A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

30 March 2006

I Walk (and drive) the Line

Lines...seems we spend a good portion of our lives in them, in one shape or another. I bet before 'the wheel' was invented there was 'the line'..."Uh...Og cut in line...Torg kill Og." Okay, they probably didn't have the language skills down yet considering English was quite a few years off from its own invention...but hey, if you read Chaucer you probably wouldn't understand it in its original form neither. But he wrote lines...back to being IN them.

I was at the Georgia Aquarium the other day and some portions of it are somewhat narrow and the tanks hold things you'd love to see up close...but common courtesy dictates you are supposed to "wait your turn"...in line...and move up as the line inches closer to each of the exhibits you want to see. There were a good deal of people in wheelchairs when we went, and I would surmise that this wasn't an isolated occurrence...but sure enough a bunch of people just had to go around the people in wheelchairs and cut in front of them. Now it's slow-going enough as it is waiting your turn...but when everyone dashes in front of you...well, you really aren't going to get to see everything there...which just isn't fair. There was this one woman...and I know she couldn't have been oblivious to the fact there were LINES of people, in their respective LINES, progressing to various fish tanks. Here she comes...all boisterous, and defiantly jumping in front of everybody, tank by tank, loudly exclaiming to her child "LOOK, can you find Nemo??? Is THAT Nemo???"...and did this at each tank that I could see until she got both out of eye view and earshot. Me, being from Jersey, had to say something so she could well hear..."No...I don't see Nemo...but I DO see a line". The people in front of me, who were elderly, turned to me and nodded their heads in agreement...other people looked dumbfounded, wanting to speak up, but figuring it wouldn't sink in anyway. Now, no way did she NOT know what she was doing...BUT figuring if she acted totally "blonde"...altho she was brunette...everyone would "understand" and deal with it accordingly, cutting her the leeway that undoubtedly she all too frequently takes advantage of. She was appalling to me...as were all the other people cutting in front of everyone...or the ones who basically parked themselves directly in front of the tanks and were holding court...their own private front-row seat that everyone else in line had to peer around.

Another thing that gets on my nerves...people in cars with the same "line attitude". I live out in Wetumpka...and drive on 231 to get into Montgomery...and in the mornings to take my daughter to school I am also tasked to be "in a line". Now we all know how the road goes...we (with maybe the exception of one driver) travel it all the time. The extreme right lane eventually ends as the road goes back into two lanes to go over the bridge where all the new construction is going on. There are always people who will fly past all the other people (myself included) who have been patiently (or impatiently) waiting for our turn to finally get thru the two lights and get out of the backlog of "traffic" ("traffic as it's known here...that's another blog one day). They use the extreme right lane to pass everyone else, who they can clearly see are going in the same direction as themselves...only they're WAITING their turn. These people then weasel in front of cars whose drivers are all too happy (those morning people, no doubt) to let them cut in front of them. "Ha! NO ONE gets in front of ME...you just try it...I've lived in Jersey...ain't gonna happen, girlfriend." This also is happening a lot on the Northern Blvd off-ramp back to Wetumpka, where you turn right to go onto 231. Everyone is in line, there's only one lane and no more access road (due to the construction) and everyone cuts in front of the whole line and then sneaks in. I've seen the left-hand thru-traffic on the Northern Blvd at a stand-still because "someone" stopped their car and sat and waited for the opportunity to cut in line to the right to get on the off-ramp.

Now, if EVERYONE had my mental attitude...or fortitude...oh, what the heck...just call it "road vendetta", these people would learn their lessons and be forced to keep driving, missing their turns, having to turn around, eventually learning the simple fact: Don't CUT in line...people will get mad...it's selfish and rude...you're just a boorish person with a large hunk of metal around you that you use as your "impervious to others" casing. And something tells me that obnoxious twit of a woman from the aquarium does this all the time.

C'mon...grow up people, we all hated the kids who said "cutzies" and got in front of us in line when we were in grade school...and we still do.

26 March 2006

Rex, 'Files', and Videotape

"What? You HAVEN'T watched 'The X-Files'??" or "I have to go, 'The X-Files' is about to come on." Oh, if I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me during its nine year run...I'd have at least...well...almost enough to buy their first season's DVD set. But I was never a follower...and I wasn't about to start watching it when it became a phenomenal hit...plus the fact it was on FOX...but that's a whole other thing. You remember the craze if you were breathing, I'm sure.

Them: "David Duchovny aka Fox Mulder is sooooooooo hot...the show is soooo good...you have to watch."

Me: "Oh, he is NOT...oh, I caught part of one once - it was stupid...and I do NOT!"

That was my retort each and every time someone brought it up. Then the show was cancelled. End of story...right? Wrong. Fast forward to me, in my insomniac state, clicking thru the channels...a virtual wasteland of mindless drivel on each one of my HBOs...AMC showing some 1970s movie WITH commercials, TLC, A&E, and Discovery have all gone "infomercial" at 2:00 a.m., I'm not real fond of watching a rerun of "Megastructures" on The History Channel...and I don't like the gangster film on TCM. What am I going to do? Okay...what's on the Sci-Fi channel? Hmmm..."The X-Files". Well, it's safe to watch it NOW...no one's watching it anymore...that's why it's ON the Sci-Fi channel at 2:00 a.m. Let me see what all that fervour was about. I must confess, usually I give a show two tries before I discount it...I only gave "The X-Files" a half a chance.

My impression of myself watching it that first nite (which should be pretty easy to do because I do a bang up impression of myself, if I say so myself)...it went something like this:

Okay...well, this seems okay, they are investigating a murder...a strange murder. Hey, this isn't half bad. Hmmm...the guy who wrote this can write. Wow...they have a kind of chemistry. This is actually rather good. Whoa...Duchovny IS hot! How did THAT happen? Must be his personality coming thru the screen or something. Let's see...oooh, another episode is on FOX channel at 3:00! Okay...this must be "the smoking man" I've heard tell about. Hey, THIS one was good, too. Lookie here...yet another episode on TNT! But darn...they all flip-flop around more than Kerry during a Presidential race. Shoot, they are actually sequential...what am I to do???


I have the DVD of "My Fair Lady"...(bear with me...this actually has a sequence as well)...I've never watched it. BUT when it comes on AMC the obligatory 23+ times a year...I watch it nearly every single time...it's an event...like the Ascot races...it's ON TV and I'm not going to miss it! Yet, there lies my DVD languishing in its little pristine case. I'm not the only person I know who does this, by the way...I've spoken to many. They buy DVDs and never ever watch them. It's like a nice false sense of security...a power trip: "I can take you down off the shelf and watch you any time I wish...bwaaahaaahaaaaaa! And DON'T you forget it! I OWN you!"

Did I mention "The X-Files" ran for nine seasons? I thought so...I'm mentioning it again. So, off I go to the store to purchase the first season of it. I figure, in my naivete...$30 a pop, tops. Geez...are these people kidding...they are $60 a set! AND disc set one isn't available...I'm not going to start it off waching season two. Okay...I'll check Circuit City or somewhere tomorrow.

A few days later...and now much MUCH more into "The X-Files", as they play it back-to-back on three different channels practically each nite...I am, for lack of a better word...'X-tremely' hooked on this show. And David's (yes, I'm on a first name basis with him now) getting hotter by the minute. I MUST find season one...I must, I WILL shell out the $60 for it, I will!

Enter Best Buy. WHAT???? $96 for it??? The price shot up over $30 in the span of a week...all I gotta say is those X-Files people owe me a bunch for making it THIS popular THIS quickly. No way am I going to pay...okay, let me do the math...(I've always liked English much better)...$96 x 9...oh geez...it's going to cost me HOW much to watch this show in its entirety??? Oh, they are crazy. I shall go home and lament my fate...doomed to try to piece together a hodgepodge of plots from nine seasons...three different channels...oh...more math...I don't like math. Plus I'll watch them once and they will sit on my shelf with Audrey and Rex...just gathering dust...choruses of "What a fool I was..." echoing thru my brain.

Lo and behold...I am told by a friend that Netflix rents these things. So, I can watch every single episode...as, well, you don't have to be a numismatist...no, that's not right...a numerologist...no, not that either...oh well, a number guy, to figure out...at substantially less cost than buying them.

So, the next time you HAVE to have that boxed set of every single episode of Knight Rider...okay, that might be going for $30 total...not a good example...but of Star Trek, Seinfeld, Friends or Ally McBeal...just how many times are you going to bear repeating them...and at what cost?

25 March 2006

Eat Your Heart Out

Today I managed to do something that I've only done once or twice before...and I'm incredibly proud of myself....I walked out of Fresh Market (corner of Eastern Blvd and Vaughn Rd) for less than $50. Oh, sure..."easy" you say...well...a little bit more about myself...then you judge. I've been "gourmet" cooking since I was about 16. I took it upon myself, and how I ever knew is beyond me, to subscribe to Gourmet and the long since defunct Cuisine magazines...and tried everything that whet my appetite. Now, I am not judging, so don't take it personally if this describes you...but I had girlfriends at whose houses I would stay overnite when I was young, where Monday was "meatloaf" day, Tuesday was "spaghetti", Wednesday was "hot dogs", etc., every single week...month after month...year after year. My mother was Belgian...and we never had those things...once in a while my father would make spaghetti...but he was from Czechoslovakian descent and most of the things he would make weren't normal fare...but some were quite good, nevertheless. Perhaps this is where I acquired my taste for experimentation.

I never really "learned" to cook from either parent, in fact I don't know how I got the urge to take it upon myself, especially at such an early age, to take the reins in the kitchen in the first place. I was not content with everyday meals...I had to make these 2-3 hour extravaganzas...and I still do...which brings us back to Fresh Market. The first day I set foot in the place...as Deborah Kerr said to Cary Grant about her meeting him at the top of the Empire State Building in "An Affair to Remember"...it was "the nearest thing to heaven". I was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop...and I had suddenly grown a massive sweet tooth. It was my culinary Holy Grail. Oh don't mock me...it was...and is.

If you've never been to Fresh Market...I'm at a quandary whether to tell you to go beyond all means...or NOT. It's kinda like me having my first taste of Grey Goose vodka...I'm now spoiled and every vodka pales in comparison. There are rows upon rows of the nicest fruits and vegetables you've ever had the pleasure to lay eyes and fingers upon...and their meats are just divine. They also have some of the nicest people working there I've ever had the pleasure to see in any store...they genuinely seem to like their jobs...in fact, my son worked there for a time and shared this sentiment. And if you are like me, and love all sorts of things like organic arugula, muscovy duck breast...pheasant, rabbit, and dolmades...this is your kind of place...but don't, whatever you do, come hungry...like I usually do...because chances are you won't get out of there for less than $50 either.

23 March 2006

A Pain in the Neck

An eye for an eye...a neck for a neck, so to speak. Back a couple years ago I was rear-ended outside my son's school as I was sitting at the stop sign. Now...I have a BIG red van...this was daylight and not a light-refracting cloud in the sky sat between me and the person who smashed right into me...as if I wasn't there. Now, I'm only speculating here, but considering the first thing out of the person's mouth I told in the school's office right after it happened was "I bet they were on the cell phone...they are ALWAYS on that thing". Well, it had to be something...as if you can't see my van...you certainly don't have close to 20/20 vision and there's no way you should be on the road, even if you did pass Chicago's Driver's Ed for the Blind .

Now, besides the obvious inconvenience of having to contact the police, the insurance company, get my car fixed, getting the rental, and having to see a doctor ('just in case' as the EMT on scene suggested)...I was one of the "lucky" ones who happen to be blessed...or in this case, cursed, with having a long, slender neck...as according to a couple doctors I saw subsequently, had I been given a short thick one, this probably wouldn't have happened. The "this" is that my neck got screwed up from getting hit. Now, I've never been IN a motor vehicle accident before and didn't realize the protocol. See lawyer first..THEN doctor. Oh, silly me...I went to the doctor beforehand and he suggested therapy...therapy which I thought would "cure" my neck ailment. It didn't.

Mind you, this was therapy twice a week, like forever and a day. So, twice a week, I had to trudge on over to the therapy place, get "worked on"...then make another appointment, then go upon my not so merry way. I say this because I was totally inconvenienced...and not only because of the pain. I had to take time out of MY day for an accident that I didn't cause and the person who caused it went about THEIR merry way. I have mentioned this to quite a few people and I've not had one disagree with me yet...maybe you will. The way I see it, the person who CAUSES said accident should be made to be inconvenienced as well. "Oh...you don't LIKE to come to therapy because you have OTHER things scheduled...and you have to find someone to come and watch your child, drive you over, take off work, etc.? Well, TOO darned bad, isn't it? Guess you shoulda PAID attention when you were driving, huh?"

Seriously...why did I have to be made to interrupt my life on the inattention of another? Why do countless people? This just isn't fair. I believe if they changed some laws which mandated that the person who caused the accident has to also tag along to all the doctor's appointments, therapy sessions, etc., at the time the victim sees fit...maybe there would be less accidents. Face it, tagging along with someone for nearly two years to therapy would be a tad more harsh sentence than, say...walking away without a scratch?

Now, I'm not insensitive, I realize that accidents DO happen, that's why they are called "accidents"...but a lot of them are purely inattention, inexperience, and distraction. Again, I make no claims as to the cause of it in my case, because I certainly don't need to be drug into court and sued for more than I managed to "walk" off with, my mere pittance, for my neck...this is purely all conjecture. So, everyone, put your legal pads and pens back in your desks. But if you've got a card you can hand me...

22 March 2006

Uncommon Courtesy

Okay, I talk a lot - I know I do...when I talk to someone on the phone or in person, I let them know up-front..."You know, if I start talking to you, I have this tendency to keep talking nonstop for at least an hour - maybe three...so be forewarned". Now, wouldn't it be nice if EVERYONE had the same decency to tell you their faults before they started speaking to you? C'mon, think about it...

"Hi, my name is Harold and I'm a completely boring person...plus I just stop in mid conversation and look off in the distance, like I've run out of my daily quota of words."

"Hi, I talk about my accomplishments...which aren't really that great...but they're better than yours, or so I believe...so I like to go on and on and on and on about them, as I know you really won't ever see me again, but then again I have this same exact conversation over and over again...I know it verbatim but I never get the opportunity to talk to the same person twice, as they avoid me like I wish I'd be able to avoid myself."

See also:

Looking up old acquaintances at Classmates.com...aka "I Wasn't Able to Corner You At/You Didn't Show Up at the Reunion...So I'll Fill You In On My WHOLE Entire Life Thus Far".

Blind Dates? There's a Reason They're Still Single

So, You've Got a Blog, Too? (Okay, I threw this last one in to see if you were paying attention out there.)

21 March 2006

Stop, Children, What's That Sound...

Well...tornado season is upon us once again...if it isn't "officially" here...I doubt it's going to much listen. Tornadoes rather have a will of their own...unfortunately. And unfortunately there's not much humour in them...but I try to look at things with a slant towards the absurd and comedic, so I'll do my best to put them in this perspective...not the tornadoes per se, but my actions.

Out here in Wetumpka, the sirens were going off...and my weather alarm was quite the busy bee. Oh...you don't HAVE a weather alarm??? Apparently you are NOT from not around here, are you? I confess...I am from New Jersey...yes, the secret is out...but I've been living here for the past 15 years...15 years in utter fear for my life....from tornadoes. A little back history...we don't get many tornadoes in New Jersey. The most we get are hurricanes. Well, okay...we get a LOT of snow...that's a whole different thing...and another blog one day. It kinda goes like this: "Hurricane is coming...get out." Two days later: "Seriously...we mean it...the hurricane is coming...we strongly advise you get out." Another day passes: "Okay...it's like a category 4...put down your drinks and evacuate now or we aren't coming back to save you." Of course, they'd use choice words...but I'm toning it down as this is an "official" type of blog...but feel free to embellish.

So...let's all relive my first "Tornado Watch" experience, shall we? It goes something like this....

My fascination with the Weather Channel (did I mention Jim Cantore...okay, good, I didn't think so)...probably started with a tornado watch. Here I am sitting here all content as the sun is out and the flowers are blooming and all of a sudden they mention this thing called a "tornado watch". Well...having never lived here, that sounds pretty darned ominous...it DOES have the word "tornado" in it, after all. Plus no one ever told me that nearly every day during the spring/summer/half the fall - it's a given...you are under a tornado watch. It's the warnings you have to watch for...ironically. So, here I am...getting out my masking tape...putting little X's on my windows that even The X-Files' Fox Mulder would be proud of (another blog to come)...and shuffling my son (didn't have my daughter yet) into the semi-sunken bathtub we have in the back bathroom...as we don't have a cellar/basement. Why we don't have one I'll never know...we are at the top of the ridge of the hill overlooking Montgomery...if we flood...everyone's doomed. Okay...back on track...I got out a blanket, cowered in a fetal position, and waited patiently the WHOLE entire time the "watch" was scheduled. Do you have any idea how long they typically schedule watches for? HOURS. Yes...hours we sat all huddled in my makeshift "bomb-shelter". It wasn't until days later that it dawned on me to actually check to find out the difference between "watch" and "warning".

And don't let that photo fool you...I'm not an actual blonde. ;)

18 March 2006

Grimice and Bear It

TLC...yes, that's "The Learning Channel", showed "What Not to Underwear" last nite...I guess a take off...hmmmm...of their "What Not to Wear" show....sad sad. You know I remember the days when TLC had documentaries on...you know...things that kinda hinted at why they had the "Learning" bit in their name...ancient Egypt, pyramids, Aztec cultures, etc. Now it's all What Not to Wear, Trading Spaces, Trading Houses, Trading Pets, Pimp My Tattoo, etc. Okay, so I made a couple of them up...but the fact remains...it's NOT the same channel it used to be...case in point, some "highlights" from the show, in case you were lucky and missed it:

They have these three women who have okay bodies...but apparently the women just hate themselves...or they want the $6000 in new undies...I'm still debating that one. Anyway, they don't look bad at all...but, wait, we MUST fix them...and the reason they are looking so schlumpy...they, DUH...are wearing the wrong undies! (Insert hand on hip attitude stance look here.)

So, out come these women and the hosts (a pleasantish man and an irritating as anything woman)...and using tongs (yes, I said tongs...thongs come later) and donning rubber gloves...they proceed to pick on the women's undies...literally...from the clothesline (by tongs)...then verbally trashing them...then actually trashing them. Queen Nefertiti had nothing on this show.

Cut to commercial break: "Brought to you by Victoria's Secret"...who woulda thought?

"The fine points of underwear"...they said it...I didn't. Personally, I woulda flashed a Madonna 'cone-bra' image on-screen when this was uttered if I was directing...but they missed the opportunity. But...now it's off to shop! Let's see if we can humiliate...then dehumiliate these women all in the span of the next 40 minutes.

Ya know - I've never had to have two people accompany me to buy underwear in my life...is this a problem our country is facing? Women not being able to pick out their own underwear without a female and male consultant?

Yippee, it's panty time...aka "thongs and butts"...she's saying (verbatim...I played it back a dozen times...I have a TiVo...didn't want to miss any of this choice dialogue) "Hey, I really expected to feel this just really restricted feeling right in my butt...but it's funny, I don't feel the string...I mean maybe if I walked around and I was being very energetic...I would have to see if it slipped around or not." Again...is this a looming national crisis we have on our hands - women all over the nation rising up...oh sorry...bad pun.

Okay...in the end the women were happy...and in the front, too...but did we REALLY have to SEE this??

I'm not a prude...but c'mon...that's why they put doors on the dressing rooms, people.

16 March 2006

Author! Author!

Walk into any bookstore lately and as you stroll down the sci-fi, children's....or cookbook aisle...notice if you can spy a trend. Rows upon rows of "same author" books. It seems you don't just come out with ONE book any more - it's a whole series....Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series, The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind, The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, and a whole bunch of Rachel Ray cookbooks, enough to please Oprah Winfrey and her insatiable appetite...for books in her book club. Can't you just see the proverbial overweight book publisher, cigar in one hand and calculator in the other, not skipping a beat when he barely gives you a glance upward and in a gritty voice, punctuated by the rhythmic "totalling" of the machine, grunts out, "Mutant Dinosaurs From the Planet Saura?...sounds terrific. Get the whole trilogy back to me by...say...NEXT Wednesday. We won't need the pre-quel until next month." The clickety-clack of the machine now barely audible thru the echoing of your footsteps as you walk out of his office and down the long hallway back to the elevator all the while thinking of just how you plan to churn out the next "Harry Potterific" series and bump one of those "Chicken Soup for the...whatever's" right smack off that Bestseller's List.

This really makes me wonder...number one: How do people like Stephen King and JK Rowling rattle off 800-page tomes but yet that "Shakespeare couldn't have written all that stuff...he MUST have had someone helping him" controversy goes on and on and comes to the forefront every so many years. And number two: Are they sitting around one day saying to themselves "yeah, I think I have a really interesting concept here...one that I can parlay into five...maybe even seven books...IF I buy a new thesaurus". Then, how do they get the backing for this...or is it done the other way around. "Yes, this book sold about a zillion copies...do you think you can maybe type up another one just like it, but different? Then another and another?"

Now, I don't know about you - but I've been trying, on and off, for years...to come up with enough material to fill one book - now just scrap that idea - I need to pen something that rivals the Encyclopedia Britannica...AND it has to sell like hotcakes...but not any hotcakes, hotcakes cooked by Rachel Ray. Given the fact that I'm in my 40's now - technically I should have started in 1972 - because no way am I going to make that deadline by next week.

15 March 2006

Soccer To Me

Well...I hate to admit it...but I'm a soccer mom. But, it's not what you think. My kids don't have to be shuffled from ballet to tap, from piano to gymnastics, from basketball to softball...and back again. Only one child...female...heaven forbid my 18-year-old son ever would participate in sports as a child or adult, for that matter. One T-ball season when he was five, with Attila-the-Hun for a coach...broke him out of EVER joining another team event. Unless you can call video games a "team event"...but that's a whole other blog...and I digress. So, it's just the one...BUT...let me enlighten you a tad, you are reading this straight from someone who has never seen the break of day...unless it's from the other side of the fence...and what I mean by that is...I am NOT a morning person. Did you also know that I am, from all established counts of it, the ONLY non-morning person IN Montgomery that I've found? Oh, sure, there might be two others out there...but I haven't found them. Consequently, this is a typical conversation around the soccer practice field:

Them: "Hey, when's the game on Saturday? Anybody know?"

Coach: "8:00 a.m..."(Turning to me) "Do you think YOU can make it...because that's the time you're just getting to bed, isn't it? Guess we won't see YOU there."

Me: "Hey, hasn't anyone EVER thought of maybe sleeping IN on Saturdays?? How about we hold these games at 3:00 P.M.?"

Them: (Perplexed look on their collective faces as if I am now sprouting an alien's head on top of my own.) "Uh...no." (Continue idle chatter here.)

And so will go another tortuous, grueling, near Olympic-paced training/soccer game schedule for the next three months until they break for the summer and I get a most deserved and sincerely welcomed reprieve...until Spring.