The Gal with One Black Shoe

"Oh my God- I am out in public wearing two entirely different shoes!"

This was my revelation yesterday in the middle of the K-Mart parking lot. And oh, there was no getting around it. One foot was definitely sporting a flip-flop. The other, a black ballerina flat.

What led to this obvious error, you might ask?


No, no, it's not what you're thinking. My excess shoe variety wasn't a result of a wild, reckless Memorial Day bender where even the traditions of sensible footwear were sneered at with crazed abandon....

Remember, I'm too much of a big ol' goody-two shoes (ha! pun intended) to actually be that exciting.

No, the lack of shoe harmony was because during weekends and vacations, I make the mistake of taking on too much. And this results in things like gouged eyelids, and traction, and more bandages than a Boris Karloff Mummy Lookalike Party.

Why, twice on vacations, I have underestimated the distance on a map and determined that what would be really FUN and GOOD EXERCISE and a GREAT WAY to get SUPER photos would be to WALK the distance. The last time was when my friend Scoobie and I road-tripped to Cape May to go antiquing and to the beach.

Looking at the distance between the hotel and Sunset Beach, I thought we'd be there in a jiff. No problem! It's only, like, a quarter of a centimeter away!

An hour and a half later in blistering July, we made it down to the ocean-- Scoobie in her sensible tennis shoes and me in these cute pink flats-- and I realized that the reason the back of my heels had finally stopped throbbing was because they were covered in blood, and the blood was nicely reducing the friction on my heel.

This is the way I relax.

So the weekend was a bit like that, with me running errands while wearing cute new shoes-- (ah, the evil lure of cute shoes... Dante's tenth level of Hell involves attractive, impractical footwear, I'm sure of it)-- and coming back with one heel so raw, neighborhood butchers were cringing and vomiting at the sight of me.

Monday morning, this led to my wearing flip-flops and crop pants to work, since anything touching my heel like loafers... or the brush of a jeans leg... or, say, a good breeze... made me scream and pass out.

Only I can't DRIVE with flip-flops. So this quickly evolved into popping on one regular shoe to work the gas/brake pedal, and having to do a very Mr. Rogersy sort of shoe-transition when I got to work....

You know IF Mr. Rogers had spent the weekend walking around the neighborhood for ten hours in unbroken-in tennies until his feet were oozing stumps.

And see, this was my downfall. Because-- while a very good system in general-- it had not been PRACTICED and PERFECTED.

So thinking I would stop by K-Mart on the way home from work, I was focused on what I needed in Marthastewartland and not so much on how I planned to get inside it.

And so, my friends, I leave you today with this bit of wisdom:

When the shoe is on the other foot, and it drops, make sure it matches the first shoe before it falls, because you just can't understand a person until you walk a mile in another man's ballerina flats and by then, you're really, really, REALLY far away without Band-Aids.
Thank you.


PS-Over at Humor-blogs, they're bound to stick their foot in it!

Ten Things I Just Don't Understand

Okay, well, there are a LOT of things I don't understand. In fact, I spend much of the time lost, confused and drooling. But some things cross my mind more often than others. And I thought I'd share just a few of those today...

1.) Short-sleeved pullover sweaters.
Why do we need sweaters with short sleeves? You want to be warm, but only a little warm.... Your torso gets chilly, but your arms drip with sweat.... If this is the case, you don't need a sweater, my friend. You need to see your favorite health care professional and discuss this with them. And please do it-- do it NOW.

2.) People who call and ask, "Guess where I am?"
I saw this most recently at a Greek food festival, and given that there was loud bouzouki music playing, the recipient of the call had only two logical responses...

One being "the Greek festival," and the other being "trapped inside Monty Python's Cheese Shop Sketch."

And why do friends and family call us, but make us guess? Usually it's because they're somewhere they think we'd want to be, but aren't. "Guess where I am? I'm calling you from beside the pool!"

My parents "guess-where'd" me once to tell me they were in Disney World, which I love. Nobody ever "guess-where's" and tells you they're being audited by the IRS, or just broke something in Aisle 3 of Wal-Mart.

And to think these are the people who supposedly like us.

3.) One shoe on the side of the road.
We've all seen it. You're driving and there it is... one shoe just sitting there on the berm of the highway. What situation leads to this? If it falls out of someone's bag, how come the second shoe never, ever falls with it? Or other items? Where is the second shoe?

4.) How many Land Before Time cartoons will be made before a meteor impact?
I think they're up to at least 20 or 30 of these movies now. How long do these dinosaurs get to continue on before Cera and the gang finally become oil? Just askin'. Anyway, even as they're being pumped from the earth's crust and on their way to being refined, I'm sure they'll SING about it.

5.) Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants."
Okay, so I'm going literary here, but we read this several times in college, where it was held up as one of the finest short stories ever. Me, I feel bad even saying this, but I just never could get into it. There was so much that seemed so vague and open to interpretation that I always felt I was being conned. That this was some great practical joke devised intentionally by ol' Ernie to keep us guessing.

Also, I made the mistake of telling one professor, in a moment of utter frustration and inappropriate candor, that if I wanted to read something that was minimalist and mainly dialogue, I would read one of the Gregory MacDonald "Fletch" novels...

Um... I didn't get an 'A' in that class.

6.) Medications where the side effects are worse than the original ailment.
I know people have talked about this before. But really-- you have allergies. So you take a medication with a side-effect of "brain hemorrhages" and "blister-like pustules." PLUS, the possibility of nosebleed, sinus congestion and sore throat.

Er... If you had allergies, you probably already had the nosebleed, sinus congestion and a sore throat.

And NOW, WITH the medicine, you might also look like a zombie from House of the Dead 4. So, you know, that's something to look forward to, right?

7.) When Exactly Word Verifications Ceased to Look Like the Alphabet.
You know what I'm talking about-- those letters some websites require you to enter to prove that you're not a robot?

Well, is it me, or are those letters getting more and more distorted? It's like trying to read newsprint on Silly Putty in a Funhouse Mirror. Why is this happening? Are internet robots Hooked on Phonics now? Have they been hanging on Elmo's every word? Or do I just need a new contact lens prescription?

8.) When I turn the car alarm on and my car honks, I honk back at it.
I know, I am a total freak. But when I turn my car alarm on, and it says, "Hoot!" more often than not, I 'hoot' in response. What is wrong with me? Why do I do that? The only thing I can think is it's genetic. My mother used to make sounds at trains as they went by. She also mooed at cows. It makes no sense, but there ya go. I blame Mom.

9.) Sit-down restaurants where you have to order before you sit-down. Fuddrucker's is one of these. Hoss's and Ponderosa, too. They're not quite fast-food restaurants, and they have a menu up on the wall with every different dish in the world on it. But you have to decide what you want in 30 seconds in a narrow hallway, with a line of large, ravenous, better-prepared diners barreling down on you.

I don't work well in these situations. I become overcome by Acute Menu Panic. I'm not familiar with the selections, I don't know what I want, and even if I do know what I want, I forget it the moment I no longer can see the billboard-sized menu looming over my head. How has everybody else but me found their favorite meal there if they never spent more than 30 seconds looking at the menu? It's too much pressure!

10.) When Actor Ed Norton Suddenly Became Edward Norton
I'm almost certain, when he first started acting, Edward Norton was referred to as "Ed." Because I recall thinking at the time, "Wasn't that the name of the character on The Honeymooners?" Does anyone else remember this?

Because somewhere along the way, I believe he became "Edward." "Edward," a serious actor and sometimes bad-guy. Edward Norton, the Incredible Hulk. When did this happen? Surely he didn't get well into his career and realize he was named for a popular 50s sitcom character. This couldn't have been a SURPRISE to him. But alas.

So where will he be in another 5, 10, 20 years? I'm thinking Edward J. Bartholomew Norton III-- Esquire, and he'll be doing ads for reverse mortgages or pharmaceuticals. But that's just a guess.

Well, gotta go. I'm off to run some errands and hoot at my car.

I hope you all had great Memorial Day and are enjoying the week so far.

I hear Edward J. Bartholomew Norton III, Esq. eats at Fuddruckers while wearing short sleeved sweaters and surfing Humor-blogs on his PDA.

Shrub Wars, Ugly Betty and the Arch Nemesis

It seems when I'm out gardening, the number of people who want to talk to me is inversely proportional to how bad I look.

I swear, I could be out there in a ballgown and a tiara, sipping mint juleps and no one would say so much as a "good morning."

But if I'm in my yard for two seconds in my bag-lady mismatched clothes, my bangs in a barrette, glasses smeared with pollen, dirt on my elbows and my nose running, everyone in the neighborhood suddenly wants to stop by and discuss life, the universe and everything.

Thing is, when I get gardening and sporting the Ugly Betty look, I don't really WANT to talk to anyone. I get in the zone. And I need to be in the zone because my yard is fairly uneven and a missed step can mean rolling down the incline of the yard.

I imagine whole crowds would show up for a chat as that was happening.

I also tend to be unable to garden without injury. Why, one summer not so long ago, I set out to dig up and replace a couple of nuisance shrubs with something more ornamental, and I got so into working out the roots that I didn't notice the branch coming up and just missing my eye.

Can you imagine me driving myself to the hospital with no depth perception and explaining to the emergency room people the reason for my empty eyesocket was Puncture By Shrub?

"When Shrubs Attack--- Coming up next on The Discovery Channel!"

The irony being that "removing a shrub" is also one of the big keyphrases that seems to lead people to my home and garden blog.

The fact that people come there thinking they can learn shrub removal from a person who almost had to change her name to "Popeye," just goes to show that Search Engine Optimization isn't a perfect science.

And then, of course, there are the tasks that I try to take on myself that would be better left to the droves-- but the droves are strangely AWOL when they'd be truly helpful. Like the massive wrought-iron trellis I assembled last year.

It was in pieces to start with...

Lots of pieces...

And I spent the better part of an afternoon assembling all of the screws and nuts and putting Part A to Phlange B, etc.

All of this, I assembled flat out in my backyard with little problem, and I looked at my work with a smile of satisfaction...

Until I realized the arch needed to be standing upright.

The arch-- and I know this because the box said so-- weighed 150 pounds. It was also about seven foot tall.

The problem here is that your average five-foot eight female cannot LIFT an 150-pound, seven-foot-tall garden arch to a standing position. I mean, I know the ancient Egyptians built whole pyramids bringing giant blocks up slopes without a single piece of equipment made by John Deere....

And yes, the Celts dragged the stones of Stonehenge all the way from Wales in order to place them in the middle of a field in Salisbury because they hadn't invented the wristwatch yet.

But these ancient people were clearly a lot smarter than I am, and didn't get all cocky about Panel A and Phlange B.

Also, as my friend Greg pointed out, they had slave labor. Whereas I just had a few neighborhood squirrells laughing their fluffy tails off.

Well, a week later I was able to get a friend to help me right the darned garden arch. And let me tell you, TWO average females lifting that sucker was a huge improvement when it comes to Garden Arch Physics. What was my Arch Nemesis now is my Arc de Triumph.

So today, as I go out to garden, it will be interesting to see just what sort of injury awaits. Scratches or punctures, trapped under metal architectural structures... it's all up for grabs.

But if you were thinking of popping by, I'd recommend stopping to say "hello" at about 11am today. I should be rolling down the front hill about then. And don't worry, admission is free.

Or you could also stop by and see my fellow bloggers at Humor-blogs. Unless, they're trapped under an 150-pound, seven-foot-tall garden arch, too.

The Tudor Bunch -or- "It's the Story of a Lovely Monarch"

I had the good fortune to see comedian Eddie Izzard perform last night. This man's hysterical take on world history is a little like a trip through a carnival fun house; nothing looks quite right, everything you know is turned upside down, and you can't wait to see what's in the next room.

So as a little tribute today-- and to follow through on that "Kings" part of the Of Cabbages and Kings-- I give you the only part of history Eddie Izzard HASN'T covered--

And the only area of knowledge I have worth sharing. And that is the reign of Richard III of England.

Aw, stop yer yawning-- I promise, it'll be funny...

It was the early 1480s-- the period known as "the Messy Ages" in England.

  • The French wanted England for themselves
  • Groups within England wanted a bigger piece of the pie and chips
  • And Sauron was building his army of Orcs to take over Middle Earth...

(The little-known Orc power-struggle is represented here by mushy peas.)

Edward IV had inherited the throne from his pious yet slightly dim father-- we all know how that can happen. And Eddie 4, he was a bit of a ladies' man.

Eddie 4 was tall and handsome-- plus he was the king-- so for the purposes of our discussions here, he was the MARCIA BRADY of this story.

Now his little brother was Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Richard was small and without the flash of his brother, but he was smart as a whip. So basically Richard was the JAN BRADY in this tale.

Well, Eddie 4, he did some kingly things: a battle here... a rebellion quelling there... a WHOLE LOT of ladies of the court. And during this time, Richard fought loyally for him, and governed much of Northern England.

So Eddie 4 grew old, and caught a few diseases, and got hit in the nose with a football. This ruined his looks and eventually killed him. And it became clear to everyone that his pre-adolescent son-- who would be Eddie 5-- would be taking over the throne.

Until Richard announced:

"Hey, wait-- information has just come to light that Eddie Junior and his kid brother are actually illegitimate. So I'll be their Protector and run the kingdom until this whole thing gets sorted out.

Cheers, folks."

And the boys were sent to the Tower of London, which had fewer souvenir shops then, and they never were seen again.

Now, at this point, there are two schools of thought.

One is that Richard-- hating that everything had been "Edward, Edward, Edward" all this time-- stole the throne and snuffed the boys and thought no one would really notice...

Because, you know, they didn't have YouTube then.

And the other school of thought is that Richard really was this super-nice uncle who wanted to protect the boys from potential French usurpers, and he either:
  • Smuggled them out of the country to safety
  • They were murdered by traitors to the king, or
  • They died of an excess of lollipops and puppies.

Anyway, Richard ruled until 1484. But during his reign, he did some very good things:

  • He was a smart strategist
  • The commoners began to prosper under him
  • And he really gave the Orcs what-for

But then Henry Tudor over in France decided to finally make his play for the throne. And during the Battle of Bosworth Field against the Tudor sympathizers, Richard was killed-- really ruining Richard's day.

As a marketing person, here's the part I find really interesting...

Once Henry Tudor became King Henry VII, Henry Tudor's people were like a cross between today's political spin doctors and journalists for the Weekly World News.

I mean, they'd do ANYTHING for a story, say ANYTHING to make Richard III look bad, so the people would forget they were actually doing pretty well under his reign. Why, they'd publicize headlines like:

"'King Richard in Cahoots with Space Aliens,' Says Abducted and Probed Serf..."

"'Richard III Married My Ox,' Reveals Upset Farmer..."

"Corpse Shows King Tricky Dick Had Second Evil Head"...

Anyway, so one day Henry Tudor and his people noticed all these portraits of Richard III lying around the National Gallery and Henry said:

"Hmmm... This guy doesn't really LOOK evil. In fact, he looks like a fairly decent guy. That won't do at ALL!... Let's give him a hump on his back, and a withered arm and a squinky eye!"

And the king's portrait artist, always up for an artistic challenge, started to get into it. "And devil's horns?"

"Okay, devil's horns," said Henry.

"And a mustache?"

"A mustache, then."

"A pearl earring!"

"No, I believe that's another painting."

So they forwent the pearl earring, but did get on with much of the other stuff, and that is why today, with this great technology we have, we can see that many of his portraits were actually altered to give Richard one raised shoulder, and an angrier expression, and devil's horns.

And with an enthusiastic smear campaign that still permeates history books today, the Tudors went on to reign enthusiastically for many hundreds of years...

Meaning-- that's the way they became the Tudor Bunch.

(For those seeking actual information on Richard III wholly unrelated to Brady Bunch metaphors, I suggest you look at the following books:

  • The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir
  • Royal Blood by Bertram Fields
  • Richard III, the Princes in the Tower by A.J. Pollard

And check out the revisionist views at the Richard III Society here.)

Henry Tudor tried to rub out the existence of Humor-blogs after he was done with Richard III. But you can see, they're still alive, well and mostly free of devils' horns.

Maybe It'd Be Better if the Leppard WERE Def

I believe I've mentioned this before, but I LOVE to sing along with music in the car. And not knowing the words-- or the language, for that matter-- has never really dampened the ol' spirits.

It's not that I necessarily SET OUT to mangle other people's creativity. It's just when it's a melody I particularly like, this great wave of joy overcomes me, I become totally immersed-- and there's nothing left to do but sing... SING... SIIINNNG!

But as I caught myself doing this again this week-- much to the horror of my fellow commuters and the innocent people standing on the sidewalk--

(good music requires projection)

--I realized HOW MANY artists I like without having any concept of what I'm singing. I mean, I could look them up... but then that would ruin the fun, wouldn't it?

Here are a few:

Def Leppard, the Rock of Ages album. This is one of my guilty pleasures. There's this great powerful chorus of voices that gets me all inspired and ready to sing along, with NO CLUE what the actual words are. (Which is just as well, because I'm pretty sure they're not the musical equivalent of Shakespeare).

Like my favorite song on the album, "Rocket":


This, of course, gets normalized to the point that I forget "Meah-liiiiii-ba-da-numble-nah" isn't the real lyrics. And then I sing it with gusto in front of friends who don't view gusto as a great substitution for, say, talent.

Or like the opening of "Pour Some Sugar On Me":

Bomb-ee-domba-bomb (with echo).

Bomb-ee-domba-bomb and
come on get it on
Yomba domba domba domba
Red eye phone

Man, I love that album!

Dave Matthews is another one. Dave has some really interesting work. But the wrap-around lyrics and singing style which make him so distinctive, also make certain songs a bit challenging. I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out "Satellite":

How I wonder

And I DID wonder. I finally broke down and read the lyrics on that one.

And then there's Steve Winwood. I LOVE Stevie's stuff, because his melodies are sharp, his early work has an interesting use of keyboard, and he's not bad lookin', either. But as for understanding half of what dear Mr. Winwood sings...

The key to singing with Steve Winwood-- if you were looking for some tips (you WERE, weren't you? fess up!... Okay, nevermind)-- is to make up the lyrics as always, but:

Do it with a Cockney accent. Also, don't move your lips or jaw when you sing.

In terms of World music, Om Shanti Om has been one of my recent favorites to scare the locals with. This is a Bollywood soundtrack to a film of the same name which a guy on BlogCatalog got me into. It's hugely fun-- very upbeat-- terrific to sing to... IF you know Hindi.

I myself do not know Hindi.

I know people who KNOW Hindi, who have tried hard to teach me to pronounce a few assorted words properly so I do not embarrass myself. Because they're considerate that way.

But this doesn't really lend itself to singing loudly in the car. My consolation is, that in looking online to see what the songs are actually about, there seem to be a number of people in India who also don't speak Hindi and are confused. I also noticed some American kids of Indian descent posting online who like the album, and don't know what the singers are saying.

So I don't feel quite as bad about that one. Not knowing brings us all together!
All hot girls put your hands up and say, 'Om Shanti Om!'

Woo-HOO!! (I know: I'm a big dork.)

Lastly, Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" of a few years ago had me totally baffled. I could have SWORN there was a line in it that sounded like:

Mr. Mom is stinkin'

In retrospect, that didn't seem quite right. I mean, why the harsh words for ol' Mr. Mom, dudes? What's Keaton done to you? So I went online and looked up the lyrics:

This time I'm mistaken.

OH. Sure. I knew that. (Okay, not really.)

So tell me folks-- are there musicians or particular songs YOU like without actually knowing the lyrics? Do you sing along? Have I inadvertently made your eardrums bleed at some point because I've driven past you while singing "Rocket"? (If so, my apologies.)


The folks at Humor-blogs LOOOOVE karaoke.

The Crabbiest Place on Earth

They call Disney "the happiest place on earth." And the story I'm about to tell you today takes place in Epcot. So maybe it doesn't have to be "happiest place on earth" like the Magic Kingdom does. Maybe it's:

  • "The place of lines longer than the ones for TP during Cold War Soviet Union..."
  • Or "Eat your way through the countries of the world" (how I DO love those countries!)
  • Or "Get two minutes of seeing really cool dinosaurs, sandwiched in between twenty minutes of dry documentaries about natural resources sponsored by an oil company.

And if that's the case, then I won't feel so bad about what once happened there.

Now, I should preface this with: people who know me well, know I'm not really an aggressive person. I'm more the kind of person who gets punted aside by other people in line because:

1.) They didn't notice me standing there and
2.) Even if they did, I figure it's not worth raising my blood pressure fighting them about it.

I mean, I'm not a doormat-- I'm just practical. Plus, I can write about them later when they cannot deck me.

That said, I will tell you about the unfortunate time I completely and publicly snapped in the Family Amusement Park Where Dreams Come True.

It had been a conference for work. And one of my coworkers and good friends-- we'll call her Debbie-- Debbie and I had decided to save the company money on airfare by staying an extra day in Orlando at Disney.

Now, two things you need to know about Debbie. Debbie is a fantastic event planner-- she can organize ANYTHING. Why, she could herd 300 cats into a room and teach them a Broadway production, sell tickets and get glowing audience testimonials, all in the time it takes the pour the Meow Mix.

Debbie is also, um, not very tall. Like teeny. Like she says she's five-feet tall but then someone's pre-adolescent child leans on Debbie's head, is what I'm saying. I'm a giant, she's tiny. It's no wonder we've become such good friends.

'Kay. So Debbie and I finished our work gig and we were free for Epcotty goodness. So the one thing we decided to hit bright-and-early was the brand new GM Test Track ride. This is where people get into a makeshift car and willingly simulate being crash test dummies. This we do in the name of fun and vacation.

Debbie and I were excited about being those dummies.

The line, a sign indicated, would take about an hour, and since Debbie and I had successfully gotten through our work event, and were feeling mellow...

Until a certain family got behind us in line.

This family seemed to be comprised of a middle-aged woman, her mother, her husband, their two pre-teen kids and some extra woman who might have been an aunt. All of them were, well, large and shaped roughly like Sherman tanks. All of them wore tank shirts. But honestly, it wasn't the largeness that was of issue; I mean, people come in different shapes and sizes and that's what makes humans interesting. It was their unwillingness to recognize the boundaries of personal space...

Like I had one woman's boobs and stomach pressing into my back.

The line would move, Debbie and I would move up a bit and... Boobs in the Back.

I'd edge up, things would be fine for a moment and... Boobs in the Back again.

Then the line stopped when something in the ride glitched.

The family started to get bored and tired of standing. And that's when they discovered the fun that was the metal railings that guided the lines. Sitting on the metal railings, scooching along on their butts, swinging their dangling legs...

That was just the ADULTS.

Yep, Deb and I turned our heads, only to see at least three of 'em lined up, parents and a kid or two, butt-sliding along the high and low railings, a-kicking and a-swinging. (One woman had to stay behind to ensure her sweaty boobs were firmly implanted in my back.)

Fourty-five minutes this went on. Bumping, pushing, the kids jumping off and stepping onto our feet. And finally, there was the scooch that broke the camel's back, so to speak. The pre-teen girl butt-scooched too enthusiastically and fell off the railing-- toppling onto Debbie, knocking her right over...

Debbie, who was about the same size as the kid.

Well, that was it. I actually think I stepped outside of myself at this point. My eyes went red and Hulk-like. Words poured out of my mouth, but I didn't consciously feel like I was saying them. It was like I was listening to them coming from some outer overhead PA system. And this voice, this voice that was loud and angry and unnaturally mine shouted:

"YOU are the STRANGEST BUNCH OF PEOPLE I have ever seen! I have never SEEN such a family! There is such a thing called personal space and it is time for you to just



And they all stepped away from me.

And do I mean, all of them. The people in front of me gave me a wider berth.

The people to the side looked on with stunned faces.

And the family of Butt Scoochers, why, they all stood gaping and back a good three feet from where they'd been, boobs and bellies inhabiting their own airspace for the first time in almost an hour.

The little girl was dusting herself off and grumbled, "I SAID sorry."

Only Momma Butt Scoocher was open-mouthed and reaching a hand toward her to pull her away from me, the red-headed Medusa before them.

Debbie, at this point, was getting up and laughing hysterically. Because she had never in five years of knowing me seen me flip out like that. And neither had I. It felt good. It felt heady-- like a fresh ocean breeze to a person who'd been breathing the black oxygen of a coal mine all this time.

Until I heard the Butt Scoochers say something about calling Security... and I realized they were thinking about calling it on ME. For what? Oh, I don't know-- breaking a sound ordinance or something. Public embarrassment. Heck, they could SUE!

So they talked about me during the excruciatingly-long 15 minutes remaining in line, with security mentioned more than once to my burning ears.

And the whole rest of the day, I imagined being pulled aside by some friendly park employee in uniform, bringing me through some dwarf-sized door to explain I was no longer welcome in the Happiest Place on Earth.

Once we got through the Test Track, Debbie tried to get me to calm down by ordering me a Guinness with my fish and chips at the Rose and Crown pub in "England." And it helped, a little. But not really.

I mean, it was going to be a lot harder to plead my case to Mickey Mouse, wasn't it, if security brought me in all liquored up?


Humor-blogs is no Mickey Mouse blog directory. There are cool cats, funny southern belles and witty dead roosters over there, too.

Supermarket's Top 50 Countdown

It's finally happened...

I'm officially old enough to be actually digging the Muzak I'm hearing in the stores.

Like the Goodwill playing, "Angel is the Centerfold"...

Radio Shack piping in The Cars' "You Might Think"...

And at the Giant Eagle grocery store... Gosh, every time I run there to pick up my lunch, it's like an 80s hit parade. I step through the door and I'm treated to the Cure's "Lovesong..." I grab a couple of necessities and they're playing, "Land Down Under."

I love it.

And just the other day, I was at the salad bar (and yes, for those who care, it is STILL reversed and WRONG), and I found myself singing along with "Karma Chameleon."

It instantly reminded me of hanging out with one of my friends ("Joe" of the scary red clown bathroom, in fact) and getting to see Boy George for the first time.

You see, I was one of the only kids in my school who didn't have cable TV.

This basically made me Amish.

But unlike the Amish, I KNEW there was this whole MTV thing going on. Only my exposure to it included:

  • Vague references from other people-- during which I would fake understanding so as not to do anything that would get me beat up on the school playground. (Because, trust me, they would still beat up the Amish.) I would piece this information together later....
  • Coveted reruns of Friday Night Videos and...
  • Occasional visits with friends WITH cable

This worked out okay, with the exception of the "Frankie Say Relax" t-shirts the girls wore, which had me baffled for YEARS. ("Who is this Frankie and why does he or she endorse typos on clothing?")

So through watching MTV at Joe's house, that's when I first saw Boy George.

It was also the moment I cleverly observed, "Wow, that girl sure has a low singing voice!"

Joe and his sister-- who understood my level of Amishness and somehow liked me anyway-- patiently explained to me that Boy George was, in fact, a man. After which, I agreed the name "Boy George" probably should have been my tip-off.

Anyway, I spent 18 years in an academic-oriented, non-cable-television-having, pop culture isolation... And then the next 18 trying to make up for it. Which brings me back to the grocery store.

I've decided, I'm going to just really savor being a member of the generation sellers are currently sucking up to, soundtrack-wise. I'm gonna happily make my salads to "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." I'm going to bag my groceries with enthusiasm to "The Safety Dance."

Because in 20 years, you KNOW it'll be "Panic at the Disco" and "Fall Out Boy." And I just can't sing along with those girls-- their stuff is WAY too low for my range. :)


The Muzak over at Humor-blogs is totally tubular.

More Monkeying Around at the Zoo

Hi-- meet my Uncle Lou. This is him, just about asleep in the chair in front of the TV, after Thanksgiving dinner... Boy, can that fellow put the candied yams AWAY.

Okay, yes, I am kidding you. This is not my Uncle Lou.... This is Uncle HENRY. They just look a lot alike.

Henry is always the one with the red nostrils.

But we're not here today to talk about my relatives. We're here to commune with the beauty of nature. (Read: put silly captions to zoo photos.) So let's get started.

Picture it, we're deep in the heart of Africa, and the lion and his mate have settled down for a long, restful sleep...

"GASP! Leo, are you awake? I heard something. I think there's a burglar..."

(Sigh) "Lena, fer Pete's sake, we go through this every single day... FINE. I'll go check it out."...

"When the zebra fell over dead, its fellow zoo inhabitants were none too surprised. He'd always been the type for dramatic exits..."

"Hi! Have you seen Nemo? Maybe he went this way..."

Meet the next America's Top Model...

"Shhh, don't look now, but don't you think Bambi seems to be putting on a lot of weight lately?... And just LOOK at what she's done to her hooves..."

"Hi- I'm looking for a clownfish. He's orange..."

"I'm here, Dory."

"...And small..."

"HERE, Dory..."

"And he has stripes..."

"I'M HERE!!!!"

"Nevermind, maybe he went this way..."

"Snowflake was all set to win the first official Polar Bear Mavericks of Surf Competition..."

"Until another surfer struck him in the back of the kneecap..."

"Sweetie, come BACK here. You have a little schmutz. Let me just get that..."

  • Oh, while I remember, for those who missed Part One of the Zoo photos, click here.
  • For those who missed this week's tale of clown fear, red lightbulbs and why Poltergeist seems to have scarred an entire generation, click here.
  • And for anyone curious to check out some unexpected celebrity lookalikes, you might get a chuckle here.

Lions and tigers and Humor-blogs, oh my!

It's All Happening at the Zoo

Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo. I think it was those Simon and Garfunkel guys.

So I took their advice and went to the Pittsburgh Zoo last weekend. Not just because they said it was a gas, but because it was the only place in the city I could go without road construction. Seriously, this town is more dug up than King Tut's tomb.

I figured, a relaxing day of being run over by double-wide, off-road baby strollers--- er, communing with the Beauty of Nature, rather-- would be good for the soul.

I also thought, hey, animals are funny. And if I got any funny shots of animals doing entertaining things, why, I'd have a post ready-made. I mean, I Can Has Cheezburger has made a whole career of that sort of thing, and those cats can't even spell!

What I learned from the experience was that:
  • Babies hoisted onto their parents shoulders do not so much care about the African Spotted Leopard, no matter how much you point it out. But they sure can kick a person in the head and...
  • Zoo animals also don't always respond the way we hope, and this is why we need to forgive the LOLCats for their spelling and grammatical idiosynchrasies.
As proven by this, the mighty rhino...

This was the view he provided, and I can hardly blame him, really. If people were standing there gawking at ME every day, I would likely do the same thing-- although his butt is in better shape than mine, so he has extra incentive.

I waited a few more minutes to see if he'd change his mind about his viewing public, but he was firm in his statement. So I took the shot and moved on...

To the elephants!

Okay, so, yes, the elephants were of a similar opinion. They'd probably been talking to the neighboring rhinos. News travels fast here at the Zoo. So I took the obligatory photos, thanked them for their time, and moved along to the bears...

Um... okay, well, the bears were... um, probably waiting for feeding time or something... So here!-- Here is an off-season reindeer!...

Okay, reindeer's a no-go? (Maybe he's just embarrassed about that shiny nose. Understandable.) Then, the llamas. Llamas have such long eyelashes and sweet faces and...

Er, how about the meerkats? Meerkats are full of energy, and fun, and hakuna matata and whatnot and...

Er, guys? Fellas? Timon?... Hey, um...

Well, at least the zebra is usually cool to see.

Mr. Peacock, wait!...

Mrs. Peacock?... Oh, come ON! Now, this is just getting ridiculous!...

Heh-- okay, you guys found me out-- I'm just rattling your cage. I'll be back in my next post with the REAL photos. :)


So, if it's really NOT all happening at the zoo, maybe it's happening at Humor-blogs.

Barnum and Bailey's Toilet of Clown-Infested Doom

I don’t like clowns much, and I can pinpoint my Not Liking Clowns to a specific date and time. It was Sunday, December 26th 1982, at a friend’s eleventh birthday when we celebrated it by going to see Poltergeist. And the moment that possessed clown doll attacked Robbie and Carol Anne in the film, that was the moment I can safely say I lost all Clown Appreciation.

It didn’t help that I owned a clown doll which my mother had lovingly sewn for me as a toddler. “Sneaky” was his name, dubbed for the sneakers he wore on his ragdoll feet. Only when you’ve just watched a jingling, sneering clown doll attack a kid your age on the big screen, “Sneaky” suddenly takes on a very ominous tone.

That evening, it was with new suspicion I eyed the expression on Sneaky’s face and I wondered where I should exile him. First I considered my closet.

Er... no.

And under the bed was no better option. Eventually, I slipped into Grandpa’s room and put Sneaky in his closet. Let him deal with the supernatural clown-oriented phenomena. I would show him that's what you get when you eat all my Halloween candy every year and cheat me at dominoes!

Yes, justice was served.

Interestingly, my friend whose birthday it had been—we’ll call him Joe-- was suffering from a similar clown conundrum.

Years before, Joe’s mom had decorated the kids’ bathroom in… a circus motif. She’d hung red and white striped wallpaper to look like a circus tent, added some other decorator touches and did two things that are burned into my memory…

One was she hung this Emmett Kelly clown doll from the wall. The other was she exchanged the vanity light for a red lightbulb.

To Joe’s mom, it was a cute, kitschy room in a very hip 80s red.

To Joe and I, it was the fiery mouth of a clown-populated hell.

I recall hating to even use Joe’s bathroom when I’d visit. I would hold it for hours rather than spend a minute in Barnum and Bailey’s Toilet of Clown-Infested Doom. The Emmett Kelly was a dangling ventriloquist doll. And he loomed there on the wall, fastened as he was, the hanged man, peering down on us with that sullen expression, glassy eyes, and bathed in blood red light.

I never said anything to Joe about that clown doll until…

Well, let’s zip ahead to Christmas about five years ago. Joe and I are still friends, and I was visiting with his parents, Joe, Joe’s wife and his sister at their house. Somehow we got to reminiscing and the topic of clowns came up. I mentioned Clown Fear as a result of Joe’s Poltergeist birthday extravaganza. Joe came clean to his own coulrophobia, and added, “And remember my scary clown bathroom?”

Well, apparently all those years ago, Joe didn’t like that bathroom any better than I did. And he dealt with it daily.

Frankly, it's impressive he didn't end up in some facility for the very, very nervous, weaving baskets and potholders and twitching every time the color red pops into view. Or an ad for the Shriner's Circus came on the TV.

Anyway, during this discussion, Joe’s mom had left the room and returned with the Emmett Kelly doll. Because, naturally, something innately creepy and fear-inspiring just has to be someone else's prized possession and family heirloom.

So there we were, full grown-ups--Joe married and with his PhD for Pete’s sake, and me about as mature as I was ever going to get--and we found ourselves shouting, “No, oh God, no! Not THAT! Put that thing away!”

Joe’s mom, who had been kept in the dark about the clown issues all of these years, made a surprised, sentimental plea on behalf of Emmett Kelly… “Oh, but I thought he was nice. You didn’t really hate him, did you?”

Ah, but how we did. In fact, it was amazing closure after twenty-some years of disliking that clown doll, to tell it to his face, once and for all, that he'd been no favorite of ours. It probably saved Joe and I thousands of dollars in therapy.

Send out the clowns.

Humor-blogs is a sure cure for coulrophobia. Just don't ask them to spell it.

Separated at Birth?

There are only so many configurations for the human face, what with most of us limited to having just two eyes and one nose, and the general placement of them being fairly restricted unless you're a Picasso.

But every now and then I'm watching TV and still find myself surprised at HOW MUCH someone on there looks like somebody else.

So instead of me making comments about these things to my television set-- which almost NEVER answers back-- I thought I'd post some of my favorite celebrity look-alikes here.

Like how about James Dyson of the Dyson vacuum cleaner commercials...

And Julian Sands, the actor who was in Warlock and Stephen King's Rose Red...?

I always find myself rooting on James Dyson, just because the guy's entire life seems to be about making vacuum cleaner prototypes. He's probably not a lot of fun at parties, but I bet he has a really clean house. And I think having Julian Sands play him in a film version of the Dyson story could be entertaining, because Julian is usually evil. So maybe the vacuum cleaners could turn out to be possessed or something... sort of like Christine, but with more suction and fewer traffic accidents.

Okay, next we have Doctor Who's David Tennant...

And Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond...

Okay, yes, David Tennant is well over six feet tall, and Richard Hammond is about 5 foot seven. But still... (And yep, I do watch a lot of BBC America, why do you ask?)

All righty, how about actor Dax Shepard...

And actor Zach Braff, "Newbie" from Scrubs?...

Not initially knowing Dax Shepard, but watching Scrubs, I admit, I spent a good portion of Zathura trying to figure out why Zach Braff's voice sounded strange.

So what do you think, folks-- am I way off base here? Has there been anyone you think bears a striking resemblance to someone you'd care to share?


Humor-blogs has no look-alikes. But that's probably because of all the plastic surgery.