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".

13 September 2009


So, I'm sitting at the hospital with all the Swine-y people, playing "musical chairs" each time someone comes within a 10-foot radius of me, as, in my head "10 feet" is my safety cushion, my germ-free bubble, my "cone-of-silence" if you will. (Insert deep breath here.)

I came here because there's a good likelihood that I'm having a reaction to a medication I was put on for a couple of days...but I certainly don't want to come out sicker than I came in - hence the "chair hopping".

And, I don't know about you, but I already know how to wear one of those flu masks they hand out. And, by the off chance you don't have a clue...the lady at the sign-in desk tells you, step-by-step, how to use one. And if THAT'S not informational enough - they have pamphlets and charts and Venn diagrams with arrows and X's and...well, you have to be pretty darned daft to get it wrong, right?

Well, maybe.

Don't get me wrong...it's not like I'm saying that ALL the people wearing a mask in the ER waiting room's combined IQ would come out to be 100, but, to look around me...I'd say I'm not far off the mark. Even WITH a hospital worker "reminding" them (after they've already been instructed how to use one)...well, the ingenious (bear in mind I'm not referring to "genius" here) ways a person can don one of these things...literally, are nearly endless. (It's not really endless...but it sounds better that way..."writer's embellishment" and all.)

Here's a few flu mask observances I spied in my nearly three-hour ER wait...you know, before they usher you in the back...for some "solitary waiting":

Mask dangling from one ear. Ummm...two ears...two elastic loops. Coincidence? I think not. Amount of protection rendered: I'd say close to nil.

Mask ON...but below nose. This fashion statement apparently is a crowd favourite as several people were sporting theirs this way. Side note to mask wearers: Mask covering both mouth AND nose will not result in asphyxiation. If it does...keep in mind you're in the best place for it to happen...as you're IN a friggen ER. Mask efficiency: Probably better than nil. Not much...but, we can understand. Sorta.

Mask worn - unless you are talking on your cell phone. Yes, (by the way - I'm shaking my head here...not nodding)...as everyone knows...wearing the equivalent of a tightly woven 3-ply tissue across your mouth blocks out 90% of audible sound (now I'm rolling my eyes) so, naturally, it has to be removed while you chat. Side note: How to compute the average cell phone minutes racked up by the average ER visitor: X = cell phone time; Y = wait time. Y-X = X2. Don't ask me how...it just does. Mask effectiveness: Nearly nil, i.e., gabbing away non-stop for five minutes spreads about as many germs as one ordinary cough; ten minutes equals full-fledged sneeze into elbow sleeve. To determine longer conversations...you do the math.

Mask worn backwards on head. While you might be used to wearing your baseball cap backwards and think it looks cool...wearing your mask the same way doesn't. Approximate safeguard against pretty much anything: Nada.

Mask worn ON your head. No, I don't mean the correct way - I mean ON your head. The top of your head...like a hat. Now I do know it was raining a bit when I came in...but wearing your mask this way brings you about the same amount of protection from the rain as it does from transmitting your germs. Absolutely none.

The lesson I learned in all of this: The Emergency Room gives away free toys disguised as flu masks...and they give away a LOT of them. I also learned when some people are sitting in the waiting room chatting up their friends or watching television or reading their books - they feel fine...until they are called into the Triage Nurse's little room. Then they limp or cough or hold their bellies...then...as if by some miracle...when they reemerge to sit and wait some more...they are again healed! Until they are called to go in the back...when again, they are suddenly stricken.

Lastly, to the woman who was with her effervescently bubbly, cute-as-a-button toddler (who was supposed to be wearing her tiny child flu mask) sitting diagonally from me and right next to the germ-laden, dome-topped, hand-PUSH-operated trash can: Can you be more oblivious to the fact that you REPEATEDLY picked up your daughter's cookies OFF the nasty germ-infested hospital waiting room floor...shoved them with your bare hand IN through the gross, probably never cleaned, spring-loaded, trash can opening to throw them away...and then reached INTO your package of cookies to give your daughter some MORE? Well, if she didn't have anything when she went INTO the hospital...she probably does NOW.


...I hate hospitals.

09 September 2009

"Hooters' Hole" Update

If the above title makes you go "hmmmm" and you haven't a clue what I'm talking about, please read my initial "Hooters' Hole" blog first: http://mariannsimms.blogspot.com/2009/08/hooters-hole.html

I had written a blog on August 16th about the ever-expanding Hooters' Hole and, taking the advice of a couple people who suggested it, I emailed the blog to the Mayor of Montgomery (and someone in the "Montgomery Road Department" as well).

Well, lo and behold, I'm driving by today and I notice the hole has been fixed! I would, naturally, like to take full credit for this - so if you know otherwise...please keep it to yourself. I feel...as my friend said...like such a public advocate now. :)

By the way...it's not THE best job in the world fixing it - but it has been patched...the part which was swallowing up the public road at least. I'm sure that's all the city is allowed to fix...it certainly is an improvement, that's for certain.

Chalk one up for good old-fashioned motivation and intervention...maybe ONE person can tackle the "big guys" and do something after all.


Ta-da! The long-awaited "after" photo:

07 September 2009

"They're dead, Jim."

I did some Google "research" - someone (who, undoubtedly has been to more than one "Star Trek" convention) counted all the times Dr. McCoy on "Star Trek" uttered the immortal words "He's/She's Dead, Jim". The body count? Twenty-nine times...and only two were women. I am not going to dispute or double-check this figure...it serves no real purpose except to be an intro to what I really want to talk about: TV death.

Not the fictitious type of death - no characters dying here...unless we count 'character actors'...but real, bona fide death. It seems, save for the odd show...like "The Brady Bunch" - and even then the "dad" died a while back...nearly all the shows I grew up with as a kid...the whole cast is dead...or at least a great portion of them.

And it's getting me scared.

Take "Bewitched" for instance. I grew up many years watching that. They're all gone. Well, I'm not counting Tabitha and Adam...I mean...they were kids, so they don't count. But both Darrins; Endora; Larry Tate; his wife, Louise; all the aunts; Gladys, the nosy neighbour (they had to replace the first one halfway through as she DIED); her husband, Abner; and sweet Samantha herself. All gone - and some gone a while. The only one who is still alive looked to be the oldest cast member at the time...who, amazingly, still looks pretty much the same as he did then: "Dr. Bombay". Yes, Bernard Fox is the only member of the adult cast still breathing. It's very sad. It's not like they were OLD OLD back in the 60s - but now...they're all gone.

I bet you would be hard pressed to find a show I watched as a child...that doesn't have at least one principle actor/actress already dead. Again, I'm talking shows I watched in the late 60s/early 70s. All head shakes and eye rolls aside...that time period wasn't THAT long ago. It's just NOT fair.

And when I watched - I was watching those shows first-hand...not on some TVLand channel...so I grew up with them...and they are, one by one, taking those final curtain bows. It's just NOT fair. These aren't from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. And I can't help but come to the logical conclusion that my "conclusion" isn't too far off as well...and,well, that sucks.

Sure, some actors and actresses live for many, many years...and I'm hoping I'll see those die, too.

Oh...that came out wrong...but, you know what I mean - if I see them go first...well, then I'm still alive. And isn't that the way this "game" goes? Try to remain the longest IN the "game".

I also can't shake this feeling that we should really be able to live much, much longer. And being made of something less impervious to outside forces...and inside forces; yes, that would be much, much better, too...at least from where I sit...on my sofa - staring at the tube, watching old re-runs which were the shows of my day in my youth. My laptop open to the IMDb site - basically tallying up figures...and there's way too many figures in the "deficit" column...and not many left in the black.

Eventually, if I live long enough, they will all be gone...all the shows I grew up with...their television characters still carrying on, still getting into wacky predicaments, still saying (and now catching up to) those long-dead catch phrases, and still breaking those 1970s barriers which look prehistoric now in comparison.

Ironically, the show I opened this blog with, "Star Trek", still has the majority of their crew alive and kicking. Go figure. I didn't watch that show. Hmmmm... Soooo, between you and me...it might not be in anyone's best interest to let another crew, "The Love Boat" gang...know that I never missed an episode.