To Google, With Love

My Dearest Google:

Something’s come between us, and I thought we should clear the air.

I post, and you ignore me. I add my feeds, and you turn away, as if I’d never typed.

Your friends, in Webmaster Tools, claim my pages are indexed... but no traffic do I see. I fear I know the score; they’re just telling me what you’ve told them to say. What you think I want to hear.

And then I learned today, from an insightful friend, that you think I’m not good enough for you.

You think the archives of content, which were a labor of love so many years ago, you think they were… SCRAPED. Stolen. Some illicit business on the side.

But I tell ya, I’m misunderstood is all, Google! I’m the same gal you always knew. The gal who wrote regularly. Who always had something original. And even did her own photos so as to avoid any copyright issues. I haven’t changed!

It was a bum rap, see? It was all in the past. An old site with my content on it that just had never come down. A mistake. That content was mine for the taking, Google. Mine! Mine, I tell you!

So I’m trying to make it up to you, Google. I’ve gotten rid of the archives that made you so steamed. And I’ve gotten my old hosts to finally pull the dead site.

It was an honest mistake, you see. I’m not one of the baddies—the kind writers like me fight every day in this great big world of the web. I’m one of the good guys. And I hope I can earn your love once more.

Try and remember how much we've shared, dear Google. Why, we've even got two blogs together! So maybe you can see fit to send just a little traffic my way?

You may not realize it, but you really do need me, just a little. In a land of spammers and scammers, you need all the real content generators... the writers.... the ones who truly care... that you can get. So, please say we can work this out?

I’ll be waiting right here for ya, sweetie.


Well, at least Google loves Humor-blogs...

Who in the Hunan is General Tso?

I popped into Chan An for a bite of hot lunch, and ordered my fav-- General Tso's chicken. The pretty, delicate young lady behind the counter took my order. Then shouted back to the cook in Chinese with a bellow that cracked the plaster.

It's always surprising, that bellow. Especially to new customers. I watch people give her their order, and then wait for 'em to jump in the air and cling to the ceiling fan as she blasts out the good word on their dish.

I like it. Helping people off the ceiling fan gives me something to do while I wait for my food.

So, as I gave nice Mrs. Johnston a leg down from the rafters, it occurred to me. "Who IS General Tso, and why am I eating his chicken?"

I had never considered this before. Possibly because it had just seemed perfectly right. Colonel Sanders... General Tso...

Military status + crispy chicken = yum

It seemed to span cultures.

So while I enjoyed delicious crispy chicken back at the office, I did some in-depth research...

NO, not Wikipedia. Hey, I'm serious about my research and believe in using solid sources. (Also, that was later.)

I went to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a reputable publication where the entry is unlikely to have been written by someone with the username "TsoFanNumeroUno." And Britannica tells us that the man who inspired the dish was none other than Tso Tsung-t'ang. Also known as "Zuo Zongtang."

"Steve" to his buds.

Truthfully, the entry was pretty dry. Unlike that sweet, sweet chicken. So to hold your interest, I'm going to take some liberties and paraphrase here.

And you kiddies out there writing reseach reports using just whatever internet site you find as your sources? You'll want to copy this all down word-for-word and turn it into your teachers as-is. Your teachers will love it. And will probably share your work with all their colleagues in the teacher's lounge.

It'll be a learning experience for everyone.

Okay, back to General Tso. General Tso didn't start out his career a general. Yes, he started out as simply Tso, a guy born into "a well-connected, scholarly family." So basically tenured university professors with a good pension plan.

He passed his preliminary civil service exams, and concentrated on farming studies and geography. This means he was more or less a desk-jockey at the Hsiang-yin Department of Agriculture.

Then in 1850, the Taiping Rebellion began to spread through South China. And so like "Sean of the Dead" only without the zombies, Tso realized he had to take action. He organized the local defenses to rise up and protect the region. And because folks who mattered were still alive when the dust cleared, they said, "Tso, we really like your style."

For his good work, he became one of the top imperial commanders, and eventually Governor-General of Chekian and Fukien.

This made him VERY big in China. Big enough to hold press conferences and everything.

Soon, his role expanded to governor-general of Sheshi and Kansu, because there were Muslim rebels that need quashing, and Tso had proven his mad skilz in the quashing arena.

How'd he do this? Well, remember, Tso had started his career as a civil servant. And what do civil servants like to do most?

Why, slap down some hefty taxes, that's what! So he taxed these people. And he also encouraged economic production, and introduced Western technology. I'm guessing it probably had something to do with an automated online tax collection system, but Britannica doesn't go into the details.

And to finance his troops? Tso put them to work in their spare time, growing grain and cotton. Because, you know, they were on the clock, anyway, and there weren't unions then.

But, Tso kept it going. Stopping a rebellion here, a rebellion there. By 1881, he was this old, blind guy who just wanted to retire, get his gold watch and his office party with cake. You know give a couple of slurred and tearful speeches after putting away too many Tsingtaos.

But they government wouldn't let him. He was sent off to South China to defend the country against the French. And that's where he died.

So where does the chicken come in? Well, that's an interesting story in itself. See, every time Tso would go up against a new group of rebels, the rebel fighters would underestimate his tactical abilities because he'd started out as a mid-level office executive. And so to boost the rebel morale, they'd all chorus, "General Tso's chicken! General Tso's chicken!"

Of course, they were defeated every time. Which is why General Tso's chicken is not only sweet, for the sweet victory he enjoyed, but spicy, because his tactics had an unexpected kick.

And if you believe that, I have a chunk of Great Wall to sell ya.

The offices at Humor-blogs are filled with empty Chinese food containers. I know it.

Paws from The Cos

Bill Cosby gave me a dog this week. Well, not ME specifically. ("Cos" and I don't chat that much, though I am very pro-pudding.) No, I meant Carnegie Mellon University and alumni like me.

I hadn't known we needed one.

But The Cos assures us it's just what we've been missing all along. So the Scottish terrier-- which will make its grand entrance next September-- will become the University's first live mascot. Mr. Cosby feels "the dog raises one's self esteem."

Imagine that? All those years ago in college, when I was suffering from sleep-deprivation, and no money, and a deep over-achiever's fear of failing "Stats for Poets" and ruining my entire life, I would have felt better about myself, if I'd just hung out with more creatures who drank out of the toilet.

Well, "live and learn," I always say.

The dog's costume, I understand, is being unveiled during this Spring Carnival. And-- because of founder Andrew Carnegie's Scottish heritage-- I'm imagining it will be something on the plaid and kilt side...

If so, I hope there's a mini-bagpipe involved.

But given the school's unique "technology plus the arts" balance, I think I could also be happy seeing him in:
  • A tiny space suit with a helmet shaped like a beret...
  • Wee business attire complete with power tie and a pocket protector filled with pens and paintbrushes...
  • And MY personal fav-- Electronic gear which can transform the mascot from a dog, to a robot, to an avant garde art installation piece
I can see other benefits to having our furry Scottish mascot, too. Like really putting the fear into the opposing football teams.

What? You don't see the possibilities of this?

Let me explain. Scotties have sharp little teeth and aren't afraid to use them. Believe me, I know. My next door neighbor had a 17-year-old Scottie named Ulysses who was completely blind and stone deaf. But you pet him, and he would sink that row of razor blades into your hand like the mother alien in that Sigourney Weaver film. No hesitation.

So I think the new sports team logo should depict a Scottie biting an opponent's leg, preferably right around the Achilles tendon to show we really mean business.

Plus, we'll have the only mascot who will bark with a brogue. This is perfect, because no one will be able to understand what the Scottie's saying on the field. He can trash-talk the other team and get away with absolute murder! And the best part is, there won't be a single thing the referees can do about it. We'll just cite cultural differences.

There may be a down side to this, however. Somehow I suspect the next time my home phone rings, I'm going to be asked to give donations to... oh... the new "Carnegie Kibble Fund for Underprivileged Scottish-American Canines." Or the "Angus MacBark Obedience School Scholarship Drive."

And though I'd like our new mascot to have the quality-of-life and education he needs, most of us have only recently paid off our student loans. It's dog-eat-dog out there in today's economy.

Personally, I'd always wanted a pony.

You know, no one makes the mascot kitten of Humor-blogs wear little outfits.

The Peeps Squad in: The Big Hatch

There they were. The pristine packages of Peeps split open. A few missing. I asked the friend who rents the apartment upstairs to just own up. To just come clean and admit she ate the Peeps. But she said it was a bum rap. She was diabetic, and plus she had an alibi-- fifty people saw her at the local Easter Egg Hunt. And not a crack in her story.

That's when I turned to my home surveillance tapes-- which revealed the following startling footage.

This is Chick. Chick DeNiro. Member of the Glucose crime syndicate. He's identified by the distinctive mole on his face, and the fact that he's never without his trusty knife.

Chick had had enough of celophane incarceration and bided his time until it was safe to break out of the cel.

Then he went back for his buddies.

This is Fran "Big Hen" Malone. She'd do anything for Chick. When she was threatened with the pen, the cops thought she'd sing like a canary. But she never chickened out and told 'em anything about Chick's dealings.

On the bottom left is Fluff McGoo. He's the type that's easily led. Basically a good kid but a bit of a dumb bunny... He looks up to Chick and doesn't want to be left out of any of the action.

Chick's peep on the right is Ed "Kaboom" Cannon. He's the explosives man, been detonating things since he was nine and discovered aeosol hairspray and a lighter. Accidentally roasted his whole family and lives with a lot of guilt because of it. Kaboom's stone deaf but he knows his stuff.

On the way out of the cel, Fluff discovers just the thing they need for their escape. Rope. And lots of it.

Slowly, carefully, they make their way down the rope, down the kitchen cabinets and closer to freedom.

Chick waits at the bottom for his team.

Only something goes wrong! High winds cause the rope to swing loose, and Fluff to tumble off the edge of the precipace, just catching onto the rope in time. Now Kaboom and Fluff are both in trouble.

Kaboom makes it to safety, but now Fluff is tangled in the rope! How will he ever survive?

They manage to get him to safety, but not without injury.

He's missing an ear and may have suffered some nerve damage, but some quick bandaging will help him continue on. Says Chick, "No peep left behind!"

They make it across the kitchen floor, and freedom seems almost feasible. But what to do about that large heavy door?

Kaboom has the answer! He can make explosives out of some simple household cleaners.

He sets the bomb, but unfortunately Fluff doesn't get out of the way in time. Fluff McGoo is no more...

His comrades say a little prayer for him as he goes to the great Easter Basket in the sky. But they've come too far to stop in their quest for freedom now. Fluff would have wanted it that way.

Fortunately, Chick has an idea. And he's brought the leftover rope...

Chick lassoes the knob, climbs up and picks the lock.

The door creaks open and the former prisioners see sunlight for the very first time in months.

They rush outside, feeling the warmth of the spring sun, the wind of their faces, the...

RAIN on their candy-coated bodies! As Chick DeNiro disolves, he only has time to wonder: was it WORTH it?

"Yes," he rasps, "It was worth it. Freedom always has its price. But it's worth it."

Happy Easter to ALL my peeps! :)

Did you know, you can crack open posts from great new humor writers over at Humor-blogs?

How to Write How-To: A Tutorial With Tips

Tips… Helpful hints… Who doesn’t turn to the Internet for a little advice these days? But I’m starting to suspect the demand for know-how is greater than the information online that’s actually… oh… not so obvious that a street-savvy Pomeranian couldn’t figure it out.

Or write it.

Like an article I read recently on Yahoo HotJobs. In “What the Boss’ Body Language Says,” author Pat Mayfield lets us know that the boss MIGHT NOT LIKE YOU if s/he:
  • In groups, avoids you, sits with others, or does not introduce you.
  • Does not look at you; has a cold, glaring, staring, or glazed-over look.
  • Raises one eyebrow as if in disbelief or doubt.
  • Jaw muscles are clenched, and temple or neck veins throb.
  • Smile is stiff and forced.
  • Points or wags his or her finger aggressively.
Um, did we NEED an article to tell us this? That if the boss glares at you, you might not be his office pet?

That an angry, finger-waving, forced-smiling, vein-throbbing, glaring, staring, doubting, ducking manager-type MIGHT NOT be sending you flowers and chockies along with your next paycheck? GOSH, but it’s so SUBTLE! Thank goodness we had this article!

(I was actually surprised “Gives you the pink-slip” wasn’t on the list.)

Of course, I’m also not a nationally-published advice columnist, or self-employed business consultant, so what do I know?

Which got me thinking. Perhaps I’m just not taking advantage of an important writing market. So I’ve compiled a list of possible topics that I feel might make a real splash on the internet how-to feature circuit. They include:

“Protecting Yourself from Home Invasion: Ten Steps to Locking the Door.”

“Why I Started Surfing at the Ocean: A Learning Experience.”

“How to Increase Your SEO by 100%-- If You Currently Have No Website.”

"Teach Yourself the Kazoo in Just Five Minutes a Day."

“He’s Just Not That Into You: Why That Restraining Order Really DOES Affect Your Relationship.”

So what do you all think? Am I headed for a bright and shiny future in the-- ?

Oh... sorry. Gotta go. My Pomeranian needs to use the computer; deadline, you know.

Pomeranians write all sorts of posts over at Humor-blogs.

Now Taking Auditions for Pittsburgh's Mothman

So a few weeks ago, one of the piers on the Birmingham Bridge dropped a few inches-- the pier over which I commute these days.

Interestingly, the side of the bridge that IS currently closed to traffic is the one that… HASN’T SHIFTED.

Now I understand that SOMETHING has to be closed. Because, of course, this is Pittsburgh; unhindered movement through the city is simply not allowed.

It’s for our own good, of course. We might all get swimmy in the head from going a heart-pounding 25 miles per hour… Or for more than two consecutive blocks without stopping. You know: experience some automotive version of “The Bends.”

That’s just the city looking out for our best interests.

So, yes, something has to be closed. I accept that. But it seems to me-- and I’m not a construction worker, or a structural engineer, or a mathematician, or even very good with a slide-rule or anything-- but it seems to me, the side of the bridge that SHOULD be closed should be…

Oh, I don’t know…


But no.

Now, the bridge has been propped up with hydraulic jacks, and supports, and steel, and thirty energetic superheroes, and duct tape. So it’s perfectly safe for tons and tons of giant shiny bits of metal and people to press down on it each day. That allows them to close the bridge pier which HASN’T DROPPED, in order to “design and manufacture a new bearing system for it.”

Then they’ll attend to the dropsy side.

It makes no sense to ME. But again, I don’t construct, engineer, math-up or have slide-rule savvy.

What I DO know is that driving on Mr. Dropsy each day tends to give a person a slightly different perspective on things like, oh, traffic back-ups. I see that light up ahead on Fifth Avenue turn red, notice myself 50 cars back and idling in the center of the bridge, and I find myself thinking:

In the 60s, the Silver Bridge in West Virginia fell into the river and hundreds of people died, almost including Laura Linney, except that was in that Richard Gere movie and they’d had the Mothman to warn them. Pittsburgh has no Mothman....

Pittsburgh NEEDS a Mothman.

So I think I'd feel more confident in my commute if we could take a serious look at some Mothman-style talent for Pittsburgh.

When I say "Mothman-style" talent, I want to give the applicants a little leeway. I mean, yes, Mothman himself had merits. The legend of the creepy apparition with red eyes at the window, making prophetic telephone calls, all culminating in the Silver Bridge disaster, well, it has showmanship.

But, really, is Pittsburgh prepared for anything so convoluted, so overdone? Plus, there's that whole rotten phone reception when he calls. Pittsburghers are practical people. Instead of listening to these crackly warnings, half the city would be calling Verizon and Vonage about issues with their cellular service.

So I'm thinking if there's any local, say, Troll-lady (trolls notoriously have good bridge skills), that would be an excellent place to start. Or maybe a Gargoyle-man (also appropriate for our historical architecture). Or even, say, a turn-of-the-century Steelworker type, that's something I think the city could get behind.

The job of fortelling potential collapse, now THAT is going to have to be a little more straight-forward than Mothman's approach. Sure, the right candidate should try to make a grand entrance. The burning-eyes-in-the-dark schtick is an attention-getter, certainly, but not a deal-breaker. The applicant will want to use their own discretion about that-- and be creative!

Now the warnings, they're going to have to be easy to hear. We have a lot of older people in this city, and they have a right to hear the proclamations of potential doom as well as anybody else. So any candidates for the position-- you're going to have to remember to project. Speak up. No mumbling. You're prophecizing disaster, not asking little Suzie for a date.

With Pittsburgh's own Mothman-style entity, I think the City of Bridges can keep going safe and strong for another century. And I'll feel just a bit better on my drive home.

Applicants for the position can submit their resume, headshot and previous hauntings to the Pittsburgh Casting Office for Paranormal Phenomena and Mascots, or leave a comment with this post. We'll get back to you with an audition time.

Recruiting for our mascot from Humor-blogs only netted us some dead roosters, pointless banter and a bunch of clowns.

The Race for the, Guinness

So Sunday I was sitting in my livingroom, reading and wondering what to write for today, when I heard a shout from outside.

"Ohhhh! Ayyyy!"

Tossing aside my book and dashing to the door, I spied a middle-aged man in a green plaid kilt running by the house, making a good pace and giving another militaristic hoot before he disappeared entirely from view.

"Hm," I said to myself. Because, while jogging is popular in my neighborhood, the kilts are usually kept to a minimum....

Not WIND-RESISTANT, ya know.

"Must be something St. Paddy's-related," I considered. A man in a green kilt on March 16? Oh yes, I am DEEPLY perceptive. NOTHING gets by me.

At this point, my housemate called down from her office upstairs. "What WAS it?"

"A man wind-sprinting in a kilt."

"Oh," she said. "Right." Like this was an everyday thing for her. Like once a week Connor MacLeod and his entire Highlander clan came sweeping into her workplace, plaid flying, shouting, "There can be only one!" to a Queen soundtrack.

(Actually, she'd like that. I probably would've heard about it.)

"And here's a girl running after him," I called up the stairs shortly. And sure enough, a girl in a nylon jacket and running gear went sprinting by at full tilt, hot on his heels.

Housemate: "That's.... interesting."

Well, it sure as heck was better than my book, anyway.

I waited.

And I was rewarded by a new actor entering the stage.

"NOW, there's a man with a dog chasing after HER," I added, feeling I might as well give the play-by-play. I described the man with green spandex shorts and a sleek greyhound (not in spandex) who breezed by. It was beginning to look like a "Jeeves and Wooster" third act. But they vanished.

The street was empty.

I started back to my favorite chair, but hadn't gotten far when another "Ohhhhh! Ayyyyyyy!" reached my ears.

I dropped my book and again scrambled to the window. THIS shouting was caused by a man putting some serious effort into his running, and wearing a green derby perched jauntily on his head. A derby which didn't move one bit in the wind, I might add. A ten for balance! A 9.5 for form! Impressive!

Now they were coming in droves. People in green spangled shorts were right behind. Followed by a woman jogging in shamrock-shaped deely-boppers, which jounced and bounced with every step.

Now Leprechauns with emerald green boas!... Now Jolly Green Giants with Chuck Taylors!... It looked like a high-impact aerobics version of a"Let's Make a Deal" gameshow audience.

You know, it fills my heart with gladness that the world is so bizarre I don't even have to leave my house to get material for a post. I've lived here for six years. Who knew I was on the route for a local St. Patrick's Day jog-a-thon?

Of course, this got me thinking about what this jog-a-thon was actually for. I mean, these were not idle runners, just putting their time in for the St. Paddy's holiday, were they? The way these folks were running, something was at stake. A good cause? A trophy? The pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow? The case o' Guinness at the end of the finish line?

How about a free one-year supply of Lucky Charms? (I'd be all over that myself. That stuff really IS magically delicious!)

Or how about some of THESE?

No, no, do not be deceived-- they're not "Sno-Balls," the pink or white coconut-covered cakes of our youth. These are DIFFERENT. These are "Lucky Puffs." Because they're green, donchaknow. The Marketers have deemed it so.

Why change the name of the Sno-Balls entirely, just for St. Patrick's Day? Because "Lucky Balls" would have caused a baked goods scandal, that's why. And "Saint Patrick's Balls" would only be worse. I can just see moms picketing the Hostess plant talking about the offensiveness of snack cake nomenclature these days, and kids having entirely too much fun with it at lunchtime.

Well, I did a bit of online research, and not a single St. Paddy's Day race could I find listed in my area.

Was it a parade which took a strange, Olympic turn? Was it a pub-wide bet after too many black-and-tans? Maybe it was a series of athletic, poorly-dressed banshees on the misty suburban moors o' Pittsburgh?

We may never know.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, my friends! And slainte!

Green beer goes perfectly with a side of Humor-blogs.

Rooting for Gray Hair

I found my first gray hair today. It shines, silvery and sly among the red and the roots. And since I’d been crafting with glitter lately, I initially thought it was just some adventurous sparkles who’d taken a Manifest Destiny view of my person. Like those times where multiple skin-scouring showers still somehow don’t remove Paint-on-the-Elbow.

But it wasn’t adventurous sparkles. It was built-in.

I’d been expecting this for a while, admittedly. I mean, it’s not like I’m really all that young anymore, just incredibly, irretrievably childish. And my mother had some grays in her thirties, too.

So today, I give you “Top Ten Reasons Why This Gray Hair is Wicked Cool.” Because I am an optimist (read: delusional) and it’s no fun living in delusion... er, optimism... all by yourself.

So here goes--

1.) It’s the start of a rock-chick streak like Bonnie Rait has. Or Rogue of the X-men. And if it’s the latter, does it come with super powers? Because, you know, I’ve been wanting THOSE since I was about five.

2.) When I’m entirely gray, it will be so much easier to go from there to platinum blonde. Then I can begin my life-long dream of being a fifth-rate Marilyn Monroe impersonator in Vegas. I mean, I can sing, “Happy birthday” off-key, I’m already in need of losing some pounds, and have some fake diamond jewelry which, while not my best friend, is at least a mild acquaintance. Seen at a distance by seriously drunk people, I might just have a future.

3.) I can call it my Lucky Gray, and bring it with me to Bingo to increase my odds of winning. Okay, so I don’t currently PLAY Bingo. But this gives me a reason to start.

4.) I can point to it in stores in an attempt to get Senior Citizen discounts. Think of the SAVINGS!

5.) With age comes wisdom. So I am one step closer to being wise. All-knowing. Yoda, even. (No wait, that would be gray and mostly bald. And green. Nevermind. "Like this plan, I do not.")

6.) It is not actually a gray from aging. It’s from fear of an incident in my past so terrifying my mind blocked it out. And in order to learn what it is, I must go on a quest to reveal the exciting details. The book sales and movie rights alone will pay for retirement.

7.) I can pluck it out and knit it into a sweater for extra glitter. Once I learn to knit.

8.) I can sell it on Ebay claiming Britney Spears is aging before her time.

9.) Now I can write deep, dark poetry in angst of fleeting time and fading youth, like the Romantic poets Byron, Keats, Coleridge and Shelley. And look how that worked for them. Sure, they all died by the time they were 30, but a good angst goes a long way to cool in some circles.

10.) I should take consolation in that, while I may be going gray, at least I haven't been forever immortalized in photographs posing in a silver foil hula skirt like the gals up top...
A little gray hair, I can live with.

Humor keeps you young. The folks at Humor-blogs swear they're still all natural blondes, brunettes and redheads.

Lettuce Dance

Here at Of Cabbages and Kings, we dig deep into life’s important issues. Like the disorientation, trauma and emotional scars I experienced at lunch yesterday because the Giant Eagle grocery store reversed their salad bar.

Oh, it’s not gone. Just reversed. Totally backwards. Bizarro-world. Salad and veggies USED TO BE on the side facing the store entrance, and now toppings, dressing and yogurt are in their place.

You would not believe the sort of mayhem this has caused.

Okay, okay, feel free to laugh. I’m aware how lucky I am that my biggest personal challenge is in not knowing where my mixed greens are.

Except I am not only a creature of habit, I am a creature of habit who was having a very “off” morning.

When I tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the kitchen, and poured myself a cup of ambition, for reasons unknown to MYSELF-- let alone Dolly Parton-- I promptly poured myself a SECOND coffee, in a separate mug sitting right next to it….

A mug which I actually don't remember taking down from the shelf, and which I ALSO seemed fully-prepared to drink. Because, of course, there is no one else to drink this.

Yet, there it was. Coffee. Twice. Black and no sweetener. Just how I don’t like it.

When you find yourself having a two-mug morning for a single-mug beverage, and you don't recall how it is you take your coffee, you begin to wonder just how the rest of the day is going to fare.

You begin to wonder whether you might not just head off to work, but suddenly wake up in Peoria in your jim-jams, with bad breath, no cash, no ID, and no way to tell the boss you’ll be a skosh late.

So the Salad Bar Switcheroo seemed to be just one more extension of the muddling two-mug morning. My only consolation was, there were others just as confused as I was, and java had nothing to do with it.

Oh, how we bobbed. We weaved. We swept from one side of the counter to the other like candidates for Dancing with the Stars. Only, you know, with less showmanship and costuming, and more bad posture and business suits.

And as I boogied around the buffet, I realized it was like going into one of those Wal-Marts or Targets that's arranged in the mirror image from the branch you usually go to. You know the ones? You step through the automatic doors and while it essentially LOOKS like the store you know, something just feels a bit... off. Wrong. Unsettling. Like: here anything could happen.

Like you wouldn't be surprised if Rod Serling showed up to narrate your shopping experience. Or Stephen King stepped in to bag your groceries.

But honestly, it's not that big a deal in the Great Scheme of Things, and we humans, we're made to adapt. So if lettuce continues to exist on the COMPLETELY WRONG side of the salad bar, then I will learn from it, and change, and grow.

But if today, I step into that grocery store and Rod Serling sidles up and asks me to merengue? I'll KNOW I never did wake up right yesterday.

And if so, will someone please call my boss and tell them I'm running a tad behind? I hear Peoria is beautiful in spring.

At least Humor-blogs is always in the same place.

That Thin Mint monkey

It had been too long.

The hands trembled. Beads of sweat popped out on my forehead, my neck. My heart pounded in my chest. Blood pounded in my ears. I tried to focus, but could think of nothing-- nothing but that sweet, sweet bliss.

But where could I find what I needed? Panic seized me.

And then I remembered: Kitty. Of course! My ol' pal Kitty could hook me up. Her niece was connected, wasn't she? Sure! She was a BIG dealer, biggest in her turf... She'd look after me. No problem.

It was Girl Scout cookie season, and I needed my fix.

As a slave to the Samoas, I wonder how many others face a deep, insatiable craving for these cookies out-of-season. And why IS it seasonal? What are they trying to do to us, these pint-sized cookie teases? They introduce their boffo baked goods and then they vanish. Gone for another year.

But the demand is still there, isn't it? The memory? The sugar no longer coursing through our bloodstream, but the desire still alive?

It makes you wonder. Why such a short time? Is it a philosophical statement on the fleeting spirit of beauty? Of life? A derisive move against the principles of supply and demand?

Why don't the Girl Scouts just rent themselves a giant oak tree, set up shop inside it and bake these babies all year round? (Okay, those are elves. But still. ) Why create a false deficit? A manufactured shortage? I mean, they're a character-building organization. They're not OPEC.

Well, I connected with Kitty and let her know what I was looking for. She passed along my message. Weeks passed.

Then I got word that Kitty had a package for me. I slipped through dark corridors toward the meeting place (okay, so it was by the printer at work), and the hand-off was about to be made, when I realized--

I didn't have the cash. Not ON me. Nervously, I explained the situation. But it was too late. The deal had gone sour. Good-bye, Thin Mints. Later, Tagalongs. So long, Samoas. The darkness closed around the retreating figure. The stash was spirited away almost as if it never were.

Almost. The scent of peppermint and coconut lingered in the cool evening air.

Fleeting. So, so fleeting. And it's never easy to get that Thin Mint monkey off your back.

Mmm, Thin Mints, Peanut Tagalongs, Samoas and Humor-blogs. Nothing like 'em!

Cabbages Favorites

Get down 'n boogie with Old King Cole Slaw to some of Cabbages greatest hits. I hope you enjoy 'em!

The Joys of Technology

Free Short Story. Because Free is Nifty!

Goodies Related to the There Goes the Galaxy Series:
Audio excerpts of me reading There Goes the Galaxy and The Purloined Number (TGTG #2):

Parody inspirational poster video based on quotes from the humorous sci-fi series:

Goodies for Your Inner Writer-Nerd

Something Actually About Kings, but No Cabbages

The Battles and Triumphs of Kid-dom

Office Pranks and Other Tales of 9-5 Survival

A Modicum of Well-Mannered Zombies

Neither about Cabbages Nor Kings

The Pittsburgh Pothole Admiration Society

Spring in Pittsburgh. When trees bud, robins appear, and the roads are filled with potholes so deep, they make the Mines of Moria look like Kansas prairie.

On the news, commuters rage daily about the city’s pothole situation. Tires are blown, rims bent, small children rattled out of the car and lost, and denture wearers turning to heavier fixatives. Like tar.

But I think all these folks who are complaining just aren’t looking at it from the right angle. They’re not seeing the potential found in this season’s potholes. So I thought I would help, by offering my beloved city some top tips for "Pothole Appreciation." I believe, with a simple change in perspective, the pothole plenitude can be turned into a real asset for our region. Here are some preliminary suggestions:

Instead of continual patching—which we know never stays put anyway—why don’t we just scrape off the bit of road surface that’s left? Looking at it in pure square footage, there’s currently less of it than there are holes, anyway.
Now, this will cause Pittsburgh's overall elevation to be somewhat reduced. So it means that places like "The Bathtub"-- that part of the Parkway which inevitably gets covered by the Mon River-- to be permanently under water.

But all that requires is marketing spin. Think of Atlantis, and how that’s still a curiosity and a household name thousands of years later. If “Pittsburgh: The City of Bridges” could be spun into “Pittsburgh: Like Atlantis But Still Kicking,” this could be really good for the tourism market. This would also help out the local ferry lines, which could offer more points of interest on their tours.

Consider how potholes stimulate the economy. Wonky wheels, blow outs, tow services, people in vehicles trapped in six foot pits. All these things mean money is going to the autobody shops, tire companies, insurance companies, car dealers and hospitals. This means more people in theses industries are keeping their jobs. More jobs mean happier Pittsburghers. Also since many autobody shops are small businesses, this helps support local entrepreneurs. So, when you see a pothole, don't curse, swerve into oncoming traffic, or weep over the damage to your vehicle. Smile! Cheer! Say, "Hi, Mr. Pothole, I'm happy to meet ya! Thanks for helping keep our local mom-and-pop shop automotive repairmen as an integral part of our city's great neighborhoods!"

The Grand Canyon gets millions of visitors a year, and that’s just one big hole. We have thousands of holes across the city and suburbs, so why not take advantage of it? Organize a “Potholes of Interest” tour, choosing the most deep, dangerous and dynamic of the bunch to feature. We could name them, give them a little prestige. Plaques bought in bulk only cost a few dollars each, so offer sponsorships to companies and local celebrities for each plaque and naming rights. For instance, the “Pitt Football Pit.” Or the “Ben Rothlisberger Pass.” It could be sort of like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There could be maps. The city needs this sort of new energy brought to it, and this “Potholes of Interest” plan might really get things rolling.

Look at it as an opportunity to test personal jetpacks as a city-wide transit option. With the fine technological minds available at our local universities, we have the astounding opportuntiyy to create Pittsburgh into the first jet-pack commuter city. Surely major research institutions would be happy to invest in this as a critical social experiment. How viable is it for our future? How cool would thousands of Steelers Fans look on television jettisoning from the stadium after a game? We'd be the envy of viewers all across the country.

Okay, sure, jetpacks don't currently allow movement over significant distances. But that's where the R&D comes in. Pittsburgh has transitioned so elegantly from a steel town to a technology hotbed. It's up to us to take advantage of it.

Now mind you, these are just the first round of ideas, designed to really get our families, our neighbors, and our city administrators thinking in new directions. But I firmly believe we can accomplish much if we all start to look at the as pothole half-full, instead of half-empty.

Thank you.

What do potholes and Humor-blogs have in common? A lot of dips-- myself included!

Um... Why Cabbages?

Is the author just seriously into her veg? Or trying to explain the many splendors of roughage?


The title of this blog is a nod to Lewis Carroll's poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter" from his book Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There:

'The time has come,' the Walrus said
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings.'

Ol' Lewie knew a thing or two about finding irony and whimsy in every day life.

Somehow, it only seemed right.

Welcome to the Picnic!

Blogs. They allow us to slice-and-dice our lives into little partitions, like one of those paper picnic plates. This over here. That over there. All neat and tidy and separate-- which, of course, we all know life is anything but...

It's more like potato salad in your lap and beans on your sleeve, while you wait for cake and the dog keeps nosing you.

Still. I'd been having a wonderful time with my thrift store decorating and crafting blog, finding the funny in vintage goodies. I've met great people. And learned a ton. But every now and then, a post idea would cross my mind that didn't quite fit there.

And, sure, I could've just spooned it up and slopped it into the mix. But some people don't like bean juice on their potato salad. Or mayo on their baked beans. And you've gotta respect that.

So where are we now? In a brand new compartment on the picnic plate. Soon to be filled with a helping of the wit, weirdness and whimsy we all get dished out regularly-- and which I hope you will enjoy. I was reminded I'd actually done this sort of thing years ago, before blogging became blogging (it was just "bl-" then), in a selection of online posts called the Daily Drivel. So for anyone unafraid to leap in the Way-back Machine on a full stomach, I've also archived those posts here.

And before we go today-- I would like to thank, in particular, Tiffany/MadameX and Bobbie for enabling me toward multi-blogdom. I'd been idly tossing the idea around of creating a humor blog for a while, when they managed to whisk away my reasons for not just digging into it. Thanks so much, ladies. You get double cake helpings with no calories in them.

Enjoy this website? You might also enjoy the silliness over at Humor-blogs.