3

Have You Ever Woken Up Crabby?

I am generally a consistent Type B personality. I notice a lot of things, but very few of them actually have any impact. But every once in a while, I feel like the Incredible Hulk after he turns green. Things that are insignificant before and after annoy the heck out of me:

They play “Escape” (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes a lot at work. Have you ever noticed that both the man and the woman are using the personal ads because they are bored with each other? He gets all excited because he finds out they actually have a lot in common. What have they been doing all this time – staying in and watching TV since their first date?

A woman comes in with two little boys. She asks the one little boy if he is looking for his drink. When he does, she tells him he doesn’t have it because he was too busy playing his “technology games”. Why did she bring up the topic? Why does she keep calling them technology games?

A couple is standing in front of the cheese slices. She asks him what kind of cheese he likes. He tells her cheddar, provolone, pepper jack, etc. She gets all excited and says, “So do I!” Of course you do – he’s listed pretty much everything except limburger. Are they on their first date at the grocery store?

The road I work on has a speed limit of 50 mph. They are (very slowly) doing work on a part of it and lowered the limit to 40 mph. I almost never run into traffic on my way to work at 3:30a. But if I do, they always seem to feel the need to slow down in the zone. Nobody stays at 40 mph during the day (it’s hard to stay motivated when you can’t find the workers). Why do they feel the need to obey when we’re the only ones on the road?

We have to punch in no more than 2 minutes before start time and no more than 1 minute after. I see no reason to get there more than a few minutes early. I pretty much know what time I will arrive by what time I leave the driveway. But if I’m and minute or two behind my “preferred” time, I will stress all the way there over the possibility of being late. When I know I won’t be.

Of course, the day that I’m late is also the day someone has left a cart in the spot I want to pull into. Getting there early lets us pull through one spot into the one in front of it to avoid backing out later. Unless there is a hidden cart which prevents it once you have pulled into the back spot.

I use an intersection with two lanes turning left on a light. The trade-off is that the left-turn light is very short. At most five cars in each lane can turn. Unless the front person isn’t paying attention. Then the first couple of cars turn and the rest of us get irrationally irritated by the extra 90 seconds or so we have to wait.

I go past an extremely convenient gas station. It even has the type of gas that doesn’t guck up the works and cost me a couple of miles per gallon. But it won’t take any card that has the ability to be a debit card. Only the ones that are strictly credit. Almost no one carries enough cash to pay for a tank of gas anymore. Are they in some sort of collusion with the credit card companies?

I love using the self-check at the grocery store. I have used them since they were first introduced. Some people really need to have a cashier help. Like the ones with a basket of produce that all needs to be weighed. Or the ones who can’t seem to find the UPC to scan on each of their items. Or the ones who don’t seem to realize that they need to press the “Pay” button before the machine will take their money.

I don’t really like hamburgers, but my husband and son do. When I pick up the supplies, I like to get decent buns. Onion rolls are my favorite, but anything with real bread will do. I generally shop at the end of my shift, about 1p. Why do I ever run into the situation where all I can find are the icky store-brand little cheap buns? I keep roaming between the bakery bread aisles like I can magically make what I want appear.

Oddly enough, relating all of this has not irritated me. One the other hand, it has reminded me that people can be really annoying.

0

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.)

10

Who, What, Where, When, Why?

I refuse to include “how”; it ruins the symmetry of the group.

If a burger made out of turkey is a turkey burger, and a burger made out of vegetable matter is a veggie burger, what is a burger made out of ham called?

If chai is supposed to be relaxing, why do they offer to add shots of espresso?

Why do I always get nervous when I discover there’s a police car following me or sitting on the side of the road?

Why do some parents want to chaperone every school dance at their kids’ high school?

Who are these people who care that Kim Kardashian did not invite Lindsay Lohan to her wedding?

Did Fox really find twelve women who thought that Prince Harry of Britain would be so desperate for a date that he would go on an American reality show? If not, how disappointed are they that their shot at fame has been ruined by abysmal ratings?

Do people who wallow in negativity ever get tired of hearing themselves complain?

Why did the news organizations spend three days telling us that the Browns told Johnny Manziel to stop acting like a diva and he agreed that he was only a rookie? Were they afraid we would go into withdrawal after the draft?

Who invented bubble tea and why? And why do coffee shops sell something that comes in cherry and orange flavors (among others)?

Why do we celebrate/mourn those who have given their lives for their country by going out and buying a 1/2 price mattress? Or does that only happen around here?

Why do big box stores around here not sell potato mashers (or ricers) anymore? Are the people who shop at boutiques the only ones who eat fresh mashed potatoes these days?

Why would I find a half eaten turnip on the floor at work?

Why would anyone want to add pieces of candy bar to their yogurt? Doesn’t that negate eating a healthy snack?

Why are organic cucumbers so much smaller than other cucumbers?

Do people assume that things bought at a local farmers’ market are organic? Does being local outweigh the concern about pesticides for locavoires?

At what point does the excitement over spring finally getting here get replaced by the realization that the planting season for the garden is only two weeks long and the ground hasn’t even been tilled?

Why do the cats get all excited about birds and squirrels outside but totally ignore the large groundhog who has taken to hanging out in the flowerpot on the porch?

Why do the teachers at my kids’ high school continue to email about their progress after they have spent the entire year telling us that the kids need to learn to take responsibility for their own actions?

Do gasoline companies realize how insulting they are being by telling us that oil prices magically go up before every holiday and down after the holiday? Year after year?

Does the international soccer season go on year round? It seems like every few weeks there’s some sort of major match.

Why do as many people cry at weddings as at funerals? (no sarcastic answers from the men, please)

Why do I find the thought of donating my body to science creepy but have no problem being an organ donor? Aren’t the goals related?

Why is my need for orderliness so much stronger at work than at home?

7

Why Would Anyone Steal It?

My son is graduating in a few weeks. We have been sitting on an invoice from the school for two years.  At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, we received a statement saying he/we owed $78 for a missing algebra book. I had been expecting it. He told us one night that he had left the book in a classroom and needed to pick it up before algebra class the next day. The next day the book was gone, and no one knew where. Seriously?

My son is the only one I know who is anywhere near as absent-minded as I am. I kept losing my keys, so my family bought me one of those electronic beepers you attach to the keyring. One day I couldn’t find the keys. And couldn’t remember where I left the control button.

He’s been able to retrieve earbuds, personal books, and favorite pens over the years. Out of everything that’s he’s forgotten overnight, the only one that went missing was the algebra book? My guess is that someone else couldn’t find their book and thought his belonged to them. That’s a much less disturbing thought than the idea that someone looked at it and said, “Wow! I’ve been looking for one of these! Can’t believe someone left this beauty behind.”

Coincidentally, I was reading the current issue of Time. (Yes, in paper form.) In the Roundup section, there were the World’s Weirdest Heists. I had seen the one about the missing manhole covers in New York City a couple of years ago. They were only worth $30 apiece. Maybe they wanted the publicity. Or maybe they were looking for a challenge. I’ve been in NYC; I’m not sure how you could do it without someone seeing you.

They also say that 6 million pounds of maple syrup was stolen from a Quebec warehouse in 2011 and 2012. It was worth about $18 million. Since it was stolen over a period of time, maybe it was someone inside the warehouse taking home a little at a time. “Gee, Joe you smell like maple syrup.” “Not really; it’s my new cologne.” Eventually they found two-thirds of it. Doesn’t seem to be much of a secondary market for it.

Somewhat similarly, in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, they lost 5.5 tons of Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) when someone robbed a parked trailer. It was worth about $20,000. I was wondering whether they had the Nutella in jars or bulk. Probably in jars. Either way, how do you take that much of something without being seen? It’s not like you wouldn’t need some sort of massive vehicle yourself.  I can’t imagine what you would do with it. Sell it to a rogue food truck company? Use it to lure animals?

In Jamaica, someone took about 500 truckloads of beach sand from the construction site of a $108 million resort. I imagine that was for another resort that was either being built or having erosion problems. We have gravel pits around here. They check to make sure that when the trucks go out they have gravel, and when they come back there is no gravel. You would think that someone might have thought “Gee, we’re building here, not tearing down. Shouldn’t we be keeping the sand here?”

My favorite is the bridge that was stolen in the Czech Republic in 2012. The thieves created fake work documents for the police and dismantled a 10-ton pedestrian crossing. You would think a project that size would have attracted the attention of people using the crossing. Apparently the local government didn’t notice at all.  There was about $6,000 of scrap metal taken. Guess it’s the reverse of people selling the Brooklyn Bridge to new immigrants.

I guess if you do something so odd that people can’t imagine why anyone would want to do it, they don’t think you shouldn’t be doing it. Now I need to find a clever way to take a ton of chocolate and hide it from my neighbors.

5

Trivial Trivia

(I intended to post this yesterday, so the events all happened on April 5, not April 6. Feel free to hold onto it until next year if you think it would be more relevant.)

As you may have guessed, I love trivia. It’s probably related to my mind’s ability to hold onto almost any useless piece of information while forgetting that if I don’t call the school, my kids probably won’t have yearbooks for their senior year. For example, I needed a code to punch into the cash register at my second job (after my senior year in high school). I chose 1063. Why? Because it was three years before the Battle of Hastings. And I still remember it. Scary, huh?

Needless to say, the Internet is full of odd facts and ideas. Too bad I don’t know which ones to believe.

There used to be something in the local paper called “Today in History” and it would show which famous people were born on that day and major events. I really liked looking at it, although the same historical events kept popping up year after year. Oddly enough, the bombing of Pearl Harbor was there every December 7.

So what could be better than the web version of “Today in History”? I found several sites (of course). There was one that was mainly music-oriented. It was really interesting, but not really what I was looking for. Finally I settled on scopesys.com. It has births, deaths, events, holidays, and religious commemorations. And it seems to be pretty exhaustive. It was actually kind of boring, even to me.

For example, the birthdays included 1588 Thomas Hobbes, 1649 Elihu Yale, 1725 Giacomo Casanova, 1827 Joseph Lister, 1856 Booker Taliaferro Washington, 1923 Nguyen Van Thieu, 1937 Colin Powell. If you don’t know who these people are, you should :).

The list actually had 183 names on it. Included were such luminaries as 1818 Lewis Baldwin Parsons Brevet Major General (Union volunteers), 19– Chao Li Chi actor (Falcon Crest), 1946 Jane Asher Paul McCartney’s former girlfriend/actress (Deep End), and seven cricket players born between 1868 and 1953. While I have no problem with cricket, I can’t believe there has ever been a player who belongs on a list with Joseph Lister and Booker T. Washington. And it’s the only sport shown. Seems a little biased, no?

There were 82 deaths worthy of note. Among those cited were 1794 Georges-Jacques Danton, 1964 Douglas MacArthur, 1975 Chiang Kai-shek, 1992 Sam Walton, and 1997 Allen Ginsberg. I am going forward with the blissfully ignorant assumption that everyone knows who these people are too. Don’t burst my bubble.

Some of the others you should keep in mind are 1531 Richard Roose who was boiled to death for trying to poison an archbishop and five cricket players. I am guessing that Mr. Roose was included due to his cause of death rather than trying to poison an archbishop. Lots of people were going around poisoning church leaders at that time. There’s the cricket bias again.

I found it interesting that there were 183 people of note on this date, but only 162 events. Some of the highlights: 1614 Indian princess Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe (#1 item on every site I visited – probably thought everyone would know who she is), 1722 Jacob Roggeveen discovers Easter Island, 1896 1st modern Olympic Games officially open in Athens, and 1951 Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, atomic spies, sentenced to death.

I had not known the name of the person who “discovered” Easter Island (although from all appearances someone had found it before he did). Unfortunately, I will probably not remember the name because I don’t know how to pronounce it. (My idiosyncrasies have idiosyncrasies.) Odd that I successfully finished a Masters’ degree in Russian Studies.

The next few things here are what I consider to be real trivia. They are more interesting than useful: 1792 George Washington casts 1st presidential veto, 1806 Isaac Quintard patents apple cider, 1973 NFL adopts jersey numbering system (ie quarterbacks, 1-19), 1986 Record for a throw-and-return boomerang toss is set (121 meters). I am wondering how a man can patent a drink that occurs naturally.

Of course, I took issue with some of the inclusions. Making the cut were 1585 Clemens Crabbeels becomes bishop of Hertogenbosch, 1961 Barbra Streisand appears on “The Jack Paar Show”, and 1992 Comedian Sam Kinison marries live-in girlfriend Malika Souiri. There were five sports references to four sports (maybe only cricket players were born and died on April 5). The most suspicious of these was 1953 Babe Didrikson-Zaharias wins LPGA Babe Didrikson-Zaharias Golf Open. I’d like to know who kept score.

In 1965 Lava Lamp Day was celebrated. Those have made a comeback. My daughter has one. Maybe we could make it a national holiday. At least in Colorado where smoking pot is legal.

I think that we should add some international holidays to our calendar. And maybe spread some of the local ones. April 5th is the first day of summer in Iceland. I really hope that has something to do with the length of the day as opposed to the temperature. It’s not halfway between the equinox and the solstice either. Perfect excuse for another day off.

It’s Arbor Day in South Korea. That one would work here in Michigan. We were given the official word that it is now safe to plant new trees. Of course, we’ve also been told that it’s better to plant trees at the end of the year. And the ground is still frozen in some spots. Another day off and nothing to do. Excellent!

In Taiwan, they are celebrating Death of Chiang Kai-shek/Tomb Sweeping Day. I’m not exactly sure how to spin this one for the U.S. Obviously we don’t want to support a dictator (particularly a dead one). Maybe we can make it into some sort of civilian memorial day. Then we can plan major sales, get a day off, and forget the people it is supposed to honor (just like the real Memorial Day).

I’d love to celebrate Switzerland’s Glarius Festival. If I knew what it was celebrating. Or could find any reference to it anywhere. It started in 1388. If anyone knows enough Swiss history to help, please chime in. I guess we could just pretend we know what it is and ask for the day off.

Last, but not least, it is Student Government Day in Massachusetts. It was celebrated on Friday since no one wanted to go to school on the weekend to study the government. I think this would be an excellent opportunity to send our paid politicians back to school to learn what government is actually supposed to do. That would probably take more than a day though…..

You can drive your HR department crazy suggesting new holidays. It won’t be long before they are encouraging you to shop and look at cat videos on company time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

Rhetoric and Questions

I was going to title this post “Rhetorical Questions.” But then I realized that I might not actually know what that phrase meant. And I certainly wouldn’t want to embarrass myself with that type of silly error, would I? (Correct usage of a rhetorical question.) So I went to my source of all things correct, Wikipedia (sarcasm, not rhetoric). And here is what I found.

Rhetoric is the art of persuasive discourse. That means talking to inform, persuade, or motivate an audience.

Rhetorical questions are asked to encourage the listener to consider a message or viewpoint, not to get an answer. So if someone asks you, “Are all dogs this dumb?”, you may want to consider the possibility that the person doesn’t like dogs and is looking for support of that position.

Ever get the uncomfortable feeling that you are learning something from my posts? (Correct usage of a rhetorical question)

The following questions are rhetorical, and I do not expect an answer. You may answer quietly to yourselves if you so desire. (more sarcasm)

Why would the store put a picture of a live lobster in the middle of a picture of Valentine’s Day gifts? Among the candy, flowers, and cute stuffed animals was a live lobster. “Happy Valentine’s Day! I brought you a live lobster! If you don’t want him as a pet, you can cook him for dinner.”

Why did the heater on my car die during the coldest winter in recent memory?

I started wearing my mother’s jacket instead of my own because there would be room for a hoodie under it. So why do I never remember the hoodie until I’m freezing in the car?

Why is the iciest patch of the road right at the end of my driveway?

Why was management so much more supportive of my being sick when I returned healthy than when I called in sick?

Admittedly I’ve been looking a little shaggy, but did no one in my family actually notice that I had 3 inches of hair cut off?

Why are the people who complain the most at work usually the same ones who don’t want to listen when something bugs you? (Actually, that happens in real life too)

Why are people surprised when they tell a coworker a “secret” and then hear it from someone else later? Haven’t they noticed how much gossip they hear about their coworkers?

Why was I so surprised that the new management trainee in the deli didn’t know how to use a string mop? A very nice middle-aged male customer tried to explain it to her, but was unsuccessful. Isn’t there something about a place that serves freshly roasted chickens, soup, salads, and sliced meat that screams “at some point, you’re going to need to clean something up?” How naïve am I that I was surprised she didn’t stick around to watch me actually use the mop? (3 questions-for-1 situation – bonus)

How did we get to the point that we’re shocked when a stranger does something nice? A customer I had never seen before stopped and gave me a Valentine. I put it where I could see it and thought about him several times during the day.

When did my standards for weather get so low that 17 degrees and sunny qualifies as a nice day?

Why does the template for these posts say the heading is optional? Everywhere else they tell us how important a good title is for drawing people in.

Why can I never find a decent close for this type of post?

2

My Kingdom for a Horse (or a Pair of Oxen)

You may have seen the car commercial where the man on an airplane clicks a remote at his car as the plane passes over the parking lot. You then see that the car is nice and warm as the family gets off the parking lot shuttle and settles into it. I’m not sure what airport they use for the commercial. Any time I have flown in the winter (or summer), the plane would still have to taxi, park and unload the passengers. The passengers would need to get their luggage (it is a family, not a day-tripper), wait for the shuttle, and actually get to the car.

I picture three more realistic scenarios. First, the heater runs from the battery and the battery is dead after being used for 90 minutes without starting the car. Second, the remote actually starts the car and uses up a quarter tank of gas waiting for the people. The father then says to the family that the next time they can freeze; he isn’t spending $25 because they can’t wait two minutes for the seat warmers to start working. Third, someone sees the car running, takes it, and is gone for an hour before the family even realizes it’s missing.

All of this is crossing my mind on the way to work this morning. Once I was actually on the road this morning. Like many of you, we were hit by the storm yesterday. My husband was proactive and tried to clear things as the day went by. Unfortunately, what he could not foresee was how windy it would be overnight. And the two- or three-foot drifts the wind would create.

I do not own a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. The weather here really isn’t that bad. We are on the “good” side of Lake Huron. The moisture from Lake Michigan gets dumped over the west side of Michigan in storms, so the air is relatively dry by the time it gets here, so we get less wind and snow. We still complain.

After the storms leave here, they cross Lake Huron and get more moisture to dump on Ontario. By the time the storm reaches upstate New York, it has gone over the rest of the Great Lakes and they get the benefit of lots of moisture in the air. Which often means they get a lot of snow. If you watch pro football or hockey from Buffalo, you may have noticed the commentators seem to get a lot of pleasure telling us what bad weather they are surviving. In their heated broadcast booth.

We figured my biggest worry would be whether or not they cleared the road by the time I left at 4a. I got up and went out. The road didn’t look too bad (relatively speaking). I should have known there would be a problem when I went down our steps and sank into snow up to my thighs. I’m short, but not that short. I should have been able to walk through snow that had been shoveled shortly before we went to bed.

Ever the optimist, I went into the garage. Second bad sign: my car had been out for maybe two minutes yesterday while my husband got out the snowblower. I had to brush off the back and side windows. There was no indication whatsoever that it had been inside for more than 12 hours.

The engine turned over, and the heater whined (it really hates cold weather). I backed up to where the hood cleared the garage door. And got stuck. Started swearing. Looked for the shovel and couldn’t find it. Stomped upstairs and woke up my husband. Oh yeah – he keeps it on the inside porch so it will be convenient. Stomp back downstairs. Trip in the drift again.

Shovel out the wheels. Move a little. Shovel under the body. Don’t move. Shovel around the tires. Move a little. Shovel more. Create ice under the tires. Try to rock back and forth. Swear. Shovel. Move a little. I should probably mention that our house is set off the road a ways and the driveway is double width, so I’m not completely incompetent (yet).

Shovel. Can’t move. Straighten wheels. Move a little. See the light in the house. Husband is up for work. Stomp back in. Whine. He comes out (and trips in the drift). Five minutes later the car is on the road and ready to go. I apologize for being evil. He blames the snow. He’s good that way.

On the way, my brain keeps running “Jingle Bells”. ‘Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.’ Yeah. With a wind chill somewhere around zero (it’s gotten worse since). But a horse isn’t a bad idea. One of those big Budweiser horses. It could have pulled my car out of the snow in a couple of minutes.

If you have ever needed road-side assistance in a storm, you know you could starve to death before they get to you.This is not a function of their ineptitude but of demand greatly exceeding supply (finally – a use for my econ class). I bet my son could make money using the horse to help other people. Or he could entertain kids by taking them for rides. I bet parents would pay to get the kids out of the house for a bit on a snow-day. Or their spouses.

I wonder how much it would cost to keep a horse like that. They’re probably expensive. Maybe I’ll try to sell the idea to someone in Buffalo.