Sorry for no blog post yesterday. My office mate Light Bright and I took another field trip, this one just on our lunch break. It all began when I read a campus missive that said there were two graves on the hill in the middle of campus, which was news to me. Light Bright and the friend she had been planning to go to lunch with were game to go try to find the graves, so we hopped on the free campus bus and headed to the hill. At the top of the hill is a statue of Abraham Lincoln, and the graves reputedly were right by Abe, marked with bronze markers. We searched and searched for the markers to no avail, so we headed back to work and thought at least it was a fun break. Then we did an internet search, and these markers are about two inches square! No wonder we missed them! The graves are both from the 1830's and one guy was hit by lightning while the other one died of typhoid fever, and yes, they are there. It is not a campus legend.
I may not have a magic wand, but I do have hats and rabbits, like any good magician. And here is a bit of magic that happened in my life today: I went to what I thought would be a training session on a grants website, and it was a big gripe session! Oh yeah. It was not a promising beginning: we had a meeting earlier today in which I could barely stay awake, and then I had to take the bus down to campus (sorry, Hardingfele, no time to meet up with you), and it is cold and windy out. I was not looking forward to this training, but supposedly it was required for those of us who work on training grants, so I went. Then we were all sitting around the table, and the leader said, “OK, who has anything bad to say about this website?” She quickly amended it to asking who had any positives when everyone started to talk at once. Going into the details of why this website sucks would bore my faithful readers so I’ll just leave it at this: it was a very animated discussion. Certainly way more interesting than what I was expecting. Abracadabra!
Sometimes Toque McToque and I wonder what Bible some of these self-proclaimed Christians are reading. My Bible has a lot of stuff in it about how God protects the widow, the orphan, and the alien, and He will not be too nice to anyone who oppresses them. Is that not in their Bible too? It sure doesn’t seem that way, when they want to make things tougher for the poor and for immigrants and easier for the wealthy. Toque has come up with what she thinks might be the Ten Commandments in their Bible:
I. Thou shalt hold onto thy money
II. Thou shalt speak only with a sharp tongue
III. Thou shalt covet thy neighbor’s wife and lie about it
IV. Thou shalt laugh at the poor
V. Thou shalt misquote the Lord, thy God
VI. Thou shalt taketh more than what is rightfully yours
VII. Thou shalt destroy the environment
VIII. Thou shalt use devious ways to get into power
IX. Thou shalt shun all education
X. Thou shalt be very unpleasant in general
I would just like to know when greed became a virtue. In my Bible, it is one of the seven deadly sins. So why do so many people who claim to follow Christ seem to be so greedy?
Today my office mate Light Bright and I went on a field trip. It was a gorgeous day, so it was great fun to get away from the office. We went to the new Student Union which neither of us had seen yet. I remembered the old one being a dingy, unattractive building, but the new one is stunning, with lots of natural light and natural materials. We took a tour of the conference rooms available for rental (our ostensible reason for visiting) and also checked out a small art gallery with dried intestines and a movie of an eyeball opening and closing set to creepy music. We got there on the free student bus, and I reminisced about how in my day the student bus was only late at night, so we called it the Drunk Bus, and it could get pretty wild. I remember some people bringing a whole mattress on the bus. Light Bright said she was in elementary school then, so I said I would have been her babysitter, and she said, “Who says you aren’t now?” So she bought her babysitter a chai at the coffee counter at the Student Union. It was a great way to waste some time doing something vaguely work-related while enjoying the lovely weather and some delicious chai. Field trips are the best!
So the cat outwitted us again and we last saw him on the neighbor’s roof. We literally spent 3 hrs looking for him. I then took a walk around the neighborhood and in my Jewish Unitarian brain prayed to St. Tony. I made a promise to go to Mass if that buff bastard was found. When I came back, there he was in the back yard. So I have to hold up my end of the bargain!
And that is why Hardingfele is going to Mass with me on Sunday. This is such spamtacular news that South Korean spammers named TERRY (all caps) are contacting her to buy unspecified products:
Hello Sales, I will like to order some of your products and I will want it shipped to our place as follows : Shipping Address: #104 young, Ga-Dong Sewoon Shopping Center Jongro-Gu, Seoul South Korea So i hope to hear from you soon regarding my inquiry and to know where i can view your products you have presently in stock and if there is any special pricing i need to know about. Lastly regarding payment i will be sending you my USA Valid credit card to charge for my order to avoid delays but can you let me know the type of credit cards you accept?Can you work hand in hand with my client freight personal agent? so they can Pickup the products directly from your location down to my client address in SOUTH KOREA I hope to hear from you as soon as possible.
Maybe Hardingfele can sell little St. Anthony medals. Just sayin.'
Today I was in a research study where they had to take 13 tubes of my blood. 13 tubes, y’all! I’m not superstitious, but it did strike me that this was a lot of blood. Then we had a blood drive at work, and I had signed up to give blood, but first I asked if it was safe to give after having 100 mL already taken. They debated about it and finally decided that no, it would not be a good idea, so they deferred me. Here’s the thing, though – before they decided, they did the worst part of any blood donation: the finger prick. If you have given blood, you know the dreaded finger prick well, and since I am often borderline anemic, they sometimes subject me to it twice. This time seemed particularly painful, and when I took my bandage off, there was a bruise. Check it out.
And check out my lack of love line. For those who don't believe in palm reading, I'd like to point out that my lack of love line does actually match my lack of love life.
I have some exciting news: YouTube sent me an email saying that I could put ads on my channel! So I signed up for this, and it seems to have done something to the ads on my blog. In case you are wondering where they went, that is my best guess about what happened to them. Too bad, it was very entertaining seeing what kinds of ads got stuck on my posts. However, this means that some of the videos featured on this very blog can generate revenue for me. My “greatest hit” by far is “Italian Wedding Tarantella,” which has been liked by five times as many people (5) as have hated on it (1) and has been viewed by an astonishing 1800 people. It is very interesting to see which of my videos are popular on YouTube; “Tropical Song” has been seen by over 300 people but my best work (and I’m not just saying that, all my friends agree) is “Non-Anonymous” and that has been viewed by a paltry 15 people. I had always hoped that some stoners might stumble across that video and find it just perfect to toke up to.
Here, for your viewing pleasure, is “Italian Wedding Tarantella.”
Last night Hardingfele, Rockstar Tailor, and I went to the health club to work out. As usual, we started with the treadmill and then made our way to the pool. However, only Rockstar Tailor joined me in the pool so I asked where her mother was. She said she was talking to someone in the locker room about the paycuts all us state workers got, so I said that when she finally got around to entering the pool, we could razz her about how we had been working out and the only thing she was exercising was her mouth. Now one thing you have to know about Hardingfele is she has been having problems with tendonitis in her arm, so when she finally entered the pool, her daughter hollered, “While we were getting exercise, you were just exercising your mouth! You’re going to get tendonitis of the mouth!” Which is hilarious if you knew how chatty Hardingfele is. I said that was blogworthy, and Hardingfele agreed, so I am blogging about it.
Here, for your reading pleasure, is a story that Toque McToque and I wrote. She wrote every other line, and I wrote the rest of them:
“Aren’t you done yet?” Mary asked while pounding on the bathroom door.
To her embarrassment, it was the WRONG bathroom door. After realizing her mistake but before she could make a hasty exit, an attractive man opened the door.
"Excuse me?" he said. "This is the men's bathroom. Can I help you?"
Mary felt her cheeks turning scarlet, what should she say? To cover her embarrassment, she said, "Sorry, I was looking for my brother. Maybe you've seen him?"
He smiled broadly and replied, “Do you always try to pick up men this way? I’m David, and I was the only one in there.”
She said, "I've never tried to pick up a man this way before, but let me know if it's working."
He laughed and said, “The jury is still out; will you let me decide over dinner?”
So they headed to the Tibetan restaurant down the road to get to know one another over yak's milk tea. Mary was elated, she hadn’t been on a date in ages. Even an accidental one. She was going to have to start spending a lot more time hanging around the Men’s room.
David and Mary gazed at each other in the light of a yak tallow candle. Mary realized midsentence that she shouldn’t have tried to show off by ordering the spiciest thing on the menu. But Death by Yakmeat sounded like such a delicious dish. In her mind’s eye she saw the restaurant scene from the movie 200 Cigarettes play out, and immediately started to panic. [If you haven’t seen the movie, it was the part where a woman was out on a date and eats a chili pepper and has to run to the bathroom] Since David had not seen 200 Cigarettes, he had no idea why she was panicking and naturally thought a yeti was about to attack him from behind. As he jumped out of his chair and turned around, he managed to knock over their yak’s milk tea. It was good that he turned around, because right behind him was... a yeti! David screamed like a little girl and ran out of the restaurant, right into a large group of children who were trick-or-treating. Since they were Tibetan children, they were all dressed like yetis, except for one who was dressed up as a piece of Timboo bread. Mary wasn’t sure if she should laugh or cry; what kind of wuss was she on a date with? One who was getting beat up by all the little yetis because he didn't have any candy to give them! Mary sighed, picked up her purse and snuck out the backdoor. She wondered if David was a Capricorn, since according to Ma Hat, all male Capricorns are wusses. You know, like Al Capone and Muhammed Ali. And of course Barry Alvarez. All she really knew was that too many of her dates ended up with her sneaking out of the restaurant alone. Perhaps, on further reflection, the men's bathroom wasn't the best place to meet a potential mate. She should have listened to her mother and married Zach, even though he was boring. At least she’d have someone to go home to.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Zach was thinking how glad he was that Mary hadn't married him. Mostly because he was gay, but it wouldn’t have worked even if he wasn’t. Her wild impulsive ways had always made him nervous. Besides, his favorite philosopher was Foucault and hers was Norman Vincent Peale. Just as Zach made himself comfortable on the couch with a nice glass of wine the phone rang.
"Sorry, wrong number," said a very familiar-sounding voice. He knew it was Mary and could feel his blood pressure start to rise.
"Mary," he said. "You didn't call the wrong number. You wanted to see if I was at home. Why?" He cringed as his voice went up an octave, while his grip on the wineglass tightened.
"Why would I want anything?" Mary asked with poorly-feigned casualness. She knew it was going to be a short conversation, ending with her in tears. Why on Earth did she call him?
By now Zach was shaking so hard he was getting zinfandel all over the carpet. Mentally he was adding a phone with caller ID to his next Target run. He was surprised to see that they were selling fresh produce there too these days.
“Zach? Are you still there?” He could tell she was about to start sobbing, what had he done to deserve this?
"I gotta go," he said. There was a puddle of zinfandel on the floor that needed his attention.
Mary took her cell phone and flung it as far as she could down the alley, she’d didn’t give a rip anymore. Screw men; she was getting a dog for company. Unfortunately the female Rottweiler-pit bull mix she got at the shelter was not as friendly as they had promised. The End.
It always amazes me what sorts of people will claim to be followers of Jesus. Do they have a different Bible than I do? Jesus accepted tax collectors and prostitutes, but after they had repented. So you abortion doctors who go to church, I think you only got half the message. And then there are the people who claim to be Christians but are so in favor of the death penalty that they seem unconcerned that Troy Davis was most likely innocent. Would Jesus be in favor of executing innocent people? Or was he a victim of this sort of mob mentality himself? And just because His death was necessary for His salvation plan, does that mean that he is just fine with the idea of executing poor (and usually black) men without any concern that evidence seems to suggest they are innocent? I’m not even sure Jesus (Who famously told His followers to turn the other cheek instead of seeking revenge) would be in favor of the death penalty for guilty people. The Catholic Church does teach that the death penalty is allowable in circumstances where there is a threat to public safety, but this is not the reason we execute people in this country. We want to teach them a lesson. We want retribution. Such very “What Would Jesus Do” reasons to kill someone. Add to that the fact that we seem unconcerned with whether we actually got the right guy, or any guy with a minor criminal background and court-appointed lawyer will do, and I cannot imagine that Jesus is totally approving of this system of criminal justice. If it is the one you are in favor of, that is your choice, but please quit telling me how Christian you are, is all that I ask. I consider myself a follower of Christ, and I am horrified by the way capital punishment is administered in this country. As a society, we should have moved beyond such a primitive method of punishment.
Another thing I will never understand is why we are so squeamish about corporal punishment even though we are fine with capital punishment. There are some people who just deserve a good caning, and at least if you got the wrong guy, he will heal. Not that I am enormously in favor of corporal punishment, but it seems hypocritical to be so opposed to it and then be in favor of the Ultimate Punishment. I personally would much rather be caned than killed, and I have to think a lot of people feel the same way.
Kathbert remembers well when I taught Catechism at a local church (not my parish) and would complain about the DRE all the time: the DRE asks for our input and then does nothing with it, the DRE brought back a kid I sent down to the office for bad behavior and said, “He’s a good kid,” etc. In this context, DRE stands for Director of Religious Education. But where she works, she recently came across another DRE: Digital Rectal Exam. What made it so funny is that they are virtually interchangeable in how pleasant they are.
The thing that puzzled Kathbert the most about the Digital Rectal Exam is that it is not done digitally (as opposed to analog); it is a manual exam that does not need any electronic equipment. Then it occurred to her that Digital could refer to using one’s finger, since it is a digit. Rich said he thought the Analog Rectal Exam would be much more uncomfortable.
Today I took the afternoon off of work, then Hardingfele, Rockstar Tailor, and I went swimming. Now I am at Hardingfele's house, and this post is names for boys courtesy of Rockstar Tailor:
She was going to call him Pizza Hair because cheese is yellow like his hair, then these girls would be like, "Does someone smell pizza?" and then she could say, "It's because he's Pizza Hair!"
She was going to call him Mohawk because he doesn't have one, and then he would be all puzzled and say, "I don't have a mohawk," and then she would be like, "Get your vision checked, buddy!" and he would say, "First of all, I'm not your buddy, and secondly that's not my name and thirdly I don't have a mohawk!" and she would be like, "Do I hear a buzzing sound?"
She was going to call him Laughos the Clown because he hates him and then he would smack his head in annoyance and then she would say, "Violence is not OK at our school. So now you're part of the Laughos Crew." I said he could be Lauphopolis the Greek Clown or Lauffee the French Clown or Lauffino the Italian Clown, but we don't know what ethnicity he is anyway.
Feel free to leave other nicknames for boys in the comments. By the way, his name for her is Number Two Face.
Sorry for the silence, my 5.8 faithful readers – I was taking a couple of days off of work to enjoy this glorious Native American summer, as the politically correct say. And what I was wondering is if all the other people out there hiking just had the day off of work too, or if they are all independently wealthy and don’t need to work, because there sure were a lot of them.
My office mate once went to visit an audiologist, who said she could tell from the pattern of damage in Light Bright’s hearing that she used to shoot guns and that she plays in a band standing right in front of the drummer. This sort of terrified me: are all my past sins that easy to spot? I can just see how it would go for me at the audiologist:
Audiologist: I can see from this pattern of hearing loss that you have been listening to the most monster bass line of all time too loudly. Have you been blasting “The Humpty Dance” in your car?
Me: Guilty as charged.
Audiologist: And look at this pattern! Do you set off your car alarm by accident a lot?
Me: I have no idea why Erin Caitlyn O’Honda does not recognize me by now.
Audiologist: I’m not sure what this diffuse pattern of background sound is… Do you, by any chance, have a very loud refrigerator?
Me: Yes! You can see that too?
And finally I have to share this from Banjo Player:
Easy McGee is on the case of the Missing Coffee Cups and Filters. As my readers may remember, here at work we had a safe stolen out of a supply closet, and contained within that safe were dozens of Styrofoam coffee cups. That case has never been solved, and the safe has never resurfaced, nor have the coffee cups. The plot thickens, because last week the thief struck again, and this time s/he stole… about a hundred coffee filters! Considering the low price of said item, this cannot be a case of a desperate person who just needs a few filters to make enough coffee to get through the day. I thought I had a clue:
I posted a sign apologizing for the missing coffee filters and explaining that they had been stolen. Not an hour later, several filters mysteriously reappeared.
However, this mystery has been solved: a coworker borrowed six filters from the 4th floor. Toque McToque and I speculated that someone from the 4th floor had stolen the hundred filters, and the six were simply returned to their rightful home. But we have reason to think it was an inside job, or else the cleaning people. Time to get Easy McGee on the case, we decided.
I am a third-hand gift, a straw hat with a wide brim. I used to have natural and navy stripes, but after much time in the sun, the navy ones have faded to a sort of chocolatey tone. The big blue flower around the brim was my wearer's own touch.