Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
OK, so rule #1: Don't join Mensa. You will seem smarter if you don't have a pathological need to go around proving how smart you are. (I think; it seems to work for coolness so why not for smartness too?)
Rule #2: Cultivate an extensive vocabulary (learn big words). I have done this by accident simply by playing those ridiculous word game puzzles for years, which teach you words you will never need to know again except in another word game puzzle. But this chapter of the book will be set up like this: Big word, how to pronounce, what it means, used in a sentence a normal human can understand, and used in a sentence you could whip out at a cocktail party. Below is an example:
Juxtaposition (juck-stuh-pu-ZI-shun) (this is Midwestern American English; pronunciations may vary): something which is side by side with something else, e.g., "The juxtaposition of pumpernickel, corned beef, sauerkraut, and horseradish sauce is a reuben sandwich."
"Smart" sentence using this word: "The juxtaposition of the profound and the profane in Chaucer explains his ubiquitous popularity lo these many centuries."
(Sorry, if you don't know what profound, profane, or ubiquitous mean, you'll just have to wait and buy the book.)
Rule #3: Use memory tricks. Here is a very simple example - you probably have more than one friend, right? And it's hard to remember everyone's birthday? I mean, you only have a 1/365 chance of guessing right. But if you can remember people's sign of the zodiac, that is only one out of twelve. So say I don't remember A-Joz's birthday exactly, but I think to myself, "Ooh, A-Joz is a Gemini! Maybe I should send her a birthday card!" And if it comes any time within a month of her birthday, A-Joz will be so impressed: "Famous Hat remembered my birthday!" IMPORTANT: This only works with snail mail, because who can say how long it takes for them to deliver anything? Even if you mail it on the first day of Gemini, and A-Joz were born on the last possible day to be a Gemini (which she wasn't), she just might think you were being thoughtful and making sure you left enough time for the card to be delivered by her birthday. And if it's a few days late, eh. That's the post office for you. (Of course, since A-Joz is my neighbor and I see her at the bus stop every day, she might think I had lost it if I mailed her a card so this works better for out of town friends. You are less likely to remember their exact birthdays, anyway.)
Rule #4: Write a best-selling book on a topic you know nothing about/an autobiography you made up. (Hey, it's your life - can't you make up your own biography? I mean, are we in control of NOTHING in our own lives anymore?) For example, you may know nothing about the real estate market, but you could say your friend (who doesn't really exist) had, say, a great-aunt who made a fortune investing in real estate while your great-aunt worked for her money... and who wants to do that?? So you write a book called "Rich Great-Aunt, Poor Great-Aunt" advising people to invest in the stock market, since you have heard people can make a lot of money doing that. Did you have a boring suburban childhood? Why not write about how you grew up in the 'hood drinking malt liquor out of your baby bottle? Or if you are of average intelligence, why not write a book about how to seem like a genius? People love fiction, but they think reading nonfiction makes them look smarter and more serious, so it's a win-win situation. If you get caught - bonus!! Extra publicity! Make the talk-show circuit and discuss how contrite you are, and how you will never do it again.
For the rest of the steps, you will have to buy my book, How to Seem Like a Genius for Dummies.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Castle Wentworth is a little girl who is washed away by a lake tsunami from her home in Duluth, Minnesota, with her little dog REO Speedwagon (1). She meets up with Trexor the Bagpiper, who just needs some lungs (2), Gary the Accountant who just needs a sigmoid process (3), and Dennis the Monkey King, who just needs a spleen (4). They head off on the Blue Asphalt Road to find the Warlock of Yuk, who will grant them their desires. But when they find him, he shows them that Trexor must always have had lungs, or he could never have played the bagpipes (5); Gary must always have had a sigmoid process, or why would he be spending so much on laxatives? (6); and Dennis doesn’t really need a spleen anyway (7). He tells Castle she can get back to Duluth by clicking together her shiny alexandrite-colored shoes, but Castle realizes she has no interest in going back to Duluth, so she moves to New Orleans with the others, and they all live happily ever after. The End.
1. Like Toto, a crappy 80’s band
2. Gratuitous opportunity to post Larry the Lung again
3. If you don’t know what this is, try Google
4. Who actually needs a spleen? I mean, what does it do that your pancreas couldn’t handle in a pinch?
5. In German, der dudelsack
6. Made you look
7. Told you so
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Speaking of Latin, we are singing a song in choir called "Jubilate Deo," and I was thinking how Jubi-Latte would be a great name for a drink. How about the Café Olé for those days you are feeling like some Mexican coffee? And of course there is the drink just for people born under my sign of the Zodiac: the Capriccino! When I open my coffee place, these will be just a few of the exciting drinks on the menu.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Saturday was going to be a do-good day for me from start to finish. In the morning I woke up and joined a bunch of neighbors, led by A-Joz, in cleaning up the grounds of our condo complex. We didn’t find too much, except for the people who cleaned down by the railroad tracks. One of them found an old-school Mountain Dew can that was steel instead of aluminum! We told her she should clean it up and sell it online, but she just recycled it.
In the afternoon my band played downtown to raise money for the Literacy Fund; there was a band on every corner, busking for books. Rockstar Tailor wanted to sing with us but was put out to find out this was actually a charitable event, and we weren’t going to keep any of the tips. She said, “I don’t do free gigs!” (Usually her mother says the same thing, but Hardingfele actually got us this gig.) It was a beautiful afternoon, and we got lots of tips… probably way more than if we had just been busking for ourselves. That’s OK, it was for a way better cause than advancing my own literacy by buying yet another word game puzzle magazine.
In the evening Richard Bonomo and I had another do-good plan: we were going to go to a fancy burger joint where cops would wait on us, and all the tips would go to Special Olympics. One of my neighbors had told us about it during the cleanup and had even given me a couple of $3 off coupons. However, when we got there, we learned that our waiters would be the usual teenagers because the cop was only there during the lunch shift, and he didn’t even wait on anyone, he just went around collecting money. So we didn’t do anything other-centered for dinner after all, we just got it for $3 off apiece. Hey, we tried.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Whenever we lose our best friend in life,
We're full of stress, full strife.... See More
Great big holes are left inside
Where once was love, has also died.
To think it's better for the dead
Helps stop the pain and dread.
And for the living, we must contend,
For theirs is pain that will not end.
Until the day they they leave this life,
And others must face that pain and strife.
And so the circle runs it's course,
And leaves tear stained faces: voices hoarse.
So no I leave her to my fate
And say goodbye.....
Snoopy, my best mate!
- Legalmechman, 2010
I copied that verbatim, since poetry is not subject to the same rules as prose. Still, I'm not sure Legalmechman meant to put "they" twice in Line 9, but I am not going to make grammatical corrections to his poignant expression of grief.
I don't have a picture of Snoopy to post, but she was a large dog of indeterminate breed, maybe part German shepherd and part lab. I did not know her well, but she was a Good Dog and always very sweet to me. I hope she is enjoying heaven with my guinea pigs Aeneas, Ulysses, Phoebe, Veronica, Sebastian, and Jennapig, my gerbils Jenny and John, and my parakeets Vladimir, Vabukka, and Vanya. (I believe Aenea is still alive and well, living with Kathbert's mom Mombert, although she would be quite an old bird by now.) Oh yeah, and my parents' parakeet Linus, the daughter of Vladimir and Vabukka. (We thought it was a boy when we named it.) And of course all the goldfish I've had over the years, like Gamma and Delta, Rabindranath and Jalaluddin, and Margaret. Dona eis requiem.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Of course yesterday, as soon as I left Rich’s house after putting that instant classic of a movie on my blog, I saw something truly blogworthy. This is such big-time news that it has even made the national news website, and I was in the perfect spot to see it: an enormous meteor! It was traveling east as I was traveling west around 10 pm, and at first I thought it was an airplane coming in to land at our airport, since it was traveling the right direction. It was a bright white light, but suddenly it grew enormous and green, with a halo around it just like in a sci-fi movie. Then it exploded into several orange pieces, which fell to the ground. It was amazing!
Today I saw something just as strange: a Guinness truck being followed by a Bud Lite truck. Trying to catch some quality? To me, Bud Lite makes even less sense than decaf coffee; if people drink cheap beer just to get drunk, and lite beer has a lower alcohol content, then why would anyone drink cheap lite beer? If you have an answer for me, feel free to leave it in the comment section. (I will concede that there is a time and a place for decaf coffee, and that time and place is after dessert late at night at a fancy restaurant when you want your coffee but you want your sleep too.)
My day started very badly, as I dropped my breakfast on myself, my lunch on the floor, and part of my outfit into the toilet. (And not the one in the sky.) Of course that all set me back so much that I missed the bus and had to take the next one, so I was late to work. However, when I pushed the button to call the elevator, it opened right up! That has got to be right off the Lolameter for luck. So far the rest of the day has been normal, but in a few minutes I have to sing at the funeral of a tenor from my OTHER choir who died of a heart attack… and he’s younger than I am! I remember when anyone who was younger than I was and got married was shockingly young; those days are long gone, so now this is the new shocker for me. (Not to mention the rest of the choir, including his poor, poor girlfriend in the alto section. Keep her in your prayers or, if you don’t believe in that, send some good vibes her way.) So dropping breakfast, lunch, and clothes is hardly the worst luck I could have.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The Case of the Coffee Cup Cabinet remains unsolved, although I am happy to report that we have recently received a shipment of coffee cups, so that problem has been alleviated. Toque McToque and I were discussing the merits of hiring a private eye, and I mentioned a book in my eighth-grade English classroom called The Hard-Boiled Dicks. It was about private detectives and was published in the 30’s or something, when presumably teenagers wouldn’t have found it snicker-worthy. (Back then did they learn about Homo Erectus and Lake Titicaca in school and not snicker at all?) Still, the title does raise some questions about potential private eyes:
- Is a hard-boiled private dick better than a soft-boiled one?
- How about a dick over easy? Sunny side up dick? Poached dick?
- What about a public dick? Would that be better than a private one?
- How can “Dick” be short for Detective AND Richard? In what reality does that make sense? Do these words have anything in common? It’s like when Spell Check on my email system didn’t recognize the last name Voigts and suggested either “vomits” or Virgos” and I’m thinking, what do these two words have in common other than starting with V and ending with S? However, quite appropriately, it suggested a coworker might want to change spaghetti “carbonara” to “coronary.”
- Speaking of Virgos and vomit, Ubi Caritas has a personal ad online that I will not say anything more about except that he is neither the defendant nor the plaintiff in any pending lawsuits, and I don’t know about you, but that is the first thing I like to know about a man. Also, he wants a woman to be feminine no matter how many years she has spent in the military.
- Hey, at least Ubi Caritas doesn’t put clichés in his personal ads. Hoodoo Head, the other Virgo who makes me want to vomit, is looking for a woman who can make him smile and isn’t selling anything.
- If you are wondering if either Ubi Caritas or Hoodoo Head are hard-boiled dicks, I don’t discuss exes on my blog.
- And the most important question of all: where the @#$%&* is that cabinet???
Monday, April 12, 2010
Coughiness: the higher the degree, the worse you feel.
Coffeeness: the higher the degree, the better you feel.
Coughiness: best cure is cough syrup.
Coffeeness: no cure available; none necessary.
Coughiness: blame it on a bug.
Coffeeness: blame it on the beans!
Coughiness: eucalyptus helps make it better.
Coffeeness: other than optional cream, no adulteration necessary.
Coughiness: warm tea sometimes helps.
Coffeeness: who needs tea when you have coffee??
Coughiness: can keep you awake at night.
Coffeeness: it can too.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
It was many and many a year ago
(At least two now, and maybe three)
That a cephalopod whom you may know
Lived in a place called Dundee;
And this squid he lived with no other thought
Than to drink and get drunk as could be.
He was a sot and his friends were all sots
Who would drink till they couldn’t see;
But he’d thirst with a thirst that was more than thirst,
This querulous squid of Dundee,
With a thirst that the other squids in the tavern
Took bets on how long he would pee.
The squidlets, not half so legally aged,
Went coveting his ID.
Yes, that is the reason they stole his wallet
And tied him up to a tree,
So that his lowborn kinsquids came,
Driving a pink Humvee,
To bear him away to his ramshackle house
In the no-class part of Dundee.
Oh, the stars never shine but he’s drinking his wine,
That querulous squid of Dundee;
And the beers never pour but he’s roaring for more,
That querulous squid of Dundee;
And so all the nighttime he lies down in the slime
Of the flophouse, the flophouse, the dirt and the grime,
When he can’t find his front door key;
When his wife hides the front door key.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Leo: Do you think we should ask someone where we are?
Buddy: Leo, we’re GUY dogs! We can’t ask for directions!
Leo: True, that. It’s unmanly, er, undogly – well, you know what I mean. It just ain’t right.
Buddy: Maybe we should call our pet human and mention that we might be delayed. Just don’t use the word “lost,” got it?
Leo: Can’t. Forgot the phone on the kitchen floor… after I chewed it up. I’m thinking it might not work anymore anyway.
Buddy: You chewed up the phone?? Good thing we’re out here in… wherever. What the heck is that swirly thing in the rearview mirror?
Leo: I dunno, Dawg, but check out the giant burning ball on this side of the car!
Buddy: There’s gotta be a fast-food joint around here somewhere. I am jonesin’ for some fries. Have you seen any golden arches out the window?
Leo: No, just this golden, glowing ball of burning helium or whatever that is on my side of the car.
Buddy: Can it talk? Ask it where a couple of hounds can get a burger around these parts.
Leo (rolling down the window): Hey! Hey, YOU!! No, it’s not answering. Phew, the air out there is kind of…
Leo: No, I was going to say nonexistent. Maybe I better keep the window rolled up for now. Do we have a map in this car?
Buddy: Check in the glove compartment. I’m wondering if this is Cincinnati? See if there’s an Ohio atlas in there.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Leo: Wow! Look! For miles around, you can see... nothing. But I smell cows...
Buddy: Do you hear that noise?
Leo: Yeah. What was that? Thunder?
Buddy: No, I think something might be wrong with the car. I'm going to pull over onto the ... what do the humans call it?... the shoulder.
Leo: I don't know nuthin' 'bout fixin' no cars!
Buddy: Frankly, Leo, I don't give a damn. Why are we quoting Gone with the Wind anyway? Have we ever even seen that movie?
Leo: I think I liked The Jerk better anyway.
Buddy: That one's a classic. Plus it stars a dog. You can't get much better than that.
Leo: I was born a poor black Lab.
Buddy: There is, like, NOBODY on this road. What do we do now?
Leo: Do you really think they'd help us anyway? Driving dogs?
Buddy: If they would believe dogs could quote movies, why wouldn't they believe they could drive a car?
Leo: Excellent point.
Monday, April 5, 2010
The Case of the Coffee Cup Cabinet remains unsolved. Anyone with information is asked to leave a comment on this post. Anonymous tips are fine.
The miniature Dead Sea Scrolls pot is by Antoshka’s former palm tree. Antoshka continues to remain in Ukraine for the moment.
Toque McToque has a cold. Get better soon, Toque!
Palm Tree Fan was asked to photograph two weddings on the same day! You can see from her photos I have posted on this blog why she is in such demand as a wedding photographer.
Kathbert’s mother Mombert thoroughly enjoyed her Easter visit with the Gang but is now headed back home.
A-Fooze is preparing to leave for England tomorrow to do a post-doc. Have a safe flight to Merry Olde England, A-Fooze!
I am still working at my current job, or at least showing up and getting paid. I am considering a career change and am pondering several fields:
* Dry ice sculpting
* Full-contact urban planning
* Sensationalistic journalism
* Painting pictures of palm trees and selling them online
Hardingfele has lent me Voodoo Head, the “improve your job” voodoo doll I brought her from New Orleans, to help with all this.
Richard Bonomo surprisingly has some leftovers from the six tons of food at his house yesterday, including at least fifteen desserts. He did remind us all that since Easter is an octave, it is our duty to party for eight straight days.
Rich’s piano continues to be in something like equal temperament. (Calling it any kind of temperament might be too generous.) I will tune it to extended sixth-comma meantone as soon as he finishes fixing my washing machine.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
I drove to church guzzling coffee (you don't have to give that up on a fast day, right?) and found out one of our sopranos was out with strep throat, but if you think that means I got to sing in my natural range, think again. We had a guest singer who was supposed to help us altos, since one of our kind is out of state for Easter, but then our choir director had her sing soprano, so I still played an alto. The guest singer and I were talking about how incense is wonderful in modest doses, but do they have to use so much that you can't see the other side of the church through the smoke? She said that's what happens when you have nothing else going on in your life, and I thought that was hilarious. I have heard many arguments against priestly celibacy, but that is the first time I heard that it might contribute to lack of moderation in incense use! She said a study needs to be done, so there is yet another study Toque McToque and I should apply for. One of our crazy ideas has to get funded someday...
It was beautiful in the early afternoon, and Anna Banana II, Richard Bonomo, El Vegetariano, and I sat outside to have a tiny bite for our one meal of the day (except Rich - he's waiting until evening), but now it is cold and rainy. El Vegetariano, who is Mexican - and a vegetarian - said there are two kinds of Scorpios, the mystical ones and the vicious ones. When I asked which kind he was, he said, "Both." I am not a big meat eater myself, preferring either fish and seafood or alligators - how can you feel guilty about eating something that would eat you first if it could? - and ever since reading that pigs can recognize themselves in a mirror, I have trouble justifying eating pork. Pigs apparently join that rarified group of creatures with self-awareness that include great apes, dolphins, and elephants. But even if someone told me tomorrow that alligators are self-aware, I'm not sure I'd care. They are soooo creepy; we saw them in a bayou down in New Orleans, and they were watching us like they wanted to eat us. If they were self-aware, would they be aware of their own creepiness?
I should head out to the Lutheran choir now. They really do Good Friday right. Have a blessed one!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
However, once Mass began, I stopped feeling like Not One of Them and just felt like a member of the Universal Church. (After all, that's what "catholic" means.) The music was basically a bunch of people singing karaoke, but the Mexican priest is the best! Not only did he help clean the church last weekend (see my post from last Saturday), but during the Washing of Feet he washed the feet of a bunch of married men... and then had them wash their wives' feet to show that, as the head of the family, the man must serve his wife. People always say women got gypped by St. Paul when he said they had to obey their husbands, but did they miss the next part? Men have to love their wives the way Christ loved the Church, and we all know what He was willing to do for her! (Hint: if you don't know, go to church tomorrow. I'm guessing they'll mention it.) So there you go - obedience kind of doesn't seem like such a bad deal compared to ultimate self-sacrifice. We women just have to humor men's silly wishes, but we don't have to die for them.
Right now Rich is trying to figure out if Holy Thursday is a solemnity, I suppose so he can justify eating chocolate. We always called it "Maundy Thursday" when I was a kid, but maybe that's an Episcopalian thing, since I've never heard Catholics call it that. The Lutherans sometimes do. (Sorry, Lutherans - I wasn't dissing you, I just couldn't make it to a 7:30 service when our Mass began at 8:00.) So Rich says that since there was a Gloria today, it was a solemnity, so he is making some real hot cocoa. (Not that instant powder stuff.) Jueves Santo - that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!