Of Cabbages and Kings New Year's Irresolutions

Here at Of Cabbages and Kings, we always try to take the humor road less traveled. And that means better bloggy gas mileage... fewer speeding tickets... less chance of comedic fender benders... and only the occasional incident of virtual venison on the windshield.

Sometimes we run into Robert Frost as he's hitchhiking... but-- hey-- he's never pressed charges.... So it's all good.

But with the trail less taken, comes the need to avoid the obvious-- including any trendy, overtly-easy holiday themes that would... oh... save me time and free me up for an actual Real Life and stuff.

And that's why today, the management of Cabbages brings to you the one... the only.... our Official 2009 New Year's Irresolutions-- things that I mostly likely, probably, will not ever choose to do in this coming year. Maybe. But I'm figuring no.

I think together, we can learn a lot from this. And perhaps you might even wish to Possibly Not Do some of these things yourself, and improve your life, as well, by their lack.

Or not.

Y'know: whatever.

  • I will probably not go out of my way to see more movies starring: CarrotTop, Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, David Arquette, J-Lo, or Sally Field.
  • I expect to keep my household a ShamWow-Free Zone.
  • Following the infomercial theme, I have a strong sense that I won't be writing OxyClean advertiser Billy Mays for an autograph, and including a lock of my hair in my letter.
  • After reading Dead Rooster's post, I'm fairly sure that I won't be partaking of the tentacly nosh that is octopus. In fact, I'd like to extend this Irresolution for 2010 and 2011, as well.
  • Survey says, I will not be getting caught up in a "Family Feud" marathon on TVLand. Also "Full House."
  • I imagine I probably won't be heading to a third world nation in a private jet to adopt 12 underprivileged children and give press conferences while people discuss what a super mom I am.
  • Getting meme-tagged is unlikely to make me dance an impromptu Irish reel in my living room. (The living room is small and cramped. Also, based on 2008, most memes smelled like Satan's bottom.)
  • I don't expect to become a Scientologist, and I feel couches around me should be relatively safe from any jubilant cushion prancing.
  • I won't be mailing Michael Jackson a box of assorted rubber noses, even though, from the looks of things lately, he could use some. (I just think he can buy his own.)
  • I will probably still not get or appreciate "How I Met Your Mother" in spite of how many other people seem to adore it. I will remain on the outside looking in.
  • I don't fancy that I'll be buying male enhancement drugs or anything related to E.D. from any of the insistent folks who feel I have an underlying need for them. I appreciate they care, but that only goes so far.
  • I probably won't make any fewer obscure literature references in my blog posts, like Robert Frost getting hit by a car on the Road Less Traveled-- as I'm a giant writing nerd and confusing the heck out of half the population is like cocaine to me.

So tell me folks, what things do you think you are highly unlikely (maybe sorta) of to do in 2009? What are your New Year's Irresolutions?

Thanks to each of you for being so nifty-cool and stopping by here this year. Your visits, comments and general humor have made me genuinely happy every day since I'd decided, way back in February, to give ol' Cabbages a go. It means a lot.


Jeopardy on the 74C

The post on Public Transit Anthropology the other day reminded me of one other story I'd wanted to share with you while I remembered--

The tale of a fellow commuter I'd met many years ago, and why, in spite of the huge environmental benefits of public transit or carpooling, I'm once again grateful to be safely locked into my own car, completely alone.

It all begins at a perfectly normal bus stop, in a perfectly normal city neighborhood. And it was at this bus stop that each day I began to encounter a fellow who we'll call "Drew Corso." (Not his real name.)

Now, Drew Corso was one of those guys-- soft-spoken, chatty, perfectly polite-- but always sharing a little too much... and a little too out-of-touch... to make a person feel truly comfortable...

Wearing the same kind of khakis and shirt buttoned up to his neck each day... the same mild manner... the same buzz-cut hair...

He was the kind of person I could totally picture keeping dead Boy Scouts in the crawl space--

But responsibly watering his elderly neighbors' plants while they were away.

When the smell from the Boy Scouts would get too intense and someone would finally call the cops? I could just picture all the neighbors being really surprised. "He was so polite." "He was so soft-spoken." "He never let a plant go without water."

This is what would go through my mind as we'd wait at the stop, and he'd try to engage me in conversation.

Now you're probably wondering how I knew his full name. And that's because Drew Corso was always asking people-- folks in his building... folks in his chess club... folks at, oh, his bus stop-- whether they knew any available women.

"Drew Corso-type Girls" as he called them. Though from the general gist, it sounded like any girl could be a Drew Corso-type Girl, as long as she didn't run away screaming.

And even then, I wasn't so sure he'd notice.

Drew Corso was an enterprising fellow about finding potential new love interests, too. To further this initiative along, he'd made up dating cards he'd distribute to the people he'd meet, just in case they ran across a "Drew Corso-type Girl" and they didn't have his contact information, photo, and personal statistics readily-at-hand.

I suspected there were some "Drew Corso-type Girls" in the crawl space with the Boy Scouts.

Now, this bus stop was the only one in my area that would take me where I'd needed to go. So each day, I had to wait at this stop, and each day, Drew Corso would be there, telling me some new angle of his life.

I learned about how he played chess with a couple of elderly Russian men in his building...

I learned how he was originally from California and, due to a divorce, he had left and come randomly to Pennsylvania where he had no family or friends...

I learned he had a daughter he was not allowed to be anywhere near due to a restraining order...

And I learned he was legally not allowed to drive; that he'd had a license, but they seem to have taken it away from him.

All of those things painted a picture that made me very nervous in an undefined way.

One day, Drew and I were standing at the stop per normal and he decided to strike up conversation. I removed my headphones, which had proven an adequate buffer for about a week now. "I'm sorry?"

"I said, I've recently been getting into television."

Me, with a nervous smile: "Oh."

"Yes, I've been watching this program lately that has these people on it who have to answer really difficult trivia. But they have to do it in the form of a question."


"It's called Jeopardy. Have you heard of it?"

I'm sure my smile was even more nervous now: "Er, yes. Yes, I have."

Jeopardy, at this point, had been on TV about a decade. There were likely monks in the far snowy mountains of Tibet who could sing the Double-Jeopardy theme song.

"Yes, it's really fascinating," he went on. "And I'm learning a lot. But you know, what interests me most is how intelligent the host is."

"Alex Trebec?"

"Ah, so you do know it!" Delight was in his voice now. "Yes, he's just brilliant! I don't know what his IQ is, but he has to be a genius. He knows all of the answers to all the questions. It's just amazing. The contestants make a mistake, and he just explains to them where they went wrong and---"

Me, mumbling: "Um, he has the answers written down."

"...Just very intelligent and-- what?"

More loudly now: "Alex Trebec. He doesn't really know the answers to all the questions. He has them written down on cards. For the TV show."

I can still see the look of shock and disillusionment on his face. "I had no idea! That is good to know. I was wondering how it was even possible, I-- What is your name, by the way?"

"Er... Rachel," I said quickly.

Drew Corso didn't know Alex Trebec had cue cards, but he seemed to know instantly I was lying about my name.

"Rachel--" he repeated suspiciously, "here, let me give you one of my cards. You aren't single, are you? I'm looking for a Drew Corso-type Girl." Which, of course, we all knew, because he'd been giving those cards out willy-nilly for months now.

"Er... sorry," I told him. "I have a boyfriend." Two lies in ten seconds, an all new record for me in self-preservation and fibbing. In fact, my boyfriend was getting taller and could benchpress more weight by the moment...

I began to think he might also know TaeKwon Do and carry nunchakas around for fun. It was funny I was with him, really, as he wasn't especially my type.

"Oh, that's a shame-- you seem very intelligent, Rachel."

"Thanks." Yeah, intelligent. Like Alex Trebec. "You know, I think I'm just going to walk today," I said.

Okay, so, yes, it was a couple of miles to work from there, and I was in a business suit with heels. But the exercise would do me good. I would walk every day for most of that year, until I finally got my car.

You see, crawl spaces never really suited me.


Seizing the Plastic Throne of Power and Other Public Transit Strategem

With all of the university researchers here in Pittsburgh, it's surprising that more anthropologists don't take advantage of the hotbed of human study that trundles along our city streets daily...

Public Transit.

Really, the PAT buses are a microcosm of human behavior, ripe for examination!

So today, let's put on our pith helmets, fill our canteens, and wind our way along these roadway research meccas to observe one of the most complex of bus commute rituals:

The strange and wondrous Commuter Seating Hierarchy.

No, it just wouldn't be a proper examination of bus culture without analyzing the rider's deep-rooted and majestic struggle for individualism and self-expression through seat selection.

Yet, for all of its subtleties, the unspoken law for PAT regulars is a surprisingly simple one:

The more space you can take up, the higher your social importance in the community.

This is what we will call the individual's "Ride-Time Status" or "RTS."

Now, there are several observable ways riders can raise their RTS. The most popular involves positioning as much of the body as possible in a direction perpendicular to the way the bus designers actually intended passengers to sit.

For instance, if a seat lines the side of the bus, serious riders looking to increase their RTS will sit in that chair facing forward.

And for already forward-facing seats, riders cause envy and display their leadership skills by avoiding the provided backrest.

Watch, as that rider on the left leans instead against the window side of the bus! Note how this is done at a carefully-calculated 90-degree turn, with legs splayed into a wide V across a second seat and into the aisle.

This commands not only the maximum amount of space, but displays a flagrant disregard for personal safety. It says to other members of the Public Transit Community, "I am strong and invincible! See my crotch! Fear me!"

Now, if a rider is accompanied by members of one's personal social group, a savvy rider will never sit directly next to anyone he or she is actually with.

No, instead, these RTS social climbers will leave at least one seat between themselves and members of their immediate social group, for maximum bus seating power retention.

See the indifference of that passenger there along the side? Note the use of headphones and iPod, for additional sensory isolation?

The message is, "Yeah, I know you. But I could do without you, too. Remember that the next time you eat the last Krispy Kreme."

Lying down sleeping is a less common but cleverly subtle way of capturing a sizable share of personal space. It is designed to prompt curiosity about the rider's exciting, exhausting life. This this technique improves the Ride-Time Status by 20%.

The RTS is further elevated because of the rider's keen disinterest in remaining alert enough to get off at the right stop. The symbolism here is: "Wow! He's so cool, he doesn't even care if he wakes up in the middle of Carrick!"

RTS can also be elevated by using carry-on items as an extension of the body. This marks territory and, at the same time, enforces individualism and authority. In this case, bookbags are used in the same way astronauts plant flags, or cats spray shrubbery.

Lastly, the chief dynamic in Commuter Seating Hierarchy is the rule that a seat, at all times, is negotiable.

Notice how this college student on the left is scoping out a place more preferably located near the front of the bus. As one commuter vacates, the college student slips in for the kill.

Ah, but even seated, his play is not yet done! Watch as another opportunity opens up-- the coveted front-bus single-seater-- the college student once more plots for that prize...

Oh no! He has just been intercepted by the businessman with newspaper! And in an attempt to return to his previous place, the college student now finds a spry senior in his former seat.

He now must make the entire remaining two minutes of his journey standing-- degraded, and very much alone.

I hope you enjoyed our adventure today into the wilds of urban commuter society. For those of you intrigued enough by this ruthless yet beautiful world to plan your own journey, know this.

For every seat, every pole, every handgrip and every wheel-well, you must prepare yourself for epic battle.

Yes, mass transit is survival of the fittest. And grabbing that ten mnute piece of infamy-- that plastic throne of honor-- involves not only fortitude, but lightning-speed agility and a teeth-clenching expression of determination.

Stare them down, my friends. Show no fear. Because public transit is not just an environmentally-sound ride; it's social stratagem.


Oh Yes, They Called Him the Streak

Way back when ADD was just that thing you did in Math Class, I was babysitting a seven-year-old we'll call Scotty. Now, Scotty was a sweet kid, but supercharged with the kind of hyperactivity scientists would have been wise to harness for nuclear power.

Give Scotty a couple of Pixie Sticks, and I bet we could have solved the energy crisis.

With that sugary diet, plus not a lot of parental consistency, and nervous energy to spare, Scotty quickly proved to the teenaged Me, I'd probably have to give up some of my more idealistic babysitting goals...

So bonding moments like Storytime, Going to the Park, Helping with Homework, or... oh, five minutes of sitting down... were soon replaced with more realistic expectations.

Like: Just Please Don't Set the House on Fire, Run with Sharp Implements, or Nair the Cat.

I tried to keep it simple.

Well, in addition to sharing the relative atomic composition of Uranium, Scotty was also a big Jets fan. And that meant one of his very favorite activities was pretending to be a football player.

The pretend aspect? I was totally up for.

The fact that Scotty felt he could only be a truly-effective football player while stark naked?

A minor concern.

Then I learned that the entire opposing lineup was traditionally played by the family dog. That's when things got tricky.

Oh, I still remember poor Queenie. She was a long-suffering, nervous creature, part German Shepherd and part garter snake.

Queenie had no real bones. No bones. I swear it. Even the gentlest pat caused Queenie’s spine to go limp, and slither out from under my hand. Now that I look back on it, I believe it was a genetic mutation developed from years of playing Defense.

So one afternoon, I’d already intercepted play a few times-- much to the grateful brown-eyed gaze of Queenie. I'd used episodes of Duck Tales, Double Dare, and the not-so-unreasonable request for pants.

But when the doorbell rang, I’d had to take a small TV Time Out. And little did I know I was about to need interference myself.

The people at the door looked friendly enough. But before I got a word in edgewise, the woman had launched into the kind of monologue even Shakespeare would have called "wordy."

She tucked religious pamphlets into my hand... she laughed congenially... she rattled on like I was an old friend.

I blinked and smiled and tried to think of how to extract myself politely from this unwanted visitor.

I mean, you just didn't leave Scotty to his own devices for more than thirty-seconds. Heck, I did that once and found him all the way outside, crouching in the doghouse, pretending to be Queenie and refusing to come out.

It wasn't pretty.

So when I heard Queenie run by, I knew trouble would follow.

And man, that dog was really truckin', too!-- darting into the living room behind me and then slithering out of view like the wise snake-dog she was.

Yes, intuition said the Jets versus Mutts game had gone well into Overtime. But the woman in the doorway just kept on talking-- telling me about the Watchtower, and trying to get me to donate a quarter for a copy.


"Tackle!" the boy shouted. And here he came, straight down the hallway-- nothing on but a football helmet and a smile-- in hot pursuit of his four-legged opposition.

The woman stopped in mid-sentence, her mouth hanging open on its hinges. "Honey," she exclaimed, "you need to get some clothes on that baby!”

"Tell me about it," I agreed. Only unfortunately, she did tell me about it-- amazingly, she just picked up the Watchtower conversation with renewed vigor.

Well, that was about all the multi-tasking I could manage that day. I dug a quarter from my pocket, stuffed it into her hand, said I was sorry, and shut the door.

I often wonder what she said when she got back to Kingdom Hall.

Did she tell her brothers and sisters of the congregation that she'd done her best to explain their mission. And that things were going well, only then they came-- boogity-boogity-- a boneless dog and a tiny streaking quarterback.

Jehovah apparently works in mysterious ways.


I Just Wish I'd Notified Myself

Somewhere during the course of this last year, I apparently died. And I really wish I'd known when it was, so I could have stopped spending so much on utilities...

And maybe have taken a few days off.

See, it's like this. I went to the doctor's on Friday morning, just to have my blood pressure checked. Because, I guess, without the meds they put me on, and careful monitoring, I could explode and take out half the city.

So the assistant brought me into a cold, sterile room and proceeded to cuff my arm and pump the thing like an uninflated Goodyear.

I waited, as my fingers lost all sensory abilities, and then I heard the blood pressure cuff sigh...

Also the assistant.

Pretty soon, she was pumping it up again. Again, I waited. Again, the fingers said "sayonara." And again, the blood pressure monitor and the assistant exhaled irritably.

"I can't get a reading."

So she decided to try the other arm. More pumping. "So long, fingers." And...


"I'll get the doctor."

So the doctor came in-- an intern probably not quite half my age, but about the size of a large Shirley Temple doll. "I hear the assistant was having trouble getting your blood pressure. They're usually very good about things like that. Has this ever happened to you before?"

Have I ever been dead before, you mean? "No," I told her. The irony being that pre-medicine just the very thought of going to the doctor's could have my blood pressure jetting off at 10,000 feet. Now I just don't give a flying fig, and it's been great.

So, on with the cuff again. Once more with the pumping. I waited. I heard the air go out of the cuff. I looked at the expression on the doctor's face...

She had a vague, puzzled little smile.

The doctor said, "Are you feeling any pressure when the cuff fills up?"

I looked at my purple fingers. "Er, yes."

She then took my wrist. "You have a pulse," she said. And I think the moment she said it, she realized this was probably not something she uttered very often.

"I also saw my reflection in the mirror this morning," I said helpfully. I wonder if she wrote that down in my chart.

She decided to try the other arm.

No dice.

"I'm getting 120 over nothing. I'm going to call in the attending."

The attending physician, a cheerful mature lady stepped into the room.

"I really am alive," I greeted her. "I am unnaturally pale, but I'm pretty sure I've been living all this time. I know because I'm still getting paychecks."

Two times more, they took my blood pressure. And two times more, I had no reading. At this point, we were all laughing and they decided they had to let me go.

120 over nothing was as good as it was going to get that day. They sent me out into the world of the living.

The thing is, you know, I kinda thought being undead would have more perks than this.

Like, I'd get to sweep around in dramatic clothes with other pale people and act angsty. I'd have better hair, and get to hang around in an old mansion with interesting antiques. Or at the very least, I could have a little excitement in dodging guys with cricket bats.

But here I am, back in the grind, apparently deceased but still putting in a 9 and a half hour day.

What's appropriate under these sorts of circumstances? I don't really know.

Maybe I'll send myself some flowers and a nice sympathy card.


Of Cabbages and Kings Blog Buddies Virtual Giftlist

T'was the week before Christmas and all through the 'net
A Cabbage was cooking plans no one'd forget
What if, posed the Cabbage, in this time of cheer
Said Cabbage could gather all online friends here...

And gift them with goodies that they would like well?
Virtual goodies. (Just not IRL.)
A Cabbage, you see, might have heart to the core
But no hands or feet to go shop in the store

And a Cabbage we know is covered in green
But not in his wallet. For him, times are lean.
"A token," he shouted, "plus some linky love,
"For visits and comments and all of that stuff!"

So the Cabbage, he wrote up a very long list
And thought and he thought, hoping no one was missed
But he feared and he fretted for friends overlooked
(This is what happens with Cabbage, half-cooked.)

So below you will find the results of his work
And please do not think Old King Cole Slaw a jerk
If all are not mentioned. He asks, please, instead:
Know he does what he can with a veg for a head

And so here is to you, and to you, and to you!
May each day of this holiday bring joy right through
Now go and start shredding the wrappings because
"There's no time like the present," says old Santa Slaws

Friends of Cabbages, found in no particular order:

  • To Olga the Traveling Bra- I give you a bosom buddy this holiday season, someone who apparently likes to travel as well, and will always have your breast interests at heart. Click to embiggify (and possibly put your eye out).

  • To Claire- I wish you the knowledge to get through your courses, the empathy to understand those who need it, and the Guinness to occasionally forget about the first two things.
  • To DrowseyMonkey- For you, I wish you virtual Woolite, so your Drowsy doll never has an offensively filthy foot again. (And no, you don't get Vincent D'Onofrio. I kidnapped him for you for your birthday. There's a restraining order on me now.)
  • To Mark Stoneman- I wish you all the hope and warmth of new opportunity. Also an all-weather doggy coat printed in honestly-earned A+ student papers.
  • To Ender- I wish you a design that finally gets the credit it deserves, and a surprise Grand Opening of a local Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits.
  • To Shirley- I wish you quick entry into that new house-- and a slow start in discovering the joys of property taxes.
  • To Tiggy- I send to you a breakthrough extra role where you get discovered-- without ink all over yourself.
  • To Crotchety Old Man- I wish you a Major Award that doesn't involve you having to pass it along to 20 of your closest bloggy friends-- and one brought to you by your favorite homemaking babe, Martha Stewart.

  • To Babs Beetle- May the fauna pose for perfect pics, and may the trolls keep their opinions to themselves.
  • To Dead Rooster- I'm sending you a Black-Widow-Free summer, plus one earthquake which does not involve your cat deciding to buckle down for it on you.
  • To Unfinished Rambler- I wish you to a glorious, uncontested win in the Kenny Loggins vs. Huey Lewis Smackdown (even though I have reservations about your theory-- see, now that's bloggy friendship). I hope you'll be out of the "Danger Zone" and it'll turn out "All Right."
  • To Shieldmaiden- I'm sending you virtually one full week's sleep with no interrupting sirens. Note: I cannot specify when this week will be. :)
  • To Jonny's Mommy- Well, I'd wish you a couple of free zingers toward Brother, but you usually have that covered without outside help. Instead, I wish you two perfectly timed photographs of Jonny-- which you'll marvel for years to come at your good luck in capturing.
  • To ReformingGeek- I bring you the knowledge that the Christmas season, which has been driving you batty, will actually end.
  • To Melanie of Tulip House- Sending you an early spring for those tulips! (Aren't you glad I didn't say, 'Another tacky souvenir magnet from Florida??) You are. I know you are. :)
  • To Tiffany- I'd give you some extra time, so you can actually get a breather these days.
  • To Jaffer- May your next possession by "Ronald the Zombie Mime" be both fun and educational.
  • To Chat Blanc- Let's see... I know you don't want plastic stripper shoes with a tarantula in the heels... How 'bout some Catnip and Stoli?
  • Jay of TheDeppEffect- I'd send you Johnny Depp only I think Vanessa Paradis would object, particularly here at the holidays. So I'm sharing with you the one thing I have to give-- a photo of the Johnny Depp theme tree my friend Kitty gifted me with a couple of years ago. Hope you make it to the Dillinger premier!

  • To J.D. of I Do Things- I'm sending you the good luck that just once, someone else will do a couple of things so you don't have to.
  • To J.D. of Techfun-- May the cheesesteaks always be fresh, the dim-sum come right on time, and the car traffic be unexpectedly light. Also, beat Bryan a few times at that Wii block game.
  • To Chyna- (Not a blogger, but oh, I know what she'd want.) I send you virtual tins of off-mix paint. May you find a rainbow of them-- cheap!
  • To TimeThief-- A holiday season just the way you want to celebrate it and nobody telling you any differently.
  • To Offended Blogger-May the year bring all the offenses, offenders and crunchy tacos you need for happy blogging.
  • R.J. of WordTapestry- Wool. Lots of weird and different wools. Also knit socks that end up the same length the first time around. :)
  • The Rhet- Sending you virtual Sculpey clay, and the lightbulb idea to make it do something never-before-seen.
  • To Greg- Sending you a year you don't have to dig up the garden bed so it can become migratory!
  • To Karen of A Strange Life Revisited- Wishing her the tableau of the bizarre she needs for continued posting. Also more Penzey's spices-- those cinnamon rolls this week looked good!
  • To Static- Sending you some virtual, anti-electro-shock-therapy haircare products for the -do.
  • To Lidian- Back in a dingy junk shop, under a box of old Reader's Digests, I send you the vintage ads that make you laugh out loud.
  • To Alice of Honey Pie- Just wishing you well, and smooth going with the job, Alice. I really miss reading your adventures each day!
  • To Sujatha- Enough time to actually put your feet up for a change, without even having to think about your next blog post!
  • To Marvel Goose- The kind of eggs laid in the news that you have blog fodder for a good long while.
  • To Adullamite- I wish you two extremely silly things to happen, which allow you to wield the mighty sword of sarcasm in full-force. I thought you'd enjoy that.
  • To Nanny Goats- For you I'm wrapping up a virtual pair of new knickers for the Nanny Goat. Remember- change is good.
  • To Etta Rose- Wishing for you the resurrection of your lost subscriber list!
  • To Annie Wishing for a great meal cooked by someone who is not you for a change! Take a night off!
And as Tiny Tim didn't quite say, (but would have if he'd thought of it), "Blog bless us, every one!" :)

Tapping into Gently Worn Spandex

"80s men spandex pants for sale"

That's what someone typed into Google and arrived at Cabbages, only to be disappointed by my serious lack of selection. (Sorry, dude! Rock on.)

And it crossed my mind that whether for personal fashion, or as a thoughtful holiday gift, previously-used spandex trousers-- no matter how well-intentioned the purchase, how well-laundered, or how much this gift might keep on giving--

Well, it still has a certain Ick Factor, doesn't it?

I mean, think about it. Spandex is made of fibers that would have Mother Nature raise an eyebrow, tug at that fabric once, and say:

"This is so not my work. Now pass the Parkay."
And unlike natural fibers, spandex pants do not breathe. Their whole goal is, like, vacuum-sealing. To snuggle up tight to the skin. Like some slick fluorescent sausage casing.

Which, technically, I guess they are.

So, let's say our friend the Googler finds just the right pair of Spandex beauties. Well, these totally awesome pants are likely to have a long history of being worn to Dokken concerts, on steamy outdoor concerts in July where everyone crowd surfed and played their air guitars and head-banged themselves into mild concussion.

These pants would have seen Life!

So I figure there'd be about a 50% chance that Life is still hanging out there in the fibers.

Crashing on the sofa playing Tetris...


Biding its time...

Waiting for a new owner to struggle into them and showcase his shiny black-and-neon-green splendor.

I mean, here in Pittsburgh, we still have guys embracing The Mullet and The Tail as important fashion statements. Who's to say that, like them, the 80s cooties just haven't realized decades have passed and never stopped partying on?

Who's to say they aren't ready for another encore?

Then again, hey, maybe Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls are getting back together to "Tap into America" for a holiday tour, and are just out pulling together a hot new wardrobe!

At this age, the lyrics to their hit "Big Bottom" might have to be changed a bit to discuss middle-age spread...

And the "Sex Farm" might have to be moved to the greenhouse at the retirement village...

But still. The Rolling Stones aren't gathering any moss. Who's to say Spinal Tap couldn't put the hair-band heaven back into "Hell Hole"?

In which case-- David, Derek, and especially you, Nigel-- if you really are out there planning that resurgence, and are looking for just the right pair of Spandex cellulite sucker-inners, then just remember, my dears...

Before you wear them? Turn that washing machine's "Extra Clean" cycle up to "11."

You'll thank me for it.

PS- What 80s fashion do you folks hope won't dust itself off? Or what would you like to see come back?


Holiday of the Triffids

Some holiday traditions involve receiving red lipstick prints from virtual strangers claiming to share some of your genetic structure.

Some involve enjoying liberal applications of liquid from the "nog" family. (The wild nog is native to the remote regions of Norway, I believe.)

And some involve going Over the River and Through the Woods to relieve the Christmas Tree farm of one otherwise-happy conifer.

But until last year, none of these traditions involved said pine tree being invited inside, only to act like a rude house guest deciding to explore the medicine cabinet and underwear drawers.

I don't know what brought it on, exactly. Maybe it was the excitement of its sudden, traumatic liberation from the ground...

Maybe, as in b-horror flicks, a mysterious meteor had crash-landed in the Christmas tree field that year, giving the spruces all-new, alien ambition through its pulsing red glow.

Maybe the tree had been reading Lord of the Rings and thought the Ents were pretty cool.

Or, okay, maybe I just didn't have one stabilizing nut tight enough in the tree stand. Maybe that.

But the tree spent its first day at home happy enough. Straight and tall and wearing more gaudy baubles than a Wayne Newton "Danke Shoen-a-rama" birthday blow-out at the MGM Grand.

Yet soon, I began to get the sense something was... amiss.

Was the tree leaning?... Had it been that far over from the wall this morning?...

Or was this just some kind of Timbaspruceaphobia, the neurotic, baseless fear that your Christmas tree actually wants to play lead prop in a Monty Python Lumberjack skit?

It was the pine tree equivalent of, "Was that mole there before? Does it look bigger? Was it always that dark?"

And you just have no idea because you never really looked at it until now. So you pick at it until you make it really dark and red and irritated. Because that, of course, makes everything so much better.

So, I climbed under the tree, tightened things up in the stand, and convinced myself that all was well again.

By evening, there was no question-- the tree was leaning a good foot to the left and seemed to be trying to peer out the bay window into the neighbors' house. It was reporting back things like what they were having for dinner, and laughing at their pajamas.

"This is not the spirit of Christmas," I told it. "Work with me here."

Explaining the situation, I enlisted the help of my housemate to hold the thing in place while I tightened it back into the stand. By morning, it still looked pretty good. I was feeling hopeful.

But by evening, it was back to wandering around the living room and spying on the neighbors like some elderly lady with Alzheimer's-- forgetting where it was supposed to be and even why it was there.

It did tell me I was out of milk, my sock drawer needed some serious organization, and I should consider buying a different brand of toothpaste.

Then it zoned out watching squirrels frolic in the backyard.

"There is nothing to see there!" I insisted. I started to wonder if maybe it was just homesick, longing for the Great Outdoors once more.

So, again with the straightening. Again with me, climbing under the tree and tightening things up.

A day passed. Another day and...

I returned from work to see one of my vintage ornaments-- an unusual Shiny Brite handed down to me from my dad, and from his mom to him-- cracked like an egg on the middle of the living room floor.

The tree was leaning...

And this time, it looked unspeakably guilty.

"Okay-- that's it, fir-boy! We're having a come-to-Jesus meeting right now."

So with the kind of painful maneuvering 70s action heroes use with batches of nitroglycerine, I took that tree, vintage ornaments and all, and carefully... carefully... angled it toward the wall.

Perfect Christmas Tree-- ha! I said-- it was the Leaning Pine of Pisa, and this was apparently as good as it would ever get.

"You know your tree is leaning," my dad observed helpfully on Christmas Day. "Do you want me to help you straighten it?"

I explained, no. It was put in the corner for a reason, and it needed to think about what it had done.

And for the remainder of the holiday season, that is where it stayed...

Slumped in the corner of the room like some drunk uncle who went over-heavy on the nog, sleeping it off until January 2.

This Saturday was once again Over the River and to the Tree Farm time. And I admit, I approached the spruce selection with just a bit of trepidation.

I eyed them all up carefully, one by one, looking for anything... anything.... that might betray the signs of A Roamer.

And to my surprise, upon its arrival home, the tree went merrily in the stand. Straight, happy, just the right amount of room. It was easy....

Now I'm starting to think possibly too easy.

I say, Folks-- if I come home tonight and see one more vintage Shiny Brite has bitten the dust?

I am so gonna chop my tree down from the Martha Stewart Christmas collection next year. Or else keep a nice big batch of salt water on hand to douse it with.

I hear Triffids hate that.

So, folks, what holiday traditions have you had go awry over the years? Is there anything you can almost count on to not work out quite right or to be a nuisance?


The Fourth Grade Bullying Program

Glancing through the search terms which reached Of Cabbages and Kings yesterday, I noticed a particular one which read "fourth grade bullying program."

Now, Cabbages certainly has told its share of tales of the epic battle of Average Kid versus Knuckle-Dragging Bully. (You can check two of my favorites out here and here, iffin' you're interested.)

And in looking at the phrase, "fourth grade bullying program," I'm fairly sure the person sought something regarding bully prevention.

Something formalized...


And probably not involving smacking the heck out of the bully on the playground with a metal Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox.

Just guessin' on that, though.

Anyway, upon seeing the words, "fourth grade bullying program" my sick and somewhat poorly-caffeinated mind at the time instantly thought, "Why would anyone want a program that trains bullies?"

Realizing my error, I got to wondering what a bully training program would actually involve. And to borrow a phrase from comedian Bob Newhart, I think it might go something like this...

Teacher: Good morning, students! I'm Mr. Pugilist and I'd like to welcome you all today to "Bullying 101." I thought we'd start off our time together today by getting a sense of your current overall skill level in the subject. That way I can get a feel for what exactly we need to cover and how much...

Now who here has performed a Swirlie in the last year? A Swirlie? That's taking a kid's head, sticking it in the toilet and flushing...

Anyone? Just raise your hand...

Okay, no Swirlies.

...All right, now who has done a Wedgie in the last 12 months or so? Giving the underwear a really good yank up the posterior crack?...

Hm, no to that too, huh?

Well, that's fine... We'll cover that next week, then.

Okay, so who has recently called another kid out for an after-school fist fight?

One... two... three... All right, that's not bad. I was getting a little worried for a minute there.

Good! Well, today, I thought we would begin with one of the tried-and-true bullying classics, "Knocking Books Across the Hallway. "

I'm going to need a volunteer for this.... Who'll volunteer?

What, no volunteers? Okay, how about... um.... you... in the second row... the pasty-face four-eyes wimp there...

See how I did that? (chuckle) That's Trash Talking. But don't worry about tackling that right now. We'll be going over that at the end of the week.

Excellent! You, son... what's your name?... Billy? Why, that's a nice name, Billy. Named for your father, were you? "William." Good strong name, William. Yes? Great!

Well, from now on I'm going to call you "Dead Meat."

Now, Dead Meat-- take this stack of books in your arms... Very good!

And now, don't look at me, and just pretend you're walking down the school hallway on your way to class. That's right, right down the aisle there.

Whistle a little, if you like.

Okay, class, now watch this carefully. See, where I'm standing here along to the side? Now, timing is extremely important here. I mean, your timing is off, you'll have to abort the whole thing.

All right, so Dead Meat is walking along-- keep walking Dead Meat-- and right as he's about to step parallel to me, I am going to....

Whoa!!! See what I did there, class? Yes, Dead Meat is on the floor and his books are--

Oh, sorry, Mrs. Evans! Didn't think that book would get quite that kind of distance. (laughs) Yes, we'll close the classroom door in the future. My bad!

So did you see that, class? What I did there was-- get up, Dead Meat, we're going to show the class the technique-- Dead Meat was here, and the moment he went to take that step, I stuck my foot out in his path, and then, as part of the combination, I shoved Dead Meat with a forward motion.

Now, I know what you're thinking. I could rely on just the foot to do all the work. But by adding the force of the push behind Dead Meat, that's how I managed to get the extra distance on Dead Meat's physics book.

And-- oh, what's that, the bell? Already? Well, you know what they say, time flies when you're...

Okay, well, that looks like all the time we have for today. For homework, I want each of you to give this a try, and write up a one page report and a diagram of the results.

Tomorrow, we're going to cover Stuffing a Kid in His Locker. I think you'll find it really useful.

Class dismissed!


With Friends Like These: Abusive Spam Relationships

Friendship. It means different things to different people. But I am willing to bet you dollars to donuts (mmm.... donuts) that it does not mean what I'm about to describe to you today.

Monday, I was notified I had a message in one of my social media shoutboxes, so I went to see who had popped by.

Turns out, it was someone I'd never seen on the boards before. For purposes of preserving his anonymity, we shall call him... (and yes, this might be a tad subtle, so bear with me on this) ... "Spamboy."

Pretend you have no idea where this is going.

So Spamboy left me a note to tell me that I had an absolutely astounding example of blogkind ("Nice blog.") and that because of it, he felt compelled to extend to me the virtual handshake of online brotherhood ("I frend U, frend me 2").

Naturally, I read this message and, as warm feelings of joy and camaraderie flooded my heart, I did what any self-respecting blogger would do.

I hit the "Spam" button and binned it.

Okay, now fast-forward to ten minutes later.

"You have a Shoutbox message from Spamboy!" said my email.

And I went to my shoutbox expecting to see a query from Spamboy wondering why I reported his note of goodwill and love as spam. When I read:

"Nice blog. I frend U, frend me 2."

Erm, yeah.

So that message was filed accordingly. And I forgot about Spamboy in the click of the report button.

Yup, it was surprisingly easy for me to move on from this relationship. I answered some client questions. I noodled with a bit of text editing and then, about ten minutes later...

"You have a Shoutbox message from Spamboy!" my email told me.

"Oh, I just bet I do."

And there in my shoutbox was a carefully-written note expressing everything Spamboy had been thinking about our long-abiding frend-ship, and how we could make it work:

"Nice blog. I frend U, frend me 2."

At this, I decided to shoutbox Spamboy-- or what was quickly appearing to be Spamboy's Mass Friend Adoration Expression Robot-- regarding the goals and concerns I was developing regarding our bon amie:

"You have spammed me three times now. Please stop."

And then I sent his message into the special container where I store this sort of meaningful correspondence.

Back to the editing. Back to the being a productive citizen and whatnot. Back to a Spamboy-free life.

"You have a Shoutbox message from Spamboy!"

So I raced to my shoutbox--

"Nice blog. I frend-- "

--And hit the "Block" button this time.

"There, Spamboy! Take that! No frend for you! No more Miss Nice Blog! Hit the Internet highway, ya spammer, and don't come back. Ya bother me, kid!"

Phew! I wiped my brow, took a sip of soothing herbal tea, and went back to work. The wonderful thing about social media, you know, is that you are never without recourse. Never without the ultimate control. You always have options to help yourself when issues arise and...

"You have a new blog review!" my email told me.

"A new review? Why, let me go see!! Just who is it that has taken a fancy to the ol' blog site? Who is it that I have reached through consistent posting, whimsy and a well-meaning attempt at general good-eggishness?"

"Nice blog.
I frend U, frend me 2

And the rating? ONE star.

Yup, Spamboy pulled down my perfect five-star rating. It tell ya, with friends like these...

Or maybe he was trying to spell "fiend"?

Did Spamboy hit your shoutbox recently, too? Do you have a tale of spam and heartache to share? I'd enjoy hearing about it.


Brenda Got Run Over By A Reindeer

I don't consider myself a violent person, but Brenda Lee is on my last nerve.

Everywhere I've gone for the past three weeks, this woman has been "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" with relentless, repetitive pep. And I see absolutely no sign of reprieve until the 26th of this month.

I go into an antique store...

She's scooching around the Scotch pine...

I go into the supermarket...

She's bugging around the blue spruce.

I go into the bank? There's Brenda. Bopping around the vegetative symbol of winter solstice.

I'm not sure what she does the other 10 and a half months of the year. Possibly spends 'em recovering from pulled muscles and dehydration....

But for the six weeks this woman is musically cavorting around the holiday conifer with reckless abandon, I find myself growing increasingly Grinchly.

Oh, I've tried to block her out. I've compensated with Celtic Christmas in my car. I've jollied along with Jethro Tull's Jack Frost. I've hearkened to the holidays with Gary Hoey. I've even swung to the sounds of Brian Setzer's rockabilly sleigh.

But the moment I step from the Brenda-Lee-No-Christmas-Tree-Rocking-Around Zone? There she is again. Fandangoing around the freakin' fir.

So, I think the other musical artists need to get together and stage an intervention for equal play time. It clearly isn't fair. Brenda Lee is monopolizing our Muzak airwaves, and something should be done.

David Bowie and Bing Crosby should round up their Little Drummer Boy and have him do his best Neil Peart solo every time she starts to open her mouth.

The Chipmunks could keep her in one place by trapping her in that hula hoop Alvin wants so much.

The reindeer that did a fly-by whacking on Grandma? He could keep an eye on her and swoop in, if she starts getting out of hand.

All I want for Christmas is to stop hearing this song, as I'm totally good in the "two front teeth" department.

I wonder if earmuffs come in a festive Cone of Silence style?


P.S.- Tell me, do you have a Christmas carol that you're sick of hearing? Knowing this might make my Grinchy heart grow three sizes bigger. Or at least make me not shriek in horror in the middle of the grocery store the next time I hear this song. (And oh, I will be hearing it. Oh yes.)


Fostering Figments of Fester

So they tell me I met Uncle Fester.

Dad said it so casually over the Thanksgiving holiday, it was as if bald, sunken-eyed Addams' who power lightbulbs by popping 'em in the ol' kisser were discussed on just everyone's turkey-centric holiday...

Right between the Macy's Day Parade and the first college bowl kickoff.

I don't even know how the subject came up anymore. All I recall is the Pop saying, "Well, you know, you met Uncle Fester." In the same matter-of-fact tone he might have told me, "You know, your shoe is untied..."

Or "You know, you really need to cut back on the caffeine..."

Or "You know, you have a giant monster zit exploding on your forehead."

But no. It was: "You know, you met Uncle Fester."

And it seemed to me that this was a memory I really should have retained. An Uncle Fester Meet-n-Greet should have been one very big day in Kiddom.

I mean, I loved "The Addams Family" of the 60s. Dry, dark humor.... A big old Gothic Victorian house... A disembodied hand that did its own errands?...

What wasn't to like?

But I scanned the noggin for traces of shaking hands with a pasty, cowl-wearing Goth Kojak, and for the life of me, not a peanut butter-smeared, Play-Doh-encrusted memory lurked in my mental attic.

I recalled meeting Wonder Woman once at Jamesway. A very taped-together Wonder Woman, sloppy and sagging, who was so not the Lynda Carter who I spent a good seven years of my life wanting to be. Mainly, because I thought it would be cool to spin around really fast, and cause an explosion that involved a wardrobe change.

It would have been a handy trick to have, particularly in the school gym locker room.

I remembered meeting Spiderman at the Rockaway Sales Indoor Flea Market. A very authentic Spiderman who I had a crush on at the time, anyway, because Peter Parker was both funny and a bit dishy. And superheroes up until that time had no discernible sense of humor to speak of. (I mean, Clark Kent, honestly-- what a stiff! And Batman, so sulky...) So it wasn't really any surprise that Spiderman was a fond reminiscence...

Even at age six, I was going for the quirky guy.

I also recalled meeting a couple of Apes, from Planet Of The. I was a little disappointed at the time that one of them wasn't Roddy McDowall, because he was about the only actor I really knew other than Burgess Meredith. And because this was the late 70s, Roddy McDowall was pretty much in everything.

I felt he should have won lots of Oscars. Largely because, to my kid-brain, there was absolutely no one else in Hollywood of his artistic caliber... and certainly not one willing to wear a monkey head.

But Fester. I'd forgotten Fester! The mind boggled. How could it possibly be?

"Well," said the Pop finally, "he didn't look like Fester. He had hair. He was living in New Jersey."

(As if living in New Jersey and being bald were mutually-exclusive. Tell that to Tony Soprano.)

But then I remembered! Or at least if I didn't actually remember, my brain made up vague convincing recollections on the spot to fill in the missing Festerocity of it all.

I think it was a Two Guys Department Store. I envisioned a small stage, and this guy with some hair and normal colored skin, aged and paunchy, being introduced to the crowd. "Jackie Coogan" was the name. A name that meant nothing to a wee kid like me, as it didn't leap from the Addams Family opening credits.

This was Fester. I recall him being a bit curt, a little cold, and I don't recall actually speaking to him, or having anything signed. I recall leaving shortly thereafter... no bald heads... no lightbulbs lit... no goofy jokes... no sword fights.

It was disillusioning. No wonder it didn't spring to mind instantly. But, ya know, overcoming those little disappointments are an important part of Kiddom.
And hey-- a dull, unfriendly Fester is still better than a Wonder Woman with plastic bullet-proof bracelets and visible bra straps, any day.

So tell me, folks-- what famous faces have you gotten to meet, and was it all you'd hoped? And how does your kid-memory stack up to big events these days?


Winners of the Cabbages Caption Contest

Well, the Management here at Of Cabbages and Kings is just so excited today to share with you the winners of our caption contest. First off, we would like to thank each of you super-duper caption-savvy participants for sharing your time and brainpower on our poodle-paddler picture.

We had some great entries, which is what made this so fun.

And because there were so many excellent entries, I decided I would open this up to a panel of expert judges so this would be entirely fair and unbiased. (Meaning, I begged two of my friends to judge, too. I owe them big-time now... Probably my firstborn child. Or at least, like, chocolate.)

Anyway, special thanks to Kitty and Scoobie for stepping up to the plate and digging in and toeing the line and putting some elbow grease into it, and other metaphors that roughly mean helping out. You gals rawk! (For Scoobie, who is an editor, that's "rock," by the way.)

So, now, let's get to the winners, shall we? Based on voting, we had one caption in particular that captured the judges hearts universally-- without the winner even resorting to violent threats or bribes, which is surprising as those are just the sorts of activities the author normally considers hobbies. And that caption is:

"Production cuts to the Baywatch budget were beginning to bite hard."

...From our friend Tiggy, of Tiggyblog! So congrats, Tiggy, for winning one of the tacky Florida souvenirs. You can see what you will be receiving here...

A fine Florida Keys paperweight with happy floating alligators in it! It's what you always wanted, right? Just in time for Christmas... Oh yes, Santa has come early for you, Miss Tiggy!

The second winner of the caption contest, with the second largest number of votes is:

"Row faster, woman! We've got a shark off starboard!"

...From Melanie of Tulip House. As Melanie has a tasteful pinkish-peach tulip in her avatar, I can only imagine how her excellent eye for design will be piqued by the fine Florida souvenir I will be sending her-- this Key Largo kitchen magnet filled with valuable slidey-aroundy treasure! (Magnet pictured here is not to scale.)

It has been lightly played-around-with by me to, er, test it for quality control. (It slides nicely... Also, so sparkly!) But I will merrily part with it because of her fine caption efforts.

Also of note were some Honorable Mentions who I would just like to mention honorably here. We had votes for:

Jaffer's entry...

"I see your jeans! Floating! Over there!"

And Rethoryke's entry:

"This was the last time Sarah was going to leave Fifi alone with the compass...."

So congrats to them for catching the eye of the judges, and thanks to every one of you for playing along. You are groovy, keen and nifty even!

For my two winners, if you would kindly send me your mailing address information at: thriftshopromantic at mac dot com then I can prep your packages and send your winnings off to you.

Thanks for making my very first caption contest such a success!

Planes, Pains and Automobiles

Every time he snored, the monitor bolted to the ceiling would rattle.

It was impressive, really-- he'd only just put his seat in the reclining position and we hadn't even reached 10,000 feet. Yet the man two seats over from me was already sawing Giant Redwoods with Paul Bunyon's high-end chainsaw, and drifting unawares in the Thanksgiving vacation spot of his dreams.

The rumble rivaled the jet engines, and I thanked the gods of air travel and assigned seating, who'd been kind enough to make the guy that should have been in the window seat cancel his plans this day.

Otherwise, I would have spent the flight in the middle seat next to him, fighting against hurricane force winds and hearing loss. As it was, the poor man had no idea he'd just inhaled the dude's toupee three rows ahead of us, as well as half a dozen drink napkins and a score of empty peanut bags.

He'd have to have them extracted once he reached his final destination. And I think it was going to hurt.

Ah, but that's travel for you-- you never know quite what you're going to encounter.

I had a reasonable idea I would get lost in Miami, though. I've managed to incorporate it nicely into my Thanksgiving tradition each year.

I mean, if I'm not at some point during my trip lurching in a rental car with my seat too far back...

Winding through some desolate warehouse district where seagulls fear to flap lest they get shot in a drive-by ricochet ...

And where everything is one-way and none of them are mine...

Well, it just isn't the holidays.

This time I recognized a few of the burnt out warehouses as landmarks before I became witness to any dumping of the bodies of lip-flapping ex-relatives, or congenial weapons exchanges. So I was able to U-turn back onto the right path with all my hubcaps intact, plus no price on my head, which was cool.

Of course, Miami also is home to the Free-for-All Exit Ramps. Which means that just because you've passed five exits on the right-hand side of the eight-lane highway, doesn't mean they won't test your keen NASCAR skills by tossing in a surprise left-hand exit now and then, just to mix it up a bit.

I guess I didn't spot the warning sign sooner, and found myself several lanes away from the left-hand exit I needed, in Miami holiday traffic where the drivers are already in a bad mood since Great-Auntie Consuela is coming to stay...

And that woman's a viper.

So I used my Super-Pittsburgh Parkway Powers and bullied my way over four lanes, taking myself on a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride that had me shrieking in terror all the way. As an 80s 'Vette blasted into my oncoming path going 85, I aged a year or two and now have a well-placed gray streak in my hair. But made it intact.

I'd like to know the number of stunt-drivers from The Italian Job who live in Miami. I suspect it's fairly high.

The trip as a whole was filled with sun and palm trees, not a hardship when you've come from the sleet and gray skies of the 'Burgh. If you're curious, you can check out some pics of my trip on my other blog. Just click here.

And soon it was time to return home. Due to weather and the number of flights in the air at one time-- and the fact that the Law of Averages says both coming and going cannot be on schedule-- my plane from Miami to Atlanta was delayed an hour and a half, so I'd potentially miss my connecting flight home.

But, you know-- I've discovered the benefit of being on anti-anxiety blood pressure meds. It is the pleasure of total and complete apathy.

Turns out, I just didn't give a flying fig. If we made it we made it. If not, not. I recall thinking, "Geez, I should be really cheesed about this." But then started wondering how my former seatmate was faring and whether he ever got that toupee out of his sinus cavity. Which somehow seemed a bigger issue in the Great Scheme of Things.

When we did finally get off the ground, however, it seemed the same laidback attitude was not being enjoyed by one of the flight attendants.

I dunno, maybe he'd had a dry turkey...

Maybe he'd been pushed to the brink by Thanksgiving Humanity...

Or maybe he was just feeling the inner rage of being a male middle-aged flight attendant with bright red hair working over a holiday...

But he was the first flight staff member I've seen who approached his job like a third-world dictator. I mean, I've never seen any airline attendant give seatbelt and oxygen mask instructions angry before.

His movements were crisp, jagged... Yank went the seatbelt! Snap went the band of the oxygen mask! Pointing out the emergency exits involved rigid arm swinging one step from a purposeful salute.

The lady next to me and I had been laughing about this, but soon we got ours. Out of nowhere, the redheaded squad leader swept in with his tanks and asked her, "Do you want a beverage?" the way Mussolini would have discussed his next invasion. The poor woman jumped a foot, as his white freckled face appeared before her, scowling about coffee, tea, milk and the takeover of Poland.

But, I'm home now, safe and sound. The wonderful thing about being away is having a home to come back to.

I read a quote this weekend which said, "Thanksgiving is a feast to the gods of paradox."

And if that isn't the truth. There's a certain plus-minus, a yin-yang, a plane delay versus palm tree dichotomy which weaves it's way through the hours of the holiday season, isn't there? And what it comes down to, is you can fight it-- you can sit down at Paradox's table and refuse to take a bite. Or you can belly up to it, see what it has to offer... pick and choose what you like and simply leave the rest.

Or maybe that's just the anti-anxiety meds again. You never know.


One other order of business- For those who haven't entered my photo caption contest, don't miss out! Click here and play along! Entries will be accepted until midnight this Monday.