Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Thanksgivings I Love to Forget

Some years ago, when I was a young bride of 18, I was introduced to The Peyton Family Thanksgiving Tradition. This was an annual event, thrown by my ex-husband's very sweet cousin, Sherry. 

Sherry was a stunningly beautiful blond: The product of two mutant parents, she was the gem that stood out in the scrub brush studded wasteland of central Florida. 

It was no wonder that her wealthy husband, Tom, discovered her one day when she was tending her parents' shop and proceeded to sweep her off her feet and marry her. This true Cinderella story resulted in a lavish lifestyle, a lovely mansion, and three children who grew up with the Bellamy brothers' kids. Sherry, ever kind, always opened her home to the poor relations each holiday. And so every Thanksgiving and/or Christmas we would all make the trek to Tom and Sherry's.

We weren't the only ones invited. Naturally she also invited other relatives and her parents, whom we'll call Dixie and Bubba. Let me describe them for you. 

Dixie was an average sized woman, who always wore dresses that were at least 10 years out of date. Her frizzy, mousy brown hair was usually worn in a type of bouffant. She was gap toothed, with a lovely wart on one withered cheek that was perched just below her horn rimmed glasses. 

Bubba was a gangly man who perpetually looked malnourished. He was slightly stooped, so his greasy comb-over was always apparent. He also wore clothes that were at least 10 years out of date, and a rather self-deprecating manner with an ingratiating smile that he flashed nervously about.

Many, many years before, Dixie had met a trucker who was passing through their wilderness. Somehow an unlikely romance had been struck up, and she'd had a torrid affair with him. Bubba had never forgotten or forgiven her for this infraction, and so every family holiday they took out this memory, polished it, and cherishingly re-enacted it for everyone.

Usually the meal would be in full swing when suddenly Bubba would snap something accusatorily at Dixie. Dixie would then go into full blown hysterical dramatics. This would result in her flying down a hallway in the mansion and locking herself into the guest bath. Sherry would then feel obligated to play her part, and she'd sometimes be joined by other women who felt it was their duty to cajole Dixie out of the bathroom. I would never take part in this: Instead, I would sit back and enjoy the show.

In the meantime, Bubba would go outside where he'd angrily pace back and forth, muttering imprecations. Some of the men would then go into their expected roles and join him outside to entreat him to calm down and forgive Dixie once more. I would watch the performance through the floor-to-ceiling windows as he'd gesticulate wildly, the wind whipping chunks of his comb-over erect into a rooster comb, his yellow teeth flashing in the sunlight as he ranted about her past infidelity.

Eventually, Dixie would be coaxed back into the group again, where she'd continue to sniff and look mortally wounded. Finally she'd evolve into forced gaiety, attempting coquettish exchanges with all the guests. Bubba would also be brought back inside, and perch in the front room in an easy chair from which he would silently glower the rest of the day.

When I was finally divorced from my husband, I counted this loss as something to be thankful for. I continue to do so to this day. And so this November I remember Dixie and Bubba thankfully. I will never have another Thanksgiving like that again, God willing.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Morning in the Ghetto

7:30 in the morning the chainsaw starts up. The renters next door are at it again.
They're notorious for throwing huge, loud obnoxious parties with people parked up and down the street. They always have at least 4 cars in the driveway and parked on the lawn. What was once a nice neighborhood is going G.H.E.T.T.O.
So I get dressed, walk over there and say "I think I'm a nice neighbor. I'm a nice neighbor, right? I am quiet? Polite?" They nod their assent from the open garage. "Well then can you please just not saw wood on THANKSGIVING MORNING," I say as sweetly as possible through gritted teeth.
Ma Kettle looks at Pa Kettle in astonishment. "We haven't been using a chainsaw," she says, as if anyone could not know a chainsaw was just revved up in their backyard. Pa Kettle nods grimly. "I'm sawing wood for the smoked turkey," he says and looks at me as if this answer solves everything and now that I know WHY they're doing it, all should be OK.
"OK, the noise ordinance is til 9. I'm trying to sleep in. Can it wait til 9?" I ask. Pa Kettle looks astonished. "Well we HAVE to have it for the turkey," he explains. "I guess we can saw the wood IN the garage, instead." This will not cut down the noise in the least, as it's only feet away from where they're currently sawing. I point this out. They look baffled and tell me that they don't know what to do. "How about NOT sawing wood early in the morning?" I suggest.
"Well what time IS it," asks Ma Kettle of Pa Kettle. He looks at a clock. "8 o'clock," says Pa. Ma looks at me triumphantly, as if this somehow proves me to be highly irrational. "Yes," I say, "but you started at 7:30."
"Well while we're at it," says Ma Kettle, "You have a tree limb hanging over our fence. It could fall on one of our guests and brain them." I quietly wish it would fall on ALL of them, but simply say "Have you talked to the owners about this?"
"No but it's YOUR tree," says Ma Kettle.
"Have you talked to the owners about this?" I repeat patiently.
"No," admits Ma.
"OK, call the owners and ask them to call me," I say simply and turn away. Game over. I would sincerely doubt they'll call the owners, as this would expose what they're doing to their property.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Beauty (and sheer glamour) of Selling Lightbulbs

So I got a call from a light bulb company looking for someone who would like to sell for them for free. That means: Commission only.

At first I got a tentative email, I looked at the site and it was obviously a site designed NOT to sell a product but to sell a salesperson on selling the product. So I first wrote the recruiter who'd contacted me and said:

Thank you so much for reaching out to me! I've looked over the site and it appears to have been designed specifically to reach out to salespeople. So this begs the obvious question: Is this commission only?

She answered back:

The compensation is a combination of commission and bonuses and will pay between 27 to 34%

She lied. Or, you could say, she was honestly dishonest. Once she trapped me on the phone, extolling the virtues of lightbulbs, I asked her about the pay (straight commission and an independent contractor, no benefits) and finally queried: "Do you provide leads?" 

"Oh ANY business is your lead," she said enthusiastically. 

"By THAT standard, why don't you sell Post-it-Notes, too?" I asked tartly.

And that was that.

This is the quality of the jobs out there in Florida.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Killing Bad Business Leads

A company that encourages their employees to never kill a dead lead because it cost money to obtain in the first place... is equivalent to that homeless man who carries his collection of bubblegum wrappers around in an old cigar box and occasionally takes them out tenderly to gaze upon them with rapture.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Recent Observations

Cloth Shopping Bags
To the politically correct woman who had 10 cloth bags at the front of the line in the grocery store, and made the bag boy bag every single item in each bag as she painstakingly handed him each item, thus delaying the line until it was backed up beyond all belief: I hate you

Speeching Class
"I have a speeching class this weekend," said the girl who most obviously needed it.

So I ask Yasmine for her email address. "Yes ma'am," she answers, and then pauses. "Ok, go ahead," I say. "Yes ma'am," she says, and pauses again. Then I get it. She's saying "Yasmine."

Killing Reagan 
Bill O'Reilly's former books (such as Killing Jesus) are riddled with speculation and historical inaccuracies, so why not his book on Reagan, too? I'm not surprised. Incidentally, his fiction is badly written, thinly veiled self-congratulatory pap as well.

Blue Eyeshadow
I am endlessly fascinated by bad makeup jobs. When I was a teen, I tried wearing blue eyeshadow once. I came to the breakfast table and my father, The Scientist, peered at me through his glasses and then pronounced "You look just like a type of lizard that develops blue patches during mating season." So much for blue eyeshadow.

The Current Economy
A friend just posted a meme that says "I just want to spend the rest of my life laughing." The first comment underneath it: "Just look at your paycheck".

Keeping Christ in Christmas
Wow. I just saw an entire long-winded rant about keeping Christ in Christmas, which sounds like they may have no idea who Christ is whatsoever, as well as the fact that He was probably born in the spring, anyway.

OK, I'm a bit tired of seeing the new socialist Canadian PM's sexy photo shoot posted on my news feed. Many women are drooling over him. Just remember, ladies: They drooled over Ted Bundy, too.

I just spoke with a Tyre Ford. I'm guessing her parents are car aficionados. She's just lucky her first name isn't Windshield, I suppose. Too bad her last name isn't Volkswagen, her first name could be Farfegnugen.

Disco Prairie Girl
A friend's recent post reminded me of the only doll I ever played with when I was a kid. My mom felt that she would be more wholesome than a Barbie doll. So what did I do the moment I got this flat chested redhead? I threw out her clothes, chopped her hair to shoulder length, and made her disco outfits.

It's Not Your Business, Remember?
There's this lady I know who always says "It isn't MY business," and then proceeds to make it her business.

Ariana Grande Hates America
If Ariana Grande says she hates America, why is anyone shocked? It's typical of so many in show biz: Make money off the gullible American public and denounce America at the same time. Why not? Public memory is short.

Nailing It
I've been listening to a woman talk about her nails for 15 straight minutes. I never believed it was possible to die out of sheer boredom, but if I do, remember me well

She's All Grown Up
My kid, after hearing my snarky voice-to-text message to someone: "Well aren't YOU being passive aggressive today?"
I'm so proud of her. It almost brought a tear to my eye. She understands the big words and concepts.

Barney's Apple Spiced Coffee
The idea of Barney's Spiced Apple coffee sounds wonderful...until you take your first sip and realize it tastes almost exactly, but not quite, like canned peas and lemon juice. Now I have two choices: Continue to drink it while pretending it tastes like something other than what it tastes like, or pitch the entire box.

Voice-to-Text Problems
I'm having problems with my voice-to-text on my not-so-smart phone. I find if I yell into it as if I'm speaking to someone who forgot their hearing aid, I get decent results. However, that doesn't go over so well in the supermarket.

Kar Names
I just spoke to a Kamry. Her parent(s) had the foresight to spell it with a "K" because heaven forbid that she be confused with a car. The next girl I spoke to was Kia: At least HER parent(s) named her after an entire company. I am NOT kidding.

Is it Dinner or a Confession?
Just got dinner from my favorite Chinese restaurant, whose employee always tells me I've ordered "Shrimp Eff You Young."

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Coffee
"Life is better when there's pumpkin pie spiced coffee in it." -Marie Antoinette

The Snotty Receptionist

I go to the receptionist at a place that will remain unnamed. "Do you have change for a $5 so I can use the vending machines?" I ask. "WE don't have change HERE," she drawls in a superfluous tone, as if providing change was equivalent to riding on the back of a garbage truck. She looks at me with mild distaste as if only a subhuman would use a vending machine instead of driving to Starbucks to order a skinny double frappuccino with whey and wheat grass. 

"That's ok," I answer. "On second thought I'd rather starve."

The Potato Vine Meets its Match

For years I've battled air potato vine, which can strangle entire trees. The battle raged on a couple fronts: First, spraying the invasive vine with Roundup, which increasingly appears to be mother's milk to the weed (apparently air potato vine has become resistant to Roundup). I would also go about collecting the potatoes from the ground, and sometimes paid my kids 10 cents per potato so that we could hunt them all down and eliminate the source.
But this year, something changed in the war. Something was chewing them to shreds, while leaving all my other vegetation untouched. Gradually the air potato vines have been receding, thanks to this hidden marauder. Curious, I googled it and found out that the State of Florida has discovered a predator of the air potato vine and has been releasing beetles for a couple of years now. They've finally made their way to me, apparently.

China's One Child Rule Ends

So China has finally decided to end its One Child Rule. This rule often put the government in the position to kidnap women and force them to undergo abortions, even if they were almost to term. The amount of human suffering and atrocities the Chinese government visits upon its people is horrendous and yet we continue to do business with them. 

So why are they abandoning the policy now? They are dealing with two problems: Too many males (people were selectively aborting females) and a reduced population that may threaten the country's ability to continue on.

The Planned Parenthood Problem

For everyone who's pro Planned Parenthood, let THIS settle in for a minute. I'm SO tired of excuses for them. Yes! They give out birth control and free condoms! Whoo hoo! And THAT makes them special in some way? No one else does that? I used PP when I was a young married college student: We didn't have enough money to afford to go to an OBGYN and get prescriptions for birth control pills and I had no idea of the scope of their abortion activities. 

But it isn't the same story now. With ObamaCare everyone has access to affordable health care. Do you know PP doesn't even do simple testing procedures, like checking for ovarian cysts? So how "women's health oriented" are they really? 

Let's face it: They're an abortion mill with a patina of respectability that has now eroded.

Ring Candles

I keep getting tempted to buy a prize candle. They come with various names, like Ring Candle, Diamond Candle, etc. Basically, it's Cracker Jack for adult females who really, really like candles. You burn the candle, get to a foil packet, and if you're lucky it has a decent fragrance and there's a cheap $10 ring that isn't too ugly that you might not feel too ashamed to give to a neighbor's kid. 

The only way I keep talking myself out of it is by promising myself that I will get a Yankee Candle and throw a piece of my own jewelry in it, and then pretend to be surprised.

Law Enforcement Growing More Despotic?

The FBI director claims the increase in violent crimes may be related to cops being more wary of wading in to prevent them. This could be true, of course, but I like the increased public attention on law enforcement. With the Patriot Act, we see our rights eroding at a rapid pace and it's all too easy for law enforcement to take advantage of that and grow more despotic. 

It also doesn't help that our military is giving away their older war weapons, tanks, etc., to various police / sheriff departments all over the USA, which is militarizing the police.


Today I sat next to a stout old lady in the doctors office who was loudly complaining about all the paperwork she had. "I've never seen anything like this before," she ranted. I finally turned to her and said, "Lady, thank Obama. It's all new restrictions put in place by Obamacare." ""Well I wouldn't go so far as to say THAT," huffed the crotchety toad. "Well I would," I said, "and if you're smart you'll think about that before the next election. Do you think the doctors office is just doing this for fun?"

The Illegal Immigrant Problem

Once again, the Democratic Presidential candidates are promising freebies, although the money to provide all this must come from SOMEwhere. And when it comes to illegal immigration, why don't more politicians admit the statistics? 

Second generation illegal immigrants are no longer the menial lower classes that their parents were. They're now educated along with Americans and begin to compete with our children for subsidizing illegals is a dangerous two-edged sword. There are only two reasons to encourage illegal immigration and both reasons are based out of greed: More Democratic voters for the roles, or more Republican stooges willing to work for less than minimum wage under the table.

Not So Funny

Lately I've run into a couple of men who said something that they thought was hysterical. In both cases, they waited expectantly for me to laugh, but since it wasn't in the least bit funny, I just looked at them and kept going. Attention seeking behavior is very annoying to me. I'm sure that they thought I was stuck up but I'm simply too old to pretend to laugh over something that is as funny as a child's knock-knock joke.
This reminds me of a blind date I went on many years ago. The guy assured me he had a GREAT sense of humor. He may have, but he was the only one who saw it. We met for coffee and everything he said was punctuated by him giggling like a creepy circus clown. I left quickly.

You think you're funny? Great. Time to take your show on the road.

Peter Rabbit: The Sequel

Today we have a sequel to the Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Peter Rabbit, now in his teenage years, had acquired a girlfriend named Trixie. She was not just any rabbit, and of this he was proud. She was a lovely albino with shiny red eyes like rubies or, as old Mrs. Rabbit had once said quietly to her friend Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, rather like blood.
But there was no separating Peter and Trixie. Through thick or thin, boredom or all types of trouble, Mother's adages and sage advice continued to be disregarded (especially because Peter was, in rabbit years, 16 years old and knew everything).
"Now don't go into Dr. Drake's backyard," warned Mother once again, as Peter and Trixie prepared to leave to find dinner. "She has a Mutant Wolf Pack and they're itching to get their paws on anything. Just a couple months ago they brought a baby possum to her door and scared that possum almost half to death!"
But did Peter listen? No. And we can't really ask if Trixie listened. She had bad parents who were always out all night partying and left the children to raise themselves on weeds and palm frond leaves.
So Peter, who was very naughty, chose to ignore Mother. The moment they were out of sight of the rabbit hole, he said to Trixie "Come on! Let's go to Drake's backyard! She's never up that early in the morning to catch us, and the grass is EVER so much better there." And Trixie, being a typical albino rabbit whose parents never taught her anything, went along with it.
So they squeezed through a crack in her wooden fence at the very back of the property, and helped themselves to the lush grass. They nibbled a bit here, a bit there, moving ever closer to the house. Trixie, being slightly more timid, kept toward the wooden fence. Peter, however, felt the best way of earning Trixie's approval was to display his usual machismo and bravely came almost up to the back door... when what should happen?
The back door opened and The Mutant Wolf Pack emerged.
Upon spotting Peter and Trixie, they let out a horrid cacophony of yelping barks. In terror, Trixie bolted for the hole in the wooden fence, but Peter was now too far away to make it on time.
The Mutant Wolf Pack separated. One veered after Trixie, who was able to duck through the wooden fence in time, and two chased after Peter.
Peter ran as fast his legs could take him, heading for the gates that led out of the backyard and into freedom. They didn't look like the wooden fence he was familiar with, but there were plenty of holes and so it seemed like it would be easy to wiggle through. He made a leap for a hole and...found himself stuck, halfway in and halfway out, with The Mutant Wolf Pack snapping at his heels.
As he struggled, panicked, a pair of old sneakers appeared in front of him and a disheveled looking woman began to screech at The Mutant Wolf Pack, who fell back. She then mumbled something to him which he could only assume was "Mmmm! Now we can have rabbit stew!" This caused Peter to struggle even harder, but to no avail.
Drake, for it had to be Drake, attempted (rather weakly, in Peter's opinion) to help extricate him from the fence but he was stuck good and fast. And then suddenly she wasn't there! She had abandoned him! He knew it was just a matter of time before she released those hounds of hell once more.
More terrified than ever, Peter wiggled about frantically. Pausing for breath, he looked up to see her returning with white gloves! Surely white gloves could only bring dire consequences, so with one final, heroic effort, he wiggled back into the backyard.
In shock, he paused. He was free! He was FREE! And with this sudden knowledge, he quickly turned and raced for the hole in the wooden fence at the back of the yard. To his surprise, there were no remnants of The Mutant Wolf Pack. Drake must have corralled them during his capture and it only made sense: Rabbit stew was not meant to be shared, or so his sister Flopsy used to tell him when they were exchanging campfire horror stories.
He made it home lickety-split and careened in the front door, where old Mrs. Rabbit was busy making a nice vichyssoise. She gave Peter a side glance. "Well, it's nice to see you made it back again," she said rather tartly. "I gave up on seeing clothes on you after the Mr. McGregor incident but at least you lost Trixie THIS time."

Monday, November 09, 2015

University of Missouri Hunger Strike

I wonder about the parents of the young man at the University of Missouri who's on hunger strike. At what point will they step in and institutionalize him? Or are they OK with his holding his life hostage like this? Why demand the President of the college step down, which is highly unlikely, instead of demanding solid policy change? How many others will follow his petulant example? It's tempting to portray this as noble, but I feel it's rather childish.