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English 101 – When Did We Forget??

July 15, 2009

I like to write, and I’m a fan of reading.

Unfortunately, I feel like I’m in a world where the printed word is becoming extinct.

I take it back, a world where “properly printed word” is becoming extinct.  This is especially true for the English language.

Allow me to give you a little background on why I feel this way.  My paternal family is composed mainly of educators:

  • Grandma was a high school principal.
  • Oldest aunt is an English teacher.
  • Oldest uncle is a college professor at Syracuse University.
  • Grandma’s sisters were teachers.
  • Dad earned 2 degrees.

I’m like the redheaded stepchild cause getting me to finish school was like pulling teeth.  Being the redheaded stepchild in a black family is a bad thing……

But I like to laugh at myself.

Anyway, one thing that I did grow up with is a love of the spoken and printed word.  I’ve always loved reading and I’ve always loved writing, be it in printed or typed form.

This has unfortunately also created a severe abhorrence to PEOPLE WHO CAN’T WRITE.  Now, I’m not perfect folks, I make mistakes too, but there are certain basic rules that evidently are not taught in today’s schools.  This troubles me greatly because I see it more and more on in the workplace and in secondary school environments.

I was laughing at myself the other day cause my cell phone bill is so high…..why?  I’m a texting junkie.  I love this new-fangled technology; but I refuse to use all of the text jargon that comes with it.  It belittles the English language.  hence, when I text someone, it’s usually pretty long.

Now don’t get me wrong folks, I like to use slang too….but there’s a time and a place for it.  I’ve noticed that I’m getting less and less tolerant of common unchecked mistakes as I get older.  On any given day I’ll nominate myself as “the grammatical and punctuation police” and go on a tear about it.

For you folks that need a quick tutorial….here’s a list of my major gripes:

  • Learn the difference between your and you’re; their, they’re and there; and its and it’s.  If you don’t know these rules, please look them up.  If there’s one thing that gets on my nerves, its someone that says “YOUR WELCOME”.  Did you know it’s a shortened version of “you are welcome”?  If you didn’t know this then go back to high school.
  • Another one that gets on my nerves almost as much as the first bullet is when someone doesn’t know how to end a sentence and they let it just run on and on without any type of punctuation or break because it means that they’re (note the use of the word) not taking their time and they just want to complete their thought in one sentence.  Whew!!
  • Over punctuating does not make you look smarter.  I see someone try to slip in an “apostrophe s” at least once per week.  Don’t know what an “apostrophe s” is?  Go back to school.  My boss does this all the time.  I nail him about it mercilessly.  It’ll probably get me fired one day.
  • If you don’t know the meaning of a word, look it up before you use it.  Why is this so difficult?
  • Just because you have spell-check on your (note my use of the word) word processing program, you are not excused from not knowing how to spell.  Look it in up in the dictionary.  Remember those?  It’s that big book that folks used to use to look up spellings and definitions.  They went out of style in 1989 and are now difficult to find.
  • Just because I know what TY, UR and LOL stand for, it does not mean you’re (note my use of the word) going to get me to use them consistently.  This is especially true if I’m sending you a formal e-mail.
  • Don’t change the “person” in mid-thought.  If you’re going to start with “I or me” then you have to do the entire thing that way.  Changing from first person to 3rd person (and vice versa) is like a big fashion “faux pas” in the literary world.  My English teacher would hurl rocks at you for this.  Hard.
  • If you’re going to use slang then be blatant about it.  Otherwise I’ll make fun of you.

Okay, I quit.  It just occurred to me that I could be here all afternoon griping about the deterioration of the English language; and I don’t have time to list all of the maladies that plague today’s young adults when it comes to writing skills.

This is meant to be funny; but take pride in the way you write.  If we don’t; then the generations that come behind us will get worse and worse.  Pick up a pen….keep a journal.  Learn to love writing again….and for heaven’s sake, learn to do it right.  Your kids (and other folks’ kids) will thank you.

Protein Shake From Hell

July 8, 2009

This is another one from a few years back.  It was originally in my old blog, but when I read it, it still made me laugh. Enjoy!

It’s 2006 folks.  You can wear a phone in your ear.  You can listen to over 1000 different songs from a tiny device that fits in the palm of your hand.  There are all kinds of innovative and technological advances in this day and age.

So why do sports drinks that you mix with milk still taste like crap?

Is it that difficult to make something that doesn’t have the consistency of tar?

I’m a veteran of all this healthy-trend bullshit.  As a matter of fact, my first post-high school sport was bodybuilding.  Even when I was in the tender teenage years, I would get up at 4:30 in the morning, meet my best friend at the gym at 5, work out for 2 hours, and go outside to drink the worst looking, and tasting, coagulated milky substance known to man.

But it was a protein shake, and we were gullible….and protein shakes were cool.  They made you feel like a bodybuilder.  Who knew that feeling was equivalent to puking?  We usually spent the ride to school fighting the urge for our digestive systems to reverse gears.

Eventually, I wised up.  I mean, my mother is a dietitian by profession (well, was a dietitian, she retired at the beginning of this year).  Eat right, and no need for the protein shakes.  Besides, if you read into the subject of sports shakes, most of it really is hyped-up placebo.  Besides, the deeper I got into the “sport” of bodybuilding, the more drugs I saw.  Well, I didn’t want to get into a drug-influenced sport, so I did an about face.  Haven’t touched protein shake stuff since.

Now I’ve learned a lot in the 19 years I’ve spent keeping myself in shape.  I’m pretty good at doing the things that work best for me.  The other day, some aerobics instructor from the YMCA gives me about 5 protein shake packets “out of the kindness of her heart”…evidently she gets them for free as a perk from the gym.  Little did I know that this is part of a grand scheme to get rid of the things is the most sanitary manner.  See, they’re evidently not bio-degradable…so landfills won’t work.

Now I’m a forgiving person,  although it took my digestive system about 5 years to recover from abuse the first time around, I’m willing to give it another shot.  I’m between karate tournaments and I’m working out to put on a little more muscle and get stronger.  Hey, and extra helping of “new millennium protein elixir” couldn’t hurt, could it?  The advances in technology should’ve done wonders to the  taste and consistency of the ‘mix it yourself’ protein shake world.  It’s an exciting time people!!

In a rush to get to work this morning (as usual) I grabbed a packet and bought myself a pint of milk.  Great – meal replacement in a time of need.  See people, I actually have a smoothie maker at my house .  One day I will learn how to use it; but 8:07 AM when I’m running out the door because I should’ve left at 8 is not the time to do it.

But I figured this was a small and negotiable detail.  Hey, it’s 2006.  Things have changed since 1988, dontchathink?

Got to work and proceeded to mix my “chocolate cream” protein shake with my milk.  Sounds delicious, don’t it?  Chocolate cream….I mean it sounds like a flavor of ice cream, cake or candy….just makes your mouth water……

Well, step one was to drink some of the milk and pour the packet into the bottle.  Unfortunately, these packets do not come with the warning that the powder will come out in boulder-like clumps with the speed of a glacial avalanche.

This resulted in chocolate powder all over my desk.  Wonderful.

After I swept off my desk, I resumed step one….and achieved the same results again.

Okay, this ain’t working”, I thought to myself, so in my brilliance, I decided to drink some more of the now “milk-ish” (is that even a word??) chocolate shake to give myself more room to pour in the remainder of the mix.

So I shook it.

When I popped the cap back off the milk, I realized that there had been no change.  When you shake something that’s SUPPOSED to dissolve, you get some type of results, right?  Well, the milk was trapped beneath the powder.  So I shook again….hard…..really hard.  I almost threw out a shoulder, but I got results.

Popped the cap off again and drank some…..

…and swallowed a wet chocolate turd that had the consistency of chalk on the way down.

My body immediately wretched when I did this, and in self defense against choking on this boulder stuck in my throat, I coughed.  When I did so, I emitted a puff of chocolate smoke, which covered my keyboard and monitor….

Most folks would’ve given up at this point, but your hero is hard-headed.

I actually got the rest of this stuff into the bottle of milk.  Completely oblivious to what had just happened to me.  Evidently there was a part of me that thought it would get better.  Well I shook and shook until I got something that resembled a milkshake…..at last!  This is gonna really hit the spot.

When I opened the bottle, I first saw that there was still a ½ inch of chocolate powder lodged in the neck.  So, I went to the kitchen and got myself a glass to pour in my mid-morning meal.  When I turned the bottle over, I actually had to shake it to get it out….and it really wasn’t pretty.  All the consistency of cake mix….without the taste.

So I got a spoon to stir out the remaining clumps.

The spoon ACTUALLY STOOD UP IN THE BOTTLE.

At long last I began to admit to myself that there have been no innovative changes the do-it-yourself protein shake world.  Conceding defeat, I attempted to drink my witches brew.

…and was forced to chew it.

I’m not even going to tell you what swallowing was like…..let’s just say that after 7 hours I don’t think it’s made it to my stomach yet.  I only got through 5 spoonfulls, because the thought of getting a mouth full of this stuff put the fear of God in me.

So I have once again jumped off the protein shake bandwagon.  My second ride was a short one, and I have since determined that the aerobics instructor was actually trying to kill me so that my karate classes do not compete with her.

If you have any enemies, please let me know.  I will gladly ship the remaining packets to them.  They may get stuck in the mail though, as a terrorist-used substance.

The Front Door Incident

July 5, 2009

I have long been a subscriber to the philosophy of testosterone being a major factor in my own recurrent stupidity.

As a guy, I have accepted this fact and I try to steel myself against my perpetual “stupid” episodes, that are usually the result of too much machismo, not to mention my inability to ask for help or recognize when I’m out of my league.

Pride is an evil thing.

Case in point – as a homeowner when I live back in Baton Rouge.  I was home on one of those rare occasions to do some housework.  Specifically, I was doing some carpentry work.

Now carpentry work is something that all men profess to know how to do, but few actually have the know-how.  I am one of those that does NOT have the know-how…..

….but who am I to let that stop me?

So I get back to my house at about 8:45 that morning, all ready and determined to replace the front door of my home.  See, I recently had my house completely repainted, and the old wooden door that I had there needed replacing.

One must coordinate color, y’know.  That’s my mother speaking through me.

I had actually already purchased a front door, and it had been living inside my house, staring at me every time I walked in.  The door actually spoke to me and called me a lazy bum because it had been sitting there for about 2 weeks and I hadn’t touched it.  Finally, I got sick of the self-imposed guilt trip and decided to do battle with the door in order to close that chapter of my life.

Now when you look at the logistics that concern replacing a door and frame, at first glance it does not appear difficult.

Pop put the old door and frame.  Pop in the new one.  How hard could that be?

It’s a recipe for a disaster of monumental proportions.

There is a logical reason for this, y’know.  I honestly think that this is a ploy by the carpentry industry to force us to utilize their services.  You see, removing the old door and frame is a relatively easy task.  It makes one overconfident.  It feeds the male ego.  You pull out the old door.  You remove the frame.  You drink a beer.  You beat on your chest in victory like a gorilla.

Then you start working on the replacement.

You see, carpentry is an exact science.  I am right brained, so I tend to fudge on details.  Fudging on details in carpentry is like being a race car driver and not worrying about how tight your lug nuts are.

Here’s a record of the events and how they were resolved.  Feel free to use this as a reference tool should you decide to undertake this same task alone:

Problem: frame is not an exact fit.

Solution:

(1). Drink a beer.

(2).  Try to force the frame in at different angles.

(3).  Consider hack sawing the frame.

(4).  Drink a beer.

(5).  Try wedging the frame in with a mallet and a chisel.

(6).  When 5 fails miserably, attempt to force-fit the frame by nailing it in from the outside of the house.

Problem:  There is a stud blocking the proper closure of the door.

Solution:

(1). Drink a beer.

(2).  Since the frame is already in place, try to beat the stud loose using the now properly-termed “mallet method”.

(3)  When the mallet method rips the newly-purchased frame to shreds, drink another beer.

(4).  Find the wood glue and attempt to piece the frame back together.

(5).  Convince yourself that it doesn’t look that bad.  This will require another beer.

(6).  Find a hacksaw, a garden saw and a jigsaw.  Attempt to “conform” the stud to accommodate the door.  After you’ve burnt up the jigsaw by asking too much of it, get out a hand axe and finish the job.

Problem:  You realize that the door is opening the wrong way and that the door your purchased is opposite of the way it should be installed.

Solution:

(1).  Drink 2 beers to think hard on this one.

(2).  Convince yourself that it can still work.

(3).  Since you’re doing this alone, piece together a stand to level the door with the entrance to the house.  Your imagination should be working pretty well after all the beer.  I used 3 old phone books and a beat-up foot stool.  The cat wouldn’t stand still and his back ain’t that strong.

(4).  Since the door won’t open and shut the way you want it to, put the hinges on the OUTSIDE so that you can finally shut the door and go get more beer.  Sure, no potential burglar will notice that.

(5).  Drop the door 4 times while putting it up……you must strip the screws repeatedly to move on to step 6.

(6).  Curse a lot.  You will scare the neighbors (I did).

(7).  When you finally get the door up on the 5th attempt……call your mother because you’re actually proud of it.

(8) Get soundly laughed at by your own mother because of your totally obvious lack of carpentry skills.

(9). Hang your head in shame.

(10).  Drink a beer.

Problem:  Your front door now looks like one of the gates of hell.

(1).  Call a carpenter to fix everything you screwed up.

(2).  Swallow your pride and pay up cause you deserve to pay all the extra money that this is costing you.

(3).  Drink a beer.

I am available for home improvement seminars.  I hope these instructions are accurate enough to get you the same outstanding results.  The beer will add to the total cost of installation.

Grooming Problems

July 5, 2009

This is another old one folks.  This actually happened to me back around July of 2004.  Like “tales from the (internet) crypt”, it’s not exaggerated…..but it’s funny.   I haven’t attempted this again since it happened.

I tell this story at great risk of personal embarrassment.

At the same time, it also gives me a small opportunity to stretch my legs as a story teller. I’m finding that I’m getting better at building a brief storyline that keeps folks interested. Since most of my stories involve personal experience, I can spend time laughing at myself and reliving some of the stupid things I’ve done over the years.

This is one of those stupid things.

Hide the kids, by the way, because this one is PG-13 at best.

Anyway, on with the show….

It’s common knowledge with my local friends that I have undertaken the shaved look when it comes to hairstyles. This is much lamented by my mother, who insists I would look better with a little hair on my head. My last girlfriend though was a huge fan of Vin Diesel, so (despite my height) I decided to shave my head on a more consistent basis to give off a similar silhouette.

I’m vain that way….

Besides, cutting your own hair is inexpensive, and I’m a cheapskate. I like low-maintenance hairstyles, and since I’m black, letting it grow out means I’ve got an afro in months.

I don’t do Afros.

So this past Saturday morning was hair cutting day. Despite the fact that it looks easy, this is actually a long process if you’re doing it yourself. The proper tools include not only a razor, but also electric of hair clippers. Since this is normally a solo venture, I’m looking at about 20 minutes of cutting and shaving in various contorted positions to make sure I get everything, but it looks good on me when I’m done. This particular Saturday was no different. I had just finished and was admiring my work. I had no shirt on and was quite proud of the results.

Now before I go on, let me reiterate as I’ve said before that men are naturally stupid creatures. Sure some of us possess some degree of intelligence, but most of life’s lessons were learnt by doing something dumb. We’re all still about 15 years old and a lot of things are still learned on a trial by error basis. Fortunately, we have you women around to keep us from killing ourselves. Since I am presently without the luxury of a girlfriend or significant other, I am in a lot of danger.

So while I am admiring myself, I notice that there is some excess hair on my chest and underarms. Being the curious type, and of the opinion that “it’ll grow back”, I decided to give it a whirl. Keep in mind, I still have electric clippers in hand. A few swipes here and there and I decide to get brave. Okay. Hollywood guys do it, why can’t I? Besides, a smooth chest and arms accents my muscles.

Now by brave, I mean that I started to work my way down south. Giving my abs a once-over initially. It was then that I noticed some unsightly hair in the “nether region”. The dialogue to myself went something like this:

“Boy, that could stand some trimming too. Nothing wrong with evening things up a little down there. Besides, if I don’t like it, who’s gonna see?”

Again keep in mind that I have electric clippers.

ELECTRIC clippers.

Anyway, after “beating around the bush” (pun intended) a little, I started working on the undercarriage. I mean, who wants excess hair down there, anyway?

This is where the stupidity really kicks in folks.

Let’s just say that those blades on the clippers move really fast. They’re also really sharp. In addition, they also have a tendency to get snarled up in loose skin.

…in an area that bleeds a lot.

My initial reaction was shock. If you can imagine, I just froze, with the clippers still in one hand (still buzzing) and my “business” in the other with a nice 1/8 inch gash, with a steady little stream of blood now oozing from it.

At this point, by brain…a guy’s brain, mind you, starts listing possible complications to my newest dilemma:

• Should I call an ambulance?
• How do I elevate it above my heart to stop the bleeding?
• Where do I put the bandage?
• If I die like this I’m gonna look really silly.

Fortunately, my body works just fine and the bleeding did eventually stop; but, for the remainder of the day sitting did produce a faint sting from the now tender area. And y’know, I’ve knicked myself shaving before. It’s no big deal and you just finish the job. Cutting anything down there though will make a guy lose all rationale. For a moment I actually considered calling my roommate (a paramedic) to be advised on how to handle the situation. In retrospect, I can say that I’ve learned my lesson, though, and I have a newfound respect for you ladies that do this on a regular basis. Asking a guy to groom that area with a sharp object is just asking for a disaster. I think I’ll stick with just shaving my head and put the clippers away after that.

Please no bikini waxing jokes. This is embarrassing enough.

Tales from the (Internet) Crypt

July 4, 2009

This is the story that sort of put my brand of humor-in-blogging on the map.  It’s a little dated, and goes back to my attempt at internet dating years ago.  My pain is your pleasure.  Enjoy!

There are some scary things in this world. There are things that we weren’t meant to know about and things that we weren’t meant to explore. I’m not talking about ghosts and the supernatural. I’m not talking about UFO’s and unexplained astral events. The subject that I speak of is much, much worse. I’m talking about Internet dating.

Now I was recently thrust back into the singles’ scene thanks to a now ex-girlfriend that decided we were better off as friends about 6 months ago. Reluctantly, and to satisfy my sometimes morbid curiosity, I started perusing the singles’ ads connected to a popular internet search engine. At age 33, I think I’m a little old to be hanging out in bars looking to pick up women. I figured the whole personals thing would be a relatively safe route…since I can kinda pick someone that I think matches my personality and outlook on life. So, just for kicks and giggles, I paid my $20 and joined the ad service.

After a couple of weeks, I actually found one that seemed relatively interesting. Well, interesting enough for me to respond to her ad, that is. Not the prettiest by far, but with a very promising sounding personality (famous last words, I know). Now before I proceed with the remainder of the story, let me explain a little bit about the whole Internet dating process. On this particular service you can choose to formally respond to an ad via e-mail, or, if the correct icon is present on that person’s profile, you can bypass that whole thing and strike up a real time conversation via Instant Messaging.

I chose the latter of the two…. impatient as I am. Now you will notice from here on out that the remainder of this story will be filled with things that I should not have done or things I should have done differently. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but my misfortune equals your laughter. Anyway, I decided to IM her (that’s computer jargon for “Instant Message”, for all you internet neophytes). Sure she was talkative…actually a little too talkative……okay she talked way too much. As a matter of fact, about 6 minutes into the conversation I was presented with her home and cell phone numbers. Now I am a very trusting person, but I don’t give my cell phone number to just some potential freak that I meet online. That’s just dangerous. But, if you want to stroke a guy’s ego, volunteer your phone number. Needless to say, my common sense went out the window.

Two days of calling this mystery woman and engaging in small talk landed me a brief “meet and greet” in her hometown of Hammond. Now Hammond is about a 40 minute drive east of Baton Rouge, and I decided to go at the end of my day on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are normally long days for me, so I found myself driving east at 8:45 that night to see what I was getting myself into. Once again….common sense was absent. Anyway, there are certain things that I should’ve taken as “signs” on that fateful night. The first of these signs was the fact that her cell phone was getting horrible reception, and I was unable to reach her while I was making the journey. Now I ask you…who gets bad cell phone reception IN THEIR HOME TOWN? Not me, but I’m not with Bubba’s Cell Phone and Taxidermy. Maybe she was. Anyway, this was just a sign of things to come.

So that I don’t ramble on and make this an excruciatingly long story, I’ll fast forward to the fact that I finally got in touch with her, and arranged to meet at a gas station in Hammond, and possibly go out for a drink from there. I described my vehicle to her and waited. My second warning came when I saw her vehicle pull into the parking lot. While negotiating a turn she actually got hung up on the curb. I’m not a perfect driver either, hell I can only see out of one eye. Occasionally I will hit the curb. It just happens. Getting a tire hung up on a curb takes effort…but she managed it. I should’ve left right then and there…. but my common sense had yet to kick in.

Now she did not notice me when she finally got off the curb and pulled into the parking lot. I drive a Mitsubishi Montero, but I drive the old folks’ model, not the hip and chic “Montero Sport”. This was my last opportunity and I failed to take it. Damn. I started the truck up and pulled over so she could see me. Her face lit up…..like a black light. Her picture on the internet did her no justice whatsoever. By that I mean that I felt like the victim of false advertisement. Now I feel I should clarify something because I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite. I have a very easy time finding beauty in anyone. To me, personality can do wonders for making a person very attractive in my eyes. Ugly is a strong word for me.

This woman was ugly.

She immediately got out of the car and sashayed over to me. She did not walk. She sashayed. She did not prance. She sashayed. “Sashay” is not a word that men are supposed to use, at the risk of having your masculinity questioned. She sashayed. There’s no other way to put it. She had on a white shirt and a blue jean skirt that would not look attractive on just anyone. Did I mention that her middle name was “just anyone”? As a defensive measure I immediately stuck my hand out to shake hers (so to avoid any unnecessary physical contact), but to my despair, she insisted on a hug. Okay, might was well play the part of the gentleman here. I’ll live through this…or so I thought.

After the excruciatingly long hug was over she took a step back and proceeded to pirouette in front of me, asking if I liked what I saw. I was speechless. I’m rarely speechless, but no words came out. She repeated the question twice. I still could find no words, so she proceeds to dance around, I’m guessing to “entice” me. At this point, I’m expecting either a pimp to round the block in a pink Cadillac and give me his prices for the use of his services, or Alan Funt to come back from the dead and tell me I’m on Candid Camera. I get no such relief.

Admittedly, I pride myself on being able to talk my way out of just about anything, and I didn’t want to hurt Shrek’s feelings, so I begin to engage in small talk, looking for an opportunity to bow out of the evening. She continues to dance…and it’s getting worse. I’m not talking about a jitterbug….waltz….hell, I would’ve even taken the Cabbage Patch. No, this woman is gyrating her hips and singing “cha cha cha” to me. That is, until she loses her balance and falls over.

I’m not kidding.

Here she is, laid out in the parking lot with me in complete shock standing over her. I look around to see if anyone is watching this fiasco (this just reeks of a set up for an assault case), and I ask her if she’s okay. She looks up and grins, but there is now a 3-inch gash in her arm from her 3-point landing, and she’s bleeding like a stuck pig. Pun intended. I look at her arm and tell her that we’ve got to get it cleaned up. At this point I completely forget that I have an entire first aid kit in my truck. I run into the convenient store to get a moment away from this crazy woman (and some paper towels). I come back and she’s still sitting there, so I help her up and assist in cleaning this wound on her arm. As soon as we’re done (and it’s still a bloody mess) she apologizes, assuring me that she’s not drunk or high.

..and then she resumes dancing for me….completely oblivious to her now gimped up arm.

Have you ever spoken to someone that’s really drunk or really high? If you haven’t, there are some surefire signs to tell that the person you’re dealing with ain’t all there thanks to some unknown substance. One of these signs is the fact that they repeat things…..a lot.
“I’m not drunk” – 5 times.
“Do you like what you see?” – 8 times.
“Cha cha cha” (accompanied by random and disturbing dance moves) – 24 times.
“If I was drunk I’d throw you in the back of this truck and **** your brains out” – ONCE…and even that was way too many times.

I endure this nightmare for about 15 minutes before my common sense finally resets itself and kicks in like a brick hitting me in the head. Quickly, I start fishing for an excuse to leave.

“I have to go home now. I’ve got a long day tomorrow and I need to get some sleep”.
“I thought we were going out for drinks”.
“While I’d love to, it’s really late; but it’s been really interesting meeting you”.

I start to back away to my truck, and she pursues. For every step I take backwards, she takes a step forward, until my truck is preventing me from any further retreat. She closes in for the “kill”. Immediately (12 years of karate training) my hands fly up. (Not to punch her in the mouth…I’m not a violent person, and she’s already lost enough blood for the night), I did this to keep her from getting too close. This somehow triggers a brief synopsis about how she really is a beautiful person and that she’s got a great heart. To illustrate, she grabs my right hand and puts it on her boob to feel her heart beat. Not her chest, mind you…I know the difference. She puts my hand on her boob. Under any other circumstances (or any other woman for that matter) this might have been fun, but I had JUST MET THIS WOMAN, and fiber of my being was screaming “screw loose!” I immediately wrenched my hand away and shoved both of my hands in my pockets. This of course gives her the opportunity to put an arm on either side of me, completely blocking my escape.

…and she continues to close in…..evidently trying to “consummate” our relationship right there in the freaking parking lot.

Finally, I’ve had enough. Somehow I manage to phase into my truck and say a very polite goodbye. Unfortunately this is not without the sacrifice of my left cheek, which is presented with the nastiest, sloppiest kiss I’ve ever experienced (including various species of dog, and one camel). It literally sends chills through me. Not the good chills. The chills you get when little Meagan pukes the green stuff on the priest in The Exorcist. This is followed by a whisper that goes something like this:

“Next time I can put that kiss anywhere you want it”.

Okay screw this. I roll my window up, almost taking the gimp arm with me. I don’t remember saying goodbye, but instead peeled the tires on my poor Montero and did somewhere between 95 and 110 miles per hour all the way home, pausing every few seconds to make sure she wasn’t following me. Trolls have a habit of latching on to the things that catch their fancy, y’know.

When I got home I actually left the door of my truck open to get into the house and scrub my face. I washed the clothes I was wearing 3 times. I’m still considering throwing them away. The next day I told one of my best friends about the experience and my worries that crazy woman still has my phone number. Calmly she requested the woman’s number and had one of her co-workers call crazy woman to explain that I already had a real girlfriend and she would not be hearing from me ever again. I bought her co-worker drinks that night….in fact, I’m buying her drinks for the rest of the year. Sadly, this has completely traumatized me from the world of Internet dating. I now stay home with my cats and never travel east, for fear of what lives out there. Maybe I’m better off single.

Cha cha cha.

For Cat Owners Only

July 4, 2009

You can really only appreciate this if you own a cat.

If you own a cat then you know about periodically “de-catting” your house.  It’s time for me to “de-cat” my house.

I’m not talking about throwing the little bastards out.

“De-catting” is a term that I coined that means painstakingly removing any and all traces of “cat residue” from your home.  All cat owners have “cat residue”.  Look at our clothes.  We normally have anywhere from 2 – 3200 cat hairs on us at any given time.  A “seasoned” cat owner will get rid of all black clothes.  They collect cat hairs better than a lint brush.

Cat residue accumulates in the cat owner’s home.  A responsible cat owner will detect this before it becomes a problem and eradicate the offending residue before it becomes a serious problem.  Ever smell “cat” when you walk into someone’s house?  It’s disgusting.  There are 3 sources of “cat residue”.  Let’s take this time to define them.

  1. HAIR: This is the reason why I now have bare floors in 85% of my house.  Cats have a quota to meet, y’know.  They are required to shed at least 10,000 hairs per day or risk losing their feline membership card.
  2. LITTERBOX:  This one requires the most attention.  Ever go 5 days without flushing the toilet?  Ewww…….
  3. PUKE:  Cats puke.  I think it’s entertainment for them.  Remember the bare floors in 85% of my house?  I’ve actually seen one of my cats start dry-heaving on the bare floor and make a run for the carpeted bedroom just so he could upchuck on it.  Cats love to puke on carpet.

On any given day after I’ve recently “de-catted”, you literally cannot tell that I’m an owner of multiple cats.  That’s the purpose of this task.  You never know when you’re going to have visitors.  Why on earth do you want them sitting in cat hair, dodging puke and sniffing the litter box that’s foul enough to make Satan himself get religion?

The reason for this particular de-catting session is due to the fact that I haven’t been at home much recently.  With a girlfriend and daughter that both live an hour away, my spare time has been mostly with them.  Last night, I walked into my house and smelled CAT.  So I’ve scheduled a decatting session for this evening.

Listen carefully folks…..this is the “official” decatting process.

  • Attend to the litter box. Nothing like cleaning an animal toilet, y’know.  When decatting you must completely empty, disinfect, and refill the litter box.  Scooping just doesn’t count, mainly because of the unholy lake of cat piss that resides at the bottom.  Now the cats will normally stand around and watch you clean their toilet.  This is entertainment for them because you just became the janitor.  I suggest you carry the litter box outside and conduct your business there.  There is a strategic reason for this.  I once had a garbage bag full of 5 days worth of cat litter, poop and piss burst in my living room when I picked it up.  HAZMAT was at my house in 5 minutes.  I had to write a formal letter of apology to the EPA.  After emptying this filthy thing, pour some bleach into it and then spray some water into it as well.  Then let it sit for about 10 minutes before you rinse it out and let it dry for another 10 minutes.  Believe me, you have plenty to do during the wait time.  Once it’s dry, refill the box and bring it back in.  Remember to sprinkle a box of Arm N Hammer in first.
  • While the cat box is sitting outside, take care of vacuuming any and all cat-affected areas. This gives you the opportunity to chase the cats all over the house with the vacuum cleaner.  This terrorizes them and it entertains you.  Be sure to get the corners of the house with the vacuum.  You see, cats will multiply by the collection of the 10K hairs that they shed on a daily basis.  That’s right, they can actually create another cat.  You must rid the house of the hairs before they take form.  You hear about the old ladies that have 50 cats in their house?  It’s not reproduction….cats 5-50 are just fully formed hairballs.  Make sure you use the vacuum with upholstery attachments so you can get the furniture.
  • If you have bare floors, you must mop. Mopping gets a lot of the cat smell out of the house.  Pine sol, my man….pine sol.  You’re going to have to move furniture to do this properly.  The cats will not help.  As a matter of fact, when you pick up the 450 lb couch by yourself, they will take turns running between your legs in an attempt to trip you.  This is retaliation for chasing them with the vacuum cleaner.
  • Go puke hunting. Some cats will puke out in the open. “Look at what I did!!”.  Others will hide it from you in hopes that you won’t discover it for 2-5 years.  You have to literally examine the entire house.  Look inside of closets.  Look behind the toilet.  Look under the furniture.  Look in your shoes.  Look in the medicine cabinet (I’m still trying to figure out how they pulled that one off).  You will need anything from a soft brush to a chisel and caustic acid to a power grinder to remove cat puke.  The older it gets the better the chances of having to dynamite the area to break that stuff up.
  • Lysol THE ENTIRE HOUSE. I don’t think I have to explain this.  I love my cats, but the over accumulation of cat residue is just nasty.

At this point, your house should smell like you live in it again.  If you haven’t decatted in a while, steps 2-5 may have to be repeated on a daily basis until you reach a satisfactory point with the smell and cleanliness.  DON’T try to determine this yourself.  Invite a friend over .  Cats have the ability to remove your olfactory senses while you’re sleeping.  If your house needs decatting, you’ll be the last to know…..just watch the looks on the faces of your human visitors when they come by.  If the nose scrunches up….you’re overdue.  The entire process will take 45 minutes to 1.5 hours….depending on the size of your house and how many cats you have.  I have 3 cats in my house, so it keeps me pretty busy for about an hour.

May the force be with you…..or at least the Pine Sol……

Gotta Love Dem Kids

July 4, 2009

I love kids.

…and I’m not being sarcastic.  I teach children on a regular basis.  I spend a lot of time with children and have an easy time relating to them.

(does that make me childish?)

Anyway, I recently got a hold of one of my goddaughter’s “school made cookbooks” from elementary school.  Evidently, some teacher got the bright idea to compile a cook book from kid-produced recipes.  Far be it from the teacher to actually correct spelling and grammar before handing these things out.

Ladies and gentlemen, this does not speak highly about the public school system where I lived (Baton Rouge, LA).  I have not embellished anything; but I decided to print out a few recipes according to the kids’ directions (and spelling).

Don’t take it too seriously.  It’s pretty darned funny.  My comments are in red. ;-)

These are excerpts from Mrs. Ghallager’s Class Cookbook:

Pentbutter and Jaurr Scitter

Jarr

Pentbutter

2 bears

Nince

Peat

1.  Geat a peat.

2.  Geat 2 casunt of bears.

3.  Geat the pentbtter and the jaurr

4.  Then put the 2 scaunt of beaed on the peat put the pentbutter on one beaed and put the oue beaed and put it to gear and you have a bentbutter and jaurr scitter.

(Okay folks, what’s a scitter?  Well, it’s not like I know what “jarr” is either.  By the way, how do you get to bears to hold still for this recipe?)

(Someone please tell me what in God’s name a “peat” is.)

(We never used the nince!  What am I supposed to do with  the frickin nince?)

HamBork (you heard it here first, folks.  HamBORK)

met

letes

tumeto

mater

keup

mines

peinkor

bread

1.  YOU put the met in the selet. (evidently there is someone present trying to wrestle this task away from you)

2.  Then you put the met on the bread. (while it’s still in the selet?  By the way….what’s a selet?)

3.  Then you put the lete and the tumeto and the peinkor and keup  mutor and mineggs then voa      eat.

(now I’m completely lost.  Not only has said author/cook added things to the recipe that weren’t in the original recipe, he now seems to be speaking a completely different language.  Just give me the bread.  That looks safe).

Nochoes (what??)

aplat (excuse me?  what is an aplat?)

a bag of dretows (yes, “dretows”…..I still don’t know what this is either)

a bag of cheeses (cheeses?  I mean really….cheeses?)

tabbowso (I’m not kidding……evidently this stuff can be found only in  the slums of Scotland under certain dilapidated bridges)

1. Get a plat.

2.  Put some dretows on the plat.

3.  Put some cheses on the dretows.

4.  Put it in the mikuwave for two minatse.

5.  Late it colle for one minaet.

6.  Take it of the mikuwave anf put tabbowso sosenes on the nochoes. (huh??)

7.  Eat the nochoes.

I need a mikuwave!  I need a mikuwave!

I swear, my daughter will spell better than this when she’s in 3rd grade.  Daddy will at least be reading anything that she plans to turn into her teacher.  For heavens sake folks, don’t make me blog about any more kids…….

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