Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Price Gouging

The price per gallon of gasoline at my usual (cheap) station was $3.159 before Easter weekend then decreased by a penny three times this past week, so it now sits at $3.129 per gallon. I observed other stations in town this weekend at $3.179 or $3.199. (Note: I'm saying this to make a point, not to start a "Whose is bigger?" contest.)

On the other hand, if you're an unfortunate, unwary traveler who is low on fuel and decides to exit I-10 in my town, you'll get taken for another kind of ride entirely. That station was at $3.399 per gallon. TOBAL.

Friday, March 28, 2008

It was the best of dreams; it was the worst of dreams.

I discovered this morning that I pun even in my sleep.

If your indeterminate tomatoes get so tall that they need to be bound to a stake for support, they are fit to be tied. Naturally, if you tear a batik cloth into strips to do so, they are fit to be tie-dyed.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Stuff(ing) of which Dreams Are Made

My alarm clock interrupted a dream, not about Winnie the Pooh per se, but about its background. One of the features was a bit off (A. A. Milne wrote for his son, not his grandson), but the map of the Middle East post-WWI would have been accurate.

Still and all, if I'm going to dream about early 20th century English literature, why couldn't the dream have been about Lady Chatterley's Lover, which I read in the past few months, rather than Winnie the Pooh, which I haven't read for years?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bowled Over

Sub won a radio contest to which the prize was a lunch and bowling at the local bowling alley. (When did the bowling alley add a bar/restaurant and a pool hall? And when did people decide that the purpose of going to a bowling alley is to get drunk and play pool, rather than bowl?) Sub was sick, and Boss weaseled out of going, so we invited our local solid waste company executives to take their places and make up the ten-person prize (but only five of us bowled).

I scored 119 in my first game, which wasn't bad when you consider it has been a while since I bowled. I was on my way to a better second game (seven frames completed, with the score at 111 in the 6th, and one strike and all spares in the remaining frames) when the time limit ran out. The two-person team got in two full games, but I was on the three-person team, and Thing Two kept running off somewhere, so we were delayed by that, too.

The afternoon wasn't complete, though, until Boss called and shunted his last-minute assignment onto me. (To give him a little credit, he didn't get the e-mail until just before he called.) I stayed until 5:00 to revise a document, personalize it with nothing more than the school's name and city, and e-mail it back because it absolutely-positively-had-to-be-done-by-Friday, but Friday was a holiday.

The Good: I had a day off and went to Albuquerque for Easter weekend.

The Bad: I always need to work late on the day before a holiday or vacation -- and it's never to get my own work done.

The Ugly: Because of Boss's reluctance/refusal/habit not to do his job and delegate everything (especially blame) except responsibility, this will continue to happen for eternity.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Let's go chopping.

I find it oddly satisfying to use my cutting board to chop ingredients for an honest-to-goodness handmade meal.

And, since I started the pun, I'll state that the only type of shopping I actually do (and like) is to shop for plants. I could spend hours at a nursery, seeing what's there, comparing the forms and growth habits, etc. Plus, if I have someone with me who is interested in learning a little, it's even more fun for me.

Sometimes, though, I catch myself talking more about plants than I should. Yesterday, I drove Thing One to the campus bookstore. On the way, she pointed and said, "What are those?" I replied, those are Purple-leaf Chokecherries... or did you mean the little buildings with domes on them?" She meant the buildings.

For the record, they are the campus observatory.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Eleventh Commandment

In an old issue of Men's Health magazine, they had a brief, almost meaningless, survey report about how the respondents think about religious issues. One question they asked was, "If you could take God's place for a day, what would you do?" After giving it some thought, I decided to answer that question.

I would create an eleventh commandment: Thou shalt recycle. Or, perhaps make it broader: Thou shalt not waste.

Palm Saturday

I picked up some more plants for my "garden" this weekend. I'm hoping the lettuce and peas will live long enough to produce edible parts before the temperature gets too high. I also hope that the temperatures don't get below freezing any more, as I planted tomatoes already. That's me: gardening on the edge.

I also purchased some perennials to fill in the ones that died last year (note to self: get off your duff and install that drip irrigation system this year), some culinary herbs, and a Sago Palm (which, technically, is a cycad, not a true palm).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Run, Eliza! Run from Simon!

For those of you who haven't heard, Joseph Weizenbaum died earlier this month. Not sure who he was? He was the creator of ELIZA, a computer program created to test how humans interacted with computers. I tried it on the Heathkit computer my dad built, and I found it aggravating. After all, computers do only what they are programmed to do; they can't understand what they do. (You can try an updated, online version here.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Congratulations, you irresponsible person!

Here are two examples of good ideas and good will gone bad.

Thing One is about twenty years old and raising a year-old girl. She receives assistance from W.I.C., which helps her while she works part-time and takes classes at the community college part-time. These are all good things. The catch is that she isn't divorced or widowed, merely unwed. Since she and her boyfriend didn't take adequate precautions, she became pregnant. Now, she is receiving government benefits for irresponsible behavior.

We also employ a high school student through a local program to rehabilitate and train at-risk youth. The teenagers might be from poor families, might have a drinking problem, might have been caught with the wrong crowd, or might be juvenile criminals. Training them in a job is a good thing. However, our current student is another example of rewarding irresponsible behavior. He took off work one day for the birth of his son. The next day, all I heard was, "Congratulations!" Okay, call me cruel, but I wanted to say, "Yes. Congratulations for not wearing a condom and for deciding to bring a child into this world even though you don't have a high school diploma, don't have a job, and aren't even eighteen yet!"

Everybody, sing!

When I was little, I liked to listen to a record with "On Top of Spaghetti" and other children's songs on it. I mention this because, earlier this week, a song from that record, "Dunderbak" was stuck in my head when I woke up. Today, I woke up with "Dance with a Dolly (with a Hole in her Stocking)". It accompanied a weird dream that included my parents, my friend Robomarkov and his wife and one of their children, and took place in the house where I grew up.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Depreciation, Donation, Inflation

I took some items to the Habitat for Humanity Re-store this weekend. After I dropped them off at the back entrance, I walked in the front to see what they had available. (Don't worry; I didn't buy anything new -- er, old.)

I happened to see my gym owner and his wife (because his father often volunteers there). As I was chatting with them, I saw the two-drawer file cabinet I had just donated being placed onto the sales floor. Later, when I was perusing what was available, I moseyed past the file cabinet and snuck a look at the price tag.

I had purchased the cabinet at a major discount-retailer during my sentence in Alabama eight years ago for $27.48 (before tax). For tax purposes, I set my donation value at 50%, or $13.75. The new (er, old, er...) price tag read $25.00.

Sure, I kept it in good condition, but just wait until the unsuspecting purchaser gets it home and discovers that the things that are supposed to hold the files upright don't work worth a darn (and that's what I get for buying from a major discount-retailer).

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Keep yer shirt on!

Part of my annual physical is an EKG (electrocardiogram). For those of you unfamiliar with this procedure, they stick several pads to you (mostly around the ribs, but also one by each ankle) and measure something about your heart. Afterward, the nurse told me to put my shirt back on.

Then, of course, I had to take it off again when the doctor came in to freeze me with his stethoscope. Couldn't I just have kept it off?

Better yet, why not have the doctor come in right when the EKG finished, so I could redress only once? The length of time I was there surpassed the average I told you yesterday. Between the EKG and the time my doctor arrived, I waited an hour. I had a 3:00 p.m. appointment. I arrived at 2:45 p.m., as instructed. I didn't leave until 4:45 p.m.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Comfortable Support

I find it a little disturbing that I have a second news item (see also 8/27/07) about underwear for you. Still, we all wear it (and if you don't, I don't want to know), so consider it a public service.

New web site offers eco-friendly underwear

March 3 -- Online undergarment retailer has launched a special department on its Web site dedicated to eco-friendly underwear and sleepwear for women and men.

The clothing comes from niche, environmentally focused designers as well as green collections from mainstream brands. Examples include men’s briefs and t-shirts made from fabrics made from bamboo and soy.

The Waiting Game

I refueled my car this morning, and the pumps were very slow. I arrived at work 20 minutes later than usual.

I have my annual physical this afternoon. The doctor's office left a message for me yesterday, asking me to arrive 15 minutes early. Why? I already sit there half an hour before someone calls me to be weighed. Then I sit another half hour before the doctor sees me. Do they think I need even more time to read the book I have with me?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Book Irony

What if I went to the library and checked out Mein Kampf and The Diary of Anne Frank at the same time?

Something Old, Something New

I have lived in my condo for two and a half years now, and I just discovered that I can lock my screen doors.

I assembled an armoire in my study on Saturday, so now my overnight guests will have someplace to put their things.