The tee-shirt wars. April 1, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, tee-shirts, tie-dyed tee-shirts
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Aaauuugghhh!!! The most dreaded ritual of spring has finally arrived. I knew it the moment I walked into the bedroom my partner, Silence Dogood, and I share here in the precise middle of nowhere, PA and saw the piles of tee-shirts on the bed. The Tee-Shirt Wars had begun again.
Our friend Ben is extremely fond of tee-shirts, especially tie-dyes and colorful tee-shirts that commemorate places we’ve been and things we enjoy. Unfortunately, for some reason, Silence feels that by the time you can’t open a drawer because of all the tee–shirts crammed in it, and by the time you pry it open, they’re so compressed that they’re all too wrinkled to wear, then something has to go. In fact, as many things as possible. It always goes something like this:
Silence: Ben, look at this mess! I must have extracted 50 tee-shirts from that one drawer alone. Some of them have to go!
Our friend Ben, muttering: Not again.
Silence: Ben, don’t you have enough collections without insisting on hanging on to every ancient, hideous tee-shirt you’ve ever owned?
OFB: What do you mean, hideous?!
Silence: Well, just look at this one from the Albuquerque Rattlesnake Museum. Or this: “Black Death, European Tour 1347-1351,” with that loathesome orange rat on the front!
OFB: That tee-shirt has historical significance! And besides, it’s funny.
Silence: I doubt the victims would have thought so at the time. And how about this blinding orange-and-yellow tie-dye, “Swampstock 2009″? Unless you’re standing in for a street light in a power outage, I don’t see how you can bear to wear it.
OFB: That tie-dye is a piece of local history! It’s all we have left to commemorate Swampstock!
Silence: Ben, do you see the date on these two tee-shirts, 1992? And these are even older. I know you loved those cute little Belted Galloway cows, but do you really need three identical tee-shirts of them?
OFB, sullenly: I was afraid they might wear out and then I wouldn’t have any left.
Silence: What about this Lynyrd Skynyrd tee-shirt?
OFB, horrified: Hey, give me that! That’s Lynyrd Skynyrd!
Silence: How long have you had this Hawk Mountain tee-shirt? I’ve never seen you wear that!
OFB: Hawk Mountain is our greatest natural landmark! I’m keeping it pristine for, uh, ah…
Silence, brandishing the wrinkled, crumpled tee-shirt: You call this pristine? And Ben, look at these! They’re covered with stains. Eeewww!!!
OFB, chagrined: I’m keeping them in case I need to paint the house again.
Silence: When did you paint the house before?
OFB, hastily: I mean, for when I need to paint something in the house.
And so it goes, until the inevitable moment I’ve been dreading above all others, when Silence looks at me and says innocently, “What about this Dr. Smith tee-shirt?”
Dr. Smith, the cowardly villain of the otherwise tedious “Lost in Space” series, was our friend Ben’s childhood hero. I rolled on the floor every time he would whine dramatically, “Oh the pain! The pain!!!” over every least little thing. (Admittedly, I was very young and was, and remain, very easily amused.) So when I actually found a tee-shirt picturing my erstwhile hero and his famous phrase, I was completely ecstatic. That tee-shirt is one of my most treasured possessions. So when Silence comes to it at last, I know I have to surrender. But she’s not getting the Lynyrd Skynyrd tee-shirt.
A weighty issue. January 7, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, Honey Boo Boo, obesity, obesity crisis, overweight, overweight kilograms
Silence Dogood here. I’ll bet you’re as sick as I am of reading and hearing constantly about our obesity crisis, where it appears that just by breathing we’re magically packing on pounds, and the only sure way to keep weight off is to opt for the terminal solution. (It’s hard to gain weight when you’re dead.)
So today I was astonished to see two sides of the weight-gain spectrum on the Yahoo! home page. Our friend Ben and I don’t get the cable stations and don’t watch the few stations we do get, so I’ve been bemused by the Honey Boo Boo phenomenon. What’s that, a teddy bear? The next (shudder) Barney? And why would anyone care?
I was astounded to see a photo of Honey Boo Boo, a fat little girl, with her enormously fat mother. It turned out to be yet another reality TV show. I’m still not sure what it’s about, or how it came to be to begin with, but I have to assume people watch Honey and her Mama because they’re so grotesquely fat. It’s a form of fat rubbernecking. Yikes!
In the science headlines lurked the other weight-related headline: Even the kilogram is gaining weight. Say what?! If an abstract unit of measure is packing on the pounds, what hope is there for us poor flesh-and-blood mortals? The article explained that 40 platinum and platinum-iridium cylinders, each weighing precisely a kilogram (2.2 pounds), were distributed to the countries that embraced the metric standard in the 1880s so there would be a gold (or in this case, platinum) weight standard across the scientific community.
Unfortunately, over the years, the cylinders, despite being enclosed in glass, have apparently put on weight. Now not only does no single cylinder weigh exactly a kilogram, but each weighs a slightly different amount due to carbon and mercury contamination. These plus-sized cylinders may not really have gained enough weight to be visible to the human eye, but the scale doesn’t lie, and the point is that, in science, precision determines results. Fortunately, the cylinders can be stripped of their excess flab with a simple UV treatment. Unlike us, they don’t have to enroll in boot camp, go on crash diets, endure bariatric surgery, or compete on “The Biggest Loser.”
So, scientists, the million-dollar question: When will you devise a UV treatment that strips off our excess pounds?! The world is waiting…
‘Til next time,
American graffiti. January 3, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, rest areas, restroom graffiti
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Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I were on one of our road-trip vacations over the holidays, and had spent the night outside of Radford, Virginia. While OFB filled the tank at a local Sunoco station, I took advantage of the opportunity to head for the ladies’ room. (One of many priceless euphemisms for the bathroom, itself a euphemism, as is toilet, believe it or not. My favorite is the concept of the “rest area;” in Virginia, they even have “pet rest areas.” But I digress.)
Once in the bathroom, I saw that the inside of the stall door and part of one wall were covered with graffiti. No surprise there: I’ve seen many a stall door inscribed with sentiments of undying love, hate, and sarcasm. And indeed, there was one “Sue hearts Tony” on this particular door. But there was exactly one. Otherwise, all the way down the door on the left side were pro- and anti-Obama comments. These ranged from “Vote Obama OUT” (with the OUT scratched out, leaving “Vote Obama”) to rather more graphic comments (“[Bleep] Obama!” “I agree! What a hottie! I’d [bleep] him in a minute, bitch!”)
Political graffiti in a gas station bathroom stall is not something I’d have expected. But it paled beside the comments down the right-hand side of the door and on the adjacent wall. Here, an ongoing philosophical debate was occurring. It involved the nature of love and hate. Comments ranged from “The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s ignorance” to quotations from the Gospel of St. John and St. Paul’s 1 Corinthians to excerpts from A Course in Miracles. Subsequent readers had noted which comments and quotes they agreed or disagreed with (“It’s not ignorance, it’s indifference” “Correct” [arrow drawn to indifference comment]).
Generally, when I go to the bathroom in a service station, I just hope there’s toilet paper and nobody’s sprayed the seat. To see that previous occupants have been engaging in political and philosophical, even theological, debate, is beyond anything I’d have previously imagined. Go, ladies, go.
‘Til next time,
Where’s my MacArthur award?! October 2, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, MacArthur awards
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Our friend Ben was crushed to see that, for yet another year, I failed to win a MacArthur fellowship (better known as “genius awards”). Silence Dogood gleefully showed me the list of winners in today’s paper. (She’s always giving me grief about my not-so-secret hopes of an award.)
The good thing about the awards is that each winner receives $500,000 with no strings attached. The bad thing is that you can’t simply apply for a fellowship; you must be nominated by a secret panel, and nobody knows who or where these people are. For all you know, the pizza delivery boy could be a nominator; so could the engineer in the next cubicle or the dentist who’s cleaning your teeth. This makes it rather challenging to get yourself nominated, but at least it’s an excellent incentive to be really nice to everyone you interact with.
Winners are chosen from all walks of life; this year was pretty heavy on musicians. But one winner specialized in something that really caught our friend Ben’s attention: the study of how fluids move in the human body, and how that movement could affect disease.
Our friend Ben has been pondering this ever since I was told that in a given day, the kidneys could move up and down by as much as six inches. We tend to think of our bodies as solid, but we’re more like a sack of fluid with organs suspended in it. And of course, fluid by its definition moves. We all know our blood circulates, but I think it would be fascinating to know how fluid moves through the rest of us. This was one MacArthur Fellow whose award I didn’t envy!
But please, nominators, wherever you are, let’s try to prove Silence wrong in 2013 and give our friend Ben an award! I don’t know how much more of her sarcasm I can take.
Rotten tomatoes. September 26, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, food fights, The Wall Street Journal, tomato tossing
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Why are people so bizarre? Our friend Ben was staggered to read in this morning’s Wall Street Journal that adults by the thousands are now lining up in parking lots across America and paying $50 for the privilege of hurling rotten (the article euphemistically refers to them as “overripe”) tomatoes at each other. (Find the article, “Messy Business: Now You Can Pay to Get Hit by a Tomato,” at www.wsj.com.)
These are adults, mind you, people in their 20s and 30s. Several who were interviewed for the article were schoolteachers, who presumably wouldn’t find it amusing if they were pelted with rotten tomatoes by their students. Yet there they were, many of the participants in wild costumes, in a parking lot with a semi truckload worth of rotten tomatoes, hurling and mashing them onto each other. What on earth were they thinking?!
Mind you, we Americans aren’t the only ones who’ve lost our minds. The entrepreneur who came up with the idea of our Tomato Battles was inspired by an annual festival of tomato-tossing in Spain that draws an estimated 10,000 participants. I guess it beats running with the bulls.
In case you’re wondering why they use rotten rather than ripe tomatoes, they’re softer and squishier, not to mention cheaper. Getting hit in the head with a firm tomato (or a few dozen) could do some serious damage. Having a rotten tomato mashed into your face is apparently hilariously entertaining.
There’s one useful lesson we can all take from the insanity: People are willing to pay for this. The entrepreneur who launched these events is raking in something like $100,000 per event. Perhaps you, our friend Ben, and other enterprising types could start our own series of events where people toss grapes, rotten eggs, popcorn, or raw bacon at each other. No doubt we’d have crowds of idiots lining up.
Oh la la! September 21, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, spam
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It’s time for another “best of the spammers” roundup here at Poor Richard’s Almanac. They’ve come up with some real gems lately, and of course we have to share them with you. As always, spam comments in bold, our friend Ben’s response following. Enjoy!
Oh la la! Hmmm… did someone discover that Silence Dogood was a French major as an undergraduate? For all the good it did her!
Your writing is fastidious. Fast, or tedious?
I’m wondering why the opposite specialists of this sector don’t understand this. I’m sorry, we don’t speak Klingon here.
And our favorite:
I’ll continue to look for brussels. It was still in Belgium last time I checked.
The most bizarre thing about spam comments is that they bear absolutely no relation to the posts they’re attempting to appear on, which makes the comments even funnier than when you read them as stand-alones. The Klingon-like comment could have appeared on a post about pizza. I guess I just don’t get spam.
Darker and darker. September 19, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, fall, how to get up, Shiloh, when to get up
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How do you know when to get up? Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I have an appropriately named vintage “Big Ben” wind-up clock in our bedroom, but I use it to check the time if I’m having a sleepless night, not to decide when it’s time to get up. Instead, I gauge when it’s time to rise by a picture on our bedroom wall.
The picture is a beautiful photograph of birch trees with a spray of red maple leaves spilling across them. It’s a masterpiece. But it’s also a timepiece. When I can see the trunks of the trees, I know that it will soon be time to get up. But it’s when I can see the red leaves, see that they’re red, that I know it’s time to get up.
In summer, this can happen as early as 5 a.m. In mid-September, it doesn’t happen until almost 7. I could set the alarm and get up in pitch dark at 5, but I feel it’s more natural, more healthy, to wait for the red leaves and get up then.
Our friend Ben isn’t so lucky. Typically, our beloved black German shepherd Shiloh gets up at 5:30 year-round and lets OFB know in no uncertain terms that he’d better take her out for a bathroom break or else, light, dark, or whatever. I guess it’s a good thing we love her so much!
How do you know when to get up?
‘Til next time,
Interview with the dog. September 16, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, dogs, Shiloh
Yesterday, we realized that dogs were being shortchanged on WordPress. (See our post “WordPress: What’s hot” for details.) So today, our friend Ben is interviewing our beloved black German shepherd, Pioneer Hawk’s Haven Shiloh von Shiloh Special (that’s just Shiloh to you) to give a little equal time.
Our friend Ben: So, Shiloh, what do dogs really want?
Shiloh: All you need is love. But lots of treats and toys don’t hurt.
OFB: Democrat or Republican?
Shiloh: Hey, think I want to be strapped to the top of somebody’s car? No way! But what I really like is the idea of riding in the back of a pickup truck with the wind in my fur. Libertarian all the way for me, baby. Don’t tread on me!
OFB: I keep reading that dogs can be vegetarian. Is that true?
Shiloh: Technically, yes. But, like humans, we’re actually omnivores. And since nobody’s asking our opinion on the matter, I’d appreciate it if you kept giving me dogfood that has some meat in it, please. Not to mention that I love actual food like green beans, cheese, bread, radishes, chips, pistachios, sweet potato fries, pizza, and the other stuff you people eat. (Not too big on tomatoes, though.) Would it be too much to ask that you share it with me?!
OFB: If you could be a human, who would you be?
Shiloh: Who’d want to be a human, forced to work like a dog simply to survive? But if I absolutely had to choose a human alter-ego, it would be the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hahn, since they both seem so happy all the time. Happy is definitely the way to be!
Hmmm, there you have it, straight from the dog’s mouth. Shiloh also notes that any treats contributed by readers would be most appreciated!
No dogs aloud. September 12, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: Bill White, blog humor, Bowers Chile Pepper Food Festival, funny signs, grammar police, The Morning Call
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NO DOGS ALOUD IN BARN
An alert member of the grammar police noticed this sign at a regional ag fair and sent a photo of the sign to columnist Bill White, who published it in our local paper, the Allentown, PA Morning Call (www.mcall.com) yesterday. The person who sent it wondered if the dogs could go in if they were quiet.
As wordsmiths, our friend Ben and Silence Dogood, who write compulsively from passion as well as professionally, had a good laugh over this. But after attending last weekend’s Bowers Chile Pepper Food Festival, we can top it.
A sign over one of the many food stands was offering spring rolls. It proclaimed with evident pride in its product, “Fresh celery and carrots shredded and sauteed with a blend of spies, tucked inside a thin sheet of pastry and fried to a golden brown.”
Makes your mouth water just reading about it, doesn’t it? Poor James Bond! It’s enough to turn anyone vegetarian.
Silence and I both love spring rolls, but decided we weren’t really all that hungry for some reason. And we did catch sight of a chihuahua lurking at the back of a booth, even though no dogs are “aloud” at the pepper festival, either.
Of chiles and tattoos. September 8, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, wit and wisdom.
Tags: 17th Annual Bowers Chile Festival, blog humor, Bowers Chile Pepper Food Festival, Bowers PA, Chef Tim, Defcon Sauces, Green Kamikozees, James Weaver, Jim Weaver, Meadow View Farm, Pappardelle's Pasta, Rolling Hills Farm
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Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I returned triumphant today from our annual excursion to the Bowers Chile Pepper Food Festival, laden down with all sorts of goodies and sporting tattoos. Of sorts.
We got a vat-size jar of Chef Tim’s fabulous Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette, which we’d fallen in love with last year. You can do the same at www.ChefTimFoods.com, and trust me, you won’t regret it! Don’t miss the recipes on Chef Tim’s website.
We stocked up on the fabulous Tunisian Harissa and the Sweet Basil fettucine handmade by Pappardelle’s (wish we could have bought every single variety—well, maybe not chocolate—it’s the best pasta I’ve ever had). See for yourself at www.pappardellespasta.com. We bought a jar of habanero horseradish (I love adding a teaspoon of horseradish to my salad bowl to give that lettuce some zing) from Defcon Sauces, whose wing sauces have won about every award there is (www.defconsauces.com). And I had to get another bottle of Rolling Hills Farm Garlic Vinegar after falling really hard for it last year. (I swear, you could drink it straight from the bottle.) Check it out at www.rollinghillsgarlicvinegar.com.
And of course we went completely out of control at the Green Kamikozees booth (www.greenkamikozees.com), buying numerous jars of hot pickled green tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, salsa, and green olives. Yum! We love the Kamikozees products, and love that they’re made right in the tiny town of Bowers, PA that sponsors the annual Chile Pepper Food Festival.
Needless to say, I wasn’t about to leave the festival without buying some heirloom tomatoes from James Weaver’s Meadow View Farm. Jim Weaver is the reason we have a chile pepper festival in Bowers every year, and his delicious produce is outstanding. But OFB and I refrained from purchasing any of Meadow View’s beautiful hot peppers, for the simple reason that OFB bought hot pepper transplants from Meadow View this past spring and is growing his own.
Back to the tattoos. I’ve gotten a spray-on temporary red pepper tattoo at a stand at the festival for years; the idea cheers me up. So I was thrilled to find the stand shortly before we left the festival, laden down as we were with our purchases. They even remembered me. A dollar and a few minutes later, I emerged with a red chile pepper “tattooed” on my upper right arm. OFB, ever the good sport, allowed me to give him a Green Kamikozee temporary tattoo (handed out for free) of a sweating green tomato and two hot red peppers on his upper arm.
This might seem a bit odd for people as generally dignified (uh, ahem) as yours truly and OFB, but fortunately, our area is so remote that nobody even thinks to question it. When we had lunch at a favorite local restaurant, The White Palm in scenic Topton, PA, after taking in the festival, our server simply commented (after taking in the tattoos and my carnivalesque beaded red-pepper necklace) that she was so sorry to have missed the festival this year.
Unfortunately for all concerned, I’m not so blase. I only get this tattoo once a year, so between times, I forget about the downside. Which is, that I’m terrified of bugs. Not that I mind bugs while they stick to their business and leave me alone. But if one gets on me, it’s the end of the world. So of course while I have this tattoo, I’ll be going about my business and suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I’ll see that there’s something on my arm. What else could it be but a bug?!
“GAAAAHHHHHH!!!” I scream, terrorizing poor OFB and all our resident animals, who, after all, were peacefully minding their own business. Then I remember the tattoo. I guess OFB’s heart health must be pretty good, since this tends to happen every couple of hours until I finally remove the tattoo, usually a couple of weeks later.
On the plus side, I don’t think OFB’s comedic sweating green tomato and red chile “tattoo” is going to look too much like a bug. So at least I’ll only be screaming at the sight of my own arm. Maybe next year I’ll even be able to remember this unfortunate drawback to memorializing the festival on my flesh. I tell you, I don’t know how people with real tattoos stand it. I can just picture years of constant screaming: “GAAAAHHHHHH!!!!”
‘Til next time,