Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Friday, March 28, 2014

I Wasn't Born Yesterday

I tried a new (to me) barbecue place with a friend this evening.  It was okay, but the flavor didn't grab my taste buds.  The friend warned me that the sauce is sweet.  I agreed, but it went well with some of the meats.  (I had the sampler, and I brought leftovers home, so there still are three types to try.)  Some meat, however, should never be served with barbecue sauce:  ham, for example.  And people who put barbecue sauce on Polish sausage should be dragged out into the street and shot.  The one factor above all others that told me I won't bother returning there is this:  I never imagined that I could experience barbecued meat that was tender yet dry at the same time.

There was one amusing experience out of the whole visit.  The top of the receipt has "DOB" and a date printed above today's date, presumably to verify that any patrons who order alcohol have shown proof of legal age.  The funny thing is that, since all I drank was Dr. Pepper, my date of birth was shown as today.  (Do calories count on accidental birthdays?  Since this is a Friday, do I get free calories all weekend?)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sometimes, I Can't Help Myself!

Yesterday, I was speaking with Robomarkov and discussing a new opportunity he has at work.  I advised him that one can eat an elephant, if one takes a bite at a time.

"But can I eat elephant during Lent?" he asked.

"I don't remember if elephants were mentioned in the Bible," I replied.  "That's kind of a gray area."

Once I realized that the sounds he was making were laughter, I clued in to the pun that I inadvertently made.

(Aside to Betty:  This is an excellent example of how I qualified for the Fools' Guild.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Was the Champion Speller of my Elementary School

I was typing something yesterday when I paused to think about a common spelling rule.  It was taught to us as, "I before E, except after C, and when the sound is A, as in neighbor and weigh".

"Huh," I thought, "that's weird."

Monday, March 24, 2014

You Are What You Eat

On my way to the library a little while ago, I heard the ice cream van screaming The Entertainer over and over again.  (It's only 50 degrees F, and the north wind is blowing like all get out, but it's spring on the calendar, so why not sell ice cream alongside the road?)  Okay, it's a nice song, but why not add a little variety?  How about the Theme from The Pink Panther?  Or considering the obesity problem with children nowadays, maybe another Henry Mancini tune:  "Baby Elephant Walk"?

Since I'm already being snarky and talking about ice cream and fat people, I think it's time for me to inflict a bit of my poetry on the world.  I wrote this back in college (copyright 5/10/93, Cap'n Chlorophyll).

"Fat Girl"

Next to me in the movies,
Ice cream dripping from your double
Chin, the chair complaining about your
Obesity.  I want to switch seats, but,
Like the greasy popcorn you inhale,
Escape is impossible.

As you can guess, I didn't like this girl.  (If you look closely, the first letter in each line spells out her name.)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Advice for Advertisers

Even if you're describing the driver, don't use the phrase "comes through in the clutch" for a commercial about a pickup truck with an automatic transmission.

Friday, March 21, 2014


I got today off from work for spring break.  My car got refueled, washed, and a pair of new tires.  (I then drove to the bank and deposited a check that will let me pay the bill, when it arrives, for the credit card I used to pay for the gas and tires.)  Both of us got the relief of not being rear-ended when the doorknob behind us almost didn't stop in time when I slowed to a stop for the car waiting to make a left turn in front of me.  (I could see a hand with a ring on one side of the steering wheel, but where was the driver's other hand?)

The Third Time Wasn't Charming

You probably already decided it, but I now officially call it Techphobia Week.  We got a new copier/printer/fax machine in the office yesterday.  (Insert ominous chord here.)

Actually, we turned in our existing printer and fax machine (and then retrieved the fax machine, once we were told that the new device wasn't yet set up for faxing), and then we received the new device.  Next week is when the office staff will be trained on how to use them, after which, we presume, we will be given training.  In the meantime, we have to fumble with a control panel that looks like it belongs on a Space Shuttle.

Making it even more complicated, we now have to enter our employee ID number before we can copy or print anything.  Actually, that's not quite true.  I was able to enter my ID to print, but it didn't work to copy.  Why not?  Because The Powers That Be (the same ones who thought it would be amusing to give us the machine before providing any training) decided that they would add an extra digit onto my ID without telling me.  Our admin. assistant had to come to my rescue.

I had better post this entry before my computer joins the ranks of machines out to get me this week!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

As Long as I Don't Read a Book about Lemmings

I remarked to a friend the other day that I've always been influenced by what I read.  When I was young, I liked a series of children's mysteries about The Happy Hollisters.  Not only did they solve mysteries, but they went to a lot of interesting places to do so.  I wanted to visit those places, too.

I also remember Dennis the Menace comic books (the American version, not the English version) in which Dennis and his parents visited London, the Queen Mary, and the Winchester Mansion.  I've been to London (and, coincidentally, have 30-year old copies of The Beano saved for posterity) and the Queen Mary, but I haven't visited the Winchester Mansion yet.  My record for tracking the Hollisters is worse; I've only been to New Mexico and New York City, not Italy, Switzerland, Denmark...

Earlier this week, the protagonist in a mystery had poached eggs with corned beef hash for breakfast.  "That sounds tasty," I thought, "and I haven't had corned beef hash for a several years."  So, when I was at the grocery store this afternoon, I picked up a can.  We get the day off on Friday, for spring break, so I'll treat myself to a large, once-in-several-years breakfast.

It's funny, though, that TV commercials don't affect me.  Correction:  they don't influence me to buy any of the products they promote.  They do, however, turn me off to a number of products, simply because I find the commercials annoying.  (And I never can reach the mute button fast enough when political ads come on.)

I guess I'm swayed only by what I read, not by what I view.


My monthly mortgage payment and my tax returns will go out in tomorrow's mail.  I'm early!  I'm free!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Today, You Get a Twofer

Yesterday, I received an e-mail that my toaster oven had arrived.  I printed the e-mail, as instructed, and drove to the store, hoping that I could easily find the "Merchandise Pick-Up" location.  Conveniently enough, it had a separate entrance right next to the store entrance.  That was where my luck ended.

Inside, I passed my e-mail printout under a scanner, which promptly did not recognize the barcode.  I tried again, with the same fruitless result.  What's a technophobe to do?  I pushed the button to summon assistance.

The kid tried the barcode twice, with no better luck than I had.  Then he punched some secret sequence of numbers so that he'd be allowed to enter the order number.  No soap.  He asked me to enter my last name.  Not found.  He asked me to enter my address.  Not found.  "We've been having problems like this all day," he claimed then went to search the storage room.  When he returned, he pointed out the delivery address on the e-mail.  My item had been sent to a different store than the one where I placed the order!

Go back to car.  Drive back toward home then continue an almost equal distance the other direction.  Mutter curses and imprecations the whole way.

At the other store, I had to enter the store and find an assistant who said that I'd have to go back out to my car and drive to the exact opposite side of the building to find the Merchandise Pick-Up area.  Once there, the scanner did not read my barcode, either!  I tried again, as steam started rising from my ears.  I hit the cancel button, and that's when the machine claimed my item indeed was in the store and would be brought to me within five minutes.

By the time I got home, I had just enough time to e-mail a friend then shower before bed.  I had to save setting up my new toaster oven for this afternoon. (It appears to work fine, but dinner is only halfway done.)

So that's the first "technology hates me" rant.  Here's the second.

The Powers That Be decided that the managers all would receive new mobile phones.  (I haven't even been here a year yet, and they're already giving me a new phone.)  However, the admin. assistant was at a training this afternoon, but that's okay, because all we have to do is call the toll-free number to transfer service to our new phone.  Yeah, right.

First, how are you supposed to open the effing box?  It turns out that the little, orange dot on the side of the box (actually, a plastic, coffin-like capsule) indicates the end of the adhesive strip which holds the lid and base together.  After you scrape at it for five minutes, it will take pity on you and raise up, so you can pull and peel it away from the box – whose lid promptly separates and falls to the floor, under your desk.

Okay, now the phone is somehow held onto a plastic tray within the box (on top of the charging cord and earphones that I don't intend to use).  I don't even know what I did, but I managed to get the phone off the tray in under ten minutes.

First, charge the phone.  Second, find something to do in your office while the phone is charging.  Third, shut off the phone (which, according to someone's logic, is the first step listed on the instruction sheet).  Fourth, call the toll-free number for businesses, and follow whatever instructions are given.  Fifth, listen to all the voice mail options, continually choosing the "other" one because starting service isn't mentioned as any of the choices.

Hey, I got put through to a real human being!  Even better, she sounded as if she speaks English as a first language!

I gave her my name.  I told her the phone number.  I spelled my company name for her.  She told me to turn on the device.  Once the manufacturer's logo finally disappeared, I saw a screen changing from language to language.  When it finally got to English, it told me to touch the screen to continue.  Then I had to choose my country.  Then it asked for "Wi-Fi" or "iTunes" information.

I don't have the foggiest what that means, and I told the woman so.  "Well, what did you do when you got your last phone?" she asked.  "Nothing," I replied.  "It was handed to me already set up."

She suggested I phone my I.T. department.  (I don't know what that means, either, but I do know it's the computer people.)  Do you think I could find out how to put her on hold and use the second line of my office phone?  Of course not.  (I never got an instruction sheet for the phone, I guess since I'm not supposed to be sitting in my office anyway.)  Do you think that the coworker in the office next to mine was there so I could use his phone?  Of course not.  I had to borrow the mechanic's cell phone, consult the phone list... and learn that only the extensions are listed for you to call via the office phone, not the entire number that you'd have to dial from an outside phone.  Next attempt:  call the front office and have them transfer me.  "To the I.T. department here or the one at the administration building?"  Sheesh.

You probably have guessed already that I chose the wrong one.  After leaving me on hold (or hoping I'd hang up from frustration) for five minutes (and, yes, the cell phone woman was patiently waiting on the other line all this time), the tech. came back and said that the admin. assistant had all the information I needed.  You remember, the woman who's at training all afternoon and won't be back until the morning?

The cell. phone woman sounded genuinely concerned, since we were cut off in the middle of the process, but...  She said that the phone set-up could be done via the new phone, as long as the admin. has the right Wi-Fi information.  Then I should test to make sure that I can make and receive calls and that I can connect to the internet.  (Why should I be able to do that?  I can't even do that with my current phone, which is the same model as the new one.)  If any problems occur, we can call them back.  (Maybe she meant if any more problems occur.)  In the meantime, I might or might not be able to use my old phone to make/receive calls, send/receive texts, and send/receive e-mails.

Given my technophobia (and technology's misanthropy – at least toward me), you can believe me when I say that I wasted two and a half hours between starting the phone charging and having to abandon the process.

But, wait, there's more!

I prepped for the end of the day and realized that I forgot to bring the quarter I need for shopping cart rental at the grocery store, where I was going after work.  (No, they're not misers; I get the quarter back when I return the cart.)  So, I asked the mechanic (the only other person left in the building, as everyone else had clocked out and gone home already).  Did he have any quarters?  Of course not.  Were there any in his truck?  Of course not.  Were there any in his desk?  No, but he "borrowed" one from an employee's desk.

As I turned onto my street, I cursed myself aloud.  I had gotten onto my ant trail home and completely forgotten to drive to the grocery store!

Obviously, my brain is in no longer functioning properly, after an afternoon frustrated by technology.  Groceries will wait until tomorrow.  I locked my apartment door behind me, and God help anyone who wants me to go back out before I leave for work in the morning.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Beware the Day before the Ides of March!

Oy, what a day.  I avoid griping about work, but this is a dilly.

A teacher let my boss know that a lot of equipment and tools from a school shop were available.  Two employees went to the site and gathered everything they wanted together.  They took pictures, noted all equipment with property tags, and e-mailed the list and photos to my boss, who passed it on to the person offering the items.  My boss received a reply e-mail confirming that we were allowed to remove the items from the school and bring them back to our shop.

We spent the morning picking up the items and bringing them back to the shop.  We took a break for lunch then unloaded.  Right after this (I am not kidding), my boss called and said that we did not have approval to remove the items and that we had to return them to the school immediately, or the items would be reported as stolen.  We spent the rest of the afternoon -- and stayed late -- returning the items.

I have no idea who overrode the approval we received.  Most likely, it was someone with an office job.  After shlepping everything four times (loading, unloading, reloading, reunloading), all of us agree that, if someone says that we can have the items after all, we don't want them any more.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


What would be the opposite of a bleeding-heart liberal -- a tourniquet conservative?

People Who Need People

I heard on the radio news the other day that Pope Francis is so popular, there now is a weekly fan magazine about him.  That makes him sound more like a celebrity than the Pope.  Does he have a College of Cardinals or an entourage?  If you want to meet with him, do you need to have people to talk to his people?  That would make them Papal People, wouldn't it?  They'd better watch out for a One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying, Papal People-Eater.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Pinky Time

The first time I walked the outdoor path at the YMCA down the street, I wanted to think of an upbeat song to keep my pace from slowing down.  A Sousa march would be a good idea.  They're fast-paced, and I've always liked Sousa.  So help me, this was the first march that popped into my head.  Now I use it every time I walk laps.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

You Will Be Assimi... Recycled!

I'm not a Trekker, but I still was a bit unnerved when I saw the sign on the truck next to me at a stoplight today:  Borg Compressed Steel Corp.

This Is Why I'm Not Allowed Out in Public Very Often

The YMCA on the corner is the landmark to find my street.  I thought the sign today said "Tamales:  Pay Here".  I have a source for homemade tamales now (a dozen for ten bucks), but I just ate the last two for dinner last night, so I was eager to get more.  At second glance, the sign read "Families Play Here".  (I'd rather have the tamales, thanks.)

After many months (it started sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving) the upgrade of the traffic signal between my apartment and the library is nearing completion.  The crosswalk buttons and lights have been activated.  I am very glad – but was very surprised when I pushed the button and was told "Wait!" very loudly, sharply, and, if I may interpret, a bit impatiently by a male voice.  I suppose the volume is necessary to be heard over traffic (but then why isn't the bird chirp, signalling it's safe* to cross, as loud?), but the tone of voice is kind of like you'd hear when I really want to cross the road, Daddy, is it safe, Daddy, is it my turn yet, Daddy?  "Wait!"  (I guess that's what we have to do if we hope to see the sidewalks return.)

* "Safe" is a relative term.  If it were truly safe, those two cars wouldn't have nearly driven over me as I crossed the road.  (What did you expect, Cap'n?  This is Tulsa.)

Some children were emerging from a vehicle in the parking lot of the apartment complex across the road and down a bit from mine.  I thought one of them said "green beer", or maybe "reindeer".  I suppose, if you drank enough green beer, you might think you see reindeer.  (What about orange beer for us Protestants, eh?)

Monday, March 03, 2014

Sofa, So Good

Sometimes we work when schools are closed because the support offices are still open.  Today, though, everyone got to stay home.

Yesterday's weather began around 1 a.m. with freezing rain.  Most of the day alternated between sleet and snow.  When I ventured outside a little while ago, to clear off my car in anticipation of driving to work tomorrow, it appeared that we got a couple of inches of snow, but I can't tell if there's ice underneath or not.

Surprisingly, there was little snow and no ice on my car.  (No artistic photos this time, sorry.)  It helps that the sun has been out all day, and the temperature has climbed into the 20's (Fahrenheit).

I hope to spend the rest of the day on my sofa, reading some more.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Wipe Out!

A friend e-mailed me that he's going surfing with friends this weekend.  In the meantime, Tulsa has received freezing rain, snow, and sleet in the past 30 hours.  Not much accumulated, but it's treacherous enough that schools and school offices are closed tomorrow.  (The lucky b------ had better not e-mail me pictures of the beach!)

I now have 60's surf music stuck in my head.  I didn't want to inflict it on you, but I saw this video on YouTube and realized it's too "far out" not to share.  I always thought the song was strange enough, but check out this performance!