Friday, October 18, 2013

Fortune Cookie #9 - Whistling in the Dark

Once again, like I do so often, I visited my favorite local Chinese restaurant China Buffet #VI. On this visit, I received the following fortune.

You will always have good luck in your personal affairs.

I blocked out the numbers so no one can win on my fortune.

Now, I do have some things going for me. I am dating a beautiful, intelligent, funny woman. I have great kids. And I am less than a year away from completing my Master's degree.

However, it has been a rough week and I love picking apart these fortunes. So, here goes.

First, I lost a follower after my last post This Crap Stays Between Us. I finally hit the 200 followers mark excluding me from ever having to receive the dreaded Liebster Award again. Immediately after this post, it dropped to 199. I guess some people just don't find poop jokes funny.

Next, two of my favorite shows have ceased to exist. Breaking Bad and Dexter have both aired their final episodes. I'll never be able to see Michael C. Hall as anything but a serial killer. I'll be curious to see what he and Bryan Cranston do next.

My last bit of bad luck, despite what my fortune said, happened just today. Let me give a bit of background first.

I have a bit of a problem with public restrooms. Without going into any gross details, I will try to explain it.

I don't have an issue with urinating. As a man, I don't have to touch any public usage areas to do my business. However, if I have other business to attend to, it involves sitting on a toilet that is not my own. This is not for me, except under the direst of circumstances.

Direst?  Most dire? I don't know which is right. Only in the most extreme circumstances. There we go. I know that's right, because extremist means something else. I guess you could say I'm a fecal extremist.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, the idea of someone smelling 'me' is petrifying. I just can't handle it. It gets even worse if the people know me. For example, I would never, NEVER do this at work. I will leave and go someplace else if for some extreme reason I just can't wait until I get home. On the rare occasions when I have no choice, I have been known to hide in the stall after my business is done for up to half an hour to ensure that anyone who may have happened to wander in will be long gone before I show my face.

Second, there is the ick factor. What we use toilets for is disgusting. It must be done, but it's pretty gross. Now, my toilet is my toilet. Only a very small number of people use it and I know exactly who they are. I also know how often and how well it has been cleaned. The same cannot be said for any public restroom. The idea of parking my naked rear on the same seat that ANYONE could have sat on before me is unacceptable. They could be carrying any disease, may have any degree of uncleanliness, or possibly even came in contact with one of the cast of Jersey Shore. I just can't take that chance.

My mother tells me I've always had this issue. As a kid, I would get sick when we went on vacation because I would try to hold it until we got home again. Even if that was a week away. I just couldn't do it.

Today was one of those times I was caught away from my house. I had a delivery on the fourth floor of a sparsely occupied office building. When I realized it would not be practical to drive across town to go home, I headed for the sixth floor. The sixth floor only has one office and it is only used during local emergencies, so it is presently vacated. Despite not being at home, this gave the extra privacy I required.

I located the restroom and fumbled for a light switch. Before I found one, the motion activated sensor turned the lights on for me. The stall and bowl looked clean. There were two full rolls of toilet paper and no one around, so I did what I came there to do after giving the toilet a once-over quick cleaning.

Upon finishing, I reached for the paper and heard a click, immediately followed by complete darkness. After a couple of seconds, I remembered the motion activated lights. Apparently, sitting on a toilet is not a high motion activity. At least, not if you're doing it right.

I waved my arms and kicked my legs to no avail. I decided that my movements were not being picked up because the sensor was justifiably outside of the stall.

I quickly pushed the door open to activate the sensor. It didn't work.

I leaned out and waved my arms. Still darkness.

I removed my jacket and waved it outside the stall door. I think it got darker.

I fumbled around and removed the extra roll of toilet paper and tossed it out into the room. Total darkness.

Now, I am not afraid of the dark. That was not the issue, but it was beginning to occur to me just how dark it was. I was in the middle of an office building with no windows. It was total darkness, and the worst part was…I hadn't cleaned myself yet.

Have you ever heard the joke, "How does a blind person know when to stop wiping?" I can now answer that. They don't!

I knew I was not going to get the lights back on without getting up, but I needed to take care of this first. So, I did the best I could. However, without knowing for sure, I wasn't about to pull my pants back up.

With my pants around my knees, I stood up and started out into the room. I got to where I thought the door was, but couldn't feel a wall. The first thing I did find was the automatic hand dryer. For some reason, those things seem much louder when you are deprived of vision.

After walking into three walls and having no idea where the door was or why the lights were not coming back on, it suddenly occurred to me. I have a flashlight app on my phone.

DUH!

Using my phone, I was able to locate the sensor. It was right by the door and there was a wall separating it from the rest of the room. Only motion going in or out of the room would activate it. Serious design flaw.

I waddled back to the toilet. Now that I had light, I needed to ensure that I had, in fact, cleaned myself properly.

I took one swipe and checked…I was clean!

I'd be an awesome blind guy.


Next time, I think I will try to make it home.

Monday, October 7, 2013

This Crap Stays Between Us

Due to my job of delivering office supplies around town, I spend a lot of time in my car listening to the radio instead of playing Candy Crush Saga or watching Big Bang Theory. It's amazing the things you learn if you just pay attention. Yesterday, the radio got my attention when I heard the phrase "poop in a pill."

Yes, the reporter actually used the word 'poop.' I always thought 'feces' was a more professional word, but he said 'poop.'

Apparently, medical scientists really have made a pill full of poop. You can read about it here.

If you are like me (or like any normal person), you are probably asking yourself, "Uh...why?"

Believe it or not, there actually is a medical reason for this. According to the news story, there are some intestinal infections that make a lot of people really sick and can even be deadly, but don't respond well to antibiotics. What do they respond to?

MORE POOP!

After being told our entire lives to wash our hands after going to the bathroom, doctors have started treating certain infections with poop. For the last two decades, doctors treated these infections with fecal transplants. 'Fecal transplant' is the medical way of saying that they took someone else's crap and stuck it in your butt.

These fecal transplants work because…well, wait a moment.

Try to remember I am not a medical professional and will do my best to explain this, but will be using layman's terms.

These fecal transplants work because, healthy crap (HA HA) has the bacterial enzymes needed to fight the infection. The doctor would normally select the crap of a close family member to attempt to recreate the intestinal environment the bacteria are accustomed to. You know, because a happy bacteria is more effective than unhappy bacteria. Apparently, one-celled organisms are temperamental. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that playing soothing music into the rectum afterward makes them work even more efficiently.

If you happen to be the recipient of one of these 'poop surgeries' and are bothered by the fact that someone else's crap has been inserted into your mudhole, you can take some comfort in knowing that it is not a stranger's turd in your butt, but your mother's. Not much will bring a family closer together.

However, regardless of whose crap is now invading your intestinal tract, it is still a procedure that most doctors and patients would like to avoid. This is where the poop pill comes into play. Scientists have found a way to extract the necessary enzymes directly from the donor turds so they can be prepared to be taken orally in pill form. They are made into pills because a suppository would sort of defeat the purpose.

Now, a pill may be less invasive than an enema, but you can't deny that this is still the eating of crap sanctioned by the medical profession. In fact, I can already see how the next Thanksgiving would go at my house if this happened to one of us. Right after filling our plates, I would lean over to my brother and whisper, "Remember that time you ate my sh*t?"

 Nevertheless, they are seeing great success with this new product.

Since it looks like this just may be the intestinal infection treatment of the future, it only stands to reason that the price of crap is about to increase. I haven't been able to find any crap investments to buy into, but I do have plenty I could sell and I make more all the time.

When I was in college, I used to donate plasma. They gave me $25 every time, but I could only do this once every six weeks. If someone established a donor center to accept Fecal Donations and paid the same rate, I could make a deposit every day. That's $750 a month! That would pay my rent and my power bill! A family of four could make enough money that no one would have to work. Or at the very least, their crap donations might be enough to supplement their Obamacare health plan.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fortune Cookie #8 - Let's Get To It

Recently, my wonderful girlfriend treated me to dinner at my favorite local restaurant.

CHINA BUFFET #VI

In past posts we have speculated as to why it is called #6 and discovered that it was because it was the sixth one opened by this owner. Despite how boring that story it, you would be amazed at how excited I was when I found this.


This was in the small town of El Dorado about 40 miles away. I immediately whipped into the parking lot to get this picture. Now I just have to find restaurants two through five. I sense a road trip in the near future.

Stumbling upon #1 just goes to show the wisdom of the fortune I received at #6 the next time I was there.


Chance favors those in motion

I didn't find this restaurant while sitting at home, it was while I was out and about doing things. Not many people have had exciting things happen to them while sitting on their couch. Except when you find a really, really, good television show. The rest of the time, excitement happens when you are on the move.

This reminds me of the words my pastor told me over 20 years ago when I was discussing a major decision I had been struggling with for months. I believe he was growing wearisome of all my action-less rambling and said, "You know, a car is much easier to steer after it gets moving."

He was completely right. It really doesn't matter what direction you are facing if you are not moving. Except to prevent sunburn. Do something.

Advertisers get it.


Just Do It - Nike

Do the Dew - Mountain Dew
Sounds inappropriate, but I think they meant well

Zoom Zoom - Mazda

Where Do You Want To Go Today - Microsoft?

Jump In - XBOX 360
Actually an action oriented slogan, but encouraging you to sit on your butt and play video games

Taking You Forward - Ericsson

Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands - M & M's
I asked for my daughter's help thinking of slogans and this was her contribution

I need to be doing something. I love blogging and have spend a few years building up this blog. However, for the last six months, I have only averaged about one post per month. There are reasons for this, but I want to overcome them. I miss blogging and reading other people's blogs. Starting this week, I am jumping back into it again.

I know that I cannot write at the frequency that I was before. Hopefully, I can get back to that after I graduate. For know, I'm going to set a personal goal for myself of twice a week. If I just decide it is something that I have to do, then it will get done.

I'M BACK!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Am I Under Arrest?

Not quite as powerful as Walt's "Tread Lightly"
line last week, but it was good stuff.
If you are a fan of the show Breaking Bad, then you completely understand the title of this post. I have not been a fan of Skyler White ever since the very first episode, but she was awesome in this scene.

 Don't worry - there will be no spoilers here.

Anyone who watches the show knows that this is the final season and it has been intense.

Now, I am a huge fan of the show, but apparently my enthusiasm isn't anywhere near the intensity of the fans in Connecticut. Last Sunday, right before Breaking Bad was about to start, cable service was interrupted along the Connecticut coastline. The town of Franklin went particularly insane. The police station was inundated with phone calls. One lady called 911 and few households even called their senator to get their service restored. It got so bad that the police department issued a warning to the public on their Facebook page reminding them that a lack of television service does not constitute an emergency or concern the police in any way. Stop calling the station. It's not like this is HBO.

A few years ago, a Florida woman was arrested for calling 911 three times when her local McDonald's ran out of McNuggets. Her arrest was deserved, but it's not that surprising when an individual does something stupid. This thing in Connecticut involved a whole town. The whole town lost their freaking minds. What in the world is going through your mind to cause you to call your senator (Let me repeat that. They called their senator.) simply because you are worried you might miss a television show?

Oh! Look at those eyes!
I must have one of those drinks.
I love my TV, but I don't even call the cable company until it has been out for at least a couple of hours. This makes me suspect that there just isn't much going on in Franklin. To further prove my point, two days later, the neighboring town of Shelton (only 16 miles down the road) makes the news when a shop owner is injured while trying to stop the theft of two life-size cut outs of David Hasselhoff.

We may never know if the people there are huge fans of the Hoff or if this is just an extremely uneventful region of the East Coast, but I can definitely relate to having nothing to do. The town I live in is not exactly a bustling center of cultural activity. Despite having over 15,000 people, not a lot happens here. Check out this front page headline from one of the local papers last month.

All the news that fit to print.
Keep in mind, this is a front page story. FRONT PAGE! This is the July 13, 2013 edition of the Mt. Vernon Register News reporting on the possible new windows for the local National Guard armory. For those of you that don't remember what was happening a month ago, this was the same day that
  • Edward Snowden requested asylum from Russia. 
  • The George Zimmerman trial went to Jury. 
  • Janet Napolitano (Homeland Security Secretary) resigned.
  • The Asiana Airline crashed and a passenger was run over by a rescue truck.
  • Millions of dollars were donated to the families of Sandy Hook victims
 With all that was going on in the world, our paper decided to remind us that nothing was happening here.

Once again...FRONT PAGE!  
WINDOW REPLACEMENT CONSIDERED. 
It just doesn't get better than that.

I think I'm ready to graduate and move away.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Someone to Love

Due to my recent class schedule (and new job that actually expects me to do stuff), I have been busy enough that my blogging has slowed down significantly. Plus, I have been spending a substantial amount of time with Red of Doesn't Speak Klingon.

For my regular readers, you already know that we met through our blogs. We regularly commented on each others' posts and it just grew from there. For those of you that are newer readers, Red and I met through our blogs. We regularly commented on each others' posts and it just grew from there. However, for the people in our real lives (non-bloggers), they were not present to see this blogging love drama play out.

Every time one of us meet a member of the other person's family or group of friends, we are asked, "How did you meet?"

It's a legitimate question since there was a 900 mile distance between us when this first started. Even today, we have been actual face-to-face dating for over a year, but have to travel 200 miles to see each other. People tend to wonder how we got together. Plus, people are nosy.

When asked the question, we always smile and say "We met online."

Nosy interrogator: "OH! A dating site?"

Us: (at the same time, emphatically, and loudly): "NO!"

I don't know why we have always been so adamant about making sure people understand we did not meet on a dating site. In fact, we each very quickly try to make it clear that neither of us has ever had a dating profile. It just seems to reek of a desperation we don't want to be associated with.

However, I do understand the immediate assumption. I've heard that 1 out of 4 new relationships are started online and most of those are the result of dating sites. Personally, I know a few dozen people who are dating someone they met through a dating site and even know of a few marriages.

All this came to mind last night when I saw a commercial on television for a dating site called Farmers Only. It is an online dating site for country people. Their motto is "Because city folks just don't get it."



Seriously? Do we really need a dating site that specifically caters to ranchers and farmers? Now, I am not being critical of these people. I grew up in the country and proudly identified myself as a redneck.

Not a hick…a redneck. There is a difference.

As ridiculous as this seems, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. Since most dating profiles consist of a picture and a short description, you could easily waste a lot of your time scouring profiles of people who are radically different than you. Not that country people and city people couldn't ever make it work, but commonalities are usually more compatible than differences. Finding someone who has the same mindset as you would give a much better success rate. Why not narrow the field a bit? If you were a cattle rancher, your future spouse would have to be someone who was happy living the life of a cattle rancher's wife.

It just made me wonder, if this service was being marketed to the niche market of farmers, what other people groups might benefits from a personality specific type of service?

I turned to the internet and soon found a site for people who had grown disenfranchised from the mainstream dating sites. Try to imagine this scenario. You are looking for love and have had no luck in the real world, so you start an online dating profile. As I mentioned before, most profiles consist of a short bio and a picture. Unfortunately, you are not what most people would consider attractive.

When a picture of your ugly mug is on a dating site with hundreds of other people's more attractive pictures, it quickly becomes depressing when no one wants to contact you and no one returns your invitations to talk. What are you supposed to do?

Luckily, there is a site just for you and the other Uggos. The Ugly Bug Ball is a dating site for the aesthetically average. It sounds really depressing.

Another site that does something similar, but in a more positive way is The Big & the Beautiful. This site is all about being comfortable with who you are. It is for bigger girls and the men who love them. The site actually used the term chubby chasers.

On the other end of the spectrum is Beautiful People. If you are one of the beautiful people of the world and feel that you deserve an equally attractive mate and shouldn't be lumped in with all the "less than spectacular" people, then this is the site for you. However, you had better be sure you actually are a beautiful person or you may be hit with a dose of reality. You can't just join the site. The uggos are not allowed. You must submit pictures which will be put on the site to be judged by the current members. IF you are deemed attractive enough, they will let you in.

From there, the sites just got more specific. Whether you are attractive or not, if you are a nerd, Nerd Passions is there to help you find your future nerdy spouse. You can even specify what is is that makes you a nerd. Do you want someone to play video games with? Are you looking for a date to Comic-Con? Do you want someone to accompany you to Magic the Gathering nerdfests? It would be better to pick up a girl from this site so there would be no surprises when she finds out you will spend more time with Lara Croft than you ever will with her. If you happen to be an African American, but are concerned that white people just don't make the right kind of nerds, there is even a specific site for Black Nerds.

A year ago, I went to a cookout at Red's parents' house. Her dad made some fantastic pork chops. As I dove into this culinary delight, I looked over to discover that Red was eating a large mushroom. What? A mushroom?  I love my meat. I can't think of any animal that I wouldn't eat given the chance. Now, Red is not a vegetarian, but does not share my love of animal flesh. We have worked it out, but believe it or not, there is a dating site that addresses this issue. Veggie Date is a dating site for vegetarians and those who love the vegan lifestyle.

For people who love to read, it is sometimes frustrating to hold a conversation with someone who hasn't picked up a book since high school. Alikewise is specifically for bibliophiles (book lovers) and even pairs people up by the types of books they most enjoy. If you are very, very specific about the books you read and must have someone who agrees, The Atlasphere is for Ayn Rand fans. Specifically, fans of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. I like Ayn Rand, but WOW!

Seeking Arrangement, Sugar Daddies, and What's Your Price are all sites for women looking to be pampered by a wealthy and generous man. On one of these sites, the women can join for free and only the men pay. In fact, if a man in interested in going out with a woman on the site, they can begin a negotiation with the site as a mediator to agree on a price for a date. Until a price is agreed upon, the communication feature is locked.

There are sites for Christians, Democrats, Mormons, people over 50 years old, people who are looking for a mate covered in tattoos and piercings, people who don't want children, and even people who are Apple or Mac lovers. It seems that someone has set up a dating site for what ever your special interest may be. I found dating sites based on beer, yoga, coffee, fashion, travel, golf, chocolate, and frugals (cheap skates). Some revolved around professions: lawyers, millionaires, psychics, teachers, and ballet dancers.

I even found a site for people who are HIV Positive. This one kind of makes sense. If you have AIDS, another person who already has it would probably be the place to start looking for a match.

I just can't imagine having to have this much in common with another person. I wonder if there is a site out there for self-employed midget psychic ex-con Libertarians who love bird watching and ethnically-based stand-up comedy. Whether there is or not, I firmly believe there's someone out there for everyone.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Black Death in the Golden State

In the 80's, we were constantly being bombarded with the dangers of AIDS. We were all going to die and not even the mosquitoes could be trusted. More recently, we've had scares from monkey pox, SARS, and the Asian bird flu.

I have never gotten too worked up about any of these, but something happened last week that caught my attention. According to CBS News, last week officials of Los Angeles County trapped a squirrel that was carrying the bubonic plague.


Let me say that again. A squirrel was trapped in the park that carried the bubonic plague. THE BUBONIC PLAGUE! Other wise known as the BLACK DEATH.

This is the same disease that wiped out a third of the European population in the late 1340's and half of the United Kingdom. Today's pansy diseases can't even begin to claim those kind of numbers.

After doing some research, I learned that the disease was never eradicated. It obviously still exists as evidenced by last week's squirrel discovery. In fact, this disease can kill a person within four days of contracting it, but with today's medicine, it is much more manageable. If gotten to early, antibiotic treatment takes care of it.

All this just makes me think I want to travel to L.A. and play with the squirrels. I don't enjoy being sick, but how many people can say they had the black plague. I could catch the disease, get a round of antibiotics and then go buy the T-shirt.

I SURVIVED
THE BLACK DEATH

I would wear it proudly every day. If anyone had the right to gripe about something, it would be the guy who survived the bubonic plague.

"Oh, you called in sick to work because you have the flu. Well, I had the plague."

"No, I don't want to hear about your difficult birth. Last year, I contracted the BUBONIC PLAGUE!"

"Wow. You want me to be impressed because you only missed a week's work when you had walking pneumonia. I had the freaking plague. The BLACK DEATH! Ever heard of it?"

It would give people an entirely different perspective on me. When someone came across something in the refrigerator that smelled a little funny, they would probably call me to check it out. They would say to one another, "Let Brett try it. He conquered the plague. A funny smell won't intimidate him."

If a rabid dog is reported running around the neighborhood, animal control would call me to go after it. When you think about it, how scary does rabies sound when you've already stared the most deadly disease in history right in the face and walked away from it?

My life would be totally changed. I would be a hero.

Although, I wonder if I could still give blood. The Red Cross asks a lot of questions, but I don't remember ever being asked, "Do you currently or have you ever had the Bubonic Plague? Have you ever been treated for the Black Death?"

I'll have to ask.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Want Hard Facts

I think I need CANDY CRUSH rehab
I just finished another class last week and have a week off before I start another one next week. This means I have the time to breathe for another few days. This week, I have taken advantage of this freedom by watching television and playing Candy Crush Saga on my Android for hours on end.

I like the bright colors.

Today, after work, I was plopped in front of my television, enjoying some pizza rolls and sweet tea, but was mostly focused on my clever double Color Bomb combos. Despite my attention to the sugar coated music emanating from my phone, something said on the television caught my ear.

Please keep in mind, this will only be a loose paraphrase of what was said, since I wasn't really paying attention. It was just the last line that made me say, "WHAT?!?"

A commercial was playing for a men's sexual health clinic in St. Louis. The ad focused primarily on erectile dysfunction. It stated all the usual things these commercials always claim.

"There's nothing to be embarrassed about."

"It happens to every man at one point or another."

"It doesn't mean you aren't a man."

I didn't catch it all, but near the end it said something to the effect of this, "Maybe you have tried Viagra or Cialis and they weren't effective. Therefore, you may be skeptical about what we can do for you. To address your concerns, you can try our system in our office before paying a penny to see if it works."

This is the part where I looked up and said, "WHAT?!?"

Try it out in the office? What exactly does that mean? Had I been paying attention, I would have called their number just to get the answer to this question. I can see so many possible scenarios.

What exactly is the nature of their treatment and what does it mean to "try it out in the office"? If it involves another person to really try it out, do they provide the person or do you have to bring one from home?

Do they provide a private room after giving you the treatment or must the results be observed by a trained medical professional?

Do they lay you naked on a table, give you the treatment, and the medical staff stands around you with measuring tape to monitor and record the results?

Or is it more discreet? Maybe they give you a pill and stand you in a corner, so you can give a thumbs up to indicate when you are up.

I have so many questions. One day, I may be in need of these services and I just want to be prepared.

I also want to know if Obamacare will cover this.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Biblical Mistranslation and Special Interest Groups - Revisited

Originally posted on March 12, 2011.

I was driving home with a friend after last week’s rain and she noticed a beautiful rainbow over the trees to the east.  It was probably the brightest one I have ever seen.  I pulled the van off the road to admire it before it faded away.  It was amazing.    

After watching the rainbow for a while she commented that she really didn’t understand how rainbows hang in the sky like that.  I felt obliged to explain it to her and started to give her the history of rainbows.  I explained that they were a product of the U.S. military and why they were invented in 1947.  She abruptly cut me off.  She exclaimed that although she may not know how they work, she knew they have been around for  thousands of years.  She gently reminded me that it was in the Bible that God created rainbows after the Flood to show the world that he would never destroy the earth by flood again.

She was referring to Genesis 9:13 which reads in the New International Version, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”  I couldn’t blame her.  It is a common, although misguided thought.  The translators of the NIV made a mistake.  If we look at the King James Version, it reads, “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”  The King James translates the Hebrew word קשת correctly.  Unfortunately, there has been a misconception of what a bow is.  The word has evolved and has not been used in this manner for several centuries.

The word bow according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary when used as a verb means “to cease from competition or resistance.”  You can check the definition here.  While this word is now only used as a verb, at one time it was used as a noun.  When used as a noun, it meant a “cessation of substance” or “area of lower density.”

Therefore, when Genesis says that God created a bow, it referred to an area of less or no rain in the midst of rain.  A rainbow and a rain bow are not the same thing.  While a rainbow is the colorful arc caused after a rain by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in raindrops, spray, or mist, a rain bow is a place in the middle of a storm where there is no rain.  When you are driving in the rain and it stops for a moment and then starts again, that was a bow in the rain, or a rain bow.  It is the same as when you can see it raining across the street, but it is not raining where you are.  This is a rain bow.  Now that we have that cleared up, let’s get back to the origin of rainbows like the one we were looking at last week.

Rainbows were invented by military scientists at the Roswell Army Air Field in Roswell, New Mexico.  The air field had a national security issue in the mid-1940’s that needed to be promptly resolved.  Roswell was the leading manufacturer of experimental aircraft for the military and often tested their new developments late at night when most people would be asleep.  Unfortunately, the unusual lights in the sky were frequently spotted by people who worked late and insomniacs.

Military scientists and engineers brainstormed to come up with a solution.  They needed to prevent civilians from witnessing the test flights and possibly discovering military secrets.  They concluded that building a wall two miles tall around the entire base would not be cost-effective and relocating the civilians within eyesight would take too long.  It was in this brainstorming session that they came up with Project R.A.I.N.B.O.W.

Radio-Active Iridescent Nuclear Bio-Optical Weapon

While not actually a weapon, the idea was to create something bright and beautiful in the sky in the opposite direction of the planes doing their test flights.  This would cause people to be distracted and not notice the planes.  This brilliant concept still works today.  When someone sees a rainbow, they always point it out to other people and those people always look.  Some people even go as far as to make a phone call to tell people to look out their window at the beautiful rainbow.  A bank could get robbed and it would not be noticed if there was a rainbow glowing in the sky in the opposite direction.

After spending millions of dollars, Project R.A.I.N.B.O.W. was almost scrapped after it’s first test run.  On July 9, 1947 the local newspaper Roswell Daily Record reported that a high-altitude weather balloon crashed on a ranch near the airfield.  There was much speculation and many rumors milling around the area about what had actually crashed, but the newspaper story was correct.  It was a weather balloon, but the military did not release the rest of the story.

The weather balloon went down because a test pilot collided with it in mid-air.  He had been temporarily blinded when a bright flash of colors shot up from the ground.  The blinded pilot veered off-course and struck the weather balloon.  The pilot and plane were fine, but the balloon crashed to the earth.  After a few more test runs with similar near disastrous results, the scientists made a few adjustments and re-engineered their new invention to work during the day.  From this point on all test flights were done in broad daylight while people were mesmerized by the pretty colors on the other side of the horizon.

After several years of successful test flights without incident the generals in the Pentagon were looking for a more destructive, military-type use for the rainbows.  They wanted to use them strategically in war situations.  Since the rainbow had no destructive power, the generals decided to use it in the same manner it had been used successfully for the last several years.  It makes a wonderful distraction.  It could be implemented outside an enemy air field keeping enemy pilots from reaching their destination.  It could also be turned on in the middle of a fierce land battle.  Unsuccessful tests were conducted to produce special lenses that could be worn by American soldiers so they would not be distracted by it’s brilliance.

In the mid-50’s, they had their answer.  Computers had become sophisticated enough that scientists installed the rainbows with artificial intelligence.  With an independent intelligence, the rainbows' computers could make split-second decisions on the battlefield to determine the most strategic place to illuminate.  The research laboratory was brimming with excitement as the programmers awaited the results of the field test.

Things did not go the way the generals, engineers, and programmers had planned.   It seemed that the rainbows could not determine the difference between domestic and foreign soldiers.  They distracted every moving thing on the battlefield.  With these disappointing results and the recent dismantling of the Roswell experimental flight program, Washington decided to bury the project.  However, the newly intelligent rainbows were not ready to be put down.  The rainbows' failure on the battlefield was due to the fact that they were now only interested in self-preservation.  They saw every person as an enemy to themselves with no regard for who may be an American.  The rainbows used their new intelligence to formulate a plan to escape from the base and power themselves.

The military launched a full-scale assault against the rainbows to no avail.  Rainbows cannot be destroyed since they are only a refraction of light.  Despite the best efforts of the military the rainbows remained at large and even began to reproduce themselves.  Within weeks there were sightings of rogue rainbows in every state in the country.

Although rainbows could not be destroyed, they did not enjoy being attacked all the time.  Using their computer-speed intelligence they came up with a plan to get back at the people that were trying to destroy them.  Since they had no actual defenses and could not do any damage they decided to retaliate by creating a nuisance that could not be ignored.  Rainbows understood that they were beautiful creations that people loved to stare at.  They decided to make something devoid of color that people would not want to see or experience.  It needed to be something that would make people cringe at the very thought.  The rainbows had their plan and they released their creation onto the world: MIMES!!!



Just as the rainbows had planned, they were soon forgotten about.  Mimes were everywhere.  They infiltrated birthday parties, state carnivals, and public parks.  People could not walk through a park without being imitated by one of these black and white abominations.  Worldwide public outrage prompted a quick response from governments all over the world.  The United States, facing international pressure, lead the way in trying to eradicate the Mime Invasion.

Since mimes are similar in appearance to humans, they could not be killed without protests from various human rights organizations.  Congress passed laws forbidding people from feeding them, housing them, or offering them employment.  Countries around the world quickly followed suit.  France, however, offered mimes asylum and they congregated there by the thousands.


Around the world most mimes died within a few months and their bodies littered the streets.  The smell of decaying mimes was too much for the public to bear.  The same problem was occurring in France despite the special statutes protecting them, because due to the huge numbers of mimes in the country as a result of the protective sanctuary that was offered to them, there was not sufficient mime food to feed them all.  Nevertheless, the smell didn’t seem to bother the French.  In other parts of the world Mime Rights groups were starting to form.  One organization even succeeded in getting mimes established as their own race.

Since mimes are not particularly intelligent, unlike their creators, most just died off, but some of the craftier ones banded together to survive.  A few even became part of paramilitary resistance groups.  In Waco, Texas a mime resistance group formed calling themselves Fighters Against Racial Tension (FART).  They were silent, but deadly.  In their last stand, they held off ATF agents for 50 days before being burned out and gunned down.  This marked the end of guerrilla mime warfare.

Public outrage forced Congress to pursue a new tactic.  Lawmakers knew that the mime scourge still had to be squashed, but it had to be done discreetly.  All laws restricting travel, lodging, and commerce were lifted and the government even provided jobs for every mime.  Call centers were set up all over the country and the mimes were put to work as telemarketers.  The scheme was brilliant.  The government had provided jobs and given them a way to support themselves.  No one could legitimately complain.

The telemarketing jobs offered fantastic compensation, but it was based on commission only.  If the mimes wanted to get paid they had to make sales.  The program would take care of itself.  The mime population has been dropping steadily ever since.  There are very few left today.  The world is possibly one generation away from putting this dark period behind us.

However, if you are one of those bleeding heart types that feels sorry for them, remember this next time you get one of those phone calls and there is no one on the other end.  It may just be a mime trying to feed his family.  When you get that call just say, “I’ll take two,” and then give your credit card information.  You may just save a life.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blast from the Past (Literally)

Yesterday, upon checking my email, I found a rather strange message in my inbox. It took me a moment to figure out what it was.



I have not graduated from Greenville. Thank you for the reminder, past self.

Actually, I have changed my major (and school) since then. Plus, the Greenville program was not designed for a two-year graduation anyway. A fact I did not know at the time.

Pushing the reasoning to the side, it was cool to receive a message from myself sent two years previous. I remember it now. In 2011, I stumbled across a site (FutureMe.org) that allows people to send emails to be sent at some point in the future. Having just gotten my Bachelor's and expecting to have my Master's in another 2 years, I sent a congratulations to myself.

There is a legitimate reason for me not having accomplished this goal, but maybe I could use this site for future shame motivation. Knowing that I will have an encouraging message congratulating me for the epic moments in my life will give me a little extra push to further enjoy the message when it arrives. Or, even better, I could send congratulatory messages to myself about things that are not on track right now. Knowing that the message is coming will be embarrassing if I have not accomplished it by the time it arrives, so I will have the extra motivation to try harder and make it happen.

Examples:

To be received 15 months from today:
Dear Future Brett,
     Congratulations on graduating Summa Cum Laude from LCU. Your dedication and perseverance paid off.
To be received on August 18, 2017:
Dear Future Brett, 
     Many congratulations on being hired into the TESOL program at the University of Maui. With your credentials and talent, there was no reason you should have doubted yourself.
To be received on December 3, 2017:
Dear Future Brett,
     Wow!!! You were promoted to the head of the linguistic department in less than one semester after being hired. Congratulations on having your skills recognized so quickly.
To be received on February 19, 2021:
Dear Future Dr. Minor,
     Good luck at the U.N. Cultural Relations division. They knew what they were doing when they hired you. After establishing peace in the Middle East during your Israeli/Pacific Islands language professor exchange, you were the obvious choice.
To be received on October 8, 2024:
Dear Future Intergalactic Peace Director Minor,
     The entire planet owes you their undying gratitude for talking down the alien invaders last month. You really went above and beyond using your language skills to help settle the grievances against them from the Orion Trade Alliance. Being welcomed back into the Alliance, they now have no need for the resources of our planet. The Nobel Peace Prize was well deserved.
Now that I am sending out these emails to myself, I have no choice but to do two things.
  1. NEVER change my email address.
  2. Avoid any shame by not accomplishing the goals I am being congratulated for.
The entire universe will become a better place because I discovered this website. Be sure to send them a donation.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Awards Fairy Is Back Again

As I got home from work today, a large sedan pulled in right behind me. Two large men stepped out followed by a short balding man, who I immediately recognized as Cecil Dungliteur. This is a man who I used to only know as the Awards Fairy. He has terrorized me several times, stolen the contents of my house on more than one occasion, and cost me thousands in legal fees last February.

To catch up on what he has done to me:
The Awards Fairy Came By
Return of the Awards Fairy
Awards Fairy Detox
The Awards Fairy Strikes Again
The Awards Fairy Is Still At It
The Awards Fairy is Foiled
Awards Fairy Get Even

I immediately protested, "NO! NO! NO! Get out of here. You're not allowed to be here. Get away from me."

The Awards Fairy just stood there smiling. One of his goons said, "Surely, you're aware that he judge threw out the order of protection." The Fairy added, "He should be. He was there."

The biggest one stepped forward and produced three envelopes from inside his suit jacket and threw them at my feet.

"What's this? You can't do your own dirty work anymore?" I asked the Fairy.

"I just brought them along in case you try something."

"In case I try something? I need protected from you."

The goon who produced the envelopes said, "The court didn't see it that way, Mr. Minor" and he stuck out his hand.  "Tip?"

I looked at his large hand. "You have got to be joking?!"

The other one took a step forward. I quickly grabbed my wallet. "All I have is a twenty."

"That'll do," he said as he snatched it.

They hopped back in the car and laughed as they backed over my mailbox.

I picked up the envelopes and made my way inside the house to open them. One of the envelopes was a bright pink, so I opened it first. A new award I hadn't seen before fell out onto the table.


The inscription on the back said that this Inspiring Blog Award was given to me by Jules McMurray at My Mom's a Whack Job on February 24. That was only two weeks after my court date. Why did it take so long for them to deliver it to me?

Since the judge put me on two years probation concerning these awards, I must follow them to the letter to stay out of trouble. This one appears to be pretty simple. I have to list seven facts about me and ten bloggers that inspire me.

FACTS:
  1. I got a lump in my throat when Michael showed up for Dwight's wedding in the series finale of The Office. I'm going to miss that show.
  2. Last week, I had a cooler full of human blood in my van all morning. (I'll not explain unless someone asks.)
  3. I have been accepted into Red's family to the point that I am referred to as Uncle Brett by her nieces.
  4. I have changed jobs again. I now deliver office supplies.
  5. I finally have a smartphone. My biggest reason for holding out on getting one turned out to be valid. I am always on it.
  6. I just got a new recliner. Now I have too many...if that's possible.
  7. I own over 60 ties, but haven't worn one in almost ten years.
BLOGGERS WHO INSPIRE ME:
  1. Rodney Lacroix of Mental Poo
  2. Stephen Hayes of The Chubby Chatterbox
  3. Jessica R. Patch
  4. Linda Roy of Mod Mom Beyond Indiedom
  5. Kianwi of Simply She Goes
  6. Rachael of Rachael's Insane Rants and Bizarre Musings
  7. Addman of Muppets for Justice
  8. Outlaw Mama
  9. A Beer for the Shower
  10. Kate Hall of Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?
The other two envelopes contained the same award although they looked different. They were both the Liebster that makes its way all over the blogging world.
The first was from Shawn Yankey at Laughing at Life, 2.


Shawn is a professional stand up comic. Now, I have won blogging awards from a published writer, and a professional comic. Now I just need an award from a magician to have all the arts covered.

The second was from Alison Sommer at Off the Mark.


Alison will be speaking at TED Talks soon. That's another award from a person who is a star even outside of the blogging world.

The Liebster gets around everywhere and has several requirements. Each person gave 11 questions to be answered. I must make 11 of my own and then pass it on to 11 more bloggers (with less than 200 followers), as well as list 11 facts about myself. I double checked the judges' orders and it looks like I can combine the people I pass it on to, but not the questions. I have to answer them all.  Here they are.

From Shawn:
  1.  If you could choose to have any superpower, what would it be?
    The ability to do anything I can think of?
  2. What would you do for a Klondike bar?
    Buy one on sale.
  3. If you could be any cartoon character, who would it be and why?
    Pigpen from Peanuts, because people left him alone.
  4. What is your favorite movie?
    Pulp Fiction
  5. If you could be granted one wish, what would it be for?
    To have the superpower mentioned earlier.
  6. Why did the chicken cross the road, besides to get to the other side?
    He just got off work and went home.
  7. If you had the power to change laws, what would you make legal and what would you make illegal?
    Anything I wanted to do would be legal and it would be illegal to stop me.
  8. What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
    Spending time with Red. If she's not around, then reading a book or watching a movie.
  9. What is your favorite quote?
    If you do what you've always done, then you'll get what you've always got.
  10. In your opinion, do you think man has really been to the moon?
    No.
  11. What is your favorite quality in the opposite sex?
    They're not me.
From Alison:
  1. What is your happiest childhood memory?
    The adventures with my brothers.
  2. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
    Didn't we cover this one?
  3. What has surprised you the most about how your life has turned out?
    I still basically live where I grew up.
  4. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
    I would have started college sooner.
  5. What is your ultimate vacation?
    Traveling to other cultures, eating the local food, and meeting the people.
  6. If I were to meet you in person, what is the first thing I would notice about you?
    My lack of social restraint.
  7.  If you needed to emigrate, what country would you choose and why?
    Norway. It has the least personal life restrictions.
  8. What is your ultimate way of relaxing?
    A good book.
  9. What instrument have you always wanted to play?
    Guitar
  10. What role or part would you play in a movie?
    I would love to be the bad guy.
  11. What's your favorite song when traveling?
    A mixture of Classic Rock.
Facts about me:
  1. I pour milk over cake and eat it out of a bowl.
  2. I can now access Facebook and Twitter from 18 different devices. I think I may be a robot.
  3. I sleep with three pillows, but one of them is so big it could be three pillows on its own.
  4. I have been the best man in 14 different weddings.
  5. I order soft drinks without ice. I hate when it waters down the soda.
  6. I have never gotten a piece of clothing caught in a paper shredder or garbage disposal.
  7. I love thunderstorms. BIG ONES!
  8. As evidenced by her last post, Red and I have very different taste in movies.
  9. I hate hummus. I have tried many different varieties. None of them are good.
  10. I just discovered Duck Dynasty. I get it.
  11. I just learned that due to my new job, I can write off my morning Mountain Dew.
Bloggers I am passing this award to:
  1. We Are Adventure
  2. Snaps and Bits
  3. Jeneral Insanity
  4. Antijenic Drift
  5. Wrinkled Mommy
  6. When a Lion Sleeps, Let It Sleep
  7. Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi
  8. In Shane's Brain
  9. The Train's Whistle
  10. Next Step
  11. Ash-Matic Does Things
 A few of these bloggers don't have their followers visible on their blogs, so I don't actually know how many followers they have. If any of you have over 200, feel free to ignore. I will not be offended.

However, ATTENTION BLOGGING WORLD!!!

I now have 200 followers. I have accepted the Leibster Award for the last time. I no longer qualify for it. Can you tell that I am heart-broken?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sign, Pole ... MAILBOX!!! - Revisited

Some of you may have noticed that my blogging has slowed down. Well, not really slowed down, but came to a screeching halt. My daughter would say a mugging halt, but I don't really know what that means. I love my blog and have no intention of stopping. However, after the A to Z Challenge in April, I felt that I needed a break. Plus, my graduate studies have kicked in harder.

I will start writing again soon, but in the meantime, I have picked up a lot of new followers and need to put up material. So, I will be posting some of my older posts starting today. The following was originally posted on September 20, 2012.



What to do? What to do?
School has been in session for a month and I have been broke for that entire time. The money issue has recently been resolved, but I still have this cloud floating over my head. Since summer is over, it's time to settle in and get serious about life for a while. I haven't really had much of a choice. Between both my daughter's school schedule and my own, plus not having any money, we haven't done much. This isn't truly a bad thing, but I think the awesome summer I just had and the abrupt halt to all the fun is bringing the winter doldrums on early. I'm getting a little stir crazy.

I've been reflecting on past trips and remembering several taken when the kids were younger. It used to be our tradition to take a small trip every Saturday. We usually kept it under a hundred mile radius, but it was something fun to do on a weekend. However, having small children was often a challenge on car trips. They traveled well, but sometimes I had to come up with something to busy their minds.

One car game that lasted for several years was born out of madness one morning. I married Christian's mother when he was three years old and it took him and I a little while to hit it off. You can read about our rocky relationship here and here. One day, I was driving into town and he was doing what he usually did when we were alone in the car. He crawled out of his car seat and was curled up in a ball on the passenger side floor.

He cried about being hungry.

He cried that we weren't going to see Grandpa.

He cried about forgetting his favorite toy at home.

He cried because his shoe fell off.

This was one of those days that I was trying not to pull out my hair and chuck him through the window. I was stressed and could feel the tension mounting more and more as he found new things to whine about. I was biting through my lip as his most recent wail reached a pitch that caused the dogs we passed to start howling. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. Small children are stupid.

It couldn't be too hard to distract him despite his thinking his life was in shambles. I looked around in desperation for an idea. Then, I saw it on the road ahead and started pointing. "Look, Christian, a mailbox."

Christian paused mid-sob as he raised his snot encrusted face. "What?"

"Right there, on the side of the road. There's a mailbox. We have one of those."

He popped up into the seat to see what had me so excited. Once he saw it, he forgot what he was upset about and smiled.

"Oh, Christian, look. There's another one"

He pointed at it and laughed. I innocently asked, "I wonder if there's more."

Who knew they were so much fun?
For the next twenty minutes, we pointed out all the mailboxes we saw. I made sure to let him find several of them first since it wasn't his fault I was smarter and more observant than him. Later, when his mom was in the car, he kept pointing out the mailboxes to us. She didn't question it.

This became our regular routine when in the car together. It kept him busy and more importantly kept him in a much better mood. However, mailboxes aren't always as plentiful as I would have liked them to be. If we hit a stretch of highway with no houses, he would revert back to his whiny ways, so I added telephone poles and eventually signs.

Any type of sign would work. Billboards, stop signs and mile markers were all fair game. So, trips in our car sounded like this: SIGN, SIGN, POLE, SIGN, MAILBOX, POLE, MAILBOX, SIGN, SIGN, SIGN, POLE, MAILBOX, POLE, SIGN!

As time went on, we began to apply rules to the game.
  1. You could not identify a sign, pole or mailbox that someone had already pointed out.
  2. Every 10 miles, someone was allowed to add something to the list (i.e. swimming pool, satellite dish, dog, etc.)
  3. In the event of a disagreement, the loudest person would get the point
  4. Kirsten was the only person allowed to identify water towers.
Once Kirsten was born and started playing this game that had been evolving for years, we gave water tower sightings to her. However, Christian loved to point them out as soon as he saw them (even when we weren't playing) and send Kirsten into crying fits. "Bubby took my tower. Those are mine!"

ME: "Christian, you know those belong to your sister. Give her back the tower."

CHRISTIAN: (pouting) "But I saw it first."

ME: "The mailboxes are yours. Her seat is not high enough to be able to see them. Give it back."

KIRSTEN: (throwing a toy at his face) "Yeah, Poopy Head. It's mine."

CHRISTIAN: "You can have it, Sissy."

KIRSTEN: (looking around) "Now I can't see it." (starts crying again)

Once getting that taken care of the game sounded like this:
(EVERYONE YELLING) SIGN, MAILBOX, POLE, POLE, THAT ONE'S MINE, SIGN, MAILBOX, SATELLITE, POLE, MAILBOX, DOG, SIGN, OH WAIT IT WAS TWO DOGS, SIGN, SIGN, MAILBOX, ANOTHER DOG, SATELLITE, DOG, NOPE THAT WAS A SMALL HORSE, MAILBOX, POLE, SIGN, POLE, CHIMNEY, THAT WAS LAST WEEK, NO CHIMNEYS, SIGN, POLE, SIGN, SIGN, MAILBOX, WATER TOWER

 CHRISTIAN, STOP IT!

Friday, May 3, 2013

A to Z Challenge is...OVER!!!

For all of April, I was participating in the A to Z Challenge, which involves posting every day of the month (except Sundays) with a letter of the alphabet as the theme for each day. (May 1=A, May 2=B, May 3=C, …) That was a total of 26 posts for the month.

Here is a link to every post. Click the letter to get the post for that day.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

I have been a part of month-long daily writing challenges before, but this one was more difficult to finish. The addition of a theme added to the challenge. The morning I woke up and realized it was May 1 and I would not have to be posting for the challenge again was a very happy day. I was so happy to have this behind me. I am done with the A to Z Challenge. It was a good feeling.

I rushed right over to the site to get my well deserved badge of honor to display on my page.

Isn't it beautiful?

Just when you thought
he was dead.
Upon grabbing my award to proudly display on my site to show what a writing stud I am, I noticed that the minions at A to Z want a little bit more. Just when I thought I had this behind me, now they want a reflection post. I may never get away.

I enjoyed the challenge. It was challenging.  There were many days that I did not feel like writing. Luckily, I already had the topics planned out and a few of them written before the challenge started. In the midst of the challenge, I changed jobs (including a week when I was working at both of them). One of my graduate courses wrapped up last week, so there was all the final papers and testing to finish. It was a busy month even without the challenge.

Despite the hectic schedule, I will definitely be participating again next year. I picked up a little over 50 new followers and discovers a few dozens new blogs that I will be following now. Of the close to 2,000 participants, I personally visited the blogs of over 700 and left comments. This was the most difficult part of the challenge.

All my personal craziness started halfway through the month. At that point my visiting of other blogs came to a screeching halt. Trying to read other bloggers became too much. I even got over a week behind on replying to the comments being left on my blog. I do not blame the challenge for this. My life just got really busy. I should be able to do better next year.

Tips for future A to Z participants:
  • Pre-write as many posts as you can. Since one of the big perks to the challenge is exposure, you want to have the time to visit as many other blogs as possible.
  • Visit as many other blogs as possible (see above point) and always leave a meaningful comment. By 'meaningful comment', I mean a comment that shows you actually read the content and did not just jump down to leave a link to your blog. Be sure to include a link back to your blog in the comment. I received several comments from people that I had a difficult time tracking down. Especially if they have several blogs.
  • Be sure to visit the blogs of everyone who left a comment on your blog. Do this in addition to making your way down the huge list yourself.
  • Have fun.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Z" is for Zoo

When my children were younger, (by younger I mean young enough that they still appreciated their father and hadn't learned how to talk back yet) we would take weekly road trips. I had a job where I worked long hours and didn't see the family much during the week, but I always had weekends off and we liked to spend it on the road. Every Saturday, we would load up the car, head to Huck's to grab some gas station road trip food (mini tacos, egg rolls, sodas, etc.) and hit the road.

Some days, we ended up in a state park. A few times we stumbled onto a small town festival. Other times, we would drive into a big city. Often, we didn't even have a destination in mind when we left the house. We would just pick a direction and start driving. I loved these trips.

One particular Saturday, we decided to head to the zoo. When it comes to zoo trips, we are really lucky. We live in southern Illinois and the St. Louis Zoo is less than 90 minutes away. This is the zoo I grew up going to and it spoiled me for other zoos. It is ranked as one of the best zoos in the entire country, so I always end up disappointed when I am visiting someone in another part of the country and we end up at a lesser zoo. Our zoo is awesome. Suck it, Cleveland.

I was particularly excited for this trip because my kids were at that magical age. Kirsten was two and Christian was six. They would think the animals were the coolest things in the world to get to see. Plus, it was spring time and we had been looking forward to getting out of the house after the long winter.

Once we got there, we headed to the exhibit I always insist that we visit first. THE PENGUINS! I love penguins. I always have. This practice of seeing the penguins as soon as we get there first started when I was a child and I still do it when I go back to visit. After I see the penguins, I don't care where we go. I am happy.

I couldn't wait to share these magnificent birds with the kids and hurried them into the penguin house. As soon as we got inside, I unstrapped Kirsten from her stroller, put her up on my shoulders and turned around to see this:


Chicka-Chicka-Wa-Waa
"OK, let's see what's happening on the other side of the enclosure."

We moved further down to get away from the happy couple and were met with another public penguin porn performance. However, this time it was more like a penguin orgy. There were at least half a dozen penguin couples getting an early jump on the day…and each other. As much as I love penguins, I decided that maybe we should come back later. I don't allow guests in my bedroom to watch without paying admission and since the St. Louis Zoo is free, this just didn't feel right. Plus, I had my kids with me.

We worked our way up the hill to Big Cat Country to take in the jungle cats. My kids lost interest in the leopard pretty quickly because it just sat there.  The panther couldn't be seen, but the tigers were much more playful.


In the very next enclosure, the lions were up to the same thing. My wife commented that the animals seem to be enjoying the spring time weather as much as we were.

About 20 minutes later, we learned that the monkey house was not the place to be right now either. I will spare you the pictures. They are much more graphic.

We left the zoo after being there less than two hours, but in that time we got to see elephants, buffalo, three different species of bear, antelopes and even snakes getting it on. We decided that in future years, we would wait until later in the season to visit the zoo.




Happily participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. For the entire month of April, 1,656 bloggers are working their way through the alphabet. One letter every day but Sundays for a total of 26 days.

Click here to visit the website and get more information to see if you might want to join in next year. It's a lot of fun, introduces you to hundreds of new blogs and gives your writing some fantastic exposure.

YAY!!! I made it!!!