Posted in Humor, Meerkat Musings

I am… Beaker?!

During the week I did that most lethal thing. I asked a question, about myself, on social media. To what end would I inflict such suffering upon myself?! The question was ‘what celebrity do I most resemble?’ My own dear wife put forward the comparison with Mr Bean, one former colleague suggested a very angry Basil Fawlty, and another colleague felt Beaker from The Muppets was my natural twin.

No, I am not inflicting you with pictures of myself and my celebs, so you will just have to imagine whom I most resemble (it’s Beaker).


Sadly, I am not as skilled at science as our flame-haired friend here. My powers extend to only mild explosions and the occasional power outage.

This all got me thinking – who else do I resemble?


Screech? I was frequently told by my classmates at school that I looked like him. Good thing, or bad thing?


Ok, this is wishful thinking.


I have more hair. In fact, too much hair. I hate my hair. It’s not even Beaker hair, it’s unkempt thornbush hair.

The overall point to this post, if there is one, is that we often seek to compare ourselves – or we get compared – to other people. Why? When did we forget to love who we are? I will never been Zak Efron, not even close, so why should I care? It’s taken me a long time, but these days I feel comfortable in my own skin. I no longer regard myself as an ugly ducking, even if I’m no swan. I am me, and I am happy.

That’s the key message folks. It might take time to grow into the person you want to be, but grow you shall. No one starts out as a mighty oak – we all start out as some crazy nut. In my case, I’ve grown into a nut tree, but that’s not the point. Eventually, you will learn to be you, in all your glorious uniqueness (is that a word?), and you should celebrate that! That’s why I will be the Beaker of light in the darkness. I’ve Bean Fawlty for too long.

 

Posted in 1 Point Perspective, Humor

What’s In A Name?

Not the actual cat. Image from the interwebs

Some folks in Iowa recently named a rescued kitten “Firecracker” after veterinarians determined that the feline’s facial injuries had likely been caused by some sort of fireworks. In the interest of blog humor, I won’t get on a soapbox and rail against the sadistic nature of the cretins who perpetrate such acts upon innocent, sweet animals (or even cats for that matter).

Instead, I’d like to question the wisdom of christening a cat with such an awful name.  If it was a feisty tabby with an explosive personality and the potential to tear digits to shreds, then a moniker like Firecracker might be an apt handle.  Naming this little guy after the explosive that blew his whiskers off seems a bit cruel.  On the plus side, since it’s a cat, the name doesn’t really matter as they only respond to the sound of electric can openers anyway.

Naming pets is kind of an egotistical act of futility.  In the wild, they manage just fine without any sort of name at all.  Thanks to us, African parrots are all called Polly, toucans are Sam, and orange cats are typically Morris. If that zoo had the foresight to not tag that gorilla a nice African sounding Harambe, 20-somethings would have far less to put on their ironic memes and T-shirts.  Bored frat boys would not likely popularize the battle cry of “Dicks out for that gorilla they killed in the zoo that time.”

Remember my last post? It sucked too! Image from keppcalm-o-matic dot co dot uk

It’s fun to go to the off-leash dog park and listen to frustrated owners calling out the poor choices in names of their disobedient dogs.  New dog owners often give their pups awful names, unaware of how often and loudly they’ll have to use it.

Cumberbatch! Come!….CUMBERBATCH!  Come on boy!”  That shit never gets old.  If my allergies weren’t so bad I’d go spend the morning at the off-leash cat park.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Floridaborne, Humor

Not so special report: Why I missed my deadline…again.

Well, it’s July 4th and once again I missed my NWR reporting deadline.

.

Last Wednesday, I was busy moving into my new office.  

Yes, you read that right.

A real office with a window.

Think of offices as dominoes.  

One person retires permanently.  The only person who needs an office (me) doesn’t want that office.  What possible reason would I have for not wanting an office?

I found out months later that the office manager knows me so well she said, “We can’t put her in that office, she’ll freeze to death.”

And we all know that North Florida isn’t the land of the freeze and the home of the parade.  We’re the land of the free, the home of the brave, and we have a stand your ground law to prove it.

So I remained in the conference room in a corner with the office server to keep me company.  When you have tinnitus, the sounds of beeps and chirps are no worse than the sound of an air conditioner running.  And it’s a LOT warmer in there.

Did I mention that I loved being in the conference room and hadn’t asked to move?

 If you think of it in terms of office efficiency, no one can have a meeting in a conference room when it’s being used as an office.  It’s like trying to share secrets with your best friend while your mother is in the room. 

Next on the list of office dominoes:  Person loses office and ends up at the front desk.  

Why?  Because the phone system that was supposed to replace a receptionist only worked if the intent was to infuriate your customers to the point of road rage.   

There was an empty office near the entrance no one wanted, for a good reason. Another person is moved from her office into that office to serve as backup for front-desk duty  (since everyone who walked through the door and couldn’t find the receptionist looked there for help, anyway). 

That left one office open.   Since the newly vacated office was about 1 1/2 times the size of the Director’s office, and next to the Executive Director, I’d often wondered why she was still in a back office in the corner where the mailboxes had been set up.

Yes, the inter-office mailboxes have replaced the old water cooler.

angelsprings.com

Fast forward to last week.  The Director enters her office and starts sorting through papers.  Then she says she’s decided to move into the office next to the Executive Director.  

I was joking when I said, “Good. Now I can have an office.”

She looks up at me (as if I were psychic) and says, “That’s the plan.”

And that’s when I found out it had been a plan all along to provide me with an office that wouldn’t turn me into a human-shaped ice cube.

After I tell you what happened next, you might wonder why anyone would think I deserved an office.

With help, I brought in my desk from the conference room and arranged the office to (my idea of) perfection.  I sat at my desk, ready to work, and an arctic blast hit me wham-bam-thanky-mam in the head.  

I looked up….and shuddered.

My ideal spot was directly under an A/C vent that was open at full capacity.

I wasn’t about to dress like this in my own office…

So I took a bunch of these…

winda7.com

….secured them against my desk,  did this….

….had to use one of these to reach the ceiling and close the vents…

amazon.com

…and I lived to tell about it.

To add to this magnificent feet, feat, I have permission to close the door and open my window so that the balmy 90F air can come flowing into the office.

Nothing in life is better than this kind of freedom.

Posted in Shouts from the Abyss

Silence Is Better Than Bullshit

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Your author at work.

It was 10:30am Saturday morning. It was about half an hour since my wife had rolled out of bed. She was finally finding her words.

“How did it go?” she asked.

I thought real hard for a long, long time but I was baffled. I had no clue. “What in the name of Zeus’ butthole are you talking about?!”

(Side note: This is a fairly representative example of a typical conversation in the Taker household. -Ed.)

“Your blog post.”

Oh. Shit.

Continue reading “Silence Is Better Than Bullshit”

Posted in Humor, Meerkat Musings

Well Well Well


So, after banking on a sure-fire win, the Tories are left reeling from a Labour revolt that’s stunned the nation and sent a very clear message to the people in power – don’t ignore us. The Tories lost 12 seats, whilst Labour gained 29 – a clear swing toward the opposition. In fact, it left us with a hung Parliament for a short while (I’m not explaining what that means), until Theresa May, who stubbornly refused to resign despite a spectacular own goal, set up a minority government with the bastion of the far-right, the DUP.

Even with the support of a party that is outspoken on its opposition to LGBT rights, opposed to a women’s freedom to decide what happens to her own body, and filled with climate change deniers, the Tories still only have a majority of two seats, which means it’s a minority government now, one very much dependent on the good will of smaller parties voting for its policies in Parliament. So, far from securing the majority that would have let them pursue a hard Brexit, the Tories are now in bed with a party that opposes hard brexit, and actually has a number of disagreements (based on manifesto pledges) with the Tories. Well done…

So whilst it can be claimed that the Tories won the election, it can also be claimed that they didn’t win. They fell short of what they needed to win outright. They are depending upon another party to enter power with them, a party that is quite radical in its beliefs. Even then, they only have a minority government of two seats. Woo! To say this is a gamble that backfired is the understatement of the century. The Tories are more battered than the guy who ran as Mr Fishfinger (yes, seriously).


On the lighter side, Theresa May herself did defeat Lord Buckethead in her own constituency. She kicked the Buckethead…

So what does this all mean? Frankly, I have no idea. We don’t have a fish finger or a man dressed as a bucket for Prime Minister. It’s a huge vindication for Jeremy Corbyn, who may not have won, but he has certainly given Labour something to shout about. He even dabbed… well, he might have. In any event, he survived a determined campaign by the press to smear him, and even opposition from his own party, to show he can most certainly lead, and get results.

This is also one big rejection of the recent wave of populism that’s been going on. France rejected such notions, and now the UK has pushed back against it too. Younger generations are getting more involved, and asking serious questions of their leaders. They look at the Tories as a party of the past, more interested in austerity and helping their own than helping the country. Is that a fair perception? I can’t say. However, both the Tories and Labour need to look at why younger people have predominately voted Labour. To understand the reasons is to control the destiny of the next election.

I’m sorry that this post is so serious, but it’s a serious subject. A serious subject the Tories didn’t take seriously, and it’s hurt them.

 

Posted in Humor

Keep Calm Because I Made A Poster

 

If you’re like me, you’ve seen these dopey things and wondered WTF? I guess I need to be more specific. After all, there are any number of dopey things out there in this big old world. I’m not referring to a politician, a reality TV personality or even a narcissistic lunatic. I’ll let everyone else in the world do that. Instead, I’m interested in discussing the “Keep calm and (whatever) on” message found all over T-shirts, bumper stickers and occasional tramp stamps.


As usual, I’m probably late to the party to be wondering what the deal is with these things, but you’re reading this on a blog and not a Tweet or looking at it on a picture on Instagram, so I’m guessing you may be behind the times a little yourself.
If my 45 seconds of internet sleuthing is accurate, the original slogan was “Keep calm and carry on”. It was on a poster the British government came up with way back in 1939. This would explain the presence of what always struck me as a mysterious crown in the middle of the message. It seems the British government was pretty sure that they were going to be bombed by evil forces once WWII picked up more momentum. They put the posters up in buildings in areas which they anticipated were likely targets for attack. There is no evidence to support that the original poster idea was “I say old chap, if you can read this, you bloody well may want to get out of here.”


Most things which have been adopted by modern society have subsequently been butchered or diluted beyond all recognition. There is little if any connection to between the “stiff upper lip – bollocks to Jerry!” tone of the original message and the latest incarnations which run the gamut between “Stay calm and keep carpooling the kids to soccer practice” to “Stay calm and keep doing crossfit”.
One I’ve seen but was too embarrassed to look into read, “Keep calm and chive on”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a chive an herb best suited for topping the sour cream on a baked potato? How the hell does someone who’s chiving have any stress at all? Even the busiest of line cooks would agree that putting the finishing garnishes on spuds isn’t exactly a high pressure aspect to their work. (turns out Chive refers to a website which purveys humor and does some sort of good charitable work – so I’ll leave them alone).
Anyway, now that my Keep calm mystery is solved, I’ll move onto the next annoying cultural sesame seed in my metaphorical dentures…See you kids next time.

Posted in Floridaborne, Humor

MIRRORING MEMORIAL

shallow.jpg

****))))Special report((((****

To boldly glow where no ghost has glowed before.

“Harry!  Give me one of those low-fat organic berry surprise bars!”  I yelled out, straightening my perfect white t-shirt accessorized with green beads, a green belt and green shoes.

“Here ya go,” Harry said.

I glowered at him. “What the hell is this?”

“It’s that awful energy bar you love so much, but I don’t have to throw away what’s left over after you’ve only taken 2 bites.  You do want to save the environment, don’t you?” he snickered.

I took my 2 bites and held it carefully between perfectly coiffured nails, thankful his filthy hands didn’t want to touch me, either.  “Tell me again why I’m standing in Arlington Cemetery?”

“To pay your respects to those who died in battle.  You remember, the people who gave up their lives so that you could waste food and trash the constitution.”

“Hateful bastard,” I mumbled.  “Why were you assigned to me?”

“You claimed mental trauma sustained on the job after you saw a ghost,” Harry grumbled. “I’m the only person left who can survive you.”

“We’ll see about that,” I whispered.

He smiled amiably.  “This will take 5 minutes of your time and you’ll be at Dan’s barbecue extravaganza before everyone else has a chance to eat all the spare ribs.”

“He’s promised me a ride on his ATV so I can watch him run over snakes,” I said.  “That’s why I’m wearing $200 jeans instead of a $2000 dress.”

“He lives on undeveloped county roads,” Harry informed me. “Did you look it up to see if there’s an ordinance against terrorizing your neighborhood with those things?”

“Why would the illiterate savages who live there care?”  I asked.

“I live a few blocks from Dan,” he chuckled.  “You’ll be on air in 3…2…”

Holding the microphone with nails accented in forest green, I began my report. 

“I’m Shirley A. Moronass coming to you live from Arlington Cemetery.  Today we celebrate the sacrifices of men and women who gave their lives so that we may live free.”

I have to admit, the way I read the words off the teleprompter had most of my crew mesmerized.  Harry continued to record my fluff piece while the rest of the crew ran down the road as hard as their legs could carry them.

“Shirley,” a voice said behind me, followed by an ice-cold hand on my shoulder.  

I looked down where a hand should be, seeing only a white shirt.  “Harry?”

“He’s about 6 foot 2, grey hair…translucent,”  Harry said.

“Why do ghosts seem to haunt me?”  I whined.

“Because you can see us,” the ghost said.  “You’ve grown to be a shallow, shrill, shrew of a woman.”

“Who are you to…” I began, turning to face my accuser.  “Dad?”

“Dear God, even your dad doesn’t like you?”  Harry chuckled.

“He doesn’t know me,” I replied with great umbrage. “He died in the gulf war before I was born, leaving my mother to raise me and my 10-year-old brothers alone.”

“You had twin brothers?”

“Don’t remind me,” I said, rolling my eyes.  “They enlisted in the military at 18.”

“Unlike my ungrateful daughter, they served their country well,” the ghost said.

“They lived in the San Francisco’s Presidio as career military for 20 years.  They were middle-management bureaucrats working in food service.  I am a world-renown reporter!”

“Someone has to feed the troops.  It’s an honorable profession, one that doesn’t require being dressed like a prostitute.”

“I…don’t know if I can continue,’ Harry said, convulsing with laughter.  “I mean no disrespect.”

“None taken,” the ghost replied.

“I enlisted in 2005, sir,” Harry said.  

“I didn’t know you were in the military,” I said with just a hint of laughter.  “Were you in food service, too?”

 “Don’t be disrespectful,” Harry ordered. “I was one of the ground troops in Afghanistan.”

“He saved 2 men during a raid,” the ghost just had to say.

“May I ask your name, sir?”  Harry said, as if a ghost deserved his respect.

“Heeza Moronass,” he replied.  “Don’t ask, strange names are a family tradition and my wife loved all those old airplane movies.  Shirley, you remember?”

“That’s why my brothers changed their name to Sonofa Smith and Cuzeeza Smith!”

“So then…the name isn’t pronounced “Morehonest?”  Harry asked. “What does her middle initial stand for.”

“Another,” the ghost chuckled. 

“Shirley…Another…Moronass?”  Harry laughed.

By this time, the crew started meandering back.  After all, Harry and I weren’t dead from our encounter.

“I can’t stay,” the ghost said. “I have to remain vigilant and keep watching for the minions of evil.  It’s my job to run them off until I finish my penance.”

“You died in an attack,” I said.  “You were awarded a silver star for defending villagers against 4 terrorists.  You were buried here with a 21 gun salute, and my mother got a flag.  What could you possibly have to do penance for?”

The ghost hung down his head. “I was in a brothel in the midst of…shall we say…the deepest part of my pleasure when 4 men broke inside to kill the Americans.  Fortunately, I never went anywhere without a side arm.  The last one got a bullet through my head right after I’d fired the shot, but my shot took another minute to kill him.”

“How long do you have to serve penance.”

“Until Roger dies and takes my place.”

“When is the best time to visit you?”  I asked.

“Sunday morning around 9.”

“Good.  We’ll finish this conversation later,” I said, watching as his form dissipated into the air.  I yelled out to Harry, “Pack it up!  We have a barbecue to attend.”

“Some old lady terrifies you but that man doesn’t?”  Harry asked.

“He didn’t throw 2000 pounds of machinery into a tree, nor did he make me think I was sitting on a couch instead of rat poop,” I said.

“But he was your father…”

“…and my mother married the man who fought side-by-side with my father to defend a bunch of prostitutes while my mother was giving birth to me,” I said.  “Furthermore, the bullet that killed him was friendly fire.  But I suspect there’s more to it than that.   Mom and the bastard are living on the beach in a condo.  She took out an insurance policy on my father for a million dollars, and I found out later my step dad had taken one out on my father, too.”

“That can’t be the only reason you’re mad as hell,” Harry said.

Did it matter if he knew?  “I look more like my stepfather, Roger Smith.”

“You’re going after them with a vengeance,” Harry said.  “Better them than me.”

“Mom had one more daughter, a year after I was born.  I found out they left the bulk of their estate to her in their will.”

“What did they leave you?”  Harry asked.

“All the freestanding mirrors in the house,” I grumbled.  “By the time I’m through with them…”

“Tell me after it’s over with,” Harry said, rushing to the truck.