Though it is difficult for anyone to say they love any sort of phone solicitors, except perhaps the people who work in the industry, the ones I love the most are the professionally recorded messages that are easy to hang up on. The people who use automated messages for their phone solicitations truly have a heart for the people they select to bother with the cheerfully annoying invitation to take up their offers to install satellite television, renew car warranties, or answer an urgent imperative to seek out debt consolidation credit card services. For these calls, I can usually get the phone back on the hook by the time the professionally recorded announcer can finish saying, "Hello! " The automated messages often have a short delay in the voice activated response, so I can sometimes get back to my business without hearing anything at all. When I am not available to perform the hang up ritual, the automated messages can chew up quite a bit of space on the answering machine, but the messages are still easy to forward through and delete upon recognition.
The concept of "karma" isn't quite clicking for me this week. Just a few days ago, a cashier at a grocery store gave me over 60 dollars of change when I handed her a twenty-dollar bill. This, of course, is my favorite kind of math and the only way to truly fix the economy, but I decided to give the money back to the cashier in exchange for some good karma. Let's face it, in the heat of the moment at a grocery store, one's conscience always seems to kick in. That's why people look at tabloid magazines while in line but don't actually buy them, and why people buy pumpkins with the intention of cutting them but instead just draw faces on them. After all, there is no "con" in "conscience, " except there actually is... When I gave the money back to the cashier, she smiled and thanked me, and I moved on with the six dollars of change I was supposed to have. Now, some would say that I already received an even exchange -- I gave back 60 dollars and received a smile and a thank-you in return -- but I know that karma is a better system than that.
WARNING: This article is for comic relief only and should be read as such. Do not take this to the quilting store and ask the nice lady for everything on the list. Remember the old saw, "For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost"? It is that way in quilting. Use the wrong tool, or try to quilt without the correct tool, and your masterpiece could end up in the scrap bag. In an attempt to keep fabric shredding to a minimum, here is an exhaustive list of items that every quilter needs: 1. Sewing machine - make sure it is good and hefty, and can stand up to being glared and cussed at. Even if I have to get an old refurbished sewing machine, I always look for one with a steel case. They do not melt as easily under such intense pressure. 2. Rotary cutter - or as I like to call it: Sharp Implement of Disaster. It looks like a pizza cutter but is five times as sharp. Very efficient at slicing through layers of fabric and tips of fingers. Even when using the 24" x 3" ruler as a cutting guide and safety device, the rotary cutter can skitter across 3" of plastic quicker than bare feet on a hot sidewalk.
Have you ever re-watched a movie you loved as a kid, only to step back afterwards and say, "Hmmm, that is a lot sillier than I remember... "? For me, Superman II is just such a movie. I recently watched "Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut." (There is a whole long story about how Richard Donner got dumped from the original production and a lot of his footage was cut, etc. I am not going into that here - look it up yourself on Wikipedia) For a long time, I considered Superman II my favorite superhero movie. Upon re-watching, I realized that while still thoroughly enjoyable, Superman II has ridiculous point after ridiculous point. Here, I will point out a few (it could take a whole book to point them all out). And yes, there actually is a take-away lesson from this breakdown... Note: These are technically spoilers, but really, the movie came out in 1982. If you haven't seen it by now... Ridiculous Point #1: Superman Keeps a Chevy at the North Pole After Superman gives up his powers, he and Lois drive back to civilization.
If truck driving was a fairytale and drivers valiant princes, wise kings, industrious dwarfs, handsome woodsmen or hunters, beautiful princesses and even a few regal queens, The Bronx, New York would be the deep, dark woods, the place where lost children hopelessly wander only to be eaten by wicked witches, where hideous minions of the dark stump about like soulless zombies in a twilight world, where the sun's warmth cannot penetrate the dense canopy of trees. After a few days off, my first since I left for Lisa Motor Lines in early March, I was concerned about how soon I would get a load call that would put me on the road again. Truckers don't make money if the wheels aren't turning, so we are always waiting for that message over the Qualcomm telling us we're 'under load' once again. I was surprised when I received a phone call instead of a Qualcomm message. The dispatcher, one in Fort Worth I had not met, sounded a little desperate; wanted to know exactly where I was, did I already have a load and how soon could I be ready to go.
It was 9:30 in the evening when my stomach began to growl and complain of emptiness. There's a Subway Sandwich Shop on the corner of our street, and the cool nights here in Arizona make it an enjoyable ten minute stroll. I never walk fast, but my stride is smooth as yogurt without the fruit. I asked my wife if she wanted me to bring something back, but Mary told me she was going to bed. Before leaving, I assured her that I was not sneaking out to rendezvous with the hairy woman living next door. My wife's indifference seemed mocking. Our street has adequate lighting which allows me to spot snakes before they get too close. This is the time of year when the reptiles are out in large numbers. Last year I had a close encounter with a rattler, but that's a story for another day. We live on the outer edge of Tucson, and there aren't many homes on our street. The area is continuing to develop, and more houses are going up every day. The three homes that share my street are dark and the night is still.
The crowds gather in abundant numbers and gaze in awe as it is time, once again, for the Semiannual Megill Invitational and Garage Cleaning Ceremony. I don't know how it happens. Twice a year, usually the first nice weekend in the Spring and the last nice weekend in the fall, I subject myself to the tedious task of making array out of the disarray that has developed in my garage over the past six months. After every cleaning, I always say the same thing to myself, "Now, let's keep it that way." But, somehow, sometime between May and November and May again, piles of boxes, papers and assorted potpourri make its way into the garage. The best that I can figure is that the neighbors are sneaking stuff from their garage into mine, while I'm asleep. The ritual is the same. Usually, on a beautiful, warm Saturday morning, I step into the garage from the kitchen, take a slow pan of the room, think about breakfast and then retreat to where things are slightly more organized. After procrastinating through my meal with such diversionary tactics as, "How about another cup of coffee?
It all began well enough. I was dreaming of steam trains plowing into tunnels, volcanoes erupting, and other obvious metaphoric images, when I was slowly awakened by a delightfully familiar sensation centered just below my navel. They say dreams really only last for a few seconds, so maybe I was just projecting, my subconscious zeroing in on all the real world stimulation. Pretty soon I was wide awake and the dream fantasies were quickly replaced with much more satisfying reality. Afterwords, my wife, Penny, turned to me, grinning, and said, "Happy birthday sweetums." She's cute that way. I grinned back, panting a little, and wheezed out a profound thank you. This particular birthday was not one I had been looking forward to. It was one of the big ones, those ending in zero, and there had been too many of them already. At least I could still, well, you know. We had a nice leisurely breakfast at a little mom & pop place not too far from home. It's the kind of place your doctor warns you about;
Okay. The bad weather during the growing season affected produce. Fruit and vegetables are more expensive and, in my opinion, not as flavorful. I don't like spinach, but it looks less tasty. Cause and effect. Supply and demand. Ben and Jerry. Got it. Why is it called produce anyway? Lettuce doesn't "produce" anything. Mine sits in the refrigerator missing spinach and waiting for me to make a salad. I hate cooking. It's boring. Of course, I may be doing it wrong. That's happened before. I'd be happy to observe you cooking anytime. That's the best way to learn. Anyway, I can live with bland apples; America, we have a more pressing issue! Can anyone tell me the origin of the current condiment crisis? What in heck happened to the salt and pepper supply? Do we need to drill for ketchup? It's pandemic. (I never get to use that word. I don't even know what it means.) Real Conversation: A garbled voice greets me through a weathered speaker. "Hello, welcome to Burgerama. May I take your order?
Yes, I have always envied athletes their freedom of expression. Where else but on a field of sport can you intentionally swat a well-toned rear end as a form of congratulations? Imagine the president of a university doing that as the valedictorian receives her diploma. Harassment right? In fact, I don't know anyone anywhere who can pull this off in public except athletes. I've studied their technique. It's fairly simple. The fingers must be fully extended, not curled. That's groping. Contact must be brief and to the right or left of the mid line. Also, the ideal spot is around the height of the convexity. Above or below and you risk being labeled a pervert. Finally, you have to say something profound like, "A'ight, baby." (Yeah, the men pat a friend's butt and call him "baby." Go figure. We really need more of this at home in response to exceptional dish washing.) Oh, don't say something lame like, "Excellent work. I'm so proud of you." That's about it except don't linger afterwards.