Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Not a cloud in the sky...

The breeze was a bit stronger than expected, but we had great weather to remove a lot of dead wood out of two Willow Oaks (Quercus phellos) next to the lacrosse practice field. Those trees are old and big -- bigger than the one that fell earlier this week. It was quite a sight to see some of those dead limbs come crashing down and bouncing off the ground. (Even our hard hats wouldn't have saved us from them!) What a spectacle! What a wonderful spectacle! That makes me think of this...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Skippy phoned at almost 8 p.m. last night. He said a tree between two of the dorms fell down. First, I thought it was just a large branch, because the last time someone said a tree had fallen, it hadn't. Then I thought, because of the location, it didn't surprise me that a branch had fallen because that's one of the three, large trees I had recommended we take out because they are in severe decline. I was right, yet I was wrong. It was the correct tree I was thinking of, yes, but it was the entire tree that fell.

Miraculously, just about perfectly, the massive (except for people who have seen the redwoods and sequoias) tree missed every car parked under it, missed the dorm toward which it fell, and even (and best of all) missed the two boys who had been playing under it -- until they heard some cracking, which they thought was a squirrel in the branches.

Now I get to play Brainy Smurf (see also my 7/15/09 post "I Am Brainy Smurf") and tell Skippy, "Remember that list of trees that the Headmaster didn't give me approval to take down? Well, maybe now he'll listen to what a degreed horticulturist says."

It was a complete coincidence. I wasn't anywhere near the tree at the time. I was at home, watching Frasier. Honest.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

However, it does give me the right to call you an idiot while seeking out my employees to set up the field for the baseball game that you didn't bother telling anyone about until 15 minutes before it was (un)scheduled to start!

Take me out to the ball game.

On Friday night, I attended a Chattanooga Lookouts baseball game. (They're the AA minor league team for the L. A. Dodgers.) The first half of the game was utterly boring, with a vast number of foul balls, mostly over the third base line -- except for the one that went straight back, over the net, and right through.... the open window of one of the sky boxes -- so I spent a lot of time musing. For instance, I've never understood why foul balls aren't considered "hits". After all, the bat connected with the ball, didn't it?

The opponents for this game were the Montgomery Biscuits. Biscuits? Cheering for a Lookout (named after nearby Lookout Mountain) is bad enough, but could you ever admit to being a professional Biscuit? (I thought I was at a baseball game, not a biscuitball game.)

The team answered my first question even before I could ask my companions (Froggy and his "not wife"). Yes, the team has a mascot: Looie the Lookout (the one on the far left in the picture). He has a certain charm, but his expression never changes, and he's not very spontaneous (visible only when the announcer says he's doing something), so the Philly Phanatic is still my favorite mascot. Looie was joined in this game by Blooie, a very short (I couldn't see him when the little league team was with him), blue version of Looie. In his honor, the Lookouts are (according to the announcer) the only baseball team to have a three-and-a-half inning stretch, in which Blooie leads the crowd in singing half of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game").

After the game, we were treated to a pretty nifty display of fireworks, set off from two trailers pulled onto the warning track in the outfield. (That reminds me: I need to phone the grounds manager there and see what the falling cinders and ash did to his turf.) As they were getting set up, we listened to some music over the loudspeakers. I was kind of bopping along to one song when, all of a sudden, most of the crowd loudly sang, "Sweet Caroline -- bah, bah, bah". I never knew Neil Diamond could pull people together like that. Or maybe it's a post-game tradition there.

Prices at the concession stand were surprisingly reasonable. I paid just $2.50 for a generous portion of soft-serve ice cream (vanilla/chocolate mix) served in a little, plastic, Lookouts cap, like the Slider sundae at Ground Round. (I have quite an extensive collection of those caps.) Other foods were also comparatively inexpensive -- for ballpark concessions. Game tickets range from $4.00 to $8.00 (not counting senior or children's discounts), which is much better than the $10.00 I would have shelled out at the Chattanooga Locomotion game I skipped on Saturday (if they even had it) because of the day-long thunderstorm. However, if you want a souvenir, forget it. I thought of buying my friend Gimpy a Lookouts cap, since he already has an Albuquerque Isotopes cap, but I didn't want to spend $24.00. (Yikes!) He can probably find a better buy on E-bay.

The announcer said that it was a sold-out crowd of over 6,400 people. Funny, that, what with all the empty seats I saw. Of course, just because people buy season tickets doesn't mean they go to every game. They're so affordable ($4.00 for general admission is actually a dollar cheaper than I paid at the parking garage, and if I don't mind walking a bit, I could find on-street parking somewhere for free) that I might go back this season.

It was a fairly quiet game. Except for one time the crowd booed the Biscuits' pitcher for deliberately walking the Lookout player, they clapped respectfully for good plays and were utterly polite. Of course, I'm basing that comparison on my experience at Philadelphia Phillies games, and Philadelphia phans are among the rudest in the country.

Oh yeah. The Lookouts beat the Biscuits 6-1.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wally and Wile E.

It was a joke. Honest. But the St. Bernard took it seriously.

A couple of Canada geese have been hanging around our retention pond and our lake this spring, trying to nest. On this campus, as in many other places, they are considered pests. However, we can not harm them because, as a migratory species, they are protected by law. On the other hand, we can irritate the heck out of them without repercussion, so...

I saw this item in a catalog and passed it on to Skippy, figuring he'd get a laugh out of it. Not only did he think I was serious and pass it on to St. Bernard, and not only did St. Bernard order one to put in the retention pond, he also ordered this.

They arrived the other day. I've nicknamed them Wally and Wile E. I put Wile E. out for the first time this morning. (Let's see how long it takes before the first concerned phone call is made.) I figure I have to move him each day, so the geese don't get smart and realize he's fake. (Coming in on the weekends to move a fake coyote. Yay.) I'm still pondering how to keep Wally from washing to the shoreline because of the pond's aerator, but I'm leaning toward tethering him somehow to a plastic, 5-gallon bucket filled with rocks.

If you can read this, I'm not lost.

Every so often, someone closes one of the tunnels through Missionary Ridge. That makes it a lot more difficult for me to get home, as it happened last night.

The first time, I drove from the road I was on to the other road with a tunnel, just under two miles. The second time, I had an "Aha!" moment and took the interstate (which is between the two roads with tunnels) over the ridge. The third time, I had a vague idea of how Froggy drove some back roads to get back to campus, bypassing both tunnels and the interstate, and I managed to find my way home. (Thankfully, it was kind of light outside because I never would have managed it in the dark.) Last night, I found the back route again (and it was light again), so if you ever come to visit and the tunnels are closed, you needn't panic -- as long as it's not dark.

Also last night, I stopped by Walgreen's to pick up a couple of bottles of glucosamine chondroitin pills. (Actually, GNC has better deals when you consider retail prices, but Walgreen's -- and Rite Aid, CVS, and K-Mart for that matter -- has them on sale this week.)

It was shortly before I moved last summer that Gym Rat opined that tall people (such as me) might wear out their knees more quickly because of greater stress on the joints. (I presume that it has already been proven for obese people, but I don't want to bother looking that up right now.) For the past several months now, my knees have been bothering me. Plus, I can hear them when I do my lunges. (Note: a Google search for "lunges" brings up a whole bunch of results oriented toward women, but at least this video is done by a guy, so you can pretend I'm that buff.)

It can't be because of what Gym Rat said. (Could it?) He can't curse people. (Can he?)

It can't be because I'm getting old. Old is what happens after you turn 40, and I still have over a year before I get there. I'm still young, darn it! I can't be falling apart yet.

The third option, which is the one I prefer, is to blame all the darned hills in Chattanooga. Walking up and down campus all day (on the stairs or roads) must be what's wreaking havoc on my knees. Yeah, that's it. That's the ticket!

My dad tried glucosamine chondroitin, but it didn't work for him. However, the pills do work for my friend Gimpy, so if they don't work for me, either, at least there's a backup plan for using up the extras.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

If April showers bring May flowers...

Then what do July, August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March, and April showers bring?

Actually, this morning is only the first time in a couple of weeks that it has rained. I gave the Korean dogwood tree I planted last fall and my flower bed a bit of water before the weekend.

The rain (if we get more than a piddly little shower every two hours) should wash the pollen off of cars, sidewalks, tennis courts, etc. Note: do not ask me to blow off your tennis courts half an hour before the match, only for me to learn that there are no leaves or flower petals on the courts. Pollen can't possibly alter the course of play for your students; they're only seventh graders. (Razzlefrazzlesnarfin' coach.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Alimentary Alliteration

Yesterday, I ate leftovers for lunch. If I had saved them a few more hours, would I have eaten detritus for dinner? How about a born-again breakfast?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sofa, so good.

I received my new sectional for the living room yesterday. I sat on it a bit (to watch Are You Being Served? and Frasier), but there still was a lot of porch sitting for me to do, since the weather continues to be nice.

I haven't finalized the position of the sectional in my living room yet because I still have to return the borrowed sofa to the storage building next door. I'll grab one of my employees and do that today, so then I'll have all weekend to relax and enjoy my new comfy spot.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm glad I don't work for scale.

(Just to make sure I was using the term correctly, I looked up the definition of "working for scale".)

One of the high-level administrative assistants stopped by the lunch table where Froggy, Miss Kitty, and I sit. During the conversation, Miss Kitty asked how many students will be graduating. "Oh, a lot!" the admin. exclaimed, "170!"

I bit back a comment (and almost my tongue, too). That's less than half of the graduating class from my high school, and it's nowhere near the number of graduates back at NMSU, which had 1,100-1,200 in each of the morning and afternoon ceremonies.

I know it's all relative, but I'm going to get darned tired of holding back sarcastic comments whenever someone whines about how tough work is. Then again, think of how much more I'm earning per acre at a 100-acre campus vs. a 1,200 acre campus. :)

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Big Liar

Elmer Fudd has told me he's on a diet, which is why he sits in his office and eats a cup of ramen noodles for lunch, rather than joining the rest of us in the dining hall. Miss Kitty says, "He's always on a diet." I have to admit that I don't see any difference, but when you're that big, it might be harder to notice.

I was going around campus with St. Bernard (our client) yesterday afternoon, and he mentioned a conversation he had with Elmer "at dinner". "What do you mean 'at dinner'?" I asked.

It turns out that Elmer, since he has a late bus run to drive, sticks around campus and eats dinner in the cafeteria every evening. So much for the diet.

I told you not to play with your balls in the house!

The staff painter has been repairing and repainting a fascia in the gym. When he returned from lunch the other day, he found two fresh, baseball sized holes in it, caused by students taking batting practice.

Nope, in this ivory tower, the students don't have to use the indoor batting cage in the very same room, they don't have to use tennis balls instead of baseballs while they're indoors, nor are they ever supervised by a teacher or coach when they're using potentially harmful sports equipment.

Isn't it nice to have a rich mommy and daddy?

It was like this for James Joyce, too.

I checked out The Hobbit from the school library this week. I started it twice before, when I was young(er), but I'm bound and determined to finish it this time. I didn't finish Ulysses either. (I got a small thrill to check out a banned book from the library, but I gave up before I got to any "dirty" parts.)

Naturally, I now have "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" stuck in my head. Before you curse me for sticking it in yours, too, watch this music video of it. (Cutest Hobbits I've ever seen.)

Speaking of sticking it in you (ahem), I was pondering writing a parody or satire about Dildo Daggins and his sexual adventures. Or should that be called a "take-off"?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Dogwood Winter

It's supposed to rain again today. Actually, it was supposed to start after midnight. Okay, so it is after midnight now, but I kind of thought the forecaster meant "overnight", not "sometime during the day". Tomorrow, temperatures are supposed to be back in the 40's at night and 70's in the day, much more springlike than the 60's and 80's we had the past three days (two of which were near 90 and broke previous records).

Miss Kitty says this is called "Dogwood Winter", when there's a cold snap (sometimes back down to freezing) just after the dogwood trees bloom -- which happened this week. She says we should next expect "Blackberry Winter" and then "Strawberry Winter".

Um, okay, it just started pouring buckets, with thunder and lightning. So much for the inaccuracy of the forecasters.

In the Noog

As I shoveled dirt off a road yesterday, I had time to ponder. I thought about how I settled on "nougat" as the term for residents of The Noog. (I mean, aside from the fact that it's funny.)

An alternative, although it's more suitable for people who market visiting or living in The Noog (as I sometimes seem to), would be "noogist". Imagine this ad campaign.

Move to The Noog. We don't live in neighborhoods, developments, or areas of town. We live in "noogist colonies".

Pull my finger.

I kinda sorta injured myself yesterday, and it was dumb, and it could've been avoided.

You see, to enter the dining hall, you can walk straight through exterior doors on the south or west sides and into the dining room, through doors from the building's foyer on the north side and into the dining room, or through an open passageway down the hall on the north side and into the "servery". (This is the way used by most people and the way that would have prevented me from hurting myself, but I didn't think of that until 18 hours later.)

Usually, I enter through the foyer because it seems the most like the "real" entrance. I did so yesterday, but since I had just washed my hands, I didn't like the thought of touching door handles before getting my food. (Hence another reason why the open passage would have been a better choice.) So, I grabbed the handle with just one finger (the ring finger on my right hand) and pulled. "Ow," I said, as I felt a large twinge from my fingertip to my wrist.

My hand functioned suitably during bowling last night. (Oh, no, I couldn't have used my left hand. Could I?) My finger seems to work fine this morning, with full range of motion when curling and uncurling my fingers. However, I still can sense the injury.

I'm going to ask Skippy if I have to report it as an incident, and I might stop by the sports medicine room and get their opinion. As I said, I seem to have full range of motion, and I don't think there's anything broken or so severely pulled that I would need a splint, but it wouldn't hurt for someone to take a look.

At least it wasn't my middle finger. I can still use that.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

It's a clear case of contagious amnesia.

As I mentioned earlier ("Who Am I? Where Am I?" on 3/26/10), this is the year for the decennial census in the U.S.A.

To make sure that I was aware of it (in case I haven't filled one out in previous decades, or in case my news medium of choice didn't tell me, or in case I don't have a radio, TV, or newspaper and dropped out of school before any teacher could tell me about the census), this fine bureaucratic institution sent me a postcard announcing that they would send me a census form. Then they sent me the census form. Then they sent me a postcard announcing that they had sent me the census form.

Now they've sent me another census form. I'm thinking I should fill it out and lie big time. "Oops, you caught me! I'm actually running a brothel full of bisexual, oriental/black shemales raised by Puerto Rican foster parents." Oh yeah: and they have various disabilities.

Have I left anything out?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Gosh it's hot, George.

Wasn't I just complaining about how cold and wet winter was? It just goes to show that I sometimes have to eat my words. It hit 89 degrees here yesterday, according to one weather source, and we're supposed to reach it again today. No wonder my bulbs are drooping.

Monday, April 05, 2010

I guess I must be in the front row.

I went to the season opener for the Chattanooga Locomotion women's (American style) football team this weekend. They lost to the Atlanta Explosion, 65-0. (Ouch.)

Since I'm not big on football, I'm not about to cheer my head off. (And, judging by the score, that would have been a complete waste of a perfectly good head.) Still, it would have been nice if there had been more opportunities to applaud politely for good plays. In fact, when the fans applaud politely because the other team failed to complete a pass, with no Locomotion involvement whatsoever, you know they're reaching.

I thought of a couple of ways to improve the game. First, throw the damn ball. In just the first quarter, even I could tell that the only play the coach had was for the quarterback to hand off the ball to #24, who then would run straight into all the other players and make, at most, two or three yards on the play, if she was lucky. Second (and this will be more effective considering there's no passing game), teach the team members how to run. They were incredibly slow. I mean, they probably ran as slowly as I do. This probably explains why none of the Explosion's touchdowns was stopped.

Judging from a nearby conversation I overheard, one of the players only recently became a woman. (You remember that high school joke about being a lesbian trapped in a man's body? It's not a joke.) Even having a "man" on the field didn't seem to give the Locomotion any advantage.

I arrived a few minutes late, and the parking lot was surprisingly full. However, the stands were nearly empty. I figure that the players each drove themselves to the stadium, which makes sense, but then it seemed like each fan drove individually, too. It looked like as many cars as people.

Well, no, that couldn't be entirely possible, because there was a rotating assembly of children that were well below the age of reaching the pedals, let alone the legal driving age. How do I know this? Because they played right in front of me, at the bottom of the stands where I sat with a couple of people I know from bowling, and the only times the kids moved were to coincide with the teams moving down the field, so they still blocked my view. (Lord knows my parents didn't let me out of my seat when I was forced to attend football games because my brothers were in the band.) In the second quarter, for some reason, it was different kids playing in front of me than in the first quarter. I remarked to the bowling friends I was sitting with that they'd probably change every quarter. Darn it if I wasn't right!

The photos on the website don't really do justice to the difference between male and female football players. (Maybe it's because all they show is action shots, and I had ample opportunity to watch the idle players on the sideline.) The shoulder pads obscure the players' femaleness (as it were), but the tight pants definitely revealed hips that aren't seen on traditional football teams. Well, on the players that actually had noticeable hips.

I was actually a bit disappointed that there were no cheerleaders. What about gender equity? If there are women playing football, why are there no men inciting the capacity crowd to English football-like riots? (Yeah, in my dreams.) A couple of times, I had the briefest thought of standing up to lead the audience in a cheer, but that would have been a complete waste of a perfectly good head, after all. Still, there must be a couple of male fans who regularly show up and would be willing to shake their pom-poms.

I also missed having a band. I figure it's because the vast majority of my football experience came from playing trumpet in the marching band and being forced to attend every damn game, even the away ones that the players' parents didn't bother to show up for. I wonder if there are enough amateur (or even professional) musicians in the audience that would be interested in creating a pep band. No, I don't think I'm good enough to join; I was mediocre back when I did it regularly. Then again, if the team's going to lose 65-0, how good does the band really have to be?

Will I show up again for their next game on April 24? It depends if I have to wash my hair that night.