Friday, December 4, 2009

Rudolph, With Your Nose So Bright.....

Can you believe Rudolph just turned 70? And apparently botox is his friend because he still looks good as a septuagenarian. Jealous. So, to honor him, I'm going to plagiarize and post some fun facts from my favorite magazine, Mental Floss.

1. Rudolph was created in 1939 when Montgomery Ward asked one of their writers to come up with a character they could base coloring books around so they would have freebies to give out to the kids who came to visit Santa. Obviously, it was a huge hit. They gave out 2.4 million coloring books the first year and then Rudolph ended up going commercial.

2. Rollo and Reginald were two of the potential names before Rudolph was chosen. Rollo was rejected for sounding too sunny and happy; Reginald sounded too British. And Rudolph sounds.....?

3. Petteri Punakuono is Rudolph’s Finnish alter-ego. Say what?! Apparently the Finnish Santa Claus, Joulupukki or Yule Goat, doesn’t name his reindeer the same way we do – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon...(can you name them all?) – so the beginning of the song doesn’t start out the same way. Instead, the Finnish version is something like, "You remember Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and the grey wolf, but this reindeer is often forgotten." Gosh, I can't understand why anyone would forget a simple name like Petteripunakuonosaywhat?!?

4. Although the story came out in 1939, the song wasn’t recorded until ten years later by Gene Autry. He almost passed on the opportunity, but his wife talked him into it (smart woman behind the scenes, of course). The song hit #1 on the charts during the week of Christmas and then nada. It’s the only song in history to ever hit #1 and then just disappear.

5. In addition to barely escaping the Rollo or Reggie moniker, Rudolph almost guided Santa’s sleigh with huge headlight eyes instead of a glowing red nose. Which sounds better? "Rollo, the bug-eyed reindeer, had very large protruding eyes" OR "Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose." You decide.

6. The puppets used for the TV special disappeared until Santa and Rudolph resurfaced on the Antiques Roadshow in 2006. Some lady who worked for the show had them stored in her attic after her kids outgrew playing with them. Now they're fully restored and they were on display at the Center for Puppetry Arts, but now some dude from Time & Space Toys has them. BTW, the TV special is the longest-running Christmas TV special of all time.

7. Apparently Rudolph hooked up with Clarice at some point because they have a son named Robbie, according to the BBC. They made some shows about Robbie, but never actually mentioned Baby-Daddy. Supposedly the villain is Blitzen and he can’t stand to hear Rudolph’s name. The truth is, it’s because the BBC couldn’t get permission to use it. Fox Family ran the show for a few years in the early ’00s with redubbed voices: Ben Stiller as Robbie, Hugh Grant as Blitzen, Britney Spears as Donner, Leah Remini as Vixen, and Brad Garrett as Prancer.

So there you have it. Happy Birthday, Dear/Deer Rudolph, Happy Birthday to you! And many more!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 6 TEST - And here we go again... Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct phrase from Columns A or B:
1.a Florida Gators fanan Florida Gators fan
2.a Auburn Tigers fanan Auburn Tigers fan
3.a UF studentan UF student
4.a University of Florida studentan University of Florida student
5.a honoran honor
6.a housean house
7.a FSU fanan FSU fan
8.a Florida State University fanan Florida State University fan
9.a LSU fanan LSU fan
10.a Louisiana State University fanan Louisiana State University fan
11.a FEDEX employeean FEDEX employee
12.a historic eventan historic event
If you chose the following correct answers, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review.
1) A2) B3) A4) A5) B6) A
7) B8) A9) B10) A11) A12) A
Well kids, I gotta tell ya, I'm bored with grammar right now, so I don't have a new lesson for you. Consider it a "movie day" for English class today and enjoy the goof-off time! Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 5 TEST - Yay, another quiz! Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. Hollywood discovered it's Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal.
B. Hollywood discovered its Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal.
#2A. It's unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet.
B. Its unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet.
#3A. Our’s would be a whirlwind romance like no other.
B. Ours would be a whirlwind romance like no other.
If you chose B for #1, A for #2, and B for #3, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review.

Week 6, Lesson 6, is going to be an easy one: a vs. an. Okay, we all remember learning that you should use a if the next word starts with a consonant and an if it start with a vowel. For example: a Florida Gators fan; an Auburn Tigers fan. (F in Florida=consonant; A in Auburn=vowel) Sounds perfectly logical, right?
Of course there's a trick. What they forgot to tell us (or, more likely, I may have been off-task that day) is that it's not just a vowel you have to look out for, it's the vowel sound, which gets especially tricky when you're talking about abbreviations or acronyms.
  • Even though "u" is a vowel, it makes a consonant sound, therefore a goes before it. A UF student; A University of Florida student.
  • Even though "h" is a consonant, sometimes it makes a vowel sound and gets an and other times it makes a consonant sound and gets a. An honor; A house.
  • For abbreviations, you have to think of what the sound is rather than what the letter stands for. So "f" makes a consonant sound when it starts a word, but a vowel sound when it starts an abbreviation. (Same with h, l, m, n, r, s, x.) An FSU fan; A Florida State University fan; An LSU fan; A Louisiana State University fan.
  • For acronyms (abbreviations that are spoken like words), you treat it the same as you would the word. A FEDEX employee.
  • Of course there's a screwy one. Ya know how sometimes people say "istoric" instead of "historic"? If you're one of those people, you should use an. However, even though there's a lot of leniency from the Grammar Police on this issue, a is preferred in formal writing.
Have an awesome day and a fabulous week! Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

The first thing everyone says to you when you live in California is, "Aren't you afraid of the earthquakes?" Ummm, no, not any more than Florida's hurricanes. In fact, I kinda thought earthquakes were an urban legend, having never actually experienced one. All the times I'd traveled here and nary a jiggle. The closest I'd ever come to even caring was when my sister called after the Northridge one to inform me that she and her hubby were having sex during it and she really did feel the earth move. Yeah, TMI, but funny. Even while living here my experience with earthquakes has been minimal, until just recently, that is. I actually lived here 3 years before I even felt my first one. And can I tell you, what a letdown! I was sitting on the couch and felt a bump - like maybe a truck backed into the building - and it lasted all of 1 second. For the next one, I just thought it was Thumper - our upstairs neighbor who walked like a marching band. Again, it lasted for about 1 second. However, a few weeks ago I finally experienced a real one. And then again a few days ago. And then again today. Now, I know I'm not supposed to say this, was really fun! Each of them lasted for about 10 seconds and it felt like sitting on a vibrating bed or one of those massaging chairs. I have to admit, though, it kinda made me nervous when it went on for more than a couple of seconds and I did have a fleeting thought of "what do I do?" Plus, it's kinda weird to walk in a room and see all the drawers flung open or glasses bobbled to the very edge of the china cabinet shelves. 

Of course after discovering the earthquakes are not urban legends, I had to learn a new mantra. Ya know how when you're a kid and you learn "stop, drop, and roll" for fire drama? Well, for earthquake drama you're supposed to learn "duck, cover, and hold" as in get under a table and hold onto it. However, make sure it's not the kitchen table, because supposedly the kitchen is the most un-safe place because of the flying pots/pan/knives/glass. Also, if the power goes out, use a flashlight instead of candles because apparently gas leaks are common and it would kinda suck to survive the shaking and then blow up the house with a flick of a bic. So now with all this extensive research, I'm pretty much an expert, don'tcha think? And no, I'm still not afraid. Or impressed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 4 TEST - Here we go again... Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebow's.
B. The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebows.
#2A. Tebows' skills are pure awesomeness.
B. Tebows skills are pure awesomeness.
C. Tebow's skills are pure awesomeness.
#3A. All little boys' dreams involve playing Gator football.
B. All little boys dreams involve playing Gator football.
If you chose B for #1, C for #2, and A for #3, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review.

Week 5, Lesson 5, as promised, addresses the apostrophe as it relates to contractions and the dreaded its vs. it's dilemma. Okay, basic review of contractions: two words combined to make one. For example: it is = it’s, is not = isn’t, you are = you’re, he is = he’s …and many, many more. As you can see, when you combine them, the apostrophe replaces the missing letter. Easy, peasy.

Now, here's the thing:

  • It’s only has an apostrophe if it is used as a contraction. Only! “Hollywood discovered it’s Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal,” should be “Hollywood discovered its Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal.”
  • When its is used for possession, no apostrophe is necessary. Ever! “Its unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet,” should be “It’s unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet.”
  • Same with any possessive pronouns. There’s no such thing as your’s or our’s. Not ever! “Our’s would be a whirlwind romance like no other,” should be “Ours would be a whirlwind romance like no other.”

If you can take away one thing from this lesson, let it be this: just because you see an “s” does NOT mean an apostrophe will make a good date. Be careful in your matchmaking! For more information to make your brain explode, check out this apostrophe usage flowchart. Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I'm sure you've all heard this before, but just in case you haven't.....Click on the picture to hear the funniest Mother's Day song EVER. And yes, this is an actual picture of my room as a teenager.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 3 TEST - I think I'm enjoying this a little too much. Here goes... Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. I bet your sick of hearing about Jake and Colin by now.
B. You're right - I spend way too much time talking about them.
#2A. I'm open to you're suggestions for new pretend-boyfriends.
B. Maybe I could have your pretend-boyfriend, instead.

If you chose B for #1 and B for #2, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review. 

Week 4, Lesson 4 involves something I wasn't going to address here, but I've had requests. See, I'm not a big fan of punctuation. I hate commas, I use way too many ellipses and dashes, and I'm never sure whether to put punctuation inside or outside of quotation marks. I also write in incomplete sentences, inappropriately capitalize words, and sometimes even use slang. (However, when I do write "ain't" or "dunno" or "gonna", you'd better believe they're spelled correctly.) None of which I plan to address here, because I'm more about the correct spelling/usage of words. Just the words, ma'am. But there is this one teensy tiny little punctuation error that I wish to rid the world of: the dreaded apostrophe mishap. Don't feel bad, folks. I don't think I learned this until I was a senior in college. A senior in college as an English major. Probably should've picked that one up a little earlier in my studies, huh?
Anyway, here's the deal:
  • Plain ol' plurals never get apostrophes. Ever. So "The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebow's" should really be "The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebows". No apostrophe necessary. Ever.
  • If something owns something else, it gets an apostrophe s. Always. "Tebow's skills are pure awesomeness", not "Tebows skills are pure awesomeness" or "Tebows' skills are pure awesomeness". (Tim Tebow owns skills.) And yes, awesomeness is a word. Sorta.
Here's the tricky part:
  • Plurals that own something still get an apostrophe s. For example, "All little boys's dreams involve playing Gator football" is absolutely correct. (Plural boys own dreams.) However, the reason you don't see s's that much is because we usually reduce it to lowest terms, just like math. In other words, you don't want an extra s hanging out, so it gets lopped off and that's how "All little boys' dreams involve playing Gator football" becomes the more common of the two sentences. To be honest, I don't even know what "reduce to lowest terms" means in math, but that's how it was explained to me, so I roll with it.
Next week I'll address the apostrophe as it relates to contractions, plus the dreaded its vs. it's dilemma, but I've had just about enough apostrophe talk for today. Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"My name is H.I. McDonnaugh. Call me Hi."

I love Nicolas Cage. It's true - weirdo that he is - he is one of my perpetual favorites. Once upon a time when I was 20-something and made my first trip to CA with my friend, Lin, to visit our friend, A-squared, he became the first victim of my stalking obsession. Of course back then we were way less sophisticated (because I'm super sophisticated now) and actually thought buying a "Map to the Stars' Homes" would really direct us to the stars' homes. So Lin and I set out one day to find Nicolas Cage's home. It was an apartment building, so we walked right up and, lo and behold, discovered "the doorman". Like I said, we were 20-something and obviously had never lived in a building with any type of security at that point in our lives. So, since we couldn't get in to walk right up to Nic's apartment, knock on his door, and invite ourselves in for dinner, we sat on the bus-stop bench across the street to devise a plan. Then we realized it was around 5ish, so he would probably be coming home from work soon. (Because all actors work 9-5, right? And even if he did, making it home any sooner than the required 2-hour stint on the 405 would be a miracle. But, hey, what do we know?) So, we decided to walk circles around the apartment building to see who had the prettiest curtains up at the penthouse level, because that would probably be his place. Brilliant, I tell you! Then we patrolled the parking garage for all the cool cars coming in to see if he was in one of them. More brilliance, I tell you! Hey - at least we didn't break in and try on his clothes.

Although we never met Nic that day, Lin did meet him years later at Gladstones. He was sitting at the table next to her and spilled his beer on her leg. (And no, of course she's never washed that leg - have you been paying attention?) I think he apologized and then asked her to run off to a remote island with him and they lived happily ever after. I think. I could be wrong, though.

Anyway, the reason I'm tripping down Nicolas-Cage-memory-lane is because I read this article the other day about his weirdness. And it just made me love him even more. If you thought he topped out at naming his kid after Superman, think again...

Nic once ate a real cockroach in a movie. Actually, he ate a trio of real cockroaches, because it took three takes to get it just right. While filming 1989's "Vampire's Kiss," Nic did his own stunt eating and swallowed the crusty insects. The script had his character eating raw eggs, but Cage didn't think that would be weird enough.

Nic admitted once to having a pet octopus, claiming that studying beings that are totally different helps him with his acting. Guess that also explains the salt-water sharks, the lizard, and the crocodile. For a time, he even had two pet King Cobras (Moby and Sheba) that he would observe for hours from a specially constructed cell in his home, with a glass of wine in his hand and a bottle of poison antidote very nearby. One night he mentioned his pets on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," and his neighbors immediately began fighting to get the poisonous reptiles removed. Cage donated them to a local zoo a short time later.

He proposed to Patricia Arquette the day they met. The story goes that Nic told Patricia on the day they met that he loved her and was going to marry her. (Which is exactly what I would do if I met him, so why is that so odd?) She then gave him a scavenger-hunt list of impossible tasks to prove his love. When he returned with several of the items she requested (including reclusive author J. D. Salinger's autograph), Arquette fled, frightened by the intensity of his enthusiasm. It wasn't until they met again eight years later that they fell in love and wed. The couple separated after nine months.

Nic once had the biggest celebrity comic book collection ever, which sold at auction for $1.68 million. He and his older son, Weston, wrote a comic book series called "Voodoo Child". In fact, Cage loves comics so much that his stage name was taken from a comic book character, Luke Cage, and his son with his third wife, Alice Kim Cage, is named after none other than Superman himself, Kal-el. (Or as Lin says "Nic, what the hell-el were you thinking?")

So far the closest I've ever come to meeting Nic was pole-dancing on the giant martini glass at the Copolla winery in Napa. Another story for another time. And you thought he was the weird one!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 2 TEST - I keep telling you there are tests! Here goes... Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. Some people might think I'm a looser for stalking Colin Farrell the way I do.
B. And that I'm also a loser for stalking Jake Gyllenhaal the way I do.
#2A. I'm afraid if I stop stalking Jake, I'll lose him to Reese.
B. I'm also afraid I might loose Colin to any bimbo in Hollywood.
#3A. Colin's idea of commitment is kinda loose, rumor has it.
B. Of course in Hollywood, everyone's idea of commitment is kinda lose.

If you chose B for #1, A for #2, and A for #3, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review.

Week 3, Lesson 3, makes reference to some of my favorite teaching moments. At the end of the year I would always get these cards that said, "Your a great teacher." Apparently not. Because if I was, then they would know that the sentiment should read, "You're a great teacher." I guess it's the thought that counts.

So here's the lesson:

  • Your is possessive. It means you own something. For example, your diamond rings, your mansion in Malibu, or your Rolls Royce.
  • You're is a contraction of you and are. For example, "You're (you are) living in a dream world."
  • ur is obnoxious textspeak for your, you're, or you are and it drives me crazy when used anywhere other than text messages (actually it drives me crazy there, too). Stop already with the ruination of the written English language!

Easy, right? Now you're never going to make this mistake again, right? Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Monday, April 27, 2009

Detour to the Huntington (or "A Tour of SoCal" as I like to call it)

A few weeks ago we got an invitation to attend a luncheon at "The Huntington Gardens". Since I'm still new to CA (of course I will still be using that excuse in another 20 years) and I have no sense of direction, I did the usual look-it-up-on-Mapquest thing to have as a backup to my GPS. I'm pretty paranoid about being lost since, as previously stated, I have no sense of direction and because of that I never drive anywhere. Everything I need is within walking/biking distance for me - beach, grocery store, bank, bars, restaurants, etc. - and I'll take a train or bus whenever available. I pretend like I'm "green", but I really just hate to drive. Therefore, when The Husband said "You drive - I'm tired", not only was I shocked (because he loves to drive), but I was less than thrilled.

So off we go. To Huntington Gardens in Huntington Beach...supposedly. Except when we got to the address and...uh...surprise...? We had arrived at Huntington Gardens APARTMENTS. Gee thanks, Mapquest. And my usually trusty GPS (whose name is actually "Mr. Cars-Guard" - get it?) was no help at all. So after driving around for a while, we decided to go old-school and call 411. They connected us right away to "Huntington Gardens" and we got new "Huntington Gardens RETIREMENT HOME". Are you kidding me?!?!!! So then we do the Blackberry search thing and realize that "The Huntington Gardens" is really called "The Huntington: Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens". In Pasadena. Easily an hour north of Huntington Beach. On the 405. Duh-ork alert.

Needless to say, we missed the luncheon. However, we had a great time once we finally arrived. The Blue Boy (no, not the band or the magazine - the Gainsborough painting) resides there, plus they were having a Lincoln exhibit, which was pretty cool.

(Click to enlarge pictures.) Here's one of the many library sitting rooms. Wouldn't you love to curl up with a good book in front of this fireplace?

Or gaze out these beautiful stained glass windows?

Check out Blue Boy and his gal pal, Pinkie.

Storyboards for Cinderella: Of The Fortune of the Maid Who Was Called Cindermaid and Was Afterwards a Queen (You really need to click to enlarge this one.)

The Gutenberg Bible - one of the three vellum copies in the United States. And no, it's not Steve Gutenburg's bible.

I also have millions of pictures of flowers - don't worry, I won't bore you with them. The gardens were so beautiful that I'm hoping they cured my black thumb by osmosis. If not, I'll just post the pictures all around my balcony and have a pretend garden. Despite the brain-dead beginning to the day, we had a fabulous time. If you ever get a chance to go to the Huntington, definitely go. Just don't call me for directions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 1 TEST - I told you there'd be a test! What, you thought I was kidding? Oh ye of little faith! Here goes... Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. I love Jake Gyllenhaal alot.
B. I also love Colin Farrell allott.
C. I spend a lot of time stalking Jake and Colin.
D. I also spend allot of time in the fantasyland that is my mind.
#2A. I should of met Jake or Colin by now.
B. If only I would of stalked them a little more.
C. I could of been Jake's girlfriend instead of Reese.
D. Or maybe I could have made a home movie with Colin.
If you chose C for #1 and D for #2, congratulations! You are the next contestant on "The Answer is Right" - c'mon down. If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review.

Week 2, Lesson 2 was hard to pick. I've been overwhelmed with requests, which makes my heart sing. This means I am not the only member of the GP squad. Yay for all of us who sweat the small stuff.

I'm going to go with the Lose vs. Loose mystery this week:

  • Lose (verb) rhymes with ooze and means to misplace something; Loser (noun) rhymes with boozer and sometimes if you're a boozer, you're also a loser. Not always, though.
  • Loose (adjective) rhymes with goose and means, well, let's just say "not tight"; Looser (adjective) rhymes with gooser. Yeah, I know it's not a word, but I couldn't find a real word that rhymed.

Although it all seems simple enough on the surface, when writing it out it gets confusing because they both have an "ooooo" sound so we tend to throw in an extra "o". I guess the easiest way to remember this one is to think of the signs in Vegas that say "loose slots". Now why would they advertise slot machines that you would lose (misplace) money in? They wouldn't. They're advertising slot machines that are not tight, in other words, machines that will give it up rather easily. Your money, that is. I think I saw this casino ad once and it's the perfect example: Only a loser would look anywhere else for looser slots.

Yup - it'll be on the test. Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I've been spending time with my Godson, Spawn o' King, this week, which reminds me of one of my favorite SOK stories. One day we were hanging out at the riding stables watching some riders and petting/feeding carrots to the horses. As we came upon each stall, SOK asked me if it was a boy or girl horse. I would look and then answer. A few minutes later, SOK asks me how I know if it's a boy or girl. Hmmmm..... Well, although he's only 7, I figure it's never too early to learn the correct terms. Forget the "peanut", "hoo-hoo", and "va-jay-jay" code words - I'll just jump right in. So I said, "A boy horse has a penis and a girl doesn't." He contemplates this for a minute, looks, and then proclaims, "Wow, theirs are really big, like twice as big as mine." Twice. Not 3-4-5 times as big, just twice. And then I realized this is how it starts.....the lifelong exaggeration of penis size. They just can't help themselves.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Words on Wednesday is my latest creation where I will impart a little English teacher goodness to the masses. I figure with all the teacher layoffs, budget cuts, and school closings, I should do my part to prevent the dumbing down of society. Of course I realize that boat might've already sailed. Actually, I really just need a forum in which to bitch about my grammar pet peeves. (Grammar on Wednesday didn't have the alliteration thing going for it.) Plus, I miss teaching. Not to be confused with babysitting. So anyway, here we go - week 1, lesson 1. And yes, it's on the test.
  • Pet peeve numero uno (ask any of my 2000 former students).....A lot is 2 words. A (space) lot, not alot. It's that simple. Not a lot of brain power required to remember that one. (Learn more about the alot.)
  • Of is not a verb...have is...they are not interchangeable. For example: He should have listened to his English teacher. Not: He should of listened to his English teacher.
Please feel free to contribute any of your own peeves and I will gladly post them. Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Trick or Treat?

I know, I know - it's Easter, not Halloween, but check this out - in Sweden they have Easter Witches! And...they go trick-or-treating on Easter Eve! And...since Halloween is my all time favorite holiday, I'm wondering if I can book an immediate flight to Sweden. This way I can partake in two Halloweens in one year - a dream come true. Apparently, Easter week is the time of year associated with witches and the devil, which is kinda weird considering we associate it with pretty much the exact opposite.

"People believed that witches were especially active and their black magic especially powerful during this week...On Maundy Thursday they were thought to fly off on brooms to consort with the devil at some place called blåkulla, returning the following Saturday. On their way back, Swedes would light fires to scare them away, a practice honored today by the bonfires and fireworks across the land in the days leading up to Sunday."

The kids dress up as påskkäringar (witches) or påsktroll (trolls) and go door to door with a copper kettle looking for treats. Trick-or-treating in April - awesome! Kinda like a spring scrimmage game before the fall sport takes place.

Here are some other worldly Easter holiday traditions I discovered. Can you believe the entire world doesn't do the exact same thing we do? Shocking, I know.

  • Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday in Great Britain. Get it - hot "cross" buns?
  • Wearing new clothes at Easter time supposedly means good luck for the remainder of the year, which is why shopping should always be a priority in my opinion. Back in the day, New Yorkers would parade around in their fancy new duds after church and that's how the Fifth Avenue Easter Parade got its start. It's not a holiday until there's a parade and you know how I love parades.
  • Several Latin American countries and some parts of Greece have the "Burning of Judas", which involves stringing up and burning/exploding an effigy representing that dude who sold out Jesus. In recent years, crowds have used the effigies to represent politicians, etc., who have wronged the people. (Insert self-control...must not comment on deserving candidates...)
  • In Bermuda they fly kites on Good Friday. Supposedly, way back when, a teacher needed a way to demonstrate the ascension of Christ into heaven so he used a kite decorated with a picture of Jesus to get the point across. Pretty good, huh? Now, everyone flies multicolored kites on Good Friday.

Gotta go - must pack! I wish the Concorde was still running.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thanks For Playing, But Nooooo

I've been de-nied! I know, I know, that doesn't narrow it down much - men, schools, jobs, credit, you name it, I've been rejected by it at some point in my life. However, this time I've been rejected in Blogland. How is that possible, you say? Well, I tried to join a network of fellow bloggers and for a chance at hanging with the in-crowd they evaluated my blahblahblahblahg. And they rejected me. Why, you ask? For - get this - not writing often enough!!!!! What?!?!?! You mean I can't just skate by, doing as little as possible, and expect to get what I want? How un-American! Welllll, I'll show them! I'll start writing more. Wait a sec.....have I been reverse psychologied here?

Okay, so basically, I got nothin'. Pretty soon I'll become the Seinfeld show of blogs: the blog about nothing. However, I do read a lot of interesting stuff throughout the day (while I'm procrastinating) so allow me to share some interesting blog-bits.

The Room: You know you have one; ours is called "The Panic Room" and has nothing to do with Jodi Foster's movie. When I read this, I realized that my husband is a bigamist because obviously he is married to this author also. What with the hoarding and the "don't throw anything away unless you show it to me first" mentality, isn't it obvious? Oh, and if my ex-husband is reading this and says something about my stash of majorette uniforms and batons from 1978, he is lying. Really. Because I got rid of those things 4 whole years ago.

Bacon Explosion: Bacon is one of my favorite foods, but this creation transcends all bacon love. Be sure to keep 911 on speed dial because you will most likely have chest pains by just looking at the recipe.

I Like Square Butts and I Cannot Lie: If you don't click on any other link in this post, you must check this one out. Sir Mix-A-Lot and Sponge Bob - what's not to love?

So, in my quest to meet the minimum writing requirement of twice a week, stay tuned for more. And please refrain from the I-told-you-so's.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

There's a Party in Heaven Today

I just walked outside and it's raining. In California. In April. Normally this would irritate me, because I HATE RAIN, but today I like to think it's champagne raining down from heaven. My Aunt June must've finally gotten checked into her room and those who've been waiting for her have popped the bubbly. Let the party begin!

Because I so often live in the pretend life in my head, it's really no wonder that I've made up a heavenly pretend life to get me through the sadness of death. It goes something like this.....First of all you meet up with all of my friends, family, and pets, even if you didn't actually know them, and they immediately offer you your favorite vice - usually a martini and a cigarette - and then you become fast friends. Then, you NEVER have to exercise, unless you want to, and you NEVER get fat, and you NEVER get wrinkles, and you get to do anything you want. Anything. Like if you always wanted to be a ballerina, done. If you get bored with that and then want to be a professional tennis player, done, plus you get to hit with Arthur Ashe. And all dogs/cats get to chase things, eat non-stop, and bark/scratch without getting yelled at.

So when June entered today, she had tons of fun people waiting for her and now they're having...what is it those kids say...a "rager"? Oh yeah, in heaven you're young enough to use words that no one over 30 here on earth should ever utter. Anyway, this rager has an impressive guest list. First of all, she met some people she didn't actually know, but since they're my friends, they became her friends (everyone gets a "friend suggestion request" in heaven). There's BFF King's sister, Shannon, and father, Tony the King, and BFF Carrie-ITC's daughter, Jessica, and doggie, Rosie, and BFF Jilly G's friend Eric, and my ex-step-father-in-law, Hank. Then there's people she knows, like my sister, Jenny, her sister/my Aunt Diane, Grandma and Grandpa, her aunts/my great-aunts Eileen and Flossie, my doggie, Lucy, my kitty, Samantha. I'm sure there are so many more and I'm sure they're having the time of their lives celebrating their lives. I am so sad that Aunt Junie is gone from this world, but I guess I have to settle for knowing that she'll throw me a good party when I get to her world. Hopefully my invitation is in the mail.....snail mail, not FedEx.

Aunt Diane, Aunt June, Grandma, Grandpa, Jenny, Aunt Eileen, Aunt Flossie, Hank, Lucy, Rosie, Shannon, Tony the King, Eric

Friday, March 20, 2009

Celebrity Stalker Sweepstakes

Well, technically it's not a sweepstakes, but it is a point system upon which we will establish our self-worth throughout the year. Okay, so "self-worth" might be a little melodramatic, but you get the idea.

Let me just say up front that Carrie-in-the-City flat-out won last year. Her celeb sightings were so plentiful that she should probably have her own IMDB page. For example, she traveled with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band throughout the year, so she met Little Steven, Nils Lofgren, and Gary Talent. Her organization held a celebrity fundraiser and her “job” was to pick up Joey “Pants” Pantaleone and drive him to the event. Then, she hung out with the Pope. Oh yeah, and then there was the President…yes, of the United States. So basically, all of this made my little Matthew McConaughey groping incident seem miniscule in comparison. (Not that Matthew is miniscule by any means!) That's okay - game on for 2009.
Here’s how it works: You get points for every celebrity you see/talk to/get a picture with throughout the year and then we total up at the end to see who won. And by "won" I mean, you don't actually win anything.

Here's the point breakdown:
  • Seeing (as in drive-by or walk-by) = 1 pt
  • Talking to (job function) = 2 pts
  • Talking to (conversation) = 3 pts
  • Picture of = 4 pts
  • Picture with = 5 pts
  • A-list star = double the point value
  • Sighting outside of NY or CA = 1 pt (so that everyone can play and there's no unfair advantage for living in celeb-heavy cities)
  • I thought about including "touching" as a category, but outside of triathlon marking duties it's generally frowned upon and we really want to reduce the jail time of our participants as much as possible.
  • Going to an event and seeing celebs on stage or in a sport does not count as a sighting, unless you hang out before/after and meet them personally or unless you are close enough to take a photo without zooming. That picture is only worth 1 point instead of the normal 4, just because it doesn’t seem as cool as getting a random picture of George Clooney in a restaurant.
  • BONUS POINTS: If you achieve any of the above point values with your token celebrity boyfriend/girlfriend, then you are eligible for massive bonus points (amount to be determined by the committee, of course). To be eligible for this portion of the program, you must pre-register your A-lister. Yes, it has to be an A-lister because no, you can’t just make it up on the fly depending on who you run into at Starbucks that day. Seriously, we all know my boyfriend is Colin Farrell or Jake Gyllenhaal, Carrie-ITC’s is George Clooney or Bruce Springsteen, and Jilly G’s is John Travolta or Bruce Springsteen, and The Husband's girlfriend is Milla Jovovich or Angelina Jolie, so we can’t just make it up and say “Oh, I got my picture taken with my celebrity boyfriend, John Doe, who was an extra in Rocket Space Monkey. After all, we have to have some standards to our stalking.
Here are some scenarios:
  • Scenario 1: I walk by Michael Easton while shopping in Orlando. This is worth 2 points because it's a sighting/walk-by (1) and it's not in NY or CA (1).
  • Scenario 2: I get my picture taken with Michael Easton at the Daytime Emmy Awards in Hollywood. This is worth 5 points because it's a picture with (5) and it's in CA (0).
  • Scenario 3: Dennis Miller comes through my line while I'm taking tickets at the SB Bowl. I say something like "I'll scan your ticket; have a nice time, blahblahblah". This is worth 2 points because I talk to him in my job function (2) and it's in CA (0).
  • Scenario 4: Felicity Huffman signs in for the triathlon while I'm at the registration area. I mark her, tell her where to go, and then later talk to her about how she did. This is worth 6 points because I have a conversation with her (3) and she's an A-lister (double) and it's in CA (0).
  • Scenario 5: I run into Jake Gyllenhaal in Trader Joe's, he tells me he loves me, we run off to a deserted island together. GAME OVER!
All points are retroactive to January 2009. All points must be submitted to the committee for eligibility determination. All submissions are subject to review at any time. So far the committee consists of Carrie-ITC, The Husband, and myself, but we are currently taking applications for fellow judges.

Let the stalking begin!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Oh, Poo!

First of all, I stole this commentary off of someone else's blog. So sue me. But seriously, give me a break. I can barely pull myself up out of my depression-induced fetal position to send out 20 resumes a day (which are subsequently sent to some big "we're not hiring right now, but we'll keep it on file" warehouse in the sky) and you want me to write an original thought, too?! Yeah right. All my creative energy went into that padded resume.

So I was reading this blog on germs, which doesn't get me too worked up usually. After all, I taught germy little middle schoolers for many years. However, this ewww factor is right up there with Chinese toilets. Newsflash: There’s poo in your laundry! "A report from ABC News states that there is about 0.1 gram of fecal material in a piece of underwear, which adds up to approximately 100 million E. coli bacteria in an average undergarment load." Um, ga-ross. And get this, if you do the green thing and wash in cold water, those cooties hang out and contaminate your hands as you put it in the dryer. Um, double ga-ross.

Fortunately, this blogger I so blatantly plagiarized posted some easy solutions to avoid poo-cooties:

  • Wash all undergarments in the same load and make it the last load of the day to avoid contaminating successive loads.
  • If you don’t use hot water for cleaning, consider using it just for underwear loads.
  • Don’t let laundry sit between wash and dry cycles as this gives germs a chance to multiply.
  • If you don’t dry your laundry on high heat for a full cycle, consider doing so just for underwear loads.
  • Wash hands after putting wet laundry in the dryer.
  • Don’t place dirty laundry on the folding/sorting table where clean laundry will be placed.
  • Don’t put clean laundry back in the dirty hamper to bring it back to the dresser.
And there you have it.....the most I have to offer these days are "Hints from Heloise". Stay tuned for some delicious tuna casserole recipes next week. K...M...N...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Facing Up to My Facebook Addiction

Facebook is my latest free-time-fun-time obsession. There, I said it. I know, I know...Biggest. Nerd. Ever. There are several reasons that have led up to this addiction, but it's mostly because I've had a lot of free time lately. First of all, I've been out of work for 6 weeks so looking for work has been my fulltime job. Not fun. Secondly, I will do ANYTHING to procrastinate unpacking. Oh wait, I'll do anything to procrastinate almost anything.

Now granted, I could be doing productive things like any of the items on my resolution list that, quite honestly, aren't all that fun. But instead I would much rather catch up on the latest. And yes, I do actually know all the friends on my "friends list" in person; they aren't just "cyber friends". And I love that in one fell swoop we can all know all the mundane details of everyone's lives - the same things we'd be gabbing about if we lived in the same neighborhood rather than 3000 miles away from each other.

Sooooo (finally getting to the point), in the spirit of keeping up with the details of everyone's lives, I keep getting these requests to list random things about myself and then "tag" people to do the same. Since I've been "tagged" about a dozen times so far, I feel obliged to do it although I'm finding it very hard to decide exactly what I want to share. Here's the deal: You're supposed to list 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about yourself and then send it to 25 people who make a list and send it to 25 people and so on, kinda like a cyber pyramid scheme. So here goes...

1. I always wanted to be a teacher. I used to play school with my brothers and sister when I was little and even had my own chalkboard and classroom area in our family room.
2. I am a terrible procrastinator. I get more done when I have lots to do because I'm usually procrastinating something else, but in the long run I'm more productive than if I'd started out with nothing to do. If that makes any sense at all.
3. I am obsessed with good grammar and correct spelling. I can't stand most text-speak, like "ur" instead of "your". I also can't stand incorrect usage of your/you're, there/their/they're, and to/too/two. And my biggest pet peeve of all.....A LOT is two words!
4. I come from a family of very conservative Republicans. I am not.
5. I dream in color several times every time I sleep, even during naps. Usually the first words out of my mouth upon awakening are "I just had the weirdest dream".
6. I flip-flop between thinking "I'm fabulous" or "I'm a loser" several times a day.
7. I hate bare floors. I would have carpet in my bathrooms and kitchen if it was up to me.
8. I hate school. Despite having a really high IQ (so they tell me; I beg to differ), I always skated by with doing the minimum required. If I ever had an option of doing one more assignment for an "A" or taking the "B", I took the "B" every time. The fact that I was a teacher for so many years, and loved it, and supposedly was good at it, is more than a little odd.
9. I have driven cross-country (CA-FL) 4 times in my lifetime and every time was The. Most. Fun. Ever. The first two involved camping (I was much younger and braver then) and one even involved a moving truck. Each one involved wild adventures that get better with each re-telling.
10. I have Selective OCD. My file cabinet has color-coordinated files with matching labels, yet there are piles on my desk that I never seem to file. My closet is organized by color and type, yet I can't be bothered to pick up the clothes piled on the floor. My life is filled with these contradictions.
11. I have several movie-star-pretend-boyfriend crushes at any given time. Colin Farrell, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Peter Sarsgaard currently. They change with time, but I've always had at least one since I was a kid. Darby Hinton was my first when I was about 10.
12. I love "As Seen on TV" gadgets. Any time I hear "If you buy right now, we'll throw in a (insert equally useless item) for free" I'm all over it.
13. I love long hair on men. Especially on my man.
14. I love mowing the lawn. I like making designs in the grass while I'm doing it. I also like to see what kinds of things I can run over and chop up. (Fallen grapefruits are my favorite.)
15. I love to be dirty and hot and sweaty at the end of the day. Hiking, rock climbing, walogging, bike riding, tennis, yard work - these are a few of my favorite things.
16. I obsessively alphabetize things. You'll notice this list is.
17. I refuse to watch movies that are sad, or involve animal abuse, or involve an animal dying. Violence doesn't phase me, but if someone's pet dog dies, I can't handle it.
18. I think reality TV is the dumbest thing ever invented.
19. I watch Beverly Hills 90210 reruns every day. Embarrassing, I know. (BTW, I've met Tiffani Thiessen and she's super nice, which makes it even funnier to watch "Valerie" as the town bitch.)
20. I would love to be a professional musician with a symphony. Or a conductor of a symphony. Or a ballerina. The fact that I've forgotten almost all of my childhood musical training and never had any dance training to begin with are just minor details.
21. If I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is have plastic surgery. (I wonder if Dr. Christian Troy would be available...?)
22. I'm the only adult I know who doesn't like coffee. I can only drink the sugary, whipped cream stuff from Starbucks and I prefer tea over coffee any day. I also don't even know how to make coffee.
23. I've been watching (and loving) soap operas since I was 16 years old. My dream job would be to write for All My Children or Soap Opera Digest.
24. I've had 29 different addresses in the past 29 years, sometimes causing people to wonder if I'm a fugitive. Actually, I just get bored. I owned a house for 3 whole years, but I felt too tied down, so I had to get rid of it.
25. My biggest regret in life is not having children.
26. My biggest soapboxes involve gay rights, mental health awareness, and a woman's right to choose.
27. My ex-husband has been one of my best friends for almost 25 years. His new wife is also one of my best friends.
28. My favorite animals are cats and dolphins, neither of which I can have as pets. One because it's against the law and one because I'm deathly allergic. (I end up in the ER due to a cat crisis at least once a year.) Fortunately I get to watch frolicking dolphins every day and it makes me smile.
29. My favorite movies are Brokeback Mountain, Reservoir Dogs, Legally Blonde, and Finding Nemo. Obviously I don't have a "type".
30. Relationships are the most important thing in the world to me - more than money, fame, or stalking Jake Gyllenhaal - and I will do anything for my friends/family. However, if the relationship becomes one-sided or harmful to my mental health, I move on and never look back.

Okay, so 30 instead of 25...math was never my thing. So now, tag, you're it, you have to share. Good luck - it's way harder than it looks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is That a Baby Bump I See?

It's true. My bump is growing. And before you start calling Guinness, there's no baby. Just fat. So as part of my revamped decade-old failed resolution to lose weight, I've decided to take pictures of it this year in order to meet my monthly benchmarks. See, I've noticed this growing (pardon the pun) trend of pregnant women taking pictures of their baby bump as it progresses and publishing the pictures for all to see. (I blame Demi Moore for starting the insanity.) Maybe it's because I've never been pregnant and always been fat that I just have an ewwww-reflex whenever I see a naked pregnant stomach, no matter if it's 9 weeks or 9 months. Seriously, what's up with the "here I am at 1 month, here I am at 2 months, here I am at 3 months, etc" thing or I've even seen pictures of someone on the way to the hospital captioned "this is as pregnant as I'll ever be", gee, thanks for sharing, ga-ross. But I digress...

I figure if I take pictures of my own ewwww-reflex bump each month, I'll be able to (a) shock myself with a "look away, I'm hideous" reality check, and (b) see if I'm making progress with the whole lose weight/exercise/eat healthy combo-goal. Hopefully it'll be like a reverse pregnancy and at 9 months the bump will be gone instead of on the verge of exploding. Oh, and don't worry - they'll be posted on my refrigerator, not here. Although, you never know. If I end up with a 6-pack, I may just publish the pictures after all. Okay, so there's really no threat of that happening, but I'm reserving the right to change my mind.

By the way, has anyone discovered the proverbial "magic diet pill" yet? And if so, clue me in, because the idea of eating vegetables for an entire year is only making Jilly G and her merry band of vegetarians happy. Me - not so much.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolutions, Smesholutions

And now it's time for my favorite New Year's activity - the resolution ritual. Here's how it goes: I make vague resolutions, I break them all within the month, the year marches on, December comes and I look back in disgust because I accomplished nothing in the entire year. What was that? This sounds familiar, you say? See if yours sound a little like this:

1. Lose weight
2. Exercise
3. Eat healthy
4. Save money
5. Less TV, more books
6. Write more often

However, THIS year is going to be different because I have actually revamped these resolutions and turned them into measurable goals with attainable benchmarks, blahblahblah-teacher-jargon-flashback, although I promise not to bore you with the deets. Apparently the only one most people care about is #6 because I keep getting asked, "Why don't you write anymore?" I have no answer. Lazy? Bored? Insecure? Dunno. So I'm going to try to update this blog at least once a week in 2009. Of course I realize 52 entries might be a stretch for my creative juices, so I can only imagine that some of the topics will hit new levels of boring and maybe even brevity (bonus). Some of you may even cancel your subscriptions. It's okay. Really. You won't be missing a thing!

Soooo, here we go again... Happy New Year!

p.s. You may want to review the disclaimer.