Word of Advice

Note: Since first publishing this blog article back in March of 2016, I’ve found myself back in the job market. Today I was looking at my own advice for job interviewees, and found it needed some updates that I had missed, probably because applying for jobs and interviewing has changed a lot over the years.  I’ve also done more with Craig’s List/Ebay etc, and am updating those sections as well.

Job Interviewee – Take a shower, groom yourself for Pete’s sake. Put on professional clothes and shine your shoes, lose the gum and brush your teeth. It really IS true, you never have a second chance to make a good first impression. This advice applies whether your interview is in person, or is a video interview. What’s that, you say? A video interview? Yes, Virginia, a video interview. Today’s businesses are beginning to use video interviews as initial screening interviews. The HR representative can record themselves asking a series of questions, and then the interviewee has a predetermined amount of time to respond. It saves the HR rep a lot of time, by not having to schedule the calls or bring people into their offices. You do, however, need to treat it as if it’s a true face-to-face interview. Test your system first, make sure your lighting is good, that you don’t have a distracting background behind you. I invested in an inexpensive photography backdrop that I hang up behind me, and put that up. If you set yourself up facing a window you’ll get nice, diffuse light that is flattering, but if that’s not available make sure you at least have enough light that your face can be seen.

For in person interviews, learn how to shake hands. Do you have any idea how many people I’ve shaken hands with that don’t know how? If you aren’t sure how to, then you probably don’t do it well. Go ask someone you know that is a confident business person to evaluate yours and help you improve because a limp handshake is horrible, and look people in the eye when you shake their hand.

Drive the route to the interview BEFORE you need to do it so that you know how long it takes. Don’t be late. If you’re going to be late, call. If possible, send a handwritten, yes, I said handwritten thank you note, and if your handwriting is illegible (you know who you are) then print. If you only had a phone interview or video screening, you may only be able to send a thank you via e-mail, and then you should do it that way, but that’s only if you don’t know an address for your interviewer. If you have an actual address, a handwritten note is always better etiquette.

Craig’s List/Ebay Buyers – Have you ever sold anything on Craig’s List or Ebay? If you have, then you know what an adventure it can be, but it can just as easily be a pointless exercise in futility. We’ve been cleaning out our crawl space, trying to get rid of a few things, make a little money, you know the drill. I’ve learned a few phrases that are rather helpful. “Cash is king” and “cash talks, bullshit walks” are my two favorites that my husband is continually beating into my brain. Now I started out being a Craig’s List softie…”oh, you need a day or two, sure, get back to me, I’ll hold it for you…”, or negotiating simultaneously with one buyer who then couldn’t deliver on time, going with a second who could then feeling bad when the first wanted more time because “I promised him he could buy the item, even though he didn’t have the money right then” or feeling like I needed to answer every email, and telling people that I had other buyers and what the conditions were. However, after being taken advantage of a few times, I’ve changed, become a radical hardliner. Gavel down, BAM! “SOLD to the first one at the neutral (and safe) meeting place with paper money that passes the counterfeit test wins the prize.”  For all you potential buyers on Craig’s List out there, here are some helpful tips.

1.Don’t email me to tell me “I’m interested.” I’m tempted to reply “that’s nice, so what?” Because I don’t care if you’re merely interested, I only really care if you want to BUY IT.  So if you really want to buy my item, tell me you want to buy it and when you want to meet, otherwise stop wasting my time.

2. Read the dang ad AND look at the pictures. I took the time to take photos, at different angles, to show you lots of information. I also said in the ad that the item a) works, b) does or does not have scratches c) is new or is used, etc. Now if you want more information about it that I didn’t put in the ad, that’s a different story, please go ahead and ask for it.  But don’t waste my time asking about what’s already there.

3. Don’t contact me unless you’re interested and plan to follow through. This week I had someone tell me she wanted something, we exchanged messages about connecting, then she dropped off the face of the earth. Meanwhile I had another person waiting to see if the item was still available.  I mean really, did you want it or not? If you changed your mind, I don’t care, you’re not hurting my feelings, just say so. Stop wasting my time for the love of…(are you seeing the theme?)

4. If you ask me to ship you the item because you’ve decided you don’t want to drive to me, realize it’s an inconvenience for me, act accordingly. Don’t dictate terms of this to me, I’ll choose my shipping agent, thanks.

5. And here is the kicker. If you ask me to accept money through PayPal, then you pay the fees to transfer! You came to me knobhead. I’m not taking a loss in my profit as a convenience to you.

Ebay Buyers – There isn’t as much to say here, probably because it’s an online bidding process and Ebay has already taken a lot of the guesswork out of it for you. The best advice I can give is to just pay promptly, because I won’t ship anything until your payment has come through. So any delays on your part will result in a delay in receiving your item.

Grocery shoppers – it’s just like driving (assuming you’re in a country that drives on the right side of the road). Carts on the right please, although I’d love to know if it’s opposite across the pond, where they drive on the wrong side of the road.  Do they move grocery carts on the left side of the aisles as well? : ) But how hard is it really, to get your cart out of the middle of the aisle. When you stop to get something off the shelf, just move to the side. Don’t stop in the middle. Look around. The aisles aren’t 3 carts wide. If you’re in the middle, ain’t nobody getting around. My parents brought me up to be polite, Minnesota nice, to say a gentle “please”, and “thank you”, and “excuse me”, and to cover my mouth when I burped in public. I am SO over that in the grocery store now (The Minnesota nice part. I’ll still cover my mouth when I burp in public, I promise Mom), it’s a firm and vocal “Excuse Me” that’s a whole lot closer to East Coast than the Midwest.

Anyone under the age of 35 – chronologically or mentally. Remove the phrase “I deserve” and “entitled” from your vocabulary and attitude. You don’t, you aren’t. Period. The world owes you NOTHING, you have to earn it. When you act like they do, you not only show your immaturity, but I really want to swat you off my shoulder like a gnat. Scat, go away!

Just sayin’.

 

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Projects One-O-WTH

We’ve all done it. Started projects with the very best of intentions and plans, right? Scripted them to within an inch of their lives, laid out everything to the nanometer, knew exactly what we wanted, where we wanted it and when we wanted it, so that when we did it, it went as planned, and then we all lived happily ever after…I’m sorry, did you just  hear my snort of derision through the computer? Because if you’re anything like me, the end of one project brings about a strange euphoria that somehow erased much of the pain associated with it, so that you’re foolishly willing to take on the next one. When my husband let me know he was planning to go out of town for several days last month, I thought, “aha! here’s my chance to take a couple of days off work and paint our master bathroom! I hate the mustard color it is now, why not get it done?” And into full scale planning mode I went.

First, selecting paint, which as anyone with a half of a brain knows, is painful. I mean, we’re long past the days of merely light blue, or light green. Nope, there are now thousands of colors and shades to choose from. It’s positively mind numbing, and while the ability to get the little sample jars is certainly a help, it’s not without it’s own drawbacks, but more on that later. For now, I get the little cards in the colors I think I want which is a pale turquoise. My husband and I talk over which we like, I went back and get the sample jars in a couple of colors, and get them on the walls in the bathroom in a couple of spots so he can see it before he leaves town, and in different light during the day and at night. We agree on one of the samples, and I’m thinking nice, we found our color! (I should have known it was too easy, I got a little cocky there.)

Next, a light fixture. Currently we have light bars over the top of our mirror and detest them. You know the ones…4 light bulbs on a metal holder, which resemble the ones that are found on the sides of theatrical mirrors. I really liked one a friend had, found it came from Menards, internet check says one left on clearance. I’ve got a good feeling…and the next morning I run up there to get it. The one left is the display model, so they have to remove it from the wall for me, but it’s worth it to get it more than 50% off, right?  While they were taking it off the wall it was raining so hard we couldn’t see across the parking lot, and a neighbor told me later that his wife reported their widows actually sucked inward during the storm! I didn’t recognize the storm going on outside as on omen of destruction or the voice of doom, as it were.

Husband leaves town, time for me to get to work. Out comes the spackle, I start fixing dings and divots, scraping old, old, old paint off the woodwork. (Lesson #1 for everyone…do the free world a favor. USE FRICKING PAINTERS TAPE AROUND WOODWORK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PEOPLE. I don’t care if you like the blue or green. Really I don’t. I DO care that as the new owner of your former home, because you were a lazy ba***rd I have to scrape 3 layers off my lovely oak woodwork.) (Lesson #2, if you spray it first with Pledge Multi-Surface Cleaner, and let it soak for 3-5 seconds, then scrape with your razor blade, it helps to soften the paint. Don’t ask me why I tried this out, I haven’t a clue, but it works.) Finally it’s time to paint. Get the light down, paint the walls around our sink and the ceiling over it. I wanted to do that first so I could get the new light up right away, then I wouldn’t be without a light in the bathroom for more than a few hours. As I bring the new light fixture into the bathroom, I realize my next problem.

Remember I mentioned that the old light was a light bar, therefore it’s very lightweight, and mounted on the wall with two screws. The wiring merely came out of the hole in the wall. No mounting box. Lovely new fixture needs a mounting box. Sounds simple enough, right? Just call the handy dandy electrician down the street to put one in? Which I did…only to find that the lovely little pipe I could see next to the hole in the wall where the wires came out would mean that the mounting box would be mounted to the right of center…and subsequently all light fixtures thereafter would be too. So now we get to have him split the wiring and put up sconces. Sigh. So back up went the old fixture until husband can get home and I can break the bad news that a) we ‘get’ to spend more money on rewiring and b) we ‘get’ to buy more lights.

Continue painting….and why am I not getting the same lovely warm fuzzy about the color that I did about the sample? As I studied it, it didn’t look at all the same to me. It didn’t look anything like calm and restful. Not even close…it looked more like 1968 turquoise! Now I’m starting to feel my WTH moment begin…what happened? Remember earlier  when I said I’d come back to the samples? Well, the paint samples were in eggshell…and the paint I bought was semi-gloss. It went on a completely different color in semi-gloss, and suddenly was intense! I thought maybe it was me, but figured I’d better wait for my husband to validate, so I held off any more painting until he got home from his trip, which I felt awful about since my goal was to present him with a finished bathroom, not one still covered in paint swatches. He agreed, however, it was too intense and we went back to the drawing board on paint. Hopefully I’ll finish before his next vacation.

Oh yeah, and the caulk has to be chiseled out too.

 

Joy of Summer

It hadn’t been easy, growing up without a mother, but somehow Joy had managed. Her father did the best he could, but as the only veterinarian for their village, he’d been gone more than he was home. But after his death she has hard choices to make. Can she find a way to stay in Summer, the little village she’s grown to love? 

As I started to write the title of the blog, all I could think of was that it sounded like a title for a cheesy bodice ripper novel!  In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. A few weeks ago in a prior post, I bemoaned the loss of something quintessentially summer…watermelon with seeds. I was surprised at how many people I have since spoken to, that agreed with me: Seedless watermelon sucks. Well, I am thrilled beyond words to be able to share with you that my local grocery store had REAL watermelon a few weeks ago. It was lucious, rich, textured…just like I remembered. And yep, …there was some honest to goodness seed spittin’  going on too. That’s what summer should be about. Snow cones, and water balloon fights in the backyard (or ‘thumbs over the ends of hoses’ fights, those work too!),  sparklers and black snakes, mouthfulls of Bubs Daddy bubble gum. And fireflies, or lightning bugs as they are known in some parts of the country. I love being out for a walk at night and seeing their ethereal lights dance in front of me, just out of reach. I know you can catch them and put them in a jar, I just have no desire to. I’d rather watch them appear, then disappear, and magically reappear feet from where they were a moment ago, and pretend to not know how that happened, just enjoying the sense of wonderment again. 

I miss having summers off. As an adult, the only time I really regret my career choice is during summer, when I wish I had become a teacher just so I could have had summers off…either that or found a way to become a professional paid student! But I’m so envious of the sounds of kids playing, having fun in the summer. Our house backs up to a number of others, and I can hear laughter of the kids playing from about six houses down some days. As a telecommuter, trust me, it can be challenging to concentrate. On the other hand, our house is also located rather close to some marsh lands, or as the DNR prefers to refer to them, nature preserves. Because that sounds SO much better than marsh, doesn’t it?  There are benefits of course to living near them, first and foremost being it’s packed full of wildlife. The frog chorus at night is something to behold, and we hear it from the ‘balcony’ seats, on the side of the road opposite the marsh. I’m sure if our house backed up to it, and we couldn’t even open our windows at night because the volume was so deafening, I wouldn’t feel quite so charmed by it. Another periodic gift the marsh gives it’s nearby residents, is the coyote choir. I’m not sure what will set up the howling, but when the pack gets going it’s both thrilling and chilling at the same time. I don’t know what makes people think it’s safe to let their pets run loose around here, I really don’t. Seems to me cats and small dogs might be fair game for coyote food, and I’d be terrified my pet might not come home, but that’s just me.

The worst part however, about living by the marsh, are the mosquitos, and in Minnesota, we know how to breed ’em BIG. Mosquitos lay eggs in standing, stagnant water, and this year it seems we’ve gotten into this never ending cycle of a couple of days of big rain, followed by a day or two of sun, then more rain. So in addition to being full of rich, green grasses and cattails that are taller than I’ve ever seen, our marshes are chock full of standing water and yep, you guessed it, lovely mosquito eggs. And you’ve never even seen a real mosquito until you’ve come here. There’s an old saying, about how a nearsighted one got confused last week and drained a 747…OK, maybe not really, but sometimes it almost feels like they’re that horrible. So the DNR does what they can, and “mosquito bombs” us. What’s that, you ask? Well, in summer, helicopters fly overhead, and drop pellets into the marsh (and onto decks, patios, porches and our public boardwalk) to help control the mosquito population. The first time they came around, the “chopper” as I now fondly refer to it, flew so low over my house  that I felt the cavitation in my chest and through my toenails. I was pretty sure I could put a spitball in a straw and hit a rotor without even trying very hard as they went over the neighbors house, then to the marsh, dropped the pellets and made the turn right past their house and then came back over mine, all within about 20 seconds. I wanted to drop to the floor and scream “incoming”, as I covered my head. I know it helps, it would be so much worse if they didn’t do it, but even so, it’s just a mite freaky. I mean, what happens if an engine fails? Or if the tail rotor goes wonky? I mean, I just know it’s MY house they’re gonna ‘find’ first, and suddenly I’ve got a lovely new piece of art in the shape of a helicopter blade decorating my mantle. Next thing you know, you’re a drive-by side show for half the city.

“Look Howard, there’s that house I heard about. You know the one where the mosquito bomb helicopter was hit with a spitball in the tail rotor, apparently throwing the yaw all wonky, and down she went. You can see one of the main blades sticking out of the side of the house, right above where the mantle sits. Rumor has it the owner was the one who shot the spitball. If that’s just not the perfect example of a karmic kickback, I don’t know what is.”

Maybe I’ll stick to marshmallow guns at family reunions. 

From the Files of…Part 2

And now, for another installment of I can’t make this s**t up.

     First out of the gate, on March 22 it was announced that Sarah Palin was getting her own daytime TV show as a judge. Yep, Judge Sarah, because of course she is a strong litigator and jurist…oh wait, she’s neither of those things. She only appointed judges to the bench during her tenure as Governor of Alaska. That’s like saying George Clooney should have an MD’s license because he played one on ER for so long. (not that I’d mind playing doctor…oops, off track).

Isn’t it nice that we make so much money at our jobs, that we don’t even notice when we misplace a paycheck. What, that never happened to you? Yeah, me neither. Apparently, however, it did for one NFL player who recently found one that he apparently  DID misplace and didn’t even notice was missing. How you don’t notice you don’t have over $135,000 you should have is beyond me. But hey, I guess when you make what they make, that’s just pocket change.

What the hell is wrong with people? Three first graders in Alaska were plotting to poison and kill a classmate using silica gel packets from the seaweed in their lunches. I’m baffled at all the places in this story it’s going awry. First blech, seaweed for lunch. I’m more of a soup or leftovers from tater tot hotdish kind of girl, but that’s just me. Second, silica gel packets? Not poisonous, epic fail. Third, parents, step up and do some teaching here. Ever hear of a little ole commandment of “thou shalt not kill”? Even if you don’t go to church, aren’t religious, or are schooled in faith, most folks still support this statement. I am just baffled how children that age would ever have the idea that this was acceptable.

And finally, taken right from the plotlines of more romance novels than you can shake a stick at, an elderly gentleman decided his 49-year old bachelor son needed a wife, so he took out a $900 ad on his son’s behalfArthur Brooks, purchased the $900 ad in the Coeur d’Alene Press, much to his son Brook’s chagrin. The ad isn’t quite truthful, as it leads the reader to believe Baron knew about it (he didn’t) and the photo is not quite current (more grey hair) but hey, Baron says, he’ll keep an open mind. MIghty big of him I say!

Hope you don’t have too much weird in your world!

Driving 101

As many of you know, I’m the lucky recipient of a brand spanking new hip, which, for a number of reasons, has put me in a slightly different frame of mind over the last several weeks. Residual effects of anesthesia (which I’m told can mess with your brain for up to a year), pain dulling to annoying discomfort, a very slow moving body and forced down time I had all made me see things a little differently.

Among those things are the driving habits of about 75% of the general population, most of whom have forgotten what they learned only long enough to pass their driver’s test, apparently. So, how many of the following will each of you get right? Let’s see. (These are for Minnesota Driving Regulations only, I can’t speak to any other states.)

  1. Right turn on red is: a) never allowed. b) allowed unless otherwise posted, with a rolling stop  c) allowed unless otherwise posted, but only after coming to a complete stop d) always allowed
  2. A stop sign a) only requires a complete stop if there are other vehicles in visible line of sight  b) only requires a complete stop if there are police vehicles in visible line of sight  c) requires a complete stop at all times   d) what’s a stop sign?
  3. After stopping at a stop sign, you can proceed a) through the crosswalk as long as there are no pedestrians in it  b) through the crosswalk assuming you can get through ahead of the pedestrians c) the pedestrians have to stop for vehicles of course, drive on through!
  4. The Move Over Law  a) states all vehicles traveling slower than the posted speed limit need to move to the far right lane on a multi-lane road, or pull to the shoulder on a two-lane road if traffic is unable to safely pass on the left side  b)that you move to the lane farthest away from emergency vehicles, if possible to do so safely  c) we have a Move Over Law?
  5. Correctly identify the sign below:   a) Wheelchair parking only  b) Parking for vehicles with the appropriate disability plates or permits only   c) For use by anyone as long as they aren’t caught.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 7.58.35 PM

The answers are (in case you didn’t know) 1c, 2c, 33a, 4b, 5b.  How many did you get wrong? I hope none, but over the past weeks since I resumed driving after surgery, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen most of these violated, the exception being the last one. Given adequate time, even that too will happen, sadly. Why am I more sensitive about this? Probably because the speed at which I had been moving much more closely resembled that of the proverbial tortoise, rather than the hare. At Wal-Mart a few weeks ago, I had just parked my car in one of the spots denoted with the sign above (and yes, I have my permit), and got out of my car, proceeding toward the store slowly using my cane. As I approached the crosswalk, a woman came from my right side, briefly glanced at the stop sign (see question #2) decided that red octagonal signs with white outlines were optional and proceeded through the crosswalk – which I had already entered – without stopping (see question #3).

Perhaps I had my cloaking device on again. That had to be it, because that’s the only rational explanation I can come up with for the sheer stupidity exhibited by this apparently adult woman who appeared to be in her 40’s. Not a teen, not anyone talking on their cell phone, and apparently in command of all of her faculties although that is up for debate from my perspective.

I do know that most insurance companies offer discounts to drivers over a certain age if they take a defensive driving course, and in Minnesota it’s 55 years of age. Perhaps it wouldn’t be an entirely dumb idea to offer that discount earlier? Start it at age 30, then boost the value at age 55 from 10% to 15%. State Farm, are you listening? Because apparently people are stupid WAY earlier than at age 55. News flash: yellow lights aren’t for fun, they are to alert you that the red is coming so you can try to stop, not speed up, dumbass! And if you’re climbing up my tailpipe when I’m going the speed limit, knock it the hell off, I’m not speeding up just to make you happy. Ain’t happening, and all you’re gonna get by tailgating me is a) more pissed off, b) a possible ticket for tailgating  c) a possible bigger ticket for the accident you caused when you rear ended me, because in Minnesota if you rear end someone, it IS your fault and d) a lawsuit for rear ending me, dumbass.

If you recognized yourself in any of the above scenarios, perhaps a refresher in Driving 101 is right up your alley.

Parts is Parts

There comes a time in the lives of many adults when they find themselves entering a very special club. It isn’t one you can purchase a membership in, nor is it one that you can apply for. I’ve learned it doesn’t discriminate between age, gender, or income/ socioeconomic strata, although there are certain factors that do come into play that determine whether or not you can be admitted to the club. I’m talking about the New Parts Club. I think I’m among the first of my friends to join this club, and while I’m typically fine being the female ‘leader of the pack’, I could have been content in last place this time around, but noooo….. Tomorrow I will be getting a hip replaced, and of course it sounds really boring when I say it like that, so I had decided last week to try to have a little fun with it, and told someone “my new parts were on order”.  My brain being the warped and twisted little place it is, immediately came up with it’s own pictoral interpretation. So with all due respect to Jeff Anderson and all truly gifted cartoonists and illustrators, and to Diane Henders (imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery, and I promise you I won’t do it again soon, if ever!!) here is what it kind of looked like in my head:BYounkerHip 1

I figured I would have better luck drawing it than bribing a real Fedex guy to pose for a photo op with me, so I could put a thought bubble like that over his head – or is it UPS that has no sense of humor? I forget. Doesn’t matter anyway. I’m to damn young for this, no matter how you slice it. I mean, aren’t hip replacements for old people?

I can remember when I was in nursing school, which was so long ago that sometimes it seems like it was in the Pleistocene Era, people were in the hospital for 4 or 5 days, had to have PT in the hospital using a walker, and if they had REALLY difficult procedures might even be on Stryker circle beds. Don’t even get me started on those flipping bedpans (although don’t worry, we didn’t actually flip bedpans, that would have been just plain wrong). Now it’s same day surgery, home on crutches and oh yes, my surgeon said, you’ll be putting weight on that new hip right away in the recovery room. Say what?!!!

I also stumbled on this wonderful little tidbit as well, and couldn’t pass up sharing it. So, for all my “Never Say Spy” peeps, and with a wink and a nod to Crimson Rainbow Butterfly, Beloved Blazing Universe, Blessed Star Freedom, Cosmic Rainbow Song, and most especially Starry Shining Poem…

mlyn1841_hi

See y’all under new warranty!

~Venus Rainbow Ocean 😉

As American As…

I was reading a news article on CNN.com this morning about our political allies in Europe, and whether or not our allies should contribute more to subsidizing the defense we provide to them. (Yes, I know, it’s a deep subject, try not to faint. And I’m not going into commentary on it anyway, so you can breathe again now.) Something in the article caught my attention, however, and it’s something that has bothered me for quite a while. It’s the casual use of the word “American”.

How many of you really think of what that means? I was really curious about this, because after all, isn’t the news supposed to be in the business of reporting accurately? So I did a little research. According to Wikipedia, America is the same as the United States of America. Hmm, that seemed too easy to me, as it’s not how I remember it from grade school geography, and anyway, everyone knows you never trust only one source, so I pressed on.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition is:

  • 1
    either continent (North America or S. America) of the western hemisphere
  • 2
    or the Amer·i·cas play
    \-kəz\
    the lands of the western hemisphere including North, Central, & S. America & the W. Indies
  • 3
    United States of America

Now definition #2 is a whole lot closer to what I learned in grade school, which as I recall also included Canada.  I  also consulted my nephew’s girlfriend who is also a journalism major, and asked her to provide me with the correct useage according the AP guidelines which she tells me is what reporters live by. According to her( my new favorite guru!) the correct breakdown is the Caribbean, Central America, Latin America, North America, South America, and West Indies, and when speaking of the United States, then that’s what should be used. CNN, are you (and all of the media outlets, really) paying attention? Or perhaps I should ‘speak’ in the current vernacular of @CNN, or include their hashtag, #CNN. In any case,  what gives us the right to such casual appropriation of the word “America”? I will admit, I’ve been guilty of it as well when I say “I’m an American”, although that is true, in the larger context. However when the fourth estate uses the word America interchangeably with United States, that IS incorrect, and I might argue even somewhat arrogant.

Isn’t it possible – even likely – that residents of South America, Jamaica, Puerto Rico or Canada would like to be able to say they are American? (Feel free to weigh in, my Canadian friend!) And by definition, they can, because after all, Brazil is part of South America, Canada a part of North America. And doesn’t the media have an obligation to not only use words correctly, but also to educate?  Incorrect use of the word is misleading and uninformed, as well as showing an egocentric cultural bias. Even a very popular television program running on FX has appropriated the label and uses it to refer to the people of the United States.web_largecoverart_series_the-americans_270x398 The Americans is about Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, two Soviet intelligence agents posing as a married couple to spy on the American government during the cold war. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great show, I love tripping back to the 80’s, the chemistry between real life couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys is palpable, and the writing is fantastic, but again, using the phrase to describe people of the US is correct only by the default definition that’s become accepted over time. 

I realize that our language changes with the passage of years, and the generally accepted definition of a word can change as well. “Gay” is a great example. There was a time when it  meant happy, now the most common definition refers to sexual orientation. (Not passing judgment here, it was just the quickest example that came to mind.) However, altering the definition of a word to suit our cultural bias implies an elitism that is inappropriate.

There’s one final point to be made here. If you agree that there is some truth to this, that those who live not only in North America, but South America, the Carribbean, the West Indies, Latin America and Central America also have the right to call themselves Americans, then perhaps you’ll see the absurdity and irony in the recent rhetoric around “building a wall” and “making America great again”. Think about it for a moment, it’ll come to you.

 

From the Files of “I Can’t Make This Stuff Up”

MADISON, Wis. – A Madison man has won his fight to wear a pasta strainer on his head for his driver’s license photo.The state wasn’t too keen about Michael Schumacher’s desire to wear the colander on his head for the photo. Schumacher got an attorney involved and the state granted his request, but told him to tip the strainer back so his full face could be seen.

Schumacher’s attorney, Derek Allen, says it’s a First Amendment issue because it involves the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He says similar cases have been resolved in favor of Pastafarians in Utah, Texas and Massachusetts.

Allen says it’s not up to the government to decide what qualifies as a religion.

strainer

Personally, I’m just beyond grateful that when I decide to wear one in my license photo, it will be available in my favorite color.

via Pasta strainer head gear OK for Wis. driver’s license | KARE11.com.

Minneapolis, MN…a local man has started a Go Fund Me page for Kanye West, because that poor, tortured soul is in debt to the tune of $53 million, and can’t someone help a starving artist out please? Clearly Kanye’s rant to Mark Zuckerberg on Twitter to bail him out by sending $1 Billion to him didn’t work (because we all know $60 or 100 million just clearly wouldn’t have been enough to clear that pesky little debt). In 4 days the page has raised an amazing $5,000. Now out of curiosity, an only for that reason, not because I give a crap, I googled Kim Kardashian’s net worth. It’s over $300 million.  For the love of God, people, shouldn’t a wife help her husband? For richer or poorer and all that? And can someone please make the Kardashians go away? I promise I’ll try to avoid ever writing about them again. Unless they give me fodder for a story, then all bets are off.

With a nod to Engvall, White, Foxworthy and the Cable Guy (does he even have a last name 🙂 ?) Here’s your signs…because in Minnesota, apparently even two signs aren’t enough to warn some motorists that you shouldn’t drive your vehicle onto the ice. Costs to recover a vehicle range from $1500-$5000, and of course the vehicle is a total loss.

And from around the countryCoach fired for spanking his rookies too hard. Is THAT what they’re calling it now [insert inappropriate snort, chortle and uncontrollable laughter here] as I’m thinking, I mean really, do we need to be discussing this in the press? Then I realized it was about hazing practices, and yes, we probably do, because there’s no place for that. But it was funny when I thought it was a new euphemism for, well, you know….

Conspiracy Theorists – oh boy, here they go again. Apparently the little beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey wasn’t murdered in the basement of her parents home, and the body in the basement wasn’t real, because she has grown up to become….wait for it….yep, Katy Perry! I can’t help but wonder who they speculate were the real parents of Donald Trump?  (Oh, come on. Don’t tell me it hadn’t crossed your evil and twisted minds for two seconds too! And you might as well admit it, it is funny.)

Happy weekend all!

I Thought You Looked Familiar

Going through a drive through the other day, I was about to get my order when I noticed the tattoo on the forearm of the young person. In a lovely, scrawling script I saw “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and as she recited my order back to confirm, she was very polite and respectful. Then she said “Have a nice day ma’am” and I started ranting in my head, “I don’t care if I’ll never see 50 again, I’m not old enough to be ma’am. I don’t WANT to be a ma’am, did you ASK me if I wanted to be one? No! I feel like I’m still in my 30’s” and on and on it went in futility. I soon started thinking of the scene from the movie “Parenthood” where Dianne Wiest’s character Helen is ranting about being a grandmother (from IMDB):

Helen: [laughs incredulously] No, no, no, no. I’m too young to be a grandmother. Grandmothers are old. They bake, and they sew, and they tell you stories about the Depression.

[shouts]

Helen: I was at Woodstock, for ******’s sake! I peed in a field! I hung on to The Who’s helicopter as it flew away!

[gestures wildly]

George Bowman: I was at Woodstock.

Helen: [shouts] Oh yeah? I thought you looked familiar!

I’ll say it again, I’m too young to be a ma’am. You can’t prove I have gray hair, I haven’t had a joint replaced yet, I don’t have cataracts, gout or whatever else it is old people have. So what if I can now grow African violets?  My mother always told me the reason I was killing them when I was younger (read “in my 20’s and 30’s”) was because you had to be a lady of a certain age to grow them. She didn’t say specifically what that age was, but it was implied “old”. I had always pictured little hunched over, hey haired grannies when she said that (no offense to the grannies I know that aren’t grey haired OR hunched over, please!) I’m not old, I’m not even middle aged for that matter because I decided a long time ago that middle aged will always be anyone who is ten years older than me. I don’t need Efferdent, Depends or Doan’s, there’s no prune juice in my house, no assistive walking devices, no hearing aid batteries because there are no hearing aids. I run, can ride a bicycle, hiked a mountain last fall and dance just because it’s fun.

Ma’am. That was almost insulting. I think I’m going to Buca where a sweet young waiter carded me recently. Oh damn, he also carded my 75-year old mother. I’d sign up for dance lessons, but thanks to Dancing with the Stars, people like Cloris Leachman and Florence Henderson, that’s not even impressive anymore. Okay, so there are days when my knees are a little stiff, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to be grateful for waking  up on this side of the dirt, does it? I’m young, dang it! And if I say it loud enough and pound the table hard enough, maybe, just maybe, my fairy godmother will show up and make it so.

Oh look, was that a pig flying by….

A Little More And They Say Romance Is Dead

Taking a page from “Guru” Henders, rather than try to reinvent the proverbial wheel, I’m going to go with the theme from Tom Merriman’s blog in honor of Valentine’s Day, also known to some of my closest friends as Singles Appreciation Day, brought to you courtesy of Hallmark. The theme this month is

…and they say romance is dead…

I was going to go with dry, snarky and sarcastic, because that’s so much funnier. What’s coming out of my head instead is all the little ways that husband shows me it’s not. Sure, he forgets ALL THE TIME to put the seat down, but today he did the dishes without my asking, fixed something for me. And he takes the trash bins to the curb every week even in winter when it’s bitterly cold so I don’t have to and sometimes cleans the house. Now if only I could get him to put things away in the kitchen where they belong 🙂

Oh what the heck, who am I kidding. I was born with sarcastic as much a part of me as if it were a siamese twin. See, I even snuck it in the nice paragraph above. Can’t seem to help myself. So I thought I’d go looking for some funny evidence of our theme on the internet. Our first story is from Manchester, England, where a man is kicked out of his house by his wife. Apparently he posted a comment under a photo of a beautiful model saying he’d be willing to leave his family for one night with this woman. He got his wish.

This woman in England sends texts to her husband of all the things he says in his sleep. It’s actually funny and nonsensical. Wonder what the rest of us say?

Here’s one I can honestly say I’ve not heard of before, the weird world of wife carrying. This is actually a sporting event, complete with a prize at the end of taking home your wife’s weight in beer. Sounds like something my parroted friends would like, but sorry to say fellas, this year’s competition is full.

Google “is romance dead”. What an eye opener. Most of these real life examples that people have provided from an article on the Huffington post gave me pause. One romantic fella gave his wife the gift of a full body massage. Problem was, the massage therapist was his mother. Now she’s his ex-wife….

And here are a couple of jokes to leave you with.

A woman’s husband dies. He had $20,000 to his name.After everything is done at the funeral home and cemetery, she tells her closest friend that there is no money left.   The friend says, “How can that be?  You told me he had $20,000 a few days before he died. How could you be broke?”  The widow says, “Well, the funeral cost me $6,500. And of course, I had to make the obligatory donation for the church and the organist and all. That was $500 and I spent another $500 for the wake, food and drinks, you know. The rest went for the memorial stone.”  The friend says, “$12,500 for the memorial stone? My God, how big was it?  “The widow says, “Three carats.”

One day a housework‑challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt.  Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to his wife, “What setting do I use on the washing machine?”  “It depends,” she replied. “What does it say on your shirt?”  He yelled back, “University of Oklahoma.”  And they say blondes are dumb…

A woman was helping her computer-illiterate husband set up his computer, at the appropriate point in the process told him that he would now need to choose and enter a password.  Something he use to log on.  The husband was in a rather amorous mood and figured he would try for the shock effect to bring this to his wife’s attention.  So, when the computer asked him to enter his password, he made it plainly obvious to his wife that he was keying in, “p…e…n…i…s.”   His wife fell off her chair laughing when the computer replied:  PASSWORD REJECTED.  NOT LONG ENOUGH.

…and they say romance is dead…