Category Archives: Humor

You Might Be A Redneck If…

If you’re from the U.S., you probably know that this is the famous hook the comedian Jeff Foxworthy uses in his comedy routine (“If you’ve ever mowed the grass and found your car, you might be a redneck.  If you’ve ever taken a beer to a job interview….”)

The kindest definition I’ve found of redneck is “a working-class white person, especially a politically reactionary one from a rural area”.  Which is actually the most accurate.  But the common usage is from Miriam-Webster, which defines it as “a white person who lives in a small town or in the country, especially in the southern U.S., who typically has a working-class job, and is seen by others as being uneducated and having opinions and attitudes that are offensive”.

I had this conversation today with Yard Guy, who is a certified redneck, only by virtue of being from the South and having a blue-collar job.  He has no objectionable opinions, is not a racist, and is one of the most environmentally conscious people I know.  He probably has little formal education, but as far as I’m concerned, that makes him smarter than a lot of people who do.

I told him I was going away for the week of Christmas, so he said he’d be sure to ask his Mama to keep an eye on my house (she lives around the corner).  Also, my next-door neighbor, Kathy.  While we were on the subject, he noted that his Mama and Kathy have become cranky and hard to deal with in their older years (both of them are about my age, and both are widowed).  I said that probably they were spending too much time alone.  He wanted to know why I’m not like them? I said, because I work.  I’m out almost every day.  I deal with the public.  He said, oh, yeah, well there is that.

While we were on the subject of dogs, he informed me that Mama now has a second dog, which like the first dog does not really belong to her, but to his niece who also owns the first dog.  The first dog is a pitbull mix named “Vicious”.  I swear I am not making that up.  The important thing here is the distinction between “keeping” and “owning” a dog.  It’s the same thing as “living” somewhere and “staying” somewhere.  You get mail at one place (where you live), but you don’t actually live there.  You “stay” somewhere else.  Got it?

Yard Guy went on to say that he hates Vicious, who once tried to attack him, and only failed because he happened to see her coming out of the corner of his eye and swung a Weedeater at her.  He told Mama that if Vicious ever actually bit him then he’s going to kill her.  He said he would patiently go to his truck, get his pistol, and shoot Vicious dead in Mama’s back yard.  Just so you know, Mama.  She said, oh surely you wouldn’t.  He said,  surely I would.

And I believe him.  And he can legally do it.  If I had a gun, I would do the same thing, as much as I love dogs.  So you see?  Yard Guy and I are simpatico.  We think alike.

Yard Guy asked where I was going.  I said, North Carolina, where I mostly grew up.  He said, you grew up in North Carolina?  So you’re a redneck too?  (Well, technically, you can’t be a redneck if you’re from North Carolina, you’re a hillbilly).  I said, I was born in Tennessee.  He was like, well that cinches it.  You’re a redneck.  Who knew?

Then he was off and running into a story about a friend, originally from the mountains of North Carolina, who hates it here.  There are just too many people.  The friend has three little daughters, whose favorite food is frog legs, or whatever else Daddy can catch.  Yard Guy and I are not that impressed.  We’ll eat deer meat (and as far as I know, he’d probably kill it himself), but seriously…feed the girls a Happy Meal once in a while.  Branch out.

While we were chatting outside, my dog Pippin was inside whining furiously.  He “knows” Yard Guy and wanted to say hello. I let him out and Yard Guy and Pippin spent a little bonding time.

I love the South.  The few years I spent outside it, I missed it warts and all.
 

 

Ask The Language Lady

The journalist Dave Barry once wrote a weekly humor column for the Miami Herald.  Periodically he would do a column called “Ask Mr. Language Person”.  In these columns, he would answer alleged questions from readers (who I’m quite sure were totally fictitious).  For the purposes of this post, I’m slightly co-opting Dave’s title of Mr. Language Person, but all my examples are real.

First, from an ad seen on email: “Annette Funicello dies from symptoms of multiple sclerosis”.  Is that right?  Does a person die of the symptoms of a disease, or does one die of the disease?  Perhaps one always dies from the symptoms of a disease, since if a disease had no symptoms, you couldn’t die of it, could you?  The Language Lady confesses to being mystified about this one, and any help is welcome.

Most Grammar Nazis have particular pet peeves, such as the misuse of  the words “their”, “there”, and “they’re”.  Generally, The Language Lady (henceforth known as LL) just cringes and moves on, and has no particular abuse she singles out as being more or less acceptable.  Also, with auto-correct and auto-complete on cell phones and computers, even the most scrupulous Grammar Nazi can fall prey to misspelling and usage errors.  Correcting people who make mistakes is misplaced when it might not even have been the fault of the user, takes too much energy, and besides, it’s rude.

That said, LL corrected someone on Facebook in the last week or so.  In LL’s defense, here is the backstory.  A Facebook friend of a friend type of friend (as opposed to someone you actually know, who is also your friend on Facebook) took one of those quizzes, called something like “How Well Do You Actually Speak English?” and aced it.  In a comment, she remarked that she was especially proud of knowing when to use “who” versus “whom”.  LL was highly amused, since she already knew this person has it totally backwards.  In common speech, it actually would be very rare to use “whom”.

Last week, on a post by LL, this person misused “whom” and LL corrected her.  Was LL just in a particularly snarky mood that day?  It wasn’t the misuse that got on LL’s nerves, it was the bragging and being wrong.  LL forgets the content of that particular comment, but subsequently this person posted a photo of a crying child with the caption “This is my niece ‘Janie’, whom didn’t want her picture taken”.  (LL left well enough alone, having already been rude once.)

The end result is that this person is no longer speaking to LL, and here is the difference between this person and LL.  LL would much prefer to be corrected, rather than continuing to make a damn fool of herself repeatedly.

But this is the one that takes the cake:  also seen on Facebook, a post with the caption “Shameful.  Baby birds are ground up alive to make Hellmann’s mayonnaise”.  It’s accompanied by a drawing of baby chicks being forced into an open jar of Hellmann’s, with blood dripping from the mouth of the jar.  What this SAYS is that baby birds are an ingredient in Hellmann’s mayo.  Right?

What they MEANT is that an ingredient in mayonnaise is egg.  In an egg-producing operation, male chicks are useless, because well, they can’t lay eggs.  (Of course, a few must have escaped, since without male chickens, there would be no baby chicks, male  or female.)  Actually, of course, you have to keep some male chickens around, because hens get old and eventually stop laying eggs, so you have to have males to make new female chickens.  But for the most part, males are destroyed at birth.

In this case, The Language Lady learned something.  Not that ground-up male chicks are used in mayonnaise, but that it’s possible to sex baby chicks at birth.  Large operations use chick sexers.  (Q: “Hello, what do you do for a living?” A. “I’m a chick sexer for Hellmann’s.”)

In closing, The Language Lady would like to thank her readers, without whom she might be reduced to chick sexing, while slowly dying of the symptoms of bird flu.

Why Did I Come In This Room?

If even one person says “That’s never happened to me”, I swear I will hunt you down and hide your car key(s).  Notice that late model cars only have one key that does everything.  You used to have one ignition key and another to open the doors and the trunk. Perhaps I will only hide one of your keys.

The occasion is that this morning, I moved from the computer room to the living room because I was looking for…what was it I was looking for?  I was standing in front of the couch, and suddenly my brain went blank.  I had all the memory of an embryo.  If I needed two neurons to fire at the same time to come up with a thought, apparently one of them was asleep.  I stared at the couch, the coffee table, the armchair, the lamp.  I’m convinced they knew what I was looking for, but just weren’t saying.  Furniture is so cruel.

Suddenly that sleepy neuron woke up.  Oh yeah, it’s the Bluetooth.  I needed to charge it.

Another popular destination for “Why am I here?” is the refrigerator.  I once found my cellphone in the refrigerator, and the milk on the dining room table.

And then there is losing things.  In the last month I lost a makeup bag with $200 in it.  (I had cleverly concealed it in a non-wallet.)  I lost my car key (I’m using the spare).

I’d say that the most popular things to lose are eyeglasses (including sunglasses), cell phones, car keys,  and (drumroll) computer files.

But when you walk into a room where the furniture isn’t speaking to you and you can’t remember what you’re looking for, that’s a different story.

Fun As A Manager…Part 2

So I have this delicate problem, with an employee in my office who, not to put too fine a point on it, talks too much.  As if that weren’t enough, she whines about everything.  Every day she comes in with a big bright smile, but it goes downhill from there.  She is too hot, she’s too cold (move to Iowa already, then you’d have something to complain about), it’s too humid, it has rained too much to mow the lawn and the grass is too tall, her knees hurt, her back hurts, and her head hurts.  And then, it takes her at least an hour to report what she had for dinner the night before, what movie she saw (and how much that movie reminds her of this OTHER movie she saw), and what her live-in boyfriend Keith said.  (It’s a wonder he can say anything.)

As I know well, you cannot change or “manage” a person’s nature, and I wouldn’t even want to.

But last week it sort of came to a head when she (her name is Kitty) said she was too hot.  Then she went to the restroom, which is right next to the thermostat, and said No wonder!  It’s 76 degrees in here!  OMG…call the paramedics.  P.S. The energy experts encourage us to set the thermostat at 78 in the summer.  Which I think is too extreme, even for me.  And P.P.S., it was about 82 outside at the time.

So I said, Tough.  She said, did you just say “Tough?” I replied, I’ll set the thermostat a degree or two cooler, but it seems to me that you are rarely happy.  She said, I don’t think that’s true, but I guess that’s your perception.  I used to be uncomfortable with this concept, but these days I want to say, What part of my perception being the one that counts do you have a problem with?

At the time I made the comment, there were three other people in the office.  Two of them were instantly engrossed in…something else.  I look over at the third person, my assistant manager, and she is desperately trying to wipe a smile off her face.  Like thank you God, finally somebody said something. She finally had to leave the office because she knew she wasn’t going to be able to keep it together.

Then guess what happens?  Kitty immediately jumps up and follows her, without a doubt to complain how mean and cruel I am..  I bet on that happening, and too bad it isn’t the lottery, because I would be a millionaire now.  I love my assistant manager, but she has this tendency to be  maternal.  She seems to forget that these people are adults. Even when she agrees with me (as in this case), she tends to listen non-judgementally.  Which in real life is a pretty good quality.   In management life, not so much.  One day she too will have the opportunity to get screwed by people she worked hard to understand and accomodate.

So two or three days after the “You are rarely happy” comment, I pulled the assistant manager outside for a pow-wow and said, I officially can’t take it any more.  I can’t get anythng done from the minute she walks in the door until the minute she leaves.  You have to hand it to the assistant manager.  She said, so do you want to talk to her, or do you want me to?  I would never have demanded that she do it, but I was grateful and relieved when she volunteered.  I said, it would be nice if you did, because Kitty already thinks I’m the Wicked Witch of the West, whereas you are the good witch Glinda.

In the interim, Kitty told us that she has always been a talker. When she was a child, her father told her she must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.  That was probably pretty funny when she was five years old.  Not now.

The Republican National Lovefest

I’m not a member of any organized political party–I’m a Democrat.–Will Rogers, 1930.

That’s not exactly what he said, but close enough.  And it rings true.  I’m a card-carrying Democrat, as in, it’s enshrined on my voter registration card.

Sometimes it can be a little embarassing to be a Democrat.  Like when they do shameless pandering, but hey–what can you do?  Be a Republican?  Republicans are shameless panderers too, but they do a better job of it.  At least they’re better at concealment of their motives, whereas Democrats are all kinds of transparent.  They (We) are like little kids who tell a lie with our fingers crossed.  Like nobody can see those crossed fingers and know exactly what it means.

Yesterday, I got an email from Paul Ryan, who wanted me to support him and Mitt Romney in their efforts to be America’s Comeback Team, after four years of failed leadership.  So here is my question.  How did Paul Ryan get my email address?  He got the email address right, but the message begins, “Dear Priscilla…”  Which isn’t my name.  I mean, you have to wonder–if they can’t get that right, can they run a country?  I can see it now.  “Dear President Puffkin, or whatever your name is…”

On Friday, my favorite editorial writer for the Tallahassee Democrat, Paul Flemming, wrote a piece called “Bored in Tampa?  Wanna bet?”  The gist of the article was that just in case you thought there would be no drama left in the Convention, he suggested several issues you could bet on, just to liven things up.  It would make a great drinking game.

Here are a couple of examples.

Name the distance, in miles, of Sarah Palin’s designated seat from the podium.  My guess is, 4,805 miles.  That’s the distance between Tampa and Anchorage.  Your turn.  If you get closer, you win.

More arrests.  Hookers or Occupy protesters?  This is kind of an inside joke, because Tampa is famous for hookers.  Could this be the reason the Republicans chose Tampa, during the most active month of the hurricane season?  My money is solidly on the Occupy protesters, because hookers are smarter than they are.  They manage to get arrested way less often.

I hope Paul Flemming will be going to the Democratic National Lovefest too.

Reading and Technology (This Means You, Kindle)

Now you can hardly find a stauncher fan of Kindle (pause:  I had to look up “stauncher”.  It’s what I really meant, but was it really a word?  Fortunately, yes, since I would have to flounder quite a bit to find some word or combination of words that would express what I meant.)  We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

Here’s the problem.  For your best Kindling experience, you need Wifi.  Preferably very fast Wifi which does not blip on and off.  At home, I don’t even have the blipping kind.  No Wifi, of any description.  So.  It is possible to get a book onto your Kindle by connecting it to your computer via a USB cable, not included with a Kindle Fire, but only $9.99 brand new, plus shipping, unless you’re an Amazon Prime customer, in which case for only about $65 per year they will waive that $3.99 shipping fee.  Are you getting my drift?

But I have the USB cable.  It’s just that I forgot how to use it.  You’d think it would be simple.  Amazon recognizes that your Kindle is connected to your PC and sends your book there.  I realize that that’s actually a dream I’m having, because even I know that isn’t really possible.  (But it should be.)  And I need simple.  I want to push a button, go Ding!, and poof!  There it is.

Here’s my favorite thing:  You look up a book, any book, on Amazon, and it says “Start reading Mary Had A Little Lamb in under a minute on your Kindle!”  Well, don’t hold your breath.  It IS possible, and sometimes happens, but only with Wifi.  Otherwise, you will have raised several children and retired from your day job before ever finding out what color the lamb’s fleece is.

I’m quite serious.  It takes about six steps to get the book onto your Kindle, if not more.

While I was waiting, I decided to check to see if the book I bought today had made it to my Kindle for PC (Free!  As in, totally free, from Amazon.  Which I think is very smart of Amazon.)  And so, What Kindle for PC was I thinking of?  It would not open.  I still had an icon, but the actual program had somehow disappeared itself.

Back to Amazon.  I re-downloaded Kindle for PC.  By the time I went back and forth like 50 times to Amazon, I could have climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty.  Well, figuratively speaking.

By the time I was done with that, the book appeared in Kindle for PC.  And then I had to start on the six steps to get it onto the Kindle.

The whole point was that I was hell-bent (pause:  Is that a word?  And if it is, does it have to have an apostrophe?) on getting this book my sister recommended TODAY!  Not later, when I have access to Wifi.

The book is Rabid:  A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus.  Only now I’m too exhausted to read it.  But tomorrow is another day.

Today’s Rant: Modern Packaging

The occasion is that today it dawned on me that the pharmacy is now giving me the two medications I get (that come in pill bottles) without childproof caps.  I don’t know whether to be happy or offended.  Offended, because I figure they have now decided I’m too old to have children in the home, and that at my age, I may have trouble opening a childproof cap.  Okay, the first is true, but I’ll have you know I can still open a childproof cap with the best of them.  Including children.  Since children at the age of five can open Google and hack your email, I figure a childproof cap is no challenge at all.  And don’t get me started on the OTC things like bottles of Ibuprofen where you have to match the arrow on the cap to the little projection on the bottle.  Whose idea was that anyway?  Grr.

Let’s now talk about tape.  At work, I get a lot of deliveries from UPS, which come in boxes that would put the security of Fort Knox to shame.  Sometimes I think, it would be nice to know what’s in this box, but apparently I’m going to have to Xray it to find out.  Because I’m certainly not going to be able to open it.  The fact is that in order to open the box, you have to have a tool, namely a carpet knife, to cut the tape.  What is wrong with this picture?

Having to have tools to open a package leads me to my coup de grace–that hard plastic molded stuff that surrounds (fill in name of product here).  Never try to buy, for example, a tiny little flash drive for your computer.  It will come in a package 100 times its size and be surrounded by cardboard and hard plastic.  The package will cost more than the item.

I once read that this style of packaging was developed to discourage shoplifting of small items.  Okay, I get that.  But this stuff is the bane of my existence.    So you have to have a tool, and here’s one from Amazon.com:  http://www.amazon.com/Zibra-ZPCOPEN-OR-Universal-Package-Opener/dp/B000IHHOVI

Can shoplifters outfitted with Zibra Universal Package openers be far behind?