Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dear Jayne

Dear Jayne: Through this blog, I have been very fortunate to "virtually meet" a lot of amazing people--funny, creative, and talented people. In addition to the sizable army of Russian spammers who enjoy frequenting this blog (I like to call them "spamniks" or "spamonauts"!), people have visited from Holland, Portugal, Canada, the U.K., all over the U.S., Japan, India, and who knows where? If you use "private browsing," I certainly do not know where. I hope it's pleasant.

Anyway, Jayne, here's the thing. When I think about the bloggers I've encountered, I picture a big dark globe and all of you bloggers are these bright little lights twinkling across the dark globe. There are the Canada lights, the California lights, the Massachusetts lights, the New York lights, the Florida light, South Carolina (North Carolina?), New Orleans, Maine, Arizona (New Mexico?), England, Wales. Yada Yada. As the box that Lily holds below says: "Each lamp burns independently."
There you all are, lamps burning bright, twinkling across the dark globe, creating. So funny, such good writers, good artists, good photographers, there you all are. In the peak time when we were all blogging a lot, the collective glow from us all felt very bright and warm to me. It made the globe less dark.

Behind those lights, all of you have big, real lives that go beyond that twinkling. I know a little bit about some of you, and I know a little bit about you, Jayne. What I know about you has given me tremendous respect for you--as a mother, as a daughter, as a wife, and a really strong person with the best and darkest sense of humor I've ever experienced. Here's one of my favorite comments that you made on my blog once: "Be careful if you try and laugh gaily whilst throwing your head back in a becoming female manner, because when I tried it something clicked in my neck, I fell over, and I squashed a plate of ham sandwiches." 

So, Jayne: Today I learned that you have died. And that feels incredibly unfair to me. I sit here sending good thoughts to your family. And I sit here thinking about you. Because I am thinking about you, I will do two things. I will ask people to consider donating their organs, because you asked them to consider doing that.

And Jayne, I will tell you this: I will always remember you, I will never forget you, and your light will always be there twinkling across the dark globe for me. (Note: I believe you would be the first to point out that it would actually be a lot better to still be alive. I agree.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Dear Express

Yeah, it's me. You know me. You know that I make copious amounts of sweet coin rain down upon you. You know I will buy your sassy little skirts. You know I will buy your vibrant-hued sweaters. You know that any minute now I will buy another "Skater Dress." Somehow you sense this, high up in your Express Castle of Knowledge, even 'though I have not yet placed my order. You know that this is not my first "Skater Dress," Express. You have the Big Data to prove that. And still, after five Skater Dresses, I'm not sure why I'm buying them. Why does one person who does not skate need five Skater Dresses?

Okay: Let's do some hermeneutics on this dress, shall we? Perhaps that will provide some clues. A cross-comparative literary analysis of multiple Express "Skater Dress" descriptions reveals the dress unilaterally promises to be "laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing, super-cute." Laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing, super-cute. Laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing, super-cute. HOLY CRAP, EXPRESS! I think I might want to date this dress instead of wearing it? In fact, I maybe want to marry this dress. I am probably ready to settle down with this "laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing, super-cute dress." I, too, will vow to be "laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing." We will make a great laidback and supple couple, this dress and I, and our union will be quite affordable ($39.90 MARKED DOWN!).

So: That's it. Express sucks me in with their bamboozling adjectives and sheer cunning. But, I'm drawing a line with Express. And, where am I drawing the line? EDITOR PANTS and COLUMNIST PANTS.
What the what the what? I'm an editor/writer. Does that mean I need one of each of the above pairs, even 'though they all look the same to me? When I stop editing, do I have to strip off my editor pants, put on my columnist pants, and start writing? And vice versa? And vice versa? What's that, Express? I think I hear you faintly calling "Yesss you need one of each paiiiir" from high up in your Express Castle of Knowledge. Somehow, this is not a surprising answer from you.

Okay, I'm sure the descriptions will help. The Columnist Pant has: "...a head-turning tailored look." In stark contrast, the Editor Pant has a: "flawless fit." What the what the what? First, both are too perfect to mesh with the rest of my wardrobe. These pants set the bar too damn high. Most often, I select pants that do not turn heads and do not fit flawlessly, but that mix and match well with classic coordinates such as Godzilla t-shirts. Second, I henceforth (or henceforth after I purchase my "Skater Dress," actually) refuse to shop at Express until they give me a detailed, five-page brief that explains the difference between "Editor" and "Columnist" pants. I know they can do it. I have faith in their "super-sleek, profesh, sultry, relaxed, user friendly" ability to do so.

A Telephone Chat with My New Friend

My New Friend: "My dad retired last year, but he decided he wants to keep working part-time. I go, 'Dad: Just enjoy retirement!' But, no. He goes, 'I can't just do nothing!' So, he does stuff like deliver flowers and take on odd jobs. Plus he likes to walk for two hours every day. He says he's making up for lost time in staying fit--all those years that he was working bent down just about double over a desk and just screwing up his back really bad, y'know? He has lost a ton of weight walking--which is why he hates winter, usually, like I told you--he wants to keep walking. Fortunately, it has been unusually mild here this year. He's still walking a lot and, believe it or not, he still has his summer tan! He gets a really great tan. Now, me, I take after mom. She's Irish and she can't tan. She just burns. So, she always looks like the underbelly of a fish. I look like that, too. Like the underbelly of a fish! Both my dad and my mom look really young for their ages."

Me: "You are going to look young forever--you have great genes on both sides."

My New Friend: "Yes! I really do have great genes on both sides, except only one side gets tan--like I told you--and I take after the other side...the underbelly of a fish side. Like, my mom and I will burn into red tomatoes if we take one step outside the front door in the summer and my dad, like, turns golden brown like a toaster waffle right away and he just stays like that. Never burns. Never ever ever burns. Ever."

Me: "Man! That's great! Golden brown like a toaster waffle! So.....Has my credit card gone through yet by any chance? 'cause I better get back to work soon."

My New Friend: "Oh, yeah! The computer processed it 10 minutes ago. You're all set. Is there anything else I can help you with today? Do you have any questions about your account?"

Me: "Nonononono. I really appreciate your help, and I hope you and your family have a happy new year!"

My New Friend: "You are the chattiest customer I've had in awhile! You have a happy new year, too, hon!"

Monday, December 28, 2015

The first rule of Fight Face is:

Recently, my friend told me that I have a "Fight Face." I thought my friend was joking. I was incorrect.
Me: "So, I'm going to go to the big city!"
Friend: "Do not go to the big city."
Me: "Why?"
Friend: "Because that Fight Face of yours is going to get you in trouble."
Me: "?"
Friend: "People will take one look at that Fight Face of yours and you're going to have to fight 'em."
Me: "Ha. Hey. That's pretty funny."
Friend: "I am not joking. You have a Fight Face. It is scary. And you're going to have to back it up with your fists. People are going to think you're picking a fight with them and they're going to call you out."
Me: "I do NOT have a Fight Face. Are you talking about that one time, long ago, when I drove you home from the concert in your giant tanklike car because you took something, and I was frowning and concentrating really hard to drive us through the crowds of zombie concertgoers and I scared you with my frowny face? I was concentrating. I told you that!"
Friend: "I am NOT talking about that. I am talking about your Fight Face. You better stay home."
Me: "I do NOT have a Fight Face!"
Friend: "You sound angry. I bet you're getting Fight Face right now."
Me: "...I DO NOT HAVE A FIGHT FACE. But, okay, I'll just use my Friendly Face."
Friend: "DO NOT USE YOUR FRIENDLY FACE. Jesus. Do you want people to CRUSH YOU?"
Friend: "Not that Fight Face you have on right now, that's for sure. Not the Friendly Face. Jesus. Wear sunglasses. Just wear sunglasses."
Me: "All the time?"
Friend: "All the time."

Now, my Confused Chimp Face, I'm familiar with that one. That's the face that helps me swiftly navigate through airports because people pity me and lead me places. That's the face that makes young and old alike  call me "Dear." I don't make Confused Chimp face on purpose, it happens organically when I'm worried or sad. I'm pretty sure my Confused Chimp Face is why the super nice girl at Dunkin' Donuts gave me 15 chocolate munchkins for the price of 3, plus a free vanilla chai, last week. Confused Chimp Face is my friend. But, "Fight Face?" The thought of Fight Face is giving me Confused Chimp Face. What if Fight Face pops out during a meeting, and I have no idea, and suddenly one of my co-workers asks if I want to step outside? Sunglasses? All the time?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dog vs. Accordion...Dog Always Wins

This is a tough tune to play. I need eight hands and only have two hands. Yet I am judged harshly.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Incredible Infographics Explained by Algernon

Um, yeah. I am, um, Algernon. Others often volunteer me to do unpleasant things, and I am often sad about that. Today, it is my sad and unpleasant duty to try to explain this infographic.
Okay, my top 5 Takeaways are:
  1. Mice have nervous breakdowns? My heart has never ached for mice as much as it does right now.
  2. But, instead of having a nervous breakdown, that mouse looks like it got a cheap thrill by pressing the button. I am now very confused. I might be heading for a nervous breakdown involving pools of tears.
  3. Being an easy victim of Hitler looks hard: You gotta hold one leg up at a 90 degree angle. Ow. And only Hitler got to have hair--kind of a Donald Trump-like "Hair Awning," but at least hair.
  4. The Germans were very confused when the mouse became very confused and that caused WWII.
  5. At least the mouse got some cheese for awhile, man. Everybody else gets bubkes here.
Top Takeaway:
Everybody should just eat cheese and not fight each other or get zapped by electricity. Eat Cheese.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Incredible Infographics Explained by Cappy

Hello! Cappy here. I've been known to hit the sauce a bit because everyone knows it is great for stress and general good times. So, I'll just give you a second to go mix me up a Harvey Wallbanger, and then we'll get started. As we know, Vitamin C is crucial to our health--so mix one up for you, too.
Thanks! Here's mud in your eye! Let's take a look at this Incredible Infographic and figure out our key takeaways. I think that...WAIT A GOSH DARN MINUTE HERE...what the heckamire is this?
Oh...whew. Sorry for flying off the handle. I think I've got this thing figured out. I was not hitherto familiar with the word "alcoholism," but alcoholism must be when you are lacking access to alcohol. Now this thing makes sense. Here are my key takeaways, and I'm sure they're yours, too...

1) #1 frame is missing a verb and some key words. "Educate community to sympathetic understanding." I would edit this to say: "Educate community to achieve a sympathic understanding that Cappy needs alcohol."
2) #2 frame is pretty straightforward. If Cappy gets sick, "Make medical treatment available and have a hot nurse bring Cappy a nice, big glass of booze."
3) #3 and #4 frames...that's all over my head, Professor. Where's the booze here? Stick to the point.
4) #5 frame. Now you're talkin', Professor! SUPPORT RESEARCH on how to get me more booze.
5) #6 frame. There's a frickin' TREE on top of the guy's frickin' HOUSE and he has a toxic waste-belching factory in the backyard. Whoever lives here needs a drink STAT.

TOP TAKEAWAY: I need another drink if you're gonna make me do this again. This stuff makes my mind all swimmy.

Dinosaurs + Stooges = Dinooges

Gyps and Swindles to Watch Out For!

Hi-ho...Lester here! I like to maintain a sense of cautious hopefulness about life, but sometimes I read things that make me nervous.
For example, I have been catching up on current trends in crime. Things have changed a lot since my time, and I think it's good to be hopeful plus informed about possible stranger danger, y'know?

According to this pamphlet I'm reading, you people come up with some complicated schemes...I care about you, so I'll give you the list of things to watch out for:

1) "Doctor Buncombe's Magic Electro-Vitamin Belt"--I know, right? Sounds great to me, but I guess it is supposed to be a bad idea cooked up by flim-flam men...BTW: Be on the look-out for "Viola Cream," "Vit-O-Net," and "Gland-Glad," too (you don't want to know why, just take my word for it).
2)  Anything that claims to cure: "Radio Ear," "Paralyzed Pores," "Germ Mask," and "Cheap Soap Complexion."
3) "Spanish Prisoner Fraud," "Canadian Slickers," and "Plantation Rackets."
4) Anyone that tries to sell you something related to "Gold from Ocean," "Height Increasing," "Hard Luck Stories," "Buried Treasures," "Popularity Contests," "Movie Screen Tests," and..."Panama Hats." I've always hoped to get a Panama hat--I think I'd look good in one--but my booklet says ix-nay, and I must say that has put the kibosh on my hopes...

Have a cautiously hopeful, yet informed, day!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Incredible Infographics Explained by Eli

Heigh-ho, I am Eli Ringtail-Tooter and I fight for justice every day except for Wednesdays. Each Wednesday, I bend my keen and agile legal mind to mastering the subtle art of decoupage.

Today, I'm here to explain how the pressure groups work (it's not enough to say "pressure groups," you need to say "the pressure groups"). First, what are YOUR key takeaways?

Okay: Is your takeaway that the pressure groups are stealthy, unprincipled mofos? SURE! That's one possible key takeaway. However, here are some other key takeaways:

1) You cannot have the pressure groups without a whole lot of the little rectangles and arrows.
2) If you take away the rectangles and arrows, you render the pressure groups powerless!
3) Be sure to take away the pressure groups' dark shading; they cannot be "under cover" without it.
4) Almost everyone in the pressure groups and general public is a blank-faced scary lookin' mofo.
5) Only propagandists have faces. They have two faces, plus a big diamond-shaped lollipop.
6) Are you a "front" or an "innocent"? I'm not sure which I am. It keeps me up at night.
7) Avoid all media. Death-ray-emitting radios that smite you in your armchair! Homicidal flying newspapers! Treacherously sliding billboards! Giant airborne textbooks!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Incredible InfoGraphics Explained by Cappy

Ahoy there. I'm Cappy. This morning, I have already enjoyed several refreshing libations--Harvey Wallbangers, if you must know, because the orange juice is healthful in the a.m. My wits are keen, my analysis skills are laser sharp, and I am fully prepared to explain an extremely important Incredible Infographic to you!
First, what are YOUR key takeaways? I'll give you a few minutes to think about it while I go over and chat with my friend the bartender.

Okay. Are your takeaways that "Of every 20 epileptics who are not self-supporting 16 were found to be employable and of the remaining 4 one did not want to work, two according to their past records were not reliable, and only one could not work because of sickness"? WRONG! Here are the correct takeaways:

1) How are those 16 guys gonna fit into those tiny little boxes with the squiggly stuff on top? 
2) How can those tiny little boxes with the squiggly stuff on top result in gainful employment?
3) Those 16 guys march well, this is true. But: Do they think they can fit in there? They worry me.
4) Mr. One Guy Who Did Not Want to Work is...Mr. SMARTEST GUY, yo! He knows he is not gonna be able to fit in those tiny little boxes. He just sits back and says, "No thanks, dude. I'm good."
5) Mr. Two Guys Who Were Not Reliable are...ALSO Mr. Smartest Guys! If being reliable makes you march off and try to squeeze yourself into tiny little boxes I say it is a poor idea to be reliable.
6) Mr. One Guy Who Could Not Work Because of Sickness is...ALSO Mr. Smartest Guy! Between you, me, and the barkeep: His sickness is due to trying to squish himself into tiny little boxes with the squiggly stuff on top. He is sick of that and he would rather roam the fjords. Go little sick guy GO!