Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

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The Belt of the Gods

June 15, 2016

bolo

My life has been changed forever and it is all due to a new belt. More specifically, an elastic stretchy belt.

I have always worn a belt, for two reasons, mostly. First, my lineage is that of a Texas redneck. We wear leather belts. With big belt buckles We just do. Don’t question it. Besides keeping pants above the waistline I’ve never figured out the real reason. Some men are well shaped and don’t need a belt to hold up the jeans. The Texan belt, I figure, is purely decorative with large, shiny buckle to draw attention to our crotch area.

Texan men even wear belts around our necks. That’s right; instead of a formal men’s long or bow tie, we wear the famous “bolo” tie which is essentially a belt around the neckline with a smaller decorative buckle.

Second, and the most obvious reason, is to cinch our trousers around our hips so they don’t fall down. In my 20’s and 30’s a belt wasn’t really necessary for that purpose. But now as I am now the age of mumblemumble I find that my britches tend to sag due to a curious barrel shape my body has taken in my middle parts. Let’s just say that my 20-something six-pack is now a keg. Therefore, a belt has been an unavoidable and fundamental element to my daily couture.

My belt of choice has been a simple, thin, plain, black, leather belt. It works for work. Discrete. Fashionable. Easy to store. But alas, after a hearty meal or the day following an earnest evening of brew tasting the usual belt setting embraces my waistline with much restraint and groaning protest.

Recently I was introduced to the stretchy belt.

And there was much rejoicing and sounding of trumpets and jamming of saxophones and melting of faces with electric guitar!

Hallelujah! This $20 little piece of elastic braided belt is a gift sent by the gods of growing waistlines. No longer do I have to loosen the leather strip another notch after a Thanksgiving feast. I can cinch it up tight enough to hold up the sinking, slipping britches, and when I sit properly in a chair the elastic flexes so I do not feel that burdensome hip pinch.

It feels good to breathe. It really does. And the remorseful act of sucking in the gut to prevent permanent and indented “belt waist” is a thing of the past. Thank you, gods of the growing waistline, for your generous favor to beer-bellied fellows everywhere!

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Coffee Armageddon

June 14, 2016

Yugo-Keurig

Our coffee machine is busted at work. And guess who’s in charge of coffee. That’s right, yours truly. I had no idea that a coffee-less office could be so uptight. I should have expected it, though. The pure outrage and sinister intimidations I have received from coworkers experiencing caffeine withdrawals is paramount to road rage on an epic scale. Within the last two days since the coffee Armageddon I have been threatened with at least one of the following if I don’t repair the machine or replace it post-haste:

“I hope you step on a Lego!”

“I will dress you as lettuce and feed you to the snails!”

“I will delete your hard drive!”

“I’m gonna rip off your cajones and boil ‘em in motor oil!”

“Listen up you little spazoid, I swear to everything holy that your dead ancestors will cry when they see what I’ve done to you!”

Boy, do they reeeeally want some coffee. But I don’t take any of it personally.

Let me back up and first explain that our office coffeemaker is a Keurig. The Keurig design, though convenient and offers many delicious choices of flavors for single cup pours, turns out to be the Yugo of coffeemakers. If you aren’t familiar with the Yugo, it was a former communist Yugoslavian designed car from the early 1980’s that appeared to have been manufactured at gunpoint. It started as a big hit for economic size, price and fuel efficiency. But it was soon recognized as an unimaginative eyesore and didn’t take more than a simple drive around the block for owners to realize the car was a disastrous and dangerous monstrosity just waiting to break down, fall apart, or worse, blow up at the worst possible moment.

That’s what you get with a Keurig.

The Keurig was designed to be a convenient way to make a single cup of coffee. Oh, but you can only purchase and use the expensive licensed K-cup coffees along with the machine. Oh, and did I mention that the expensive machines are made to be disposable? That’s right, gang. If a Keurig fails or malfunctions (which they often do. Just read the reviews.) there are no repair shops available. Coffee machine repair technicians (and this is a real, honest job, folks) have emphatically stated that the Keurig has no replacement parts, and it is more expensive to repair than to simply replace a Keurig machine. Ergo, they are disposable contraptions.

Which brings me back to my dilemma. No Keurig – no coffee. Also, no manager or CFO around this week to approve a new purchase of another disposable machine. So, I guess I’ll have to endure the sad, pathetic threats of my co-workers for another 3 or 4 days. In the meantime, I’m headed to the 7-Eleven down the block for a nice, cheap cuppa joe.

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Bake Mouth at 450 Degrees

April 26, 2016

Scalding

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has burned the tongue from a hot cup of coffee, or a bite of burger hot off the grill, or maybe a bit of overdone potato. But have you ever scalded your mouth from something steaming hot? I mean fresh outta the oven at 450 degrees?  So hot you can even see the steam rising? Scorched to the point of dripping, ruined flesh?

Uh, me neither.

Oh alright…I did it.

One major problem of extreme hunger is impatience. Any 5pm on a weekday is happy hour somewhere. We had intel that a great new little restaurant just opened up and had a fabulous happy hour prices on delicious food. I’m all about cheap and delicious, so off we went.

I’m a sucker for a delicious dip, so I had to order the cream cheese artichoke heart dip. Prepared fresh and baked at 450 degrees, it went straight from the oven to the table right in front of my hungry, impatient mouth. Ah, dinner time! I knew it was hot, sure. So I blew on it a little, and shoved a chip-full of it right in.

The attempted caress of air used as a stop-gap cooling method didn’t work. Nope. Not at all. With extremely poor etiquette that would cause Miss Manners to blush and glare, I expelled the offensive scorching fragment of hell right back onto my plate. But it was too late. The damage was done. At once I felt hanging chads of flesh clinging to the roof of my mouth. My tongue felt like a summer day on the Sahara. And only mass quantities of ice water soothed the burn.

Dinner wasn’t nearly as delicious after that. But it didn’t stop me from eating it after an appropriate cooling period. I learned my lesson: when the directions say ‘let sit for 5 minutes before eating’, it’s for your own damn protection.

So if this happens to you, feel free to adopt my impromptu methods below to assuage the incinerating oven that is now your mouth.

After the burn:

  1. Let Someone Know

It is important to inform the fellow diners and restaurant employees of the emergency. Do like me and with an open scorching mouth yell, “AAAAAHHH!!! GAHHH DAAANG!!! ‘AAASSS HAAAAAWWWT!!!!”

  1. Apply Ice Water

To begin immediate relief, use copious amounts of ice water. Splash the remaining 10-12 ounces of ice water from your glass inside your gaping mouth. Don’t worry about getting water on your outfit. It will dry. If possible, perhaps through the aid of your dining partner since you now cannot speak, request a trough of ice water be placed in front of you.

  1. Avoid Crunchy Foods

After the burn, it is wise to avoid crunchy foods. Do not eat that tortilla chip that came with your scalding artichoke dip. It is now a shard for which to pierce your sensitive pie hole.

  1. Eat Plenty of Ice Cream

As a form of recompense, ask the restaurant for a dish of delicious, sweet ice cream for desert. At least three scoops. Eat more when you get home. And be sure to stock up because ice cream will be your only meal for the next few days.

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How Writing a Novel is Like Pac-Man

May 18, 2015

Pac-ManSee if this sounds familiar: you’re writing a novel. You have big ideas and really get into the writing process. But your big ideas are really just general plot points and not specific details on how your character gets there. During the process your brain has to come up with thousands of choices about what your protagonist does. At a crossroads do you make him go left or right? Does he take the road less traveled to an exciting and unique adventure, or a safe path toward certain over-done cliché story lines?

I am reminded of one of my favorite video games: PAC-MAN. Pac-Man was MY game as an adolescent. I played it every chance I got. I was hooked I saved, bartered, and even sold every Star Wars action figure just to get quarters so I could play another game of Pac-Man (and am I now terribly regretful I sold of my Star Wars stuff – oy!). I was good. Really good. I won Pac-Man tournaments (which gave me more quarters just to stuff back into the video game), and I could play for hours on just a few quarters. But getting good took practice. I had to learn when to turn left, and turn right at just the right time, and memorize the patterns so I could do it again. Took a lot of trial an error.

When I write it feels like a game of Pac-Man. I have to turn right, or turn left, and see where it takes me. And eventually I make hundreds of decisions that make sense and gets me to completion. The completion, of course, is getting my hero through an impossible maze against terrible obstacles and completing his or her goal.

So get to it. Start writing and making decisions. The first choice may not always be the best, but trial and error will get you through a maze of impossible tasks to finally complete your novel.

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Confessions of a Dyslexic Accountant

March 12, 2015

Dyslexia2

Hi. My name is Bob. I’m an accountant. And I have Permanent Onset Radically Transposing Late Adult Number Dyslexia (or ‘PORTLAND’ for short). Self-diagnosed, of course. I don’t even know if there is such a thing as “onset number dyslexia”. In fact, a quick Google search of the term returns nil. So I am announcing herewith that I have discovered a new debilitating number transposing syndrome and I am calling it PORTLAND.

Historically I have always been a number cruncher. I could whip out multiplication tables lickity split. Give me a short list of two digit numbers and I could give you back the sum in no time. And that’s why I studied accounting in college. I like my accounting day job. Every business needs a bean counter. I get a lovely sedentary job in a comfortable chair with a pair of monitors and unlimited computer access. Excel is my best friend, and at the end of the day the debits and credits all just have to add up to $0.

Why do I think I have PORTLAND? Lately I’ve noticed things just don’t add up. I have noticed clues pointing to this fact. Perhaps you’ve noticed clues as well? Here’s a starter list. See if any of these sound familiar:

  • A stranger answers the phone and you realize you’ve transposed numbers and dialed the wrong person.
  • You punch an incorrect number sequence on an adding machine, causing infinite frustration for an accountant trying to reconcile $0.27.
  • You expect to pay the bargain price of $9.99 for a set of name brand headphones and discover at the register that the actual cost is $99.99.
  • Your bank sends you a message that you just deposited only $23.21, not $32.12.
  • You look at a set of easy numbers, say, ‘12345’. And while performing quick data entry you catch yourself typing ‘13254’ (and subsequently ask yourself, ‘WTF did I do that for?’).

Yes, these clues have all happened to me. And it only happens with numbers, not letters. Since there is no official diagnosis for PORTLAND, there is no cure. Thus, it I am categorizing it as a progressive syndrome that may or may not get worse with age. The only treatment is support groups. So far I’m the only one.

Anyone want to join mine?

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Unsticky Fingers

April 11, 2014

Disadvantages of UFA is the inability to snap one's fingers.

Hi, my name’s Bob, and I have unsticky fingertips.

As I inch my way toward retirement, (a nice way of saying, “Geesh! I feel old!”) I seem to have unwittingly joined a secret association of people recovering from sticki-less fingertips. In fact, recent research from the University of Arizona, where they study the effects on fingertips from dry, barren desert climate, has produced a study showing that fingertips in all adults over 39 wear down, sorta like sandpaper on a block of wood, or a kid licking his way to the center of a Tootsi Roll Tootsi Pop. And some adults can lose up to 103% of the fingerprints on their fingertips. The result being smooth fingertip pads with no character except wrinkles and dry cracks in the wrinkles, and a bunch of 80-year-olds enjoying a second career as cat burglars.

When I was a young whippersnapper (I say that because I fondly remember when I could actually snap my fingers), I remember my best bud Brett and I would stare bewilderedly at “old” people while they licked their fingers before flipping through a stack of paper, and then repeated the process every few pages. Even when I asked for money from my dad, he would whip out his leather billfold with one hand, and surreptitiously lick his thumb and forefinger on the other hand. He then flipped through a few bills, licked again and again until he found me a five-spot. Sometimes that five-spot came with a bonus twenty-spot. I know now that it wasn’t a bonus, but just the result of Dad’s slippery unsticky fingertips. Back then I thought, “huh, how annoying that must be to have a condition where paper merely slips through one’s fingers.”

I mention that because today I said to myself, “huh, how annoying it is to have a condition where paper merely slips through my fingers!!” Now, if ever I need to sort through a stack of papers, or even hold a pen, I am now dependent upon either licking my fingers which exposes me to any number of finger-borne germs (who knows where those one-dollar bills have been), or using a product called Sortkwik, a pasty stuff which is evidently made from a combination of glycerin and the underside of duct tape. Now my finger pads are plenty sticky, and smell like soapy duct tape. My new disability requires that I use this product for the rest of my life. I also find it comes in handy as a hair gel.

It is with great consternation and serious reservations that I now join the Unsticky Fingertip Association, or UFA (affectionately called “Ooffa”). Take care of your fingertips. Use lotion, avoid heavy lifting, and by all means stop counting through so much paper, or we’ll be seeing you at a support group meeting of the UFA soon.

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Too Much Coffee, Man!

March 28, 2014

Too Much Coffee, Man!

Like some Americans I know, I spend the beginnings of my waking hours with a cup of coffee in my hands. Coffee is one of the few psychoactive stimulant drugs that I can afford. Thank Congress it’s legal. And like a few other Americans I know I, too, work for a company that wants its employees awake while they perform their jobs. To help with the task of staying awake they provide this psychoactive stimulant called coffee, and/or a lesser stimulant called tea, as a free employee perk (sorry, but there was just no stopping that pun).

 

Now most employers offer a limited choice, such as a pot of dark roast, a lighter roast, and a decaf. And in those situations the employees must self-monitor the coffee supply in each dispenser, and take initiative to start brewing a new batch when the pot runneth out. Failure to comply usually results in a ‘code red’ if ever caught, whereby the accused has his or her fingers shoved through the paper shredder (or his tie if it is absolutely repulsive), or something even worse like licking and sealing all the thousands of weekly marketing envelopes.

 

I, however, have hit the psychoactive stimulant jackpot at my new employer. Not only is the coffee free and provided in an unlimited supply, but we get our choice of brew strength and flavors. A Cadillac model Keurig (Dutch word for “nervous” or “fidgety”) allows any employee to brew a single cup of delicious coffee at the press of a button. Simply choose a mini “K-cup” of hundreds of flavor choices such as Vanilla Crème, Caramel, Kahlua, French Roast, Organic Garden Dirt, or even the less popular Ground Mealworms (high in protein – low in fat), and shove the tiny cup into a hole with a hypodermic needle at the bottom whereby it pierces the cup and allows the juicy steaming nectar to flow through into my mug. A press of a button, and in 30 seconds – voila! – my scalding hot flavored coffee is ready for consumption (which typically is spilling down the front of my starched white shirt)!

 

Methinks the business may emphasize the coffee consumption a bit much. For instance, each morning our favorite K-cup is placed conspicuously on our desks, much like a hotel places a mint on your pillow. The reminder is obvious: “wake up, and GET TO WORK!” And at various times throughout the day we are escorted to the break room by men in black suits and dark sunglasses who wear earpieces and talk into their watches. They supervise us while we refill our empty mugs, then promptly accompany us straight back to our cubicles. No chit-chatting with these fellas. My best guess is that my code-name is “Bluebeard”. I think it’s because of my nearly full gray beard, or maybe because I do Capt. Jack Sparrow impressions every day. Oh, they’re here now. Time to go refill with a delicious Mega Irish Hawaiian Chocolate Donut Avacado Truffle.