Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com

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Home of Jenny the Pirate

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This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.

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We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.

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 Nice is different than good.

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Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962

  

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Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors

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I am a Blue Star Mother

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Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =

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Represent:

The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were

 

 

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Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.

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Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson

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REMEMBRANCE

When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks
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 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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Keep To The Code

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You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts

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Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    RCA
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ RIP JAVIER ~

1999-2016

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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Thursday
Feb282008

Trails Duly Blazed

Over dinner tonight TG and I were discussing the fact that our daughter had experienced a setback this week when she tried to get a North Carolina driver's license. Having lived in Pennsylvania from the time of her marriage until last July, it had been a long while since Steph was required to take a written test at the DMV. Because their second child is expected in a matter of weeks, Steph and Joel thought it best to stop procrastinating and get valid licenses walleted before the family tree sprouts another hungry howling twig. So they secured a thick book of rules and regulations and, armed with highlighters, began preparing for the multi-part examination.

A few days ago Stephanie, still reviewing and underlining, quelling bouts of panic, presented herself for testing. She brought her A Game and things went well until the last raft of questions. Although she came within a hair of passing, the bad news was that she had ultimately failed. Dejected, Steph went home where Joel both commiserated with her and made sure she drew him a detailed roadmap revealing the location of all the test's pitfalls. Even though she herself was shot down, thanks to her brave reconnaissance mission he passed his test on the first try. Steph tried again and passed too, and thank God that's behind them both.

The whole scenario reminded me of one of my most-loved TV programs as a kid: The Honeymooners. My sister and I never missed this early sitcom, even though it had been in reruns for years by the time we were old enough to watch it. The "hero" of the show was Ralph Kramden, played by the unbelievably funny Jackie Gleason. His character was deliciously offset by his jaded wife, Alice, portrayed brilliantly by Audrey Meadows. Ralph and Alice occupied a drab tenement walkup in New York City, where he worked as a municipal bus driver. Ralph, who had an inferiority complex, was always coming up with new schemes to get rich and famous.

Upstairs from the Kramdens lived their friends Ed and Trixie Norton, played by Art Carney and Joyce Randolph. Art worked in the NYC sewer, but in his spare time his goofy antics provided the ideal foil for Ralph's many delusions of grandeur. In one of my favorite episodes, Ralph managed to become a contestant on the popular game show Name That Tune. The deal was, they'd begin playing a song and you had to name the song in as few notes as possible. Ralph was convinced that he would win enough money this way to finally impress Alice, who wasn't easily impressed (but who, against all odds, loved him anyway).

So Ralph enlisted his friend Norton, who happened to be a competent pianist, to help him learn the first few bars of as many popular songs as he could. They studied for weeks, until Ralph could "name that tune" when Norton had played only one or two notes. Only problem was, Norton drove Ralph crazy by the way he warmed up before playing each song. Every time he began playing, by way of introduction he played the opening bars of Swanee. Ralph did not appreciate this and finally flipped out. Arms flailing, eyes bulging, he told Norton in no uncertain terms to stop introducing each song with whatever that other tune was.

Wait for it! The big night came and Ralph, on pins and needles, making everyone nuts by obsessing about all the songs he'd learned, got his opportunity to play Name That Tune on national television. And sure enough, the first song they played for him was Swanee. Only, he couldn't name that tune! He had never asked Norton the name of the song he was playing before he played all the songs Ralph concentrated on memorizing. He had to content himself with a consolation prize of a case of something or other ... Spam, most likely ... and eat it with plenty of crow, which was Ralph's main diet anyway.

So many have gone before us, paving the way for our successes. It's just good business to be alert, pay attention, make notes, and not take those people for granted. It's also wise to bear in mind that, with our actions -- and sometimes with a mere word or gesture -- we blaze a trail for those who follow behind.

Tuesday
Feb262008

Golden Grobie

Baby-faced, curly-headed, dulcet-voiced Josh Groban is turning 27 on Wednesday, February 27th. His golden birthday.

I first heard Josh sing nearly ten years ago and I've been a fan ever since. He just gets better and better (and he's still just a baby)! Nine times out of ten when I'm driving around in the car, I'm listening to a Josh Groban CD. I never get tired of hearing Josh sing songs like Per Te, Gira Con Me, Broken Vow, You're Still You, Mi Mancherai, Si Volvieras a Mi, Hymne a L'amour, My Confession and of course, The Prayer (preferably with Ms. Dion, a/k/a the Celine Solution).

So Happy Golden Birthday to the golden-throated Josh. You've brought so much joy with your incredible God-given talent, I vote that we designate you a national treasure.  And I pray you'll have many more years to delight your legions of fans.

Here's Josh performing live with "Queen Celine" singing The Prayer. Enjoy.

Monday
Feb252008

The Silence Of The Hams

All evidence to the contrary, this has not become a critter blog.

However.

Yesterday as TG and I were walking into the building at our church where he teaches an adult Sunday School class, me clutching his hand and struggling to keep up as always (yes ... he has to drag me to church), I heard something on the fragrant southern Sunday morning air that stopped me in my tracks: the crow of a rooster. TG the tall-and-rangy, always at least two full strides ahead of me, let his arm stretch to its full length before looking back to determine the source of my problem.

"Huh?" I grimaced. "Where in the sam hill is the rooster?"

TG chuckled. "Back over there," he said as he pointed behind us. "Actually there's a couple of 'em. You'll hear them every now and then."

Well, I never have. Our church property covers at least ten acres on both sides of a street that lies not two miles due west of downtown Columbia. And while not exactly the big apple, Columbia is a milieu just urban enough that one does not expect to hear the crowing of roosters within spitting distance of the skyline. And yet that's what I heard, and upon the introduction of that fowl's strangled alpha-male cry to my consciousness, I was transported back in time approximately eight years.

Andrew was eleven years old and heavily into livestock. In addition to having found employment mucking out the stalls of horses at the nearby Baby Paws Farm (where there resided llamas so fierce that, according to Andrew, they would hurl a special type of invective your way when riled ... as in, they thought nothing of drenching you in saliva. "And you didn't want to tick them off when they were eating," Andrew tells me. "We fed them pellets of corn and if they got mad with a mouthful of those hard kernels, their ears would go back and they'd knit their eyebrows together and if you didn't get out of the way in time, they sprayed you with corn and it felt like being attacked with a pellet gun."), the boy, under the tutelage of his father (a/k/a "Mr. Green Jeans"), joined the 4H club and decided to raise chickens.

"Lovely!" I quasi-enthused when TG and the boy advised me of their plan. "Knock your lights out but don't involve me for a single second!" (See, I'm a city slicker.)

Several "chickens" purchased from a local farmer and duly ensconced in a hastily-constructed coop in our large backyard were soon pecking around in the dirt and at one another. Everything was fine until a little gender-bending became apparent: one of them was actually a rooster. For some incomprehensible reason, Andrew named him Bob. Bob the rooster. Which was perfectly all right with me until one morning when, oh, three-thirtyish, Bob found his voice.

Because TG and I shared a bedroom with windows facing the backyard, which windows were slightly open to the clement weather, Bob's matutinal combination of music and lyrics woke me -- and only me -- from a sound sleep. (TG and the kiddies could sleep through a freight train becoming derailed and plunging through the middle of our house, wailing all the way.)

Perhaps you are thinking, how fussy can you be? The rooster crows in the middle of the night; you wake up, turn over, and go back to sleep; right? Wrong. Because the vociferous Bob loved the sound of his own pipes. He loved it so much that he crowed with startling regularity approximately 18 out of each 24 hours. Each and every 24 hours.

Barely above curmudgeon status when rested and on my best behavior, I become practically incoherent when deprived of sleep. After a few weeks of being awakened before first light by Bob's strident and persistent vocal stylings, I was haggard and homicidal. Finally I cornered TG and the boy and looked menacingly back and forth between their concerned faces. "Get rid of him or I'll cold-cock him and then fricassee him," I intoned. Somehow I convinced them of my sincerity. That afternoon Bob, still crowing, was crated and carted deep into the country to the farm of some friends who were thrilled to add his flamboyant carcass to a preexisting menagerie.

I closed the windows, closed the blinds, and went to bed. My astute family allowed me to sleep until I was good and ready to wake up.

So now perhaps you more fully understand my visceral reaction to the sound of the rooster crowing within earshot of the churchyard. Rest assured: when swine are airborne over the Southeastern United States and can be heard singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T in four-part harmony, I'll allow another rooster to live in my yard. Until then I'll sleep as late as the neighborhood barking machines will let me.

Saturday
Feb232008

Leave It To Lemurs

Did you hear the one about the guy in Iowa, name of Dave Steward, who got fired from his job last fall because he had the temerity to post a cartoon on the bulletin board in the employee break room? He has been quoted as saying that he was attempting to "boost morale for the employees." A fine goal, to be sure ... only thing is, he was caught on tape and this was the cartoon in question:

dilbert.jpg

The story reminded me of the fact that in my day I have worked for some lawyers who, to compare them to lemurs (whether sober or inebriated) would be a backdoor insult to the animals.

I think it's really neat that Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, the comic strip in question, heard about the plight of Dave Steward and went to bat for him by writing the whole story into the strip. The result was an episode where the boss asks: "Do you think drunken lemurs are like managers?" To which poor feckless Wally answers: "No. Some lemurs can hold their liquor."

It has been my personal experience that while an abstemious lemur will generally be reasonable, a lemur in his cups quickly loses perspective and is likely to take umbrage a bit more hastily. So you have to really be careful. Scott Adams must know this too because he had some advice for Dave Steward: "Stick to Garfield. Nobody ever got fired for loving lasagna." Likewise Dave Steward had some advice for employers everywhere: "You need to have a sense of humor."

I agree with Steward. A funnybone to a human is like a femur to a lemur ... you need one or you're going to fall facedown in the dirt. Even though apparently in some situations you can get fired (or at the very least, excoriated) for having a sense of humor, it's a chance I'd be willing to take.

My daughter Audrey once attempted to boost the morale of her fellow employees by making the office coffee extra-strong in the morning. Aided and abetted by one of her colleagues who, like Audrey, didn't see the point of drinking joe unless you could trot hamsters across the surface, Audge got into the habit of using two pre-measured packets of coffee per pot instead of the prescribed single packet. As you can imagine this made the coffee pretty stout, and I guess it was putting unwanted hair on the chests of a few of Audrey's co-workers.

One with a hall-monitor complex (or maybe hypertension) decided to strike back. A hand-lettered sign duly appeared in the break room above the coffee maker: One Packet Of Coffee Per Pot = Happy Employees.

Audrey and her cohort laughed uproariously when they saw the sign and happily dumped a packet of coffee apiece into the basket before flipping the switch. (They made a second pot using only one packet and labeled it as such, and even made a pot of low-octane. Caffeine-o-phobes, keep your shirts on.)

Because there's no camera in their break room, neither Audrey nor her friend have any idea who, by the next morning, had altered the sign by scratching out the words One Packet Of Coffee Per. Now there's someone who knows the value of a sense of humor.

Thursday
Feb212008

The Great Ohio Flip-Out

Once upon a time The Gregory, I, and our kids lived semi-contentedly in a small town in central Ohio. In that burg was a park where we liked to go for picnics and generalized recreation. Our second Beagle loved to run free there, run like the wind until he could barely wiggle. Recently something reminded me of the day many extended family members showed up and we all decided to retreat to the park for a cookout. It was a beautiful summer day ... puffy white clouds, warm breezes, droning insects, and dappled shade. As I recall there were about 25 of us there; it was sort of like a reunion minus nametags, matching t-shirts, speeches, and feudal activity. Also there was no beer.

After appropriating a "campsite" consisting of a few wooden tables and a grill, we busied ourselves embellishing the pastoral landscape with our coolers and hampers and blankets and lawn chairs and kids and pets and so forth and so on. You know ... the kind of deal where you've brought so much stuff from home, it would have been much easier to stay home. And yet not at all the same as having a cookout in the great outdoors, and so of course there you are. Time to live it up because, as history teaches us, deathbeds are coming!

So there we all were, laughing, fooling around in a pointedly civilized way, getting caught up on familial gossip as we arranged the assorted vittles for easy access. Which generally meant, the men lugged the heavy stuff from the cars and then stood around and talked about golf while the women hauled out the potato salad and baked beans and deviled eggs and bags of chips and sandwich buns and condiments and homemade desserts and two-liters of soda pop, plus all the accessories: paper plates, plastic cutlery, napkins, cups, et cetera, ad nauseam, ad infinitum. We were nothing if not over-prepared.

So that our al fresco feast could boast a freshly-cooked main course, my brother-in-law fired up the grill and threw on enough hotdogs and hamburgers to feed Patton's Third Army should that venerable company suddenly advance over the nearest knoll, demanding provisions. To the delicate verdancy of the atmosphere we added pungent greasy smoke, and the party was truly on.

I was wearing a casual summer lounge-type dress ... a light blue background with flowers on it as I recall. Real comfortable and, you know, cool and forgiving. The kind of dress that feels like a bathrobe but doesn't look like one. I've always been real prissy so it suited me well. My legs were bare and I was wearing flip-flop shoes with sequins on them. (I'm just not the plain rubber flip-flop type.) And yes, I had on full makeup and my hair was done. Like I said: real prissy. You need to know this or you won't fully enjoy the next part of the story.

The burgers and dogs charred to perfection, we converged upon the food table and did our best to get our plates piled up right on the first try. For me that meant lots of mustard and ketchup on a still-smoking hotdog, and all that goes along with it. Balancing everything carefully, I swung by the beverage concession and picked up a plastic cup of something soft and fizzy. As I headed for a lawn chair that had been placed by TG on the perimeter of our staked-out quarter-acre, I'm pretty sure I was talking nonstop and probably laughing too, because that's just what I do. I can't be sure though, because no sooner had I turned my back to my chair and sat down, than I reached cruising altitude and just kept on going. I mean, going all the way back, onto my back, with all the grace of a drunken Hottentot.

Yes! My skirt, at least for a moment before my legs flopped to the side, ended up around my waist! Good thing I shave above my knees! The back of my head felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to it. I saw stars, and I don't mean like Johnny Depp. My lunch was sprawled all over me, to include my face and hair. I might have been hallucinating but I'm pretty sure I heard an ant family tittering in the grass. Their voices are so tiny! "She lost her hotdog," one said. "She is a hotdog," declared another. HaHa, so funny, so small-town ant-like.

TG immediately -- immediately -- turned and walked in the opposite direction. It was as though he wanted to completely forget who I was and the reason I might have been invited to share in the festivities, and having developed amnesia, oh-so-smoothly insinuate himself into the family occupying the neighboring picnic site, where there was beer (or at least hard lemonade). Thanks again, darling! Next time we have hotdogs, remind me to marinate yours in cyanide!

I began struggling to my feet. What it was, was painful. And my considerable ego was not the only thing bruised. What it was not, was pretty and what it was also not was elegant, but what it was, was interesting. It was memorable. And my sort-of motto is, if you can be nothing else, be interesting and be memorable. Invite ridicule; invite criticism; invite all-out contempt. At least you'll be remembered for having inspired something other than mind-numbing boredom! Anyone can do that.

My dear sweet niece Sandra rushed over to help me up. She was the only one. I have left her a small but significant piece of jewelry in my will and she may get my Pirates of the Caribbean DVD's too. My dress -- my cute summer picnic dress! -- looked like a Georgia O'Keeffe canvas -- Ram's Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills with Condiments -- on which someone had become violently sick.

But I survived to prink and preen and party again, and what's more to tell about it, so there y'all. No harm, no foul. Just a little flip-out on a summer day in Ohio, is all.