Logic Is Hard
Stories... Things I've heard, seen, done, and had done to me.
Friday, July 31, 2009
My wife has a "page-a-day" calendar that supposedly has 365 of the stupidest things ever said. Amazingly enough, quite a few of them aren't funny. But there have been some real gems. Here are a few of my favorites.
From a "New York City complaints hotline" bureaucrat:
Rat complaints have gone up, but we look at that as a positive thing, because more people know how to contact us now.
From "The Titusville Herald" in Pennsylvania
Just to keep the record straight, it was the famous Whistler's Mother, not Hitler's, that was exhibited in the recent meeting of the Pleasantville Methodists. There is nothing to be gained in trying to explain how the error occurred.
Let's just say that the guilty party has been promoted to management and leave it at that. :)
And, my favorite...
From a sandwich advertisement at a cafe in Vancouver, British Columbia
Each special comes with small dink.
You've probably already guessed this, but "small dink" was the kindest of my many nicknames in grade school. Ah, sweet memories.
Ever heard of the big red button? In many stories the big red button is attached to some critical "self-destruct" thinger. Sometimes it's an emergency power kill-switch. It's always ominous, always very clearly labeled, and always very tempting.
It has been said that even if a big red button were labeled, "End of the world button, do not press EVER", still people would be lining up for miles for their turn.
And then there's World Of Warcraft. I don't play, but my buddy Scruffy does. He told me that one of the "boss" characters he and his friends were fighting actually has a big red button on the wall behind him. The button has bright flashing lights all around it to draw as much attention as possible.
If you press the button, the enemy boss character goes into "hard" mode. Basically, at that point he goes berserk and nigh invulnerable. Everybody dies.
That night, I told my wife about the big red button. We laughed and made fun of Scruffy's online gaming addiction, because we're like that.
Later that night we watched "Coraline". It's a good movie, although it is pretty creepy.
There's a part near the beginning of the movie where Coraline walks into a hall closet and pushes a button that is labeled "Do not push!" The electricity goes out in her father's office, where he had neglected to save his work. She quickly presses the button again and runs away, attempting to look innocent.
We nearly cried laughing. It was the big red button again, on a smaller scale. :)
My wife stepped outside a few days ago and saw a neighborhood girl chasing a puppy. "Help!", the girl shouted. "It's my friend's dog!"
My wife isn't real good with dogs, but it's hard to say no to a kid. She stepped out to join in the chase, but the dog had already gleefully leapt into our garage.
And thus the game was afoot. My wife just wanted to the dog to leave. Neighbor girl was nearly in tears, shouting "Help! It's my friend's dog!" over and over. And the rouge pup was convinced he'd just discovered the very bestest game EVER.
They chased him around the car a few times. He ran over by the lawn mower and knocked over the weed eater to discourage pursuit. He dodged under some shelves and started dislodging boxes because he liked the noise they made. He stole one of my screwdrivers and used it to remove his collar. He even crawled up into the attic and broke most of our Christmas decorations. All the while he was successfully playing keep-away from the humans, bouncing around and barking happily.
They eventually caught him by dragging a TV out into the garage and playing a Lassie rerun.
The very next day my wife looked out a window. The pup was back and running north with the kind of wide enthusiastic doggy-grin that said, "I just *know* there's a Scooby Snack for *me* on the other side of that hill!" He was on a leash, dragging neighbor girl along behind him. As she bounced and crashed and rolled in and out of the street she shouted, "Help! It's my friend's dog!"
My wife and I were walking in our neighborhood when we passed by a car in somebody's driveway. The car had lettering on the rear window that amused the heck out of me. There were people around, so I couldn't snap a picture... forgive the crude recreation.
There's so much to love here beyond the obvious irony. The pathetic little smiley face is a definitely a winner. There's also no mention of what is being cured... Baldness? Hurricanes? Dane Cook? The truth eludes me.
But I keep going back to the delicious irony of putting a "walking" message on the back of a car. You don't see bicycle messages on the backs of Harleys and you don't see Weight Watchers ads in McDonald's.
Somewhere there's an overweight guy coagulating on his couch surrounded by half-empty beer cans and cuddling his TV remote. He's wearing a Gold's Gym t-shirt, and if he ever saw "Walking for a cure" on a car's back window, he wouldn't get the irony.
Bear with me, I'll get to the question in a moment.
I saw Labyrinth for the first time about 6 months ago. I had been told by many people that it was a wonderful, magical fun movie that everybody (in spite of the evidence) had seen as a child and that everybody loved unconditionally. My wife and I had a hole in our Netflix list, so we gave it a shot.
We hated it.
I relayed this experience to several friends afterward. Blunt disbelief was the most common response. I was told that I have no soul.
I just couldn't get past how cheesy and corny it is. David Bowie looked like he'd just stuck a finger in a light socket and his songs were annoying and he sure as heck didn't look like a goblin. Most of the muppets did not impress. The story did not impress. The only bits I actually liked were the Bog of Eternal Stench (I'm a sucker for stink jokes) and Ludo (same reason, basically).
LadyPatsFan and I discussed this at some length once she got past the open-mouthed shock of my hatred for the film (in other words, last week). We theorized that if you see Labyrinth before a certain age (prolly 10 to 13-ish), then the movie would be enjoyable. Once you love a movie as a kid, you'll love it for life.
This seems to fit the facts. All of LadyPatsFan's kids are 13 or younger, so she showed Labyrinth to them last weekend. For her sake, I hope she didn't miss the window of opportunity.
Anyway, I was thinking about this and a crazy question popped into my head. I hate myself for even thinking it. I'm pretty sure I don't want to know the answer. But if we adults have blind spots for movies we loved as a kid...
*gasp* Did "The Goonies" actually suck?
Feel free to post your thoughts... I promise to fail to compile them, claim that the results say "no", and consider the outcome to be scientific.
Who remembers Fonzie from Happy Days? I was a kid when Happy Days was on, but I remember one thing the Fonz would do that always made me laugh. Private discussions with his friends usually took place in the bathroom, which he referred to as his "office".
I was walking down the hallway with East Coast a while back. We were talking about the various projects we're working on, discussing technical details and such.
We hadn't planned to go visit the bathroom together, but it just worked out that way. East Coast asked me a question as we approached.
I did my best Fonzie impersonation. "Step into my office," I said as I pushed open the door.
It may surprise you to know that my best Fonzie impersonation sounds a bit like seasonal allergy congestion. Then again, it may not.
We're working on a new Sports Feature for our website. I was working on a web page for some of the local college football players, but didn't have any actual info to use. So, I made I player page for myself. In the "Description" field I put:
Jeff is the best rampaging linebacker the team has ever seen. Head coach Mike Gundy says, "His ability to dismember offensive linemen on his way to the quarterback is remarkable. If we didn't sedate him before every game there would be deaths. He always has blood on his jersey, and we love him for it." Jeff has been with the team for 15 years. He actually graduated in 1998, but no one has had the nerve to tell him. He's also in the band.
My wife and I moved into our house in April of last year. One of the things that quickly impressed us was how hot all of our light fixtures were.
We did some prodding around and realized that the previous owners took a very scattershot approach to lighting. We have five fixtures that take at least 4 bulbs each. There were absolutely NO matching bulbs, and they were all at least 60-Watt. Some were "soft white", but most were pretty bare. One was a "Three-Way" bulb that could do 60, 90, or 120 Watts. A couple of them looked like they came out of prison interrogation rooms. One even looked like it came out of a refrigerator.
We suddenly got very happy about 40-Watt bulbs. I think we hit a sale or something. We wound up replacing every bulb in the house with 40-Watt's. We took all of the other bulbs and piled them up in the linen closet.
From then on, every time we had a single-bulb fixture go out (mostly our lamps), we'd replace it with one of the old bulbs. Since they weren't new they never lasted long, but that was OK. We called them our "free" light bulbs.
This week, we hit a milestone. The last "free" light bulb was used. Our linen closet is empty. I guess this means we can buy some towels now.
It's weird how quickly I got used to having a closet full of moderately-used light bulbs. It was like a carnival grab bag... I never knew what Wattage I'd end up with. Sometimes the free bulb would only last a week, sometimes a month. A couple of them are still proudly burning.
None of them worked when I stuck them in my mouth though. Not that I really expected it, but I *was* kinda hopeful.
I think I've seen everything now. Check out these "Body Pillows"...
The pillows themselves aren't too remarkable. But check out these "Build" instructions...
1. Pick your Body Pillow
Whoa. Hold on a second. I have to pick one?!? What kind of voodoo do you speak to me, Pillow Scribe? Besides, how can I possibly choose from all those identical white vertical foam pickles?
2. Pick your Cover
What, I have to choose again? My mind wasn't made for this kind of heavy use. *sigh* Oh well, at least this time there's a little variety.
I can go for angel, demon, or scale-crusted amphibian.
3. Insert Pillow into Cover
Wow. "Some Assembly Required". It's too bad these can't be distributed pre-assembled. How many people pass on these bad boys when they realize that there's effort involved? They could be reclining on blissful pillowy goodness, but lack of mechanical skill means they have to kiss the cold, cold concrete. Sad.
I thought about buying one, but I was afraid I'd mess something up while building it.
Late last week most of my department went out to lunch together. We ate at the Spaghetti Warehouse, and apparently I caused some kind of offense. I'm not sure what I did, but "Mank You" was written across the top of my ticket.
I admit I'm not hip on all the happenin' lingo that the youngsters enjoy these days. Still, I'm a bit disturbed by this one. I have a few guesses what "Mank" might mean, and the variety of possibilities makes my head spin.
I just can't imagine what I did to deserve to be Manked. I didn't throw very many noodles on the floor, I shouted less than Big Dawg and I stopped dancing on the table after everybody ran out of dollar bills.
Then again, maybe it's not an aggressivly negative thing. It might only be some sort of mildly abusive statement, I suppose. It could mean "I'm watching you, punk", or "I expected a better tip, dork", or "We're cool, but if you come any closer I'll cut you."
I just don't know what to think. The best Google could find for me is that Mank is the name of a city in Austria. I wonder what "Mank" means in German?
I don't see how this could be healthy. Poor Tigger looks like his head is about to explode. I feel like I should be trying to get him some medical attention.
Maybe it's too late and I should be diving behind something for cover. There's a stack of LEGO about two aisles down...
Speaking of toys, we passed a kid in the store around the same time that we saw Mr. Poof-Noggin. The little guy was probably 5 or so. He was hopping along and happily telling his mom, "Santa's gonna bring me LOTS of Star Wars toys!"
Thinkin' about Christmas in July. Ah, you gotta love it. :)
To celebrate, I'm wearing one of my Christmas ties to work today. I will be asked at least twice if I'm interviewing somewhere, I'm sure. I'll be thinking of our young friend, and hoping that all his Christmas dreams come true.
My wife and I were staying at somebody's house. There was an older couple who were vaguely parental, but they weren't exactly my parents or in-laws. There was another couple who were vaguely sibling-ish, but they weren't exactly my sister or my wife's brother. There were also two kids who seemed to belong to the other young couple. We were all staying in one room.
A closet door opened. Every toy and stuffed animal in the closet suddenly bounced out and started shouting "Whoo-Hoo!" There was much joyous noise. Well, from the toys, anyway. Us humans were pretty annoyed.
We kept trying to round up all the toys and push them back into the closet. The toys were ready to party, though.
The "Dancing" Elmo-ish doll kept boogie-ing like there was no tomorrow. The Spelling toy kept leaping up in my face and shouting, "Dee! Oh! Are! Kay!" And strangest of all, there was a "Predict how many children you will have" doll.
I don't know how I knew what this doll was. As I said, it was a pretty weird dream. The doll was harmless but apparently broken, because he kept leaping up in front of everybody and shouting "Twenty! Twenty! Ha!"
He was the first toy in my holy crusade on troublemakers that I tried to stuff back into the closet. I didn't want anybody to get any ideas. But every time I'd jam him in there, I'd go for another toy and he'd bounce right back out again. "Twenty! Twenty! Ha!"
What was really weird was the way we all seemed to respond to him. It was like we were all afraid we'd let him down. "Twenty? Really? I mean, wow... that's a little unrealistic. I'm terribly sorry." Nobody wanted to hurt the doll's feelings.
One morning, I walked into work and was immediately swarmed by most of the other programmers. "We're having a rough morning already! Help!"
There was a fairly significant problem with some of the pages on our web site. SWoaN and Merik had been working on it for the better part of an hour, with OoRah providing moral support (standing around with a cup of coffee and watching).
I politely watched them flounder for a minute and then said, "Well, Merik isn't going to work any faster with me standing over his shoulder." OoRah laughed, "Aw c'mon!... It helps!" With that I pointed at OoRah and said, "You're in charge of standing around and watching."
I didn't hang out to see how OoRah would respond to his new (?) duties. I sat down at my desk, and inside of three minutes I had the problem figured out. It was because of some code that Big Dawg added the day before... the problem simply hadn't been noticed until the next morning.
I showed the flaw to Merik and SWoaN, who were amazed at how fast I hit on the solution. They hadn't quite recovered from the shock when Big Dawg walked in. Unaware of what was going on, Big Dawg was greeted with, "Ahhh.... wha.... hey! YOU! It was YOU!"
Obviously, this is not how Big Dawg is accustomed to being greeted. :)
Later I told my wife, "I sure hope the level of excitement drops as the day goes on... I don't know if I can keep pulling three-minute miracles out of my hinder all day."
The more I think about it, the more I love that phrase. iCanSpell suggested that "Three Minute Miracles" sounds like a product the late Billy Mays could easily sell. "Three Minute Miracles!... now, with *new* hinder dispenser!"
I can just picture him holding up the product and inhaling deeply. "Smells like success!"
My wife and I don't go to the mall very often. When we do, we are often amused by what we find.
We saw this in Waldenbooks and both shouted, "P-Ziddy!" at the same time.
This was also in Waldenbooks, and I can't help but wonder... book title, or simple statement of fact?
Bonus points if you can spot the irony. :)
In the Halmark store we saw these nifty little oven mitts, which also double as monstrous chompy nightmares for children.
Who remembers Mandles? Manly candles, with manly scents! Well, Halmark actually has some... I think they are from a different company, but it's the same idea.
Pictured above are "coffee", "french fries", "garage", and "draft beer" scented candles. We popped the top on several of them, and the scents really are quite memorable. Especially the "draft beer" scent... I nearly fell over. My eyes finally uncrossed a few minutes later.
And finally, from JC Penny, a simply outstanding nerd monkey shirt.
If you don't think "Nerd Monkey" when you think of me, then you're simply not paying attention.
At work, the programmer I share a cubical with has found a way to combat the constant "Hey Jeff" noise from my area. He simply plugs in his earbuds and cranks up his 'tunes.
However, last week the term "tunes" didn't quite apply. It was one single tune, played over and over. I know, because it was loud enough that I could hear it. There's no way this was multiple songs. Constant repetitive involuntary background music, not quite as loud as what you'd hear in an elevator.
The song sounded like a combo of some Americanized Anime Saturday morning cartoon theme, and New Kids on the Block. As a bonus, the vocals (female) seemed to have a metallic echo-y effect applied to them, like T-Pain (or Peter Frampton, if you'd rather kick it old school).
It was mostly hilarious, and a little maddening. It was like the Saturday-morning easy-pop version of Wagner's "Ring of the Nibelung". Never-ending happy-pop with auto-tune.
Seriously, there's no way that many hyphens can be healthy.
After three days, the Anime Opera ended, and he switched to something that sounded like a big-band jazz group. It was still amazingly repetitive, with the trumpets squealing out the same riff over and over, but it was a nice change of pace to my ears.
Variety is the spice of life, after all.
If you're interested, here's Peter Frampton and his "Talk Box" to give you an idea of the metallic vocal effects I was hearing. There's no way in blazes that I'd link to a T-Pain 'vid. :)
Worth noting: The phrase "Hey Jeff" has actually started causing nervous tics and eye spasms every time I hear it. Therefore, I've started pretending to hear other phrases instead. Currently, when someone says "Hey Jeff" my mind translates that to, "'Sup, Supa-fly!"
My back neighbor told me he'd bought some fence sections on sale and would help me put them in later in the fall when it's not so hot. In the meantime, I put in some T-Posts to hold things up.
However, my neighbor didn't wait. 4 days later, we had a relatively cool day. He got a couple of young strong relatives of his to come over, and they did this:
Ironically, they did this while I was at work, literally just an hour or so after the "Propping Up..." story was posted. All they had to do to remove the old fence was push. The posts were so rotted they snapped with very little effort. The only things they had trouble removing were my T-Posts. Apparently I did a good job on those. :)
We visited my In-Laws over the weekend. When we got in the car to head home, my wife pointed toward the windshield and said "Wait! What's that under there?"
Just under the hood of the car below the windshield wipers, she could see something yellow. We couldn't make out what it was, so I opened the hood.
I figure I sat that ruler down on the hood about a week and a half ago. It must have slid down out of sight, where it's been hitching a ride ever since.
The real kicker, though, is that we had just gotten the car back from having some routine maintenance done on it. It's not hard to imagine *me* being oblivious to foreign objects bouncing around in my engine compartment. But somehow a mechanic changed my car's oil and battery without noticing.
The very best part was the look on my mother-in-law's face. I though she was going to faint. :)