Archive for December, 2010

Leper colony, third floor

This is all I’ve got today. (Thanks, Casey!)

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While we were in Seattle for my birthday (only a partial week this year, instead of a full week), Eddie found himself a Christmas gift: A remote-controlled helicopter. While trying to justify the expense, we came up with many ways we could use it.

Here’s one:

And speaking of Christmas, the boys’ present attack lasted all of 20 minutes. After the Superhero Overload of 2009, we went a more educational route this year. For example, here are 12 gifts of Christmas 2010:

12 unattached pieces (this spider is missing four legs and will probably end up in the fire)

11 bags of fossils (including a trilobite -- exciting!)

10 twisting crayons (no messy wrappers!)

Nine lumps of coal (to remind them that they barely got off the naughty list)

Eight lengths of race track (Hot Wheels, of course)

Seven-segment eagle (there's also a bear and an alligator in the "morph" kit)

Six microscope slides (to go with the microscope Grandma Dad got Dominic)

Five gold coins (love that chocolate candy)

Four things to paint (nightmare to come)

Three science kits (for Daddy to deal with)

Two sticker books (all dinosaur, all the time)

And a hermit crab habitat (yes, we'll have crabs tomorrow)

As for me, the best present I received was that Eddie had his wedding ring resized to fit. (He hadn’t been able to wear it since his bicep reattachment surgery a year and a half ago.) I put it on him like I did when we got married. I’d post the video, but I’m a little weepy in it.

Yes, even this Grinch has a heart. (And I also have some pride.)

Merry Christmas!

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‘Twas five days before Christmas when all through our house,
All creatures were stirring, except for a mouse.

In Naveen’s belly* it rested, all squeezed to a pulp.
(The boys loved watching the snake grab it and gulp.)

The children denied attempts to put them to bed —
Optimus, Bumblebee filling their heads.

And I with my chicken and Eddie with his dog
Had just settled down with some spiked eggnog

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.

Away to the front door we flew like a flash.
In our bare feet, we looked like white trash.

Out on the driveway something made our eyes hurt:
The guy next door again wasn’t wearing a shirt.

Then what to our watering eyes did appear,
But a strange being — just whom was not clear.

What this being was bearing gave me pause:
Poorly written signs? Must be Santa Clause!

More rapid than Bob Ross, these signs he produced,
And shouted the many mistakes he deduced:

“No comma! No period! And what’s with the quotes?
A misspelling here – Just see what they wrote!”

To the step of the porch he came with his haul.
“Let’s slash away, slash away, slash away all.”

“Get me your stylebook, and Strunk and White too.
They must learn the difference between whom and who.”

Eddie looked at us and in a manner quite snide,
Said, “You two have at it, I’m going inside.”

And then in a twinkling, I fetched my Mac Air
And my iPhone as a camera to capture signs there.

As I drew closer to my mysterious guest,
I noticed something odd: He was kind of a mess.

He was dressed all in things that I write about
From snack food to rednecks – how’d he find out?

A bundle of Utz chips he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a vendor, just opening his pack.

A mask – just like Batman! His shoes? Birkenstocks!
His jeans were jacked up, Dixie flag as a top!

His mouth was covered in hot cheeto dust
And the beard of his chin was colored like rust.

The stump of a Sharpie he held tight in his yap,
To give to the kids for their skin art crap.

He had a broad face, around which headphones
Blasting some KISS – thank God — not the Stones!

He was chubby and plump – hadn’t been to the gym.
So I suggested that later I’d go there with him.

He winked with his eye, then his head he did nod,
And I knew right then he’d been reading my blog!

We spoke not a word, but went straight to our work.
“If we fix all these signs, does that make us two jerks?”

Laying his writing hand aside of his knee,
He nodded his head, and we laughed with glee!

It took us a while; we edited with passion.
Then he left – but I have loads of blog rations!

I heard him exclaim ‘fore he strode out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good write!”

* Naveen is the ball python we are snake-sitting for the break

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Just in time for Christmas, I offer you this gift of poorly executed signage.

The extra "e" gives it extra flavor, I bet.

Hmm ... La Guardia sign creators must not know the rule about using plural verbs with Latin plurals (although I grant that the rule is changing). (Photo courtesy of 36-hour Tina.)

Elizabeth sent this to me because I'm "special." I'm not sure if I should be offended.

Elizabeth also sent me this. I don't even know where to begin with this mistake medley. Make your own attempt in the comments section!

In addition to the seven exclamation points, this sign is frightening because it reveals that J.P. Morgan's entire fire alarm system hinges on this cord in this outlet. (Photo courtesy of 36-hour Tina.)

'Tis the season for extra apostrophes. (Image courtesy of Wigs -- er -- Lisa).

Happy holidays!

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Going in style

This post is a little bit of a departure from my usual topics, but that seems to be the theme this week. And I need to report something important:

Women can pee standing up.

Physically, we always could, but not without a mess. Products such as “GoGirl” eliminate that problem.

I love the tagline for this “female urination device”: “Don’t take life sitting down.”

“GoGirl” is the discreet, clinical version of an FUD. And then there’s the “Shenis” — completely opposite of “GoGirl” in tone and appearance.



Take a look at the sites for yourself. Perhaps size really does matter (and gold silicone).

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“Operation Jaws”

Well, the story of the Sharm el-Sheikh shark just got weirder. I thought the anthropomorphism was bad, but the story 36-hour Tina forwarded is much worse.

Read and marvel at the full article. This is an image of the “spy” shark, taken moments before one of the attacks.

Wait — are those robotic fins and laser beams I see? And the Israeli flag too?

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I saw “Jaws” at an impressionable age, so I don’t swim in the ocean. Water up to my knees is fine, thank you very much. I’m fascinated by shark attacks, so this tweet caught my eye:

Is this the finned marauder responsible for an attack on tourists in the water near Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt?

Maybe. Maybe not.

The amazing thing about this story is the anthropomorphism of sharks.

Look, people, it’s a shark, not the Bikini Killer. If you don’t want to be lunch, stay out of the water. It’s that simple.

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My friend Tina and I just spent 36 hours together in New York City.* We’ve been friends for more than 20 years, so getting together with her is like wearing your favorite broken-in shoes. (Not that I’m comparing my friend to footwear, of course.)

While together, we:

  • sampled some wine and cheese at Eataly. (This place is amazing! You can drink wine while you shop for all kinds of delicious products. There’s a whole cooler just for sausage!)

One of those topics was pessimistic vs. optimistic people. She and I tend to be optimistic, but there are those in our circles who are most certainly not.

A faulty washer and subsequent flood does tend to cloud the sunny disposition, though.

Imagine this floor with two inches of water:

Intrigued? Yes, a sad little story follows.

We stayed in Tina’s sister’s place on the Upper West Side — a fantastic Riverside Drive address. Marion was in Florida and graciously let us stay. In return, we wanted to leave the place tidy with clean sheets. Tina left very early yesterday morning, so my job was to wash the sheets using the washer/dryer in the kitchen.

After the rinse cycle, I went into the kitchen and found the flood. Expletives followed. I spent an hour and a half physically mopping and mentally freaking. (Side note: I’ve met Marion three times, maybe.)

I even had to move the refrigerator.

As Tina’s other sister, Ann, remarked, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

I called Tina and left a message for Marion. Then the super appeared. Glenn was alerted to a water problem by a tenant on the 12th floor. Marion lives on the 16th floor. Yep. It was that bad.

Thus began a series of unfortunate events that challenged this optimistic person. So let’s look at those events from two points of view.


The dark side: Massive flood that trickled down four flights and seeped into parquet floors — in the condo of a woman I barely know.

The bright side: I was still in the place when it happened. And Marion came home to clean sheets!

FEDEX SHIPPING (I offered to take another round of packages to FedEx for Tina, and I needed to send some of my own. The closest place wanted to charge $80, so I had to find an actual FedEx shipping center — 20 blocks away.)

The dark side: I carried 30 pounds of packages 20 blocks.

The bright side: I need the exercise, and my biceps got a workout.

AIRPORT RUSH (Because of all of the above, I ended up running late to get to La Guardia. To make matters worse, I had to get to the airport during Friday afternoon rush hour. I took the subway to 125th street and waited for the M60 bus. After a long wait during which I was silently screaming more expletives, I suggested to the four other La Guardia-bound people that we share a cab. They agreed, and the four of us got to the airport at 6:15 p.m. My plane was supposed to leave at 7!)

The dark side: I waited 45 minutes in the cold for a bus that never came, and then shared a cab with strangers. During the ride, I nearly soiled myself out of fear that I was going to miss my flight — the last direct one of the night.

The bright side: I made my flight, and even landed a little early. Plus, I met some interesting new people who all made their flights also.

I always say that it is great when good things happen. But if something bad happens, there is still something good: It makes a great story.

Hope you enjoyed mine!

* While in New York, I also had a lunch date with frequent blog contributor He Who Has Three Names: Shane Marshall Brown. Yay!

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