawny Alfalfa from ‘Spanky and the Gang’ would be more like it. I hate honesty sometimes…

I’m not sure why celebrity chefs appeal to us so much. Perhaps it’s because we are foodies and like all things food and food related. Personally, I really can’t cook. I can grill, smoke (and yes I do inhale, especially when it’s a fruit wood) and BBQ very well, but I am worthless in the kitchen, except when it comes to boiling pasta, adding just the right amount of milk to my cereal or unwrapping a just-purchased piece of red meat and marinating it or applying rub. I even clean my hands (with soap!!) after touching all the red, juicy bloody stuff.

When I thought I was going to lose my job because of blogging at work (and you thought big brother wasn’t watching), I had actually started looking around online for local So Cal culinary schools that I could attend and I was really excited about it. So excited in fact that when HR called to tell me I was keeping my job, I replied with a ‘Really, can I ask why,’ which needless to say, was not the reaction the caller was expecting. I thought it would be great to be able to really know how to cook and maybe even get paid for it. With those hopes Ms. Dashed, I am still pretty useless in the kitchen, though I do make a kick-awesome batch of homemade ice cream using someone else’s pre-mixed goodness.

The sweet thing about becoming a celebrity chef is that it allows you to write cookbooks and cross promote them on TV, ensuring better sales than a relative nobody like me who is trying to sell a cookbook about the 101 recipes that avoid using celery but require a pound of mixed cheeses. It also lets them pursue things like a second show, or a third show or appearances on someone else’s show. And then you get your own line of frozen dinners or spices or even kitchen gadgets, utensils and cookware with your mug on them, not to mention mugs - with your own mug on them, which is about as freaky as trying to figure out how long eternity is. It’ll blow your mind, man. Or wo-man, to be politically correct.

And when you really, really become a big time fancy chef, you get to expand your line of items hawking your name to things like dog food. (Warning: Rachael Ray mention forthcoming) I read this morning that Rachael Ray is now selling ‘Rachael Ray’s Delish.’ Yep, it’s dog food and here’s the thing – all proceeds go to a charity for animals and because I like animals, it somewhat prevents me from bashing it, though I am hopeful you’ll do the bashing for me in the comments section. Just understand that I really, really want to bash it. Really badly. So badly. It almost itches, I want to do it so badly. And that’s what she said. Hmmm, now I feel better.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Obligatory (But Not In A Bad Way) Olympic Post

It seems for some reason that I am the last blogger to be posting about, or to at least mention, the Olympics. I guess that’s par for the course for me. I’m usually the last to catch on. This is most noticeable when it comes to fashion. For example, I only recently got through my Birkenstocks phase and I still think Hawaiian shirts count as ‘dressing up.’ But enough about that, this is about the Olympics.

I have been an Olympic junkie since the 1984 games in Los Angeles. I was in elementary school at the time and freaked out about how cool the Olympics were. Anyone remember Sam, the Olympic mascot eagle? That was a rhetorical question, of course. While I don’t remember a lot of moments about those games (aside from Mary Decker’s horrific fall and Lionel Richie performing ‘All Night Long’ during the closing ceremonies), I remember watching every event I could and seeing the Olympic torch being run through Newport Beach in a Mercedes convertible. Yes, I made the convertible part up, but anyone who has been there knows what I mean. My passion for the Olympics has continued ever since. Besides, the Olympics are essentially 24/7 televised sports, so why wouldn’t I be in heaven every 4 years?

Where to start on this past weekend’s Olympic action? Michael Phelps? The new men’s basketball Dream Team? The very not so subtle-underage looking women’s Chinese gymnastics team? Bob Costas’ horribly dark dye job? That weird Coca-Cola bird’s nest commercial? Almost-nude women’s volleyball? There have been so many plot points.

And speaking of women’s volleyball (bet you didn’t see that segue coming), did you hear about American beach volleyballer Kerri Walsh’s little incident? I read on Yahoo (and a big hello to any readers of this post that work for Yahoo – or at least one of them) that she lost her wedding ring going up for a set or block or jumping part where you can’t hit the net. You’re not alone if you too recognize the irony of her losing her gold while trying to win the gold. Or maybe it’s just me. Anywho, she lost her wedding band and apparently some broadcasters working the match or round or quarter or whatever noticed it. They were able to go back to the tape, which I guess is essentially using instant replay, and isolate whereabouts the ring may have fallen in the sand. While that may not be comparable to finding a needle in a haystack, it had to be about as tough as seeing the sun through the Beijing smog (I’ve been waiting all weekend to be able to use a Beijing smog analogy – hoped you enjoyed it). Once the metal detectors were brought in though, Kerri’s ring was found and all was well with the world, at least for Kerri Walsh. And possibly her husband who paid for it – three months salary’s worth, if he’s a good guy.

While that’s a weird occurrence, imagine reading an internet headline that says something to the effect of ‘Opening Ceremony Fireworks Faked.’ Does China really need any more bad press while trying to host these games? I guess the fireworks were real, but the live shots of fireworks were computer generated because it was too dangerous for the helicopter to be in the sky filming them because of how many fireworks there were. Basically translated (I think): if you saw them live in China, the fireworks were real but if you saw them on TV (like most of the world), they were computer generated.

I guess that just means they were ‘enhanced’ for the home viewing audience. If they have the ability to do that, why not computer generate blue skies or something so that the smog doesn’t appear so bad. Computer enhancing things during the Olympics is a slippery slope. But then if you are able to maintain control, slipper slopes can sometimes be fun, too. You could computer enhance the shininess (wow, I really didn’t think that was a real word, but apparently Microsoft thinks it is) of the medals during the medal ceremony or every time an athlete smiles at the camera, you could computer generate a sparkle to their shiny teeth (you know, a big bright star on their teeth with the ‘ting’ sound to it).

There’s lots of neat things (really, that's the best I could do? Neat things? Sorry) we could do via computer while people are watching the Olympics. Heck, NBC could hire George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic to really bring the games to life. Imagine superimposed pirates in the water during rowing or athletes pole vaulting into computer generated water filled with computer generated piranha or (for you Austin Powers fans) mutated sea bass with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads. And really, who wouldn’t want to see superimposed wings on our beloved gymnasts, a flaming volleyball or synchronized diving into lava? I fear however that Lucas might have to stop short of superimposing Storm Troopers into Tiananmen Square. But then again, it could be a great promotional tie-in with his new Clone Wars movie coming to theaters this weekend…

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Q & A Monday

It’s Q & A Monday again, but before I go any further, I need to preface what you are about to read by telling you that Lucy and Ethel are mere feet from me playing their Barbie keyboard and guitar in their ‘band’ while I type this. So, if what you are reading suddenly stops making sense, it’s because a grown man’s head just exploded. My head. Now, with that out of the way, I will gladly answer the questions that you, the reader, submitted to me, the writer, during this last week.

A few notes of interest before we begin: I don’t research my answers because that would take up too much time and energy, so it’s best that you don’t repeat them to anyone that you either want to impress, need a favor from, or who might hire you for reasons of employment. I also usually forget at least one submitter’s question. And, I like cheese –it gets mentioned from time to time.

Ok, with all the legal gumbo out of the way, this week’s first question hails from, Aislinge. I don’t know that questions can actually hail from somewhere, but I sure do enjoy how fancy it sounds. Aislinge had a few questions that, well, left me shaking (trust me, you’ll be tempted to laugh at that in a moment – or not). The questions are: ‘how many earthquakes have you been through? What was the strongest in terms of magnitude (if you know) and the strongest in terms of damage? And how does it feel?
I honestly can’t remember how many earthquakes I have experienced. There are two reasons for this: I’ve been through a lot of them and I am very prone to vertigo, which I have confused for an earthquake more than once. The oddest part of that is once you have experienced an earthquake, you might be tempted to yell something at me like ‘that felt nothing like an earthquake you uneducated, uninformed jack ass!’ I’m pretty sure the biggest magnitude was probably in the low 7s and the strongest in terms of damage was the Northridge quake, that I think was in 1994 or so. Our most recent one was a 5.4 and was about 5 miles from my office. I’m pretty sure I could have perfected surfing during that one, except for that whole get under your desk thing that our office safety leader made me do.

Next up is LisSass who asked ‘Michael, will you marry me?’
Uhhhhhh. Ummmmmm. Honestly, I think that is the first time that has been asked at this blog. Surely you have confused me with the writer of a blog who posts about his mountain bike treks or hiking expeditions or his billion dollar bank account and looks like George Clooney collided with Brad Pitt, minus all the blood and guts that are sure to be associated with such a collision. If you wanted to be on my blogroll that badly, all you had to do was ask. Ok, that was a joke. Besides, I already added you to my blogroll (insert nervous laughter here).

Eva is next with a question that referenced one of my posts from last week or so. She asked ‘what is up with making coffee in the office??? What happened to the Enormous Espresso 3000 or whatever it's called???'
Well, the answer is quite simple. The Saeco 300 requires a dollar for what is essentially a slightly obese version of a Dixie cup. Despite the cup’s weight gain, it is still very small and not worth a dollar. 50 cents I might do. Maybe even 75 cents if all the office-made coffee is gone and it’s about 3pm and the boss keeps walking by my office to see if I am trying to nap with my chair turned facing away from my cubicle entrance, but that’s as far as I’d go. So, we are still making coffee throughout the office, though next time I see someone getting one from the fancy Saeco vending machine, I’m tempted to tell them ‘wow, when did you get the big fancy raise Mr. Pay 1 Dollar For A Quarter’s Worth of Java?’ Or something like that. That was just off the top of my head. It’s not like I’ve been spending slow afternoons in the office jotting down things I can say to people who do buy the vending machine coffee on index cards or anything like that.

Patti asked ‘Since you live in or near the desert, is your yard full of cactuses? Or cacti?
I think the scientific term for multiple plants of cactus is ‘cactipotumuses,’ but I didn’t really look it up. It just sounds like something I have heard before. TECHNICALLY where I live COULD be considered a desert, but since the founding fathers of Southern California signed some sweet cherry water deal many, many years ago, we essentially legally steal all of our water from Northern California or Alaska or something like that and don’t have to worry about water supplies and can have lush green front and back lawns. Except of course for me because of the fact that gophers are attracted to sarcasm, or the smell of charcoal or the excrement of golden retrievers or whatever makes them target my lawn, and only my lawn. I hope that answered your question, Patti.

And lastly, this week we have Employee No. 3699 who submitted these gems: ‘The Beatles or The Monkies; what is your favorite vegetable; and live in a tent for one year or work seven days a week for one year?’
Yikes, why not just come out and ask who I am voting for. That first one is a toughie. I’d have to say the Beatles by just a little bit over the Monkees, though both are featured prominently on my Ipod. In all honesty, it’s the Beach Boys over both of them, but I very, very much like all 3. My favorite vegetable is grilled corn, followed ever so closely (and when in the hell did I start using phrases like ‘ever so’) by sun dried tomatoes. I would GLADLY live in a tent for one year instead of working seven days a week for one year, but something tells me you already knew that. I am obviously making assumptions about the condition of the tent (like the tent has full electricity and TiVo and some sort of cool-air circulation device) with my answer, but since I already answered, I shall stick with the tentage.

Alrighty folks, those are the q's and a’s for this Monday. Thank you to everyone and have a great week!

**By saying ‘have a great week,’ the writer of this blog is in no way insinuating that there will be nothing new to read here until next week. In fact, he will have a post for you to read again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, and most likely the day after that, though the writer of this disclaimer is not keeping track of how many days he has already referenced.