What Did You Just Say?

We all go through our lives with adages, axioms, aphorisms, maxims, mantras, and mottos that guide our daily lives. Such musings can be referred to as “words to live by”, “food for thought”, or “that weird thing he always says”. For the purpose of this writing, I intend to share my thoughts on quotes I have heard (and sometimes passed on) over the years. Some of these are very wise quotations. Others are just funny to me. One or two of them may be a bit of both.

  • “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” – Lao Tzu. I have tried to apply this one a lot for myself as well as pass it on to others. It basically implies that if you help someone in the right way, they become more self sufficient. In other words, if you teach a man to fish, he’ll leave you alone for a bit. However, it should be noted that if you teach someone to fish, you may find that they frequently ask to borrow your tackle box.
  • “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by” – Douglas Adams. I hate being late. I think I detest waiting for others whom are late even more. Douglas Adams is one of my favorite writers. This quote reminds me that sometimes (not always but sometimes) I need to lighten up when it comes to time frame issues.
  • “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” – Proverbs 17:22. I REALLY like this one. This is one of the reasons that I do humor writing (at least that’s my intention). You can take most people who have their bottom lip dragging the ground for whatever reason. If you can get that person to smile (or better to laugh) about something, you heal their heart and lighten their burden. Even if that effect is temporary, it is beneficial.
  • “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln. I share the same birthday as Lincoln. Lincoln was a fine president who had many amusing quotes. This one, however, demonstrates that Lincoln also knew when to shut his yapper.
  • “…more nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs” I have no idea where this originated but it tickles me to hear it. I am not a cat lover. Nonetheless, my family has four cats. Sometimes I want to spend my paycheck on rocking chairs just for my own savage amusement.
  • “A short pencil I better than a short memory” – Charles Hughes. Mr. Hughes was an old family friend. He has passed away in 1989. Mr. Hughes had a tendency to jot things down on whatever was handy (like napkins for example). This is a very important adage. WRITE IT DOWN!
  • “If I tell you a rooster can pull a freight train, put a harness on it” – Lawrence H. McAfee. My Dad has a talent for telling you the most ridiculous thing with the straightest face. He convinced one poor (however gullible) woman that you set a microwave on negative digits and it would freeze your food. If you hear him bring up the rooster and the freight train, it meant he had authority on a subject and he could be trusted. Nevertheless, it is wise not to forget my Dad’s aforementioned talent.

There you have it folks. If you have been wondering up to this point: “What’s going on in his head?”, the above quotes may occasionally provide an answer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to check the store circulars for any sales on rocking chairs.

Ohhhhhh Me

As many who have read my essays are painfully aware, I am a native of the great state of Georgia who has spent most of the last 20+ years in Western New York. Some who hear me speak think my Southern drawl is barely noticeable. Others assert that my “twang” is thicker than molasses in January. I even had one surly Rochesterian give the following request: “Can you please stop talking like you just walked out of ‘Deliverance’?”

I have to be honest. I love hearing someone with an authentic southern drawl. It is about as refreshing to me as freshly brewed sweet tea. In the course of my job, I occasionally get to speak to a fellow Southerner. This sometimes allows me to hear words and phrases I grew up hearing. Unfortunately, they would possibly confuse my Northern colleagues, friends, and family. Therefore, I feel led to teach some of my readers some terms they may have heard and some they may have not. I am sure many of my Southern friends well let me know I left out some good ones. To my Northern friends, I quote Sir Francis Bacon: “Knowledge is power”.

  • Ohhhhhh me – This is an interjection that can indicate mild exhaustion, amazement, or frustration. “Ohhhhhh me, I can’t believe you did that.”
  • Dadgum – This is a word that has resulted in many Southern kids getting  smacked because it a euphemism for profanity. “Ohhhhhh me, my hair is a mess but I can’t find my dadgum brush.”
  • Say – This is an interjection that is used when someone has asked a question and has not received an immediate response. Southern parents use this interjection quite frequently with their children. “Boy, why did you put a frog on your sister’s bed? SAY!”
  • EHHHNNK! – Another popular interjection with parents. It is used to tell a child to immediately stop whatever activity they are doing or trying to do. For example, a boy’s mother notices him trying to sneak some cookies from the cupboard. The mother shouts “EHHHNNK!” The boy stops immediately and darts out of the kitchen.
  • Hey – This is a Southern greeting equivalent to the Northern “Hi” or “Hello”. In Northern circles, it implies contempt. To Southerners, it is a warm greeting. For example, Northerners would say: “Hey, don’t give me that monkey business”. Southerners would say: “Hey, how ya’ doin’?”
  • Bless his/her heart – This is a modifier that implies what follows is potentially insulting. “Janie is a pretty girl but, bless her heart, she can’t boil water without burning it”.
  • Up and — These are words that imply an immediate (perhaps even impulsive) action. “I can’t believe the way that boy just up and walked away from his Momma when she was talking to him”.
  • Said it with his/her own mouth – This implies audacity on the part of the person being cited. “That boy up and said with his own mouth that he didn’t break that window. Bless his heart, he forgot that he was holding a baseball bat in his hands”.

Well, there you have it folks. Class is dismissed. I hope you this entertaining and informative. After all, it took me years of living in NY to figure out that “not for nothing” was another way of saying “with all due respect”. A Southerner would just say: “Bless her heart”.

When the SuperEgo Reveals the Id(iot)

I have been working in the information technology field in one facet or another for approximately 7 out of the last 9 years. I have learned a few things about computers and how they work. This has resulted in many family members and friends (in several states) to come to me for their computing needs. These needs range from advising what the appropriate hardware is needed to play the latest release of “Barfmonster Battle XVII” (including the USB mic headset and 26″ plasma monitor) to setting up the speech recognition software (including the USB mic headset and 26″ plasma monitor). I have no problem with this and I am happy to help. Occasionally, there are times when I must reluctantly utter three words —”I don’t know”.

This isn’t so bad when it’s just me and the other individual (such as my wife for example). Unfortunately, men are strange prideful creatures. If they are in the same room with their friends (or a repairman), they suddenly transform into a panel of experts in that particular field. A man can have something go wrong with his car. If his wife asks what is causing the problem, he’ll simply say “I don’t know”. However, if one or more if his friends how up, you will find them both with their head under the hood uttering phrases such as: “Yup”, “Did you calibrate the intake?”, “Sure did, I also reset the inner side torque to 8 ft/lbs”. This conversation will then turn to one man with his head under the hood wiggling random parts and going “TRY STARTING IT NOW!” The other man will begin turning the ignition key and saying “C’MON BABY”. After 8 hours of this routine, the men decide reluctantly to retain the services of a mechanic with the simple rationalization: “I don’t have the tools for that job”.

It is truly an exercise in humility to hand the mechanic the keys and try not to engage in any conversation. After all, why reveal to the mechanic and your wife that you were completely clueless all along? I felt better after I got home. One of my friends came by because he had a computer problem. Finally, I was back into some familiar territory. This resulted in the following conversation: “Did you restore the hyperthread registry?”, “Yup, I even flushed out the TCP/IP”, “TRY RE-BOOTING IT NOW!”, “C’MON BABY”, “Oh wait, dude. I know what the problem is but you need to call tech support. I don’t have the tools for that.”

Randomizationalism Volume I

Sometimes, I let my warped mind run wild. This causes me to make strange assumptions about known facts and ask strange questions. Ironically, I believe it is these random ramblings and mindless minutiae that sometimes keep me from going insane. I have put these observations and queries into a category called Randomizationalisms. Actually, the word was conceived by my daughter Brianna. Randomizationalism was going to be the title of my blog before I decided that BDGJM (Babbling, Drivel, Gibberish, Jibber-Jabber, and Mumbo-Jumbo) was more suitable. In any case, please ponder these few fleeting facts, quacky queries, and warped wacky world views.

  • A female cat is called a queen. A female turkey is a hen. The male of both of these is a tom. A young cat is a kitten. A young turkey is an egg.
  • A whale is a salt dwelling mammal. This is why we never hear of a whale being “laked” or “ponded”.
  • If there is a kitty corner, is there a puppy peripheral, a gerbil geometric, or a turtle tangent?
  • A female kangaroo is called a doe. A young kangaroo is called a joey. A doe kangaroo with a male joey is called a male carrier.
  • Why do parents, in the say conversation with their kids, say the following phrases (sometimes in succession): “Don’t talk back to me”, “Now, ANSWER me”, “Is that understood?”
  • Why do people name their cats? The only thing a cat responds to is “KITTYKITTYKITTYKITTYKITTYKITTY” and only then because they believe they are being fed.
  • It’s bad enough to lose a hockey game. It has got to be downright humiliating to lose to a team called the Penguins or the Mighty Ducks. Then again we also have baseball teams called Orioles, Cardinals, and Blue Jays. I’m sorry but bird teams just don’t sound that intimidating.
  • Guy’s guide to classic movies: If you want to laugh, watch “Airplane”. If you want a prison move, watch “Cool Hand Luke”. If you want a good war movie, watch “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.
  • It is quite possible that a public catastrophe will occur and someone will shout: “IS THERE ANYONE HERE WHO WRITES A BLOG?” I will never be prompted to say: “It’s OK, ma’am. I’m a blogger”. Nonetheless, I’ll probably do it anyway.


So there you have it folks, there may be more of these in the future. Time (and my warped mind) will determine that.

Welcome to the (Wellness) Machines

During my childhood years, I was a very lanky kid. As the youngest in the family, I was often self conscious about my thin frame and short stature. Needless to say, I’m not a kid anymore. I am much taller and quite overweight. Recently, I reached a point where I came to a decision. I am tired of being overweight. I am too old to continue outgrowing my clothes. Lastly, I am tired of getting sand kicked into my face by 75 year old men and 19 year old girls. I had decided that enough was enough.

I was prepared to gamble the cost of a postage stamp for a free exercise book. After all, I saw it advertised in a comic book. If you can’t trust the advertising department of your favorite comic book, whom CAN you trust? Instead, I decided to join the local gym. After all, why pay less than a dollar for an exercise book when you can make a recurring monthly payment? That SEEMED to make sense to me at the time.

I was a little nervous on my first visit to the gym. I was in my workout clothes and ready to start my journey to better health. My first eye opener was a lesson in nomenclature. I was not about to enter a weight room, an exercise room, or a workout room. I was about to enter the hallowed halls of the “Wellness Center”. Apparently, I had not been reminded enough of unsightly physique and the effects on my health. I began to envision the Statue of Liberty wearing tank top and gym shorts. She held a water bottle in her hand. The inscription read: “Give me your tired, your overweight, your sedentary masses; yearning to fit into the clothes they wore in high school. I lift my water bottle beside the Wellness door”. As I enter the exercise room. Pardon me. As I entered the Wellness Center, my eyes and ears were exposed to all sorts of wonders. There were approximately 18 different televisions mounted on the wall. Each was tuned to a different channel. You could use headphones to listen to the TV (or radio) station of your choice while you exercised. Some of the exercise machines even had TV mounted to them. This seemed odd to me. Wasn’t watching TV part of the reason I needed this Wellness Center in the first place?

Taking a further look around, I saw cardio machines of all shapes and sizes being used by people of all shapes and sizes. Cardio machines exercise the heart. That is to say; cardio machines give you the sensation that your heart is banging on the cage that is your ribs and desperately seeking escape. The names of some of these machines are pretty self explanatory such as the treadmill and stair climber. However, other machines are given names that make me scratch my head in wonder. Why is one machine called an elliptical trainer and another called an arc trainer? Is there much of a difference between an arc and an ellipse? Why is there an apparent obsession with curved shapes? I can only assume that by using this machine, one can gain a curved shape. I already have a curved shape. A circle is a curved shape. Also, I am not sure I get the concept of a recumbent bike. I can’t help but think that I can connect a bike chain to a recliner and accomplish the same task. I think I just made Red Green reach for his duct tape.

Lastly, I looked to the real meat and potatoes of the Wellness Center— the weight machines. I saw patrons using these machines with varying degrees of effort. I could have sworn that one of the people using the machines had kicked sand in my face once. I decided not to confront him. After all, it would be brutish to make a scene. I could tell by the names of some of these machines that there would be some great discomfort involved. I saw names such as abdominal crunch, leg curl, and back extension. Apparently, such exercises were created by a contortionist bully. I am aware of the adage: “No pain, no gain”. I KNOW this is not true. Over an 8 month period, I lived a relatively pain free life and gained 40 pounds.

I have made a few visits to this Wellness Center. I am ashamed to admit that I do not currently have a steady routine yet. It is my fervent hope that one day; I will be self conscious about how I USED to look. In the meantime, I think I’ll keep the pizza joints on my speed dial.