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,
A bat in your bra. August 29, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in critters, wit and wisdom.
Tags: bats, biologists, blog humor
Silence Dogood here. I have lots of friends in the biological sciences, and let’s just say, they’re not quite like other people. As medical doctors might discuss the horrific symptoms of degenerative diseases at the dinner table without giving even one second’s thought to how this graphic depiction of pain, suffering, decay and death might affect the appetites of their fellow diners, so the biologists I know have not the least clue as to how their latest obsession might affect their friends’ appetites.
My favorite incidence of this was when my dear friend Susan, who’s the biology editor for Science News, came up from D.C. to have lunch with me and our mutual friend Rudy, who specializes in birds and orchids. We went to a country inn and placed our orders. At which point, Susan launched into an endless and extremely graphic discussion of whale decomposition. As in, at least 30 minutes of telling us in the most graphic conceivable detail about what happened after a whale died and began to decay. Needless to say, I discovered that somehow, I wasn’t hungry, and it appeared that no one else in our dining room was, either. Yet Susan, completely oblivious, continued on with her story of whale decomposition, caught up in the moment and her excitement about the topic.
She’s certainly not alone. I’ve also been subjected to hourlong talks about tarantulas, ticks, piranhas, and the like. Eeeewwww!!!! What are these people thinking?!!
Well, they’re thinking about subjects that interest them. Our friend Ben and I can relate. One or the other of us could talk about American colonial history, marbles, stamps, rocks and fossils, seashells, Jane Austen, Native American arts and artifacts, coins, plants, cooking, Reiki, our beloved pets, or you name it for hours on end. If we consider decomposing whales, tarantulas and the like revolting, that says something about us, not the speaker. But still.
I honestly didn’t think I’d ever hear anything to beat the decomposing whale story, but I think maybe I have now. You’ll just have to weigh in and tell me if I’m right. My dear friend Dana was staying with us over the weekend. She’s an ecologist who specializes in bats, which I happen to like as a backyard gardener who appreciates their consumption of gadzillion insects every night. Over breakfast at OFB’s favorite local diner, she mentioned that some of these bat people were a little bit over the top. I immediately pictured the “Twilight” contingent and the endless other vampire sagas flooding the airwaves. I could envision vampire wannabes desperately trying to capture bats for their own unfortunate ends.
Turns out, though, that’s not what Dana meant. She was actually talking about legitimate bat researchers. She’d gone to a bat conference and spent the night at the home of a couple who specialized in bat research. They raised bats, and allowed them to fly free throughout their home. During dinner, Dana said, a bat lit on her arm, crawled up, and snuck inside her bra. When Dana, a bit rattled for some reason, mentioned this to her hosts, they said, “Oh yes, that’s Sweet Pea. She always does that.” Turns out the female half of the couple had raised Sweet Pea from an infant and had reared her in her own bra.
All I can say is, the next time you’re invited for dinner to a friend’s house and their dog licks your hand, consider yourself lucky. At least their resident bat isn’t trying to crawl into your bra!
‘Til next time,
When the porcupines ate the tigers. August 28, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in critters, wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, Catskills, porcupines, wildlife
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Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood just spent a wonderful weekend in a lodge in the Catskills, enjoying the lake, meadows, and woods surrounding the lodge. We didn’t see any of the wildlife that the brochure assured us lived there—bears, wolves, bobcats, porcupines, and the like—but there were plenty of birds, butterflies and chipmunks.
Silence has been a huge porcupine fan ever since she gave a neckrub to a porcupine at the San Diego Wildlife Park (she said it was like rubbing a cat’s neck gently under the fur) and saw the porcupine close its eyes, sigh, and collapse in ecstacy as a result, to the astonishment of the staff. So she kept hoping we’d get to see porcupines, but alas, no luck. Our friend Ben was hoping for bald eagles, and maybe a wolf.
At any rate, as we were relaxing in the lodge with the other guests, one of them mentioned how they’d been warned about the porcupines eating the tigers. Tigers?!!! Tigers in the Catskills? What the bleep?! And here I thought porcupines were vegetarian.
“WHAT?!!!” Silence shrieked (our friend Ben would have done the same had she not spoken up first).
“They told us we had to be careful because the porcupines like to eat tigers,” the person carefully explained.
“Yes, I heard that someone left the gate to the parking area open on Friday night,” a second guest said. “I’m relieved that no porcupines got in and ate our tires.”
TIRES. Three other guests also thought the person had said “tigers,” so it really wasn’t just yours truly and Silence experiencing some kind of brain fade. The idea of porcupines craving rubber (which is, after all, derived from tree sap, not chemicals or plastic) is certainly bizarre. But it pales in comparison to porcupines devouring tigers in the Catskills! Yowie kazowie.
So Silence and I were emboldened to explore our surroundings in peace. It’s a good thing we didn’t hear about the timber rattlers until we were packing our bags for the return trip to Hawk’s Haven.
Sexy single wives. August 22, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, spam
Good grief. Silence Dogood here. My Yahoo! spam filter is always pulling out bizarre e-mails informing me how I can “enlarge my manhood,” buy Viagra cheaply from Canada, get laid tonight via F***Book (and no, that wouldn’t be FaceBook), and the like. Mind you, I don’t think it’s too challenging to tell from my e-mail address that I’m not a man and am not in the market for these services, but apparently the spammers disagree.
Usually I’m just revolted to see all this filth in my spam folder. However, as a lover of language, this morning I saw that one inventive spammer had come up with a classic: “Young, Sexy Single Wives!” Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never encountered any single wives. Or single husbands, for that matter. This concept cheered me up enough to even forgive this particular spammer for contaminating my inbox. But I still deleted the message!
‘Til next time,
The most-dreaded question. August 7, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, do you remember me, fear of public speaking, scary questions, scary situations
Silence Dogood here. I’ve read that statistics show that the thing Americans fear most is having to speak in public. But that’s certainly not what I fear most. (Though I’m not a great public speaker; I tend to talk too fast.) Instead, it’s an innocent question: “Do you remember me?”
No, of course I don’t remember you. In the unlikely event that I manage to remember your face, I certainly won’t recall the context in which I knew it. Your name? Forget that. I seem only to be capable of remembering the names of dogs. So please, oh please, don’t ask me if I remember you.
The real hell of this is that everyone—apparently everyone I’ve ever known, or even met—remembers me. Never a week goes by that I’m not confronted by someone asking me if I remember them, and the answer is always no, an answer that is completely inappropriate. (And mind you, I really don’t get out much.)
People seem not just to be able to recognize me at any age, but to recall every word I’ve ever spoken. I’ve had people quote verbatim and at length things I’ve said in high school and college, things I couldn’t even begin to remember. I’ve literally had people come up to me in my native Nashville and say “Hey Silence! Do you remember me? We went to Mrs. Grisham’s nursery school together!”
Why no, I don’t remember you. I can’t imagine why you remember me, how you’re still able to recognize me, why anything I ever said or did left an impression on you. Maybe I’m the perfect candidate for a brain transplant, so I could keep all this data filed in total-recall storage banks. But since my brain is my only fully functional organ, I’d hate to trade it in just so I could remember what I said or who I knew when I was in 6th grade. I think I’ll try to hang on to it a little longer. But hey, I know your dog’s name! And of course your dog remembers me, and that’s okay.
What’s your most-dreaded question?
‘Til next time,