Turkey of a Travel Day Answers and Giveaway Winner

Last week, Of Cabbages and Kings had its second not-necessarily-annual-yet-really-spiffy giveaway contest, where participants had to predict which tribulations and turns my Thanksgiving travel plans would take. The one who got closest to what really happened would get a piece of Florida souvenir tackiness hand-picked by me!

I can't understand why we didn't have more participants. :)

Today, however, we find out the answers and reveal the winner. Let's get cracking!

.) How many times will I get reprimanded by airport security in total?
The answer is...b.) Once. While it wasn't shoe removal, or my being too polite to fellow passengers that was my downfall, my bag had to be searched because of... wait for it...

Rogue antiques.

That's the way I roll.

Apparently on X-ray, some unique pens made from Victorian silverware I'd picked up looked like deadly weapons.

Yes, friends, many a person has died a long painful death... many a plane has been hijacked... due to floral-embossed flatware. So let's give a round of applause for our good men and women of airport security; they're just doing their jobs and not taking any chances. Sure, it was innocuous this time, but next time those pens could be a chafing dish.

Moving on to...

2.) At least one person sitting next to me on the plane will do which of the following?
And I'd listed a number of things strangers do to other strangers in when sitting next to them in a metal cylinder at over 10,000 feet (No, that doesn't involve the Mile High Club-- get your minds out of the gutter, people!).

Now, for this trip, everyone directly next to me was actually very well-behaved, which I appreciate. I will, however, have to choose D for the correct answer--
"Have some sort of bladder control problem that requires getting up multiple times"-- because someone behind me had this issue and apparently lacked the thigh-power to stand up unassisted to flee for the restroom without using my chair back as a makeshift winch.

3.) How long will it take me to physically leave the rental car property once receiving my rental car keys?
The answer here, believe it or not, was "A-- under 15 minutes."

This is in complete contrast to the Chevy HHR I had one year which-- in its quest to streamline the number of buttons-- decided that getting into the trunk through the dash, a floor lever, a keyhole, or a keyless remote button was entirely excessive.

That year, it took me 45 minutes to figure out that you could open the trunk by hand but only if all of the car doors were also open. Yes, that's intuitive.

As for number 4.)-
- Will I get lost in Miami?
I'm proud to say, I managed to do so not once, but twice! Thus, setting an all-new personal record. The first time, I did indeed get lost in places I'd gotten lost before. It's part of a fine annual tradition. So C. ("Yes, but you will recall being lost there three times before and not lose much time.") is a correct answer.

But for the return trip, B-- ("Yes, but only for the amount of time it takes you to stop crying on the steering wheel")-- also is correct. My Rand McNally directions back to the rental car return were, in fact, totally wrong, sending me away from the airport and across a series of roads that looked like a plate of linguine with clam sauce.

(The abandoned motels and used car lots I passed by before the weeping began are the clams in this analogy.)

And last...

5. How many free-roaming iguanas will I see in my dad's backyard?
The answer is A.) None. The iguanas have all gone to Pittsburgh for the Thanksgiving weekend.

I haven't gotten a chance to check the local papers to see how folks here in the 'Burgh handled the mass iguana tourism, but I'm sure it'll still be lead story on the news tonight.

And now,
the moment we've all been waiting for! Because, when doing my careful mathematical calculations of who got the most correct answers right, it appears you all decided to embrace the Law of Averages and each got 2/5 correct-- I put all of your names on slips of paper in a bag and just drew a name.

So the winner of the souvenir giveaway is...

Jessie! Jessie, if you would email me your address and full name at thriftshopromantic @ mac.com (no spaces, though), I will get your goodies out to you this week.

And the prize is...

An exciting 3-D animated flamingo bookmark and an Official "Miami" fridge magnet with sparkly crap and dolphins inside! Woo-hoo!

Actually, the bookmark is kind of mesmerizingly cool. May you have many hours of fun watching the flamingos flap.

Okay, that's it for today, folks! Wednesday Cabbages will be back with its normal, non-travel-themed tales and oddities.


Hidden Motives of Self-Flushing Toilets and Other Air Travel Musing

“Family Friendly.” One of the airport security lines was labeled this in large cheerful letters. Which got me wondering what that said about the other lines.

Like the one I was in.

I know it probably was supposed to mean that they’re required by law to yell at you 50% less when it takes you 20 minutes to remove small-person shoes, extract sticky items, and transform giant robot baby strollers into three-inch-tall Matchbox cars so you can put it all back again six feet on the other side.

But as I stood in what I could only assume was the Family Abrasive Line, I kept waiting for Denis Leary to show up in a security guard uniform, to motion me forward:

“Get your @$ over here, lady. Take your f*#&ing shoes off, fer cryin’ out loud, and put ‘em on the f*#&ing conveyor belt… What’s this—Liquids? Not in a quart size bag?

"Lady, can you f*#&ing read the f*#&ing sign there? What’s it say? Read it back to me. ‘NO f*#&ing liquids more than three ounces and they gotta be in a quart size Ziploc bag.‘

"And you, you got, like, more fluids than Niagara f*#&ing Falls here. Jesus Christ, you people piss me off!”

I think the metal detector operator would be Gordon Ramsay. You just know that guy would enjoy wanding the uncooperative.

Of course, every time I travel, there are some aspects of the journey I enjoy a lot, and I wish I could incorporate them into my daily life. My favorite is the airport moving walkways. There’s absolutely nothing like flying past normal Non-Walkway Mortals, without even breaking a sweat.

It’s as close as I’ll ever get to being the Bionic Woman, and it’s all I can do to keep from going into a slow motion jog and making “Ehh-ehh-ehh-ehh-ehh, chh-chh-chh-chh-chh” noises.

I would like to have this capability in the supermarket. I believe I could do some good “ehh-ehh, chh-chh” there and be in-and-out in half the time.

Or a little “ehh-ehh chh-chh” at the mall and I wouldn’t be trapped behind large, slow-moving ladies with off-road baby carriages.

Some “ehh” and “chh” at lunch hour, and I could burn off all my calories before I ate them.

Maybe just “chh” at the flea markets. Wouldn’t want to miss anything because of my blinding speed.

What I don’t care for are those airport toilets with minds of their own. Ever since they’ve gained independence and a self-determined lifestyle, I have been prematurely flushed upon—the sanitary ramifications of which I do not want to contemplate.

I don’t know what their problem is... Do the toilets suffer from job performance anxiety and get a little overanxious about missing their cues?

Are the sensor manufacturers compensated per flush?

Or do the companies that make them also manufacture novelty items like joy-buzzers and trick birthday candles? Is there some Integrated Practical Joker motherboard you need to dismantle first for non-comedy club use?…

Because they’re always just a little more impatient than my nether-regions and I appreciate.

Just sayin’.

Well, I'm sorry to cut this short today, but I'd better go. My mavericky hotel maid and I are playing a game of Magic Towels...

Signs all over the room tell us how to help conserve water by reusing towels. I try. I hang them back on the rack with the best of intentions of saving the planet through two fewer daily squares of terry cloth.

I mean, I figure, maids probably see the whole product line of bodily fluids and bad manners (also the occasional in-room murder), so I try to make their lives a little easier by being a helpful guest.

But the maid-- she's having none of that. Not only were my used towels gone, there are now even more fresh towels in my room than before.

By tomorrow I'll be able to start my own linens store. I'm excited.

Oh, hey, if you didn't get a chance to do so, don't forget to submit a comment for a chance at a real official tasteless Florida souvenir as hand-picked by your blog hostess. Click here to check that out.


Cabbages' Turkey of a Travel Day Giveaway Contest

So, for some pre-Thanksgiving fun, I thought we here at Of Cabbages and Kings would play a giveaway game.

Right now, Yours Truly is flying off for Turkey Day festivities to the Sunshine State. And because this involves the Wacky Wonders of Air Travel--

--Where one errant metal hair barrette could cause 10 large airport security officers all named Stan to strip search me (let's hope they're gentle)--

--I will award an extremely tacky Florida souvenir of my choice to the person who comments and guesses the most answers correctly based on the outcome of my round-trip adventures.

I won't know all the answers to these myself until next Sunday. So early next week, I'll award the great and exciting prize of Genuine Florida Souvenir Slob Art to the lucky individual with the most answers that are closest to what actually happened.

Ready? Here we go!

1.) How many times will I get reprimanded by airport security in total?
a.) None, it will be smooth sailing as you are queen of the three ounce travel size toiletries!
b.) Once. Shoe removal or not running over an old lady in the security line will be your downfall.
c.) Two or three times. A nervous tic or your naturally-shifty looks will cause security to suspect you as a person of interest.
d.) Lots. You are now being grilled by Jack Bauer in some concrete underground interrogation unit. It was nice knowing you.

2.) At least one person sitting next to me on the plane will do which of the following?
a.) Fall asleep and snore, possibly drooling on your shoulder
b.) Take his or her shoes off, stench optional
c.) Try to engage you in lengthy small talk against your will
d.) Have some sort of bladder control problem that requires getting up multiple times

3.) How long will it take me to physically leave the rental car property once receiving my rental car keys? (This includes figuring out how the car actually works in the parking lot.)
a.) Under 15 minutes
b.) Fifteen to 30 minutes
c.) Thirty to 45 minutes
d.) You are still there trying to figure out how to work the rental's windshield wipers.

4. Will I get lost in Miami, on my way to my dad's?
a.) Yes, and you will have your rental car graffitied by gangs of angry rogue flamingos, too.
b.) Yes, but only for the amount of time it takes you to stop crying on the steering wheel.
c.) Yes, but you will recall being lost there three times before and not lose much time.
d.) No, it's smooth sailing! Cue the Miami Vice theme song!

5. How many free-roaming iguanas will I see in my dad's backyard?
a.) None. The iguanas have all gone to Pittsburgh for the Thanksgiving weekend.
b.) One. Most of them were eaten by the fabled Skunk Ape of the Everglades. Mmm, tastes like chicken!
c.) Two. Not enough for a sci-fi film but too many to please the territorial dachshund next door.
d.) Many! It'll be like Godzilla Versus Megalon Versus Mothra Versus Barney, baby! Run, Jenn, Run! (And don't forget to shout in Japanese as you flee.)

Okay, so those are the five questions. Leave a comment to share your predictions. And next week, we'll find out who is the lucky duck who wins real, Florida home-grown souvenir tat, personally chosen by me!

I'm so excited!

Tips to Liven Up Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: food... Fellowship... 30 people crammed into a dining room the size of a shoebox, half of them with food allergies, though none of them the exact same ones...

The potential for someone swelling up bigger than the Macy's Day Garfield balloon adds that extra layer of thanks onto the festivities when no one actually snuffs it.

And at every family get-together, there's always that one person who makes a real statement. Like Uncle Joey who brings a case of beer he drinks himself all before half-time and then begins to regale everyone with the history of the combustion engine.

Or Aunt Clara who isn't speaking to Aunt Betty since the Chestnut Stuffing Schism of 1987.

Or Grandpa Hinky who won't wear his hearing aid and needs the TV volume turned up to 11.

But this year.... this year, the colorful family member no one could possibly forget can be you... Simply follow these helpful tips!

  • You know all those handmade Christmas sweaters family have given you over the years? Wear them. All of them. At once. Shed them one at a time every fifteen minutes for a special surprise each time.
  • Recreate the Thanksgiving of your youth. Enter, wearing a snow suit with mitten clips and carrying the toy of your choice. Sit at a table separate from everyone else on a step-stool. Insist someone has to cut your meat. Whine you're bored until people try to coerce you into playing one of those games Grandma has but no one really likes, like Pit, Parcheesi or Yahtzee.
  • Pretend you're actually attending the family's annual Easter dinner. Come in an Easter bonnet (gender irrelevant here). Ask when the egg hunt will begin, and distribute chocolate rabbits with the ears pre-bitten off.
  • Transform Thanksgiving into a Snuggie party. Give pre-Christmas Snuggies in a variety of designer colors and patterns to everyone in attendance and insist they wear them. Take photos and post them to your blog and YouTube.
  • Wear novelty teeth to the event. See how long it takes for someone to notice you're wearing them. Then see how long it takes before someone says anything to you about it.
  • Call everyone by a different nickname-- like Skippy, Buster, Rutabega and Tall-Stuff. Or just call everyone by the same nickname. I suggest Humperdinck.
  • Answer anything anyone addresses to you with a question. See how long you can hold out. If attending the event with immediate family, ask them to play along for points.
  • Develop a new phobia, like of the color green. Run shrieking from anyone or anything in that color, shielding your eyes.
  • Eat all of Thanksgiving dinner with a spoon only.
  • Turn your Thanksgiving into a musical event. Instead of speaking to your relatives, why not sing out, sing proud? Work up some impromptu dance moves to accompany it, and encourage everyone to join in. Bring an iPod and speakers for musical accompaniment. Don't let anyone leave before the big finish-- the 20-minute version of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant.
  • Shake hands and hug everyone-- then begin coughing and mention how your doctor had begged you not to attend, but hey, the H1N1 results aren't back yet and Thanksgiving wouldn't wait. Tell 'em that's how much you love your wonderful family.

We at Of Cabbages and Kings hope these fresh ideas for Thanksgiving festivities bring a special bright spot to your holiday get-togethers this year!

DISCLAIMER: Of Cabbages and Kings is not responsible for any institutionalizations, competency hearings, divorces, loss of child custody rights, death by improper food inhalation, heat exhaustion due to sweater excess, or tryptophan coma as a result of these suggestions.


The New Facebook Simulated Maternal Nagging Features

Facebook's starting to sound like dear old Mom. In its deep desire for us all to be happy and connected (and feed lonely farm animals), Facebook has developed a Suggestions sidebar--

--Or what I like to call the "Simulated Maternal Nagging Feature."

This app checks out who's active on your friends list and spins less-rabid Facebook buds into that frumpy, socially-inept cousin who our mother insists that we really should invite along to the party-- and possibly give a makeover.

"Mary Kwyte-Contrary only has 15 friends. Suggest friends for her!" it says.

Now, though Mary may be an individualist, she has always been able to make friends on her own.

But Facebook's Simulated Maternal Nagging Feature is worried about Mary's social life. Mary has friends, yes, but does she have enough friends? Of course not!

And is that really what Mary's wearing in her avatar? And wouldn't she like to just try wearing a little rouge? A little? For Mom? Please?

Why don't you help her, the Maternal Nagging Feature wants to know? What kind of friend are you? Didn't Mom raise you better than this? Help her! Help her NOW!


"This is your friend Bo Peep-- Help her find her friends!"

Yep, that's Mother Facebook again, stepping in and wondering why Bo's left wandering in the Facebook fields with less than a 200-head flock around her.

And if you don't make suggestions for Bo right away, well... look out! Mother Facebook has vays of makingk zem flock.

"Johnathan B. Nimble is 48% active. Poke him."

I beg your pardon, Mother Facebook?

Oh-- I see. You want to light a fire under ol' Jack because you think he's not hitting the Facebooks enough...

Instead he's out having a candlelight dinner with Jill--

(you know, outside. In the real world.)

--And not spending his days looking for that dirty bra in Mafia Wars or taking in some lost black duck on Farmvilletown Acres.

But my favorite... my favorite of all Simulated Maternal Nags was when a Facebook friend said she'd just been shown an avatar and was told:

"This is Peter Piper. Reconnect with him."

"But I palavered with Peter peering over his paper and peck of pickled peppers at breakfast. He's my partner," said Penny Whistle-Piper, dryly.

Yes, but that's Mother Facebook, butting in to our relationships again. "You never call... You never write.."

And I think it's getting worse. Soon we'll be getting Suggestions like:

"See our friend Hansel Voodcutterson here? Hansel hasn't logged in for 12 hours. By the time you read this Suggestion, I will be dead from the gas I inhaled after putting my central processing unit in the oven of the Facebook Cafe World app.

"Clearly, Hansel is a selfish boy who cares more for his gingerbread addiction than he does Mother Facebook.

"You could have saved me an untimely shut-down by emailing him to log in. But you didn't. You're just like the rest of them. Why do I bother?


"Okay, so I'm not actually dead yet. But I will be. Click here to contact the local news station in Hansel's area to beg him to log-in to Facebook and make his Mother happy..."

"You would if you truly loved me."

Today's question: Has Facebook or any other online service ever gotten pushy with you?


The Hardware Store Complimentary Dad

My bud Scoobie and I have discovered an unmet marketing need. When stepping into one of these big-box mega hardware stores, we've decided each layman-- unskilled in the mysterious ways of "fixed wall flanges" and "collated balluster connectors"-- should be issued a Complimentary Dad for the duration of the visit.

This Dad would be ideal for consultation when an actual biological dad is not available to step in to tell you you're doing it all wrong, you need wood screws for that instead of nails, or it'll never hold, what were you thinking?

I envision it a bit like this:
Complimentary Dad: Hi, I'm Bill, welcome to Happy Hardware. I'll your Dad for today. What is it you're trying to do without properly reading the instructions first, or using the right tools for the right job?

Me: "I'm trying to fasten a wooden fire surround to a solid plaster and brick wall, but all I have is duct tape, Crazy Glue, chicken wire, and this chicken. Her name is Polly.

Polly: Bock.

Me: Is there anything else I'll need?

Complimentary Dad: "Why, when I was young, we didn't have Crazy Glue and duct tape. We had 3/16 inch blue masonry screws and a dream! Here, let me show you.

Okay, sure, you'd get a 20-minute dissertation of the joys of 3/16 inch blue masonry screws and how in the old days, they used to raise chickens a lot better lookin' than Polly there....

But then he'd also make sure you also have the right masonry bit for your drill, he'd write you down instructions of how to go about it, he'd remind you not to put the chuck key in some obscure place like you did the last time and you didn't have it when you needed it, did you?...

And, if it's a little slow in the store that day, he might even ask you when was the last time you put air in your tires? Because aren't they running a little low and you could have a blow out.

Personally, I need all the help I can get.

The irony is, Scoobie and I have been floating the Complimentary Dad idea around for about six years now.

Every time I drag her into one of those mega home refurbishment stores on some kind of overly-ambitious Fool's Errand for my house, we wander 10 miles through dark spooky forests of lumber...

Dank sewers of piping, with a giant fan we have to leap over...

Bleak mines filled with creeping creatures stroking O-rings and whispering, "My Precioussssss"...

We have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs, and use metal detectors to try to find some tiny part the size of a pin which my dad has said I needed to finish a project...

And which I couldn't identify if it came up and dovetailed my shoe to quarter sawn ply.

So the Complimentary Dad would really do the job.

A few weeks ago, I was very close to having a Complimentary Dad Experience in Home Depot.

As I stood staring at a five-mile row of shiny metal things in bubble packets draped to the wall, this wonderful old man came out of nowhere.

He asked me what I was hoping to accomplish, led me through the enchanted forest, properly gauged my level of carpentry proficiency as somewhere equivalent to the fingerpainting-and-eating-paste level of home improvement, and tucked things I needed into my hand.

I was so grateful... so relieved... I almost smooched him up and gave him a tie for an early Father's Day.

That's the power of the Complimentary Dad. So if any marketing bigwigs from one of those giant hardware warehouses is out there reading this?-- take note. It's a freebie suggestion from me to you.

And if my own dad is reading this-- yes, I do know where the chuck key to my drill is.

Thanks, Pop.

The Quest for the Holy Easy-Bake

"It's the thought that counts." That's what adults tell kids about gift-giving after they've unwrapped the seventh annual itchy, orange knit sweater with a kitten appliqued on it from Great Aunt Eunice.

Eventually, years of orange kitten pullovers, and pen sets, and copies of Dan Rather's biography (what kid should be without?) forge a sort of resigned appreciation for the gift-giver instead of the gift.

And by the time we reach our second decade, we step across the threshold into the adult world, with a certain deep wisdom. One which no longer focuses on the greedy materialism of youth-- as we now have our own cash and can buy whatever the heck we want for ourselves.

Which interestingly, rarely includes orange knit kitten sweaters.

In my own greedy, materialistic youth, I had wanted-- like I've discovered millions of girls of my generation had-- an Easy-Bake Oven.

Ah, yes-- the Easy-Bake Oven! The shining, light-bulb-powered tool of independent tea-party hostessing and tooth rot.

Now, I was not the sort of kid to ask for things for Christmas-- or any other time of the year, for that matter. This, like being Heard as well as Seen, was completely Illegal in my family.

I don't know how it happened, but I'm sure it was instilled in me in the very early hours of Kiddom. Much the way crying babies are left by some Native American tribes to howl alone in the woods until they get it out of their systems once and for all and stop embarrassing their parents in front of the neighbors fer cryin' out loud.

So my parents and I had a routine worked out. I would think about the things I'd like to get for Christmas and not tell anyone. They would then buy my Christmas gifts. After this, they would ask me what I wanted-- y'know, to see if it matched the things they already got me.

And I would say, whatever they got me was fine. They would go away smiling to have such a terrific kid who was not a problem whatsoever like all of those other kids who actually wanted stuff, the greedy little piglets.

And I would open up math flash cards and reading workbooks on Christmas morning and pretend to be excited.

I wrote the book Martyrdom for Munchkins, in case you were wondering. It was 30 pages and in Crayola marker, but still an introspective work for its size.

My one loophole in all of this was asking Santa. Now, unlike other kids, I didn't actually go talk to Santa because, again following the family ideals, he doesn't really want to hear about that sort of blather, he's a busy man with other kids to see, go read somewhere.

So I had developed my own canny theory about him.

I figured, if he knew when you were sleeping, he knew when you were awake, if he knew if you'd been bad or good...

Then he knew about the Easy-Bake.

Yes, my Santa had advanced mind-reading abilities-- sort of like Professor X of the X-Men but with less angst and more hair. And for several years, there was nothing in my mind but flash card sums and the throbbing desire for small cakes I could frost myself in my bedroom whenever I wanted.

By about year four of this-- with ne'er an Easy-Bake to be found reflecting in the glow of the Shiny-Brite ornaments on the tree-- I had to adjust my theory.

Oh, Santa was still a mind-reader, all right, I determined. But he just didn't give a flying fig whether I got my light-bulb-powered tool of baking delight or not. He had a world of other kids to attend to, and I was wasting my time.

So this one year, when my parents had already bought everything per normal and asked, "What do you want for Christmas?" I actually said it. It slipped out of my lips like smooth creamy icing.

"I want an Easy Bake Oven."

The words sounded so strange outside of my head. They bounced off the harvest-colored kitchen walls and echoed back at me.

Mom blinked, surprised I had veered so far off script. "Oh. Well. We'll see," she said, recovering nicely, I thought, from the curveball I'd thrown at her.

And with that, hope glowed in my heart like a tiny cake-baking lightbulb.

A week or two passed and the anticipation was building. I could almost taste those cakes melting in my mouth. So sweet,so slathered in pink icing and so loaded with jimmies and those little silvery edible ball-bearings.

This was going to be the best Christmas ever! It was getting so the anticipation was almost more than I could bear! And so when my parents went out one Saturday, leaving me to my own devices in the house, I verged violently from protocol once more.

I went searching for my Christmas gifts.

There was really no secret where Mom hid them. Nestled among her shoes and purses in the bottom of my parents' closet they were, naked and exposed, vulnerable to prying eyes and groping kid fingers.

What was this? A weaving loom with enough materials to make part of one whole potholder...

And here? A Little Professor math quiz calculator, marked with bright orange "As Is" stickers...

And under that? A new set of markers-- that was excellent, of course, as I tended to go through them like Kool-Aid. But they weren't the true Holy Grail I was after...

So what was this? At the very, very bottom of the bag?... Could it be?

It was a Betty Crocker Cake Mix, a muffin pan, and a couple of cookie cutters.

I sighed and wiped away a tear, slipping the mix... the pan... the cutters-- all that was NOT an Easy-Bake Oven-- back into the bag and buried it all once more under the shoes and purses and the Little Professor Math Quiz calculator, which never did work right unless you turned it on and off 20 times first.

I was nine and I had seen the future. And like Galahad, the only knight to have fleetingly set his peepers on that Holy Grail everyone was so hot on, I knew...

The lightbulb of hope flickered and winked out. The quest had ended.

Today's question: So what was your Holy Grail of gifts as a kid? And did it live up to expectations?

Portrait of Anonymous: An Interview

Who is the single hardest working individual online today? It must be the unflappable.... the infamous... the ever-present...


Anyone who has a blog, a web site, or a forum knows him well. He's the one who makes sure your quality online acreage is covered with spam like cow pats on the back-set of Rawhide.

He's the one who lights up your comments section with the licking flames of misplaced rage and unique, out-of-the-box spelling techniques.

He's the fellow on forums, who slips in unfettered by pesky things like facts or context, and who can transform an everyday discussion on non-stick spatulas into a seething, spittle-flying, pro- and anti-Teflon situation in under ten minutes flat through persistence, precision name-calling and a Wonderland sort of rationale.

How does he manage to fit it all into his busy schedule? Well, Of Cabbages and Kings caught up with Anonymous this week, for the first-of-its-kind exclusive interview!

CABBAGES: You're a very busy man. Tell us: of your many online works, which is your favorite, and why?

ANONYMOUS: Well, it's apples to oranges, really. In terms of my forum contributions, I do feel there is huge value in spreading the "you suck, you're a bunch of losers" messaging across forums around the world.

I mean, I'm helping people completely entrenched in their narrow philosophies and obsessions with entertainment fan-dom look outside their small sphere of interests, and see there are other perspectives out there-- mainly those who think they suck and that they are losers.

That's important to help align their overblown self-esteem and encourage them to unmire themselves from an unhealthy fantasy life.

But I equally support the wide range of products I endorse. Getting the word out about "nekkd Britney Spears hot videoes of hotness now" or "Improve You Today In Bed All Night Longg Ladies will Pass Out" is really a humanitarian effort. I'm upping the quality of life of all those who my messaging touches.

CABBAGES: I notice you don't limit yourself to posting only on venues from one particular country. How many languages do you actually speak?

ANONYMOUS: Thirty-nine. I've been involved heavily in the Rosetta Stone language tutorial system, plus I use a number of online translators. I mean, while it looks simple, coming up with "I fren u, u fren me kay? nice blog" as one of my catch phrases took more time than you'd think. Largely because I needed something that would translate well into most languages.

CABBAGES: Except English.

ANONYMOUS: Yeah, I'm working on that.

CABBAGES: I notice in your messaging to the masses you don't stick to things like spelling, consistent punctuation or even generally accepted logic. Why is that?

ANONYMOUS: I believe people need to stop being such sheep when it comes to spelling, grammar and having consecutive thoughts flow logically from one to the other.

I mean, are you more likely to remember a message you can figure out by just glancing at it-- or one that's almost mystically mysterious, and which you have to decipher like The DaVinci Code?

Obvious-- the last one, of course! Why follow the crowd with how you express yourself when you can open up whole new worlds in the writing field?

CABBAGES: So you consider your spam art?

ANONYMOUS: Post-modernist, possibly, yes. Though more like poetry.

CABBAGES: When bloggers get comments from you, over and over again on the same post, saying the same things that don't translate well in English, they wonder why you take the time? It just gets deleted anyway.

ANONYMOUS: That's because they're not opening their eyes to the art. I am helping contribute new beauty, new thought, new ideas, fresh perspectives when I grace their comments section and tell them they shouldn't be born, to go to hell, or I choose to honor their blog with my ads.

But they're so self-involved they just don't see it. They see it only view it as a childish insult, or ads for cheap pharmaceuticals and illegal movie sites. But I also have the faith that they'll learn, someday. They'll see the sublime perfection of these communications. So I like to give them that chance-- and if that means I need to communicate with them every day, six times a day... then, so be it.

Yes, I believe in people. I want to give them every opportunity to change for the better. To find their own best selves through my comments, my products, my enhancement of their otherwise mundane work.

That's just the kind of guy I am. And it's because I don't want to look like I'm tooting my own horn, I simply have to remain anonymous. Revealing my identity would only take away from my selfless acts for bettering mankind. And we don't want that.

Of Cabbages and Kings would like to thank Anonymous for taking time out of his busy schedule to be with us here today.

Now we'll take questions from the readers. Do you have anything you'd like to ask Anonymous? He'll be answering your comments in between adding his, um, post-modernist art to other blogs.


The Injustice League Fights Anti-UnInjusticeness and Stuff

Who can you depend on, to stand strong in the fight against injustice, untruthiness and pricey shoe rentals?...

The Injustice League, that's who! Pre-approved and properly-insured A-list superheroes (and amateur bowling league) for the city of BurghTown! The Injustice League are...

Lady Liberty!...
Captain Coolness!...
And his sidekick, the BoySparrow!...
Hearing about the Humorbloggers Unite Against Anti-Injustice campaign, the Injustice League rushed to support this Highly-Important Yet Somewhat Vague cause.

...And, um, arrived fashionably late, largely because SwellGuy got wedged in the cab door.

But now they're here, and they're ready to right the wrongs!...

Fight the good fight!...

Clean up the dirt!...

Take out the trash!...

Er, wash the windows!...

And um... Well, whatever else needs doing.

So, good people of BurghTown-- Do you see any injustice around here? An evil-doer mugging an old lady of her pension check and hairnets, perhaps?

A fiend thieving sweets from a baby, maybe?

Illegal dog fights?... Littering?... Someone wearing fur and flaunting it?... Overpriced coffee beverages?!

Come on, people!... Anything!!

Ah-- phew! -- what's this?...

Sensing injustice in action through his SwellSonar Hearing, SwellGuy tracks down the black-hearted evildoer-- 10-year-old Mikey Posternicki of Apartment 10B across the street-- and removes the empty milk carton from the fridge and throws it out!

"Mikey's Mom will not come home to an empty milk carton today, good citizens of BurghTown!" SwellGuy proclaims as he puts the door to 10B back on its hinges.

It was just as the Injustice League was slapping SwellGuy on the back for a job well done, when Lady Liberty gasped.

"What is it, ya big green shiela?" asked WombatMan curiously.

Using her x-ray American EagleEye power-- fully supported by the Patriot Act-- the Matron of Might was privately privy to potential peril in the public works!

Yes, it was a serious breach of TP protocol in that BurghTown bathroom!.. The paper was coming from the bottom instead of the top of the roll!

It was time to take some liberties with that loo! Go, Lady Liberty, go!

"But hold on there a minute, baby!" said Captain Coolness casually, freezing her in her tracks. "You can't just walk in there, babes. Every bum and frat boy worth his weight in Wild Turkey has turned himself inside out in that thing. The air is totally toxic."

Lady Liberty gave a sharp, efficient nod. Slipping on her government-issued gasmask, she said, "Muyy mgo-ngg guinn."


She lifted the gasmask. "I said, I'm going in."


Returning, from a successful yet nearly fatal mission, Lady Liberty said:

"In life as in bathroom tissue installation, it is important to always remember to take the high road. Now no citizen of BurghTown, fumbling drunkenly for the toilet paper at 2am, will find himself lost, unable to locate the beginning of the squares he so vitally needs."
And thus, injustice (and bad manners) was defeated once again thanks to...

The Injustice League!


Something's Come Between Us: the Bulletproof Fishtank of Customer Service

There are two places I go regularly where the customer service is protected by a plexiglass fishtank.

Now, you'd think one of these would be the bank, right? The one place where we all expect to see Edward G. Robinson with a big cigar sticking out of his mouth, carrying an instrument case coincidentally the exact size of a Tommy gun, saying, "Button your lip and hand over da dough, Toots."

(And, yes, I do live in a 1940s Bugs Bunny episode. What's it to ya, rabbit?)

But around my area, the bank tellers are completely unhindered by bulletproof glass. They're out there in the open, handing out free lollipops... and toasters... and, well, ATM surcharges roughly equivalent to a semester of college tuition.

We could shake their hands for a job well done or clock 'em with the toaster for all the user fees. Our choice, really.

But nope, in my area, the two places where you have to actually mime all your needs through inches of transparent wall is...

The doctor's office and the post office.

I get the doctor's office. I do. It's so we, the public, do not transfer our cooties to the people who take our copayments and confirm that we haven't actually moved homes in the last five seconds. Potential Cootie Intraperson Route Detouring, they call it.

But there's a certain amount of irony that in the place where human interaction is so important, all the people who work there are preserved in Tupperware. You've come in with a sore throat and you can't just talk to the person. You've got to shout into an empty soup can and use semaphore for what doesn't translate.

What I think would be really cool would be to have it like a drive-through fast food restaurant, with some kind of fiberglass clown in scrubs you have to shout into its neck.

I mean, think how much more fun it would be if, instead of coming into the office and whipping out your semaphore flags--

"I... have.... a... ten... thirty.... appointment.... And.... Continental... Flight.... 207... from... Albuquerque... is... coming... in.... for.... a.... landing...at... gate... B... 12"

--You could just feed your insurance card into Doctor McFeelgoode's upper GI tract and call out what you need into his clavicle?

"Hi, I have a ten thirty appointment and I'd like a McFeelgoode penicillin shake and some antibiotifries-- stat!"

Now, as for the post office, I find the bulletproof glass there a little strange. I mean, what exactly are they worried about?

To protect the post office workers in case there's a holdup for Forever Stamps and the annual Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes entries?--

"Ed McMahon says this one could already be a winner. And I just know a dead guy wouldn't lie to me!"

Or maybe it's because of really dumb criminals looking to have their Wanted posters taken down so no one can ever identify them...

"You, mailman, you rip down that poster back there that looks like me and.... Oh."

The guy with the gun smiles sheepishly.

"Heh. Heh. No, That's my, er, identical twin brother... Er... Cheese-it, boys, it's the coppers!"

But, y'know, the plexiglass doesn't exactly make things easy, when you have something you actually need to get from the teller. I mean, you get your package by sliding your package slip into this slot—

"Two adult ride-all-day passes, please?... No? Oh, well, how about my box from Amazon then."

--And then CA-CHUNK! The tray shoots out and they take your slip and disappear into a backroom for a few days.

In that back room is where everything that ever went missing is stored. Like that sock that disappeared from your dryer last week, that's there.

And your cell phone which you thought your dog had hidden under the couch two years ago but which you still couldn't find when you actually moved the sofa, even though you found your sunglasses, 14 dollars in pennies, and a small box of Cheerios, that's there, too.

So they take your slip and compare it to all the missing socks of everyone in your neighborhood, and the cell phones, too, and they walk about 30 miles round trip until they eventually find the serial number that matches your package.

So I think the last reason that plexiglass is between you and post office personnel is so you aren't tempted to leap over the counter, rush into the backroom to the employees' aid, only to be never seen again.

"I'm going in. If you don't hear from me in two hours, send out the troops."

It's tricky back there, unless you have GPS or breadcrumbs. And the Post Office, as a government agency, doesn't want any liability for your safety.

And I can see where that might be of issue. So if you do decide to try it, just make sure you're catalogued with a serial number first.

Oh, while you're back there, if you happen to see one black and white stripey sock? That's mine. Write me up a package slip and I'll come get it.

I'll just need to remember my semaphore flags.


The Murders of Jack the Tripper

Jack Tripper: Klutz... Swingin' single... Staunch supporter of the Velour tracksuit... Up-and-coming chef....

And knife-wielding serial killer prowling for California's most beautiful blonds?

Yes, recent DNA evidence uncovered through a cold case investigation suggests that Jack "Come On Knock on My Door" Tripper-- successful owner of the regional Three's Company family restaurant franchise-- may have had a much darker side...

One which lured in attractive blond roomates, who he'd pal around with and gain their trust... before these women would mysteriously go missing.

DNA evidence uncovered inside the dumpster on the abandoned site of the former gourmet restaurant Angelino's indicates blood traces from one Christmas "Chrissy" Snow, former roommate to Jack Tripper and a Ms. Janet Wood.

In 1981, Ms. Snow left the two roommates unexpectedly, reportedly calling from her parents' home a few times, but then vanished completely, never to be heard from again.

Even her cousin, Cynthia "Cindy" Snow, said it was strange how Chrissy didn't make the annual family reunion that was scheduled to take place in the backyard of Chrissy's childhood home-- a modest domicile where Chrissy Snow had been visiting.

"It's possible she just lost the directions," Cindy suggested in an early 1982 police interview. "Biking the neighborhood... finding the backyard... If you turned Chrissy around, she was bound to get lost."

Interestingly, a year later, after having moved into the very apartment, the very bedroom and, you might say, the very "role" her cousin had played in the Tripper triumverate, Cindy Snow herself went missing.

Roommate Janet Wood states, "I know Cindy was headed off to college, but she never called or stopped by after that. In fact, I remember the night we found out she was missing. Jack had just come home from Angelino's. He was completely covered in blood from carving this side of beef Mr. Angelino had gotten in, you know? And he was headed off to take a shower and burn his apron, the way he always does. That's when Cindy's parents called asking if we'd heard from her."

University admissions indicate Cindy Snow had registered and paid the first semester's tuition, but never checked-in upon arrival to campus.

While Tripper was not a suspect at the time, dozens of other blond women-- all having briefly dated Tripper-- were also reported missing over the years. A connection to Tripper was finally made recently through a bartender at the popular local gin joint, The Regal Beagle, where many of the missing women reportedly went to meet men.

Police reports indicate there are no witnesses willing to testify to Tripper's presence at Angelino's the evening Cindy Snow went missing. Tripper has gone on record as stating his kitchen assistant Felipe was there at the time. But, when questioned, Mr. Gomez denied ever seeing Tripper.

The validity of this testimony, however, is in question, as it is reported by multiple sources that Gomez and Tripper have a long, complicated history of culinary rivalry.

"Filipe always hated Jack," explained Janet Wood. "He would have done anything to have Jack's job.... I don't think framing him for kidnapping and murder is entirely out of the realm of possibility."

Yet it was at the recent disappearance of fair-haired stewardess Stella Knight, that Jack Tripper has now vanished himself. Tripper, currently married to Vicky Bradford and in charge of his own business empire, was last seen leaving his old haunt, The Regal Beagle with Ms. Knight.

Criminal psychologist and profiler Siegmund Zagnut provides insight into the impulses that might be motivating Tripper:

"Zis man, he vanted to be seen as zis big ladies man. Yet here he was, pretendink to be gay to have zis apartment for cheap. It vas immasculating. Zen, he vould go out on ze dates vis vomen, and yet it rarely vorked out. He vould spill vine on zem. Or fall down ze stairs ont accident. He felt awkvard. He felt less of ze man. And zey would dump him and leave. And as ze ladies man he imagined himself, zat rejection vas somesink his ego simply could not stand...

"Zen his roommates, zeese blonds, zey would go off to pursue zeir dreams. I zink Tripper felt ze rejection again as Miss Snow unt Miss Snow both left him for zeir new lives."

When asked what Tripper might have done with the bodies, Zagnut stated, "Who knows?
-- based on ze evidence in ze dumpshter, eet eez veddy possibly zey ended zeir lives as high-priced entrees at the upscale restaurant in vich he vorked."

Mr. Angelino was unavailable for comment.

If you believe you have seen Jack Tripper, or know anything about Chrissy Snow, Cindy Snow or Stella Knight, please contact the FBI immediately.

(This post was inspired by the fact that, as a kid, I remember being confused between Jack Tripper and Jack the Ripper. I understand from friends that I was not the only one perplexed by this.)

Slawstrodamus' Prophecies for 2012

Regular readers of Of Cabbages and Kings know our beloved mascot, Old King Cole Slaw, as a devil-may-care online adventurer, raconteur, skilled dancer, and otherwise leafy wonder.

But did you also know he has the power of prediction?

Yes, much like the Magic Eight Ball and that wild-eyed dude on the alley corner who wears a bowler hat made entirely of tinfoil, Old King Cole Slaw-- known in some circles as "Slawstrodamus"-- is tuned in to the Mystic World.

Also Froggy 97 radio. He wants me to tell you there's a contest right now you'll want to get in on.

He'd also like to offer his predictions for 2012. So stare with us into the Shadowy Beyond, then bury your computers in the sand and check back here in 2012. (If you don't have sand, might we suggest the cat's litter box.)

I guarantee that when you see Slawstrodamus' accuracy, you will be astounded... amazed... (May also cause dry mouth, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, erectile dysfunction and acne lasting seven days to 40 years. Check with your doctor before using.)

Apologies to your cat.

Slawstrodamus' Predictions for 2012:
  • At the full of a moon, a shining, golden-haired idol will be caught showing the full of her moon. (Translation: Some bit o' fluff is going to have an emotional breakdown and get photographed with her pants down.)
  • Pachyderm and equidae shall-- in the land under the stars-- unite in making both an ass. (Translation: Democrats and Republicans will prove they have one thing in common.)
  • A great war will wage in sand, spurred on by passion, ancient lines, and the mighty law of Tradesies No-Take-Backsies. (Translation: "War. Hooh. Good God, y'awll! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again, yeahhhh!")
  • A fraternity of fools shall join in a small glass domicile filled with eyes, for the merriment of men. Also Nielsen ratings. (Translation: Big Brother might be watching you, but we'll still be watching Big Brother.)
  • The powers of attention of mankind as a whole shall shrink tiny as the microscopic-- what's that over there? (Translation: Can't remember now. What were we talking about? Gotta answer this email.)
  • Small furred friends of humanity shall embrace glittering satchels as natural transportation. They will transcend the use of their legs. (Translation: Purse dogs show new evolutionary prowess as doorstops.)
  • The talking woman of Rivers will discover toes risen upon the banks of her over-taut cheekbones. (Translation: Joan Rivers finally gets so many facelifts she's actually shifted her personal tectonic plates.)
  • Stars will dance. The dead will rise in mystical resurrection of mediocre careers. (Translation: No!... Paula Abdul... again?!)
  • Ancient long-snuffed prophets will make more predictions of future doom despite existential impairment and vagaries... (Translation: In a fit of embarrassment at that whole 2012 thing not working out, all ancient prophecies of the end of the world shift ahead four years.)
  • One in 10 will actually worry about them.

Question of the day:
So put on your swami hat and tell us-- what are your predictions for 2012? Or 3050? Or... oh... tomorrow, noonish?


Lewis Carroll Tests Out Jabberwocky

The woman was packed into her black Victorian dress, her hair piled high, bearing plumes that bobbed like an exotic bird looking to attract another exotic bird for an afternoon of passion and seed.

As the audience before her clapped, she announced, "...And next, we will have a reading from Rev. Charles Dodgson, who plans quite a treat for us. He says he's been writing a bit in his spare time, and today will recite a poem of his very own creation. I haven't heard it yet myself, so we'll all be surprised and delighted together. Welcome, Rev. Dodgson. I expect your poetry to enlighten and inspire us all."

Young Charles Lutwidge Dodgson stepped to the podium, and felt the sweat bead up around his starched collar. He hadn't shared this with anyone yet, and he knew it was a little risky.

Normally, at these sorts of functions, he just stood up and read Tennyson's Lady of Shalott and was done with it. But there had already been three Lady of Shalotts today. The lady could only die so many times in one afternoon. The moment begged variety.

And variety he would give them.

"Um, thank... thank you," he said. "It's a pleasure to be with you all today. I... I've been working on something new. Er, different, I think. And I... Um... I'm not sure how... Well, you see, this piece was... was... Well, maybe it's just best I begin."

The room grew quiet. He cleared his throat.

"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe."

He paused for effect, but could hear the murmurs in the crowd. "What language is that?" whispered one.

"Native Australian. They've borogoves in the Outback," responded another, more informed gentleman.

"I had slithy toves in my garden once," mumbled someone near the back. "Dreadful pests. Had to use lyme on them."

"What part of the Bible is this?" murmured a lady in gray flannel, flipping unsettled through her pocket Bible. "Book of Isaiah?"

The Bird of Paradise at the front of the room flushed, looking like the pressure building up might shoot her clear from corset and all. "Shhh, everyone. Please... Oh, I am sorry, Rev. Dodgson, please do go on."

Charles Dodgson gave her a tight smile and cleared his throat again.

"'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the jubjub bird and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'"

In the crowd eyebrows were raised. Cheeks were pale. Eyes were wide. He caught a vague, "What did he say?"

"Gloomius band of snatch, I think."

"Well, that hardly sounds appropriate for mixed company! And from a clergyman, too."

An old lady who'd only heard half of it, shouted, "Is this not The Lady of Shalott, then?"

Dodgson tugged at his collar, which was damp and wilting now, but he determined to proceed on. Perhaps the problem was he just needed to give it a bit more energy for it to really grip:
"He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought."

"Who's the fellow with the purple sword again?" hissed a lady in the front row to her sister.

"I don't know. But he's fighting someone who speaks Manx."

Dodgson decided that maybe louder was the way to go, now, and upped the volume.

"But, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock with eyes of flame
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood
And burbled as it came!"
"Isn't Tulgey somewhere near Cheshire?"

"Devon, I think. Is this fellow quite all right?"

"Always heard he was a bit strange."

Desperate to get through the poem with any degree of success, Dodgson grabbed up a nearby lady's parasol and swept it aloft like a mighty broadsword. He knew he should have brought some props, but this would just have to do.
"One, two! One, two! And through and through,
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!..."

"He's having a fit!" a woman cried, standing up in her concern.

"Someone help the poor man!"

The lady with all the plumes had gone completely crimson now, and rushed to his side-- just as the parasol accidentally popped open, sending a second potential assistant backwards into the front row.

The Bird of Paradise took his arm and made soothing sounds, patting him. "There, there, Rev. Dodgson." She was leading him from the podium now, while someone picked up Mr. Evans from row one.

"I'm fine, honestly," the young clergyman insisted. "It...It's just a bit of nonsense, really, I—"

"Alice, dear, fetch Rev. Dodgson a glass of water, would you?... There's a good girl."

"It's for children, you know," he persisted. "There were just so terribly many Shalotts and—"

"Mad as a hatter, that one," someone whispered.

"Mad as a march hare," agreed someone else sadly. "Completely off of his head."