I Laugh, Therefore, I AM
A humorous view of politics, religion, human behavior, and insights toward everyday happenings by a single guy living in downtown Chicago.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
I Can't Find My Phone
We've all done it before (at least I have.)
You can't find your cell phone so you call it from a land line. (Cell phone rings in the kitchen or in a back pack.)
But what if you're like a lot of folks who no longer have land lines?
I Can't Find My Phone is the solution. You just go to the website, enter in your phone number, click on the Hello button and it calls your cell phone.
I just tried it and it works. My phone was in my back pack.
(You can also make a voluntary donation through Pay Pal -- which is awfully clever of the designer of this website.)
Labels: I Can't Find My Phone
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I'm a Texting Convert
For a long time, I have truly disdained this horrible activity called "texting".
Maybe I'm becoming an elitist old fuddy-duddy, but I think texting "ok kewl c u" will truly be the downfall of the written English language. Kids will foget how to speak except for using the word, "like" at least five times in every sentence. Humans will evolve into beings that have little more than two giant thumbs, all because of endless texting.
I hate it when I receive a text that says, "where u at". I want to call the person back and say, "I am at a place where one does not end a sentence with a preposition!"
See? Old fuddy-duddy.
I didn't think I'd ever see any value in texting - - -
- - - until now.
A friend of mine and I often talk on the phone and in our "old age" we've often found ourselves saying, "Oh, there was something I wanted to tell you, but now I can't remember what it was." This has been happening quite a lot and there appears to be no sign of it abating.
She suggested that when we think of something we want to say later on, we text a word or two to each other so that we'll remember later on what we wanted to talk about.
It's worked like a charm. Here are some of the words I've texted:
Later, conversations have ensued in the most efficient manner. I've fully embraced this technique.
Yes, I've always hated texting because I'm of an older generation. The ironic thing is, I've found a use for texting precisely because I'm getting old and forgetful.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
We're under all sorts of wind advisories today and the weather forecasters here in Chicago are having a field day. It's supposed to be the worst weather in 70 years. They live for this stuff.
Right now, the 83-story building I work in is creaking and groaning and making all sorts of noises. I think I saw Elmira Gultch fly by my 22nd story window on her bicycle. It was pretty cool.
So, I looked at the weather conditions online.
Current wind speed: 44 mph.
Temperature: 117 F
Wait . . . what?
Maybe the weather-person needs to pay attention to something besides the wind.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I'm currently in Effingham, Illinois attending a conference. Effingham, for those of you who don't know, is 210 miles due south of Chicago. It's a long, boring drive.
While in these small towns thoughout Illinois, I often like to visit the local Wal-Mart in order to stock up on items at Everyday Low Prices. You see, living in downtown Chicago, we don't have access to Everyday Low Prices. Or to any big stores at Regular Prices for that matter. So, when I can, I stock up on toiletries, underpants, cheap clothing, bulk items and occasional bath and kitchen doo-dahs and what-nots.
I'm sure you've all seen the "People at Wal-Mart" photos that have been circulating around the interwebs. They're pretty scary and (I'll admit) hilarious at the same time. I was hoping to get some of these photos for myself, but I went to Wal-Mart around 9 pm and I guess the good people of Effingham don't shop at that time of night. I was practically by myself.
The only interesting thing that caught my eye were these two signs.
Does anyone know what the difference between "Hispanic Food" and "Latino Food" is -- especially in central Illinois? These signs were close by each other and I couldn't identify anything identifiable in the food items. I should have asked someone at Wal-Mart but I was tired after the four-hour drive. (Normally, it would take me three hours but I got stuck in Bears traffic after the game.)
I'm looking forward to a Big Slamming Breakfast at Denny's in the morning. If the server asks if I want ham, bacon or sausage, my reply will surely be, "I don't want any effing ham."
. . . like she's never heard that before.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The Story of Djaingo, The Praying Dog
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Such a Cliché
There are so many of these clichés around and they’re always something that never really occurs. For example, have you ever known of anyone to actually slip on a banana peel? Never happens. What about telling a cab driver to “step on it?” Nope. Never.
I was SO embarrassed walking back with that thing. I kept trying to smash down the parsley but it wasn’t budging. I mean, really, who has EVER seen a real bag of groceries with leafy things sticking out the top?
Monday, October 18, 2010
Friends, Food, and Fun
On Saturday night, I had my friends over for another Julia Child meal. This time, the guests were the lovely Miss Healthypants, her hubster, Iwanski, and their old college friend from Wisconsin, Diane (She’s been my friend too, now, for years.)
I was looking forward to it all week. A lot.
I knew that Iwanski really like Julia’s boeuf Bourguignon, so that was definitely on the menu. Besides, it’s easy to serve; no fiddly last-minute sauces to prepare.
Here’s a table setting.
Miss Healthypants has to have salad with every meal and here’s one of our favorites: Spinach with grape tomatoes, mangoes, with an orange-balsamic vinaigrette. I like the pretty colors.
And here you go: Heaven on a plate. Julia’s boeuf Bourguignon and asparagus with Julia’s beurre blanc (white butter sauce).
The happy guests.
Iwanski really likes the bourguignon.
Dessert was my favorite (something you’ll rarely hear me say.) I’ve been preparing Julia’s Bavarian creams in all their variations: Orange, strawberry, plain, almond praline, and chocolate. There were no more variations left in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I had done them all.
My favorite cookie is a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie – why not make a white chocolate macadamia nut Bavarian cream?
I melted lots of white chocolate into the custard part which became the Bavarian cream. For the topping, toasted macadamia nuts went into the whipped cream. Here it is.
I need to figure out a way to make it more fancy. This sort of has a Rachel Ray glop-n-slop thing going on here. Next time, I’ll pipe the whipped cream around the sides and mound the nuts on top.
But, holeee COW this was incredible! Somehow the white chocolate caused the Bavarian cream to have a double layer. One layer was fluffy, as it should be, and a larger layer was thick and custardy with white chocolate. It's definitely my favorite dessert now.
I served it with a white chocolate liqueur which nobody liked. Including me.
After dinner, Iwanski and I entertained the ladies with Inuit throat-singing which is an entirely different (and hilarious) story altogether. I honestly don't think I've ever seen Miss Healthypants and Diane laugh so hard. Their tummies were full from eating so much and hurting from laughing so hard.
That, my friends, is a successful dinner party.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Oh Stewardess, I Speak Jive . . .
Friday, October 15, 2010
I know I've posted photos of the 80-story "Aqua" building before, but today I was out there on my lunch break, the sun was shining, and I took some more photos. It really is impressive -- but only if you're up close to it like this where the rippling balconies have this effect. If you're standing more than a couple of blocks away, it's actually a very non-descript building. (As non-descript as 80-story buildings can be, anyway.)
Note: Each balcony does have a railing but they're designed in such a way that they "disappear" which is pretty cool.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I Had To Do It . . .
As I was watching the hugely extensive coverage of the Chilean miner rescue, I couldn't help but to think, "There's a satire article in there somewhere." I usually write satire when I'm annoyed by something; making fun of it is a form of therapy.
You've got to admit that the U.S. media has a tendency to go overboard with any sensational story. It took me less than an hour to write this:
Lohan Extrication Trumps Chilean Mine Coverage
RANCHO MIRAGE, CA – Worldwide media coverage of the Chilean miner rescue was suddenly dropped last night upon the news that Lindsay Lohan was about to be released from the Betty Ford Clinic after 18 days of in-patient confinement. As the 29th miner, Juan Carlos Aguilar, emerged from his 69-day entombment, most major networks had left the scene in order to make a sudden dash to Southern California.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper and medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, were among 1,500 journalists at the scene as Lohan’s black Mercedes slowly emerged through the gates of the notorious clinic. The famous pop star could be seen tightly squeezed in the back seat wearing a protective jumpsuit and sunglasses as the exuberant crowed cheered “Lind-say! Lind-say!” Repeatedly, groups of spectators broke out into singing the American national anthem throughout the night.
Rescue efforts in Chile were temporarily suspended while a special news feed of the "Lohan liberation" was relayed to the remaining miners.
Immediately upon Lohan's exodus from the confines of the clinic, Cooper breathlessly consulted with Gupta as they speculated about Lohan’s physical and psychological condition.
“Lohan was without the ability to tweet or text for 18 days,” reported Gupta. “That’s got to have an enormous psychological impact on a young woman who has been incredibly used to constant reassurance by means of social networking. Her self-esteem has probably taken a huge tumble and she faces a long road of recovery.”
"What's truly amazing is that she survived this long," observed Cooper, shaking his head thoughtfully.
Immediately after leaving the clinic, a special Larry King Live was aired by CNN for the next two hours. Video replays of the black Mercedes were aired repeatedly as a panel of mental health experts hypothesized about what the celebrity’s future might hold.
All major news networks in the U.S. continued with extensive coverage of the Lohan extrication throughout the night and well into the next day. CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News all reported a ten-fold increase in viewership compared to that of the Chilean mine coverage. Book and movie deals detailing the historical event are reportedly already in the making.
As the last rescue worker, Pedro Rivero, emerged from 2,300 feet below, virtually all news media had left the scene.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
That Tinkertoy Smell
The Braille printer in my office at work smells just like Tinkertoys. It’s a very noisy thing so it sits in a soundproof wooden cabinet that smells just like Tinkertoys.
I can still recall that fantastic smell of a brand new set of Tinkertoys. I was eight years old and had quickly outgrown the regular-sized set, then the larger set and had my eyes on the super-duper, colossal sized set of them that came with an electric motor. It cost a whopping eight dollars and seventy-five cents. I collected bottles and saved my pennies and nickels for weeks until I had enough to make this huge purchase. I can still remember what a brand new set of Tinkertoys smells like – just like the Braille printer in my office.
Isn’t it remarkable how one’s sense of smell has such a keen sense of recall?
I imagine that our keen olfactory sense of recall is buried way down deep in our pre-human DNA. When we were monkey-like beings, one smell would mean “eat that.” Another, “run away from that” while another meant “copulate with that.”
It’s how we survived and evolved into humans that could build things with Tinkertoys.
A co-worker was recently giving a tour to a new employee. While in my office, he pointed out my Braille printer to her.
“It smells just like Tinkertoys,” I said.
“Really?” he said. “The plastic ones or the wooden ones?” (He has three kids.)
He bent down and sniffed it.
“Wow! You’re right! It really does smell like Tinkertoys. That’s pretty neat.”
|Smells Like Tinkertoys|
Thursday, October 07, 2010
900 Miles of Illinois
My quarterly work-related trip around Illinois continues. I'm writing to you from Springfield; home of Lincoln and Blagojevich.
Illinois is definitely NOT the most exciting state to see. It consists pretty much of nothing but endless corn and soybean fields, all of which are brown and crispy this time of year. I have to make these trips once every quarter and stay in exciting hotels like Holiday Inns (of which I am now a priority club member -- aren't you impressed?). Also, I get to eat in delectable restaurants - - like Applebee's.
In my last post, I was sort of joking and said I'd be writing to you from various Holiday Inns and Applebee's around the state.
Yesterday: I ate at an Applebee's in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. I took a picture of it for you to see:
I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon. I took a photo of it for you, too.
On the way, I ate at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in some small town. See?
The food was really good, though. True to my Southern roots, I had fried catfish, hush puppies, corn on the cob and turnip greens.
Then I drove some more and am now in Springfield at my Usual Holiday Inn. I took a photo of it for you. (The night-exposure thingie on my camera really worked well.)
I'm enjoying my little rental car. They gave me a brand new Kia Soul -- a kicky little thing. I've already driven about five hundred miles so it's pretty bug-strewn.
Tomorrow, I have appointments in Springfield and Peoria. Who knows what exciting things Peoria will bring! You just never know about Peoria. . . .
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
City Scene - Wabash Avenue
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Sunday was the Feast of St. Francis which means one thing:
St. Francis was the patron saint of animals so on his feast-day many churches offer a Blessing of the Animals. Folks are encouraged to bring their pets to church and they can receive a blessing. (The pets, not the folks.)
I've attended this service many times and it can go one of two ways. (1) It can be a really meaningful service in which the minister gives a touching sermon about God's creatures and the role us folks play in relation to them.
(2) It can be a yapping, howling free-for-all where folks get to bring a snake to church.
Thankfully, the church I sing in had the former. Here are a few furry congregants gathering for the processional:
Meanwhile, my friend, Jack, took Chloe to be blessed at a Lutheran church on the north side of town. You can watch the video here.
It's awfully cute.
Yes, the dogs sit in the pews. And no, I've never seen any "accidents". A growling scuffle, maybe. Accidents, no.