Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Spring Cleaning

I've been doing a lot of tidying lately. I started in the office, first cleaning the clutter off my desk, and then attacking the file drawer. Last night, I started doing the same at home. I compiled a stack of papers to be recycled that was two inches tall! Ob should kiss my feet for the amount of recycling that I provide him.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What does he do when his kids need a bath?

For the past three weeks, Worker Bee has assigned one of our seasonal employees to repaint the shop. This was done only a few years ago, and I can't see the need. Worker Bee's reasoning was, "It was dirty."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

...and is this really disgusting?

As published in the Albuquerque Tribune on Saturday, November 10, 2007.

Coming Soon: Holiday Sodas
Coming soon next to the Coke and Pepsi in a store near you: ham- and latke-flavored soda to make your holiday feast complete.
It will even be kosher, the company making it says -- including the ham.
Jones Soda Co., the Seattle purveyor of offbeat fizzy water, is selling holiday-themed, limited edition packs of flavored sodas.
The Christmas pack will feature such flavors as Sugar Plum, Christmas Tree, Egg Nog, and Christmas Ham. The Hanukkah pack will have Jelly Doughnut, Apple Sauce, Chocolate Coins, and Latkes sodas.
"As always, both packs are kosher and contain zero caffeine," Jones said in a statement.
The packs will go on sale Sunday, with a portion of the proceeds to be given to charity, the company said.
Jones' products feature original label art and frequently odd flavors. Last year's seasonal pack was Thanksgiving-themed, with Green Pea, Sweet Potato, Dinner Roll, Turkey and Gravy, and Antacid sodas.
For its contract to supply soda to QWest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, Jones came up with Perspiration, Dirt, Sports Cream, and Natural Field Turf. The company -- fortunately or unfortunately -- prides itself on the accuracy of the taste.
Jones also makes more traditional flavors, including root beer, cherry, and strawberry sodas.

There is a job I don't want: taste tester for Jones Soda Co.

Is it just me, or is this really neat?

I'm going to buy myself one of these for Christmas. Then I'm going to sit down for my entire week of winter break and start transferring my mom's 78's onto CD. Then there's all the 45's... and the 33-1/3's. "Hey, Mr. Owl, how many visits will it take to get to the middle of my mother's record collection?"

I'm tickled pink that, in the age of electronics, this company actually makes turntables (wooden turntables, even) -- and radios and telephones and jukeboxes and music boxes....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


You know what nouning is. It's when someone tries to use a noun as a verb -- and it drives me crazy.

One of the more rampant examples among my coworkers is "contact", as in "contact me at this number". Sorry, but I can't. I can call you -- I might even phone you (although that's questionable, as well) -- but I can't contact you.

One that businesses like to use incorrectly is "benchmark". When I first heard of this one a decade ago, I hadn't even heard the noun before. I guess "compare" wasn't hoity-toity enough for the consultants to charge excess money for to tell the companies what they should have discovered themselves. (My own company is guilty of this. I took a "new" policy home a few years ago for my parents to read, and my dad said, "They didn't actually pay someone for this, did they?")

Above all, the one which irks me the most is the misuse of "woman" and "women". A "woman doctor", to me, means the person is a doctor of or for women; it could be a man. Calling Hillary Clinton a "woman candidate" is wrong, too. She is a female candidate, surely, but hopefully not one for whom only women may vote -- otherwise there might be some hopping mad male democrats come this primary season.

"Mr. Language-Person" strikes again.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Better Late than Never

We didn't give thanks on Thanksgiving Day (although we did say "grace"), so I'll post a few of the things for which I am thankful.

I am glad that I live in a part of the country where last week's "cold" weather mean lows in the 20's and highs in the 40's (Fahrenheit).

I'm glad that, because of the warm temperatures, I can eat home-grown, vine-ripened tomatoes in late November (northern hemisphere).

I'm glad I have a job with a paycheck, which allows me not only to survive but to buy myself things and have money to invest. (No thanks to Boss and Worker Bee who never told the rest of us that our company has the opportunity to enroll in a paycheck deduction plan for savings bonds.)

That Was the Week that Was

Removed upon request.

Universal Question #37

Why is it that dew and frost form only on my car's rear window, and not the side windows nor the windshield?

Friday, November 16, 2007

All Saints' Day

If you're a Roman Catholic who does good works and is looking for a miracle to perform, so you can be considered for canonization after you die, I have an opportunity for you: get Ob to talk less.

And, if I'm lucky enough that someone has beaten you to it and you still need a miracle, I have yet another. Get Ob to do his job.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Food, Glorious Food

For the first time in a long time last night, I cooked real food. I used a recipe and separate, unprepared ingredients, and everything! Of course, the King of Mistiming reared his ugly head, but I managed to get the fish and green beans and potatoes to finish within a few minutes of each other. (Yes, fish.) Then there was the way that I found out "medium heat" in the cookbook would have to be "low heat" on my stove. (I don't know if it's my super-stove or the frying pan I was using.) Oh well, maybe we'll just call it "seared" pollock. People will eat that, right?

The experience wasn't all that bad, and the fishy smell didn't linger (the fried/burned smell, on the other hand...), but still and all, I find it easier to buy the pre-breaded, uniformly shaped slabs of unidentified fish in a box. That is, if I ever feel the urge to eat fish again.

Up your nose with a rubber hose!

Consider this a big "duh" moment in my life. How many times have you heard someone say that, if you have a leaky faucet, you should replace the washer? I don't know why I didn't think that extended to hoses, too. I just kept wondering why my hose started leaking at the faucet. It wasn't until the washer split, and part of it fell out, that I realized what the problem was. Actually, if I hadn't seen that part of the washer fall out, I still might be wondering what the problem was. (So much for the common sense I lord over people.)

So I walked to neighborhood hardware store a couple blocks away. I had said washer portion in my pocket, in case I had to compare sizes. No problem there, as there was only one size available. Why though, would I want to buy a package of ten, when I have just one hose? (Apparently, the lifetime warranty means that the ten washers will be enough throughout the life of the hose.)

Oops, now I know why. (Glossing over the length of time it took to pry the remaining portion of the old washer out of the hose, so that dusk was falling and I couldn't really see what I was doing any more.) The new washer went in much more quickly than the old one came out. Odd, though, that the hose was still leaking. (I could see that in the impending darkness.) Hey, where did the new washer go? It's a good thing I had nine others in my pocket. (One of my professors taught that one should always have a "Plan B". Now I know why.)

I have to wait until Thursday, though, to look for where the first new washer fell out. You see, thanks to my schedule, I go to work and get home from the gym in the dark. Maybe it's just appropriate, as I seem to be "in the dark" about simple household repairs.

It's a small school, and it sounds pretty exclusive

From a new job posting on my company's web page:

Responsible for the full maintenance of a 500 sq ft college campus, must have strong financial and will oversee a budget of 2.3 million plus.

Monday, November 12, 2007

What's hap-pen-ing to me?

I'll be darned if I know where my pens are going. Yesterday, I couldn't find the one I had been using all afternoon. I looked every place I had been, and even under the furniture. This morning, I came into work and couldn't find the one I always use and always put back in the same place. Thankfully, I use only cheap, disposable pens, so at least I haven't lost too much money.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Last night was the high school rivalry football game at our stadium. (My high school rivalry couldn't fill our meager stands, but in Las Cruces they drew 26,800 people. That's larger than the population of most New Mexico towns.)

I picked up a lot of flyers with the trash this morning. For some reason, I got it into my head that they were advertising a school's one-act play competition. When I read one, though, I saw it was for "Real Inx Fine Art & Tattoo Parlor".

I need to upgrade my dictionary. I never would have classed "fine art" with tattoos.

This got me to thinking. Something from Picasso's cubist period might make for a good tattoo. El Greco's elongated bodies, not so much. Given the way human bodies age, one could always have a watch tattooed onto oneself and, over the next forty years, watch (no pun intended) as it turns into Dali's "Persistence of Memory".

What do you think of me getting a tattoo of those large breasted Samoan women? (Gauguin, wasn't it?) Where should I have it put?

Now why do you suddenly look like Munch's "The Scream"?


I had occasion to be a passenger yesterday, so I got to look around at the other cars. I noticed that everyone's hubcaps were a silvery gray blur. Since cars are designed to operate in motion, why do auto companies bother making hubcaps pretty, when you can see them only when the car is sitting still and not doing what it was intended to do?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Joyce Kilmer I Ain't

I think that I shall never see
A temporary parking lot sign lovely as a tree.

Remind me, if I ever get down about my job or the yobboes I work with, to take a stroll on campus. I just checked on some tree planting sites, and it pleased me so much to know that, eventually, I am providing habitat and oxygen and color and shade to campus. I might not be here in twenty, ten, or even five years to see how they grow, but I still feel as if I left my mark on campus.

Oddly enough, what really made me feel good on my walk was seeing a bicycle chained to the brand-new bicycle rack I had put in. It gratified me to realize that, "This looks like a good place for a bike rack," actually is a good place for a bike rack.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My Robot Friend

Have you ever had one of those moments when you wonder, "Whatever happened to....?" this person you once knew, so you looked on Google? I'm almost regretting this one.

Here's a review from Stylus Magazine and from Pitchfork. There were little things in these reviews that made me think it is indeed the guy with whom I went to jr. high and high school -- mainly his age and the comments "uninspired and juvenile" and being able to tolerate him for no more than fifteen minutes at a time. Plus, some quotes from him sound like the kid who thought he was being funny but was merely being annoying. Then I found this one from the Jewish Daily Forward, which confirms he is Jewish and grew up in my hometown.

It doesn't surprise me to know he grew up to become an android with a flame-shooting penis.


Every time I leave the gym, I wish the desk dog a pleasant evening or a good weekend or some such. Last night, without looking up from her computer, the girl on duty responded, "You too, dear."

"Dear"? I'm not a "dear", am I? I'm too young to be a "dear", aren't I? Just because I'm sweatin' with the oldies doesn't make me one of them, does it?

A Bit of Exercise

Tuesday was my day off from the gym, but I got a little exercise anyway. I exercised my franchise.

What? You don't think that walking across the street to my polling station was enough?

Okay, I'll give you that, but I'm sure there was a lot of heavy breathing around town that night, and that's aerobic, right?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

When it's chilly, look for chile.

New Mexico State University helps small business deliver color to holiday season

The “hottest” holiday decoration this season won’t be festive lights or giant, inflatable snowmen. To truly spice up your holiday season, a New Mexico State University researcher recommends thinking chile.

“Chile is New Mexico’s national identity,” said NMSU Researcher Paul Bosland, widely recognized as the world’s foremost authority on chile peppers. He is currently working with Sunland Nursery Company’s Color Division in Las Cruces to help breed ornamental chiles with holiday-specific colors.

Bosland said ornamental chiles have been traditional holiday gifts in the Southwest for more than 100 years. He said he “paints with genes” to produce various colors, including peppers that turn from orange to purple to black for Halloween and from yellow to orange for Thanksgiving. Other color combinations are available for other holidays, including a traditional green to red transition for Christmas.

Jeff Anderson“Chile peppers are just part of New Mexico’s tradition,” said Jeff Anderson, a grower at Sunland Nursery and a graduate of NMSU’s Horticulture program. The ornamental chiles he helps raise are eventually marketed to independent garden centers in Las Cruces, El Paso, Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Bosland said while most of NMSU’s chile genetic research is focused on developing disease resistance, breeding plants with the right colors and size traits are just as important for the state’s greenhouse industry.

“We’re happy to work with the university to help provide alternatives when it comes to holiday plants,” said Steve Salsman, production manager at Sunland Nursery. He said consumers are always looking for new products and he appreciates NMSU’s assistance in developing new plants.

Just like traditional holiday poinsettias, ornamental chiles can be placed around the house or serve as centerpieces for dinners. Unlike poinsettias, ornamental chiles can be planted to provide additional color to a flower garden or even used to add some extra kick to holiday recipes.

“These are real, live things you can use as decoration,” said Bosland. “Plus, they’re edible. It’s nice to have these chiles. They are just fun.”

Developing the perfect chile color combination is not a fast process. Bosland said it takes a minimum of five years to get the end product. NMSU’s first hybridization for the Halloween-colored chiles was in 1991.

Bosland said if the chiles are watered regularly, protected from frost and given lots of sunlight, they can last more than 10 years. They are hardy to climate zone seven, and continuously picking off fruits will help the plants flower and produce new chiles during its entire lifetime.


Photo is available at
CUTLINE: Jeff Anderson, a grower at Sunland Nursery and a graduate of NMSU’s Horticulture program holds and ornamental chile plant inside the nursery. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

Justin Bannister
Nov. 5, 2007

Scat, cats!

My best friend growing up had two cats. They were house cats. My friends now who have cats keep them indoors as well. I believe that's the way it should be. (A neighbor's cat in Albuquerque was caught and carried off by a coyote, reinforcing my belief.)

Last night, just as I was about to fall asleep, the two neighborhood cats got into a fight outside my bedroom door. It was quick, but it was enough to make me fully alert. Then, to ensure that I wouldn't fall asleep, they yowled for twenty minutes or so. At first, I thought they were in pain. Then I realized that one would yowl, and the other would echo it a little more quietly and with a deeper voice. Perhaps this wasn't cries of pain but some part of a complicated (and extremely irritating) courtship ritual? Maybe, even, they do this type of thing every night, by a different house each time, and last night was just my turn to be kept awake.

Where's a coyote when you need one?

(For the record, there were no corpses nor bloody pawprints evident on my veranda this morning.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Busy Weekend

I actually got things done -- besides work -- this weekend.

To commemorate the start of Not Summer (and to use up some leftover roast beef in my freezer), I made some beef & barley soup. I now have some new leftover ingredients. The recipe calls for various vegetables. One carrot I can handle. Two onions I can handle. One stalk of celery... means that I have the rest of a bunch in my hydrovore.

I hit upon the idea of making some chicken salad to use up the celery. I grilled a chicken breast and cut it up. It filled a small bowl. I washed two stalks of celery and cut them up. They filled another small bowl. (At this point, I pondered that I should have reserved some of the onion for the soup to mix in my chicken salad.) I had to mix the chicken and celery with mayonnaise in a medium bowl. (Hmm, this will be rather chunky chicken salad.) Two stalks of celery... means that I have the rest of a bunch in my hydrovore.

Any suggestions what I can do with the rest of it?

I also drove down to the nursery halfway to El Paso and bought some annuals. I bought them out, more like it, as their Pansies had already been picked over (I left five), and their stock of Stock was depleted. I picked up two flats of each. Then the employee noticed there were three missing from my Stock, so I went back. Then I went back for three more that I noticed were missing. Then I had all too much fun watching the employee and the weekend manager try to figure out why the cash register had stopped working (yes, it was plugged in). Then the manager asked if I could use other flats, so they could save the two I had. She noticed one plant missing, so I went back. They transferred the plants to the new flats -- and noticed one pot with soil but no plant, so I went back. That's four trips back to the greenhouse for seven plants, and the kicker is that, as I was planting them at home later, I noticed another dud pot with soil but no plant!

The Heat is On

The season of "Not Summer" started here two weeks ago. Everyone else calls it "Indian Summer" or "Autumn". I know it as the season when I need my car's heater on the drive to work in the morning and the air conditioner on the way home in the afternoon.

The furnace in my home kicked on for the first time yesterday morning. It's almost time to put away my shorts until Summer returns.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hell Week

Hey, people, the full moon was last week. Stop acting like idiots!

On Halloween night, a female student was raped on campus. (For those of you keeping score, this was the sixth rape on campus this semester, but the first "stranger rape".) Last night, I saw a fire engine and ambulance pull up across the street from Dick's Cafe as I ate dinner, an ambulance on my way home from Scoopy's, and a motorcycle cop and ambulance drive by my house. Just on my way in to work, there was an ambulance and a fire truck outside the student apartments (at about 5:30 a.m.).

What the hell is going on?

Mr. Fix-It

The staff of the gym has drawn on my years of upbringing by my father, who was an electrical engineer and could fix our TV sets himself (at least until they did away with vacuum tubes). They asked me to fix one of the TV's whose picture gets compressed every so often.

Alternately, maybe it's just because I'm the only one tall enough to reach up to the TV, which is suspended from the ceiling, and smack the side of it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I'm Game if You Are

Sorry for the late notice, but if you're interested, you can watch tonight's NMSU football game on ESPN at 6:00 p.m. MDT.