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Celebrate this!

April 9, 1999

April is National Poetry Month. It’s also Earthquake Preparedness Month, which in itself explains why it’s Stress Awareness Month. Or maybe that’s because it’s Mathematics Education Month. It’s certainly got nothing to do with April being National Lawn and Garden Month. In case you’re keeping track, April also contains Ocean Week (12-17th), Corn Week (also the 12th-17th), End of Prohibition Day (April 7th), Professional Secretaries Day (21st), Earth Day (21st), Anzac Day (25th), Togo’s Independence Day (27th), National Day of Mourning (28th), and Arbor Day (30th). It’s also the month of Easter and Passover. Rome was founded in the month of April, the Titanic went down in April, and on April 10th, 1924, the first book of crosswords was introduced. We’ve become so weighed down by history and the need to celebrate various things that there’s no day, week, or month, that isn’t overloaded with significance. With all these things to celebrate, or, if you’re firmly anti-ocean, hate secretaries, or think Prohibition was a good idea, not celebrate, is it any wonder that now riots are a way people celebrate AND protest? Well, I’ve had enough. I say it’s about time we set aside a World Nothing Day, a day when absolutely nothing happened, happens, or will happen. Ever. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a day that’s free. But at least all this explains April Fools’ Day.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Dept. of the Army
Regulations For Operation Of Aircraft
Commencing January 1920

1. Don’t take the machine into the air unless you are satisfied it will fly.

2. Never leave the ground with the motor leaking.

3. Don’t turn sharply when taxiing. Instead of turning sharp, have someone lift the tail around.

4. In taking off, look at the ground and the air.

5. Never get out of the machine with the motor running until the pilot relieving you can reach the motor controls.

6. Pilots should carry hankies in a handy place to wipe off goggles.

7. Riding on the steps, wings, or rail of the machine is prohibited.

8. In case the engine fails on takeoff, land straight ahead regardless of obstacles.

9. No machine must taxi faster than a man can walk.

10. Never run motor so that blast will blow on other machines.

11. Learn to gauge altitude, especially on landing.

12. If you see another machine near you, get out of the way.

13. No two cadets should ever ride together in the same machine.

14. Do not trust altitude instruments.

15. Before you begin a landing glide, see that no machines are under you.

16. Hedge-hopping will not be tolerated.

17. No spins on back or tail sides will be indulged in as they unnecessarily strain the machines.

18. If flying against the wind and you wish to fly with the wind, don’t make a sharp turn near the ground. You may crash.

19. Motors have been known to stop during a long glide. If pilot wishes to use motor for landing, he should open the throttle.

20. Don’t attempt to force the machine onto the ground with more than flying speed. The result is bounding and ricocheting.

21. Pilots will not wear spurs while flying.

22. Do not use aeronautical gasoline in cars or motorcycles.

23. You must not take off or land closer than 50 feet to the hanger.

24. Never take a machine into the air until you are familiar with it’s controls and instruments.

25. If an emergency occurs while flying, land as soon as possible.

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

2. A day without sunshine is like, night.

3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

4. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

7. I feel like I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

8. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.

9. Honk if you love peace and quiet.

10. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

11. Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?

12. Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

13. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

14. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

15. Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

16. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

17. I intend to live forever — so far, so good.

18. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

19. My mind Like A Steel Trap – Rusty And Illegal In 37 States.

20. Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of.

21. The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes.

22. When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane and going the wrong way.

23. If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

24. A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

25. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

26. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

27. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

28. Never do card tricks for the group you play poker with.

29. No one is listening until you make a mistake.

30. Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.

31. The hardness of the butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.

32. The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the ability to reach it.

33. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

34. To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.

35. Two wrongs are only the beginning.

36. The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

37. The sooner you fall behind, the more time you’ll have to catch up.

38. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

39. Plan to be spontaneous — tomorrow.

40. How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hands …

41. If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.

April is the cruellest month…

April 2, 1999

I’ve been had. I’ve been conned, duped, hornswaggled, deceived, bamboozled, and a victim of ledgerdemain. I’m a rube, a mark, a bumpkin, a yokel, an easy target, a swain. Why am I all these things? Because I, like so many others, have tried one of the currently popular herbal remedies. Specifically I’ve been taking gingko which, according to the literature on the side of the bottle, is supposed to make you smarter. I’ve been taking the stuff two and three times a day for over a week, and I have yet to see any real effect. I certainly don’t feel any smarter. The sad thing is I should have known better. When I was first offered gingko with the promise that it would make me more intelligent, I should have remembered the old local joke about the city kid and the country kid. The city kid and the country kid, so the joke goes, were walking through the forest when they found a pile a rabbit pellets (for those of you who live exclusively in urban areas, these are droppings, and, as in urban areas, they’re left everywhere and no one’s required to clean them up). The city kid asked, "What are those?" The country kid replied, "Those are smart pills. Go ahead and try one." So, after eating five or six, the city kid said, "These taste like s–t!" The country kid said, "You’re getting smarter already." Well, at least I have enough intelligence to figure out that an herb can’t make someone smarter.

Hey, maybe it’s working after all!

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


* * * HOLY GRAIL * * *

As is.
$50 or best offer.

I got it cheap at a flea market. It’s the real McCoy, and I thought I was getting a great deal. But it turned out not to be so hot from my point of view. I’ll explain, because I don’t want anyone saying how I cheated them if it wasn’t what they expected.

First, the Grail sheds a pure and holy light. That’s okay, and it’s quite a conversation piece, but it’s damn annoying when you’re trying to sleep or watch TV. Covering the grail with a cloth does not seem to help for some reason. (We have been using white samite; perhaps this is the source of the problem?)

Second, only the pure of heart can touch or even look upon the Grail. Needless to say I do not qualify. This means that we haven’t been able to dust behind it on the mantel since we put it in there. Therefore anyone who wants to purchase the Grail will have to come and carry it away themselves; we will not deliver it.

Third, every month or so since we have had the Grail, three white-clothed women have made a silent and eerie procession through our house. They also glow with a pure and holy light, and they have no consideration for any guests who happen to be living in the downstairs room. It sure is a good thing that they are silent, because I think otherwise the neighbors would surely have complained. We got enough weird glances as it is. To top it off, one of the glowing babes is carrying a spear which continually drips blood. True, the blood vanishes ere it touches the floor, but nevertheless I get queasy at the sight of blood and these women traipsing through my house with their cloth and blood and light and stuff at all hours of the day and night are really getting on my nerves.

Anyway that’s the scoop. Perhaps someone else out there knows how to deal with these problems and would like to take the abominable cup off my hands?

Sister Mary Barbie: This spiritual Barbie comes with jointed knees and neck for genuflecting and praying, mini rosary beads, a mini bible and a black sequinned nun’s habit (after all, she’s still Barbie). Pull the string on her back and she says nothing because she has taken a vow of silence.

Rabbi Barbie: So, why not? Women rabbis are on the cutting edge in Judaism. Rabbi Barbie comes with tiny satin yarmulke, prayer shawl, Teflon, silver kaddish cup, Torah scrolls. Optional: tiny mezuzah for doorway of Barbie Townhouse.

Admin Barbie: Works twenty hour days for little pay (80% of Admin Ken’s salary), and is the lowest on the totem pole despite being the one that actually runs the group. Comes with mini laptop. Pull the string on her back and she’ll schedule a meeting with your other dolls, replace the toner cartridge in the laser printer, co-ordinate a re-org and a move, and order airline tickets for Admin Ken.

Temp Barbie: This smartly dressed, intelligent, hardworking and enthusiastic Barbie is ready to go right out of the box, but usually goes untouched for at least a day while everyone tries to figure out why they bought her. Pull the string on her back and she’ll stuff envelopes indefinitely, all the while wondering why she got a liberal arts degree. Comes with mini resume and mini filing cabinet filled with the past five years worth of US Tax Code revisions which need to be collated.

Ripped-Off-In-The-Divorce-Settlement Barbie: Pull the string on her back and she unloads a torrent of insults and death threats for her ex’s new wife. Comes with a hatred for all men, and a Malibu Barbie tan (except for a white band on the ring finger of her left hand).

Twelve-Step Barbie: Pull the string on her back and she says, "Hi, I’m Barbie and I’m an alcoholic." Comes with a "One Day at a Time" bumper sticker, a 30-day chip and a pack of smokes.

Birkenstock Barbie: Finally, a Barbie doll with horizontal feet and comfortable, if ugly, sandals. Made from recycled materials.

Bite-The-Bullet Barbie: An anthropologist Barbie with pith helmet, camera, detachable limbs, fake blood and the ability to perform surgery on her-self in the Outback.

Blue Collar Barbie: Comes with overalls, protective goggles, lunch pail, UAW membership, pamphlet on union-organizing and pay scales for women as compared to men. Waitressing outfits and cashier’s aprons may be purchased separately for Barbies who are holding down second jobs in order to make ends meet.

Homegirl Barbie: Truly a fly Barbie in midriff-bearing shirt and baggy jeans. Comes with gold jewellery, hip-hop accessories and plenty of attitude. Pull cord and says things like "I don’t think so," "Dang, get outta my face," and "You go, girl." Teaches girls not to take crap from men.

Transgender Barbie: Formerly known as G.I. Joe.

Robotic Barbie: Hey, kids, experiment with an autonomous two-legged walking machine! After falling over she says "Control theory is hard. Damn these spike heels anyway!"

Dinner Roll Barbie: A Barbie with multiple love handles, double chin, a real curvy belly, and voluminous thighs to show girls that voluptuousness is also beautiful. Comes with a miniature basket of dinner rolls, bucket o’ fried chicken, tiny Entenmann’s walnut ring, a brick of Dreyer’s ice cream, three bags of potato chips, a T-shirt reading "Only the Weak Don’t Eat", and, of course, an appetite.

Mobile Home Park Barbie: Comes complete with hair in rollers and pregnant. Accessories include two toddlers. When you pull the string on her back she asks where her gov’t support check is. Some Mobile Home Barbies come with surprise Ken or G.I. Joe since they often give her surprise visits when they come into town.


" March 26, 1999

Right now Shakespeare is the hottest writer in Hollywood. This isn’t the first time a writer who’s been dead long enough for his works to be public domain has become the toast of Tinseltown, and with good ideas in short supply, there’s going to be even more grave digging over the next few years in an attempt to appeal to jaded audiences made up of mostly teenagers. Who’s expected to be the next author whose books no teenager will read but whose movies will be more popular than baggy jeans and nose piercings? According to some, it’s going to be Kafka. I have no idea why, and, frankly, I don’t think it’s going to work. In addition to the film that was vaguely about Kafka’s life that bombed at the box office a few years ago, some Kafka story scenarios will show why he’ll never by a Hollywood darling:

The Metamorphosis: Okay, the "troubling dreams" of Gregor Samsa mentioned in the first sentence could make for a really cool opening sequence, but the story goes rapidly downhill from there. The main character, as you know, finds that during the night he’s been mysteriously transformed into a giant dung beetle. It might be popular with some, but every male out there remembers that, sometime between the age of twelve and fifteen, this happened to him. He went to sleep one night a normal kid and woke up hairy, gangly, and with the ability to consume anything. No wonder everyone thinks the story’s actually about a cockroach.

Address To The Academy: A talking orangutan tells the scientists who gave him human intelligence what’s wrong with the human race. Everyone who is or has been a teenager knows what it’s like to know everything and have to stay in school anyway. Besides, smart-assed simians are already a dime a dozen in movies these days. Josephine the Singer, Or, The Mouse Folk: The mysterious popularity of a mouse who is just like every other mouse is examined. The only thing the examiner is able to conclude about her is that she contributes absolutely nothing to society. With its present conclusions it won’t go over well with prom queens, rock stars, or CEOs, but with a completely different ending and some catchy songs Disney might make a go at it.

The Penal Colony: A sadistic madman has created the ultimate torture device. This is one scenario Hollywood has done and redone for years. It’s called Oscar Night.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Advancement opportunity:
Crap job.

Entry level:
Really crap job.

No experience necessary:
The mother of all crap jobs.

Administrative assistant:
Crap job with a title.

Ground floor opportunity:
Crap job with a company that will file bankruptcy within a year.

Progressive company:
Employees get to wear jeans every other Friday.

Team player:
Must deal with dangerously territorial co-workers with rabid

Upbeat personality:
Must neither threaten us with any kind of lawsuit nor use the drug and alcohol rehab benefit within the first year.

Word processing skills essential:
There’s a crippling case of carpal tunnel syndrome in your future.

Public relations:

Professional appearance important:
$20K/yr job that requires a $100K/yr wardrobe

Pleasant telephone manner:
Be the voice of 1-900-HOT-TIME

Salary range $24,000 to $32,00:
The salary is $24,000

Jeans job!
Minimum wage temp job in concentration camp conditions.

Will train:
Prior conviction of a felony or two no problem.

B.A. required, master’s preferred:
Must be an M.A. willing to work on a B.A.’s salary

Civil service:
This job was filled from the inside six months ago.

Women & minorities encouraged to apply:
White males need not waste the stamp.

Outstanding benefits package:
Health insurance.

Tons of variety!
We took all the heinous tasks no other employee would do & rolled them into one job.

Top-notch communication skills:

Beautiful offices in attractive location:
Brand new ticky-tacky windowless building where the picture frames all match the carpeting.

Woman-only job with the responsibilities of management & wages of a migrant worker.

Executive secretary:
The most powerful position in the company

You’re looking at a minimum of 80 hours a week from now until we force you into early retirement.

Salary commensurate:
We’ll pay you whatever the hell we feel like.

Salary negotiable
We’ll take the lowest bidder.

Competitive salary:
We’ll pay you up to 10% more than your last job and not one penny more.

Competitive starting salary:
Ten cents above minimum wage.

Pleasant atmosphere:
A staff of pod people.

Professional atmosphere:
Zombie pod people.

Fun, creative atmosphere:
Pod people from hell.

Dynamic atmosphere:
Zombie pod people from hell.

Gal Friday:
Anyone who actually applies for this job deserves it.

Open to very broad interpretation since no one really knows what this means.

An Anagram, as we all know, is a word or phrase made by transposing or rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. The following are quite clever. Someone out there either has way too much time to waste, or is really deadly competition at Scrabble.

Dormitory: Dirty Room
Evangelist: Evil’s Agent
Desperation: A Rope Ends It
The Morse Code: Here Come Dots
Slot Machines: Cash Lost in ’em
Animosity: Is No Amity
Mother-in-law: Woman Hitler
Snooze Alarms :Alas! No More Z’s
Alec Guinness: Genuine Class
Semolina: Is No Meal
The Public Art Galleries: Large Picture Halls, I Bet
A Decimal Point: I’m a Dot in Place
The Earthquakes: That Queer Shake
Eleven plus two: Twelve plus one
Contradiction: Accord not in it

This one’s amazing:
"To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in
the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."

In one of the Bard’s best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent
hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten.

And the grand finale:
"That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." –
Neil A. Armstrong

A thin man ran; makes a large stride, left planet, pins flag on moon!
On to Mars!

We Don’t Need No Education

March 19, 1999

Recently I was reading some short essays by people remembering teachers who changed their lives, and decided it was time I should stand up for the teachers who, with their extraordinary lack of dedication and ineptitude, make absolutely no difference in the lives of everyone. Coach Tiddle was just such a teacher. I have no idea what he was a coach of–maybe it was an honorary title. At my high school, male teachers seemed uncomfortable with the title "Mister", so after the school day was over they would all go stand around by the football field and become honorary coaches. During the day, Coach Tiddle taught geometry, which is appropriate, since he was an almost perfect sphere. Coach Tiddle only taught geometry in the sense that he guided us through what was in the textbook. Questions were to be directed to Miss Arkham down the hall who helped the Math Team win a Good Effort award every year at the local Math Mania Marathon. It was in the spouting of peculiar bits of wisdom that Coach Tiddle really excelled. The first day he explained to us why we had a dress code using himself as an example. "I’m a big hairy man. If I came in wearing just shorts and sneakers, it would be kind of distracting." I kept this and other aphorisms in a thick notebook under the title "Tiddle’s Tidbits". Unfortunately most of these pearls are lost now, along with what little I learned about geometry, but here are a few I still remember:

"Leonard, would you please close the window? The air conditioner isn’t big enough to cool the outside. Maybe we can get a bigger one to do that."

"You’ll notice that this is an isosceles triangle. Those are really hard to climb."

"How do we measure from Point A to Point B? We could have somebody walk it, but there’s probably a river with piranhas, alligators, and sewage in the way."

"The best thing you can do with a cone is fill it up with ice cream. I like strawberry, chocolate, and homemade peach. My favorite is pralines and cream."

"Why do we even have obtuse angles? If I were an angle, I’d want to be right, or acute. Obtuse sounds like something nasty."

"I’m 43. That’s a prime number. I thought about getting a t-shirt that said, ‘Proud To Be Prime’, but in three months I won’t be able to wear it."

Maybe Coach Tidwell didn’t teach me much about geometry, but he taught me a bigger, much more important lesson. I’ll let you know when I figure out what that lesson was.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Don’t squat with your spurs on.

Don’t interfere with something that ain’t botherin’ you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swaller.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

If it don’t seem like it’s worth the effort, it probably ain’t.

It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.

The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mirror every morning.

Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.

Don’t worry about bitin’ off more’n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger’n you think.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Generally, you ain’t learnin’ nothing when your mouth’s a-jawin’.

Tellin’ a man to git lost and makin’ him do it are two entirely different propositions.

If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there with ya.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don’t be surprised if they learn their lesson.

When you’re throwin’ your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back.

Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s sure crucial to know what it was.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

ON TESCO’S TIRAMISU DESERT – Do not turn upside down. (Printed on the bottom of the box.)

ON MARKS & SPENCER BREAD PUDDING – Product will be hot after heating

ON PACKAGING FOR A ROWENTA IRON – Do not Iron clothes on body

ON BOOTS CHILDREN’S COUGH MEDICINE – Do not drive car or operate machinery

ON NYTOL (A SLEEP AID) – Warning: may cause drowsiness

ON A KOREAN KITCHEN KNIFE – Warning: keep out of children

ON A STRING OF CHINESE MADE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS – For indoor or outdoor use only.

ON A JAPANESE FOOD PROCESSOR – Not to be used for the other use.

ON SAINSBURY’S PEANUTS – Warning: contains nuts

ON AN AMERICAN AIRLINES PACKET OF NUTS – Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.

ON A SWEDISH CHAINSAW – Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.

ON A PACKET OF SUNMAID RAISINS – Why not try tossing over your favorite breakfast cereal?

The Frugal Gourmet–Southern Style!

March 5, 1999

Despite my occasional jokes at the expense of Tennessee, the great state in which I live, I try to remember that, for the most part, it’s not in a backward place that deserves to be a laughingstock of the rest of the country (or at least most of it). But sometimes I hear things that make it almost impossible to think Tennessee as anything but the reason redneck jokes are based on actual events and people. Right now the Tennessee state legislature, which is normally occupied with more important matters like making it illegal to teach evolution, or hunting for Native American burial grounds to cover with megamalls, is considering legislation that will make it legal for people to take home animals they hit with their cars and eat them. I’m not kidding. This is known as the "roadkill bill". Honestly, I didn’t know it was illegal to do this, but for reasons I’m sure you’ll understand, it’s never been a big concern for me, or anyone else I know. The bad news is traffic is really going to slow down when Tennessee’s highways become the country’s biggest takeout restaurant. The good news is I just bought stock in a company that makes snow shovels. Before I share this week’s offerings with you, here are a few subject lines for this week that I decided were just too–excuse the pun–tasteless:

Badgers? You Bet We Need Some Stinking Badgers!

Hey, It Really Does Taste Like Chicken.

Cooking With Uncle Rupert

Fire Up The Pickup, Granny, An Elephant’s Done Escaped From The Zoo!


It has become obvious to us Southerners that our present astrological signs have served their purpose and that we should get rid of them.

When I’m out driving around I’ll see bulls, and once in a great while I suppose I’ll even see a ram. Up the street from me there’s some twins, but I don’t see them much. The rest of these things are just too obscure. You only see crabs on vacation. There are no lions or scorpions, not many archers and no damn water bearers. Virgins? The neighborhood’s not crawling with them either. SO, what we need here is some relevance. We need things we can recognize up there in the night sky.

Dec 22-Jan 20
Although you appear crude, you are actually very slick on the inside. Okra have tremendous influence. An older Okra can look back over his life and see the seeds of his influence everywhere. Stay away from Moon Pies.

Jan 21-Feb 19
Chitlins often come from humble backgrounds. Many times they’re uncomfortable talking about just where they came from. A chitlin, however, can make something of himself if he’s motivated and has plenty of seasoning. When it comes to dealing with Chitlins, be very careful. Chitlins can burn and then erupt like Vesuvius, and this can make for a really terrible mess. Chitlins are best with Catfish and Okra. Remember that when marriagetime rolls around.

Boll Weevil
Feb 20-Mar 20
You have an overwhelming curiosity. You’re unsatisfied with the surface of things, and you feel the need to bore deep into the interior of everything. Needless to say, you are very intense and driven as if you had some inner hunger. Nobody in their right mind is going to marry you, so don’t worry about it.

Moon Pie
Mar 21-Apr 20
You’re the type that spends a lot of time on the front porch. It’s a cinch to recognize the physical appearance of Moon Pies. "Big" and "round" are the key words here. You should marry anybody who you can get remotely interested in the idea. It’s not going to be easy. This might be the year to think about aerobics. Maybe not.

Apr 21-May 21
When confronted with life’s difficulties, possums have a marked tendency to withdraw and develop a "don’t-bother-me-about-it" attitude. Sometimes you become so withdrawn, people actually think you’re dead. This strategy is probably not psychologically healthy, but seems to work for you. One day, however, it won’t work, and you may find your problems actually running youover.

May 22-Jun 21
Crawfish is a water sign. If you work in an office, you’re always hanging around the water cooler. Crawfish prefer the beach to the mountains, the pool to the golf course, the bathtub to the living room. You tend not to be particularly attractive physically, but you have very, very good heads.

Jun 22- Jul 23
Collards have a genius for communication. They love to get in the "melting pot" of life and share their essence with the essences of those around them. Collards make good social workers, psychologists, and baseball managers. As far as your personal life goes, if you are Collards, stay away from Moon Pies. It just won’t work. Save yourself a lot of heartache.

Jul 24-Aug 23
Catfish are traditionalists in matters of the heart, with one exception: Whiskers may cause problems for loved ones. You catfish are never easy people to understand. You prefer the muddy bottoms to the clear surface of life. Above all else, Catfish should stay away from Moon Pies.

Aug 24-Sep 23
Your highest aim is to be with others like yourself. You like to huddle together with a big crowd of other Grits. You love to travel, though, so maybe you should think about joining a club. Where do you like to go? Anywhere they have cheese or gravy or bacon or butter or eggs. If you can go somewhere where they have all these things, that serves you well.

Boiled Peanuts
Sep 24-Oct 23
You have a passionate desire to help yourfellow man. Unfortunately, those who know you best-your friends and loved ones-may find that your personality is much too salty, and their criticism will probably affect you deeply because you are really much softer than you appear. You should go right ahead and marry anybody you want to because in a certain way, yours is a charmed life. On the road of life, you can be sure that people will always pull over and stop for you.

Butter Bean
Oct 24-Nov 22
Always invite a Butter Bean because Butter Beans get along well with everybody. You, as a Butter Bean, should be proud. You’ve grown on the vine of life and you feel at home no matter what the setting. You can sit next to anybody. However, you, too, shouldn’t have anything to do with Moon Pies.

Nov 23-Dec 21
You have a tendency to develop a tough exterior, but you are actually quite gentle. A good evening for you? Old friends, a fire, some roots, fruit, worms and insects. You are a throwback. You’re not concerned with today’s fashions and trends. You’re not concerned with anything about today. You’re really almost prehistoric in your interests and behavior patterns. You probably want to marry another Armadillo, but Possum is another, somewhat kinky, mating possibility.

Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients.

The first surgeon says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second surgeon responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is color coded."

The third surgeon says, "No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers…. those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would."

But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed: "You’re all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. They have no guts, no heart, no spine, and their head and butt are interchangeable."

Jurassic Stock

February 26, 1999

Some people used to collect antiques, but the obsession with the past has reached a new height now as more and more people are collecting REALLY old stuff. Fossils and meteors have become the biggest collecting fad of the decade, and maybe even for a few decades to come because, let’s face it, ten more years isn’t going to add a lot of value to something that’s ten million years old. I heard someone on the radio claiming that $50,000 meteor they owned was "older than the solar system." If I’d been there, I could have pointed out that particles of hydrogen gas in our atmosphere are also older than the solar system. That lump of dirt stuck to your shoe is also older than the solar system, it’s just been recycled a few more times. And while we’re looking at old things, I’ve got an old picture of my grandfather taken during the Great Depression, another time when only a few people could afford to spend obscene amounts of money on things they had absolutely no use for. But I have to admit that fossils fascinate me just as much as the next guy, so I checked around to see how much, say, a complete tyrannosaurus rex would set me back, with shipping and handling. I didn’t find one, but I did find some lovely coprolites for between three and five thousand dollars. Coprolites are, of course, fossilized dung, and, at least according to what I’ve read, they’re "prized for their aesthetic value". The poet Charles Baudelaire found a lot of "aesthetic value" in rotting mammal corpes,but he didn’t put one in his living room, much less pay gobs of money to do so. The sad thing is that most of this stuff belongs in museums but ends up on coffee tables. Between the collectors and budget cuts, museums may soon be a thing of the past. Hey, maybe they’ll become collectors’ items.

Enjoy this week’s very old offerings.

Signs the 80’s Crowd Is Getting Older

The music that was so hip and cutting edge when we were in school is now played on "Adult Contemporary" (old fart) radio.

We’ve traded in our ultra cool spandex and tight jeans for something more comfortable and ELASTIC.

You watch teen movies from the 80s and think "I don’t remember this film looking so grainy.

That computer we thought was so high tech in "Wargames" is nothing compared to what kids are being taught with in elementary school today. (This applies both to the hacker’s computer and the computers in the missile tracking room.-CW)

Your friends can’t party like it’s 1999 anymore. They can now only party until it’s like somewhere around 9 P.M. because they have to get their kids ready for school in the morning.

We are starting to be able to identify with the lyrics to the Kenny Rogers song "Twenty Years Ago."

This ones for us guys who played guitar in bands in the 80s–Now when we try to jump up in the air while playing guitar like Eddie Van Halen, our bones pop louder than our amps.

When your niece/nephew (or child) points to one of your old 45s and asks "What is this?" (You probably get the same feeling when they point to a typewriter and say, "Where’s the screen?"-CW)

You can REALLY identify with that song by the Pursuit of Happiness "I’m An Adult Now".

Middle Age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.

Then: Killer Weed
Now: Weed Killer

Then: The Grateful Dead
Now: Dr. Kevorkian

Then: Finding a new, hip joint
Now: Getting a new hip joint

Then: Moving to California because it’s cool
Now: Moving to California because it’s warm

Then: Being called into the principal’s office
Now: Storming into the principal’s office

Then: Peace Sign
Now: Mercedes Logo

Then: OJ, cutting & slashing
Now: OJ, cutting & slashing

Then: Getting your head stoned
Now: Getting your headstone

Then: "The Making of the President"
Now: The making of the President

Then: Long hair
Now: Longing for hair

Then: Acid rock
Now: Acid reflux

Then: Worrying about no one coming to your party
Now: Worrying about no one coming to your funeral

Then: Fighting to get rid of the lying President
Now: Fighting to keep the lying President

Then: The perfect high
Now: The perfect high-yield mutual fund

Then: Elvis in the army
Now: Elvis in a UFO

Then: Keg
Now: EKG

Then: Swallowing acid
Now: Swallowing antacid

Then: pothead
Now: potbelly

Then: Passing the driving test
Now: Passing the vision test

Then: Seeds and stems
Now: Roughage

Then: Popping pills, smoking joints
Now: Popping joints

Then: Our president’s struggle with Fidel
Now: Our president’s struggle with fidelity.

Then: Watching John Glenn’s historic flight with your parents
Now: Watching John Glenn’s historic flight with your kids

Then: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor
Now: Trying not to look like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor

Give Me That Old Time Religion

February 19, 1999

One of the nice things about living in the South is religion. Unlike other more cosmpolitan places like Los Angeles, where one has the option of belonging to a splinter group of the Unitarian Pantheistic Neo-Manichean Ascetic Protestant Buddhists, or any other of about ten thousand different splinter groups, or, for that matter, not practicing any sort of religion at all, the choices are considerably narrow. In the South, you’re one of two things: a raving lunatic fundamentalist, or going to Hell.

Speaking for the faction that is going to Hell, large and diverse group though it is, I have to say that going to Hell is not as bad as it might sound. You can smoke, drink, swear, watch cable TV late at night, read horoscopes, get a tattoo, cross-breed animals, covet your neighbor’s ass, covet your neighbor’s wife, covet your neighbor’s wife’s ass, or just sit around wishing your neighbor would get some hideous terminal disease and give you his Corvette. Amazingly, this is as close as most of us who are going to Hell will come to killing anyone. Killing people seems to be a special privelege reserved for those who have complete assurance that they’re not going to Hell, but they can only do it special situations, such as when they meet someone who disagrees with them. And as for going to Hell, having seen some lists of what is required for membership, I can honestly say that all the really interesting people are either already there or are headed that way, so it can’t be that bad. Besides, according to those who seem to be "in the know", a lot of really interesting books, magazines, musical groups, movies, videos, and different religious groups came to us straight from Hell, so maybe what they really mean is that we’re just going to Los Angeles.


FACT: A lite beer has between 70 and 100 calories, is almost all water, and the part that isn’t water is almost pure carbohydrates.

FACT: The average diet recommends a daily caloric intake of 1,200 calories for women, 1,500 for men, if you want to lose the medically safe two to three pounds a week. On the "Beer-Me" diet, that equates to at least 12 beverages a day for women, and 15 for men. A measurable goal.

FACT: The alcohol in beer is a diuretic, which causes the water to flush out almost immediately, leading to a consistent workout regimen including deep knee bends (getting out of the chair), fast walking (very good for your heart) and squats (as the case may be).

FACT: Drinking beer actually helps you sleep-even when you aren’t necessarily tired. All that added rest is certain to help any problems you may have experienced in sleep deprivation, counting calories on those other fad diets. In addition, you may experience the occasional "How did I get here?" when you wake up, which always makes for lively conversation, and possibly additional exercise if you have to sneak out and run home.

FACT: The "Beer-Me" diet is good for your heart. After just one day of consuming your required 12-15 beers, you will certainly want to consume some aspirin, which is medically proven to help prevent heart attacks.

FACT: On the "Beer-Me" diet you can eat anything you want. The only rule is that you cannot consume any food until you have consumed at least half of the day’s required beers. This way the food will probably only stay in your body a short time, until you again exercise the deep knee bends, quick walk and, this time, the "lean-over-and-hurl" stomach crunches.

FACT: Beer drinking is often done in bars, where other forms of exercise are common. Dancing, for example, is a good way to build up a thirst, as is chasing members of the opposite sex. If you really want to maximize your workout, try actually walking up to the bar, versus using a waitress. To take this to the extreme, you could even get up and get someone else a beer-perhaps someone who is newer to the diet plan than yourself.

FACT: Beer is cheaper than Jenny Craig. Based on these facts, let’s run through a given scenario for diet implementation.

CAUTION: This is a weekend diet plan, and should be attempted during the work week by only the staunchest of dieters.

MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY: Eat junk food and basically be a slob.

FRIDAY: Feeling "huge," swing by the liquor store and stock up. Go to favorite place of beer drinking and begin the consumption process (remember 12 for women, 15 for men).

SATURDAY: Wake up (as required) and lounge around all day, feeling slightly smaller after expunging any food that you may have accidentally consumed (particularly if it involved beef jerky from 7-11). Take aspirin. Notice that you have absolutely no interest in food, anyway.

SATURDAY (p.m.): Restart cycle, noticing that your appetite has still not returned. Perhaps only meet half of your consumption goal due to an ongoing discussion with "the dog that bit you." This is a good thing, as only half-consumption means less than 1,000 calories for the day, and you still don’t feel hungry.

SUNDAY (a.m.): Wake up for mandatory sports day. This is a very convenient diet during football season, but it can be successfully implemented year-round. There is some major professional sport being played every day of the year except the day before and the day after the Major League All-Star game (fact–look it up). Consumption on this day should be paced to cover the entire day-you don’t want to peak too soon. Again you notice a lack of appetite, and are feeling thinner all the time. Don’t forget the aspirin.

MONDAY: Return to work, feeling thinner, well rested, and surprisingly mellow. Mark your log book, and begin preparation for the upcoming weekend.

Happy dieting!!!

It’s about time!

Feburary 12, 1999

Some of you may remember an incident involving a giant ball of string, a pink toy hippo, and a seventh-storey window. (For those of you who don’t remember this incident, see the archive, June 14th, 1996.) What I failed to mention at the time was that this was an exercise in the preservation of sanity. It may be easier to believe that I was doing this because I had lost my sanity, but no, the truth is much more complicated. Almost everyone has had the experience of being caught in Friday Afternoon At The Office Slowtime, a bizarre spatio-temporal phenomenon which causes time around us to slow dramatically while we continue to move at exactly the same speed. This probably has something to do with the fact that all offices now have microwave ovens. In the old days, a standard TV dinner would take about half an hour to warm up. Now, with microwave ovens, a TV dinner only takes three minutes. But if you’ve ever been hungry and watching your food go around and around, you know that a strange thing happens. Time becomes distorted and elongated so that, regardless of what all the clocks say, it still takes half an hour for your food to warm up. (Then, of course, for reasons not even brilliant theoretical physicists will attempt to explain, the apple cobbler is boiling hot while the corn niblets are still embedded in a solid block of ice. Anyway, I was going to share with you some other creative ways for getting through the long dark Friday drag, but I seem to have run out of time.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

A Priest wanted to raise money for his church, and seeing that there was a fortune in horse racing, he decided to purchase a horse and enter it into a race. However, at the local auction, the going price for horses was so steep that the priest ended up buying a donkey. The priest figured that since he had the donkey anyway, he would go ahead and enter it into the races. Much to his surprise, the donkey came in third.

The next day the local sports section of the paper carried the headline "PRIEST’S ASS SHOWS". The priest was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the races again the following day. This time the donkey won! The next day the local paper read "PRIEST’S ASS OUT IN FRONT". The bishop was so upset with this publicity that he told the priest not to enter the donkey in another race. The headline that day read "BISHOP SCRATCHES PRIEST’S ASS". This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the priest to get rid of the animal at once. Not surprisingly, the headlines reported "RACING PRIEST LOSES HIS ASS". The bishop was horrified, but figured that was the end of the matter. Unfortunately, the priest disposed of the donkey by giving it to the nearby convent. So, the local paper was able to report "NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN". The bishop fainted! He informed the nun that she would have to dispose of the donkey immediately. She found a farmer who was willing to buy the animal for $10. The next day the headlines stated "NUN PEDDLES ASS FOR TEN BUCKS".

They buried the bishop that afternoon, and on the day following the funeral, the headlines read "TOO MUCH ASS RESPONSIBLE FOR BISHOP’S DEATH."

The Mr. Right Rejection Letter Form

Dear [____rejectee’s name here_____],

I regret to inform you that you have been eliminated from further contention as Mr. Right. As you are probably aware, the competition was exceedingly tough and dozens of well-qualified candidates such as yourself also failed to make the final cut. I will, however, keep your name on file should an opening become available. So that you may find better success in your future romantic endeavors, please allow me to offer the following reason(s) you were disqualified from the competition:

[Check all those that apply]

___ Your breasts are bigger than mine.

___ Your last name is objectionable. I can’t imagine taking it, hyphenating it, or subjecting my children to it.

___ The fact that our finest dining experience to date has been at McDonald’s reveals a thriftiness that I find unappealing.

___ Your inadvertent admission that you "buy condoms by the truckload" indicates that you may be interested in me for something other than my personality.

___ You failed the 20 Question Rule, i.e., I asked you 20 questions about yourself before you asked me one.

___ Your legs are skinnier than mine. If you can FIT into my pants, then you can’t GET into my pants.

___ Your "Putting on a few, aren’t you babe?" comment, given the 9-months pregnant size of your beer gut, was inappropriate.

___ You failed the credit check.

___ I find your inability to fix my car extraordinarily unappealing.

___ The fact that your apartment has been condemned reveals an inherent slovenliness that I fear is unbreakable.

___ The phrase "My Mother" has popped up far too often in conversation.

___ You still live with your parents.

___ You mention your ex-girlfriend’s name more than you mention mine.

___ Three words: Size does matter.


[Your name here]

Das Ist Verboten!

February 5, 1999

Despite my strong belief in the First Amendment (for reasons that should be obvious) I’ve finally decided to get on the wagon with several other people who also have a strong belief in the First Amendment but who at the same time see nothing wrong with declaring certain words "off limits". Words of the past have included share, fuzzy, nifty, and dude, and such useful phrases as "happy camper", "don’t have a cow, man", and any form of the suggestion that you take something and put it somewhere or do something with it. Luckily some other banned phrases, such as "gag me with a [insert object of choice here]" died a natural death, but individual words can be so insidious we can’t count on them to do this. So here’s my one "off limits" word for 1999 (although I think we’d all prefer that it be a permanent removal): TOTALLY. Not long ago this word was used exclusively by people between the ages of 11 and 19, and occasionally by older people who were either being sarcastic or trying to convince their kids that they were more hip than anyone with kids has a right to be. In a recent commercial, though, I heard a man who was old enough to be my father say something was "totally affordable". The invasion of this word has gone too far. First of all, someone that old should not use the word "totally" to describe anything and, second, someone who considers side-impact air bags to be a greater priority than stereo equipment, a string of flashing lights around the license plate, or other rad accessories, should know that using the word "totally" is going to sound, well, bogus. So let’s stop the madness. If you’re over the age of 19 and think you’re about to say "totally", try falling back on some words from simpler times like "very", or "completely", or "wholly". Words like "utterly" sound funny enough that you can use them to your advantage in a business meeting. Finally, if you are under the age of 19, maybe you too should think about trying other words. Face it: when you use "totally" to modify anything, you sound unmitigatedly lame.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

ADULTS: Group of people Mom longs to communicate with after several hours of talking in small words about topics like "who touched who first"

AIRPLANE: What Mom impersonates to get a 1-yr.-old to eat strained beets.

ALIEN: What Mom would suspect had invaded her house if she spotted a child- sized creature cleaning up after itself.

APPLE: Nutritious lunch time dessert which children will trade for cupcakes.

BABY: 1. Dad, when he gets a cold. 2. Mom’s youngest child, even if he’s 42.

BATHROOM: a room used by the entire family, believed by all except Mom to be self-cleaning.

BECAUSE: Mom’s reason for having kids do things which can’t be explained logically.

BED AND BREAKFAST: Two things the kids will never make for themselves

CARPET: Expensive floor covering used to catch spills and clean mud off shoes

CAR POOL: Complicated system of transportation where Mom always winds up going the furthest with the biggest bunch of kids who have had the most sugar

CHINA: Legendary nation reportedly populated by children who love leftover vegetables

COOK: 1. Act of preparing food for consumption. 2. Mom’s other name

COUCH POTATO: What Mom finds under the sofa cushions after the kids eat dinner

DATE: Infrequent outings with Dad where Mom can enjoy worrying about the kids in a different setting

DRINKING GLASS: Any carton or bottle left open in the fridge

DUST: Insidious interloping particles of evil that turn a home into a battle zone

DUST RAGS: See "DAD’S UNDERWEAR." EAR: A place where kids store dirt

EAT: What kids do between meals, but not at them

EMPTY NEST: See "WISHFUL THINKING." ENERGY: Element of vitality kids always have an oversupply of until asked to do something

"EXCUSE ME": One of Mom’s favorite phrases, reportedly used in past times by children

EYE: The highly susceptible optic nerve which, according to Mom, can be "put out" by anything from a suction-arrow to a carelessly handled butter knife

FABLE: A story told by a teenager arriving home after curfew

FOOD: The response Mom usually gives in answer to the question "What’s for dinner tonight?" See "SARCASM" FROZEN: 1. A type of food. 2. How hell will be when Mom lets her daughter date an older guy with a motorcycle

GARBAGE: A collection of refuse items, the taking out of which Mom assigns to a different family member each week, then winds up doing herself

GENIUSES: Amazingly, all of Mom’s kids

GUM: Adhesive for the hair

HAMPER: A wicker container with a lid, usually surrounded by, but not containing, dirty clothing

HANDI-WIPES: Pants, shirtsleeves, drapes, etc

HANDS: Body appendages which must be scrubbed raw with volcanic soap and sterilized in boiling water immediately prior to consumption of the evening meal

HINDSIGHT: What Mom experiences from changing too many diapers

HOMEBREAD BREAD: An object of fiction like the Fountain of Youth and the Golden Fleece

ICE: Cubes of frozen water which would be found in small plastic tray if kids or husbands ever filled the darn things instead of putting them back in the freezer empty

INSIDE: That place that will suddenly look attractive to kids once Mom has spent a minimum of half an hour getting them ready to go outside

"I SAID SO": Reason enough, according to Mom

JACKPOT: When all the kids stay at friends’ homes for the night

JEANS: Which, according to kids, are appropriate for just about any occasion, including church and funerals

"JEEEEEEEEZ!" : Slang for "Gee Mom, isn’t there anything else you can do to embarrass me in front of my friends?" JOY RIDE: Going somewhere without the kids

JUNK: Dad’s stuff

KETCHUP: The sea of tomato-based goo kids use to drown the dish that Mom spent hours cooking and years perfecting to get the seasoning just right

KISS: Mom medicine

LAKE: Large body of water into which a kid will jump should his friends do so

LEMONADE STAND: Complicated business venture where Mom buys powdered mix, sugar, lemons, and paper cups, and sets up a table, chairs, pitchers and ice for kids who sit there for three to six minutes and net a profit of .15 cents

LIE: An "exaggeration" Mom uses to transform her child’s papier-mache volcano science project into a Nobel Prize-winning experiment and a full-ride scholarship to Harvard

LOSERS: See "Kids’ Friends" MAKEUP: Lipstick, eyeliner, blush, etc., which ironically make Mom look better while making her young daughter look "like a tramp." MAYBE: No

MILK: A healthful beverage which kids will gladly drink once it’s turned into junk food by the addition of sugar and cocoa

"MOMMMMMMM!": The cry of a child on another floor who wants something

MUSH: 1. What a kid loves to do with a plateful of food. 2. Main element of Mom’s favorite movies

NAILS: A hard covering on the end of the finger, which Mom can never have a full set of due to pitching for batting practice, opening stubborn modeling clay lids and removing heat ducts to retrieve army men and/or doll clothing

PANIC: What a mother goes through when the darn wind-up swing stops

OCEAN: What the bathroom floor looks like after bath night for kids, assorted pets, two or three full-sized towels and several dozen toy boats, cars and animals

OPEN: The position of children’s mouths when they eat in front of company

OVERSTUFFED RECLINER: Mom’s nickname for Dad

PENITENTIARY: Where children who don’t eat their vegetables or clean their rooms eventually end up, according to Mom

PETS: Small, furry creatures which follow kids home so Mom will have someone else to clean up after

PIANO: A large, expensive musical instrument which, after thousands of dollars worth of lessons and constant harping by Mom, kids will refuse to play in front of company

PURSE: A handbag in which Mom carries the checkbook and keys she can never find because they’re buried under tissues, gum wrappers, a plastic container full of cereal, toys from a fast-food restaurant, a teddy bear, a football, wallpaper samples, a grocery list and several outdated coupons

QUIET: A State of household serenity which occurs before the birth of the first child and occurs again after the last child has left for college

RAINCOAT: Article of clothing Mom bought to keep a child dry and warm, rendered ineffective because it’s in the bottom of a locker stuffed in a book bag or because the child refuses to wear "the geeky thing." REFRIGERATOR: Combination art gallery and air-conditioner for the kitchen

ROOM MOTHER: A position of great honor and responsibility bestowed on a mom who inadvertently misses a PTA meeting. SCHOOL PLAY: Sadistic ritual in which adults derive pleasure from watching offspring stumble through coarse re-enactments of famous historic events

SCREAMING: Home P.A. system

SNOWSUITS: Warm, padded outer garments that, when completely zipped and snapped performs two important functions: Protecting children from the cold and reminding them that they have to go to the bathroom SOAP: A cleaning agent Mom puts on the sink on the off-chance one of her kids will accidentally grab it while reaching for the towel

SPIT: All-purpose cleaning fluid especially good on kids’ faces

SPOILED ROTTEN: What the kids become after as little as 15 minutes with Grandma

SWEATER: Magically charmed article of clothing that can ward away colds, fly and even pneumonia

SUNDAY BEST: Attractive, expensive children’s clothing made of a fabric which attracts melted chocolate and grape juice

TEACHER CONFERENCE: A meeting between Mom and that person who has yet to understand her child’s "special needs." TERRIBLE TWO’S: Having both kids at home all summer

"THAT WAY": How kids shouldn’t look at moms if they know what’s good for them. Also applies to how they talk

TOWELS: See "FLOOR COVERINGS" TRAMP: A woman with two kids and no stretch marks

TROUBLE: Area of non-specific space a child can always be sure to be in

UMPTEENTH: Highly conservative estimate of the number of times Mom must instruct her offspring to do something before it actually gets done

UNDERWEAR: An article of clothing, the cleanliness of which ensures the wearer will never have an accident

UTOPIA: See "BUBBLE BATH" VACATION: Where you take the family to get away from it all, only to find it there, too

VITAMINS: Tiny facsimiles of cave people Mom forces you to swallow each morning as part of her sinister plot to have you grow up to be "Just like Daddy." WALLS: Complete set of drawing paper for kids that comes with every room

WASHING MACHINE: Household appliance used to clean blue jeans, permanent ink markers, loose change, homework, tissues and wads of gum

"WHEN YOUR FATHER GETS HOME": Standard measurement of time between crime and punishment

XOXOXOXO: Mom salutation guaranteed to make the already embarrassing note in a kid’s lunch box even more mortifying

XYLOPHONE: Small toy musical instrument often given as gifts to children who show their appreciation by playing the stupid thing constantly, over and over, all day long! See also "DRUMS" YARD SALE: Heart-wrenching emotional process wherein Mom plans to sell kids’ outdated toys and clothing that she decides at the last minute are treasured mementos she can’t bear to part with

"YIPPEE!": What Mom would jump up and shout if the school year was changed to 12 months. See also "YAHOO!" ZILLION: Amount of times Mom must have gone to the supermarket already this week

ZUCCHINI: Vegetable which can be baked, boiled, fried or steamed before kids refuse to eat it.

A young shepard became quite renowned for his storytelling and decided to travel in the desert, sharing his wise gospel with all those he met. He walked barefoot everywhere, to the point his feet became quite thick and hard. He also was a spiritual person. Even when he was not on a hunger strike, he did not eat much and became quite trim and frail. Furthermore because his diet consisted entirely of grubs and dirt, he ended up with very bad breath. Therefore he came to be known as a: "Super calloused fragile mystic, plagued with haltosis."

What Was Your Question?

January 29, 1999

Earlier this week I heard a science show on the radio that was so amazingly informative I had to share it with you. So, for something a little different this week, here’s a transcript of some of the best programming public radio can offer: (Begin catchy, repetitive, synthetic theme music) Direct from the radio, it’s the Write In A Science Question And A Retired High School Science Teacher Will Answer It. This week our question is from Jim in North Dakota, who wants to know if he can find satellite pictures of his house on the internet. Well Jim, for our listeners who might not be familiar with satellites, here’s a little background information: from the dawn of time people have looked to the sky and wondered what those little bright dots were, and why the sun and moon moved around in the sky. Wacky! The Mayans and Egyptians were among the earliest people to track the movements of the sun, moon, and stars, but, for the most part, people remained completely ignorant about everything, and burned anyone who discovered anything relevant. Even in the twentieth century, people believed space was filled with a substance they called ether. This is not to be confused with the stuff Freud and other medieval doctors used to give patients until they found out it was bad for you. Wait, that’s cocaine. Well, earlier in this century the Wright Brothers actually developed a machine that could fly. Then in 1926 Robert Goddard launched a liquid-fuel powered rocket. This started the Space Race. Well, I’m afraid that’s all the time we have for today. Tune in tomorrow when I’ll answer questions about attention deficit disorder. (Begin catchy, repetitive, synthetic theme music.)

Enjoy this week’s slightly more educational offerings.

Excerpts from actual letters sent to landlords

  1. "The toilet is blocked and we cannot bathe the children until it is cleared."

  2. "I want some repairs done to my stove as it has backfired and burnt my knob off."

  3. "This is to let you know that there is a smell coming from the man next door."

  4. "I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is running away from the wall."

  5. "I request your permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen."

  6. "Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces."

  7. "Will you please send someone to mend our cracked sidewalk. Yesterday my wife tripped on it and is now pregnant."

  8. "Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny color and not fit to drink."

  9. "Would you please send a man to repair my downspout. I am an old page pensioner and need it straight away."

  10. "When the workmen were here they put their tools in my wife’s new drawers and made a mess. Please send men with clean tools to finish the job and keep my wife happy."

(Note: I’m forwarding the following before it’s too late and I have to update the title to "You Know You Work In The 00’s", although for most of us this is already true.)

You Know You Work In the ’90s When….

20. Cleaning up the dining area means getting the fast food bags out of the back seat of your car.

19. Your reason for not staying in touch with family is that they do not have e-mail addresses.

18. Keeping up with sports entails adding ESPN’s homepage to your bookmarks.

17. You have actually faxed your Christmas list to your parents.

16. Pick up lines now include a reference to liquid assets and capital gains.

15. You consider 2nd day Air Delivery and Inter-office Mail painfully slow.

14. You assume any question about whether to valet park or not is rhetorical.

13. You refer to your dining room table as the flat filing cabinet.

12. Your idea of being organized is multiple colored post-it notes.

11. Your grocery list has been on your refrigerator so long some of the products don’t even exist anymore.

10. You lecture the neighborhood kids selling lemonade on ways to improve their process.

9. You get all excited when it’s Saturday so you can wear sweats to work.

8. You refer to the tomatoes grown in your garden as "deliverables."

7. You find you really need PowerPoint to explain what you do for a living.

6. You normally eat out of vending machines and at the most expensive restaurant in town within the same week.

5. You think that "progressing an action plan" and "calendarizing a project" are acceptable English phrases.

4. You know the people at the airport hotels better than your next door neighbors.

3. You ask your friends to "think out of the box" when making Friday night plans.

2. You think Einstein would have been more effective had he put his ideas into a matrix.

And, the number one sign you work in the nineties…

1. You think a "half-day" means leaving at 5 o’clock.

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