This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Stalling (Recycled Short Shorts)

Nope. No My Island Soundtrack LP yet.

Here's why:

  1. For no apparent reason, my back has been hurting for the past few days. I wish I could blame it on some canoodling gymnastics, but I can't. It's been very difficult to sit comfortably in my computer chair. (Yeah, I know... Another freakin' medical excuse. If you think you're getting tired of those, how do you think I feel?)
  2. Turner Classics Movies ran a Laurel & Hardy marathon.
  3. Sorry. For what this gig pays, two is all you get.
So, I've gone all the way back to the archives of my olllld blog address, and heavily edited not one, not two, but three of my earliest "Short Shorts" entries -- #3, #4, and #5 -- and I'm sticking you with magnanimously presenting them to you!

These entries came from October 26th & November 23rd of 2003, and January 17th of 2004! As you read through them -- assuming you don't just throw up your hands and scream "More f**king reprints!" and stomp away petulantly -- you'll catch a little clue or two which'll convince you that these are, indeed, old posts!

Here ya go...

1) First of all (That's why I strategically placed that numeral "1" there, folks!), here's a bit of unsolicited advice for anyone who writes screenplays, teleplays, prose stories, comic books, et cetera... In fact, it may even apply to people who commit the following gaffe in normal (albeit heavily-affected or otherwise pop-culturally referenced) conversation.

Here's how it works: Two or more people have a confrontation, usually of the verbal variety. By the end of said confrontation, the situation has either become worse, or is at least as bad as it was to begin with. One of the arguing parties leaves. The remaining combatant looks at whomever else is left in the room (or, if he/she is now alone, he/she talks to himself/herself) and says, "That went well."

I've seen this scenario with increasing frequency in a lot of television programs, movies... even in real-life conversations. A lot. And folks, it's getting reallllly tired. It's become a stylistic replacement of sorts for the over-used line of the 1990s, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." It's the predictable catch-phrase for the first decade of the new millennium, if I may be so pompous (and if not, why not? This is my page, innit?).

And all of those above-mentioned reasons add up to why we should all stop using -- or should I say, over-using -- this expression. So here's my unasked-for "advice," friends: Knock it off!

2) Those who enjoy television would find my day job to be a mixed blessing. I have to (yes, have to) keep the TV on all day, while I wait on customers. However, due to the placement of my work area and the TV itself, my back is to the TV most of the time. Add to that the fact that I am at work, dealing with -- and concentrating on -- customers, and it means that I don't get to literally "watch" much of anything.

(Keep that in mind in case I'm wrong about this next bit. I haven't actually -- literally -- seen the commercial I'm about to describe, but I'm pretty sure I heard it correctly.)

There's a new (well, new to me anyway) commercial for Barbasol, a shaving cream that's been around roughly since Babe Ruth was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. And at the end of the commercial, the voice-over tells you that Barbasol is available "in seven flavors" (italics mine, naturally).

Seven flavors!

This is shaving cream, folks, not whipped cream. Please tell me no one's eating this stuff.

(Update from 10/28/03: I was finally able to watch this commercial from beginning to end, and I was right. It does say that Barbasol shaving cream -- actually, shaving gel -- is available in seven flavors. Pretty sick, guys... )

3) If you've recently moved to Massachusetts, and wonder why the natives of this state stare at you in confusion whenever you mention "the DMV," it's because we don't have one here. We have an "RMV." (DMV = Department of Motor Vehicles, RMV = Registry of Motor Vehicles.) Welcome to New England.

4) Writing "Do Not Bend" on something before surrendering it to the USPS is tantamount to handing a child a toy and saying, "Here ya go, kid. This is unbreakable."

5) Some of the most bigoted statements I've ever heard have begun with the phrase "I'm not prejudiced, but..."

6) I happen to own a 16mm film projector. Someday, I'm going to purchase a 16mm copy of one of the classic versions of "A Christmas Carol" -- either the 1938 or the 1951 interpretation will do nicely, thank you -- and run the whole film backwards. It'll be worth it, just to see a kindly old gent named Scrooge turn into a hateful, cantankerous skinflint!

7) I suppose that, by now, you've seen the recent photos of Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter," feeding a croc with his right hand, while holding his one-month-old son in his left? Between this mini-scandal and Michael Jackson's dangling his baby from that Berlin balcony just over a year ago, it certainly seems like civic-minded celebrities are doing their part for population control.

On my more ornery days -- and this is obviously one of them, innit? -- my attitude toward children sort of agrees with Jay Leno's attitude about Doritos as espoused in those old commercials: "Crunch all you want; we'll make more."

8) Like Graham Chapman before me, "I don't like spam!" And, naturally, I'm referring to internet "spam," and not the delicious Hormel luncheon meat. *ahem* Anyway, my favorite kinds of spam -- if it's possible to have a "favorite" among items you despise -- are the ads for spam-blocking software! Some of them are really ballsy: "Do you hate spam? WE DO, TOO! So forward this e-mail to everyone in your address book..."

Whoa, dudes! That would make me an accessory, wouldn't it?!?

Anyway, one has to wonder what reaction they expect to get? I suppose it could go something like this:

Man Checking His E-Mail: Wonder if I have anything... Oh, no! Not another spam e-mail! This is the last straw! I hate these things! [pauses] Hey, wait a minute... This one's an ad for a... for a spam-blocker! What a great idea! [begins drafting a "reply" e-mail] "Dear Sir... I hate spam. But, as so many others before me, I've never done anything about it. However, your e-mail has made me see the light, by pushing me over the edge. To reward you, I would like to order..."

Yeah, that'll happen.

By the way, "Spam Blocker" is not the guy who played Hoss Cartwright on Bonanza.

9) Recently, I was slightly disconcerted after clicking on a link which delivered me to an article by Woody Allen. The article itself wasn't disconcerting, it was the original date of the article: 04/01/2004. I read that, and thought, "Huh? It's only January! How can this article be dated April 1st of 2004?" Then I glanced at the masthead of the page, only to learn that the article was originally printed in London's Daily Telegraph. Then I understood.

Most of my readers are in the USA. Americans, as such, may or may not be aware that we often do things differently from the rest of the world -- or most of it, anyway. We measure temperature in Fahrenheit, distance in inches, feet, and miles, weight in ounces and pounds... However, almost everyone else utilizes the Celsius scale, meters and kilometers, grams and kilograms, etc. Back in the '70s and '80s, the USA made a half-hearted attempt to convert to metric systems of measurement, but there was too much opposition, so they just stopped trying. That's why we Americans still use a yardstick to measure, and we can still buy a gallon of gasoline, but if we want to buy a bottle of Coca-Cola, we have to get it in a one-liter or two-liter bottle... or a 20-ounce bottle!

Oh, well, at least our monetary system is based on a metric scale, as it were, 100 cents to the dollar.

Anyway, many countries -- England, for instance -- list their dates differently from us, as well. Where an American would be prone to write "October 15 (or 15th), 2003," a Brit would write "15 October, 2003." So in saying or writing "04/01/2004," they would mean "January 4th, 2004," and not "April 1st, 2004." The momentary disorientation I suffered was only because I'd never actually seen a date like that "translated" into a purely numerical form. I've seen listings like (if I may continue using my October 15th example) "15 October, 2003," but never "15/10/2003," at least, until I read the Woody Allen piece.

(I'm also told that the American military does it the same way. But let's not get into that yet, okay?)

After reading all of this, you may be asking yourself, "And I care because... ?" Well, maybe you don't. However...

The preceding was just a lengthy intro to an observation by myself, which will naturally & predictably be followed by one of my bitchy little directives, of sorts.

Over the past year or two, I've noticed more and more Americans writing their dates in what I'll refer to as "the European way." Well, here's a message to all of you Americans (unless you're in the armed forces): You are Americans. The country or countries your ancestors came from doesn't count, in this instance. You're not French. You're not British. You're not Portuguese. You're not (if I may expand beyond my own, confining "European" terminology) Japanese, Greek, or Nigerian, either. (Although, if you're reading this, and you actually are a Nigerian, lemme ask you something: Are you the one who's been sending me all those spam e-mails offering to make me rich? Well, knock it off!)

So, as far as I'm concerned, if you're an American who insists on writing "15 October, 2003," you'd better start talking like that, as well. If you're going to write "15 October, 2003," say "Fifteen October, 2003." Sounds goofy, doesn't it? You still want to say "October fifteenth," don't you? Well, sucks to be you. You can't have it both ways. (Why not? Umm... 'cause I said so!)

And while I'm berating certain fellow Americans, here's another one of my newly-enacted "laws": Stop putting that horizontal line through the middle of a numeral "7" every time you write one. You're not from f**king Europe!

As I said a bit earlier, I'll make an exception to these two new rules for anyone in the American military. But that's it. As far as the rest of you...

Ahhhh, you're not gonna listen anyway. These are just RantZ. I'm not really in charge.


Now that I've gotten all of that out of my system, maybe I should switch to decaf?

Thanks for your time.


  1. Sounds to me that Woody Allen was just playing an April Fools joke.


  2. (I watched lots of the Laurel and Hardy marathon also)

  3. Well, this is another fine mess you've gotten this blog into!

  4. Hey Dude:
    The term "innit" is no longer acceptable...get with it! Come on, it's already 2005 for crying out loud...

  5. I could have edited out that "innit," but there are so darned many Anglophiles on Blogger, I figured I could get away with it, just to show how hep I was in 2003. And... 2005? Wow, I must have missed that, due to Daylight Savings Time, or the wind-chill factor, or...

  6. David M.
    Apparently, you are unaware that because of my Irish-American ancestry, I use the YEAR as the Irish's always 3 years behind the rest of the world. Get it? It's easy, innit?

  7. The Irish-Americans in my family are generally too hung over to read a watch, a clock, or a calendar. Says a lot for them, dunnit?

  8. ::taps foot, looks at watch, sighs::

  9. Also, also I watched some of the Laurel and Hardy, too. I didn't realize it was a marathon, though.

    (TCM is my default tv setting if I'm not watching anything else.)

  10. Also, also, also I'm just running up your comment total now. Just because.

  11. You do know Steve Irwin died, right? Just checking.

  12. I had no idea crossing a 7 made one European. I do that. Cool!

  13. Okay, I'm done now.


    No, I'm done.

  14. Cake: My health is worse, actually. I am currently drafting an all-new post about how I have been incredibly ill for the past four days, and taking LOTS of different medical remedies.

    I think Canadians think they are Europeans, in their subconscious minds. Most of them have that whole British or French ancestry thing going for them, don'tcha know! That could explain why they don't mind that people from the USA call themselves "Americans" like we're the only country on the North American continent. In a way, to the Canadians, I guess we in the USA are the only Americans, because Canadians are "really" Europeans. Does that make any sense? No? Oh, well, blame the codeine...

  15. Ah David, I'm so sorry...I'm guessing you don't want to say what's wrong and so I won't ask. But I hope whatever it is gets better sooner rather than later.

    Codeine is evil and useless...try oxycodone.

    No, really.

    As to the European my experience, Americans tend to refer to themselves as "Irish-American" (or whatever their origin is), whereas Canadians tend to just say "Canadian." What do you put on a census form? I'm actually curious...

    *goes back to watching tv...and crossing 7s* *grin*

  16. Actually, oxycodone's for sissies. When I'm going through really bad pain, I like to fly over to Thailand and search out an opium den.

    I'm not trying to be secretive about anything health-related. I've just been knocked down temporarily by what I describe in my next post as a "summer cold or summer flu or summer bubonic-freakin'-plague." Nothing mysterious about it.

    Our census forms assume that we're citizens. Then it's like, "You ain't? Well, what the hell are you, then?" And you're right that we identify ourselves with hyphenated terms, mostly when speaking with other "Americans." Again, it's a supposition that we "belong" here, that we're citizens. In France, I'd tell a Frenchman "I'm an American." In Massachusetts, or Ohio, or California, etc., "What nationality are you?" is actually a short version of "Of course, you're an American citizen, as am I. But what's your ethnic background?" Hence the "I'm Irish-American," reply, or even "I'm Irish."

    And once again, if that makes no sense, I'm blamin' the codeine once again...


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