Archive for September, 2009

“Currently” annoyed

I’d like to make a case against the word “currently.” I see no need for it. Let’s look at uses I’ve spotted recently:

“I am currently employed as a cashier.”

“The contest is open to all currently enrolled students.”

“We are currently located in San Francisco.”

If you can use “is,” “are” or “am,” then it is happening right now. “Currently” is redundant. And I am currently fed up.

Currently redundant

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The wing clipping did not work. Eddie reports that she escaped again. Maybe I need to clip more.

I’ll let Trish herself tell you about her escapades.

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I had to have the following conversation with my neighbor’s middle-aged son.

Me, at the front door: “Um, hi. Sorry to bother you, but have you seen my chicken?”

Him: “Oh that’s yours? My dad was going to go buy some feed.”

Me: “Yeah, it’s mine. She learned how to get out and now we can’t find her. If you see her, she answers to the name of ‘Trish.'”

Him: “I had some chickens when I lived in Pooler. They are unusual animals.”

Occasionally, Trish has flown the coop. Once nabbed and returned, she usually stays in for a few days. Yesterday, though, she was bold. Every time Eddie and I went outside, she was out of her yard. We must have captured her six times. And Eddie was mad because she kept kicking the pine straw out of the flower beds.

Today, we came home around lunchtime and she was gone. Yes, I walked around our house and the neighborhood hollering “Trish!” and feeling like a buffoon. I figured I would only worry if she didn’t return to the coop at night.

I started to wash my car and I heard Dominic yelling, “Mama, I found Trish!” I looked up and saw him coming from the side yard holding Trish to his chest. She seemed oddly content. Apparently, she had been amusing herself near the backyard fence. I don’t know how I could have missed her when I was walking around.

I knew it was time to clip her wings to avoid future AWOLs. Trish = grounded.

Clipping in progress

Clipping in progress

The clipped wing

The result. No birds were harmed in the clipping of the wing.

The boys give Trish some love

We’re rednecks. My shirtless kids like to hang out with the chicken.

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My mother always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then I want to hear it.” No, she didn’t say that. But I do.

My friend Ed is stunted. He has lived his life without watching important, life-changing movies. Movies such as “Rear Window,” “Napoleon Dynamite” “Blair Witch Project,” “Seven,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” anything Bond, anything with Clint Eastwood, any horror movie, etc. What stopped me in mid sentence tonight was his revelation that he has not seen “Tommy Boy.” Oh the shame.

To harass him further, I made him go through AFI’s list of the top 100 movies. Ed had not seen 38 of the first 50, so I had to stop. He was suitably heckled by the rest of the people over for Human Trish’s birthday, yet claims he would do better with the bottom 50. Sure, Ed.

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Upon request, here’s more video of Trish. In this clip, I collect the egg and Trish comes over to investigate. Usually, she leads me over to the coop, as if to say, “Look what I’ve done!”

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A haiku for a holy day

Punctuation Day

Should be a bank holiday.

Let’s honor commas.

The joy of Dilbert

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Passive voice bothers me and sucks the life out of material. Academics, politicians and other bureaucrats LOVE passive voice. My students seem to like it too. At least that’s what their papers indicate.


“As Americans, we tend to be frowned upon.”

“A new collection of her nonfiction has just been released.”

Just say WHO did/does/is doing WHAT, and say it first:

“French people tend to frown upon Americans visiting Paris.”

“Random House just released a new collection of Toni Morrison’s nonfiction work.”

I like this page because it offers more examples and advice, and has a quiz. Doesn’t everyone like a quiz?

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Trish and I have a special bond. She comes when I call her. Just watch.

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Brussels sprouts

Yes, that is how the vegetable is spelled. Brussels sprouts are members of the Brassicaceae (cabbage) family, and are pretty much universally reviled. I’ve recently discovered a love for them, but only the way I prepare them: cut in half, braised in sesame oil then sautéed in sea salt and garlic. Yummy. Trust me. If you need evidence, consider this: Both my kids like them. Last night, in fact, Gideon said, “We love you because you cook Brussels sprouts.” He really did say that.

I’m sure it is because we told them it builds muscles. And, because they are Batman and Superman, they care about big muscles. It is all in the presentation, folks.

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I woke up one morning and wanted chickens. I don’t know why. I just did. I mentioned it to my long-suffering husband Eddie, who said, “You’re kidding, right?”

I gave it a week. I still wanted chickens. So I asked Eddie to make a coop (he’s handy). He ignored me. I think he thought I would forget about it. I didn’t.

I went to a feed store and took a picture of a coop. I researched coop designs. I drew the plan and gave it to Eddie. He sighed and went into the garage.

The coop is a fancy, two-story affair with a covered run. The back is chicken wire and we put it up against one of our sunroom windows so that we could check on the chickens and egg production from the comfort of our home.

The finished product

I made friends at the feed store. They called me when a new batch of chicks arrived. Eddie and I picked out two Araucanas, a Rhode Island Red and a Sex Link. I named them Heidi, Terri, Trish and Linda after four good friends.

All was well for almost a month. We kept them inside until it was time for them to move into the coop.

The weekend after the big move-in, we went out of town and left the neighbor girl in charge of checking on them. Her dad called us on Saturday night to report there had been a mishap.

We returned home to find an unpleasant scene. Only Trish was still alive. We called her namesake. Human Trish said, “Of course she was the smartest one.” Human Terri was very sad. Human Heidi wanted a forensics expert called in. Human Linda couldn’t be reached for comment at the time.

We had a dilemma: We didn’t want Trish to be lonely, but we couldn’t add an adult chicken in with her, or more chicks because of pecking order issues. We decided to wait until she was full-grown, then add a friend.

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