Category Archives: Farce

Whatever Works

About six weeks ago the deluge of Christmas catalogs began.

Over the years we’ve bought a lot of stuff online and by mail order. Do that once and you’re guaranteed to get catalogs from that company from now until the heat death of the universe. You’ll also get catalogs from all of the companies that they sell their mailing lists to, and the ones that they sell their mailing lists to, ad infinitum.

Most are just chucked straight into the recycling bin, but occasionally I’ll flip through one of them that catches my eye. Thus it was that I started going through the “Whatever Works” catalog last month.

Lots of nifty little bits and bobs. On the cover we see a humidifier, a collapsible luggage design, a portable emergency battery power source, a miracle device that will charge up to seven portable devices at the same time, and a nylon gizmo for dragging leaves across the yard and making lawn cleanup faster and easier than ever!

Cool, right? What else can we find?

An ultrasonic noise maker that will keep small critters out from under your car hood. Lava lamps. A “stealth sound amplifier” that will let you hear up to fifty feet away! A realistically detailed plastic parrot that records your voice and talks back to you – and it’s also a pen holder! A container for pouring bird seed into those tube feeders without spilling! A “retro” boom box! (Wait, I’ve got two or three of those in the garage already, complete with a decade or two of official retro dust!)

The mind boggles at the wonders to be found.

On page 38 we start a section of pet related gizmos. On page 40 it’s an assortment of “tactical” flashlights and other illumination devices and security accessories. Page 46 has techie things for storing batteries and labeling plugs and organizing computer cables. Page 50 starts a section on household cleaning brushes and gels and things to put into your washing machine and dryers to clean lint and keep your toilet seats warm. Page 52 has a wide assortment of nail clippers and eyebrow trimmers and electrolysis wands. Page 54 has a Kagel exciter and a “Butterfly Dreams” mini massager…

Sorry, what?

The “Tease Me!” The “Torro!” is waterproof. The “Wild G” is a “waterproof, top-of-the-line, bead studded, triple-prong massager” with three speeds of shaft vibration, 3 speeds of bead rotation, and reversible head rotation! It’s pretty obvious what the “Adonis Extender,” “Love Vibes,” and “The Climaxer” all are designed for. If it’s not obvious, there’s an “Art of Orgasm DVD.”

Then on page 54 we start the automobile accessories to help stuff from falling between the seat, fix dings and dents ourselves, eliminate blind spots, and clean our side mirrors. We can even get a digital tire gauge that will talk to us if we don’t want to actually read the dial.

Am I missing something vital about the Heartland of America, Ma & Pa Kettle, red-blooded middle-class folk that these products are all intended for? To be more blunt, HOW IN HELL DID PAGES 54 AND 55 WIND UP IN THIS CATALOG?

It’s been weeks and I’m still trying to get my head around it.

Mind you, I don’t object to anything shown on those pages. Not in the least, especially since they all seem to come with solid warranties, decent prices, and free shipping! I’m just a bit gobsmacked to find them without any warning, smack dab in the middle of this particular catalog.

It’s special. I love it!

As they said, whatever works!

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Mercy Killing

In Kansas City we bought snacks to carry around on our adventures, chasing holes in the clouds to try to find holes in the sky. (I really will get around to telling all those stories and downloading the video and pictures, but I’m still totally slammed trying to get caught up at the office and at the hangar, and trying to get ready for tomorrow’s “special event,” and there are only so many hours in the day…) Not all of those snacks got eaten. Since we had excess capacity in our baggage allowance (thanks, Southwest Airlines!!) many of the non-perishable snacks got brought home with us for use here.

Today I checked on one of them, a package of Oreo cookies.

It was horrible.

They had been badly smashed and broken. Those poor cookies had been sitting there like that for days, crying, screaming, suffering.

I put them out of their misery.

Every single one of them.

Every fragment.

Every loose dollop of creamy frosting.

It was the only merciful thing to do.

You would have done the same.

You know you would have.

And you would probably feel just as bad about it right now as I do.

If you know what I mean.

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Here, I Needed This, You Might Also

As the original post I saw said, “That’s pretty much EXACTLY how I would expect someone to talk after they got hit by lightning!”

I thought that I might need to call the paramedics to revive me ’cause I could barely breathe.

Some days…

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When

I started to type a question into Google tonight. Of course, as you start to type it tries to anticipate what your question will be.

I got as far as “When is…”

Not in this order (which might be saddest part of this) were:

When is The Bachelor on?

I could not conceivably care less – and even I know that it was yesterday. Is your life so sad, empty, and pathetic that you have to watch shows like this? And then you can’t even keep track of what day the big grand finale episode is? Gee, Mr. President…

When is the Super Bowl?

A legitimate question. Probably the first Sunday in February, but it might be the second, so all of the good Chiefs fans should check before asking for that time off.

When is Easter?

Again, a legitimate question. It moves around. There were people with ashes and Mardi Gras was a big deal about two weeks ago? -ish? (Note to self – we have GOT to get to Nawlins for Mardi Gras one of these years!) So, forty days of Lent means another month?

When is Christmas?

Really? No one could possibly ever ask a more stupid question than that!

When is the Fourth of July?

I stand corrected.

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Filed under Computers, Farce

Siri, My Darling Siri – March 12th

Okay, so as we’ve seen, I have a certain fascination with human-computer interfaces and Artificial Intelligence and Siri and so on.

Along those lines, I may have discovered a new game.

At risk of feeling a tiny little bit like I’m making fun of someone (something?) who’s handicapped, by accident yesterday I put some garbage input into Siri and got a freaking hilarious result.

“GIGO” is one of the first principles of computing. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

I don’t even remember at this point what the actual topic was, but I had been asking Siri a handful of questions. Part of it is that I’m trying to figure out how to better use Siri as a resource, so in essence, she’s training me. Part of it is probing to see what the limitations of the programming are.

Regardless, what I wanted to say was something like, “Siri, show me a…” Whatever it was I wanted her to show me, I got tongue tied and stumbled verbally, before going off into a “Blah, blah-blah, Blah Blah!” As you see in the blooper reels where an actor blows a line.

No harm, no foul.

Siri didn’t understand, but did the best with what I had given her:

Thanks, Siri! I needed that. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. (Probably since early November, but that’s a matter for the other blog.)

At least her programming is gracious when I thanked her.

Look at those 9% and 8% battery readings. Maybe she was hypoglycemic or something.

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I Saw Them

Guys! Guys! Guys! Listen up! I saw them!

I was taking the trash barrel out to the curb and there on the lawn was the Easter Bunny and his family. They were eating the Raisinettes!

Okay, so it was really dark, I don’t know that they were eating them, but they were over in that part of the yard, so what else could it be? Someone must be leaving them just to feed the bunnies!

(Anyone want to bet that I can milk at least one more stupid post out of this?)

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Not The Same Thing

Out for our usual Sunday morning breakfast at a local restaurant, I was listening to a conversation in the booth behind me when I almost choked and started dying from hysteria. I held it in, but it could have gone either way.

The person speaking was talking about The Carol Burnett Show and how he had discovered it. He was telling everyone about some of the class bits, including the one with Tim Conway, totally deadpan, talking about the Siamese elephants while everyone on the couch is trying to not fall off the couch laughing.

Our booth buddy was trying to remember who else was on the show with Tim and Carol when he said, “Oh, yeah, it was Roger Corman.”

I felt a LOT like Carol Burnett in that moment, trying very hard to not just lose it and go rolling around on the floor laughing. It wouldn’t have been polite.

Harvey, my friend, it’s Harvey. Harvey Korman. Not Roger Corman.

The two are not interchangeable. Although the thought does open up some intriguing possibilities…

{For the record – while there have been two, maybe three days in the past three-plus years when I haven’t posted here, all of them were caused by simple brain farts. Yesterday was the first day when there was a deliberate decision to skip a day. There was this power outage, then the computers were messed up, all with an 08:00 deadline this morning for a shit-ton of work that still had hours and hours to go before it was finished, and looking at the stack of work still there at about 23:00 and knowing that posting would mean I was up until 02:30 instead of 02:00 when I had to get up at 05:30… It was self-preservation.}

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