Category Archives: Much Ado About Nothing

Reprinting the column that appears in The Source Weekly, a Brazoria County, Texas newspaper every Thursday.

Let’s Not Be Friends

imagesIGDA1YTNDear Strange Men of Facebook, please stop sending me friend requests. I’m not accepting them until you can come up with a more original fake story. This includes you Musawa Muhamadi. Please schedule a time when you can all get together for a virtual meeting then divide up your facts and try again. Until then, you’ll continue to be deleted and blocked. Probably after that, too, but who am I to destroy your ambitions.

It seems like pretty regularly, I get friend requests from men who are, strangely, all widowed, nice looking slightly older men working as some sort of highly specialized surgeon, who love puppies and cooking, and are deeply patriotic Americans. Including Musawa Muhamadi. According to his profile, he’d also been a Lieutenant Colonel and combat surgeon in Afghanistan with the US Air Force. Because I was stuck in an airport for several hours with nothing to do, I decided to have some fun. I sent a private message explaining that I’d received his friend request but just could not remember how we knew each other.

He responded immediately — excited, I’m sure, that he might have a gullible fish on his line — completely ignoring anything I’d just written. Instead he launched into how he’d happened across my profile, how wonderful I am, and that he must get to know me better. Uh huh. Right. My profile is locked and blocked so to access it at all, he’d have to have some mad, disreputable computing skills. More like a hacker than a surgeon, wouldn’t you think?

So I started grilling. What was the capital of New Hampshire (Concord)? What must be yelled for a baseball game to start (Play ball!)? What day are income taxes due (April 15)? All things any solid American would know, right? And finally, why wasn’t he fluent in English, if it is, in fact, his native language. Moments later, he deleted his friend request to me. Funny, huh? He deleted me – I’m still chuckling.

So to Mr. Muhamadi, whoever you are, and those like you, give me a break. We have no mutual friends. You’ve only been on Facebook since August of last year. You have two photos – one of you in your surgical scrubs and one of you with an adorable child/kitten/puppy or glass of wine. You might as well say you’re a unicorn herder because that’s about as believable. Thank you, but delete!

(Photo is Dr. David Samati, an actual celebrity doctor whose image is often used for Facebook scams. He has never sent me a friend request. I’m not sure why.)

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Thanks Liam Neeson

Liam

Who are you gonna call?       Liam Neeson 

Recently, in the middle of a really crazy busy day, my internet service went out. For that matter, the whole electronic support system to my house went out. Of course, my first thought was that the line had been quietly cut by ISIS as part of their plot to abduct me to a life of militant radicalism. I’ve read enough creepy thrillers to know how all that works. So I sent a last final farewell text to one of my best friends, who, instead of contacting Liam Neeson (because he always saves abducted people), she told me to look around and be grateful for the things that did work. Here’s what I came up with.

I’m grateful that I don’t have a urinary tract infection. Anyone who does have a UTI, I’m really sorry. Have some cranberry juice on me. Urinary tract infections are in the top zone of the suckage scale and I’m truly thankful I don’t have one.

I’m grateful that I don’t need hair plugs. I’m not saying the time won’t come when I will, but right now, I’m solid. I actually have the kind of hair that’s begging for the wild, 1980’s big hair look to come charging back, although in modern translation, my look is more Crazy Cat Lady. One day, I’m going to be that old woman in the nursing home with stark white, Albert Einstein hair in a style that makes you question my competency. But I probably won’t have plugs, so feeling the gratitude there.

I’m grateful for the bag of snail bait in the garage. I don’t think garden snails fall under the protection of the animal rights groups. And even if they do, too bad. I say, “Come to mamma, you slimy little, flower-eating brother of a grub!” In the war for the roses, I’m bringing out the heavy artillery. Load up on the poisonous appetizers, you escargot wanna-be’s!

I’m grateful for my hot water heater, Amazon Prime, places that now sell wine on Sundays before noon, and other people’s dogs. I believe in a cilantro-free world of equality, peace, and well-used turn signals. I have a deep, honest appreciation for Liam Neeson consistently saving the abducted sequel after sequel. But mostly, I’m grateful that terrorists haven’t really cut my internet service and I’m another day as a non-radical extremist.

 

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Breakfast Brewsky

saturday-morning-lucky-charms-beer.jpgFormer First Lady Nancy Reagan cried out to America in 1986, “Just Say No!” Now is the time to once again put our collective foots down and just say no to an obvious wrong happening around us. I’m talking about Lucky Charms flavored beer. What the heck, people?! This is what happens when pajamas become pants, girls become Boy Scouts, and “house plant” is an option for gender affiliation. Is nothing sacred?

When I was a kid, Lucky Charms was sugar-packed cereal devoid of nutritional value that you got to eat on Saturday morning while sitting in front of the television watching Scooby Doo cartoons. It was your reward for not waking mom and dad up before 8:30am. Beer was never part of the Saturday morning equation until college, and, at that point, no one woke up before noon anyway. So how did this unholy union even happen?

According to the Norfolk, Virginia brewery, Smartmouth Beer, on Saturday, March 2nd, they released their newest IPA beer appropriately (or not) called “Saturday Morning,” brewed with marshmallows. It’s “brewed with house toasted marshmallows and cereal marshmallows in the mash, hopped with Galaxy and Calypso, and dry hopped a whole lot more. This IPA is sure to set you back with nostalgia, on the couch, turning on the best cartoons for a Saturday morning.” Again, my Saturday morning childhood memories never came with the threat of a hangover, but we were Presbyterians, so who knows.

And now that we’ve kicked the lid off of Pandora’s Box, what could possibly be next? Tootsie Roll Tequila? Or better yet: Pot Tarts! A clever mix of newly legalized marijuana with a frosted Pop-Tart®? You can get the munchies and cure the munchies all at the same time, the whole while hallucinating about your first Tonka truck or Barbie doll. How long will it be before the trend turns the other direction and Kellogg’s partners with Anheuser-Busch for Bud Light Flakes Cereal?

Take note all you breakfast boozers, Smartmouth Beer’s “magically ridiculous” “Saturday Morning” is only available for a limited time in Virginia. So hop on your Schwinn’s banana seat and pedal on over there before it’s gone. But bring a note from your mother and a designated driver.

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Bird-brained in Bio

TomThere’s one in every family: that kid who comes out of left field every time; the one who gives you gray hairs, who only survived to adulthood by the grace of his undeniable charm and a benevolent God. Yeah, that one. He called me from college this week, starting the conversation with “OMG Mom you’re not going to believe this!” Oh yes I will. He forgets I’ve known him his entire life. There’s not a whole lot from him, at this point, that’s going to catch me flat-footed.

So the son-who-will-remain-nameless (but there’s only two to pick from and it’s not the oldest) is enrolled in a biology class and has dutifully been attending class since the semester began over a month ago. At least that’s his story and he’s sticking to it. As many classes are, the lecture portion was held in a large lecture hall with a seating capacity equivalent to the Rose Bowl. All seemed to be going along swimmingly until the first test and then the space/time continuum shifted.

He’d spent a good portion of the weekend studying for the test, making sure he was well-prepared. Monday arrived and he slid into his seat with time to spare before the start of the test. But looking around, he notices that no one else has a test sheet. In fact, they’re taking out notebooks and pencils to take lecture notes. This doesn’t seem right, so he turns to the kid behind him and asks if there isn’t a test. No. No test, according to this kid. What?! Wait. Here comes the next obvious question: What class is this?

Well, it was a Biology class. It was even a Biology of Plants class. It just wasn’t HIS Biology of Plants class. He had been in the wrong lecture hall the whole semester attending the Biology of Plants that’s part of the pre-med program. Had he not asked, he’d have ended up in medical school wondering what the heck happened.

A mad dash to the other Biology lecture hall, he made it just in time to take the test. Of course, afterwards he had to introduce himself to the professor who had never actually seen him in class before. I can only hope this professor has children of his own and that there’s one in his family just like that!

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I Met a Turtle

lili1So I met this sea turtle named Lili. Actually, she was introduced to me by a mutual friend during a dive trip in the West Indies recently. Our friend first met Lili (pronounced “Leelee”) when she swam up to him with a plastic bag wrapped around her neck. Current trends in turtle fashions still mainly go to the simple shell look with no accessories, so I can understand her dismay at being forced into that condition. Needless to say, the bag was removed and a friendship immediately made.

Sadly this wasn’t the end of Lili’s plastic perplexities. Not so long later, my diver friend encountered Lili unsuccessfully trying to pass a plastic bag that she’d mistakenly swallowed. While I’m no biologist, I’m pretty sure that there’s no amount of fiber a sea turtle can add to her diet that’s going to pass a plastic bag. The poor creature had lili4managed to only poop out part of it and the rest was stuck. Thankfully, her new diver friend was again there to help her and extracted the bag.

Now, whenever she sees him swimming by in her part of the warm Caribbean waters, she comes to say hello. On our dive, she swam straight up to my face and bumped her beak into my mask, then glided over my head, thumping the bottom of her shell on my forehead. I’m choosing to interpret this as a hearty welcome in turtle speak. Plus, she gets a kick out of swimming through scuba divers’ bubbles.
lili3
Lili is lucky. She found a friendly diver right when she needed him – twice. How many turtles don’t? How many turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, rays, and so many birds – the list of incredible creatures goes on – how many don’t?

Now is the time that we all must pull our heads out of our shells and take another look at our dependence of single-use plastics. Do you really need a plastic bag for whatever you’re buying? It’s not just the straw, it’s the plastic lid you stick it into and the plastic cup. Stop already with plastic water and soda bottles! How many whales have to wash up full of plastic trash before we make some changes?

Learn more about impacts on underwater environments by watching this award-winning documentary www.ChasingCoral.com and follow @SavingOceans on Twitter! Do it for my friend Lili! lili2

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Toilet and Taquito Trouble

product recall round grunge ribbon stampAt the end of October last year, 2,490,593 pounds of frozen taquitos were recalled with the threat of salmonella and listeria poisoning. Aptly and ironically called “Go-Go Taquitos,” the Texas-based Ruiz Foods products on the list included Beef & Cheese flavor, Buffalo Style Cooked Glazed Chicken, and Chipotle Chicken Wrapped in a Battered Flour Tortilla. Do you want me to wait while you go check your freezer?

A spokesman for the company said, “Don’t eat these.” Despite the belief that I’m just one intestinal parasite away from my goal weight, not eating these seemed like a foregone conclusion for me even before I found out they could potentially poison me. If, however, you are a more indiscriminate forager of frozen foods and ingested some, you’ll know you got the taquito Trojan Horse if you experienced, “diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, stiff neck, confusion, convulsions preceded by diarrhea” according to the company’s statement. I’m not clear, though, how that’d be different from any other experience with frozen taquitos. But I’m not judging, just passing along the warning.

In completely unrelated news, 1.4 million toilets were recalled around that same time with the threat they could explode. The explosions have resulted in shattered tanks and tank lids fully launched off the toilet. At last count, 23 people have been injured, one requiring surgery, when their Flushmate II 501-B Pressure-assisted Flushing System exploded without warning.

If a man’s home is his castle, his bathroom is his throne room, right? This is the one place he goes that he should feel a sense of peace, quiet and safety — of course right up until his toilet explodes. Then he’s left with betrayal, porcelain shrapnel, lacerations, and one hell of a difficult story to explain to the paramedics and his homeowners’ insurance agent.

The Flushmate II is common in toilet brands sold at Lowe’s and Home Depot from December 2015 through September 2016. A spokesperson for the company that manufactured the flushing system said, “Stop using immediately.” Which I’m almost sure means immediately after you figure out if you have one of these in your toilet. Don’t just opt for the bush in the back yard for the sake of safety if you don’t have to. Unless you also had the taquitos. In which case, take all precautions.

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I hereby resolve… pffft

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions-620x469_medium-300x226Oh yes, children. It’s that time of year: the ending of one year and the clean slate of another. That magical time when you believe you can do something different and be something different. It’s time to start making those New Year’s Resolutions, which, depending on the gravity of the resolution, may only last until pie is served tonight at dinner. What the heck, I’m going to make a few anyway.

This year, I’m resolving to answer every robo-call and unidentified number in a foreign language invented and understood only by me. However, it will be based on a long lost ancient Burmese slang, which I will also make up because I don’t even speak modern Burmese let alone the other stuff. Since candidates rarely hire Hindu monks to make campaign calls, I’m feeling pretty cocky that I won’t get called out on this ruse. And it guarantees I’ll annoy them a lot more than they annoy me.

Furthermore, I am resolving to stay away from Chex mix whenever and wherever I encounter it. I’m suspicious that heroin is often a secret ingredient that forms an immediate and unbreakable addiction. You only have to ingest one pretzel/peanut/cereal square combo to be headed down the road to never stopping. There is no such thing as a Chex mix serving size that does not fit in a five pound bucket. Therefore, my only answer is to go cold turkey on Chex mix, so please, no matter how much I beg, don’t give me any.

I’m also resolving to not just watch television shows about people exercising in lieu of actually exercising. Sitting on the couch with a bowl of Chex mix watching American Ninja Warrior, Biggest Loser, and that new show that Dwayne the Rock Johnson hosts called something about muscled up young people doing really hard physical activities probably isn’t going to make me healthier, stronger or skinnier. It may convince me not to attempt to pull a fully inflated tire off a commercial big rig and try to flip it over my head. But I’m pretty sure there was only a small margin of possibility that was going to happen anyway.

Finally, I resolve to be less snarky and sarcastic… Yeah, whatever. Can someone pass me the Chex mix?

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