Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Oooh Yay, A Holiday

It’s that time for another useless holiday. You know, one of these days I am just going to sit down, invent my own holiday and use this blog to tirelessly promote it. In fact, maybe one day I’ll take your suggestions on such a day. Right now I’m leaning heavily on ‘Glorify All Things Fried Day.’ But that’s another topic for another day. I want to also have a ‘Put It Off Until Tomorrow Day,’ but it always seems to get postponed. Get it? Seriously, these are the jokes people…

Back to today, however. Today is Write To Congress Day. It might not really seem like that fun of a holiday, but that’s where a little imagination comes in. You kinda have to read between the lines and realize that the holiday doesn’t say WHAT we have to write to Congress about today. Are you with me yet? Not that we need to turn this into a letter to Santa or anything, but we can write to Congress about whatever we want, at least that’s how I interpret it.

So then, what should one write to Congress about? Taxes? The economy? The price of gas? The fat content of bacon? Why Rachael Ray has like 15 TV shows and Bob Newhart no longer has any? And what ever happened to the variety show as a television staple?

I have a theory. I imagine that Congress gets a little tired of reading the same old complaints about what is wrong with our country and all the requests to have someone’s uncle twice removed pardoned for stealing their neighbor’s canary in a case of mistaken identity because they thought it was their missing Cockatoo named Lulu. They probably get a lot of requests for internships, speaking engagements and the occasional envelope containing money. Not that they mind the money so much. Bribing political officials is legal, right?

I am choosing to shake it up a little and give Congress something more interesting to read this year. It’ll be a nice break from the monotony of legislating our country and taking vacations. And running for reelection. And christening golf courses. Maybe I’ll write a bunch of different letters. My first letter will be about urging lawmakers to limit Food Network stars to having only one show. Unless you are Alton Brown or are attractive and named Giada or have the names Paula or Deen in your name and you like to cook using butter. You know what, maybe I’m better off writing a letter about something else.

Perhaps Congress would like to know what I think they should do about the lack of exciting games shows on television. But I’m not one of those people that just go around complaining all the time; I also offer solutions. I will suggest to Congress that they pass a law making game shows more exciting by developing well-known and well-loved board games to television. First, they can adapt the board game ‘Operation’ into the TV game show format. Each episode someone will be opened up to have some useless organ the like the gall bladder, appendix or liver removed. If the surgeon contestant accidentally hits the patient’s skin while removing the useless organ, the surgeon gets shocked into unconsciousness. Oh, and docked 50 points. I think this one has real potential. And just wait for my follow up game show: Barrel Of Real Monkeys. This show will be taped outside. And let’s face it; Congress is the only branch of the government that will be able to assist me in bringing the real life version of Battleship to the small screen in a fun, entertaining and suspenseful game show using real artillery.

Yes I know that Congress doesn’t really decide what is on television, but they might want to read game show pitches for a change. There is also a stop sign I want removed from just around the corner because it slows me down when I am in a hurry to get to work. I don’t know that Congress would be the one to deal with the fact that my neighbor’s girlfriend always parks her car in front of my house, but I’m going to give it a try. And who doesn’t think that we could use more paid national holidays every year? I’ll just never understand why we don’t have April Fool’s Day or August 17th off.

These are just a few of the letters I am going to try to get written today. Just to make sure that my letters get special attention, I am having Lucy and Ethel decorate each envelope. I was going to cut out colorful letters from magazines to spell out the words on the envelope and letter, but then someone point out that it would look like a ransom note and that sending a ransom note to Congress could get me in a lot of trouble. And I mean the type of trouble that happens when you try to shoot our nation’s highest elected official or you have made the Thanksgiving turkey too dry. Serious, serious trouble. I am also going to put the phrase ‘you deserve a raise’ at the bottom of each letter. This should guarantee that I get preferential treatment.

So enjoy the holiday and write a letter to Congress. You elected them and they work for you. Want to talk about how dreamy your boyfriend is? Want to get a license to hunt skunks? Feel like Congress should receive a notarized copy of your grocery list? Go ahead; it’s Write Your Congress Day. Have fun!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Another Round Of Bullets

* I think that inserting the name Huckabee into any sentence automatically makes that sentence sound dirty. Go ahead, try it. The dirty factor increased, didn’t it?

* Never stick your leg out in wild, goofy excitement as you are doing 40 miles an hour through an old dry desert riverbed while on a quad. You know, if by some random circumstance you get the chance to. Your unbroken ankle will thank you.

* While typing out your daily to-do list at work and it includes items such as ‘callback lady for job interview at _____’ and ‘update blog links,’ don’t print it while EVERYONE is in the office, even if no one happens to be at the SHARED printer at that exact moment.

* When driving through the desert in the dark, don’t try to make 5 year olds think that you just saw Bigfoot to increase the exciting during a long drive. Wait until they are about 10 or so; they’ll sleep much better then.

* When you share Crème Brule with a coworker and they leave a few bites of the burnt sugary goodness on their plate, even after you warned them not to waste it, don’t grab the plate and finish their uneaten portion. It seems that the story spreads very quickly when everyone gets back to the office. And I gotta tell ya; hearing the phrase ‘give it to Mickey, he’ll eat anything’ over and over again does get really, really old. You might not think so, but it does. Perhaps this is why I never liked Life Cereal.

* Can anyone else hear the name Tabitha and NOT think of ‘Bewitched?’ Do you think that anyone named ‘Tabitha’ gets sick of hearing that? I bet all the guys named Barney Miller feel the same way…

* Suddenly fall down at Disneyland and then count how many ‘cast members’ run to your aid. Now that, my friends, is service the old-fashioned way.

* Does everyone work in an office where doing Huey Lewis’ 2 ‘A Capella’ songs is frowned upon? Maybe it’s because I’m trying to do all 5 parts like Andy on The Office?

* If Tyler Florence can land 1 bazillion Food Network shows because of something called ‘How To Boil Water,’ why can’t I land just one for something called ‘How To Burn What Would Have Been An Otherwise Decent Meal Without Really Trying And Then Ordering Pizza.’

* I am shocked that with the Lego celebrating its 50th birthday yesterday that I never read a headline stating that ‘Legos made it cool (or hip) to be square.’ Sadly, it’s coming up with those type of lines that cause me not to get real work done. But then again, I guess Legos are rectangular so it’s really a moot point. And let’s face it; no point wants to be moot.

* Anticipating that this summer’s movie version of ‘Get Smart’ (starring Steve Carrell as Maxwell Smart and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99) will bring a lot of interest back to the original series, I have started telling people how much I liked the original series so that I won’t look like I’m jumping on the bandwagon when the series gets popular again. I tried the same thing with Barry Manilow, but it seems his album of 70’s covers didn’t make him as popular as I had previously and somewhat erroneously anticipated.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Know Where He’s Going To End Up…

The AP reported that a burglar in Texas made off with some special booty recently. Was he a pirate? No, I just felt like typing the word booty. The thief broke into a car only to find the local Bishop’s crown sitting there just waiting for him. And yes, for the record, he stole it.

Now, I imagine there are two sides (one good, one bad) to stealing an important accessory from a religious figure. On the positive side, you (as a burglar) have that whole Judeo-Christian ‘forgiveness’ thing working for you. I suppose that means you can parade around for a week or two with the crown, take pictures with it, let your dog wear it, put it on the dashboard, get all Bishopy with the spouse, reenact a chess game using real people, wear it for your league night down at the bowling alley, wear it to the Lakers game so you get on the jumbo-screen or teach your cat to jump through it. And then after all that, you can return it quietly and anonymously guilt-free, knowing that you are forgiven.

The downside of course is that you have STOLEN A BISHOP’S CROWN. Man, is Karma gonna kick your backside for that one. Yeah, hopefully all the great times you had and pics you snapped were worth being Karma’s bitch. To stay on the safe side though, I wouldn’t drive for a few weeks, chop anything in the kitchen anytime soon, or handle everyday objects with pointed ends like pencils, pens, forks, ice picks or lawn darts. Since Karma can strike anytime and anywhere, I would also be leery of listening to the radio while in the bathtub or blow drying your hair while bathing. The same goes for handling raw meat in the middle of the forest. Safety is paramount here. I mean why place yourself in harm’s way when you know karma is waiting around the corner.

According to the story, the worst part of the crown theft (or to put it in biblical terms- the stealing of the crown) was that when at a church service, he was the only churchy person without a head covering. How horrible to have achieved a ranking that lets you wear a crown and you have to appear in public without it, while everyone else has one. Let’s just hope that bishops are kinder than school kids because if they aren’t, imagine the peer pressure and heckling when you show up without your head gear. It would be a lot like the time I came to work an hour later than when our staff meeting started. OK, I’ll be honest: it’s a lot like the TIMES I came to work an hour later…

Is there a moral (or parable) to this story of the evil man who stole the Holy Crown? Is there something to be gleaned from the thief’s horrible and detestable actions that can benefit men and women everywhere with evil in their hearts? Is there salvation at hand for those who choose to give up their deceitful ways?

Probably not. Seriously, we don’t even know yet how this story ends. But I can tell you this: if you happen to be perusing E-bay later this week and come across an actual Bishop’s crown that is not a replica, you’d better steer clear. But then again, if you are searching E-bay for a Holy Crown, then you deserve what you’ve got coming to you. Nah, I’m just kidding. How do you think I got the Archbishop’s staff I have hanging next to my deer antlers over my Dale Earnhardt portrait on velvet out in the garage?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Should I Live In A ‘Van Down By The River’?

I hope you get that SNL reference. If not I am going to continue anyway. Just Google or Wikipedia Matt Foley. Or I suppose you could just look at the photo to the left. Yeah, that might be a little easier. I forgot about the photo thing when I was writing this…

Any who, I was on the time stealer Facebook last night and saw an ad posted that seriously attracted my attention. I also saw one for Office show merchandise, and the fact that I am not blogging about that should tell you just how interested I was in the other ad. It was an ad (and maybe you have seen it, or even clicked on it) that said something like: BECOME A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER. I couldn’t get over my excitement. Me becoming a motivational speaker? Why, I’ve always wondered how to get into this exciting field of helping others while getting to stand in front of them while talking encouragingly.

What qualifications do I possess for this, you ask. Well, I stood in front of both Lucy AND Ethel and spoke to them encouragingly when they were being potty trained and the last time I checked, they were still using the big people toilets, so I must have done something right. Heck, I also did essentially the same thing with Mabel when she was a puppy and about 35% of the time she goes where I want her to. When you factor in the language barrier, I think that’s a pretty good success rate. I would like to be able to say that I encourage my coworkers, but if you’ve read this blog (even once), you know that I have yet to encourage them to do anything but give me a hard time, question my musical preferences or contact HR about ‘transferring’ me to a ‘department to which I am better suited.’ Those fools!!

I would love to try my hand at being a motivational speaker. I could put glasses back on, borrow one of my dad’s sport coats with the patches on the elbows (now that he is retired) throw a few pens in my shirt pocket (short sleeve button up with a tie, you know, to look professional and all) and go motivate people. Of course, I should probably enroll in the course I saw advertised on Facebook, but we’ll get to that later. I think as a warm-up I’ll just start speaking motivationally to people I come across on the street or in my office building. I can see how it might catch them off guard, but think how they’ll benefit from being spoken to all motivationally. Or conversely, think how I might end up with a black eye. OK, I’m done thinking about that now.

Man, the course would be fun. Especially on the days when all the students have to get up in front of the rest of the class to practice their ‘Mo-Speak.’ I didn’t see that word in the ad, but if it’s there next time, I’m going to be pointing a very accusatory finger. I bet all the students are each given a different topic to speak about or a different ‘group’ to pretend they are speaking to. Though with my luck I’d end up having to speak to a group of high school kids who are behind in their studies because they are addicted to blogging. But, that would give me a great starting line:
‘Kids, you don’t know me, but I know you, very well. How do I know you? Because I know your affliction. I too have spent way too much time blogging. And through my story, I will help you return to the real world and leave those nasty posts behind.’

Then I will shove the classroom computer off the desk and let it crash to the floor, exploding in oh, at least 4 ½ pieces. Now that I have their attention, I will detail how I missed my children’s weddings, my older non-descript relative’s funeral and a freeway exit while entranced by the blogging world. Granted I am making all that up, but they won’t know. I hope. Pretty good stuff though, huh?

Is there an entrance exam for Motivational Speaking School? Are you expected to list your ‘Mo-Speak’ heroes? Do game show hosts count as motivational speakers? Is that maybe a ‘Mo-Speak’ career path? Think about it for a second, they are tasked with motivating the contestant in the contestant’s pursuit of money and fabulous prizes. I ask this because if I can’t count game show hosts as motivational speakers then I am in a little trouble coming up with anyone else. Some might consider Richard Simmons a motivational speaker, but I just consider him a very scary little man. I guess there’s the Anthony Robbins class of speakers, but since I have never been to one of his seminars, I don’t consider myself qualified to list him as a ‘Mo-Speak’ hero. Nor would I consider Oprah or Rachael Ray to be one either, just for the record. Because what would a blog post be if it didn’t mention Oprah or her Queen of All Media In Training, Rachael.

So, wish me luck. Hopefully by this time next year I’ll be speaking to a convention full of Star Trek fans telling them ‘why don’t you all just get a life.’ Oh wait, that might have been William Shatner…

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ten Reasons I Should Not Have Gone Into Work Wednesday

10. By 11AM, I had offended 3 of the 5 women in our office. Apparently, telling a coworker that she moves very fast for an 8 ½ month pregnant woman is not seen as the compliment that I intended it to be.

9. It turns out that greeting each and every person in our office by name every time I passed them at their desks both coming and going in an effort to lighten the mood of our office did not work like I thought it would. How do I know this? I was asked to stop greeting each and every person in our office by name every time I passed them both coming and going.

8. For some reason, when I was putting important dates on my calendar, I mistook Wednesday, January 23rd for Wednesday, January 30th. Turns out my boss didn’t. I think this was because an important report was due today – January 23rd and not next week - January 30th, like I thought it was when I wrote it on my Dunder-Mifflin/Office calendar.

7. I was asked to stop singing Hank Jr.’s ‘Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound’ by a coworker as I was singing it while finishing up a report. Though in all honesty this is not the first time that has been requested of me.

6. The vent directly over my desk seems to think it’s mid-August. It didn’t help that every time someone walked into my office they felt they had to mention how cold it was. Though in hindsight, I guess I really didn’t have to reply to them by saying ‘I know, that’s why I’m shivering, you du-mass.’

5. I’ve always felt that showing up 15 minutes after everyone else was a great way to ensure that I didn’t have to wait for the coffee to brew when I get in because it’s already finished when I get there late. This was one of those days though when someone had left only 7 drips in the pot believing it was completely acceptable. I’ve got a tip for ya: it’s not acceptable, or considerate.

4. I annoyed a few of my coworkers when I decided it would be fun to talk like Richard Nixon from about 1pm-2pm. Well, to quote tricky Dick: ‘they won’t have me to kick around anymore.’

3. I left the lunch I had packed this morning on the kitchen counter. Though I ended up going out for burgers and fries at a great choke ‘n puke, so that one didn’t end up so badly, but I don’t feel like rewriting reason #3, so I’m going to keep it included in this list.

2. Three coworkers walked into my cube to get my input on something. I know this doesn’t sound so bad, but let me also tell you that it was also the exact moment when Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’ was playing on my Ipod. It must not be as popular a song as I thought it was because all three of them responded with a ‘what the hell is that?’

1. The break room vending machine was just stocked with Diet Dr. Pepper in cool retro cans but the knob to select it doesn’t work. Now I know how all those people felt at the end of the ‘Got Milk’ commercials when their mouths were stuffed with cake and they realized they were out of milk. Only difference – I hate cake and don’t like milk. Other than that though, I feel just like those people. To make it worse, one of the girls in the office walked in as I was complaining about the broken knob. She took my quarters, inserted them and out came a can of Diet Dr. Pepper. I told her that if I didn’t fear a visit from HR that I would hug her and then discretely asked her to just keep this incident between the 2 of us. Although I don’t think she heard me because she was laughing so hard.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Little Too Quick There, Huh?

I just read an AFP News Service story about the death of an 81-year-old man in Chile. Well, he was 81 and from Chili, but apparently he wasn’t so dead. His family found him and thought he was dead so they called a funeral home and commenced the grieving. The story says that he woke up at his own wake. Actually, that’s kind of funny. I mean what better time to wake up then at a wake. You wouldn’t expect anyone to wake up at a sleepover, right?

If I was the old man, that is when I would hop out of the coffin and start asking my family probing questions (well that and lamenting that fact that I grew old so quickly that I can no longer play basketball or do the Macarena). Asking them why they were in such a hurry to bury me that they didn’t notice I was STILL BREATHING comes to mind. That question would be followed shortly thereafter with one for the funeral home operators. Nothing serious, just wanting to know where they earned their license and stuff like that. Yes, the license that helps them tell the difference between dead people and living people BEFORE they are sealed in a coffin and buried at least six feet under for all of time.

That has got to create some awkward moments between him and his family. How can you look them in the eye at Thanksgiving (wait, do Chileans celebrate Thanksgiving?) and not wonder just how disappointed they were that you aren’t dead. You know, since they TRIED TO BURY YOU ALIVE and all. If you are a member of the family, do you just walk around apologizing to him all the time? ‘Sorry Dad, you know that we REALLY DID think you were dead.’ ‘It’s just that you were sooooo still and let’s face it; you’re no spring chicken.’ Did the family members have to fake awe and shock (yes not using the more familiar shock and awe was intentional) that the guy was still living as he awakened in his coffin? Was Uncle Wally heard mumbling something like ‘I knew this would happen, we should’ve suffocated him first?’

I suppose there is another side to this. Maybe, just maybe Mr. Death Almost Came A-Knockin’ wanted to be perceived as dead. Let’s say he accidentally sat up in his coffin believing that the wake or funeral was already over and he was just trying to hop out before the burial, because if he tried to climb out after the burial, the whole faking death thing would be a very moot point. Perhaps he was in a bad marriage, annoyed by his kids or just forgot to return a library book back in 1947. What if he was running from a bookie he owed money to for wrongly picking that Julio Castroneves would be the runner up on the most recent ‘Dancing With The Stars?’ Or possibly he was almost driven insane by his grandchildren’s constant singing of the High School Musical 2 Soundtrack.

If any of these scenarios are true (and we all know they aren’t, but let’s just pretend for fun) then I bet he’s a whole lot of fun to be around right now. While his family laughs in relief that they didn’t bury their relative alive at the big Memorial Day BBQ (do they have a Memorial Day in Chile? Boy, I better brush up on my Chilean holidays!), does he just grumble and say ‘and I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddlin’ kids.’ And now that he’s still alive, he can’t get access to all the money he stashed away in a foreign bank account under an assumed name. It’s almost enough to make him want to fake his own death, but he can’t because he already tried, and failed.

I’m not sure if I will ever get to travel to Chile, but if I do, I certainly hope I don’t get ill there. Or take a nap anywhere that I can be found. When I fake my death, it’s all planned for me to be in the Caribbean. Oh wait, I’ve shared too much. Now it won’t be seen as an excused absence by my employer. Dang it!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It’s The Super Pack!!

Some folks tend to make a lot out of dreams and what they mean and all that. I’ve never been much for that, but I did wake up this morning with a particularly memorable one. Although please keep in mind that I also dreamt last night that I had tea and spaghetti on a yacht with Burt Reynolds and the mid-1960s Mary Tyler Moore, if that helps you put things in perspective.

The dream that brought me to the blogging table this morning had to do with something my best friend and I saw while at Target. It was a large box in the toy section (come on, we all know that most grown men still like hanging out in the toy section) and inside of it were action figures. But these weren’t just your run of the mill figures, it was the key members of the Rat Pack: Sinatra, Deano and Sammy and a bunch on non-descript ‘bad guys’ packaged together. We were both supremely impressed with how cool it was that the Rat Pack had finally been immortalized in little plastic figure form. In fact, in my dream I purchased the set and promptly placed the 3 heroes on my desk and paraded everyone in my building into my cubicle to marvel at my new awesome desk figurines (which no one marveled at, by the way. Apparently, even in my dreams I still maintain my loser-istic qualities). The dream was so vivid (and by vivid I mean cool) that I was completely depressed upon waking up and realizing that the Rat Pack would not be greeting me when I got to work alongside my Dwight Schrute Stress Ball Head, Charlie Brown figure, and Mater tow truck.

I spent all morning pondering the Rat Pack action figures and what I could do with them (aside from the obvious, which of course would be crawling under my desk and putting the Rat Pack figures on my desk to act out one of the Vegas shows for all my coworkers). I thought about whether or not the Rat Pack figures would possess powers which would allow them to beat the bad guys that were packaged with them. Would their powers be the obvious traits that they were blessed with? Would Sammy dance all over the enemy (and throw his glass eye at him as if it were a great weapon), would Dean Martin be able to drink them under the table into a state of unconsciousness, thereby allowing him to handcuff them and deliver the evil-doer’s to the authorities? Would Sinatra beat the crap out of them, sic the mob on them or use his special ‘Ring-a-ding-ding power’ that would make it sound as if a bell was going off right next to the enemy’s ear? Or perhaps like Odd Job in the James Bond flick ‘Goldfinger,’ he could whip is fedora towards the enemy thus slicing the bad guy’s head off.

I’m thinking this would make a great animated series. They could be called The Super Pack or maybe The Summit, which is what the Rat Pack always preferred to be called anyway. Their super lair would be a penthouse at the rebuilt Sands Hotel and Casino. The Super Pack would use their entertaining super powers to defeat evil, right society’s wrongs and make the world a better place. Of course this would all need to be achieved during the day because they (in the guise of their alter-egos) would be busy swingin’ and telling stories using salty language with the dames, dolls and chicks all night.

It’s exciting to envision the Rat Pack being introduced to the next generation via an action packed animated series. Though I gotta confess that I am still pretty bummed knowing that a set of Rat Pack action figures won’t be waiting on my desk for me when I get to work later today. Perhaps I should call in sick. If ya need me I’ll be in the toy aisle at Target for the rest of the afternoon…

Friday, January 18, 2008


So this is my 500th post. For those of you coming here expecting to take part in my 500th Post Extravaganza and Meat Buffet, well let me just say sorry. The funding fell through so in the words of bad tourist shirts everywhere, all you get is this crummy post. It’s odd sitting down to write this post just so that I can say I wrote number 500. But alas, that’s what I’m doing and your are stuck reading it. It’s amazing to me to think that I have written 500 posts. I mean if I wrote one post a year, it would take 500 years to accomplish, though I’d be dead and only get 60-80 posts in. If I wrote a post a day, it would take about a year and a half. Oh wait, I guess that’s kinda what I did and it certainly doesn’t seem as impressive as the 500 year thing…

I wish I could remember my last 499, but they are a blur of bad jokes, cheese, paying homage to Fred Willard and certain veiled references to me knowing the entire plot of the new Indian Jones movie, provided you got the clues I have been trying to subtly give you over the last year and a half. By the way, I bet you hadn’t noticed that if you started with my first post and read everyone straight through to last Tuesday’s, you would now have precise MapQuest-like directions to my house from the corner of Jamboree and Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach, California.

Of course I am making that up. I still get lost in my hometown. Honestly, I still get lost in my work’s parking lot. It’s very big and the parking stalls are all the same. Seriously, how do old people do it? You’d think the mall would be a scary maze to them. And parking structures? Well the fact that my grandparents can get home after parking in one still amazes me. I actually got lost a few weeks ago in Disneyland’s mega-parking structure, although in my defense it was late, I’d had a few too many mint juleps and churros (so what if they were non-alcoholic – I can still get a happy buzz) and it is the biggest parking structure in America and second biggest in the world (that’s what she said).

But this post is not about parking lots or parking structures. This post is about, well, nothing worthwhile so far. Although I guess that’s been the entire point of my blogging since the summer of 2006. It almost saddens me that I can look back over that time and find that I haven’t used this blog to change the world or to make it a forum to discuss the issues of our time. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately and have decided to use the next 500 posts (or 20, whichever comes first) to smarten up this blog. One of the first ways I am going to do that is on Mondays. From now on, each Monday will be dedicated to one particular grouping of JFK’s assassination theories. Next Monday will be titled ‘Everything having to do with the Grassy Knoll with the notable exclusion of picnics.’ Please make sure to come by on Monday and share with me your ideas on whether or not there was a shooter on the Grassy Knoll.

I haven’t quite fleshed out every day of the week yet, but I can tell you that Wednesdays are going to be ‘Green Wednesday’ when I give you environmental tips like ‘Don’t put plastic six-pack holders in the trash because they can end up in the sea and choke a dolphin. Burn them in the fireplace instead.’ Or ‘Oil is bad for our oceans so you should use as much water as possible and hose the oil stains off of your driveway every evening.’ I promise to have more valuable tips each Wednesday. To contribute something to the arts, I am dedicating my writing on Fridays to that noble pursuit. Though I am torn between breaking down the plays of Shakespeare by comparing them to episodes of Baywatch and explaining Opera by converting them to country songs. You know, it’s my way of bringing fancy art to the masses; kind of in the same way that Oprah only likes hanging out with celebrities because she understands them better. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not criticizing ‘The Op,’ not because I think it’s wrong, but because I fear her legal people, who ironically, are not celebrities.

When If you visit my blog this summer, please watch for my 8 part series on American Politics written in romantic novella style and only featuring men with unbuttoned shirts and flowing hair and women with, well, the same thing. To promote learning (and by learning I mean paying attention) in the series, points will be awarded for the readers that correctly count the numbers of words used like ample, bosom and throb.

And speaking of readers, I recently noticed that I have had almost 41,000 of them in the last year and a half. Now granted, myself and my work’s HR department easily account for at least 30,000 of those hits, but I want to take the time to thank everyone else who keeps coming back here for some reason. While I can’t guarantee I will write another 500 posts, I can guarantee that I might write one next Wednesday or possibly Thursday, and that’s a good enough reason to come back and visit again, right??

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This Post Will Be Easy

When I checked one of the ‘today’s highly questionable but somehow official holidays are’ websites, I was struck immediately by the fact that today (1/16 when I am writing this) is National Nothing Day. So, today’s post will strive to honor such a meaningless and insignificant holiday.

I have no idea who created this holiday but in the spirit of the day, I really don’t care. I say this knowing full well that it’s probably someone who I could get along with very well. How does one celebrate National Nothing Day? Let’s just say I don’t figure on writing too many more paragraphs today. It is a shame though that National Nothing Day happens to occur when it does because I really need to get busy planning Friday’s big 500th Post Extravaganza and Meat Buffet. I have to line up guests who I made fun of in my 499 previous posts (which strangely enough is proving very difficult to do), figure out how the heck to get a fireworks permit, come up with an illness I haven’t already ‘had’ so that I can miss work, find a juggling elephant and convince Giada DeLarentis to cater it for me. I still haven’t heard from the cast of Happy Days and am beginning to think that the publicist for The Dave Clark 5 was messing with me when he said that my backyard would host the reunion of the greatest British band ever. OK, the 6th greatest British band ever. And if that wasn’t enough, I also have to spend National Nothing Day actually trying to write my 500th post because having the 500th post is kind of the point of the whole thing. Sadly, no one rewards 499.

‘Oh he wrote 499 posts? That’s nice dear, but it’s not like he wrote 500. Writing that one extra post would have been so much more impressive. No, I’m not baking a cake for him for only 499. We’ll send him a muffin. No, muffins are for real achievers. We’ll send him a card. Wait, a card is too much. We’ll send a postcard. The boy can get a cake when he writes 500. That slacker…’

I also discovered that one of the listed ‘holidays’ for Thursday is called Judgment Day. Seriously, Judgment Day. Two things went through my mind when I read that: OH CRAP and HUH? I think finding out that not only is judgment day coming, but knowing when it is coming easily explains the ‘oh crap’ reaction. But the ‘huh’ relates to the fact that we weren’t supposed to know when judgment day would come. I think that was part of the point of it all. Knowing now kinda takes the fun out of it, like knowing about a surprise party thrown in your honor before you get to the party. With the pointed exception that most surprise birthday parties don’t have the possibility of ending up in hell. And it also means that I am now going to have to spend both National Nothing Day and Judgment Day praying for forgiveness. And that’s BEFORE my 500th Post Extravaganza and Meat Buffet. Imagine all the forgiveness I’ll be asking for after that.

Well, I have written far more than I wanted to while trying to celebrate National Nothing Day. Now I’m done. Off to do nothing. Except for a trip to the grocery store. And some ironing. And the twins need a bath. This holiday is not turning out the way I had hoped it would. I’ll just make up for it on National Goof Off Day (March 22, seriously. Why would I make up something like that?), provided Judgment Day goes better than anticipated.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

These Shoes Are Made For Changin’

I swear that the story you are about to read is real. It might sound fabricated, but I assure you that it is true as the stories of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Wait, that’s not really helping my argument, is it? Well, just rest assured that the story is true…

I must preface this TRUE story with a little background. I have never thought of myself as a fashionable individual or as someone who really cares about fashion. If I am in jeans and a t-shirt or shorts and a t-shirt, I have achieved my pinnacle of high fashion. If you catch me in an untucked button down shirt, then there’s a good chance someone has died or is getting married, or possibly I am on my way to a job interview. There was something that happened on the way in this morning that made me think perhaps I might just care a little more about fashion than I would like to believe. And this is what happened…

On my drive in this morning I was fretting that while I have post ideas for my 500th post in a few days and April Fool’s Day, I did not have one for today. Then as if from out of nowhere, the blogging powers that be looked down on me and tossed their fortuitous cookies my way. While at a stop light, I looked down (as I often do) to make sure I had matching shoes on. Please don’t ask me why I do that. It’s just a paranoia I have that I will be in such a hurry some day (because I haven’t been on time for work since 1997, which is OK because I’m salaried) and put mismatching shoes on. It was then I stopped at the red light at the corners of bad luck and good luck and noticed that I did indeed have two completely different black shoes on. Come on, we’ve all done it…right? And here is where the new sense of fashion comes in. Although I debated the merits of going into work anyway and dealing with the inevitable ribbing, I decided to turn around, go back home and put on matching shoes. Well, I did stop at Starbucks first. As I reflected on my decision on my drive (back) to work, I realized that in the past I could have cared less that I had the right shoes on. What I can’t figure out is when having matching shoes on became so important to me. Before today, I would have taken this footwear handicap as a challenge to develop as many witty comebacks for my coworkers when they gave me grief about my shoes. Impressive lines like ‘yeah well, at least I have 2 different pairs of shoes,’ ‘I’m impressed you even managed to notice my shoes weren’t the same’ and ‘so is your mamma’ would have spewn forth (my phrase, but you can use it) from my mouth in my defense, wowing my attackers coworkers.

Now sure, I could use the excuse that I was up late with Lucy and an ear ache, I watched a Lee Harvey Oswald special last night and was afraid to get out of bed this morning, that I had not had coffee yet, I was distracted by the drop in my daily blog commenters, it’s been like 34 hours since I last had cheese or that I am simply an idiot, but I decided to accept full responsibility for leaving the house with mismatching shoes. And because I am man enough to accept responsibility, here is the real reason I headed for work with incorrect footwear: Rachael Ray.

Yep, it was Rachael’s fault. I could hear her voice while getting ready for work this morning and that made me think of food, which in turn made me realize I was hungry, which made me realize that the twins needed breakfast, which always reminds me to put on a little morning TV on for them, which displays the time and that reinforces that I am late, but I am making breakfast for Lucy and Ethel, the scent of which makes me need breakfast, but I don’t have time to make bacon or steak and settle on cereal, but I can’t have cereal without checking my email when eating it and then I see the backyard and want to play with my dog Mabel. She steps on my feet and that reminds me that I need shoes for work. Oh yeah, work. I’ve kinda forgotten that I need to get there. So, while still craving bacon and hearing Rachael’s voice, I close my eyes to get her out of my head, and THAT is when I reach blindly for my shoes…thus putting two different ones on.

I eventually did tell my coworkers why I REALLY was late to work today. They say a nanosecond happens before we can even count it, but I say the scientists are wrong. It took less time than that after the explanation left my mouth until I began regretting it. Stupid Rachael Ray…

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Repost For No Particular Reason: I’m Dying To Fly With You

Every now and then, I come across ‘real’ news that makes me jealous that I could not have thought up something so unimaginable. I guess that’s why they call it unimaginable though. Reuters posted a story this morning of a man who woke up in a first class airline seat next to a corpse. Apparently, a woman in economy passed away after take-off and they could not keep her body from shifting and falling out of her chair because of turbulence. The recently deceased and her distraught daughter were upgraded for the remainder of the flight, which of course is the absolute least that the airline could have done for the lady and the body of her mother. Reports that British Airways is considering changing its name to R.I.P. Airlines are inaccurate. This all brings new meaning to the term departure, doesn’t it? I know this is a story I should leave alone, but I can’t. Hey, I’ll be dead one day too and I invite people to make as many jokes at my expense as they want.

One can only imagine the sight of a corpse slipping out of its chair onto the floor repeatedly during this flight. That reminds me, the long awaited sequel to ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ called ‘Bernie’s Final Flight’ should be released this summer. One passenger was quoted as saying that the body had to be propped up with pillows to keep it from moving. This incident does make me wonder why the flight from Delhi to London was not turned back around so that the body could be dealt with and treated with the proper respect that the deceased deserved.

I’ll admit that if it had been me waking up next to the departed, things might have gone a little differently. I try to be congenial wherever I am (although I can also be extremely dense) and am sure I would wake up, discover someone seated next to me and try to strike up a conversation with them. I’d probably start by making Delhi/Deli jokes like, “you know, I imagined that Delhi would have a much better collection of cold cuts than they did.” Since that’s not really funny, I would try another approach like, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in economy class.” Then realizing that I got no response, I would pay a little more attention to my row mate and notice that she appeared lifeless. In light of now realizing that she was deceased and I had just made a dead joke, I would begin trembling and do a spit take, thus sending my diet soda spraying across the back of my seat as well as the graying and balding head of the CEO in front of me. The CEO would turn around enraged and I would whisper in a very high pitch while pointing at the dead woman, “she’s dead. I’m sitting next to a corpse.” The CEO would scream, I would scream and then the flight attendants would hustle down the aisle to see what the commotion was about.

When the flight attendants arrive, they would apologize with something lame like, “sorry sir, she passed away last night and we didn’t want to wake you. Here are a few complimentary drink tickets.” While completely insufficient given the circumstance, I would accept the coupons since I don’t like confrontation and then ask, “Well, since she isn’t going to be hungry, may I have her meal, too?”

Given a choice, I would rather pass away on a boat instead of a flight. If I died at sea, they might just dump my body overboard during a tasteful sea burial. If some obscure maritime law prohibited the dumping of bodies in international waters, then I’m sure I could be shoved into the boiler room or propped next to the shuffleboard sticks. No matter how you look at it though, the situation would be awkward for everyone involved.

Can you imagine the decisions that the captain and attendant crew had to make? You have to figure that they would be criticized for whatever decision they made. If they turned the flight around, they would be blamed for causing delays at the airport. However, by flying on to their destination they created a very creepy situation and probably violated some health code that deals with transporting corpses on international commercial flights. If they had announced to the passengers what happened when the death was discovered it would freak everyone out and if they dragged the body up to first class, it would be disrespectful to the deceased as well as the passengers. If the crew had decided to quietly move the body to the front of the plane while the majority of passengers slept, they could be accused of being deceitful. It’s a no-win situation. I just hope they refunded the ticket price for the deceased’s daughter, the deceased and anyone else inconvenienced by the event.

While it may cause a black eye publicly for British Airways, at least they got a new marketing slogan out of the unfortunate situation. “British Airways – our service is heart stopping.”

Monday, January 14, 2008

This Will Be Good To Keep In Mind

Finally, finally, finally. I have been waiting for some good news like this. In fact, I imagine most of us have. With news like this maybe we can use it to get a little more down time at work. Or home. What am I talking about? Uh, I can’t remember, that’s why I kept hyping it up trying to bide time until I could remember what made me take pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) in the first place.

Oh that’s right, it just came to me. And by came to me, I mean after a 2 hour session of pacing, mumbling and head scratching. A recent news story I read said that researchers now believe that naps can help lock in long term memories. So, we now have scientific proof (kind of) that naps are good for us (kind of). Are you looking ahead here? Are you seeing how this could be advantageous to the work force?

Let’s put it this way in the form of my carefully drafted mock conversation: ‘I’m sorry boss man/woman. I can’t remember what you asked me to do. Oh, I had a big report due? Oh, you reminded me about it 2 weeks ago? Hmm, I wonder why I forgot about it. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately. Here boss man/woman, why don’t you read this report I just happen to have that details how napping helps memory. Yes, I thought it would look better printed in 4-color and on card stock. Why can I remember that report but not the one you asked me to do you ask? Uh, I can’t remember?’

So, are you with me yet? Are you seeing how we might be able to parlay this into mandatory naptime at work? I realize that on the surface it looks like our productivity would actually DROP if we took 1-2 naps every day in the middle of the work day, but if we could remember more easily all the things we are supposed to be doing at work, then wouldn’t our productivity actually INCREASE?

It’s a compelling argument and one that I am prepared to make. If naps will make us better workers, I am all for it. Although I must confess that I am not being totally honest here. I really am not that concerned about my better worker status, but if that’s what I have to do to get naps at work, then I can sacrifice my reputation and let management think I am concerned with becoming a better worker. Now I don’t envision me having the time to get us all unionized or following in the footsteps of workers rights leaders like Caesar Chavez, Lech Walesa or Kathie Lee Gifford, but I do feel that naps at work are worth fighting for.

I just wish I wasn’t so tired so that I had more energy to properly pursue the Naps at Work agenda. Hmmm, now that I think about it, does a workers rights initiative with the acronym NAW that deals with napping really portray the tone we want? I say Nah. How about Naps On Work. NOW sounds aggressive, it’s a call to action and portrays a much more proactive stance than NAW. I suppose there is also Sleeping For Better Work, but SFBW sound like a noise I might make while slurping spaghetti noodles or something. While it might be fun hearing our bosses making sounds like that, I’m just not comfortable with something that sounds like slurping being the acronym I may become associated with.

Like any big change in policy or procedure, there are logistics that need to be worked out with the new napping on the job thing. I have no idea where beds or cots are going to fit into my department’s already cramped space. We already use one of our secretary’s desks for coffee, and Miss Single’s office to store our Christmas decorations and my office has file cabinets that need to be used by everyone in the office. During our down time, I routinely try to move my cubicle’s walls out inch by inch to get more space. Barring any unforeseen absence or development, I should have another foot of space to my office by 2011. I’ve actually been tempted to put the anticipated date on the calendar, but since this year is a leap year, I need to rework the numbers a bit first.

I would not mind falling on the sword though, so to speak, and offering up my desk in exchange for a bed in my cube. See, that’s the great thing about being human - our adaptability (well that and our ability to differentiate food textures on our tongues. Although I suppose the opposable thumb thing is pretty important. Just imagine Fonzie saying ‘aaaaay’ while sticking his thumb up). I guarantee you that I will figure out how to adapt to using a bed in my office instead of a desk. There obviously may be some HR issues though when I ask either males or females (I think that covers everybody, except for that ONE person in our office) to have a seat on my bed when they come to my cubicle for a meeting, but I’ll get that worked out. Just let me sleep on it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Scent Of Work

It has been a while since I last blogged about work. For the record, it’s been even longer since I blogged AT work, ya know my visit from HR and all of that. OK, disclaimer aside, by 10am today, I was reminded that I probably should not be working with other people. However, they are still paying me to show up, so against my better judgment I keep going in.

It all began as I got my normal morning cup of coffee at our little ‘coffee station.’ I noticed for the first time that there was a container of half and half near the creamer and sugar. I asked where it came from and was told that it was brought in by Miss Single. Because she is so good at giving me a hard time, like yesterday when she dangled a slice of caramel apple cheesecake in my face (as well as one can manage to dangle a slice of pie) after I accused her of trying to fatten me up with all the candy she had been sharing, I commented to myself out loud (which is harder to do than you might imagine) that she must have trouble committing since she can only do things half and half. It got a laugh, so I straightened my shirt and went to her cubicle to try out the new material in the hopes that I might just once be able to burn her the way she manages to burn me daily (be careful kids, one-upmanship can get messy) .

I asked her why she has so much trouble committing. She motioned that she was on the phone and didn’t look too enthused. Mental note: look before I walk into someone’s cube and start speaking, boisterously. Now I know what you are thinking. And you are right. That is the moment that I should have stepped away. But nope, I stayed until she was off the phone. Despite her somewhat annoyed and aggravated look, I again asked her why she couldn’t commit fully to things. The tone in which she asked what I meant should also have been a clue, but I told her that I noticed she brought half and half in for our coffee instead of whole. She mumbled something about that being the stupidest thing she had ever heard so I moved off to the next cubicle.***

All I did there was spill coffee all over Mr. Lay Low’s desk. It being nowhere near the first time I have done this, he opened his top desk drawer to take out napkins and paper towels as though he was prepared for this eventuality. Then to my surprise, Miss Single showed up in my office to explain that she had finally found a teacher who teaches Mime class as she has been interested in taking Mime classes. Please don’t get me started ask me why. I explained that I thought taking classes on how NOT to speak was a great idea for someone as shy as her. Then she left. Ooh, points for me! The disapproving head shake of my secretary as she passed was what kept me from asking aloud ‘was it something I said?’ I beginning now to understand that although I have the best of intentions when joking with my fellow workers how I still got less Christmas cards and candies than everyone else at work did. Hmmmm.

Then there was the conversation that took place in Female Coworker’s cube. All the longtime readers remember her, right? To get you up to speed, she’s the one I am afraid of. What I found myself in was a conversation between her, myself and two other male coworkers. We were all very much into this discussion and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Then I realized that we were talking about candles. Scented ones. Yes, 1 woman and 3 grown men were debating whether or not Yankee Candles were more Fragrant than Gold Canyon ones. For the record, Gold Canyon won 3-1. One of my male colleagues mentioned how he likes the fruity fragrances. This prompted the other male coworker to quickly say he liked musky scents and woodsy scents. Picking up on what was going on, I tried to smooth things over by saying that I never expected to find myself in a water cooler discussion about candles and specific fragrances but that I enjoyed all candle scents equally. At that point I could hear other people in other sections of our building laughing. They were most definitely laughing at us instead of with us.

Of course Female Coworker is a Gold Canyon distributor and the newest guy in the office made the point of asking her how that worked. Then came the pyramid scheme jokes. Because as you know, you may come in buying a candle, but you leave selling them. As Female Coworker glared at me, I instantly regretted saying that. But in my defense, she was the one who gave the infomercial-like testimony that she had made $17,000 in her spare time selling them one year.

Uh, by the way, if you’d like to buy a nice smelling candle for your loved one for Valentines Day, please let me know. I’m not sure what exactly I agreed to with Female Coworker during lunch as she intimidates the testosterone outta me, but I fear I may now be a Gold Canyon Candle distributor. The catalog appears as though they have a wide variety of scents and sizes. Oh this is isn’t good…

***And you know, now that I reread the half and half joke for about the 5th time tonight, I’m realizing she was right and it really isn’t that funny. However, it’s almost 1AM (well, on the east coast any way) and there is no way in Hank I’m going to start a new post now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Time To Get Your Politic On, Baby

One of my favorite bloggers has done a few posts lately about her fascination and excitement with the launch of Presidential Primary season. She’s really into it. Oh yeah, I should mention that she is Canadian. That fact has got me thinking I’m not living up to my full potential or exercising my American rights with regard to politics. Let me explain in a little more detail. I hear the name Hillary and I think instantly of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first confirmed summiter of Mt. Everest. I hear the name Barack and think of lots of bun beds in a row. I know that’s ‘barrack’ but I can’t help what I think. If I could, I wouldn’t cry hysterically every time I sit down in my little cubicle or get goosebumps whenever I see the perfect cube of cheese arranged on a fancy platter (which isn’t near often enough, by the way).

I hear the name Huckabee and giggle like a 12 year old school girl, I hear the name Ron Paul and think of Pat Paulsen from The Smothers Brothers Show, I hear John Edwards and worry about Crossing Over, Gerald Ford and I think of Chevy Chase, Jimmy Carter and I think of the Planters Peanut Man (then I get hungry; it’s a vicious cycle). I hear George Bush Senior and I picture Phil Hartman in jogging shorts at a Mickey D’s. I hear the name Bill Clinton and I hear ‘bown chicka bown bown.’

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy American presidential politics and even minored in Political Science for a little while during college. It was only when I discovered that we weren’t going to be dissecting politicians and examining them under microscopes that I dropped the pursuit of that as a minor. People really need to be careful in the future how liberally they apply the word ‘science.’ Despite the context in which I think about politics and candidates, I would like to think that I have some political awareness. After all, I did meet Ronald Reagan 10 years ago and still consider that a life highlight; I’m finishing up a biography of him now and will be heading to his library early next month. I remember fondly the excitement I felt voting in my first presidential election when I was 18. So what if my write in candidate Joe Isuzu didn’t win. That’s a joke folks. I took my first election very seriously. I wrote in Magic Johnson.

In the past, I have started to get excited about the Presidential election in September or October. That’s the stretch run and when things get really interesting. Perhaps I should start paying attention earlier this time around. The California primary has been moved up to February from its old June date. That’s less than a month away. While this may not be the Golden Age of Presidential Campaigning (universally defined as the era where candidates’ fathers used the mob and Sinatra to win elections, one party broke into the other party’s hotel headquarters, Gary Hart posed for a photo with a hotty on his lap and Michael Dukakis drove a tank), but it is an unprecedented time in American politics. Especially for the Democratic Party. Seriously, they don’t have a candidate that invented the internet or married into ketchup money. Uh, what did you think I meant?

I don’t know that I’ll go out and volunteer at my local campaign headquarters, but I’ll certainly follow the nominating process and the news coverage of it much more closely as we head towards the big conventions this summer. As an American, it’s the very least I can do. I mean, who knows when the writer’s strike will end, right?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wonderful World Of Nothing's Parenting Question Of The Week

As most of you know, I have two identical 5 year old twin girls, Lucy and Ethel. Wait, that makes it sound like I have 4 girls or 2 pair of twins and I named two of them Lucy and two of them Ethel. That's not right though. Man I hate the English language.

Any hoo, I have decided to use the internet as the great resource it is and pose to you, my friends and readers, a parenting dilemma question every week (or so). Here is this week's parenting problem question:

Does dimming the lights, playing this CD over and over and sipping apple juice out of totty glasses with the twins like we are Vegas royalty while playing Wii bowling make me a bad father? Or is it setting up my girls for failure thinking that it's ok to live life as though they were middle aged men from the 1960s?

I thought it was all in good fun until I realized I was arm in arm with my twins singing Tom Jones' 'It's Not Unusual' and dancing as though we were the Brady Bunch performing on that local talent show to win something for Carol (or something like that; my memory is a little foggy about all the Brady details. But I DO remember the jumpsuits they were wearing. Holy crap, that's a scary memory).

Ok, I should also add that there is lots of finger snapping and thumb and index finger pointing, joined with words like doll, chick, way cool and baby in our best head and neck shaking Sammy Davis Jr. accents. And we're betting. Um, and I taught them to turn and point like Sean Connery points his gun at the beginning of James Bond films (but ONLY while the James Bond theme is playing). I just wanted you to be able to make a fully informed decision...

Thank you in advance for your feedback. It's not too obvious that I'm almost to 500 posts and just throwing anything up at this point to get there as soon as possible, is it? Bwahahahahahaha

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Apparently thinking I had gotten all of the random thoughts out of the way last week was wrong. There are more and I want to share them with you. This serves two purposes. 1: Lets me get feedback from my favorite readers/commenters and 2: Gives me something to write about. And really, what blogger isn’t looking for good decent semi-coherent material? I know I am. It kind of reminds me of those great nights back in high school and college where I’d find myself a few pages short of the length requirement for my term papers and would open up women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan and start randomly quoting from them. I’m just kidding. There is no way I’d ever have the guts to try anything like that. I used Field and Stream…

* Why isn’t Floam the world’s greatest packaging material? It’s part liquid and part foam. You’d think it was a shipper’s dream substance. Like Flubber to Fred MacMurry or silicone to Pamela Anderson.

* I am beyond excited about our new Bass Pro Shop just up the road. I’m going there this weekend to try to find a camouflage tie. Conventional wisdom would deem that if it’s camouflage, it should go with anything I wear and matching ties to shirts is well understood to be my weakness.

* When riding the Matterhorn at Disneyland in the middle of the worst and wettest Southern California Storm in 3 years, don’t look up. On the bright side, I won’t have to rewet my contacts for at least the next 17 days. On a somewhat related note, never wear a fleece pull over when expecting the same worst and wettest Southern California Storm in 3 years. I wouldn’t really call it a ‘water-repelling’ fabric.

* Why is it we can send a man to the moon and clone a cat but we cannot breed turkeys with more than 2 legs? I ask you is there a more tasty and self contained form of meat than the turkey leg? The thing even has its own handle!

* When you give digital cameras made for kids to your kids, be prepared to pose for pictures each and every time you turn around until the batteries run out. Tip: leave the camera on when no one is looking and the batteries seem to run out much quicker.

* I don’t think I could ever get accustomed to Hugh Hefner’s way of life. I mean I can’t stand wearing robes.

* When you build up the fact that you are doing a post about random thoughts in the not often used but easy to execute bullet form, make sure you have more than 6 items to share.

* Sorry about that. Whew, I just squeezed in another bullet!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hold On, I’m Driving And Learning To Juggle

The AP story I just read could make the statement above realistic within the next ten years. Apparently, officials at General Motors are saying that they could have cars that drive and park themselves in dealerships within 10 years. It sounds like a multi-tasker’s dream. Seriously, who hasn’t done battle with a CD case while trying to change CDs in the stereo while zooming down the highway? Who hasn’t accidentally swerved into another lane while trying to get the big rig driver next to you to blow his horn? Who hasn’t been awakened by the sound of a blaring horn coming from the car approaching you head on? Who hasn’t almost run into a ditch after being burned when seeing what it would feel like to stick your finger in the red-hot end of the cigarette lighter? Well, those are just examples. I am obviously not saying I have done any of those things.

Let’s face it; computers and technology have become far smarter than we are. I actually find this a bit ironic since it’s us people (did that sound right to you?) that made the computers to begin with, but if I dwell on that too long my mind will end up in an endless loop trying to fathom the chicken and egg dilemma of man and computer. Crap, it’s already started…

OK, 3 hours have elapsed and I’m done now. For those of you keeping score, though they are man made, computers can be smarter because they don’t have emotion. Alright, back to the self-driving cars. You would have to think that self-driving cars would be safer than man-driven vehicles. Granted, there will still be the occasional driving into lakes and rivers because the GPS system thought there was a road there, but those are minor occurrences and usually only end up as one car incidents. Imagine if you will the harmonious existence of smart cars driving around other smart cars in a glorious world of vehicle cohabitation all due to nicely executed computer logarithms that are in-sync (did you just think of bringing sexy back with Justin??) with surrounding vehicles, stoplights and lane dividers. Wow, your smart car could theoretically drive right past an accident without slowing down to rubberneck. I know what you are thinking: but Michael, there should not be ANY accidents now that our cars are computer controlled. And you know what, I really have no good or intelligently thought out response to that and am just going to ignore it. I hope that doesn’t offend you.

Our smart cars will give us so much more free time. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this smart car technology opened up an entirely new interior vehicle layout. We could now have beds, tables and perhaps ping pong tables in our cars. Or maybe small kitchens so we could all fix our 30-Minute Meals while driving home from the office. Well actually, we wouldn’t be driving home anymore; we would be ‘riding’ home. You could theoretically pull up into your driveway (which of course would now be called a ‘rideway’) with a great dinner already prepared. It is going to be a beautiful world and it’s all thanks to smart cars. I can envision the day now when I am sitting with my spellbound grandchildren as I explain to them how I actually used to drive and control my own car while having to pay attention to what I was doing and the other cars around me. No doubt I will also be explaining to them why the American public had a fascination with Paris Hilton BEFORE she became a US Senator and how Oprah became Queen of America even though our nation wasn’t started as a Monarchy. And yes, I will also be asked to explain why in the heck I was blogging when my grandkids discover it while surfing the Web 8.0. At this point I will just fake a heart attack to avoid answering that.

I hope you can envision this new Autopia (oh man, now Disney is going to sue me). If not, may I suggest you watch episodes of Knight Rider to see just how great smart cars can be, minus the whiny voice of course. And speaking of Knight Rider, they are working on a Knight Rider TV movie and the new KITT will be a souped up Mustang. I’m not sure how I feel about this since the black Trans-Am is the coolest car in history. Again, if you are having trouble envisioning this, may I reference the aforementioned Knight Rider and Smokey and the Bandit.

So, in conclusion, what is the exact point of this post? Why, I’m not sure, but I think it had something to do with ham. Or possibly my breathing in of too much carbon monoxide this morning while driving to work with the windows down, though I’m sure my smart car while prevent this.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sunday Repost: It’s Pulled Pork Time In Georgia!

A Georgia resident recently shot an 1100-pound wild hog says the Associated Press. The man shot the animal when he spotted it in a neighbor’s yard. After shooting the hog, he took it to a weight station to see just how big it was. This guy is just like me. Whenever I kill something, my first reaction is to drag it to the closest scale. Unfortunately, flies, mosquitoes and moths don’t weigh that much so the thrill is kind of lacking. Although it’s still not determined whether this hog is the biggest ever found in Georgia, it does weigh a few hundred pounds more than the famous ‘Hogzilla’ that was killed a few years ago. I guess that makes this pig Mothra-hog?

It is now hanging from a tree in the man’s front yard, which is a good thing since houses always seem to look so bare after all the Christmas lights and decorations are taken down. The fact that it’s a dead obese animal and will probably start to have a horrible stench within the next few days is completely irrelevant, of course. I can’t think of a better way to keep those pesky neighborhood kids from running through your lawn than a dead feral pig swaying from a tree.

There is apparently no confirmation yet as to whether or not the hunter will have the hog stuffed and displayed as a trophy. Regardless, taxidermists from Georgia to Florida are probably clearing their calendars for the next week. I imagine that the National Enquirer is already stopping the presses (do they still do that) and readying a story about how the first flying pig has been found after it died in-flight and plunged to the ground. I can see the headline now: “Captured Flying Pig Prompts Scientists to Search For Cows In Lunar Orbit.” Sorry, that was the best I could do. It’s late and the power has gone out here three times tonight due to the wind…

I wonder how feral pork (another great name for a rock band, perhaps) tastes. It’s a good bet that there are a few BBQ joints that wouldn’t mind finding out. You know, I spent most of New Year’s Eve cutting back the peach tree in my backyard so that I could start smoking pork and beef with delicious peach wood. Hey, I’ve got an idea; maybe I could sell the BBQ joints some of my dried peach wood. What did you think I was going to say? After all, I wouldn’t want to take a chance on wild hog meat. Besides, imagine the shipping costs…

Friday, January 04, 2008

Random Bullet Friday

Well, another year has managed to come around, just like the random thoughts I try to ignore. So here it is, bullet time again…

* Getting a bloody nose while showering gives you the rush that you are in a great horror movie. Just don’t bleed too much or the rush will feel much different.

* Even though all the food and topping selections are tempting, take your time when at the salad bar. Confusing red pepper flakes for bacon bits can really alter the taste of your salad in an unexpected and rather uninviting way.

* Before giving your young children chocolate to eat, please make sure they aren’t wearing brand new outfits.

* No matter how much fun it is, coworkers just don’t appreciate you sounding out the entire theme music to ‘Get Smart’ with all ‘bump, buh, bah, bah’ sounds while you are trying to finish a project before the deadline. They also don’t appreciate the big James Bond ‘whah, whah, whah’ climatic ending. Damn, missed it by that much…

* I’ve been kicking around mottos for the new year. I am torn between ‘Things will be great in ‘08’ and ‘Check back around June to see if this year is any different than the last few.’ One conveys hopeful optimism that springs eternal with the changing of the calendar and the other reflects the gritty urban realism of a haggard old veteran of time. Not really. It’s all I could come up with.

* Is It just me or has it been an awfully long time since we last had a Leap Year? Oh wait, never mind. I just checked my calendar.

* I keep hoping that my employer will pay attention to the requests I keep making seeking the approval of an all grey-Dr. Evil type dress code. I suppose the memo they just sent out reminding ‘everyone’ that Halloween is observed on October 31st could be directed at me.

* I dreamt last night that I watched a documentary about cold cut meats and one about Joseph Stalin’s attempts to fill the Russian Army with Human/Chimp hybrids. I was already to write a great blog post about it and then it was pointed out to me that I REALLY DID watch documentaries about both of those things. Now I ask you, is it sadder that people make documentaries out of stuff like that or that I thoroughly enjoyed watching them? Of course, now I want my own Chimp/Man army. The grass is always greener on the other side I tell ya.

* If I decide to enroll in culinary school I wonder if I’ll be bounced out because I won’t be able to stop asking my instructors ‘yeah, but how will that taste fried?’ History has always looked kindly on risk takers, you know.

* To break up the monotony of a quiet afternoon in the office when you’d swear that the clock has stopped ticking, I thoroughly recommend standing in the hallway and singing Elvis’ ‘Blue Hawaii’ while swaying back and forth in a hula-like (my new favorite word) motion. How do I know? Because I just finished doing it and it works.

* Since Michael Scott is the picture for January in my 2008 ‘The Office’ calendar, every time my boss asks me what I was thinking when I made whatever bad decision/s I know I will make before month’s end, I am just going to point to Michael Scott’s picture and say ‘I am guided by a higher force, sir.’ Seriously, who can argue with an answer like that?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Am An Athlete!

Well OK, I am a Nintendo Wii athlete. Please don’t confuse that with what my Scottish friends might refer to as a wee bitty athlete, even though I’m not the tallest feller around. Since obtaining a Wii at Christmas time (I should mention here that doing so involved negotiating with ‘gentlemen’ who I think have portraits down at the wall of the post office and the divulging of my secret BBQ rub recipe. Of course, I left out two main ingredients and have already had to change residences and adopt a false identity in anticipation of these ‘gentleman’ discovering that; though this is all way off topic).

I have spent the last few days excelling at tennis, baseball, boxing and bowling. The Wii came with golf, but even in game console form, I still can’t master that one. I have hit virtual baseballs out of the virtual park, had 3 strikes in a row while bowling, KO’d 8 straight boxing opponents (although 3 of them were Wii girls, which was a little odd, but don’t worry, I was polite: no crotch shots in the femalitalia) and won 10 straight tennis matches. Although I am usually pretty humble, I have to admit that I was really starting to strut around like I was big deal athlete. In fact, I was already planning my first music CD release and interviewing folks for my entourage. And I’ll be honest. I made a few calls inquiring how I could go about purchasing a camel. But I still had to wait in line at Starbucks though, which kinda ticked me off. Not to be deterred, I threw a big fit and went on and on about buying that Starbucks and then the baristas would have to wait in line! I’d show them, man. It was quite a show. Kobe would have been proud.

Then more recent events led me to question my superstar athlete status. Oh yeah, that’s right; I mean superstar Wii athlete status. The first event was the morning I woke up and could barely move either arm without excruciating pain. Apparently the pain was from all the muscles it took to use the Wii remote. Believe me, this was quite a surprise to me as I figured I would long ago have come across whatever muscles are necessary to control a remote. I mean LONG ago. Then I was beat by both Lucy and Ethel at Wii bowling. Lucy bowled 5 straight strikes. 5 straight and this is a kid who still hasn’t figured out how to eat over her plate. I consoled myself with the thought that Wii bowling really only requires one easy arm motion and perhaps anyone could excel at it. After all, let’s remember that Lucy and Ethel are only 5. Then I resolved that I would not send them to bed until I had soundly beat them at a game of bowling. Well, 6 games and my 6 losses later, I figured I would let them go to bed victorious. Besides, I couldn’t stand to lose again and had lost all of the feeling in my right arm.

My self-confidence really took a dip when they started winning tennis matches. As a father, I’m not proud saying this, but I resorted to the one game I knew would allow me to beat them. Yep, the dreaded golf. Crap, wrong again. How does a 5 year old master a par 3 hole? How do children who don’t know their own strength figure out how to virtual putt? We’re talking the most humbling life altering experience here. Then as if those athletic doubts weren’t enough, I got out of breath and had chest pains while essentially square dancing to the loquacious tunes of one Hank Williams Jr. with Lucy and Ethel (not my idea folks, really, I swear). I walk or jog 4 miles a day, how could all of this be happening?

I know I detailed my 2008 resolutions the other day, but I’m thinking I may need to add getting a personal trainer to my list. My only concern is how I go about explaining to my new trainer that the reason I want to bulk up is so that I can beat my 5-year-old twins at Wii sports. On second thought, I had better keep that reason on the down low. I shall therefore train myself. Wow, I can already hear the music and sound effects of the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ in the background. Now I’m excited. It’s gonna be bionawesome!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Lights Out For The Light Bulb

I know what you are thinking about that title above: ‘wow, that’s original. No brilliance there.’ Get it, brilliance? OK, never mind. Within the next few years, the light bulb will be phased out. We are talking about THE light bulb. You know, the one that Edison invented and the one that you are sitting under while reading this right now. Unless you are using some newfangled light source and then you are one of the ones to blame the death of the light bulb on…and you should be ashamed.

Think about the light bulb for a second. Did a little cartoon light bulb just appear over your head? OK, I’ll stop. Seriously, the light bulb is perhaps one of the most crucial inventions of the last 100+ years. Well, inside plumbing has its benefits, as does the deep fryer, but we wouldn’t even be able to see either one of them without the light bulb. Everything we do outside after dark or inside a building has been due to the invention of the light bulb. Surgeries, weddings, grocery shopping, cooking, dancing to the hits of Lawrence Welk (well, not me on that one per se) and the switching out of light bulbs have all been due to the invention of the light bulb.

Can you imagine our current way of life without artificial light? There would be no more night games in baseball or Monday Night Football. How would you find your car in the parking lot or light that Christmas Tree you should already have taken down? How would we read the 15 magazines that it seems like Rachael Ray is on the cover of this month? What would happen to the ‘how many (insert your own person group or enemy here) does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Folks, I am appealing to you to because this (just like a burnt out light bulb) needs to be changed. Is it really important that the light bulb is completely energy inefficient? Well, maybe, so let’s just ignore the fact that I brought that up. Is it time that we replace technology that has practically remained unchanged since the days of Edison? OK, again, probably not the best point to be arguing. Now you know why I did so poorly on my high school debate team. So bad in fact that I can’t even argue that point. Get it? Argue? Debate? Seriously folks, these are the jokes. It’s not a warm up. This is as good as it gets. Please remember to tip your waitress.

We cannot live in the dark. We need light in our lives. The mere fact that our leaders would even consider doing away with the light bulb is a shocking, scary thought. I am using this blog of mine to shed more light (hehehehehehe) on this very important matter. You need to write your local member of congress and urge them to stop the phasing out of the light bulb. We really don’t need to take such a dramatic step backwards. The mere fact that I even need to be writing about this issue shows what is wrong with our society today.

Oh wait, you mean they are only phasing out the incandescent light bulb in favor of more efficient kinds of lighting? Um, oops. How did I miss that little detail. Man, that kind of changes the story a little bit doesn’t it. Well then, please ignore everything you have just read. Wow, I feel like such a, uh ‘dim’ wit…

****I must post this disclaimer saying that if this is your first time to my blog, the posts usually aren’t this bad. Well, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays aren’t too great, but I usually scrap something decent together on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Well, when I bother to post on Saturdays. OK, here’s the deal: if you come back, I promise the next post will be better. Slightly better. How about no worse than today’s. That’s fair, right?****