Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Success Limited

Chillin' Bubba

Well, we have some sort of success! I still don't know how to move this picture around and put it in the place I want it, but now all four of my readers can see a picture of Bubba. Too bad I can't have Bubba Bites instead of Blazer Bites (see previous post). Forgive me, Blazer, for using your name in vain. Or something.

what was lost is founD

I found the original "Bubba Bites" bloG. I even wrote a piece on it for publicatioN. then I accidentally somehow lost the composition while trying to spell-check iT. damN! that blog is curseD. so I have decided to forever ignore that site since I always screw it up and this one is becoming well known by up to four peoplE. I wonder how you delete a blog on blogspoT? I still can't figure out how to get a picture on this suckeR.

well, anyway you may have noticed that I am trying a new style or form for punctuatioN. have you ever tried the little clicky place in the upper right-hand corner on Blogspot that says "Next BloG"? well I have, and buddy it's a whole new world out therE. never do I get the same blog twice and what I do get is often written in spanish or hindi or farsi or some other language with which I am not familiaR. it is fun to see what follows my lame rantings on BlogspoT. I just know those foreigners are really smarT. try it sometime and see what you geT. the other day, the next blog was in spanisH. I have always liked the way one puts a upside-down question mark or upside-down exclamation mark IN FRONT of a question or exclamation in spanisH.

so this new style or form for English punctuation is designed for those who get tired of or just plain forget to capitalize the first letter of the first word of every sentence, question, or exclamation in a composition in the English languagE. this new method lets one ignore that silly rule and instead emphasises the importance of stopping at the end of a sentence, question or exclamation to take a breatH. this could mean the end of the run-on sentence as we've known iT. we've probably used the old rule since the time of King Arthur and it's now time to move into the 21st century with this punctuation thinG. the spanish writers are way ahead of us in so many wayS.

like punctuation and the siestA.

this change will be great for little kidS. they won't have to remember that stupid rule and now only have to capitalize the letter that comes just in front of the period, question mark or exclamation mark in any sentencE. this should really help them, because if they make a mistake and don't notice they forgot to capitalize the first letter until they are almost finished with the sentence, they don't have to go back and erase a whole bunch of stuff to try to cram in that big ol' capital letteR. just think how much better their paper will look without all the smudges and holeS. now this could be bad for the rubber eraser industry, so if you have stock in Goodyear or Bridgestone, you might want to sell now because there could be a glut and the bottom might fall out of the markeT. isn't it amazing how these things are so intertwineD?

I digresseD.

anyway, little kids will probably increase their vocabularies because they will be able to write longer, more complicated sentences, which is another good thinG. and, because sentences will be longer and better thought out, questions should be longer and better thought out alsO. yeah, that's the ticket, fewer dumb questionS. but, since I was a teacher and always said, "now students, don't laugh at Grudzelda's question, because there is no such thing as a dumb questioN" I guess I can't use that as an argument for my new style or forM. seE? it's all interelateD.

there are probably many other good reasons for acceptance of this new style or forM. if you want to help think of some good reasons, please put them in the "comment" sectioN. right now I can't think of any because it's time for my siestA.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Golf - A Four Letter Word

It sounded like such a good idea when Don "golfscheduler.com" Brownlee called yesterday afternoon. "Want to play tomorrow?"

"Sure, I'm free," I naively replied. "Where are we playing?"

"I'll call Eddie and see what he wants to do and I'll call you back."

See, right there, this is already too complicated. If it takes more than two phone calls to set up, we have violated the "KISS Principle" or "Keep It Simple, Stupid". This is the principle on which all my life is based. I should have just gotten some nasty ailment that doesn't require hospitalization to remove myself from this web of intricacy. Something like cauliflower ear. "Sorry, Don, but I accidently put the phone down with my ear on it, and now it's swollen like a pregnant possum. Check back with me when the plan is less complicated."

But NOOOO. I sit back and wait for the next call (while the Red Raiders are blowing a four point lead to Okie State in the Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship Tournament. "Sorry, Don, can't play tomorrow, 'cause I inflamed my sinuses when I spewed Dr. Pepper, the official soda pop of the Big 12, out my nose when Coach Knight kicked a chair towards an official after a 'no call'.")

RINNNGGG. "OK, Eddie wants to know if we can play The Links at Lands End in the morning and then go over to Lake Fork Golf Course for a free hamburger and play it in the afternoon? How does that sound?"

The KISS Principle is now completely out the door. Thirty-six holes of golf wrapped around a free hamburger. "Sure, sounds great to me! Is it my turn to drive?"

"I don't know, but I'll check with Eddie."

Now I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything, but wouldn't this be easier if Eddie just called everybody and told us what the heck to do? He seems to have all the knowledge.

"OK, I'll wait for you to find out, but I really think it is my turn to drive."

"OK, I'll call you back."

Peace in the Middle East is not this difficult.

RINNNNGGG. "OK, our tee time is 7:46 so we need to meet at the Lowe's parking lot at 6:15 so we can be there on time. You're driving."

Oh boy! Maybe I can see Dorothy and all my Lowe's buddies before the lines get too long! (See previous post.)

Green fees for two golf courses (including a FREE cheeseburger) -- $43

Diet Vanilla Cherry Dr. Pepper and a package of Hot Pork Rinds from the Fina Stop and Shop in Quitman -- $3.36

Whacking a little white ball around the pasture while everybody else is at work--Priceless

(It is a little known fact the the sport of "golf" got its name because all the other four letter words were already taken).

Saturday, March 12, 2005

What's 'Dis, graphia?

OK, so I was administering the New SAT Test this morning to fifteen less than enthusiastic high school juniors and seniors. Usually there are tons of kids taking the SAT in March, because it has just dawned on them that after May, they're going to be booted out on the street unless they can find a way to keep going to school. So getting up and being at school on SATURDAY to take the SAT is usually a better option than picking up cans on the side of Highway 80 for the rest of your life. At least for the girls. As for the boys, their Momma just realized their little darling is better off going to school on SATURDAY to take the SAT than having the garage full of stinking beer cans junior claims he has picked up on the side of Highway 80.

This time, however, kids have gotten the word that this is the first NEW SAT test and who wants to be the poor devil who has to break new ground and on SATURDAY, no less? Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of that scheming bunch of old fogies known only as "The College Board?" So attendance is way down.

So, I'm all friendly and jovial as these malcontents saunter into the room. "How does it feel to be a guinea pig?", I ask. "Screw you, old weasel," says their look.

"How long is this going to take?", asks one weary, but hopeful soul in the back.

"Well, they tell me it should be about 25 to 30 minutes longer than the old test because they have added the essay part. And, instead of seven sections, the test now has ten sections. But the amount of time allowed on each section is less, and you will get two five minute breaks instead of one. We used to get through about 12:15, so I imagine it will be about 12:40 or 12:45 before you can leave this time." I announce in an upbeat voice.

"Screw you AND the College Board," says the faces.

"I'm hoping for a raise,since I'll be here longer," I say with a stupid grin on my face, hoping to bring a little levity to the party.

"Screw you, the College Board, and my Momma," says a couple of boys' faces.

I make sure that I give a few kindly, teacherly words of advice before we begin like, "Now would be a good time to go to the bathroom, before we begin." Two or three take me up on this offer as the thought of being stuck in this room until 12:45 with me starts to sink in.

At exactly 8:15, and according to the Official SAT Associate Administrator's Manual, I begin the reading of the official script. We write our names in three or four places. We flip the test book back and forth looking for secret codes, we read the instructions on the back. Everyone except some kid from Marshall, and she doesn't even turn to the back of the book. I ask, ever so quietly so as not to embarrass her, "Have you read the back of the test booklet?" She nods her head , "Yes". Must be a speed reader or a psychic, I guess. We continue with sex questions (you know, Male, Female, once in Henderson), Social Security Numbers, and all kinds of printing and bubbling. Takes a good twenty-five minutes.

OK, we're doing pretty well, and I'm being patient. The we get to the section where you have to copy an acknowledgement "in writing, do NOT print, and sign your full name as on any other official document." This is when I discover the poster child for International Disgraphia In Our Times (IDIOT) is sitting in the second seat of the third row of room 15.

It takes takes ten solid minutes for him to copy twenty-eight printed words in cursive writing.

I'm thinking ,"OK, maybe 12:50, instead of 12:45. I can live with that."

I read the Official SAT script and it says "Are there any questions before we begin?"

IDIOT's hand goes up. "Can I still go to the bathroom?"

Screw the SAT. Next time there's a test, I'm going to get me a stick, drive a nail in the end of it, and pick up cans on the side of Highway 80.

ps: Thanks, Garden Obsession, for the linky stuff!

Friday, March 11, 2005

What Happened?

Started a blog named Bubba Bites, 'cause Bubba does sometimes loose control and takes a nip at "intruders". I have lost that blog somewhere. Had to start a new blog. So Blazer Bites keeps the alliteration, although I never saw him attack anyone except Mac, the collie, who pestered him.

So anyway, I see this as my opportunity to take a nip at certain oddities of life. Like the lines at the checkout at Lowe's. There is a sign that says "For your convenience, we will open another register when there are three people in line." At about 12:19 p.m. today, I walked from the garden center on the north end of the store all the way to the last checkout lane on the south end. There were at least eight people in line at the garden center and no less that three in line at each of the three (out of ten) other lanes. The last lane was as good as any other so I stopped there, fourth in line. The first guy in line was finished about the time another person with one of those giant lumber carts decides this is the best line and gets behind me. I'm starting to feel trapped. The next little group is a family buying electical parts. Dad, Mom, and a 10 year old girl. Why is this kid in line? This is Friday, a school day. Truant. Just there to make the line longer. Hey, the sign says "three people", I say open another line. They have a whole basket full of switches, pvc elbows and nipples, gizmos, stuff, all bar coded and all different. The check out lady (a refugee from the retirement home across the loop) has to find all the bar codes and squeeze the trigger on the scanner gun about 3 times on each piece. At 12:26, they finally whip out the checkbook. Crap. Use a credit card. Finally, they move on. Suddenly, the couple in front of me start pulling stuff out of their cart. Wait, they aren't a couple. Just two strangers in line at Lowe's who don't want to hold all their stuff while our checker, Dorothy (I'm close enough to read her name badge now), is ignoring the "For your convenience" sign above her register. Fortunately, neither have much for Dorothy to scan. But the lady has come from the garden center with a flat of some kind of lettuce looking plants in six six-packs. (I wish daughter was here to do plant identification. That lady might be growing illegal herbs and we could nip this whole operation in the bud, so to speak.) This should go fast. Scan one, hit the "x6" key and she's out of here. Wrongo. Scan each six-pack individually and squeeze the scanner trigger about 3 times on each one after taking each six-pack out of the tray to find the freaking bar code! Come on, Dorothy. Use the wonders of modern technology. Use the "x6" key!

Finally at 12:31 I lay down my $1.29 sprinkler head (180 degree, in case you're keeping score) and my box of 100 ear plugs (wifey worries that I'll lose my hearing while working in the shop--yet knows I'm ready for hearing aids, so what's the deal?). For some reason, I can't help but ask "Who is the person in charge of opening more lanes when there are three people in line?"

"Huh?", replies Dorothy.

I'm thinking Dorothy should have used ear plugs earlier in life.

Pointing at the back of the sign above her register, I say, "I say, who's in charge of opening more lanes when there are three people in line?"

"Oh, that would be Chuck," says Dorothy, turning a shoulder to indicate somewhere to the north of her. I'm thinking "Don't throw your back out of whack, Dorothy, twisting around like that. We need all the checkers we can get."

During all this chit-chat, I've swiped my credit card and stuck it back in my billfold and put it back in my pocket. "I'll need to see that card," says Dorothy. Get the billfold out, get the card out. "Need the last four digits," she says. "Hell," I think, " you just scanned my whole life's history into freaking cyberspace. Why do you need the last four digits?" Should have written a check.

"New procedure?", I ask.

"Huh?" she asks as she enters the last four digits of my credit card into her register. "Thanks for the ear plugs," I say with a smile.

Fifteen minutes after stopping in Dorothy's "good as any other" check-out line, I'm checked out.

I'll be back tomorrow. Hope to see all my new buddies at Lowe's.