Monday, November 23, 2009
Call Dial-A-Turkey And Ask For Mom
Mon, November 23, 2009 | link
means time for the annual Family Holiday Conference Call, in which we debate the age-old question: Aw, geez, what are
we doing for Thanksgiving this year?
This year's participants are (as usual) Mom, my sister Amy (mother of Deniece
and Denephew) and yours truly. Also as usual, my brother P.D. and sister Vicky know enough to be busy during conference call
We join the gang right after Amy has spent a half-hour explaining to Mom how to activate the "Conference"
feature on her telephone. Hey, 30 minutes is pretty good for someone who was still on a party line not that long ago.
Amy: All right, are we all here?
Amy: Mom, can you hear us?
Amy: OK, she can hear something.
Mom: I think I have a call coming in. Hello? P.D.? Is that you?
Amy: MOM! It's Mike and Amy. We need to talk about Thanksgiving.
is at Amy's this year. I know I don't want it here.
Mom: Amy? I think P.D. just called
but I couldn't hear him very well.
Mom: Oh, hi, Mike. Amy wants to talk to you about Thanksgiving.
Mike: (Sighing) O.K., Mom. I just ordered the turkey. It's a heritage breed raised on a special
farm out in Kansas. It'll be about 20 pounds.
Mike: Heritage -- a breed that was close to
being lost because of the way turkeys have been ruined by selective inbreeding to make them all white meat and no flavor.
This is a turkey that tastes like turkey.
Mom: I don't like turkey.
Amy: You don't have to eat it, Mom. Where
did you get it?
Mike: Ordered it online. Pretty expensive, too. It's going to cost (price withheld due to embarrassment
at spending so much on something that's just going to become leftovers.)
Mom: For a turkey? I don't even like turkey.
Mike: Maybe you'll like this one.
Mom: I doubt it.
Amy: OK, so Mike can do the turkey, I'll do sides and
we can all do a dessert.
Mom: Did you hear how much he paid for that turkey?
Amy: Yes, and that's his business.
I've wanted to get a heritage turkey but I've always put it off.
Amy: Because I figured you'd buy
one first and then I'd know if it was worth it.
Mom: No turkey is worth (price withheld, but it was a doozy).
Mike: You want me to do gravy and dressing, too?
Amy: Yes. Although I'll probably roast a small turkey because
I saw this recipe I wanted to try.
Mike: Wait a minute. You're doing a turkey, too?
Amy: A small one.
Mike: (Extremely unprintable.)
Mom: See why I don't like turkey?
Mike: (Darkly) All right. Whatever.
Amy: Well, the way you're acting maybe we should just have our own Thanksgivings. I hope you can eat 20
pounds of turkey, you big jerk.
Mom: We're not having separate Thanksgivings. That's just silly.
OK. I have an idea. We can have two turkeys, the sides, the desserts, everything. We'll just ...
Amy: I'm way ahead
of you. We'll have Thanksgiving at Mom's! (Singing) Over the river and through the woods...
Mike: Be sure
to tell P.D. and Vicky. Gotta go. Bye!
© 2009 Mike Redmond. All
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Smart Phone, Maybe; Operator, Maybe Not
Tue, November 17, 2009 | link
The price was right and the deal was solid, so I recently joined the 21st Century and bought a Smart Phone.
What was I thinking?
Well, obviously, I wasn't, or I wouldn't be sitting here wondering how to get the darned
thing to work.
I've taken the online tutorial three times and I still get hung up at anything more complicated than
calling Information. Which, I might add, is getting tired of hearing from me.
Supposedly, I can use this phone to
do all the regular phone things - talk to Mom, order pizza, send text messages when I have an hour or so to type "Hello,
how are you?" on those teeny little keys - as well as fancier phone things, like take photos and videos, and even place
calls based on voice commands.
And then it can do higher computer-type functions, such as surfing the Internet and
... well, surfing the Internet's actually as far as I've gotten in the instruction manual. I have about 200 pages left to
go, though, so I'm assuming I can do a lot more computer-type stuff than just type in my own name to see if I'm out there
anywhere. Oh, don't act so superior. You've done it too.
Anyway, the way things look right now, the Smart Phone is
exceedingly well named, because it certainly appears to be smarter than the operator.
I really don't need all this
gizmotronic trickery, you know. My business - Me, Incorporated - is pretty much contained in my hip pocket. I'm the only employee,
so it's not like I have to stay in touch with the workforce. And since I work at home, I'm never really away from a regular
computer and an actual full-size telephone.
Therefore, by process of elimination we can deduce that I bought this
phone for one reason only: It's a gizmo, and I'm a guy, and guys love gizmos.
That doesn't mean I buy every gizmo
that comes down the pike. For example, I still don't have a laptop computer, preferring my old desktop computer instead. What
can I say? It's dependable, when it works. Besides, you just don't see that many diesel models anymore.
Or take cell
phones. I wasn't the LAST person in the Seventh Federal Reserve District, but I was close. It was down to me and a few Amish
But every once in a while something comes along that really catches my fancy (and if you've ever had your
fancy caught, you know how painful that can be). The only solution is to buy it. This is how I have come to own most of the
Ronco line of home appliances. It seems my fancy is particularly susceptible when I'm up all night watching television.
Anyway, back to the new phone.
I'm told this thing is going to improve my productivity. I fail to see how that's
possible if I spend all day trying to get it to work. Although I'm pretty sure if I keep with it, it won't be long before
I figure out how to place real phone calls, with the area code and everything.
And then I'll really join the 21st
Century and start getting a little more use out of this gizmo. Which is more than I can say for my Ronco Pocket Fisherman.
Used it once. Didn't even get a nibble. I think the fish were too busy laughing at me.
© 2009 Mike Redmond. All
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Just Leave The Sprouts In Belgium
Tue, November 10, 2009 | link
Someone sent a list of super-healthy foods and I was pleased to see that most of them were high on my list of Things I'd
Eat Even If They Weren't Good For You - which is not a very long list, me being a man and all.
I've long observed
that women are much more likely than men to something nasty if it's good for them. Brussels sprouts, for example. Brussels
sprouts are horrible. There is simply no good reason for Brussels sprouts to even exist. They taste like a mouthful
of sulphurous compost.
But I have known several women who would load their plates with sprouts - even while
admitting they didn't really care for them - because they are (a.) a vegetable and (b.) good for you, allegedly. I have my
Guys, on the other hand, will simply say "No thank you," or "I'll pass," or "Get
those things out of here before I hurl."
Anyway, back to the list. It contained a lot of really good stuff that
was already on my grocery list, such as:
- Wild salmon. Which is the only kind I'll eat.
I've seen some reports about farmed salmon, and in some cases ... well, let's just say you'd be better off eating the paper
it's wrapped in.
- Low-fat yogurt. I'm not wild about yogurt, but when I eat it, it's low fat. Everything around here
is low fat. Except me.
- Oysters. I love oysters. One of these days I'm going to an oyster bar where I'll tell them
to keep them coming until I say stop, or pass out. I want to see where my limit is. The only thing stopping me is this strong
feeling that I will embarrass myself when the bar closes Saturday night and I'm still eating when they reopen for Sunday brunch.
Blueberries. Love ‘em. Except in pancakes. It goes back to when I was a kid. My whole family ate blueberry pancakes
on Sundays, and I was called a weirdo when I wanted mine plain. To this day, I haven't touched a blueberry pancake, and that
was 47 years ago. I am nothing if not dedicated.
- Kiwi fruit. Bless their fuzzy brown outsides and sweet green insides.
- Sweet potatoes. I prefer squash, but I don't mind a hot sweet now and again. And no, I don't need them in brown
sugar with marshmallows. Ick.
- Spinach. Call me Popeye.
- Tomatoes. Call me ... well, I can't think of anyone.
But I love tomatoes.
- Walnuts. That's actually my snack of choice these days - a handful of walnuts just before bed.
- Dark chocolate. OK, sometimes I have a piece of dark chocolate with my walnuts. So sue me.
So there I was, looking over this list of healthy foods and feeling proud of myself, indeed. I've made a conscious
effort to eat better this year, and here were things I had been eating all along not because they were healthy, but because
I liked them. That they were making me healthier was just a bonus.
Then I read the fine print. This was an article
from a ladies' magazine about how these foods would make you more beautiful, with lustrous hair and glowing skin and all that
girl stuff. Beauty? Luster? Glow? One look at me and you know it's bogus.
Oh well. On the upside, you'll notice it
didn't say anything about sprouts.
© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Just The (Bare) Facts, Ma'am
Tue, November 3, 2009 | link
I'm sure we've heard the old saying about how people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
can add some other things to that. They shouldn't pick their noses, either. That is to be done in the car, at a stoplight.
And they shouldn't walk around naked, although I would be willing in to make exceptions for Halle Berry and Sofia Vergara.
Which brings us, in a most roundabout way, to the case of Eric Williamson of Springfield, Virginia.
live in a glass house but he was naked the other morning, and that seems to be the trouble. So much trouble that he was arrested
Here's the story, hot off the Internet:
"Eric Williamson, 29, got up at 5:30 a.m. Monday and
went to the kitchen to make some coffee. He was naked, but he was alone in the Springfield house, so he didn't think it mattered.
"A woman and a 7-year-old boy were cutting through Williamson's front yard from a nearby path,
according to WTTG-TV, Channel 5 in Washington. Through his front window, they saw Williamson having coffee in his birthday
"Fairfax County police showed up and arrested him."
The story didn't say so, but I am 99 percent
sure that the house is made of some standard building material with only the customary amount of glass. Which, evidently,
is all you need to break the law against being naked in your own home in Springfield, Virginia. I presume one exists or else
they wouldn't have arrested him.
Williamson says he was just standing in the kitchen, having a cuppa joe in his altogether.
The police say he wanted to be seen. However, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Not that I have any personal experience,
but it doesn't seem to me that 5:30 a.m. is the prime flash-your-neighbors hour.
That said, I'm not sure drinking
coffee in the nude is the brightest idea he ever had, and not just because there were people cutting through his yard and
looking in his window at the time. I can sum up the problem in one word:
Owie owie owie.
let's go back to another detail of the case. This woman and the kid were cutting through the guy's yard. Since when is this
acceptable? How come they didn't get arrested for trespassing, or peeping in his windows? I was taught to respect other peoples'
property, every hour of the day including 5:30 a.m. You simply don't go traipsing through other peoples' yards.
don't stare in their windows either. It's rude. Besides, they might be naked and if it's not Halle Berry's or Sofia Vergara's
house, you could well need a brain scrubber to get that image erased, and so far, nobody has invented one. You could very
well scar yourself for life, and anything less than the aforementioned Halle or Sofia, it's just not worth the potential trauma.
But no. The woman and the kid skipped, and Eric is looking at a possible year in jail and a $2,000 fine. All because he
wanted to have a cup of coffee au naturel, and also without sugar or cream. And because he didn't do what anyone
with a lick of common sense would do when walking around the house naked:
Close the curtains.