Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Friday, October 29, 2010

I didn't touch your daughter, sir. Honest!

This morning, I dreamt I was at the circus, somewhere in the Midwest, with Froggy. We were watching the circus parade, and I told him I had gone to the circus's website. There were tabs at the bottom of the site, for clowns, animal acts, jugglers, etc., and one that said, "Landscaping and General Services". "Wouldn't that be cool?" I asked Froggy. "Of course," I continued, "that probably means I'd be picking up 'fertilizer' for the rest of my life." Then a young woman I haven't seen since college skipped happily up to us and said, "Yesss! Jocelyn's rabbit died!" I asked why that was good news, and she was saying something about five years when my alarm clock woke me up. And, relevant to nothing, this was the background music to the dream.

Of course, this song would have been more appropriate for the setting -- not to mention my coworker. It's scary, but if you were to watch us interact, you'd agree that I'm Yakko, Froggy is Wakko, and Miss Kitty is Dot, with Skippy as Dr. Scratchansniff.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Much humor is based on truth.

I swear that I was only joking (or at least being anhydrously witty) yesterday.

Elmer Fudd suggested that a specific one of my employees would phone in sick this morning. I told him, "No. He already called in sick once last week. It's someone else's turn."

My voice mail light was blinking when I entered my office this morning. Sure enough, it was a different employee calling in sick.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Now let's write about television.

I just got done watching the latest Mystery! episode which I taped last night. (Okay. I confess. I watched the new episode of Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated and then turned on my computer to blog about Mystery!)

It's a new series about Sherlock Holmes -- and I do mean "new". It's set in current-day London, and Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is all about texting. Watson (played by Martin Freeman, whom I recognized from the Britcom Hardware) is fresh back from combat in Afghanistan (the more things change, the more they stay the same). Mrs. Hudson and Inspector Lestrade are there. (Both actors look slightly familiar, but I'm not going to bother looking up their past roles to see if I've actually seen them or not.) 221B Baker Street looks very similar to the Jeremy Brett version -- but which is not the actual location, which I visited on one of my family's British Isles trips. (It's an office building.) We also get introduced early on to Sherlock's brother Mycroft (and Watson apparently has a gay sister named Harriet) and the presence of Moriarty.

That's where my main problem is with this series. When the host of Mystery! (whose attitude strikes me as supercilious, so I dislike him) said that it is a current adaptation, I told my brain to set aside instant dislike of the show because it wasn't traditional. It turns out that I disliked the show exactly because it tried to stick in some of the traditional points, and they stuck out like a sore thumb from all the new stuff.

There were a couple laugh lines for me, and more than a few I noted were trying too hard to be laugh lines. Some points were made too obvious on camera, but I appreciated the subtitles used whenever text messages were received. I also recognized the writing style, and some of you might, too. Let me give you a few hints. 1) The lead character is extremely skinny. 2) The lead has a sidekick. 3) The lead likes to confuse said sidekick by speaking incredibly rapidly, so that the sidekick won't realize that the lead is spouting illogical garbage. (3b-and so rapidly that replaying the scene at a louder volume doesn't help me understand it any better) 4) The lead has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of almost everything (which, Holmes fans know, is most assuredly not accurate). 5) The lead shouts, "Brilliant!" 6) There are so many convoluted, contrived moments that it's disturbing. 7) The cinematography (can I call it that, if it's on TV?) enjoys showing bright lights against a dark background (but can't carry off true chiaroscuro) and long shots of a very tiny point of focus (but that might just be because I watch an "old" TV). 8) It surprises me that neither Betty nor Fred has blogged about Sherlock yet because they are familiar with the writer. (Then again, maybe they knew ages ago that he was going to write this, so they were warned off and didn't bother watching.)

Give up? Okay, other than Betty, who is raising her arm and shouting "Oo! Oo!" a la Horshack (and Fred, if he's reading this), give up?

The episode was written by Steven Moffat, former writer/producer of Doctor Who.

All right. I'll admit that I liked the hook: serial suicides. However, let's put in a #9 and say that Moffat doesn't know when to leave well enough alone. I coined the phrase (which isn't very popular, so you won't recognize it), "More isn't always better." Moffat keeps adding a pinch of this and a dash of that and.... Well, you know what he's calling it, and you know what the base ingredients are, but it sure doesn't have a very palatable taste.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Howzabout a change of medium?

Let's see. I've covered novels and TV shows, and it has been two days already since I posted a song, so it must be time to embed more songs. Yay! In the humor genre, I hope you enjoy these two by Da Vinci's Notebook.

I'm not responsible for the image used in this following video. (Obviously, the compiler of the former video was more creative and diverse.) Just switch back to your other tabs and continue working as you listen.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The No-Tell Motel

When I was young, my dad was kind enough to take my mom, brothers, and me along with him on his business trips to the United Kingdom several years in a row. The first time I remember (not counting the one when I was nine months old), we were thrilled to visit the Isle of Jersey -- not only because we were from New Jersey but also because we enjoyed watching the TV show Bergerac on PBS. (It was filmed on the island.)

We stayed at a very luxurious hotel called Longueville Manor. Each room was named after a different piece of literature. Either my parents' or my brothers' and my room was named "The Scarlet Pimpernel". I can't remember what the other room was called.

In another quote from Deception on His Mind by Elizabeth George, we read of a fictional hotel that also names its rooms.

"Treves paused outside the door of her room, its key dangling from his palm by an enormous ivory tag that was shaped like a roller coaster. Each of the keys, Barbara had noted when registering, was identified in similar fun-fair fashion: Other tags were shaped like everything from a dodge'm car to a miniature Ferris wheel, and the rooms they gave access to were named accordingly."

One ponders what the name is for the honeymoon suite. How about "Tunnel of Love"? (Now there's a keychain for you!)

I wonder if naming rooms is, like naming houses, strictly an English tradition. Maybe I've just never stayed at a fancy enough American hotel.

Beli___ on__ ha__ o_ wh__ yo_ re__.

Here's a quote from Murder at the Kennedy Center by Margaret Truman, which I found amusing.

"...Joan Baez quietly transported those old enough to remember the 1960's back to that quaint period."

Quaint? From what I've heard, the 60's were anything but quaint. You'd think that the author (authress?), being old enough, would remember that. (And, yes, she was the daughter of Harry S. Truman.)

In Deception on His Mind, Elizabeth George gives us, "But to Theo it was an avocation that he pursued with a dedication that most men used when pursuing pudenda."

Now there's a word you don't hear every day. Maybe it's because she's English. After all, how many Americans do you hear use the word "avocation" even once in a year? ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How do you catch a moonbeam in your hand?

As I went to bed last night, I noted that we are in just the right stage of full mooniness that moonlight shone through my blinds onto my bed (thankfully not atop my pillow, or else I wouldn't have been able to fall asleep). It is probably for that reason why I have this song stuck in my head this morning.

The simple answer, of course, is to hold out your hand, with your palm facing up. See, I answer the question as if I am catching something that's falling, not as if I am Elmer Fudd trying to trap "that wascawy wabbit". (You'd think a bunch of nuns could figure that one out.) Alas, there are streetlamps all the way from my apartment to the gym, and then from the gym to my office, so I couldn't test my hypothesis.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Welcome to Hot Dog on a Hot Dog. May I help you?

I don't know about the rest of the world, but The Noog seems to have a lot of restaurants where the entrees are food on top of food. Two restaurants I've been offer a (usually large) baked potato stuffed with barbecued meat. Two places serve a hamburger with barbecued meat on top of the beef patty. The restaurant where I ate lunch with Skippy on Friday (which is one of the double-sandwich eateries) also offers a chicken breast topped with barbecued meat, bacon, chiles, and cheese -- and you also get two sides (the best fried okra I've ever had) and a large roll. (You need to make sure you fit all of that on the roll, because when I asked for a knife to cut what I didn't fit on the roll, they had to search through the kitchen before finally giving me one of their sharp, we-need-to-cut-up-this-meat-before-we-cook-it knives.) I also shared Skippy's appetizer of lemon-pepper chicken wings. (I still think chicken wings are too much effort for not enough return, but this was the only time I've eaten lemon-pepper that didn't turn me off.)

Which I guess makes it just as well that my Friday night cheesesteak place was closed. It was a wasted trip, but I went back home and had two chocolate chip cookies (which I had managed not to eat after sneaking them out of the dining hall the day before) and a Dr. Pepper.

The next day, I had cake (three pieces). There was an informal bowling gathering between our league and some students from UTC. Since it was informal, we played nine-pin no-tap (which means if you knock down nine pins with your first ball, it counts as a strike, and you don't have to roll the second ball). In my second game, I scored a 286 (out of 300, for those of you unfamiliar with ten-pin bowling)! I actually rolled ten strikes or nines (I think six of the former and four of the latter, but I was too giddy to remember) in a row. Honest! I have witnesses! (Alas, I also have witnesses to me knocking down just eight pins with my eleventh ball and screwing up my perfect score.) My other two games were pretty good, close to 200. I ended up with a 669 series.

Why can't I bowl that well during our weekly league play, when it counts?

I need cake.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You know you take your job too seriously when...

I realized it this morning (I'll call it an epiphany this time, since I think it sounds happier than a revelation) when I pondered my reaction to an e-mail yesterday.

One of the on-campus teachers requested a repeat visit from the exterminator because ants are still in his house. (Where there's food? Where it's warm and dry? Imagine that!) He added that the exterminator told him last week that the ants are getting in because there are tree branches "touching" the house.

Noog Logic, of course, is in play here. Otherwise, why would an exterminator (one presumes he is trained in this sort of thing) not realize that ants are perfectly capable of crawling up buildings on their own? After all, there are no plants touching my mom's kitchen or family room, but ants still show up there. (Maybe Albuquerque ants are smarter?)

There might be a legitimate concern, though, depending on the size of the branches, where they are "touching" the structure, and how they are touching it. If it's a 3" diameter limb pushing against the gutter or rubbing shingles, it will need to be pruned to preserve building integrity. If, however, it's a few leaves brushing the siding, he can go to...

And that's when I realized that I had become indignant because, "What did that poor tree ever do to him?" When one starts to anthropomorphize one's work, one should realize that one might be taking one's job just a bit too seriously.

"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's pronounced "KEESH-kuh"

For some reason, I was in the mood to hear "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" last night, so I found one of my preferred Mummers groups online: the Polish American String Band. I was chatting with Robomarkov online at the same time, and I realized that he probably had never heard of Mummers, since he is a desert rat and not a cheesesteak-chewing, Phillies-are-going-to-take-the-Pennant-three-years-in-a-row person like Betty and me.

Most of you are woefully unaware of the Mummers, too, since the Rose Parade is televised nationally on New Year's Day, but the Mummers Parade isn't (except for those two, glorious years when Southwest Airlines funded WGN to carry it on American cable TV). Even though the Mummers are two centuries older than the Rose Parade, and even though the Mummers are more photographically spectacular (IMHO), the Rose Parade has the edge for a higher audience because (1) it's shorter (the Mummers Parade stretches from 12-15 hours) and (2) there's far less chance of rain on New Year's Day in Pasadena, CA than in Philadelphia, PA. (Ostrich feathers aren't quite as resplendent when wet.)

However, due to my generous nature, I will inflict on... I mean share with you the Mummers experience. Here's a video from the 2010 parade. (It looks dry; must've been a good year.)

If you liked that (or even if you didn't), you can see more videos at the Polish American String Band's website, such as "Out of this World" (I recognized Dalek and Klingon influences in the costumes) and "Ghouls Gone Wild". You can also purchase a CD with such hits as "Cotton Candy and a Toy Balloon", "Who Stole the Kiska? Polka" (the name of that song just tickles me to death), and, of course, "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers", the last song in this performance. (Note the footwear.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I washed my car on Saturday, too.

I forgot to mention it in yesterday's post Splish Splash.

Here's a song on the washing theme. (Hey, this is more fun than linking to stupid internet quizzes!) But, it's not the one you think. Nope, it's not that one, either.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The way I dream, I'm surprised it wasn't blue roses for a red lady.

Sunday was interesting. I attended my first-ever gay wedding. I'm not being political. It said "wedding" on the invitation, so that's what I'm calling it. The invitation also said "blue jean casual", but when have you ever known me to equate "casual" with "wedding"? I'm the guy who actually wore a tie to my friends' wedding in Las Vegas, remember? (The groom's brother consented to button his shirt during the ceremony.) Yesterday, I wore a short-sleeve sport shirt, black jeans, and black, dressy-casual shoes.

The ceremony took place in a pizza parlor in Cleveland (not Ohio). It was very relaxed. Some of the couple's friends sang two songs, and then the brides stood in front of everyone and recited vows they wrote themselves, and exchanged rings. That was it. Maybe I should reconsider using the word "ceremony". Neither bride carried a bouquet, and (thankfully) we didn't have to watch them take garters off each others legs to throw at us bachelors in the crowd. (If catching a garter means you're the next man to get married, what would it mean if you catch a lesbian's garter?)

And, man, was that the most... eclectic... group I've ever been a part of. People were dressed in all sorts of ways. One guest did wear a tie. Well, one male guest. A female guest wore a rainbow, bow tie. One was in a tie-dyed T-shirt. I think that was the daughter of one of the brides. The bride's son's hair was as long as the daughter's (which was longer than their mother's). The other bride's daughter was at the age of experimenting with makeup, and since this was for a big deal event, you can guess that she went overboard.

Yeah, they both had kids from previous marriages (which made the whole explanation of rings as symbolizing eternity kind of ironic). Even better: one of the brides used to be a man. (That joke about being a lesbian trapped in a man's body? It's no joke.) Ain't that a kick in the head? What do you call your dad after that? "Mom"? Actually her (his?) daughter called him (her?) by hi... Oh heck, he's a she now, so I'll go with "her". Her daughter calls her by her first name. I assume that the kids call the respective new moms by their first names, too. Move over My Two Dads; we now have My Three Moms!

That's probably what led to my dream this morning. I dreamt that I was a 6th or 7th grader going home from school. As I walked into the parking lot of the apartment complex (which didn't look anything like anywhere I have ever lived), I saw three women from my bowling league (who weren't at the wedding) dressed in blue spandex, kind of like a cross between roller derby queens and superheroines. (Their bodies in the dream were somewhere between superheroines and reality.) One was on a bicycle, one on a skateboard, and one on roller skates (or roller blades; I don't recall). They all fell down at the same time. We headed inside to our apartments, which were all on the second floor, but we headed up to the third floor, sidestepping the landlady, who was cleaning the carpeting on the stairs. I walked into the apartment of our administrative assistant and her husband (the staff plumber) for a craft lesson. When she handed me her latest project, which had small, clear crystals glued to it, her husband bumped my arm, and most of the crystals fell off. I knelt on the dirty rug to try and pick out the crystals, but they kept disappearing into the pile. I said I might as well leave, and she said, "If you leave early, I'm going to mark you down for two o'clock." Her husband offered to help me look for crystals. "Look, there's one stuck to the phone." It was smeared with white paint, and it was taped to the phone, but it gave him an idea of what to look for.

Alas, I shall never know if we found all the crystals or not because the alarm clock went off then. Now stuck in my head is not a song but the following refrain.

Life’s a bed of roses,
Life’s a bed of roses,
Life’s a bed of roses,
The color of the sky.

It is vaguely to the tune of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow", but dirge-like and with a flattened melody line, so not nearly as sprightly as you'd expect.

Since we're (at least I am) on the subject of roses, here are some red ones for you.

Sorry about that, but at least you have a choice of three songs to get stuck in your head now.

Splish Splash

I painted my closets this weekend. (At the rate I'm going, I should finish my apartment some time next year.) It's so nice to have my floors back (had to store the stuff from the shelves somewhere) and my bedroom in some semblance of normalcy. For some reason, things fit more neatly on the shelves now than before. (It's probably just a temporary conquering of entropy.)

I also recaulked around the bathtub. The old caulk was peeling off (in some places; in others, I really had to dig it out), and whoever put it in had done a terrible job (it wasn't smooth, like on TV, where it's done by professionals with years of experience and the help of videotape editing). I took one tip I remember from years ago on This Old House (which I haven't watched since they got their third host): when you caulk your tub, take a bath.

The principle is that the weight of the water and a body in the tub pull the tub down, away from the walls. So, if the tub was empty when you caulked and then it gets filled, the caulk will stretch and break as the tub sinks. But, if the tub is already weighed down... well, I guess it's okay for caulk to compress but not stretch. Plus, I ran my finger along the seam, which both pushed caulk a little deeper into the groove and smoothed it out. All right, it's not perfect, but I can go back and cut off the little extra with my trusty razor blade.

Question: if your razor blade gets gunky, what do you use to scrape it clean?

Anyhoo, I did that, and then I took a bath, which I haven't done for years. Wait. That didn't sound right. I mean I shower. Honest.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Free, to a Good Host

Yesterday, the campus offered free flu shots to students, faculty, and staff (and contractor staff). I've never bothered getting a flu shot before, since I'm young (fairly) and healthy, but since it was free... (How do you think I wound up with so many T-shirts?)

One of the nurses from the infirmary gave me my shot. (Some guy I don't know was also doing the shooting.) Everyone got to choose between a Spongebob Squarepants or a Spider-Man bandage. No question: it's Spidey for me, ever since he was on the original The Electric Company.

"Are you allergic to eggs or latex?" she asked.

What kind of kinky s--- am I getting into? I mean, I might be okay with that with the right person, but I barely know her!

Well, that's what it would sound like out of context. Naturally, I had already read the double-sided information sheet about the flu vaccine, and I've donated blood enough times to have used up a box of rubber gloves myself, so I knew why she asked.

Another thing about donating blood is that the needle used in that process is a lot larger in diameter, and it stays in your arm for much longer. I nearly asked the nurse, "Have you stuck me yet?" but I think I felt a little prick. (Oops! I probably shouldn't say that at a boys' school.) When she put it in the sharps container, I saw that it was bent almost at a 90 degree angle. Did she catch the needle on the edge of the container and bend it, or is my upper arm so muscular and tough that she should've used a stronger needle?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I forget what I wanted to title this post.

I called last night my Stupid Night. I guess I should've interpreted thinking of the wrong time for the bus on Saturday as a portent of what was to come.

Because of Saturday, I left my shopping bag and list of the items I wanted from GNC on my bowling bag. (There's a store near the bowling alley, in addition to the one at The Maul.) I left my credit card and gold, GNC discount card on my bowling bag. I left the check for my bowling fees on my bowling bag. I grabbed all of this stuff when I left the apartment yesterday.

I forgot my car keys.

I went back into my apartment, disabled the burglar alarm I had just set, grabbed my car keys, reset the alarm, and locked the door. Okay, I was ready to go. I drove to the bowling alley and parked. I grabbed my bag and credit card and gold card and shopping list and walked to GNC. I found and purchased everything on my list (and got a complimentary copy of some magazine). I walked back to the car and opened the back to stow my items.

I had forgotten my bowling ball and shoes. I had grabbed everything on top of my bowling bag but didn't pick up the bag itself.

It was far too late to return home, so I used a lane ball (one pound lighter than my own) and shoes (which I flopped around in like clown shoes, since I have narrow feet but everyone who had worn those shoes before had stretched them beyond belief). I bowled poorly, only one game near (thankfully over) my average -- but I broke 100 each game!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I think I'll make it a monthly tradition.

I've decided to stop fighting the inevitable and make the occasional post about food. I can't stop thinking about it, so why not share my misery?

For example, on Monday, I had a craving for raisin bran (and I dislike raisins (well, maybe not these Raisins) - but it might be due to the time of year, since my annual consumption of raisins was always after some do-gooder would slip them into my bag at Halloween). Yesterday, I wanted Entenmann's raspberry danish. This morning, I thought I smelled bacon or ham at the indoor track, and that made me think of sausage, and that made me think of scrapple (I prefer the term "everything but the oink" over "mush"; it sounds more appetizing), and all that thinking about breakfast meats made me hungry. (Interestingly, these three cravings all occurred while I was walking laps.)

Yesterday afternoon, I went for my haircut. Afterward, I ate at Sugar's Ribs, conveniently located on the drive home. When you come visit me, we'll have to eat there. First off, there's a great view. Second, out of all the barbecue places in The Noog, I have yet to find another that serves barbecued lamb. Third, I need someone to help me with the roasted jalapenos (three in a serving). I keep doing this to myself: forgetting that fresh jalapenos are a lot hotter than the canned ones. After the first bite, I realized that I could no longer taste the barbecue sauce (they have six from which to choose, including "Hot Lips" and "Sweet and Goopy"), nor even the lamb. After about five minutes, I was wondering if I was about to have my first-ever experience with indigestion or if I had merely ingested too much carbonation from my Dr. Pepper. (It turned out to be the latter, thankfully, although I think I still felt the peppers exiting my stomach and entering my upper small intestine as I lay down for bed. If you hear a scream, you'll know I could feel them leaving my body, too.) I could still taste the salt on my potato chips, though, and the jalapenos had pretzel salt on them, and that made them absolutely nummy - until the flavor (an unofficial slogan for New Mexico is "where pain is a flavor") kicked in.

"I think that plants are far more interesting than people."

Wow - a second part of the visit to my old stomping grounds! (Thanks to Jorge Cham of PhD.)

PHD Tales from the Road - New Mexico State U. Part 2 from PHD Comics on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Brief Visit to the Total Perspective Vortex

I almost whined the other day about how our temperatures dropped 20 degrees last week (and another 10 degrees this week). Then I remembered the Canadian and the Minnesotan I met in college, who wore shorts year-round because the winters were so "warm" in Las Cruces.

Then I thought of how cold it is in outer space and how hot it is in the middle of the sun (not to mention hotter stars). If you think it's cold now, try getting down to 0 degrees Kelvin.

That's a vast range of temperature in the universe. Our planet's atmosphere, combined with the distance from the sun, helps keep us in a relatively balmy, 200 degree range (approximately). If you're cold, put on a sweater. If you're still cold, go outside for a while -- like, outside the solar system.

What, now you want oxygen, too?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Late Night with Captain Chlorophyll

I forgot to mention that I didn't leave work after the bonfire on Thursday until 10 p.m. I still had to wake up at my usual time to work out and work the next morning.

Friday night, because of poor planning (on someone else's part) and the whim of an administrator, everyone on my crew had to return to work at 11 p.m. (I spent the time between cheesesteak and rework buying groceries and more painters' tape.) I still had to wake up at my usual time to work out the next morning. Why? Because I spent Saturday painting.

I finished the bathroom, painted the hall, and (thanks to a stupid mistake that left me with a lot more free time than I expected) painted the bedroom. On Sunday, I touched up the spots that still showed white through my Softer Tan, and I took down all the tape and newspaper I had put up to define my lines and protect other surfaces.

I think it looks great. There were just two spots (that I noticed) where paint accidentally got, and the lines are very clean. In this case, an ounce of prevention definitely is worth a pound of cure. I did miss one spot to touch up, but I can do that later this week (or next weekend) when I paint the closets. Then it's on to the kitchen!

By the way, I did get to sleep on time Saturday and Sunday nights. :)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Bonfire of the... Oh, the Vanity!

Last night was the school's annual Reunion Week (note: they're too good to call it Homecoming, like everyone else) bonfire. We typically mount an effigy of a rival's football player on a metal stand and pile wooden pallets under it. This year, there was a slight change.

The local paper interviewed students for an article about the rivalry. One student thought he would be clever or funny or cute or something and said, "We're going to run them off the road." Well, that sounds vaguely threatening but innocuous enough to you and me. However, I was told that, about this time last year, a female student (I inferred from the rival school) died in a car wreck after running off the road. Now two boys have been suspended, an apology has been issued to the parents of the dead girl, and the effigy (whom I have named Charlie) could not be displayed.

We did burn him, however. We took him off the stand (naturally, the administration didn't tell us of the change until after he was mounted and we had piled 1/3 of the pallets beneath him), took the stand away, then repiled the pallets, with poor Charlie in the middle of the pile. (One of my guys said 170 pallets, but he might have been rounding up. I counted 164.) Apparently, the absence of a dummy was supposed to be punishment for the students.

Other than that, things went off without a hitch, and all that's left is today's clean-up.