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".

25 December 2008

Fig Theory

300ml (½ pint) Milk
225g (8oz) Flour
175g (6oz) Dried Figs
150ml (¼ pint) Brandy
110g (4oz) Suet
110g (4oz) Prunes
85g (3oz) Raisins or Sultanas
50g (2oz) Dried Apricots
50g (2oz) Dates
25g (1oz) Dried Apples
1 tbsp Honey
¼ tsp Ginger
¼ tsp Cinnamon

Those are the ingredients for Figgy Pudding - as written by "The Foody" - a website from the UK and Ireland (the rest of the recipe can be found here:
http://thefoody.com/pudding/figgypudding.html . I figured if anyone knew how to make Figgy Pudding, they should know. I discounted all those Americanized versions of it and settled on a "traditional" one from across the pond.

But why am I even bothering listing a recipe for Figgy Pudding you might be asking yourself about now. I have to admit the song, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" got me to thinking that something MUST be in it for the people to be demanding it so.

According to what is out there in Internet-land, the song was written by an unknown person back in England in the 16th century. That is quite a while ago...and throws a slight curve into my theory as to why these people weren't going to leave until they had some Figgy Pudding.

You'd figure people back then would have been more polite than to demand someone dole out some dessert or they were going to basically hang around like the in-laws who came to stay. I mean, these were the same people who produced the likes of "Please, sir, can I have some more?" That's a far cry from "...and bring it right now!"

Something keeps making me think these people had a pretty bad case of the munchies...but what drug could have induced them? My first thought was perhaps there was a little bit more than figs fermenting in that pudding...perhaps they were drinking something to wash it down their throats. They did do a whole lot of "wassailing" back then. But would throwing back a cup of spiced hard cider be enough to get that demanding?

Nay...I think they needed something with a little more oomph. Perhaps they were all doped up on Laudanum? Sure, it didn't come into big fashion until the 1800s - but, I did a bit of research and it was indeed around in England in the 16th century.

Therefore my theory is that a bunch of hopped up on opium dopeheads were inciting all too much frivolity and being a tad demanding when it came to the sweetmeats.

So, the next time you are happily and blindly singing along lyrics to songs which have been around forever, most of which give credit to "Traditional" as their author, delve a little deeper into the lyrics and see if you can't develop a few theories of your own regarding their origin. You could even consider my newest Christmas song theory: "The Twelve Days of Christmas" aka One Person's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. See, isn't it fun? And we all know Christmas and family get-togethers bring out the best neuroses in everyone...and there certainly are lots of songs to go around.

And, lastly, chances are, if you want those pesky guests out of your house nowadays...serve them some Figgy Pudding. They'll probably opt to leave before they get some.

Merry Christmas to everyone! I wish only the best to each of you and your families...and may the joy the holidays bring remain with you throughout 2009.

14 December 2008

A Room (I don't want to be in) With A View

"Get busy living...or get busy dying." I've said it before I know - but it's one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite movies, "The Shawshank Redemption". It seems that I haven't been taking it to heart, often quoted - but never devoted - any real time to realize the importance of those seven little words.

I have resigned myself, as I stand here like Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window" (altho he was sitting), gazing out my 4th floor hospital window from Baptist South...my life's entertainment now reduced to seeing how many of the three enormous lighted angels at the Alfa Building directly across from me will be working tonite, walking the H-shaped corridors outside my room, and the high point of my day: anxiously awaiting the reaction of the guy who parked his silver out-of-state car in the blue-lined non-space designated to be used as access points for the two adjacent handicapped spaces which were already taken. Two policemen moved an orange and white barrel directly behind the car...but didn't ticket it. But, he hasn't emerged yet. And here I stand...waiting...waiting.

Yes, one can get a little stir crazy in here, luckily there is "naked man" who "resides" in the room next to mine to keep my spirits up. No, don't even go there...but he IS an amusing topic of conversation here. He certainly isn't here to break up the tension...but moments such as those do break up the tension I'm sure.

You see, I've been here since Sunday, when I awoke with the apparent symptoms of a stroke and the trappings thereof: unsteady gait, difficulty swallowing, uncoordinated arm movement, and scariest of all - not being able to speak and reason properly.

So, I am here. The barrage of tests so far have pointed to a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) as the culprit. I am, essentially, "back to normal" - or should I say, "my normal".

But as I walk my IV pole, with the obligatory wonky grocery cart-type wheel, down the halls, I am reminded of how precious...and fleeting human life is...and no matter how impervious we think we are - we are very frail creatures...us humans.

Oh, that's probably not saying much - or maybe it's speaking volumes, depending on your interpretation of it. Personally, I am not usually places where I see trauma every day - I don't usually talk to the grandparent of a child who just lost his ability to walk by a totally unforeseeable accident. I don't usually see people strapped to neck and back braces trying desperately to negotiate the slightest of steps...I don't usually walk past doors with signs which state things like "turn patient every two hours".

I know these things happen and I know people deal with these things every day...but I am usually far removed from these situations. Today I was moved by them.

And today...I really want to start "get busy living" more than anything.