Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Let's end the year by stealing from others.

However, I will give credit where credit is due. Occasional Fish gives us this link about a computer programmed to come up with bad puns.

Example: What kind of tree is nauseated? A sick-amore.

I think that's a riot -- or maybe that's funny only to us plant people.

Why not everywhere?

I won't be staying up late tonight. I never do -- except maybe 10 years ago, when the odometer on our current calendar system rolled over, and then there were so many news reports as the New Year occurred through Asia, Australia, Africa, and Europe that I didn't really need to see any more once it hit North America.

That got me thinking. When I lived in New Mexico, I could watch the ball drop in Times Square then go to bed at a decent hour (and then be woken up at midnight when neighbors started shooting guns or setting off fireworks). However, the TV network shows the ball drop then starts rolling the credits, and the heck with anyone else in the country. Why New York City, even? Why not Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., or even Atlanta?

For that matter, why not other time zones? A TV network could have a night-long extravaganza, kind of like Jerry Lewis's Labor Day telethon for muscular dystrophy (but without the pejorative jokes). After the ball drops in Times Square, why not show an hour's worth of entertainment before the New Year in Chicago? Or St. Louis or Kansas City? New Orleans could throw quite a party, I bet (although they already have Mardi Gras). In the Mountain time zone, it most likely would be Denver -- although Albuquerque and El Paso would be warmer. Maybe Salt Lake City could do it, but who wants to watch a bunch of Mormons standing around on a night known for alcohol consumption?

And, as I typed that, I realized that I'm giving short shrift to my Canadian readers. Not only are there more northerly cities that could throw awesome New Year's Eve galas (and probably do, but the media in the U.S. would prefer us to remain ignorant of anyone who's not us), but they would all stand outside and prove to those of us closer to the equator that we are wussies for thinking it's too cold to stand outside in New York City on December 31.

For the Pacific time zone, Los Angeles would most likely host, since it's television central. However, San Francisco and Las Vegas are in the running, in my opinion (although Las Vegas has enough of a party reputation that it wouldn't hurt for them to lay out from this night).

Alaska has enough time zones to have it's own TV network -- but not the population to merit one. Honolulu will have to fend for itself -- as it probably already does, but I'm well in bed by that time to bother finding out. It would be a nice, warm place to ring in the new year, though.

For that matter, I wouldn't mind seeing in the new year in Puerto Rico. Or how about Guam or American Samoa?

I wonder how long it would take me to save up enough money for airfare (boat fare?) and hotels for two at New Year's. Yes, for two. You don't think I'd go that far without you, do you?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back on My Diet

My weight went up at Thanksgiving and back down at Christmas. Then, I spent four days sitting around the house, doing nothing but read and eat. Well, I did do my exercises, but I'm afraid to weigh myself again. I enjoy being back at work. For one thing, I'm more active. For another, I don't have time to dawdle over meals, stretching them out to become day-long snack attacks. Lord help me whenever I reach retirement age.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Yulhanaramakwanzmas!

I was going to basically ignore Christmas this year. Sure, I bought my employees gift cards. Sure, I've been invited to Froggy's house for Christmas dinner (and coworkers are forecasting it to be a combination of the Griswolds and the Clampetts). Sure, my mom sent me a check and I sent her gifts. Still, I wanted to let the holiday slide by. However, one of my employees brought me a gift that my crew chipped in for: a "men's grooming set".

Are they trying to tell me something? I don't let my hair get long between haircuts. I keep my fingernails trimmed. My eyebrows and nose hairs don't get out of control. (I'm too young yet for hair in/on my ears.)

The kit contains hand lotion, aftershave gel, hair gel (I'd rather the kit contain hair), facial moisturizing cream, a battery-operated hair trimmer with three attachments (but when my sideburns get bushy is how I know it's time for a haircut), one nail clipper, one toenail clipper (I guess the first one is for actual, metal nails), one tweezers (hey, that's what it says on the box), and one designer carrying bag (it would have to be a damn tiny designer to fit in that bag).

I'll bet they didn't get Elmer Fudd (my predecessor) anything last year. I'm actually kind of touched.

Butt me no butts.

Skippy got a little upset by a question in Monday's management meeting (which Froggy asked, to prepare Skippy for the full-staff meeting that afternoon). His tone of voice changed, but he didn't raise his voice, and he didn't use any impolite words. I don't think his face turned red, either, but I was listening more than watching.

Tuesday, Skippy apologized to us "for showing [his] butt in the meeting".

Excuse me? I know I just said I wasn't particularly looking at him, but I think that I'd notice if he stood up and mooned us.

Darned Southerners. Just when I think I've heard all of their strange colloquialisms, another one pops up. Now I'm going to think of Skippy as a baboon. Boy, is my face red.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Novelty Holiday Song of the Day

Since the Cold Miser is taking this week off, I have no one at work to force songs into my head. Thanks to Pandora, though (and their novelty holiday genre in particular), I heard this new (to me) rendition of "Mr. Heatmiser" by the retro-swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (lyrics here; buy the album here).

Just Another Stupid Idea

Skippy (my new nickname for Nuboss, in case I haven't mentioned it before) handed out gift cards to those of us who attend the management meeting each weekday morning. Mine is worth $50 at Wal-Mart.

What is it with people, that they think everyone shops at Wal-Mart? The aisles are full of idiots (You know those people you think are bad on the roads? Well, put them behind shopping carts and cram them into narrow aisles and... You get the picture). The racks and shelves are full of cheap schlock (the shirts that stretched instead of shrank, the socks I wore holes through in less than a month, the easy-to-assemble furniture with stripped screws, misaligned holes, and out-of-plumb doors). And do you really want to eat the same food and wear the same clothes and watch the same DVD on the same flatscreen TV as half of America?

But go ahead and shop there. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean you won't. Besides, you'll help push up the price of my stock if you do.

Then I had an idea. Have you ever been to a store and seen that they will sell you gift cards to restaurants and other stores? I wonder if Wal-Mart does that. I wonder if I can redeem a gift card to purchase a gift card. I wonder if I can use my Wal-Mart gift card to purchase a Target gift card.

Seriously, what on earth does Wal-Mart have that's worth 50 bucks, that would convince me to deal with the hassles, and that wouldn't fall apart as soon as I got it home?

(Incidentally, I bought my employees $25 gift cards to Best Buy.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

This comes as a surprise to no one.

We are the champions.

I know you're all waiting with bated breath to hear how the school's faculty/staff bowling tournament on Friday turned out.

They had two forms of competition: best total pins and best ball (in which the best score per frame was used as the team's score). My team (which included Froggy and two other men from facilities) was placed in Division I (which means we are more experienced bowlers than, "Gee, I haven't bowled since this tournament last year."). We won the Best Ball certificate and $60, which conveniently split four ways (and which pays for my cheesesteaks the next two weeks). The rules stated that no team could win both awards in their division, so the best total pins team was the one which included the bowling coach. (Or, maybe, that team wasn't allowed to win both, so we got one, but I prefer the former viewpoint, as it makes me feel better.)

I didn't bowl as well on Friday (153, 125, 159) as I had on Wednesday, during my league play, although I was about 20 pins above average for two of the games. My team mates said they weren't doing as well as they normally do. One of my team mates has bowled 300 games more than once, and he didn't break 200 this time. In fact, my score was the highest (within our team) in the third game.

The lanes themselves are partly at fault. This wasn't the same alley as my weekly league plays on, and I couldn't figure out at all how the wood or the pins would respond. (It made me feel better when the bowling coach, whose games are at the same alley as mine, told me he couldn't figure out these lanes, either.) In one frame, I knocked down seven pins. When I picked up my ball from the return and got into my stance, there were no pins standing. (We decided as a team to accept it as a spare, considering all the other times pins didn't fall as we expected them to.)

I'll have to practice bowl at this alley a few times in the coming year and see if I can figure out the tricks. Froggy said the lanes are better in Hixson, so I'll have to try out that alley, too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Saved by the Ball

I didn't watch those TV channels I don't have last night (even though there was another Scooby movie on). I had bowling, and I did very well.* I hope I don't blow it tomorrow, during the annual faculty/staff competition.

* "Well" is defined as one game 6 pins below my average, one game 43 pins above my average, and one game 53 pins above my average. My team one 3 out of 4 games -- and that was with both my team mates not showing up! (Thank heavens for large handicaps.) But I'll be darned if I have to carry those slackers again!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Moment of Weakness

I claimed I watch little TV. I claimed I wouldn't watch anything more than the basic channels because the extras are full of trash. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

I couldn't help it. I discovered that the local PBS affiliate airs Are You Being Served? at five every weekday afternoon, so I conveniently have something to watch while eating dinner. Then I switched over to a Scooby-Doo movie on Cartoon Network. Then the Flyers game started on Versus, and I certainly couldn't miss that!

Then, I went to bed because it was time and because the Flyers were losing. (I just checked the final score and see it got worse after I went to bed, so it's just as well that I did.)

I wonder what I won't watch tonight?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oops. Heh. Shh!

Remember that glitch I mentioned last week, the one that got me bonus TV channels? It's back with a vengeance.

When I set up my VCR today, I noticed something funky. My TV gets the Basic 12-channel package and those 14 bonus channels from somewhere. My VCR receives the entire 77-channel Expanded package, so there are lots of channels for me to watch (and record) through my VCR.

Shh, don't tell my TV provider!

Another Rainy Sunday in The Noog

It's going to be a long day. I have been up for barely five hours, and I'm thinking, "It's not even 10:30 yet?"

I slept in this morning. I figured I deserved it since I'm kind of sick. It was cold-like but didn't hit me the way a cold usually does, and I can tell I'm nearing the end of it. (Note: if you're in the slightest squeamish, skip to the next paragraph.) The really weird thing is that, when I blow my nose, I see blood (just a tiny bit) in the tissue. It's not as if I've been blowing my nose a lot this week, since it didn't hit me the way a cold usually does, and it's not as if it's dry in The Noog, least of all today. I'll chalk it up to things being utterly different for me here and leave it at that.

It has been raining off and on since some time overnight. I could hear it on the roof. When I got up this morning (45 minutes later than usual), I didn't hear it on the roof, and it wasn't raining when I got outside, but I took my umbrella and decided to walk on the indoor track. It turns out I couldn't, since they had a basketball game last night and the bleachers covered half of the indoor track, and since the other half was blocked by pull-down chain gates like you see at stores in the mall. I wasn't about to sit on an exercise bike or tramp on a treadmill for half an hour or more without benefit of a book, so I decided to go back home. However, I did hear rain on the gym roof, so I opened my umbrella. Half a block away, the rain stopped. (The forecast must have called for "local showers".) It poured a little while later, and it's "misting" now, so I think I'll eat somewhere with soup for lunch.

The first place I thought of, the Acropolis, is on Death Row (the area of town next to the mall and all the "big box" stores), so I can't go there (at least not safely) until after everyone returns or exchanges all their Christmas gifts. The Epicurean is good (and, the website's glamorous self-declarations notwithstanding, it's actually a darn good diner, both in appearance and menu). However, it's chock full of post-church people on Sundays, which I learned once when I couldn't find a parking space within a block of the restaurant, so there's no way I'd even have a quiet table at which to read and sup at leisure. Incidentally, the New York Diner, despite it's name, isn't all that diner-like, but that could be a difference between the establishment's name and my South Jersey diner upbringing.

Why don't I cook for myself, especially since I whined about having less money to waste since I joined the weekly bowling league? Because I can't cook anything until I free up all my leftovers containers from back when I did cook once. I can't free up my leftovers containers until I get a microwave. I can't get a microwave because I'm stubborn. The first time Target (a good store with quality merchandise at reasonable prices) had a small, inexpensive microwave on sale, I got a raincheck for the out-of-stock item -- which never appeared on the shelves again. The second time they had a similar size and power microwave on sale, my store credit card was declined because the credit arm of the company "sucks big donkey dong" (to steal a phrase from one of my bowling teammates) and keeps charging me late fees because, after five months, they still won't update my address in their system, so by the time my monthly statement gets forwarded, it's too late to meet the payment deadline, and I'm not going to pay the fees because I have challenged them. I am not making this next part up: I finally received a letter from the company, stating they are crediting me $16 to "resolve" the problem. The letter is dated November 3 and postmarked November 5. The forwarding sticker (since they don't seem to have resolved the problem at all) isn't dated until December 7. I received the letter December 11. I'm about to give up and go to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store or one of the many thrift shops around The Noog and find myself a small microwave at a decent price -- and help out the needy to boot.

So what have I done with my morning since I couldn't walk? I logged on and started catching up on five months worth of blogs and other web pages (since the blogs link to such interesting things, doncha know?). I don't know what was on TV because the newspaper hadn't been delivered yet, so I didn't have a TV schedule, and my limited channel package (even with the accidentally free channels) doesn't have that obnoxious TV Guide Channel. I resolved to phone the paper and complain about the late delivery if it didn't show up by 10 a.m. (Even if everyone else sleeps in on a Sunday, it would be nice to have the paper sometime before noon.) The paper was delivered at 10:04 a.m. and, big surprise, there was nothing worth watching on the 26 channels I get.

Maybe five months of blog posts just makes it seem like everyone else writes more than I do, but it made me feel as if I haven't been witty enough for you. Not that this post is witty, either, but it fulfills my obligation of giving you something to do when you're just waking up or on break from work or waiting for the results of an experiment or something. Speaking of which...

I must not allow myself to whine about how freaking cold it was inside my apartment when I got home from work on Friday. (Honestly, when you can see your breath inside, you know there's a problem.) After reading Geosomin's post about her furnace going out, I will resign myself to an exorbitant electric bill this winter. I covered all my windows with plastic, but maybe I should have covered all the walls, too, for the microscopic R-value they seem to provide. When I lose all heat completely, and when the temperature drops below 0 degrees (in Fahrenheit!), I will be allowed to gripe.

Getting back to where I'm going to eat lunch, I sought out a restaurant yesterday called the Blue Coast Burrito at 1100 Market St. Except there is no 1100 Market St. There's a funky intersection of Market St., 11th St., and Georgia St. There are three buildings at that intersection: two with entrances and addresses on 11th St. and one with the address of 1020 Market St. That, however, was the door to The Pickle Barrel, which was a place I have intended to try, so I did. (Yay! I only got up to Plan B this time!)

The menu was salads and sandwiches, but they also had a boatload of microbrews and a dark, woody-and-bricky interior, so I don't know how you'd classify it: deli or pub. The floor was authentic brick (i.e. not level anywhere, so my chair kept tipping annoyingly). The table was a trestle-type, with a 6" or 8" wide plank along the ground to steady it, so after repeated attempts to stretch out my legs without encountering the plank, and with all the wobbling on my chair, I was ready to scream. And, I was ready for a beer. I tried the Old Rasputin stout, which was quite good, and which made my brain wobble without the assistance of an uneven floor. Seriously, before my sandwich arrived, I was pondering how much water I would need to drink, how much dessert to order, and how much walking around I would need to do before I could drive safely back home. This is my second experience with a Russian stout, with the same effects, but since I started both of them on an empty stomach, I can't isolate the variables (yes, I am geeky enough to use the scientific method in all aspects of my life) and determine if it's the potency of the brew or the lack of food in me that causes the alcohol to go straight to my brain.

I still don't know where I'm going to eat, though.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Maybe I can use the irony to press my trousers.

Our uniforms are exchanged on Tuesdays. We bring in our dirty clothing, and the delivery guy leaves us clean shirts and pants. Then we take them home and continue the cycle.

I made the unfortunate choice yesterday of trying to walk up the grassy hill next to our shop, my usual shortcut, rather than walking all the way around on the roads and parking lots. I slipped on the wet turf (it had rained all day), lost my balance, fell forward, and ended up bracing myself with my hands -- one of which held all my new shirts and pants on their hangers. And they couldn't fall flat on just one garment, no. They fell on their nicely creased edges, creating a muddy stripe down one side. (Although, on the bright side, that would create great symmetry if I were to remove the pants from their hanger, unfold them, and put them on, so there'd be a matching stripe on each leg.)

So, now I have to wash my freshly laundered uniforms. Go figure.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

They should've just named the business Merkins 'R' Us.

File this in both the "Truth is Stranger than Fiction" and the "I Am Not Making this Up" folders. In Dalton, Georgia, you can visit the Beaver Carpets store.

Oh, if you're even more naive or repressed than me, the title refers to this.

Faster than the speed of... Oh. Wait. No.

This is my first post from my home computer since I moved to Chattanooga in July. Now I can finally see what's on the Sticky Fingers barbecue restaurant website that the "net nanny" software at work won't let me view. (And, Robomarkov, I can finally read your blog again, but it might take me a while to read five months of your posts.)

My TV and internet were hooked up today. I don't want to tell you which company I finally selected, lest wrath from another company befall me. However, the title of this post should give you a clue to the way my service is provided. (See also 11/22/09, "Save a Bundle.")

I must finally accept that it is my fate to have no utility of any type be installed smoothly. Sure, the guy showed up on time, and, sure, my internet access and TV now work, but...

Should it take three people (each driving a separate van) in person and (at least) two on the phone to figuratively scratch their heads and not solve the problem?

I signed up for the extremely basic service: 12 channels, all local, plus WGN. They should, and do, show up on channels 2 through 13. However, no one could figure out why I was also receiving cable networks on channels 14 through 27. Moreover, the extra channels I receive do not correspond with the networks supposed to be on those channels according to my new provider.

So, where are they coming from?

I told the guy(s), "Hey, as long as I get the channels I'll be paying for...."

Monday, December 07, 2009

Bird Brains

Upon walking to my front door yesterday, I noticed several red feathers (I'll assume from a male cardinal) in the middle of the sidewalk, just at the edge of my front porch. There weren't many feathers (about a dozen), and there was no corpse there, so I don't think it was the result of a neighborhood cat. Maybe the bird decided to preen itself up on the gutter, conveniently centered on the walk, and got a little too enthusiastic with its grooming, but I don't know bird psychology.

The one that really freaks me out is the birds (species unidentified) that somehow cling to the bottom of my window frames and peck or pull at the screens. (They do not fly into the windows.) This happens only on the east side of my apartment, not the north nor south sides. And, since I moved in in July, not the spring, I figure they're not trying to build nests with whatever might be dangling there. It disturbs me to hear noises that I worry might be critters inside my apartment walls, and then I ponder how their little birdy feet could cling to the window frame and what on earth they want with the screen. I suppose, if I were really curious, I could borrow an extension ladder (the windows on that side of the apartment are on the second floor) from work, schlep it home, and look at the screens close up, but that's an awful lot of effort for someone like me. I'm more the type to wait and see if PBS airs a documentary on the subject sometime in my lifetime. (Incidentally, there was a documentary called Bird Brain of Britain which was interesting, and one of Jeff Corwin's episodes featured a crow that could open a digital combination safe by pecking at the lock.)

Saturday, December 05, 2009


It snowed this morning. Yes, I guess it does snow in the South.

At 5:50 a.m., flakes were tiny and barely sticking to cars. At 6:55 a.m., the flakes were big and fluffy and wet, and they stuck to trees and the grass. Roads and sidewalks were wet but clear and not icy. That's the kind of snow I like: the kind I don't have to shovel.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I really stepped in it this time.

During my workout this morning, I noticed a purplish stain on my sweatpants, about at the inside of my left ankle. I have no idea how it got there, especially since I had just laundered my gym clothes.

There's no corresponding stain on my inside right ankle, so I probably didn't accidentally squish something between my feet. I don't think it came from other clothes in the laundry because there were no purple, red, or blue ones. It shouldn't be from the detergent because I always let that dissolve in the water before adding the clothes. Could I have murdered Barney [Warning: click on the link at your own risk!] but forgotten to clean that one spot off my clothes, the trace evidence that police will use to connect me to the crime (if, indeed, slaughtering Barney is a crime)?

I would like to think that, if I were doing the world that tremendous a service, I would remember it.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Copyright: Donna Noble

I've had yet another brilliant idea, and I'm marking it down here so there's a date with it, in case anyone steals it and I have to prove it was my idea first. I have thought of the basis for a new Pinky and the Brain episode: the U.S. Civil War. Lots of Southernisms can be stuck in there, too.

"Pinky, I'm fixin' to have to hurt you."