Words….Witticisms…Whimsy…Whatever!

Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

A moment to celebrate

Oh Powerful Gods of Automobiles, tonight as we rejoice in the miracle of no longer having to make monthly sacrifices to The Keepers of the Money, we ask for you to smile upon beloved Optimus Prime with serendipity and benevolence. Keep her safe from accidents and dings, unexpected clunks and unidentified noises, and bestow good karma (car-ma?) upon the one who has cared for her steadfastly and performed all routine maintenance on a timely basis. Protect us from costly repairs and unforeseen expenses, and we shall revel in the glory of top-down days, the wind in our hair (or fur) and 6-speed manual transmission.

And let us say, varooooom!

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime

Top down, bitchez!

(And now a moment to exult in the resurrection…of my blog!)

Aside

Third verse, same as the first!

Today is the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Don’t worry, I didn’t know that either, but a couple of friends posted about it on Facebook, including one who posted a link to the Gordon Lightfoot song, which I have always loved in some morbid way. So after I listened to that, I went looking to see if my Gordon Lightfoot cd had made it into my iTunes library at some point, which it had. Gordon is easy to listen to. If you like one of his songs, you probably would like them all, which is a nice way of saying there is a certain sameness to his music. And that made me think about when I first got it.

A million years ago, back when I was married, Mike & I took a vacation in South Haven, renting a little cottage type thing right on Lake Michigan. We spent time on the beach of course, but also making day trips to all the fun surrounding communities. We were in Holland one afternoon checking out their cute downtown, and we discovered a shop having a going out of business sale. It was late in the game – they were down to selling fixtures. In fact, now that I think about it, that’s where I got the big white crate that we used for a TV stand for a while and now serves as my nightstand by my bed. They also had a stack of CDs from their in-store music, which were selling for a buck apiece, back in the day when people still bought CDs. They had some Christmas music, some county, and a Gordon Lightfoot greatest hits collection. I think I might’ve bought the entire stack for five or ten dollars.

Later in the week, we had a rainy afternoon so we spent it inside reading and playing cards and listening to music, including our new-to-us Gordon Lightfoot album. After a while Mike said, “Didn’t we already hear this song?” Pause, cock head, consider. “Nope, I don’t think so.” We returned to our respective books. Twenty or thirty minutes passed, when Mike exclaimed, “Ok look, this is THE SAME SONG!” At which point we discovered why yes, we had accidentally hit the repeat button, and it had been playing the same track over and over again. Which surely we would have noticed sooner had we not been engrossed in whatever we were reading. But did I mention the sameness?

Apparently the other problem I have is forgetting that his name isn’t Edmund Fitzgerald, since I just googled that instead of Gordon Lightfoot when I was trying to find you the link for the song I’m going to share, which is NOT “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. Instead, I’m going to share “Song for a Winter’s Night”. Are you familiar with the Sarah McLachlan version? Did you know it was a cover of this one? I didn’t, until my friend Mikem pointed it out. Could it be more different? I don’t think so. (Because hers sounds NOTHING like a Gordon Lightfoot song, and his, naturally, sounds like every other Gordon Lightfoot song.)

Here you go. Enjoy! 🙂

Wonka’s Rules for Trick-or-Treating

I am a big fan of Halloween. In fact, it is my favorite holiday. Why my favorite, you ask? Because it’s all about playing dress up and eating candy, and you don’t have to go to church/synagogue/etc., and there are no family obligations. (No offense, family.) And its accent color is purple, which coincidentally is my accent color as well. I decorate my house with sparkly-creepy things. I have a costume closet. Some years I throw parties. I am completely envious of my friends with Halloween birthdays – I would rock that shit. And I am always home for trick-or-treaters.

As part of the trick-or-treating social contract let me assure you that I more than hold up my end of the deal. I dress up. Some years it’s just my glow-in-the-dark “COSTUME” t-shirt and my sparkly horns, but that totally counts. My porch light is always on. I never run out of treats. I never give out shitty candy. (True, I don’t always give out candy, but when I do it’s the good stuff. Fun size, but brand-name. None of those foul orange & black wrapped peanut butter things in Wonkaland!) Some years (like this one) I do give out pencils instead of candy, but that is not lame. They are FUN pencils, and as we will discuss later, they are legit treats.

In exchange I have a few rules that I propose we implement. I think most people are abiding by these already, but every year there are some blatant offenders, so clearly we need to spell things out. I do give treats to everyone, even the lame-os, but I would like to have the option to banish someone from my porch, treatless, for not living up to the agreed upon expectations.

Let’s start with a fundamental reminder: I do not owe you anything. I choose to participate, but this should be fun for both of us. If you abuse the situation too much, it might take the fun out of it for me. I noticed there weren’t very many porch lights on along my street; maybe too many people have lost the fun already. Here’s your chance to save Halloween!

Rule one: You. Must. Say “trick-or-treat”. You may not just stand there and stare at me until I put treats in your bag. It’s ok if someone needs to prompt you, or if your big brother says it for the both of you. If you do not, I will stand there and stare back at you.

Rule two: Say thank you. Tons and tons and tons of kids do, which is awesome. Even if you think my pencils are stupid (which they are not), say thank you. It could be worse, I could be giving out those little two-packs of Sweetarts. Also, chaperoning parents, I think it’s awesome when you say thanks too. It’s not mandatory, but it’s a lovely touch to acknowledge that we’ve shelled out some bucks and set aside some time to do something nice for your kid.

Rule three: You have to wear something that could be considered a costume. Or even just elements of a costume. Put on a funny hat and a weird jacket – I don’t have to be able to identify what you’re dressed up as, just that you tried. Hint: I’ll probably give you extra treats if you have an awesome costume. If your costume is covered up with a coat and other weather-appropriate garb, I am totally understanding of that – no worries. But if you have made zero effort and you’re just wearing a hoodie and jeans, you aren’t trick-or-treating, you’re going door to door begging. If you can’t be bothered to put on SOMETHING resembling a costume, you shouldn’t be out there. Have some pride, some creativity, don’t be lame. I don’t care if teenagers who are kind of too old to trick-or-treat come around as long as they put in good faith effort. Also, side note, because this rule really is for the older kids, make eye contact. I don’t care if you’re an awkward teen. Look me in the eye when you say thank you. It won’t kill you, I promise!

Rule four: Parents, we are moving on to you now. This is something I’ve noticed more and more of the last few years, and it bothers me more than anything else in this list. Quit taking your baby trick-or-treating. I’m not a parent, but I’m guessing that if the kid can’t walk and the kid can’t talk, the kid shouldn’t be eating candy either. You’re not fooling anyone, you’re using your baby to get free candy for yourself. I’m sure you’re excited for Baby’s First Halloween. Go ahead, buy an overpriced costume. Take a billion pictures. Go “trick-or-treating” at the grandparents’ houses. Get some candy to have at home. But don’t drag your baby all over the neighborhood under the guise that this experience is somehow for her.

Rule five: Don’t carry a bag for a baby in a stroller (see rule four), or the sick kid at home, or anyone not present. Trick-or-treating is definitely a “you must be present to win” situation. Being sick on Halloween is the worst. Parents should definitely do something to make up for it. But that’s your job, not mine. Share the candy collected. Buy candy. But the second bag smacks of fake.

Rule six: And parents, you again. Don’t carry your own bag. I give you props for being honest about your intentions, and if someone offers you something, awesome, take it. But trick-or-treating alongside your kids? Seriously?

Geez…reviewing this, it kind of seems like parents are the ones fucking it up the most, doesn’t it? The kids actually do pretty awesome for the most part. Don’t freak out and get all defensive now, I’m not talking about all parents.

The pencil treats were actually a pretty good gauge of who should and shouldn’t be trick-or-treating. The really little kids totally didn’t get it, and mostly seemed to be eyeballing me to see where the actual candy was. The big kids gave mumbled thank yous. But the kids in the middle, six to twelvish, were full of “cool, pencils!” True story. Glad they liked them, too, because I have enough for probably three more Halloweens. 😀

So what do you think about the rules? Can we all get on board with this? Did I miss anything? I’m happy to add to the list before the implementation phase.

And because it IS my favorite holiday and I don’t want to sound like a big grump, let’s end on a high note, with one of my Halloween traditions: the sharing of the Muppets!

The Muppets: Cårven Der Pümpkîn

The giant hamster wheel of life

It’s Friday night. I’m on the couch in pajamas, eating pizza, alone, catching up on my DVR backlog.

If time-traveling 20-something Wendy were to appear right now, she would die. Oh, the horror! Friday night. At home. Alone.

Current Wendy could not be more content.

I used to consider it a failed weekend if I didn’t have something fun to do both nights. “Fun” = going out, unless I were having a party or some kind of social gathering at my abode. Now that would kill me. Or at least leave me exhausted and in need of a weekend. Today a quiet weekend at home with Ruby Dogwonkafonka is one of my favorite things, and if I go too long without one I get twitchy.

What a difference 10 or 20 years makes.

It’s convenient that I’m happy staying in, since at the moment I don’t have a lot of extra dough for going out. 20-something Wendy, I blame you – if you had stayed in a little more, maybe we’d have more cash reserves now – see, this is all your fault!

I’ve been contemplating age and aging and the giant hamster wheel of life for a while now. I feel like somewhere in my early 40s (which is where I still reside) I reached a point of clarity or something. I’m not young anymore, in spite of what people think. This is not a bad thing, even though when I refer to myself as “middle-aged” people recoil and assure me that I’m not. Hi, yes I am. In the US the average lifespan for women is something like 81 years, and I can do math. I’m also not old – I recognize this. The math thing, plus I have a 97-year-old grandma. She is old. She also reads my blog, so hopefully she isn’t offended by that statement. She shouldn’t be. Oldness has nothing to do with awesomeness, and the timing of this rambling contemplation could not be more fortuitous, seeing as tomorrow she is receiving an honorary doctorate from University of St. Francis. She is not your grandmother’s grandmother. (That makes me giggle.)

This awareness of what is and is not old seems to be one of the universal stupidities of young people. I remember saying things like, “I’m sooooooooooooo olllllldddddddd” when I was 25. Or 27. Or 32. And I hear/see on Facebook people in their 20s and 30s say things in this vein all the time. And now, I realize how stupid they sound. They’re not old. They’re aware of the passage of time for maybe the first time ever, but they’re obviously not old. And there’s no getting this message through, because they think they know everything.

Now that I’m in the middle and looking both directions, I don’t at all assume I know everything – that is one thing I have learned. You think you do, and then you get older, and you realize how stupid you were when you thought that. There seems to be a lot of realizing how stupid I was. It’s amazing that our parents don’t roll their eyes at us more often than they do. I can’t wait to see what I’m doing now that makes me laugh at 40-something Wendy ten or twenty years from now.

One pattern we seem to repeat is in thinking that our generation has it sooooooo much harder than any previous generation, and nobody understands our experience, and we are so maligned by the generation ahead of us. And then we get older and turn on the generation behind us because they’re whiny and they feel maligned and misunderstood. Except you’re not actually anti-the generation behind you, you just wish they understood all the things they could be learning from the benefit of your experience and hindsight instead of waiting 20 years for their own hindsight, but hi, they’re young and know everything. Hamster wheel.

I was reading a thread on Facebook last week with some millennials talking about how maligned they are by older generations (I really need to find another word for “maligned”) and it prompted me to send this note to another Gen X friend who I knew was also reading along:

Dear Millennials,

Here’s the thing…

It’s not about the label.

All young people are stupid. And not in their own way. In EXACTLY THE SAME WAY EVERYBODY ELSE WAS, BUT JUST A LITTLE BIT WORSE, because internet.

And someday you will get really, really, really old (like, 42) and you will realize what an idiot you were in your 20s, and you will see it in all the people who will currently be in their 20s, and you will laugh, and you will understand your parents better, and everything will be fine.

Love,

Gen X and the Boomers

 

I have a lot of friends who are younger than I am, and I hope you know that I love you, and I look forward to you pushing me around in my wheelchair someday. I truly don’t think you’re stupid except when you’re talking about being old. 😉 And this isn’t supposed to be a “young people are idiots” post. It’s intended to be about how great it actually is being in that dreaded over-40 zone. Or how funny the passage of time is. Or who knows. It’s possible I lack focus tonight. It’s possible this is because I’m also watching Say Yes to the Dress while writing this. It is Friday night, after all. (20-something Wendy is dying of shame right now.)

But my 40s are great. So far, anyway. Another cliché proves itself to be true: so far every decade is better than the one before. I’m not so hung up on stuff like what do people think or what everyone else is doing. I’m less concerned about “should”; I’m more interested in what makes me happy. I remember clearly the night that happened, too. I had been invited to a going away party for some casual friends who were moving. The time had come to get myself together and as I was walking upstairs to change clothes, I realized I didn’t feel like going, and then it clicked that I didn’t have to. So I didn’t. I stayed home, and it was so nice that I started refusing invitations more often. I got way more selective about whom I spend time with. If I spend time with you now it’s because I really want to. I’m not sure why it took me so long to catch onto that one.

I thought I had a funny cartoon set aside about aging or clichés or something along those lines to accompany this, but I can’t find anything in my “hold” folder. What I did find is this picture of snuggling lions. I have no idea what I saved it for, but it’s adorable, so what the hell. When I find the cartoon, I’ll save it for the lion post that clearly I intend to write some day.

cuddling lions

You can’t handle the truth!

A lot of you are friends with me on Facebook and are likely well aware that I am caught up at the moment in the fight against HJR-3, a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman.  I’m going to write more about that one of these days – I keep trying to get my thoughts into a cohesive lump instead of the ranty outbursts I post on Facebook. But today is not that day; today I have a little comic relief for you. But first, a little background.

Here’s the wording of the proposed amendment:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

The first sentence is bad enough, but the second is wildly troubling even for some who are opposed to marriage equality. It has opened up all kinds of questions and even led to a supporting bill theoretically defining the intent of the amendment.  

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to listen to several area representatives speak, and one of them suggested that even though he found the second sentence troubling, he still supports the amendment. I was (naturally) pissed. Today, however, he (with some others) filed an amendment to remove the second sentence.  I emailed the encouraging news to a friend with whom I’d been discussing it over the weekend, and got this back in response. It’s freakin’ awesome.  

But first, before we get to that, this is a wildly important issue, and if you are looking for more information or want to know how to get involved in the fight for equality for ALL Hoosiers, please visit Freedom Indiana (or ask me questions – I am happy to talk about it).

HOLY CRAP, while I was getting this together the amendment to remove the second sentence was passed! But this is still awesome and funny and timely so you’re getting it anyway. 🙂

I did not write anything below this line – all from my clever friend. (Sorry about the somewhat wonky formatting.)

__________________________________________________________

Good for him. Now maybe he – or anybody in the media – could start asking folks what the heck the second sentence does or means. We supposedly have an entire bill, HB 1153, that describes what the second sentence doesn’t do. Namely, that it’s not there to take away benefits, rights, etc. So why is it there?

If the institution of marriage between man and woman is so fundamental – a truism – that itself connotes only one meaning, then why would you need a second sentence? Its removal does nothing…unless of course it does exactly what it sounds like it does.

I’d like the exchange to go a little something like A Few Good Men

 

                                      WENDY

                              (continuing; beat)

                         Speaker, I have just one more question

                         before I call the Indy Chamber and

                         Indiana University: If you gave an order

                         that Marriage wasn’t to be touched,

                         and your orders are always followed,

                         then why would marriage be in danger, why

                         would it be necessary to have

                         the second sentence?

 

               And SPEAKER has no answer.

 

               Nothing.

 

               He sits there, and for the first time, seems to be lost.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Gay marriage is a sub-standard form of

                         union. The second sentence is offered

                         because —

 

                                     WENDY

                         But that’s not what you said. You

                         said the amendment was to protect “marriage.”

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (pause)

                         Yes. That’s correct, but —

 

                                     WENDY

                         You said, “Marriage was in danger”. I said,

                         “Grave danger”. You said —

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Yes, I recall what —

 

                                     WENDY

                         I can have the Court Reporter read

                         back your —

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         I know what I said. I don’t need it

                         read back to me like I’m a damn —

 

                                     WENDY

                         Then why the two sentences?

                              (beat)

                         Speaker?

                              (beat)

                         Why did you —

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         Sometimes legislators take matters into their

                         own hands.

 

                                     WENDY

                         No sir. You made it clear just a

                         moment ago that legislators

                         could not take matters into their own hands.

                         Marriage is between man and woman. So

                         Marriage shouldn’t have been in any

                         danger at all, should it have,

                         Speaker?

 

               Everyone’s sweating now. Everyone but WENDY.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You little bastard.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Your Honor, I have to ask for a recess

                         to —

 

                                     WENDY

                         I’d like an answer to the question,

                         Counselor.

 

                                     JUDGE

                         The Court’ll wait for answer.

 

                                     WENDY

                         If Turner told his men that Marriage

                         wasn’t to be touched, then why did

                         it have to have a second sentence?

 

               SPEAKER is looking at Long and Morris.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (continuing)

                         Speaker?

 

               SPEAKER says nothing.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (continuing)

                         Turner ordered the second sentence, didn’t

                         he? Because that’s what you told

                         him to do.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Object!

 

                                    JUDGE

                         Legislators…

 

               WENDY will plow through the objections of LEHMAN and the

               admonishments of the Judge.

 

                                     WENDY

                         And when it went bad, you cut these

                         guys loose.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Your Honor —

 

                                    JUDGE

                         That’ll be all, counsel.

 

                                     WENDY

                         You had Judiciary hold a phony

                         Committee hearing —

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Counselor —

 

                                     WENDY

                         You doctored the committee meetings.

 

                                     LEHMAN

                         Damnit WENDY!!

 

                                     WENDY

                         I’ll ask for the fourth time. You

                         ordered —

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You want answers?

 

                                     WENDY

                         I think I’m entitled to them.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You want answers?!

 

                                     WENDY

                         I want the truth.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                         You can’t handle the truth!

 

               And nobody moves.

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (continuing)

                         Son, we live in a world that has

                         walls. And those walls have to be

                         guarded by old white men. Who’s gonna

                         do it? You? You, Rep. Heuer? I

                         have a greater responsibility than

                         you can possibly fathom. You weep

                         for gays and you curse our

                         marriage. You have that luxury. You

                         have the luxury of not knowing what

                         I know: That squashing gay rights, while

                         tragic, probably saved lives. And my

                         existence, while grotesque and

                         incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

                              (beat)

                         You don’t want the truth. Because

                         deep down, in places you don’t talk

                         about at parties, you want me on

                         that wall. You need me on that wall.

                              (boasting)

                         We use words like honor, code,

                         freedom… we use these words as the

                         backbone to a life spent defending

                         bigotry. You use ’em as a punchline.

                              (beat)

                         I have neither the time nor the

                         inclination to explain myself to a

                         man who rises and sleeps under the

                         blanket of the very freedom I provide,

                         then questions the manner in which I

                         provide it. I’d prefer you just said

                         thank you and went on your way.

                         Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a

                         weapon and stand a post. Either way,

                         I don’t give a damn what you think

                         you’re entitled to.

 

                                     WENDY

                              (quietly)

                         Did you order the second sentence?

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (beat)

                         I did the job you sent me to do.

 

                                     WENDY

                         Did you order the second sentence?

 

                                     SPEAKER

                              (pause)

                         You’re goddamn right I did.

 

Let there be light! Or…color. Or…contrast. Or…something!

Guess what I did today?

I changed the light bulb in my TV!

Yes, I did. All by myself.

I used tools and everything.

Well…a screwdriver. Which is a tool. One tool. Ooh, and I used a box cutter to open the box, so we’ll stick with tools, plural.

And it was quite difficult, you should be very impressed.

Actually, it was super easy, but you should still be impressed, because you didn’t even know TVs had light bulbs, did you?

Well, they do. Ok, some do. Including mine.

Many years ago (let’s say 8 or 9 but probably not 10), my then husband and I bought a BIG, HUGE, SHINY NEW TV. And we got a DLP (which stands for Digital Light Processing, which is interesting, because I thought it was Digital Light Projector so we see how much I know, which is almost nothing) TV. One of the reasons we chose DLP instead of a flat screen is because they told us the TV could last forever, theoretically, and would just need to have the bulb inside replaced from time to time.

And apparently “from time to time” is a really long time, because this is the first time I’ve replaced the bulb since we separated five and a half years ago. The ex & I. The TV and I have a solid relationship. Together forever. (I wish I could draw a heart around that.)

And I was pretty sure I would be able to change it by myself because Mike (my ex) did it at one point back when he still lived with the TV, which is not a knock on him at all, just that I remember him saying it was ridiculously easy.

Recently it seemed that the TV was getting dim. Nothing drastic, but I’ve been binge watching The West Wing again (omigod it’s. so. good.) and I realized that all of the episodes looked like they were full of secret meetings in the middle of the night in dark locations. And I sort of remembered that was a warning sign before the bulb went out the first time, many years ago.

Almost six years seemed like a good long time, and that it was time to be proactive and replace it. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to find one easily, and I expected any store I went into to try to sell me a new TV. The bulb is not inexpensive. TVs have come way down in price.  Mine is no longer huge by today’s standards. However, my living room is cozy (we don’t want to offend it by calling it small) and frankly a bigger TV would look ridiculous in here. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with it. I like it. It’s HD, widescreen, I know how it works, and it works just fine. I don’t like that the world is disposable and that when what I really need is a new battery for my phone the system is designed just to replace the phone. So I was prepared to dig in my heels and insist on just a new bulb. Imagine my delight when I walked into the store where I bought the TV lo those many years ago and the guy in the TV department said nothing at all about “upgrading” but just walked me over to the service department so they could get the replacement bulb for me.

The store, in fact, is adorably charming. (Stucky Brothers, for you locals.) They still had me in the computer system from when I bought the TV and they took the time to update my address and phone number. They printed the receipt on a dot matrix printer. Apparently they’re like me: why replace it when it still works? The bulb cost almost double what I could’ve gotten it online for, but I like them, and their service, and that they’re a local, family-owned business. (My clients can buy the same things they get from me for less money online as well, and I try to practice what I preach.  Buy local when you can, people. Also, service matters.)

So I got the bulb, I sat down with the manual (perhaps the most astonishing part of this episode was that I found the manual so easily, although unbeknownst to me the bulb included instructions), and I changed that bulb. My favorite part was that it instructed me to wear clean, lint-free, soft gloves. Which led to a discovery of a pair of really cute purple gloves that I think might have been a present from someone, possibly my grandmother, possibly someone else.  They were soft and clean and lint-free, so I put them on when I put the bulb in the TV. Well done, gloves! And now I will start wearing you for real, too, sorry I forgot about you!

I almost forgot an important step in the bulb-changing process: plug the TV back in when finished. That would have been crushing, for the TV not to come back on. But I remembered, and it DID, and good gravy, it’s bright and colorful and beautiful! And I can see the faces of the people on The West Wing again – woo hoo!

Speaking of The West Wing (again), it is so much better than anything on TV right now, including The Newsroom which is Aaron Sorkin’s current show on HBO. But we can talk about it more when I’m finished. Don’t hold your breath for that. Staycation will be over soon and I won’t be able to watch TV all day long. But I will be done with season three by Monday, because that’s when the DVD needs to be back at the library.

And now, I will go back to enjoying my glorious, vibrant picture.

Oh, and see, aren’t these gloves pretty?

gloves