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".

28 February 2014

Day 28: And then my brain exploded

Well, it is the last day of this month-long blog-fest over at "We Work for Cheese" and I've managed to plunk out all but two days' worth of them...so go on over there and see what we've each accomplished. 
Just a little (more like a lot) about myself regarding this month-long thing.  We were all given the same "prompts" - a word or words which we would incorporate somehow or another into our daily blogs.  I know it might seem incomprehensible, but I managed not to peek at the "word-of-the-day" until just before writing each day's blog...which, I would write at about 4:00-7:00 in the morning, mostly whilst watching the Olympics (hence the strong Olympic overtone in many of them).
I, like those Olympians, loved the challenge -- I liked to see what I could come up with in roughly 30 minutes to an hour.  Most times I would look at the word(s) and then an idea would spring to mind and I'd start typing...usually it went in a completely different direction than my original thought.  I like that things like that can happen inside my very own head. 

Coming up with that first word is supposedly the hardest, and I've known people to get some serious writer's block doing so. I used to be that way when I was younger, altho from an early age I knew I wanted to be a writer.  I loved short stories and, in my opinion, Ray Bradbury was the best at doing them. 
I had an English teacher once, oh, geez...maybe in 5th or 6th grade, whose name escapes me now -- but he gave me the highest compliment you can bestow upon a would-be writer of 12 or 13-years old.  

He asked me: "Where did you copy this from?"
Now, that might seem like a silly thing to ask -- considering in this day and age, you'd just pop online and copy/paste some portion of the text and find out if someone copied it.  Back then, it wasn't so easy.  Teachers couldn't know everything...and I certainly could have gotten something out of some obscure book and written it down and turned it in with my name on it.
So, when I was asked that question...I replied that I didn't copy it.  The teacher looked at me in utter amazement and asked, "Really?" I'm sure he had his fair share of liars over the years saying they didn't, but, I didn't...and I stood my ground.  He then said to me, and I'll never forget his words (even if I did manage to forget his name):  "Wow, you should be a writer...this is really good."
I was happy as a little clam and, in the following years, I would forgo taking study halls and lunches and gleefully filled up my classes with more English classes.  Not those English classes where you have to know what the "past present pluragative of a subjugated non-plussed noun" was, but actual "writing" courses.
I was all set to whisk off one of my stories to Omni Magazine...because back then they'd actually solicit submissions -- when the worst possible thing that could happen, happened. 

They published a Ray Bradbury story...and then one from another well-known sci-fi writer -- and then yet another.  My dreams were dashed, they'd never use some silly 15-year-old girl from New Jersey's stuff now...not when they had the likes of this stuff to choose from.  I pushed my pen aside after high school and that was it. 
Then, one day, many years later, I was sitting around making small talk to a little kid while his brother and my daughter were at a Science Olympiad (there's that word again) competition. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, you know, the quintessential question every grown-up asks a kid...and he shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know.  He seemed a bit embarrassed by the fact that a child of his "advanced" age, which was probably about twelve, had absolutely no clue yet. I remarked about how silly it was to ask children what they wanted to be when they grew up anyway...because pretty much no one really knows what they want to be when they're that young.  I told him that I did, however, know one kid who was always saying he wanted to be a "political speech writer" when he grew up...and we'd kinda look at him and go "Uh, okay, Eddie."  I then continued and said, "You know, when I was little, I wanted to be a writer, too." 
Then I went silent.
It dawned on me, that my tiny young self...knew what I wanted to do -- but, my grown-up self never did.  And, when everything was all said and done...I still wanted to be a writer.  Why I hadn't realized until then was anyone's guess.
It wasn't the greatest revelation; I mean it wasn't like I could tell you, "And then my brain exploded!" -- altho, being that I was at a science competition, it would have been the right place for it...and it probably would have been awesome, you know...for the other people to witness...kinda like one of those volcanoes everyone makes with the lava spurting out on top...but it wasn't even that type of science competition anyway, so it's probably for the best that it never happened.
But, it still amuses me sometimes when I sit here and think, because I do think about it a lot...and I will never know what would have happened had I just slipped one of my stories inside an envelope, slapped some stamps on it, and sent it off to Omni.  I'll never know if they would have bit.  It only would have taken one bite, too - and my whole world would have turned out differently.
Yep, I'll never know what would have happened, but you could be damned sure if they HAD published one of my stories...you wouldn't be reading this crap right now! 

As for Eddie...you know...that silly kid I told you about who wanted to be a political speech writer when he was like in 6th grade...and 7th...and 8th...and so on?  Well, I think this about sums it up: 


As for "writer's block" -- I actually have no problem whatsoever coming up with the first word to start it all...it's the ones after that which are the hardest for me.  I really need to stop talking about being a writer one day -- and be one.


Thanks again to Nicky at her lovely blog, "We Work for Cheese", for giving me the opportunity all this month to enjoy a little bit of self-publicity, which, if you know me -- you know that I love nothing better. Well, okay, maybe I would love a chance to write a movie script...or a book...or...okay, I'm doing it again, aren't I?  Sorry.  

I managed to sneak in today's prompt, which was "And then my brain exploded" and the two I missed earlier on this month, which were "One bite" and "Liars".  I feel so utterly complete now.  

Lastly, I would like to take the opportunity to say to Ed Gillespie (who probably doesn't remember me at all): "Good luck with your Senate bid. I hope I didn't embarrass you too much by mentioning your name here. I know everyone (myself included) from your home town of Browns Mills, New Jersey, are so incredibly proud of you.  Here's wishing you only the best to you and your family...and, if you ever need a political joke writer...well, I'm here."  


27 February 2014

Day 27: But how did you find out?

"But, how did you find out?"
"The Internet, duh.  It's where I find everything out."

It's the "go to" place where everybody finds out anything they want to know about anyone (even themselves).  It doesn't matter if it's true or not...and it's so easy anyone can do it.
And the things you can easily find out about someone, with a minimum of digging...is astonishing.  In fact, I'm absolutely sure that if Dr. Seuss were still alive, he'd have come up with a book called "Oh the Thinks You Can Think To Click On!"

For example -- You wouldn't believe who used to play my interactive comedy website -- HumorMeOnline -- many years ago.  I mean EVERYONE would know their name (maybe three people wouldn't - but I doubt so) if I mentioned it.  I promised never to tell...and I never have.  They were floored when I asked them if they were who they were...and they were!  And, it wasn't a joke - I mean, they were -- and I found out...just by a few random, carefully constructed clicks. And they'd play my silly online comedy website all the time.  What fun!  
Dammit, I should have asked for a job!  Seriously.  I'm sure they've long since changed their email address...and it's been years since I've updated anything at my site...so even if they wanted to, they couldn't play it.  Oh well.  And it's not like I can call them up at their work.  "Uh...okay...my name is Mariann and they used to play at my website...no, seriously, they used to play my contests all the time...just go ask them.  Really, I'm not a whackjob...go ask.  I'm serious. Hello?  Hello?"
Think that would work?  I doubt it.  So here goes...let's just hope they are clicking random things on the Internet and find this...

Hey, famous person who used to play my silly online interactive comedy website...please hire me for something, okay?  I know you have the money.  You can do it.  It'll be our little secret.  If you don't, I'll tell, dammit!  I'll tell everyone!  I swear I'll let the cat outta the bag.
Maybe I should leave off that last part.  Whaddya think?
Yes, this was a senseless sort of blog, but I thought I would give everyone a break from reading what's really inside my little, tiny noggin. You don't want to know what's deep inside of it...plus it's all full of cobwebs and faulty neurons and such.  In fact, that's where I first got the idea for the word "Interwebs" from.  Yes, I coined the term "Interwebs": Internet + Cobwebs = Interwebs.  

Okay, I might have made that last part up - but the other stuff...it's all true.  I swear. 
By the way, here's a nice random photo of a kitty on a keyboard for you...for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  None whatsoever.  None...no seriously, I swear.  It's not like it's some obscure weird hint.  It's not.  It's not at all.  I'm just being silly...I swear.  You can click all you want...you won't find anything out.  Well, you might, but you'd really, really have to know what to click on. Plus, it would take ages.

And, after you've given up on clicking (or more likely, you never started)...click on this:  We Work for Cheese
It's only one more day until we all take a swig from those big bottles of vodka Nicky has promised to send us all for living through this month-long write-along.  Oh...she didn't say she'd send YOU one?  I could have sworn she said she'd send me one.  Don't worry, Nicky...it'll be our little secret.  ;)
Oh...I'm just kidding about that vodka thing.  I swear!

I swear.




26 February 2014

Day 26: Naked and Lost

Two guys from long ago,

Once, many, many years ago, when I was maybe around 15 years-old (approximately 1976) my girlfriend and I met up with the both of you, hanging around by the bridge at Mirror Lake.  After partaking of some "illegal green stuff" which isn't as illegal now as it was then, you might remember that we all decided to go skinny-dipping in the lake.

Naturally, you two guys...who were a few years older, but not wiser, were all for it...and stripped completely down as fast as you could and jumped on in -- figuring you were not only going to get a peek at our lithe naked bodies but probably would "get lucky" as well.
My friend and I, younger, but undoubtedly wiser...and with a bit of devilish streaks in us, grabbed your clothes and ran like mad with them.  We tossed them onto the side of the road up a ways and ran back to her house, laughing all the way, and crawled back through her bedroom window...pretending we never snuck out.  I am certain there was a fair amount of giggling that nite in her room and her parents probably knew what we were up to all along...but not all of it.

To this day I often wonder who you two guys were and how you ever got home, naked...and if you ever found those "lost" clothes of yours.

Consider this an open apology, two guys whose names I don't recall, I'm so sorry...but, I wished I would have seen your faces after it dawned on you that not all 15-year-old girls were "as easy" as all that.

So sorry,

- Mariann

This story is completely true, and, yes, I do often wonder how they managed. I wonder it more often than they probably will ever know.

This is part of a month-long writing challenge at "We Work for Cheese" -- Day 26 (two more to go) -- today's prompt being "Naked and Lost".

25 February 2014

Day 25: Social Media

(Tara Lipinksi and Johnny Weir - 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Figure Skating Commentators)

The whole time I'm watching the Olympics...and it was a LONG time I watched it (on two different channels - nite and day)...I'm thinking "Sochi Olympics" + "Social Media" = "Sochial Media" - but they never once said it.
They said their little Twitters were trending...going on and on about what Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski were wearing when they gave their Figure Skating reports...but not ONE time did I hear them utter "Sochial Media".
Seriously...what the hell was wrong with them? 
Anyway...the Olympics are over and damn...damn...they put on a great Closing Ceremony show...and they even poked fun of themselves with the last Olympic ring not opening (technical issue at the Opening Ceremony...the fifth ring never "blossomed" into a ring like the others).  I loved it!  The giant life-like Teddy-Ruxpinesque bear was...it was...I don't know.  How did they make it move like that?  I swear it was like they had a giant guy in a bear costume.  I'm bowled over.  I don't know who thinks of these spectacular sets and choreography and whatnot...but I do know one thing...
...they didn't think of "Sochial Media"!
Grumble grumble...
...but I have to admit - Tara and Johnny...you guys rocked! (I'm sure they are reading this blog right now...that's why I addressed them here.)  Loved his clothes.  Loved...loved...loved every single outfit. And they were both soooooo fun together...such natural chemistry. I hope they ditch Scott Hamilton and whoever that other guy was - next time around.  In fact, I hope they pair them up in every single Olympics...everything...everything. I don't care if it's diving or gymnastics...curling or bobsled...Summer or Winter games.  Get rid of everyone else and hire these two for every single thing!  They were great!  Plus they shut up when the skaters danced.  They knew better.  My ears are still ringing from Scott Hamilton's banshee-like screeches -- with his yelling at the top of his lungs over the music...and I have tinnitus!  He makes Sam Kinison's voice sound melodic in comparison.  Make it stop!  Make it stop! Please God, please...make it stop!  (Yes, God is reading my blog, too.)
Whew!  I am done now with my little rant.

Now...go on over to "We Work for Cheese" and see what everyone else came up with for today's "Social Media" prompt.

24 February 2014

Day 24: And then she said

She was going to make this outstandingly awesome blog about film editing...and then she said, "Shit!  The song doesn't have those exact words in it.  I could have sworn it did...but it doesn't."
She then copy/pasted/mailed the text she had written to herself in an email to herself as she always does when she writes her lame-o blog and then she just sat there thinking.
She thought a while.  Nothing was coming to her mind.  Sure, she could write a stupid segue to her original thought...but that was just, well, pretty lame again. 
She thought, originally, when seeing the prompt, always just right before she typed her blog...never reading them ahead of time, because she really did like the spontaneity of her mind thinking things one way and then ending up a whole other -- that it reminded her of that "She Said She Said" song by the Beatles.  "But," she thought to herself, "everyone would have probably thought of that straight away...but then again I bet no one has. But, it's not that great a blog idea anyway...not anywhere's as good as the film editing in the film musical, 'Chicago' with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah...and all the others in it."
But, while the intro to her blog was magnificent, citing Charles Chaplin's 1931 "City Lights" film and the fact he shot 314,256 feet of film and edited it down to 8.093 feet, pretty much single-handedly -- while also writing, directing, starring, and producing it, she had to scrap that idea -- pretty much like Chaplin had to scrap 306,163 feet of film.  Only, Chaplin was pure genius...and she was only "eh".
She always thinks everything she writes is "eh" because the times she thought it was "pretty damned good" no one paid much attention anyway.  It was like when she was in school and she'd always, always think she did poorly on a test, because it was so much easier finding out later that you did a great job than being disappointed if it turned out the other way around.  What a let-down to get your hopes up...best not to set them too high.
As it turns out, she's always secretly wishing, inside her head, that things will turn out great -- while still trying to convince her inner self that she doesn't. This whole "inner self talking to your other inner self" process is quite difficult.  She wonders if everyone thinks like she does.  "That" she says to herself, "would be awfully weird." Only she's not actually saying it out loud because THAT would probably be a bad sign, and no amount of thinking something good while trying to convince yourself something totally different...would ever change that one.  Talking to your own self with your own mouth with your own words coming out of it is definitely a bad thing.
But then, out of the blue, and just out of curiosity, she mustered up the courage and spoke aloud the words, "Or IS it?"
So far, so good. 
And then she said, but only where her head could hear, "Hmmmm...I simply can do that alone after all."

(In case you are all wondering, I thought the song in "Chicago" said "And then she said" - but it says "She'd say" instead...so I had to scrap my whole original idea. It also won the Academy Award aka "Oscar" for best film editing in 2002. This blog, in my opinion, would have been written so much more eloquently...and interestingly...if only...)

And, if you're still reading this...go on over to "We Work for Cheese" to read about everyone else's take on today's prompt, which again is "And then she said".  Go on - go on over.  You can do it...and you can do it alone.

23 February 2014

Day 23: There are things

I was watching the Olympics the other day and Women's Speed Skating came on.  The one woman they were talking about having a great chance at winning (I think she was from the Netherlands) was wearing one of those things that can only be described as a sports-minded body glove that hugs you tighter than gold lycra Disco pants ever did.  Of course they all were wearing them...but she was...to put it nicely -- "less endowed" than the others.  To be more accurate (from where I could tell from my vantage point on the sofa), she was nearly concave in her chest...where, normally, breasts would be.

The video clip of Russian, Olga Graf, unzipping her suit after her bronze medal win -- well, she was busty in comparison.

There are things you notice and there are things you don't...and I don't know if anyone else noticed...but many of these women appear to be very flat chested.  I mentioned this to my Facebook friend with whom I was private messaging at the time.  I also brought up (no pun intended) the fact that Tom Daley, from the UK men's diving team, probably had the opposite effect in the Summer Olympics.  Seriously, you want to enter the water with as little splash as humanly possible...but since you can only hide just so much inside a Speedo...and...um...built like he is...well, I'm figuring it make a splash all its own. 

He didn't want to hear that part, so I went back to talking about boobs.

I got to wondering if only the ones naturally built this way end up making it to this level (which might happen), if it's because the suit squishes you in so tightly that you appear to have no boobs...or if some actually go under the knife and get breast reduction surgery so they can be more aerodynamic.

I Google'd up a photo, as by then they had switched over to Women's Downhill Skiing...and noticed one skier after the other...were all flattish.  Don't believe me...look at this photo:

(Women's slalom medalists, from left, Austria's Marlies Schild (silver), United States' Mikaela Shiffrin (gold), and Kathrin Zettel (bronze) at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014)

Now it only goes to make logical sense that the bigger the boobs the more they get in the way of sports...so again, I Google'd and found an ABC news clip about breast reduction surgery in women's sports...which, if you're interested, is here:  ABC News Story: Female Athletes Get Breast Reduction to Improve Performance

While I don't know, of course, if these women had surgery...and, I'm not implying any of them really did...but if you can slice a full second off your skiing, skating, running, swimming, etc., time, which, in today's competitive field, sometimes means the difference between tenth place and first...what's to stop them from -- slicing a little more off?

And, I really have to wonder what type of message that sends out to girls taking up a sport in which boobs are really frowned upon.  Do these girls (like in the ABC video above) think they are going to be a much better athlete if they get them reduced from the get-go?  How much more value do we place on winning vs being okay in our own bodies?

Young girls already face a lot of self-image issues when they are growing up...do these coaches and other sports people who surround "potential future champions" encourage them to get such things done?  I'm actually very interested now...and will probably do a bit more research.

Sadly, I think I'm probably right in thinking what I'm thinking here...and there are things people shouldn't rush into doing. Some things, such as life-long, body altering decisions -- they should just slow down and take a lot more time thinking about it before they start.

All these female Olympians are extremely hard-working, phenomenal athletes who have the utmost of my respect.  I do not imply any of the ones I've mentioned/shown here or who are participating at the Sochi Olympics have had breast reduction surgery.  To do so would be idiotic of me...and I don't like being an idiot more than I have to.

My intention in choosing to write this blog was only to point out to people that it does indeed apparently happen, and in my opinion, it should be thoroughly and carefully thought out. Surgery hurts...and sometimes (as far as I can tell, from my own experience) the pain remains for years -- and possibly for life. Not all surgery is a piece of cake and without risk...don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise. 

Now go on over to "We Work for Cheese" and see what everyone else came up with for today's writing prompt which is: "There are things".

22 February 2014

Day 22: It's only a dream

(Giorgio A. Tsoukalos from "Ancient Aliens")

I tried to scream...I couldn't get a voice to come out of my mouth.  I tried to roll over, to twitch an arm, to twitch a finger.  I tried like crazy to open my eyes...but they just stayed closed with only a sliver of barely imperceptible light peering through.

I told myself "It's only a dream...any minute now you'll wake up.  Any second now a cat will meow in the hallway and my brain will zap me out of this semi-conscious frozen state that I'm in."

I had seen all the documentaries and looked it up on the Internet.  All those episodes of that wacky-haired guy, the "Ancient Alien Theorist" or whatever he and those dozen other whack-jobs on that "Ancient Alien" show on The History Channel call themselves. I've read all about it: All those people who were visited by aliens in the bedroom...all those people who had their anus probed?  All those people were just in a state of sleep paralysis and were probably just farting.  Sure, I made up that "farting thing" and I thought it was pretty good.  I even tried to make a smile...but my lips lay there just like two limp worms...the ones you see in the driveway when you go to get the mail...the ones that didn't make it all the way across because the sun started drying them out.  I was beginning to feel they were a bit parched, too...but there was no drool, luckily.  I hate waking up with my face in the wet spot.  I hate thinking it lies there "in the wet spot". My thoughts start wandering -- to why women are always fated to "lie in the wet spot"...why can't guys lie in it?  It's icky. Those thoughts.  I'll think other ones instead.

I'm wondering when the Ambien will wear off...it's probably due any minute now.  It's probably only been a couple hours since I've taken it.  It doesn't work well anymore since I've taken it for like eight years.  I take a lot of it, too.  I hate Ambien.  It makes me walk around the house calling people and typing weird shit online.  I'm probably typing weird shit right now and I just don't know it.  I probably think I'm still sleeping.  I bet that's what's going on.

Why can't I clean the house after I take it?  I've weeded the yard before while I was on it.  I've moved huge Belgian blocks from one side of the yard to the other...right by the pool...lugged them over somehow.  Woke up and didn't even realize I had done it.  My son forbade me to ever go outside again after taking it...he says I'll probably fall in the pool and drown.  Maybe I'm in the pool right now.  How would I know if I was in the pool? 

"Oh, stop it, Mariann."  I tell myself.  "I'd be wet.  A helluva LOT wetter than waking up on the pillow full of drool...plus that 'other' thing.  Ick."  I try to shrug - I try to do that funny thing that one comedian lady did...about sex...making that "wuuuhuuuuhhgh" noise...but I can't.  I'm stifling back a laugh...but I'm not making a sound. 

But, wait...seriously...maybe I'm really in the pool.  Nah...as soon as I hit the icy water, I'd wake up.  It's cold outside and I'm only in my nitegown.  I know I'm in my nitegown because I rarely even change out of one nowadays since my daughter's gone off to college -- I don't have to shuffle her to school and back, and I don't have a job...and I don't have to go anywhere...it's kinda silly to change into clothes that only my son and cats would see.  Plus, my bra hurts.  I always can't wait to get out of it when I go somewhere...sometimes, I unhinge it in the car and just throw a coat over what I'm wearing...because it hurts a lot.  It hurts because I had a badoodle amount of lung collapses and two lung operations to glue my lung and the pleura together so it doesn't collapse again.  If I breathe deeply enough...it hurts.  

I'll take a deep breath...that's what I'll do...that'll wake me up.  The pain of breathing in a bunch of air will shock me back into reality. 



Oh, c'mon...this isn't funny now.  Seriously...not funny.

Oh, good...someone just turned on the light.  Whew.

I can just barely make something out through that sliver in my semi-opened eyes.  It's the glint of a knife!  It's a fucking knife!  It's a God-damned fucking knife!  Oh...my God...someone's walking towards me...wearing gloves...and carrying a knife. "Wake up, wake up, dammit!  Wake the fuck up!"

Oh...shit...oh shit...oh shit...it's not just a regular knife...I can see it now...it's...


...it's a coroner's scalpel!

Okay, that's my story for "It's only a dream" - I kinda creeped myself out there so I am gonna stop.  I have to take my Ambien right now.

Or...maybe I'll wait a bit.

A long bit.

Now...go on over to "We Work for Cheese" and read what other stuff others have come up with for Day 22 of the "30 Days Minus Two of Writing" challenge.

21 February 2014

Day 21: Yes, I made that

I am not an artist, I don't do craft projects, and I can't even draw a stick figure with any accuracy...so you will never hear me utter the phrase "Yes, I made that."

At least not with any type of boasting; hanging my head in shame, maybe.
You don't believe me?  Look at this thing which I made a couple months ago...


Now go on over to "We Work for Cheese" and see what the other writers have come up with for the prompt today which is "Yes, I made that."

By the way, to those of you who have not seen me comment to your posts but wonder if I did.  I did.  I try to comment and most times it won't let me.  I don't know why.  I used to be able to post up at Mike's "Too Many Mornings" - but it won't let me anymore (and I had a cute one for today, too).  I tried commenting to Nathaniel's and Reforming Geek's (sorry - I'm forgetting a few others) and like two other people...and it just won't let me do it.  I've tried countless times...I swear. I don't know why.  It will even tell me most times that my comment has been accepted - but I don't see it there. So I just wanted to let you all know I've been reading them except I did miss a couple days because my innards feel like they are coming alive and I swear I can feel the food moving through them...and I'm afraid to Google because this will happen (I'm sorry...'yes, I made that' a couple months ago, too.):

Anyway, I've been meaning to say some things to blog posts which I've not been able - and now I've forgotten what they all were...but, the one today that I just read from Tami...the scene of the "Chaos Theory" from "Jurassic Park" - if Ellie is so smart and is a paleobotanist, she sure as hell should know what Ian's talking about...especially that "butterfly wings" thing.  My cats even know about that - and they're cats!  I always hated that scene.  It's stupid.  I love the film, btw...but she sure as hell should have known.

Okay...I'm done now.  :)

20 February 2014

Day 20: Chaos

(I got these a few weeks ago as my porch lights went out about a month ago...they will be burning tonite.) 

Well, I'm sitting here holding back tears.  I just spent the last few minutes reading posts written by a truly evil person on a Facebook post my friend was following and sharing.  It's called "Porch Lights for Hailey Owens". 
Ten-year-old Hailey, if you don't know, was kidnapped the other day in broad daylight by an evil person (I'm not going to refer to him as a "man" nor even use his name) who worked in the school district as a teacher's aide and coach...who subsequently killed her.  People had seen him take her and actually ran after him on foot and followed him with their car...they called the police with a detailed description of him and his car, plates and all, and - well, by the time the police arrived (I cried too much earlier in the evening to read further in the story) it was too late.
This Facebook post calls for everyone to keep their porch lights on for her...as a symbolic gesture...in her memory.  It's not asking for anything above and beyond what someone can easily do. 
So, what happens?  A person, hell-bent on pissing people off, no other reason than to get people upset, to throw chaos into a post which most everyone is saying things like "Oh, that's horrible - I will pray for her and her family." and "She is with God now...know that she's in a better place." - decides it would be "fun" (there's no other reason I can see) to say mean horrible things about how God didn't help her and whatnot...but really, really mean.  And they were going on about how they'd normally turn their porch lights on and how people will now think they believe in God now if they do.  These comments must have numbered in several dozens...and I stopped reading comments altogether because their "wicked game" was not funny.
You know what?  I don't care if you believe in God...or you are an atheist...if you never pray or if you pray 27 times a day...I can never understand the mean-spiritedness of a person who takes to the Internet saying things knowing full well they have the anonymity factor behind them.  
I honestly never will. 
These people are truly evil.  I am not at all accusing them of being atheist - or being anything...other than evil.  Even if they are hard-working people who follow the letter of the law...these people are evil.  And, I don't know if there is a Hell...but I certainly hope they burn in it.
Sorry...I don't usually wish horrible things on people...but some people do deserve it.
The story is here, which, if you'd like, links you to the Facebook page (at which I advise you not to read any comments):  Porch Lights for Hailey Owens

My blog today is dedicated to the memory of Hailey Owens and for all the other children who have been abducted and lived to tell about it - and to those who did not.

The prompt today was "Chaos" at "We Work for Cheese". 


19 February 2014

Day 19: Tastes like chicken

(I put a note on the box so my son wouldn't eat one.  Oh, joy of joys, I ate one a couple days ago...yes...the exact kind of "Hot Pockets" that was recalled.  So far the batch numbers on the box don't match...but I'm keeping it because they'll find out in a couple days that more were involved.  They always, always do.)

I was going to do a long-winded blog about how incomprehensible it was (at least to me) that nearly nine million pounds of beef sent out to various companies for inclusion into their products was recalled the other day, most notably, so far, to the "Hot Pockets" people...but I won't.  I still don't understand how you can be butchering up diseased and inedible portions of cows for ONE FRIGGEN YEAR and no one finds out about it until now.  Yes, one year.  One entire year.
Anyway, considering one of the main culprits for food-borne pathogens, which end up killing you, or sickening you, are cantaloupes, bean sprouts, spinach, and tomatoes...it seems I'll be damned either way -- being a meat eater or a vegetarian.  (That is totally true, by the way -- I didn't do one of those "writer's embellishment" thingies just for blog purposes.)
So, fuck it.  And, I can't eat apples, either, as apples want to kill me.  Long story - it involves swallowing a piece of one, calling up the on-call USAF base doctor, who basically hung up on me after jerkily saying "You are talking...you don't have a piece of apple lodged in your throat...anyway, you shouldn't be eating apples at 3:00 a.m."  Turned out I went to the emergency room anyway...after about six hours of impatiently waiting, i.e. being too afraid to sleep with an undigested niblet of food in my gullet. It finally dissolved itself -- about the same time I had the barium contrast swallow test; I swear it was there. And, yes, people do get bits of meat and food lodged in their esophagus and still manage to talk.  Sometimes they have to take the really long tongs and yank the food out.  It happens a lot...or so the ER people told me.  I'm thinking it probably does.
But, back to my original thought -- considering that a half-billion, yes, that's half a billion, eggs were recalled in 2010...eventually, everything you eat will find a way to kill you...given enough time.  It's like we're all playing Russian Roulette with the foods we eat and the USDA keeps reloading the gun.
So, if it tastes like chicken, beware, it just might have been one of those egg layers...they have to do something with the chickens eventually, right?  I'd suggest you go eat a nice healthy salad instead...but that'll kill you just as dead.

The prompt today at "We Work for Cheese" was "Tastes like chicken".  Please go and visit all the other participants, who probably aren't as overly worried and overly zealous as myself about the food they shove into their mouths. 


17 February 2014

Day 17: I faked it

This is a milestone of sorts for me:  It's my 400th blog.  Woohooo!  

Now this might not seem like a lot, especially to people who write things like "Hey, my cat just threw up on my carpet!" or "Screw it, it's been a hard day, I'm going to have some wine and watch car chases and zombies on Netflix." as blogs.  

My blogs, are far from that.  Typically they are wordy.  Maybe a bit too wordy for a lot of people. I used to refer to my blog as a "blogumn" instead of a "column" as I first started writing blogs back in March 2006 at the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper here in town hoping to get a job out of it.  But, if you were reading these blogs this month, you'll know that already.  Didn't happen.  Still hoping that maybe one day someone will see these online and give me the opportunity to write something...anything...and pay me a pittance for the pleasure.

In my mind, I like to believe they are short stories...very short stories. A slice of my life hopefully buttered with enough syllables in the correct order, to make it somehow apply to your life as well.  If I can relate one of these "stories" to your life, in any way, and you think, "Hey, I thought that before!" or "Hey...that's happened to me countless times!" or "Oh...geez...I do that, too." then my job has been done.  If I can make you say, "Wow...I never really thought of that this way before...this is interesting!" then my job has just begun.

I hope one day to write a book...I've wanted to do just that since I was a small kid.  When I was little, my mother always told me to write children's books. "Mariann", she would say, (it would have been stupid for her to call me 'Bob" or "Jimmy") "Why don't you write some books for children? That's where all the money's at."  And I always thought she had no clue - this was well before all those "Goosebumps", "Harry Potter", and "Twilight" books. A LONG time before. But, damned if she wasn't right after all...that IS where the big money is.  And that's probably where I'd get the most satisfaction.  

Don't get me wrong, I'd love for adults to love my books and include my works in those "high school reading lists" - up there with all the classics and other books you dread reading over the summer. But to be able to get a child enthused enough to be glued to my book, or a series of them, like J.K. Rowling did?  Absolutely fantastic! At the end of the day, when all is read and done, I think that might actually give me the most satisfaction.  

I don't know if I'll have ever a career as a novelist, seems everyone nowadays knows someone personally (at least online) who has written a book.  Anyone can write a book.  My cats can write a book...the key to writing a good one is "to put the words in the right order."  

If and when I figure out how to do that, you'll know -- oh, you'll know for certain.  I'll be the extremely happy one walking around with a smile on my face and a skip in my step. And, when I'm not skipping, I'll have a glass of wine in my hand. And, I'll be soooooo rich someone else can clean up the cat vomit from the carpets...hell, what am I thinking here?  I'm rich! I can buy all new carpets every time they do it!

Until then...that smile on my face and that skip in my step?  I faked it.  The wine, however, is real...and it's in one of those fancy "wine-specific" Riedel glasses.  I have a bunch of them...and they honestly work...wine does taste differently in one glass vs another.  Let me elaborate a little...

Ugh...sorry...gotta cut this short...one of my cats is hacking up a hairball or something right now in the other room.  Ugh!  Ugh!  She's right underneath the piano, too, right where I can't get to her.  Ugh...this is always fun.

Anyway, go on over to "We Work For Cheese" to see what the other writers are coming up for "I'm faking it" today, Day 17, of the "30 Minus 2 Days of Writing" blogging workshop.

16 February 2014

Day 16: Shakespearean English

(The Shakespeare Festival Theatre in Montgomery, Alabama.)

Well, considering I didn't want to do an obvious take on Shakespeare...like how there is the Shakespeare Festival Theatre here in Montgomery, Alabama...and how it is the largest theatre outside of England which does his plays year-round (or maybe the seond largest - I know it's one of the two, I think)...or how I could really use a good half-hour of "pre-Shakespeare" talk before I watch any Shakespeare film...because it takes a while for my mind to start thinking in that form of talk...but I won't.

Instead I bring you:  "Classic Hollywood Movie Lines...as Shakespeare Might Have Penned Them".  Please bear in mind my knowledge of Shakespeare is quite minimal...but my knowledge of old Hollywood films...is not.

Lauren Bacall to Humphrey Bogart in "To Have and Have Not": "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."

Shakespeare: "O, then, let lips do what hands do...they pray...and pray thee, dear Steven, you with a wisp of air upon thine lisping lips...do beckon me to come again."

Clark Gable to Vivien Leigh in "Gone With the Wind""  "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."

Shakespeare: "I once suffered gladly your fools my dear...but be damned --I suffer with fools like you no longer!"  (Yes, the original is much better than anything I could come up with...and, believe me, I tried.)

Humphrey Bogart to Sam in "Casablanca":  "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."

Shakespeare:  "Where minstrels quench their parched throats...where wine does flow from all the coasts...where beggars languished on the Rhine...her body doest walk into mine." (You have to pronounce "parched" as "par-ched" otherwise it doesn't rhyme that great.)

Marlon Brando...to someone (I never saw the whole film as I don't like Brando) in "A Streetcar Named Desire":  "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

Shakespeare:  "With much envy thou woulds't have shown me once...but in mine own haste to perchance sup with those whose houses I'd caught but a glimpse in passing...whose despicable nature I am bound to in this mortal life...I await -- as always, but a carriage footman - and thine own boot...the door between our worlds."  (You know...I have no clue what I just said...but I like it.  I think it's a sillyoquy.  Ha!  I made yet another word up...which is both "silly" and "Shakespeare-y".)

Humphrey Bogart to somebody (again, I never watched the whole film as I don't really like Bogart, either)  in "The Maltese Falcon":  "The stuff that dreams are made of."

Shakespeare:  "To sleep...perchance to dream...to dream of stuff...that dreams are made of."

Okay, that last did kind of sucketh, as old Will would probably say if he wrere alive today, but it struck me as odd that all the quotes I did...and I didn't do this on purpose...were from films I just don't like.  I think Shakespeare would have a fancy was of saying it...but I find that pretty ironic.

Now go on over to "We Work for Cheese" and check out all the other writers' takes on "Shakespearean English."

15 February 2014

Day 15: My ears are ringing

"My ears are ringing" is the prompt for "Day 15" over at "We Work for Cheese" -- please click on the link and check out the other bloggers who are diligently trying to master a blog a day for the month of February.

For the life of me...I don't know why my temperature is always 97.something.  Sometimes it's even 96.something which causes me to think I'm probably dead...because only dead people have temperatures below 97.0.
But, that's not why I posted a picture of that thing.  It's a digital thermometer by ReliOn...and runs for about ten bucks.  The LED numbers, as you can see, are clearly shown and in a mere nine seconds...or until it beeps...you'll have your readout. 
Pretty nifty, huh?
Yeah...until you get old like me and the frequency range of things like stealth-like high frequency cell phones and mosquitoes start to go out.  And, apparently, the exact frequency that this thermometer emits.
It's very quiet...like 3 decibels at the most...and that's a good thing...because heaven knows you don't want to wake your kid up by the thing beeping as loudly as a garbage truck going backwards...when you shove this thing in their bottom.
The bad part is...no one my age can hear it.  Plus, let's pretend I could hear it...I can't hear it because I have tinnitus.  Tinnitus, for those who don't know, is an aggravating thing.  My ears are ringing.  Constantly.  It never stops.  Along with the high-pitched tea kettle sounds...are a lower frequency drone.  Sure, it's nice sometimes, as it drowns out the neighbourhood dogs barking at nite...but, it gets awfully annoying the rest of the time.
After a while you get used to it...but sometimes it changes pitch in my head and I pay attention to it again...and I have to constantly ask people to repeat themselves and I sometimes have to put the closed captioning thingy on the television.  I hate that because I end up watching the words and not the picture...plus they have to put it right smack on the screen...not low-like...and most times that channel logo will partially cover the words.  Plus the font is THE ugliest font in human history...and if two people are talking at once you'll get garbled nonsense with numbers in it.  I have to admit, I do find it fun when it says "EMOTIONAL MUSIC PLAYING" or it tells me who is singing the song, like "ROLLING STONES' SINGING SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL" - and I sit here and think...if I'm deaf...how the hell am I going to know what that song sounds like?
Anyway...it's time I get back to watching the Olympics -- altho I took a break from cross country skiing to watch Mae West in "She Done Him Wrong".  I'm just about to Google Cary Grant's teeth...because they must have been replaced early on in his career as they didn't look like this later on.

Ugh...I seriously need to get a life as I haven't yet gone to bed.  And, if that wasn't bad enough, the birds are now chirping outside...and in a range I can actually hear.

(Speaking of birds...for what it's worth, I blame my hearing loss/tinnitus on my attending a concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia where "A Flock of Seagulls" played.  There were a ton of bands...so don't mock me just yet.  But they came out and played a super loud noise for what seemed like ten minutes straight...whereupon everyone started holding their hands over their ears and yelling for them to stop.  I have actually Google'd this -- and some people online actually have implicated them as well...same concert.  I really think they screwed up a lot of peoples' hearing that day...and I will always believe that.)

14 February 2014

Day 14: It has to be aliens

I apologize profusely ahead of time to all Russians, Serbians, Latvians, Asians, and Belgians.  I started out writing something totally different and then the second paragraph it changed...so I had to go with it.  That's how my little mind works...and the dialect might be way off, but in my head it worked. The prompt for today is "It has to be aliens" - which can be found at "We Work for Cheese".  We are halfway through the "30 Minus 2 Days of Writing" exercise in all things futile and nerve bending...but I enjoy the hell out of it!

Here's a Valentine's Day story for everyone:

Alexei Petrokova was convalescing in a hospital in Lower Manhattan when his sweetheart of 25 years ago learned of his condition.

"I turned on the radio and there was the Sting's song, 'Englishman in New York' -- when I heard the words 'I'm an alien - I'm a legal alien.  I'm an Englishman in New York.' I thought of my beloved and wondered where on this Earth he might be." said Romaramaria Slokovenkstya on Tuesday.  And I felt the strong urge, is how you say it?  I went online and there he was...my Alexei."

"We were once inseparable...but the war came to our little village and cleaved us in two.  He went off to join his comrades to fight and I was left with but a remembrance.  I remember when we first met...this song, this hauntingly beautiful song...it came on the radio, and I did not understand the language except for the words "New York" and "alien".  We fell in love that same minute when it came on the radio in our little home town of Bisnyark.  I remember Alexei singing "I'm an Enkrishmank in Bishnyark" and we laughed and laughed over our very strong drink. For three days we were lovers...in spirit alone...and we vowed with our first kiss that it would not be our last."

"Alas, that was the last I saw of him...I moved far away with an arranged marriage to help my family soon after.  I never saw him again until I chanced happening on the...what do you call it...the Facebook?  My friend, she send me this photograph and I cried out, 'Constantine, come look...come look!'  I could not believe my eyes.  My eyes welled with the tears as my eyes met his in the photo.  It was like when we first met...I can not start to tell you of the joy it brings in my heart." Slokovenkstya continued.

"My Constantine...he, he was not so happy.  It is hard to be happy when the song on the radio when we first met was "My Bologna" by the Strange Yaknovic or something. But as he is probably a fellow Bisnyarkian, I know not for certain, but he or his singing group...it has to be aliens, too, no?"

"So, I plan to go to New York to be reunited with 'My Enkrishmank', my first love.  I just hope the eyes of his heart feel the same for mine."

13 February 2014

Day 13: Incommunicado


The tiny East European nation, Slovenkia, has filed a formal protest against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after allegedly overhearing several Olympic Committee chairpersons stating "They hoped Slovenkia would not win any gold this Olympics because they didn't want to sit through an extended version of their rendition of 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'."
Slovenkian President, Milton Ilochovyk, filed the protest after learning of the distressing news regarding the playing of their 17-minute long national anthem. Ilochovyk stated the two Slovenkian players also overheard three Olympic Committee members saying that "...they wouldn't want to deal with members of the audience walking out partway through the ceremony nor would they expect the other two medalists to remain on their podiums the entire way through it."  Ilochovyk also contended there was "eye rolling" and "laughter" exchanged between the IOC members.
"While it is the longest national anthem on record, we would, naturally, play it in its entirety." Olympic Committee spokesperson, Cameron Greer, reported.  "We take the games seriously, and as such, will look into this matter, but we feel this is unwarranted...plus, considering the delegation from Slovenkia has three athletes, we feel this is a matter which will not even be an issue."
In an Olympics which has been plagued by controversy, Russia is also steadfastly denying the allegations. "We are, as we speak", a Russian parliament member, who spoke in anonymity, relayed, "scrutinizing the footage captured by the 72 cameras we had installed in the small room where this allegedly took place. We feel certain at least one of them would have captured this considering this allegedly took place in the Men's Room located just off the Grand Ballroom of the [name withheld] Hotel." 

The Republic of Slovenkia recently gained their independence from the Czech Republic in 1995 and this is the first Winter Games in which they are participating.
"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is a 17:05 minute song recorded in 1968 by rock group "Iron Butterfly"...the Sovenkian National Anthem, in comparison, clocks in at just shy of 18 minutes and bears no resemblance to the aforementioned tune.

(I just might have to go incommunicado if this one goes viral.  Oh, please, please...let me have one of my silly things go viral.  Maybe not this one...considering I love the Olympics and all...but, something...and in a good way.  Nothing embarrassing or causing injury or death.  Please go to "We Work for Cheese" for today's writing theme, which is "Incommunicado".)