Tag Archives: Texas

Apostrophe Police

There is a disturbance in the grammatical force! Punctuation Jedi John Richards, a 96-year-old former copy editor who has dedicated his life to the protection of the endangered apostrophe, is giving up the fight and going to the Dark Side. The announcement that he is abandoning his Apostrophe Protection Society and albeit Quixote quest to save the world from written stupidity should strike fear in the hearts of every wordsmith and language lover everywhere. NOTE: If you use words like “theyselves,” skip this whole thing as it will be meaningless.

In a society that struggles with the complexities of the proper use of a turn signal, punctuation, as a whole, has become superfluous. Cellular providers do not charge by the character, and yet most text messages lack the dignity of a single, well-placed comma or even a period. Exclamation points, however, seem to multiply like Viagra-infused field rabbits behind sentences typed in all capital letters. And this, in and of itself, may be why aliens continue to fly on past our planet.

Admittedly a peaceful protestor, Mr. Richards fought the good fight to have the apostrophe’s rightful representation in things like “Ladies’ Apparel” and “Harrod’s Department Store.” While Richards respects a company’s right to delete their own apostrophe, he is baffled at how McDonald’s can get it right but Harrods can’t. If you’re taking notes, “can’t” and “don’t” can and do have an apostrophe.

Richards was also affronted, and rightfully so, by the willy-nilly insertion of apostrophes where they did not belong, like in dates: adding an apostrophe to the 1960s only diminishes its psychedelic impact. CDs on your desk and all Fs on your report card do not require apostrophes – no ifs, ands or buts about it!

erhaps it was Texans who pushed Mr. Richards over the edge with their possessive form of a plural number of groups: y’all’s’s. Used correctly in a sentence, “All y’all’s’s boots still have mud on them.” Texas may very well be where good apostrophes go to die.

Although he did not directly reference Texans, Mr. Richards wrote on the Apostrophe Protection Society’s website before it was overwhelmed by properly punctuated protest posts, “The ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!” And he is not wrong. Although all y’all still need to leave y’all’s muddy boots outside.  

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A Texan in Winter

ColdThe power went out at my house last night for four hours. While this may not seem like a major catastrophe as it was the middle of the night and I was sleeping, except for the fact that when the power went out, so did the heat. And it was cold last night. Really cold. The kind of cold that completely explains why Michigan is shaped like a mitten. The kind of cold that makes a Texas girl wonder, What the Heck am I Doing Here?! And then it started snowing. Again.

It is only the first of dadgum December! In the last month alone, I have collectively experienced more winter than I have in my entire lifetime combined. But get this: Winter doesn’t even officially start for another couple of weeks. What really makes that remarkable is that last winter only wrapped up a couple of weeks ago. I’m almost positive that there are winters here that just overlap right onto each other. You never know if one winter has stopped before the next one starts.

While I am a great advocate for clean oceans, preservation of endangered species and conservation, I am also now a great proponent of global warming. As temperatures hover in the teens and 20’s, I’ve put my wool sock covered, insulated booted foot down that I will refuse to leave my house until the temperature is at least my age. And for the first time in my life, I’m happy to be as old as I am. Bring on the birthdays and the heat!
For that matter, at my age, where the heck are the hot flashes that are supposed to be showing up? What does a girl have to do to get a decent hot flash around here? Thankfully, I have friends my age and I will bask in the heat of their hormonal misfortune. Let’s face it, I am a silver-lining kind of girl like that.

As we push towards that longest night and the official start of winter, I’m increasingly concerned about the fact that there’s now only about 20 minutes between sun up and sun set. I have tan lines from the sun light simulator lamp on my desk and monitor my cravings for salted whale meat as a sure sign that I may be transforming into a polar bear.

Oh, and it’s snowing again.

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Transplanting this Texan

hellHeed my words: Do not pray for patience as God will provide the opportunities for you to learn it. Never ask, “What else can possibly go wrong?” Trust me, nothing tempts the Universe to yell, “Hold my beer!” more than that. And never ever, don’t ever say never. I actually said once I’d never live in the Middle East which landed me in Saudi Arabia for three years. As Harvey threatened Texas, I said, “My house will never flood.” It flooded. And then I said, “I’m never moving again.” Fill out the change of address card because I’m moving. TO MICHIGAN!

Imma gunna freeze!

Michigan, where cold fronts are six foot deep! You don’t understand, people; my blood is so thin, it’s invisible! I fully expect by the end of my first winter to be found encased in ice like a Yeti on the backside of Everest, a look of miserable shock forever captured on my face. Ice belongs in tea or cream, not spread in deadly sheets across the road with the sole purpose of sending your car careening into a ditch so no one finds you until the “spring thaw” in July.

We’ve already bought a house there from a very nice couple who are gleefully laughing with giddy joy as they hippy-hop off to retirement in Florida. I think I may hate them. Despite that, they were so very kind as to agree to leave the outdoor patio heater and the snow blower for us. Snow blower? Are there YouTube videos for how to operate that? I mean, do you run out as soon as it starts snowing and blow the offending fluffy ice masses back into the sky? Do they have plow attachments for the mower? And in the name of all things holy, how do I get a pizza delivered in January?!

I’m trying hard to see the positives. I’ll have seasons and Hurricane won’t be one of them. I can look forward to summer – all 26 days of it. White Christmas will be more than just a song. I suppose, too, if I can survive three plus years in Saudi Arabia, I can probably survive Siberia. Wish me luck. Imma gunna need it!

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State of the 31st State

new cal flagBetsy Ross, get out your needle and thread, sister, because if a group of West Coasters get their way, we’re adding a star to Old Glory with the establishment of our 51st State: New California. It seems some folks over there aren’t feeling so sun-shiney about their state’s state of affairs and want a divorce. They’re not making this up just for attention, either. No, they have a hashtag on Twitter, people. This is for real!

The coastal counties from Los Angeles up just past San Francisco into Napa are getting voted off the island. According to the executive summary published on their website, “After years of over taxation, regulation, and mono party politics (There should be a comma here. That’s them, not me.) the State of California and many of it’s (Respectfully pointing out that it should be ‘its’ and not ‘it’s’. Again, not my typo.) 58 Counties have become ungovernable.” No kidding ungovernable. They need to get the grammar police sworn in immediately! You can’t run a respectable state while ignoring comma laws! It just invites anarchy!

So they’ve gone so far as to even design a flag, which is important. You can’t run the idea of a new state up the flagpole if you don’t actually have a flag. The problem with the flag, as I see it, is the big, fat LONE STAR on it! Maybe they’ve gotten so caught up in the whole secession ho-haw that they overlooked the fact that the United States already has a Lone Star State. And may I speak for all Texans both living, dead and yet unborn: Back Off There. Stick an avocado on it instead. Pay attention, that whole “Don’t Mess With Texas” isn’t a joke.

New CAHonestly, I get it. I lived in California in the early 90’s and they’re nuts. But is ripping yourselves to pieces the answer? In Texas, 84% of us still aren’t speaking to the City of Dallas or the Texas Rangers baseball organization after they refused to switch home-stands with the Astros during Hurricane Harvey, but we don’t cut them out of the State. El Paso is closer to Los Angeles than it is to Houston, but we don’t act like we don’t know them just because we never see them.

Work out your problems, California. If we’re going to get a new state, I think Puerto Rico may have dibs.

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Cold = Texas Kryptonite

u-s-weather-be-like_o_4157581Texans are good at a lot of things, and, as a result, we have an impressive ego about how universally awesome we are, especially around Houston. However, we as Texans do have one weakness: the cold. We don’t do cold or ice or sleet well at all. A few hours of fluffy snow that melts within a few hours so we can go back to our shorts and sandals is okay every nine years, but not the hard core stuff. Cold is our kryptonite.

During this recent freeze, all Texans were like stunned sea turtles. Even the sea turtles were stunned sea turtles. Poor things had to be thawed out in warm water which probably gave them turtle soup nightmares. My nightmares, however, were caused by all the weather warnings and frenzied news channel weather people triggering off my Post Traumatic Storm Disorder. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

I noticed at least two of my neighbors had their windows open, which I thought unusual considering the sub-freezing temperatures. Then I realized they were airing out the wood smoke that had filled their houses. Don’t judge, we don’t use our fireplaces much around here, so I suppose it’s easy to forget to open the flue.

Personally, I spent the Ice-pocolypse binge watching Netflix. It was that show ‘The Crown’ about Queen Elizabeth so I rationalized that it was sort of educational and therefore not a complete waste of a day. And a night. And maybe part of the next day but whatever. It’s too cold to do anything else so, again, don’t judge.

To people living in colder climes, we just ask that you don’t laugh at us when we try to make sleet angels or google the difference between sleet and snow. Yes, we used the Whataburger gift card we got for Christmas to scrape our windows. What else do we have? Besides, Whataburger is Texas. They understand and will still accept it. And there’s no reason to smirk behind your mittens because we took three boredom naps, stress baked all the frozen fundraiser cookie dough, and cycled through all five stages of grief and loss during our one day at home for weather.

Face it, we don’t do cold, but, thankfully, winter is now probably over since it’s now 70 degrees outside again.

(thanks memecenter.com for the visual chuckle!)

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Texas v Colorado

Flag-Pins-Texas-ColoradoI’m a firm believer that everyone should travel. You learn a lot about other places and people, and then you really appreciate what you’ve got when you get back home. Go ahead and hop in the car for a road trip past the state line (which, if you live in Texas, will take you a couple of days to reach – yeehaw Texas)! Personally, I just spent a bit of time outside of this great State and was amazed at how odd some of our nearby neighbors can be. Let’s take a look at Colorado, for example.

First of all, Open Carry has a completely different meaning there. In Texas, we’re all packing. But we’re packing a weapon that, until recently, was concealed and now is proudly slung on the hip John Wayne style. In Colorado, they’re packing spray. Bear spray. Because in Colorado, you’re going to get eaten by bears not gators and probably trampled by moose instead of bulls. And just so you know, bear spray is not applied the same way that mosquito spray is. To a bear, covering yourself in a fine film of bear spray is not unlike putting butter on popcorn. In the same way you’re not going to spritz each little individual skeeter that threatens to drain a pint. Things there are just a bit weird.

Did I say weird? Let’s just huddle up and sing a round of “Kumbayah” while we talk about some of the local folks. These are people that have graduated with honors from the Willie Nelson Master Gardener Program. It seems every corner is crowded with a liquor store, snack shop, and a dispensary. A dispensary is where you can go for your “organic healing” and to meet with your “alternative medical practitioner.” All of which is very likely driving business to the liquor store and the snack shop, if I have to guess.

Like wow man, that is totally so cosmic and psychedelic fur shur, but, well, not for me. I think I’ll stick with my Cigna-approved providers, skip the energy healing, pass a drug test with flying colors and just head on back home to Texas where taking a trip means you’re heading to Austin for the weekend. Dorothy had it right when she told the Wizard of Oz that “there’s no place like home.” Texas may not be heaven, but it’s got Whataburger and, for me, that’s close enough for now.

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Are You One of “Those People”?

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I’m coming to the realization that there are just some people in this world who are beyond the point of social rehabilitation. When you encounter them, I recommend you bolt or at least avert your eyes. You have to understand that your time and energy are better served other places, like chipping old nail polish off your toes or alphabetizing your spice rack. These are folks who are beyond your help, and you must just let them be. No matter how painful that is. The list is extensive, but here are just a few of the major players.

People who play Sudoku. Be wary of these people. They play number games that can’t be solved, all by themselves, for fun. In any book, that’s suspicious. You’re probably wise to be cautious around anyone that deals extensively with numbers, including but not limited to engineers, accountants, and stock brokers. They can be shifty.

The Astros. Bless their hearts. They have all the fundamental characteristics of being a baseball team. There’s a stadium where they all gather together wearing the same type of clothing that other baseball teams wear. They have access to bats and gear. But somehow, that’s where the illusion seems to end. No amount of squinting or wishing or bartering first round draft picks with Satan can actually convince anyone that they’re really a baseball team. Not this year.

Anyone who doesn’t understand Texas. While I am a proponent of worldwide acceptance and love of all peoples, anyone who doesn’t “get” Texas should be scorned. I had to unfriend someone on Facebook because of something they said about Texas. I won’t repeat it here because my mother raised me better. Certainly a level of grace can be extended to those who might be unaware of all that is the Lone Star State, but it is merely short-term. Immediate conversion, proven by memorizing all the words to any George Strait song, must be forthcoming or they should be shunned. Texas isn’t just a state; it’s a state of mind.

Of course, it goes without saying that Justin Bieber fans, anyone who willingly owns a snake, people who pour ketchup all over their fries instead of dipping them, and the creepy kind of clowns that give you nightmares long into adulthood are on the list. Certainly this is just my opinion and in no way reflects the attitudes and beliefs of the management. Even if they do agree.

(Credit: Suspicion Drawing by Tim Ernst)

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SMACKDOWN: Flies v Mosquitoes

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Texas (where I’m from) and Saudi Arabia (where I live) have a lot of things in common. Texas has big, wide-open spaces. Saudi Arabia has big, wide-open spaces. Texas has its share of crazy people in its government, and so does Saudi Arabia. Texas and Saudi Arabia both have a lot of oil. Texas has mosquitoes that will drive you to drink. But this is where it splits. Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a lot of mosquitoes (which may explain why they don’t drink), but they do have flies. And the flies can make you nuts.

In the late summer on the Texas coast when the mosquitoes are being blown in off the salt grass in clouds, you always have a plan of defense. You can spray yourself in Teflon Off, fog your yard, stay inside, wear long sleeves, and if one lands on you, you smack the little bugger. Game over. You always have sense of superiority over the mosquito; feel that you go into it with an advantage.

It’s not that easy with these flies. These flies are smart. They know our weaknesses and how to push our buttons. I’m suspicious that they might even have the super power of invisible cloaking, because as soon as you try to hunt one down with a flyswatter to slaughter it, it disappears. Only to reemerge when you put the flyswatter down.

Once a fly has zeroed in and targeted you for torture, it has a one track mind. You can’t just shoosh it away, it won’t go. If you go to another room, city, part of the world, know that the fly will go with you. It’s like a virus.

In an effort to get the upper hand, I got online to learn more about my enemy. I’ve narrowed the perpetrators down to Blow Flies. Overall annoying, but harmless according to several websites. Unless they lay their eggs in your nose while you’re sleeping. Suddenly, I’m thinking West Nile, Malaria and Dengue Fever aren’t really so bad. Not when you compare it to having a newly born nursery of blow flies crawling out of your nasal openings.

After learning this, I’ve made some important changes in my life here in the Kingdom. I’ve become a ninja when it comes to hunting and killing flies now. As part of my new ninja training, I’m able to sleep with one eye open. And I’ve learned to appreciate mosquito bites. 

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