I'm Roz, and this is my relaxed space. It's about fun, good conversation and — well yes — good conversation. Pull up a well-padded armchair and help yourself to something to drink. You'll find cheese and crackers on the sideboard. What's new with you?
If you're looking for things in a more serious or spiritual vein, you can check out Exultet where I write that sort of thing.
My son has always been a talented writer - at least since he learned to type like the wind and so keep his fingers on the same page as his quick mind. This piece just resurfaced after being hidden on a hard drive somewhere for about 10 years. It was for a satire assignment in high school English, and I have a suspicion he hammered it out in about 20 minutes. All rights are absolutely reserved. Hear that, everyone? Quote with attribution only because, well, look at the title of this post.
I'm sorry, I just have to get this off my chest. I'm 28, male, white, blond, and employed in a marketing firm. I enjoy regular trips to the gym and I have a beautiful fiance. I'm a registered democrat, and I live in a suburb of Chicago. You'd think that I'm normal, right? Wrong. I have a disease. I'm addicted to toast. I'm a toastaholic.
I'm not proud of it. I've been trying to shake it for three years now, without success. It's tearing me apart. It's already cost me my relationship with my family and several good friends, and I fear that it could become worse. Toast rules my life with an iron fist. It dictates my daily routine, where I work, the friends I keep, and even how I decorate my home and budget my money. I own 23 two-slice toasters, 21 four-slice toasters, 7 8-slice toasters, and 16 toaster ovens. Three bread company delivery trucks make large shipments to my home every week, and I subscribe to nine toast magazines, ranging from the culinary to the pornographic.
It started mildly at first. At fifteen I was at a friend's house and he offered me some cinnamon toast. Intrigued, I accepted. His recipe was to apply butter to well browned toast and add healthy amount of cinnamon-sugar to it. I tasted some, liked it, and had more. Soon it was all I would eat at home. Soon, eating toast wasn't enough, and I bought a catalogue of the Benniman's Toaster Lineup from 1985 and hid it under my mattress. Soon I was stashing bread loaves in my closet and two toasters I had bought with my own hard earned lawn mowing money behind my dresser. My parents were never the wiser.
It all led to my difficult departure from home. We were eating dinner, and I, paranoid though I was, was having toast, with jam on it. My father grew tired of watching me use all the jam and butter, and said that I was eating too much toast. Even then, I was defensive about my habit, and so I snapped back that he was being a prick, and things went from there. I stormed upstairs, defiantly packed a week's worth of clothes and all five toasters that I had at the time into a suitcase, and stomped out of the house. I haven't talked to my family since.
I'm not merely content to eat toast, however. I need to be in contact with it 24 hours a day. At work, my computer's background is pictures of toast, and I have many pinup posters of toast in seductive poses around my cubicle. I have three toasters on my desk, and even if I'm too full to eat toast, I'll pop some so that I can caress and nuzzle it. At home, when I've eaten my fill of toast, I'll open up the current issues of HotToast! Magazine and leer at the Toastmate of the month. The centerfold toast pictures are legendary among toast lovers, and many good brands of bread got their start in it.
When I go shopping, I have to be careful to avoid appliance stores, because I inevitably spend three hours in the toaster aisle staring at toasters. I've had several one night stands with toasters in this fashion, and on rare occasion I've been unable to return the toaster and been stuck with it.
I belong to a network of toast lovers that has its own pornographic toast magazine and a regular newsletter. Our magazine is equal opportunity, we show all races of toast. Whole-wheat, white, rye, whatever, it's all in there in seductive positions with shiny, well endowed toasters. We even started a toast sex hotline 1-900 number, where you could call up and hear toast popping. However, other than the enthusiastic participation of members like myself, it folded after several months.
I am writing this to bring attention to what is becoming a nation-wide problem. People that may look normal to you at the mall or at work may go home and be toast addicts. This is happening to me and many others, and I encourage parents to educate their kids to prevent it from happening to them. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Leo Tolstoy opens Anna Karenina with the line: "“Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I've always thought that he had it backward - happy families have an enormous spectrum of ways to be happy together, but unhappy families would be populated with the proud or cruel and those reacting to them. Period.
But here comes the proof. Probably no other happy family spent Thanksgiving evening the way mine did. After jokes, probing into the various young ladies' romantic lives, and singing a song or two from Prairie Home Companion, we found ourselves in my brother's basement watching my middle-aged (but lithe and fit, mind you) sister together with various nieces and nephews initiating us into the hip-hop mysteries of the "Soulja Boy dance". Not only is the artist (well, Soulja Boy, of course, silly) sweeping the nation with his music and video, YouTube is thick with amateur videos of people (all in their basements, for some reason) displaying their own talents at the dance. There are even instructional videos for those of you who aren't superhuman but want to join the fun.
The Canadian, a "national newspaper with an international readership" explains to us how traditional religion is actually a plot by "Manipulative Extraterrestrials". They cite John Lash and his "related research on the ancient Gnostics. The Gnostics, had sought to warn humanity about reported attempts by demonic Extraterrestrial Consciousnesses, to manipulate humanity."
Light on The Canadian's orientation may be shed by what it expects to be winsome to its readership. "Click to make a donation pledge herein. Help support more investigative coverage on the fascistic North American Union (NAU) agenda."
Once upon a time, there was a dumpy guy who had never gotten around to having his teeth straightened. The son of a bus driver and a supermarket cashier, he had been bullied in school which mangled his self-confidence. He eventually supported himself with a job at the "Carphone Warehouse" in the south of Wales, but he carried another dream in his heart.
One day, not too long ago, he auditioned for the British version of America's Got Talent, usually a magnet for quick-change artists and yodeling Grannies.
"BAGHDAD, Iraq — Members of the Iraqi Army in Besmaya collected a donation for the San Diego, Calif., fire victims Thursday night at the Besmaya Range Complex in a moving ceremony to support Besmaya's San Diego residents.
Iraqi Army Col. Abbass, the commander of the complex, presented a gift of $1,000 to U.S. Army Col. Darel Maxfield, Besmaya Range Complex officer in charge, Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq, to send to the fire victims in California.
The money was collected from Iraqi officers and enlisted soldiers in Besmaya. "
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.
The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.
For The Record:
A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
In case the posting is taken down by the time you see it, the description reads:
Up for auction is a delicious tuna sandwich which, miraculously, has an American flag fried on the top. This sandwich is said to protect those who possess it from terror, rapture, apocalypse, spontaneous combustion, nuclear fallout, racism, etc. One should never leave the house without this sandwich on their person.
By the intended of a young friend of ours - a rather quiet young man, actually.
A while ago D_____ had this idea to have his sister, a pilot, take us flying. Sounded like fun. So, on Saturday, October 6, we went to Eucharistic Adoration at church and then headed to the airport for our plane ride. He was unusually excited, but he’s crazy about planes, so it seemed like him. There we were flying around town looking for my house from the sky. After a while, I spotted the neighbors’ house, and then moved my eyes just a bit to see mine…but something was VERY different about my backyard. There, in huge red letters on my lawn: “MARRY ME?”
It turns out this enterprising young man had been engineering this for several months, enlisting the entire families of the bride and groom and a large number of red tablecloths.
I certainly hope someone thought to get a photo from the air.
An icon of my youth, Joni Mitchell, has busted out of her long-silent shell with a new album, Shine, produced by Starbucks' (yes, that Starbucks) record label. She's learned the lesson of the present age -- the way to get attention is to be cranky.
Shine on the Catholic Church And the prisons that it owns. Shine on all the churches That love less and less.
Shine on lousy leadership Licensed to kill. Shine on dying soldiers In patriotic pain. Shine on mass destruction In some God's name.
On the singer's web site, she comments about If I Had a Heart, another song on the album: "I spent a couple of years in anger. I had fallen into a place where there was a lot of shaming and blaming, which I believe is the lowest level of evil. It conspires to having a bad heart-a heart poisoned with anger."
It seems, my friend, you are not free of anger-poisoning yet. And it seems to be particularly targeted at men, Christianity and the US government. In the words of a friend of mine, Joni appears to have gotten her knickers in quite a twist. "What's coming out of me is all sociological and theological complaint," she complained to the New York Times.
I'm afraid so, my dear. We'll pray for you. In the meantime, though, just say "no" to hate. I have it on a bumper sticker, if you want to borrow it.
HT to the Curt Jester with extra credit for his witty "Old hippie Joni Mitchell bravely confronts Islam's treatment of women... oh, wait --"
UPDATE: I find the response of iClaudius to the Curt Jester's post simply irresistible: "They paved paradise and put up a Starbucks" just doesn't have the same ring to it." Yeah. You'd think that at least she'd be shilling for Ben & Jerry's or something like that.
The symbol #, usually referred to as "pound", actually has a technical name. What is it? (Answer will appear below when you highlight the empty space by clicking and dragging with your mouse.)
Now, the $64,000 question: what is the origin of the term? (Hint: yes, the first half of the word refers to the 8 points formed by the ends of the straight lines. Now you're halfway there.)
The symbol had been chosen by Bell Labs to be one of two elements on the newly developed "touchtone" phone keypad to be dedicated solely to data use. (The other, as you know, is the * (star) key.) If you're not old enough to remember that all telephones used to have rotary dials, now you know -- that keypad is "newfangled".
One of the developers who was trying to devise a memorable name for the symbol was a sports fan. He began introducing the term "octothorpe" in written communications as an homage to Jim Thorpe, the noted Olympian. He calculated that it sounded technical enough that no one would suspect that he had just made it up out of thin air.
Well, times change. I'm charmed by the slam-poetry stuff being done by Jude Simpson, an eloquent British comedian who has written and performed some poetry under commission to Rejesus, an English evangelistic outreach. Here's where you can find her pieces. Click below to see one of the two videos currently posted on YouTube. This one's called "Unrequited Love." (Be patient. It's a bit of a slow starter.)
There was a huge nut tree by the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts. "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me," said one boy.
The bucket was so full, several rolled out towards the fence.
Cycling down the road by the cemetery was a third boy. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate.
Sure enough, he heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you." Instantly, he knew just what it was. "Oh my!" he shuddered, "It's Satan and St. Peter dividing the souls at the cemetery!"
He cycled down the road and found an old man with a cane, hobbling along. "Come quick!" he said, "You won't believe what I heard. Satan and St. Peter are down at the cemetery dividing the souls."
The man said, "Shoo, you brat! Can't you see I'm finding it hard to walk as it is!" After several pleas, the man hobbled to the cemetery and heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one..."
The old man whispered, "Boy, you've been tellin' the truth! Let's see if we can see the Devil himself."
Shivering with fear, they edged toward the fence, still unable to see anything, but still they heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me." and then " And one last one for you. That's all of them...Now, let's go get those nuts by the fence, and then we'll be done."
They say the old guy made it to town 10 minutes before the boy!
I have not yet read Harry Potter VII. I am not sure whether that is a mark of pride or shame, but I trust they will not all self-destruct before I get around to it.
We went to the local Borders on release night to get some snapshots of my costumed stepdaughter doing face-painting. Such a festival. Dress robes, shirts with "Property of Muggle University", a spelling bee ("no, I'm sorry, A-s-h-c-a-b-a-n is not correct"), and my favorite, a gray-haired grandmotherly woman carrying a large flowerpot with a plush Mandrake peeking out of the top. I felt sorry for anyone who had said to himself, "Hmm, I'm in the mood for a quiet cappuchino down at Borders' coffeeshop this evening."
I was hoping for this result. (Warning: the quiz is pretty "R" rated.)
Baseball is the greatest sport, except for maybe curling. (Please take any arguments outside. No one here is listening.)
It is the conviction of this author that nothing in baseball matches the beauty of a marvelously executed defensive play. Unfortunately, televised baseball doesn't give us much chance to see the choreography of defense, but it does give us the chance to watch the game (1) cheaply, (2) in air-conditioned comfort on a soft couch, and (3) in proximity to a bathroom without a long line. Such are the compromises of daily life, and it behooves us to make them and stop whining.
Modern media, that slave of a society that seeks the spectacular rather than the excellent, shows us one arching home run after another on the nightly sports report. Can anyone find that really interesting? I am, however, no snob. The love of a gracefully turned double play aside, nothing beats a quirky inside-the-park home run for sheer enjoyment. (By definition, all inside the park homers are quirky. How many happen in a season, really, unless the team plays in a stadium the size of Cook County and the opposing outfielders were recruited on the set of the Wizard of Oz?)
This year was notable for the excitement of the first inside-the-park homer in the history of the All-Star game. That brought up discussion by the commentators of another, hit earlier this year by the extremely improbable Prince Fielder. At first, I thought they were kidding. I've admired Fielder's play and have vivid and fond memories of his similarly well-nourished father, Cecil, who gave joy to thousands of Tiger fans while he was in Detroit. But the thought of Prince legging it fleetly around the basepaths boggles the imagination.
If I ever get around to compiling a collection of notable blog titles and subheaders, this gem will be among the first. (HT Right as Usual)
"Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. " (The Third Man)
Bite not, lest you be also bitten. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of the bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, not against any building; nor eat sand.
Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not the humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you shall drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.
I wrote a post on Exultet about how to select a good husband. (No offense to you gentlemen who also might be able to make use of the suggestions, but I cannot pretend to know anything about picking a wife.)
Although I keep thinking of new items to add to that already voluminous list, I thought I'd veer elsewhere here and let you all know my tips for early detection of someone who has no business on your eligibility list.
Here are indications of crummy husband material:
His first gift to you is a poster showing Superman busting out of Kryptonite chains.
You have conversations consisting of, "I don't know, what do you want to do?"
He spends a lot of time worrying about why you are yelling at him.
You spend a lot of time worrying about why he is yelling at you. Or at the cat.
He laughs so hard at his own jokes that he can't enunciate the punch line.
He carries on conversations with other people while he's on the phone with you. You never find out what those conversations were about.
You have heard him make rude noises with his hand and armpit.
In the back of your mind, there's a suspicion that he might be using you. (You're undoubtedly right.)
He needs you, he really needs you, and it's not a good time to stop seeing him right now.
He loves you so much that it takes almost nothing to make him jealous.
He is your first boyfriend. Or, he's your second boyfriend after the first one broke up with you.
He's always asking how much something costs. Or, he never cares how much something costs.
He blows off commitments because people will certainly understand.
Even your friends who have confidence in your judgment tell you to think again about this guy.
He has terrible experiences in his background, but he assures you he has put all that behind him and it will never bother him again.
And the top way you know to show this guy the door is:
When you tell him your parents are stupid, he agrees.
(Update: "Yep. It's broken. Snappo!" Extra credit for anyone who identifies the source of that quotation in the comments. My kids are ineligible -- sorry, guys.)
(Final update: Not enough Bill Cosby fans read this blog. The quotation comes from the Cosby Show episode in which Clair obstinately clings to her independence (and triumphs in the "Smooth Contest") in spite of her broken toe. I do not share Clair's attitude: I am happy to acknowledge that there are things I cannot now do, and I in no way am inclined to challenge anyone to a "smooth contest." But then, I don't look like Clair, either.
CINCINNATI — Mike Thomas, 23, enjoys cultivating a close relationship with the Holy Spirit, but some friends say he’s become too familiar with the third person of the Trinity. When they call to ask what Mike is doing, he now tells them, "Me and HS are down at the coffee shop."
"It took me a while to figure out who ‘HS’ was, especially when I would get there and Mike was alone," says a friend. Lately, Mike tells friends he’s "hanging with the Ghost." "We all know the Holy Spirit is with us, but it’s hard for us to relate to him like Mike does," says one friend. When the group heads out to dinner or a movie Mike sometimes pauses and says, "Hey guys, let’s not forget the Ghost." When they meet new people, Mike introduces himself — and the Holy Spirit. "It’s a little awkward when you’re meeting girls," says one friend. "They’re like, ‘Who else you got with you, Casper?’" When Mike arrives at church for worship he has started announcing, "Woohoo! Another dose of the Ghost." He has even been heard to say during praise time, "You are the Ghostest with the mostest." Mike also insists that people call the third person of the trinity "Holy Spirit" rather than "the Holy Spirit." "Holy Spirit is a person, not a thing," he chides. "Do you want people to call you ‘The John Smith’?"
Friends say they appreciate Thomas’s close relationship with the Holy Spirit, even though it’s making their social lives challenging. "We’re asking Holy Spirit to talk with him about it," they say.
Would you like a little catechesis with that whopping helping of casual presumption, sir?
1. Avoid alliteration. Always. 2. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. 3. Employ the vernacular. 4. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc. 5. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary. 6. Remember to never split an infinitive. 7. Contractions aren't necessary. 8. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos. 9. One should never generalize. 10. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." 11. Comparisons are as bad as cliches. 12. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous. 13. Be more or less specific. 14. Understatement is always best. 15. One-word sentences? Eliminate. 16. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake. 17. The passive voice is to be avoided. 18. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms. 19. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed. 20. Who needs rhetorical questions? 21. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement. 22. Don't never use a double negation. 23. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with point 24. Do not put statements in the negative form. 25. Verbs have to agree with their subjects. 26. Proofread carefully to see if you words out. 27. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. 28. A writer must not shift your point of view. 29. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.) 30. Don't overuse exclamation marks!! 31. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents. 32. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided. 33. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. 34. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors. 35. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. 36. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing. 37. Always pick on the correct idiom. 38. The adverb always follows the verb. 39. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They're old hat; seek viable alternatives.
Name:: Roz Hometown::Ann Arbor, MI
Mother of several, grandmother of a couple, wife to one very good man. My epitaph will probably read, "Well, you just never know." Life is good, but it takes unexpected turns. Good thing I like surprises.