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Hmmmm….

Sometimes, my brain runs amok -

Why did I have so much more energy when we had no Internet access?

Why do people wearing shorts and tank tops complain about how cold it is in the dairy section? Why do some of them get irritated when I tell them the cheese likes it that way?

Why can chefs serve possum and muskrat for outrageous prices when those people would never eat that meat at home?

Why does it seem to snow at least a little every day in the winter but we can’t get rain when we need it in the summer? (I’m not complaining)

Why did our new neighbor not check the property lines before taking out bushes on our side? He also cut down most of the trees on his property. Maybe it isn’t an aversion to wild roses. Maybe he just doesn’t like the color green?

Why do they fill holes in our roads with loose asphalt and not pack it down?

Why does driving in the dark in the morning seem so much more unnatural than driving in the dark at night?

A strange cat jumped on our window box and our cats just sniffed it rather than trying to run it off. Is that a violation of the Cat Code of Conduct?

If night crawlers come out in the night, and meal worms hang out in the meal (if given the opportunity), why aren’t wax worms attracted to wax?

Why didn’t the union object to the new time clocks the company put up (fingerprint recognition)? I’m not sure the company understands it – they don’t have baseline prints.

Why doesn’t my sun therapy lamp cheer me up on gloomy summer days when it works fine in the winter?

Why is our ground cover growing into the cement rather than moving the other direction into the dirt?

Why don’t I ever see live skunks on the side of the road?

Why do some people seem to completely lose their sense of modesty when it gets hot? There are some parts of a stranger’s body that I never want to see. Ever.

Why does Kommado Kitty not like her treats when they’re new? Does catnip have to age?

What did beer drinkers do before there were summer and winter options? Was it really a cause of stress?

Why don’t all those kids who play soccer grow up wanting to watch it on TV like the kids who play baseball and football?

Why is the Sunday crossword puzzle in The New York Times so much harder than the one in the Boston Globe? I can’t believe the people in New York are smarter.

Who came up with “amok”? It sounds like your mind is someplace dirty.

 

(btw – I hit my one-year anniversary on WP last week. It seems that most people write something clever about that. I didn’t have anything clever to write, so you can just send me congratulatory chocolate.)

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Humor, Miscellany

 

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Calling All True Hedgehogs

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02555/hedgehogs_2555759c.jpg

 Lord Nelson (aka Horatio Hedgehog, our resident insectivore) tells me there is disturbing news in the hedgehog world. Apparently someone has decided to make a movie about Sonic the Hedgehog.

I am not very knowledgeable about Sonic. He had his own video game in the early 1980’s. I vaguely remember a cartoon about him. As I recall, he nabbed the villains mainly through cunning and extraordinary speed.

I asked Horatio why hedgehogs would have a problem with a movie about one of their own. He looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. How would I like it if everyone assumed I was just like Barbie? Or Miley Cyrus? I got the point.

He referred me to THRASH (True Hedgehogs Rebelling Against Sonic Hedgehog). I went to their website, THRASHtalk.eu/greatbritain. Guess I should have been able to figure out it would have originated where hedgehogs are free to gather in groups.

Looking at the site, I realized that the group has a long-standing grudge against Sonic.

For one thing, he’s blue. No self-respecting hedgehog would ever appear in blue. It’s garish and flashy. True hedgehogs are attired in dignified earth tones. Possibly with a tasteful pink undertone.

He talks a lot. It’s like he’s embarrassed by the cute snuffling noises real hedgehogs make.

He walks on two feet and wears shoes. Seriously? Who is going to wander around woods and hedges on two feet looking for food? You’d never be able to sniff it out. In fact, you’d probably step on it.

Not only that. What’s the only place hedgehogs are truly vulnerable to predators? The stomach. What self-respecting animal is going to walk around showing off his weak spot?

Sonic can’t swim. Most hedgehogs love the water and are very good swimmers. (This is a point of contention for Horatio. He’s afraid of water.)

He is a terrible role model for young hedgehogs. He is a daredevil. He runs faster than the speed of sound and uses the “Sonic Spin Attack” to defeat his enemies. There is nothing remotely realistic about him.

Most importantly, he is a sell-out. He makes a mockery of the hedgehog’s well-deserved reputation for modesty and reserve.

Forget about the games, cartoons, and movies. He has appeared several times with his arch-rival Mario just for the money. On Nintendo, no less.

In 1996, Sonic was the first video game character to be seen in a Rose Parade. Sonic is also the first video game character to have a balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Between 1993 and 1997, Sega sponsored the JEF United Ichihara Chiba football team, during which period Sonic appeared in the team’s uniform. Was he ashamed of his quills?

During the 1993 Formula One championship, Sega sponsored the Williams Grand Prix team. Sonic was featured on the cars and helmets. Their rivals McLaren used to paint a squashed hedgehog after winning races over Williams. Why would he agree to something that included a squashed hedgehog? Is that something you would want your children to see?

The 1993 European Grand Prix featured a Sonic balloon and Sonic billboards.

I guess I could see their point. But I told Horatio that I didn’t see how THRASH was going to be able to stop the movie. He said that they knew they couldn’t stop the movie. They just wanted to try a different tactic than other conservative groups have used to limit its influence.

They are hoping to convince everyone to just ignore the movie. The less publicity it gets, the better. It’s been 20 years since he was a star. That’s way past the lifespan of the average hedgehog. Hopefully, his time is past.

If that doesn’t work, the plan is to infiltrate the corporate offices and destroy the master files. It didn’t work for the NSA, but it’s worth a try.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2014 in Animals, Humor

 

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Peace in Our Time**

**A reference to World War One. Remember: I told you that one of the hazards of reading this blog was the possibility of learning something.

I wanted to remind you that this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI. (Yes, we count the part before the U.S. entered.) Those of you with school-age children may want to be prepared for macaroni U-boats. I can also see a debate on the futility of trench warfare vs congressional debate. Maybe Congress could debate the futility of trench warfare. Would they see the irony?

Back to reality.This this post could have been subtitled “Technology Strikes Back Part, Part 2: Going Global.” Last week we lost all electronic connectivity.

That’s right. No Internet. No TV. No land-based telephone. If we wanted news, we had to read it. Which would have been a lot easier if the Internet had not caused the papers to either shut down or only print a few days a week.

As you may recall, I am not a huge user/lover of technology. When my husband came upstairs on Friday to tell me that Comcast was out, I don’t think I showed the proper level of distress. That really shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. I’m the only one in the family who could have been home from work for three hours without noticing it.

My reaction was more along the lines of a sigh of relief. No Judge Judy (a family member’s secret addiction). No shouts of triumph at 2a because someone’s team had finally breached the wall and was attacking their arch-nemesis. No pieces of candy, marbles, flying pigs or whatever mesmerizing for hours. No more hour-by-hour updates of someone’s family (not mine) reunion.

Best of all, no solicitation calls at dinner-time. Admittedly we eat early (about 4p), but the timing is amazing. I’m told that non-profits were not impacted by the No Call rule. There seems to be some sort of team-tag going on. I will just get rid of one, when another one finds our number. Considering that it usually takes 3-4 repetitions of “I’ve told you not to call x times” before it gets through, I’m thinking that maybe my own pre-recorded response is the answer.

I probably could have been a little more sympathetic. My husband does use home email for work since the email at work is down for upgrade. I figure if they can use the excuse that their email server is down, so can he. He’s worried about a breakdown in communication. As if anything has been able to fix that problem since the beginning of time.

My son’s friends took pity on him and invited him to the modern equivalent of socializing: sitting in the same room and each person facing a screen instead of the other people. I had heard about it, but the first time it happened in our house it was a little unnerving. Back in the dark ages, if two or more people were in the same room and not talking they were either fighting or bored. Unless it was mixed male and female.

My daughter turned to cleaning her room. It was wonderful. She’s been promising to do it for some time. She’s going away to college in the fall. It’s going to be really nice to be able to leave the door open and not worry about losing the cats.

In a way, the timing was a little unfortunate. Edgar (my computer) and I had finally come to a meeting of the minds (so to speak). I realized what a sensitive personality he really is. And he realized that I could permanently disconnect his power source. We can generally get through an entire session without angst. It probably helps that my son taught me how to move around the screen rather than having the screen move around on me.

Nevertheless, I probably suffered disproportionately little. Even one of the cats was put out. She spends a lot of time with my husband while’s he’s on the computer. In his lap, not the keyboard (she’s a little non-technical too). No computer, no sitting, no warm-blooded furniture.

I guess we’ve all become creatures of the 21st century.

Update: It is now Wednesday afternoon (5.5 days later) and the connectivity has finally been restored (they did something in the backyard.) Maybe Comcast is right – their customer service couldn’t possibly be any worse after a merger with TimeWarner.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2014 in Family, Humor, Technology

 

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Be Careful What You Wish For

You may recall the short story, “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs. A British Army officer returning from India stops to see his friends the Whites. He has an old monkey’s paw that a friend got from a fakir which is able to grant the bearer three wishes. The officer, having had a bad experience with the paw, attempts to throw it in the fire.

Mr. White see it as a means to get the funds to pay off his house. He does receive the funds, but pays an extremely high price for the money. The moral being that we should not attempt to interfere with fate.

I have always loved that story. I was reminded of it last week at work. You may (or may not) recall that we lost our deli stocker to an unfortunate incident involving a bagel. Instead of being immediately terminated, he was placed on indefinite suspension.

My theory was that they were waiting to see if they could get someone to replace him. When dealing with the company, it’s always best to assume the most cynical, mercenary motives.

Sure enough, a few weeks later someone was hired and he was officially terminated. Hopes were high.

The new guy (NG) is very sweet and works extremely hard. He also seems to have a bit of trouble processing new information, which makes him work very slowly.

The team leader (TL) has trouble with people she perceives are not working as quickly as she thinks they should be. Or cannot learn all facets of a position immediately. She practices motivation by volume.

The intolerance is rather ironic given the number of things she still cannot do after a year in her position. Perhaps no one has yelled enough.

The NL quickly decided that NG would not work out. She wanted to hire someone else and move NG to a different position (preferably in a new department).

Moving to a new department would probably increase his productivity immensely. I had him with me for a day over in cheese and just left him alone. He did great work, and we were both happy with the arrangement. (Do not expect a happy ending here.)

Now they have found a guy to replace NG; the new new guy (NNG). Once again, he was greeted with great fanfare and high expectations.

That lasted for about half a day. The first day he was on the floor, they were teaching him the basics of stocking. He was rather slow, but that was to be expected, right? Although I’m not really sure how he explained all that time he wasn’t on the floor.

The next day, I was supposed to show him how to unload the stuff from the truck and get it into the deli. It was worse than unloading all of those stupid chickens.

After about a half hour, I told the TL that NNG was either dumber than dirt or lazier than a pet hound dog (I love the expressions I got from my grandparents). She thought it might be both. (Told you she has a low threshold for the learning curve.)

The first thing he had to do was move a few cases of chickens from one cart to another in the cooler so we could finish filling the first cart with salsas and hummus. I explained it to him. He asked me to explain it again. I did. I went to leave the cooler and he followed me. I then explained that he had to do it right then. He asked me to repeat the instructions.

In the meanwhile, NG had started to move things from the pallets to the carts.

NNG looked at the pallets and asked how often he was expected to do this. I told him it would be part of his job. Did that mean every day? No, just Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. He kept staring at the pallets.

I told him that he needed to learn how to sort the boxes to the various carts. He wanted to know how he could tell what went where. I told him that was what he needed to learn.

NG continued to move things onto the carts. Slowly buy continually.

NNG started to unload only those things that he had to stock. No meat, no dairy, no bakery, no deli salads, no specialty cheese.

I told him again that he needed to learn to sort things. He continued to unload his stock. Finally, I told him that he had to learn it because I wasn’t going to be there to help him after a few days. He looked at me then looked at the pallet. He slowly began to work through the load.

The next day he called off. NG unloaded the chickens and put them away. I don’t think NNG knows about the chickens yet.

I can hardly wait.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Humor, Work

 

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That Was a Bad Idea

A couple of nights ago, it was really hot and humid here. We don’t have air conditioning so it was almost as uncomfortable inside as out. Horatio Hedgehog has his cage covered with a blanket so the sunlight doesn’t bother him while he’s sleeping.

I had forgotten to give him water that day, so I was worried about him. When I opened his cage, he was panting. I figured it was from the heat (not his grumpy personality.) Hedgehogs are supposed to love water and are good swimmers. Which had been the case with Jean Luc, his predecessor hedgehog.

So I put some water in our sink and brought out Horatio. When I put him in the water, he was not a happy hog. He immediately panicked and tried to get out. He managed to climb up the side of the stainless steel sink. I had to give him his favorite treat (wax worms) before he would calm down.

Speaking of bad ideas, I asked my (temporary) doctor for a note saying that I couldn’t unload pallets for more than 2 hours per day. I got the note. Unfortunately it says that I can’t do any repetitive motion for more than 2 hours/day. Which pretty much eliminates my entire job. I really need to enroll her for a course in empathetic listening.

It’s not just me. You may remember a few weeks ago I talked about Other Stocker and New Guy. New Guy didn’t last. First there was the work slow-down, then the quitting without calling in. Not the way to get a good reference.

But Other Stocker (OS) was the one with the really bad idea. The company is really strict about actually working while we’re on the clock (go figure). They even feel that we should be using the restrooms on our breaks/lunches (not gonna happen).

The deli and bakery are about as far from the break room as you can get. OS would pick out a bagel, pay for it, then go on break. Totally against the rules. It’s called abuse of time clock.

OS got caught one time and warned. He continued to do it without being caught. Until one day they got him again. He was called to Security and terminated.

The really stupid part about the whole thing is that his girlfriend was terminated a while back for abuse of time clock. She lived about 25 minutes from the store (why she would drive that far is beyond me). She always seemed to be running behind, so she’d pull up to the door, punch in, then go park her car. OS seemed to think it was reasonable because she lived so far away. It didn’t seem to occur to either of them that maybe she should leave the house earlier.

Probably the dumbest idea I’ve run across lately is from the guy in the next section over. He stocks overnight with another guy in dairy. The night people are supposed to take breaks consistently every two hours.

Dairy Guy (DG) has his own “system” and feels the need to not take his “lunch” until he should actually be taking his last break. And he usually schedules it so he misses unloading as much of the truck as possible. DG also has things he “has to do” before he goes to lunch.

The other day, one of the managers asked why DG was not working on the load. He went to find DG and told him to go help. DG was sure that his partner had ratted him out. DG was furious that his priorities should be questioned. He said that he was going to take his second break and leave on time. It was actually kind of amusing that he had thought he was impressing management by not taking his last break and working over every day.

The next day, DG went to the manager above the one who had “forced” him to help unload the truck. He told the manager that his “system” was being interrupted. The second manager agreed with the first one. I thought I was going to be stomped on if I got too close to one of his carts. It was the fastest any of us had ever seen him work.

At least Horatio will never tell anyone how I tried to drown him.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Humor, Pets, Work

 

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I Can Type Ten Words a Minute!!

Actually that’s probably an exaggeration unless it’s something like “The Cat in the Hat”.

If you are a fan of old movies, you might remember the stereotype of the star reporter with a hot story. He (remember, it’s an old movie) types furiously with two fingers, finishes in a couple of minutes, tears the paper out of the (manual) typewriter and hands it to the errand boy. I am soooo jealous of that reporter right now.

I taught myself how to type on a 1903 Royal typewriter (with its corresponding manual). No, it was not a current version. It had been my grandmother’s and was old then. It’s one of those machines that allowed solicitous men to say that women could not be secretaries because their baby fingers were not strong enough to push the end keys. It probably would have been an excellent thing to drop on the heads of those men to show how wrong they were about women’s strength.  It was made out of iron. I recently saw a relative at a museum (I still have mine).

Anyway, you would be amazed at how much faster you can type on an electric typewriter (to say nothing of a word processor) if you have strengthened your fingers on the manual one. (The men were right about that – the keys were hard to push at first, especially if you’re a preteen.)

Aside – I do not want to hear from you if you do not know what a manual typewriter is. Look it up on Wikipedia. Or Google/Bing it.)

The point of all of this is that I have been reduced to typing with two fingers. As you may recall, my doctor (the one with the recessive bedside manner) ordered an EMG. It showed mild to moderate bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. So she sent me to a medical supply store to get two cock-up splints. I only needed one since I had gotten the spica splint for my thumb a couple of weeks earlier. (My insurance company loves me.)

I sent her an email after about a week asking when they would start making my hands feel better rather than worse. I guess it was supposed to be sooner than a week because she referred me to an orthopedic surgeon and an occupational therapist.

I can’t see anyone in ortho until September. Guess summer’s not a good time to see someone who can take multiple weeks of vacation. Went to see the occupational therapist on Wednesday.

Apparently the good news about medical-supply splints is that they are relatively inexpensive ($100-$200) and fairly comfortable to wear (soft felty material with metal bars to hold your wrist in place). And I only had to wear them at night. It really only impacted the cats who do not like to be petted with soft felty material (no one attached a warning to the cats, so I had no idea).

The bad news is that the reason they are so comfortable is that they really don’t do a very good job of keeping your wrists in place. And an even worse job of keeping the thumb in place. The pain in my thumb was getting better, but I was having a lot of trouble with my wrist. Turns out the tendonitis had just moved to  better neighborhood.

You may know where this story is going. The therapist made me two custom rigid splints (more good news for the insurance company). It was really cool to watch. They take some kind of heavy fiber board and put it in a steamer. Then they mold it to your arm so it fits. Once it cools off, it doesn’t move (hence rigid splint). I was supposed to wear it 24/7 for two weeks, then only at night.

OK. The sensible person would think: Rigid split. I need to modify how I work. Not so sensible person: Rigid split. I can work the way I usually do, and the splint will set the limits. Guess which side I fell on. Rigid means that in a contest between your body and the splint, the splint wins. Hey, I’m not an engineer.

After 2 1/2 hours, I was so sore I had to go home. I called the occupational therapist. She said I was working against the splint. (It only took her 1.5 minutes to figure out what I was doing wrong.) She said to wear the soft splints during the day, and the rigid splints at night. It worked really well yesterday.

Not so much today when I took the wrong soft splints to work. That’s what happens when you don’t take the old splints upstairs when you get the new splints (they all look pretty much the same). I gotta tell you – having a semi-disorganized brain is a pain. I never know when it’s gonna flake.

The old splints were worse than no splints. Don’t ask me why. I have no idea. So I iced my wrist when I got home. And got the right splints. Much more comfortable. But still detrimental to typing. Thus the two fingered typing. My brain is going crazy. Some of my best snarks are getting lost in the time lag. Don’t feel bad for me – I’m enjoying them even if you’re not.

I wonder if any of those old newspapermen would be willing to come out of retirement?

 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Health, Humor

 

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You Think it’s About You?

Many of us follow the same cycle through life. High School graduation. College graduation. Marriage. Kids. Kids’ high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, kids. It seems to go on forever (particularly some parts). And there are often parties associated with each step.

Interesting thing about those parties. The person who has achieved the milestone thinks the party is about them. I have never gone to a high school graduation party and not seen the graduate disappointed by how few friends showed up.

The graduate thinks the party is to congratulate him for finishing school (and reward him with lots of money). It’s the kid’s first introduction to the idea that we’d really like to get together sometime other than funerals. As a rule, the adults see these parties as a chance to catch up with relatives, friends, neighbors. It’s the reunion they’ve been meaning to put together but never got around to.

It starts with the invitation. Oh look, we got invited to Tony’s graduation party. I can’t believe he’s old enough to be graduating already. He’s Vivian’s son, right? I love that side of the family. They’re always so much fun to be around. Remember Gloria’s wedding? I have to write this down so I don’t forget.

Moves on to the gift. How much should we give? I don’t remember what we gave Amy two years ago. I guess it doesn’t matter. Amy’s my cousin and Tony’s my cousin’s son. Or do you give the same to everyone? Honey, do you remember how much Aunt Viv gave you last year for graduation? Maybe $50? Too much? OK, $25.

Then the accessories: I have to remember to take the pictures of Sheila in Scotland. I don’t think anyone has seen them. And that picture of grandpa I found in the attic. I wonder if Sandy is going to have her genealogy charts there. I guess it’s a good idea, but I forgot to see if I could find great-uncle Earl’s birthplace.

Finally, the day of the party arrives. The graduate has been chatting with his friends. They all say they’ll make an appearance. (The appearance turns out to be 10 minutes after the party ends. Smart kids.)

The first person to arrive is an elderly woman Tony doesn’t recognize. His mother rushes out to greet her and introduces her to Tony. Mom then disappears into the kitchen to finish up the food. Tony gets her a chair and asks how she’s doing. She proceeds to give him a rundown of her health, her neighbors, the weather, and her dead husband.

Finally Tony gets away to greet some other guests. It’s his aunt, uncle, and evil cousin who once tried to drown Tony. Turns out Jack is planning to become a lawyer. The adults leave to let the “kids” remember old times. Tony begins to wonder if anyone will miss him if he goes upstairs.

Some neighbors come by and Tony relaxes with them. His mother makes him get up to greet each person as they arrive. He talks to each for a few minutes. Hello. Thank you for coming. Yes, I’m glad to be out of school. I’m going to Wilderness U to study forestry. Yes it is an unusual major. Yes, there are actually jobs in that field.  Begins to wonder why anyone has a graduation party.

There is a good turnout for the party. People are complimenting his mother on the food. Except for the woman who says that she was at a graduation party the weekend before and it was catered.

The usual compliments and stories were told by the guests.

You can also overhear: I can’t believe her mother let her come wearing that. Of course Doris was the same way at that age. Or: Can you believe Eve is still dating him? He doesn’t even have a real job. Well at least he’s better than Jerry, remember him?”

Is that really the last impression you would want to make on your friends before you all go off to college?

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Family, Humor

 

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