Monday, November 29, 2010

Hocus Cadabra! Abra Pocus!

I have recently discovered a new skill.  I am a magician!  I know what you are saying, "Jeff!  How is that fair that people are lucky to have 3 or 4 talents and yours seem to be innumerable!  What can I say, I am truly blessed.  And, as I've said before, humility is but one of my many, many wonderful character traits. 

Seriously, I consider myself lucky to stumble my way through two or three talents in a semi-passable fashion.  (Don't tell anybody)  But this new trick is nothing short of amazing!  The best part is, I just stumbled onto this special talent!  And it's a good one's not like people who spend a lot of time trying to learn the first 30 seconds of a song on the piano or guitar so they can play a little and when people say, "Oh you play guitar and/or the piano?" they say, "A little but I don't want to play right now."  (Did I mention that I know how to play the first 30 seconds of Stairway to Heaven on the guitar?)  Back to the new astounding trick! 

In truth, it's more likely that I have a magic truck and I have no magical ability whatsoever.  I don't really want to find out.  I can't see myself driving around in a truck named Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  I have suspected for some time that there were forces beyond my comprehension at work in the vicinity of my house but, through thorough testing and research, I have discovered the true nature of this wonder of wonders!  Are you ready to hear it yet.  Perhaps you should sit down.  I can make my entire house disappear by parking my truck in front of it!  Before you start to question whether or not I hung up my glue sticks and safety scissors in kindergarten to explore the wonderful and lucrative profession of big rig truck driving.  I will tell you, I have not.  (although when the kids just won't settle down I sometimes daydream about a company who would take me away from all of this with the male equivalent of Calgon...1-800-Truckmasters!)  No!  I drive a very dependable, very average sized, standard issue Chevy Pick up.  It's great.  It's white.  It's named Thunder (but that is a blog for another day) AND most importantly, it can make the whole house disappear like it was being tented for termites with Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. 

I began to suspect this fact some time ago but tonight at dinner I have decided that it is true.  You see, we have a tradition in the family where we sit at the dinner table (fighting over the food like we are ill-mannered lumberjacks...not really) and I read the section of the paper that has celebrity birthdays.  I say the name of the celebrity and everyone guesses how old they are.  If Sylvia and I know who the person is, the kids guess in the 70's and if we have no idea who it is, we guess in the 20's.  It's a fun little routine and the winner wins the ever important bragging rights, until the next name is called.  (extra points are given if someone correctly guesses the emotional age..."Lady Gaga"  "Ooh!  I think she is 27 but she acts like she's 3 and a half!"  Bonus!)  Well tonight we went to get the paper and it wasn't where it should have been.  Check outside, just in case, nothing.  Did someone recycle it on accident?  Not likely!  Conclusion?  We didn't get one today. 

Wait a minute!  Where did I park the truck last night?  Right in front of the front door!  That's It!  Eureka!  I have proof.  Whenever I park my truck in front of the door we get no paper.  Time and time again.  Now for more proof let me tell you, we live on the corner and when I park away from the front door we get a paper.  It astounds me that such a mild mannered truck can have such an affect on the paper deliverer (it's not a paper boy anymore and hasn't been for a long long time)  I have tried to figure out why this might be happening.  When my dad parks his slightly larger truck in the same place... paper.  When we park the van there... paper.  If the neighbor whose sole purpose in life is to park in the shade of other people's houses, parks his car there...paper!  The only time we get skunked is when I park my truck there.  Every time!  Can you imagine how foolish I sound when I call to get a replacement paper and try to explain to the dispatcher, "Uh, yes.  I would need a paper to be delivered."
"I see Mr. Garrett.  Was it wet?"
"No, I dry them out when they are wet.  They are wet a lot."
"Was it damaged?"
"No, I don't call when it lands in the bushes and gets torn.  I have to get it from the bushes a lot, too."
"Well what was the problem?"
"You see, I forgot, and parked my truck by the front door and it made the house disappear."
"Uh huh.  I see.  Well I need to go now.  Say hi to the Easter bunny for me."  Click.

It's not like the deliverer is a perfectionist and the truck interferes with his aim.  He throws about as accurately as a weatherman guesses the weather.  (I want that job by the way...don't have to be right...on TV...loads of money...sign me up)  I would be happy even if it landed in the bed of the truck.  I dare to dream! 

So here I sit, paperless.  We had to go all through dinner not knowing how old Kevin Costner, Kanye West, or Fabio are.  It just wasn't the same.  I was so out of sorts, I was only able to go back for thirds.  (did I mention that I was able to eat just about anything again?)

I am going to apply for a federal grant to discover just how a simple truck can make an entire house disappear.  It should only take a few billion dollars...or so.  You don't mind paying for that right?  When I am done with that study I am going to find out why, once a year, near Christmas, the paper is lovingly placed in the center of the welcome mat with an envelope addressed to the carrier on it....But I think I can figure out the answer to that one fairly quickly on my own.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Memories! Like the Punchlines of My Mind

As I screech rapidly into my forty fifth a minute, let me see, I was born in...carry the two...divide by the square root of pi...yeah forty five) I am starting to become nostalgic for times gone by.  There have been so many instances in my life that have shaped me into the man I am today.  For better or for worse, the good, the bad, the ugly, life changing things that molded me.  I am forever grateful.

Now, don't go thinking that I have become philosophical or anything...I am talking about jokes that I heard in junior high!  Those were the days!  As a young adolescent I was miserable.  The first class on the first day of junior high, the teacher said,

"You!  There in the front.  What's your name?"
"Umm, Jeff Garrett."
"Class, Garrett here cussed me out.  Called me names.  Even used the "F" word.  I'm sending him to the office to see the principal and have him suspended.  Garrett, what are you going to do?"
"Umm, (apparently I said Umm a lot back then) tell them I didn't do it."  The story would be better with my voice cracking but that fun time in my life didn't happen until well into high school.  We return to the flashback already in progress...
"Yeah!  But I say you did it!  Who are they going to believe?"
"Umm, you."
"Damn Right!  Welcome to junior high!"

Welcome to junior high my ass!  I want to be home schooled!  That was the first and possibly my best moment involving teachers...I said I didn't enjoy it.  Not sure where you are Mr. B. but I hope they have almost removed the tack that someone undoubtedly placed on your chair for being mean to supposedly prove a point....breathe Jeff...Don't want to get mad, turn green, and ruin another shirt.  Surprisingly the pants always manage to stay on.  Weird...but I digress.

So junior high was my least favorite time, until I started hanging out with all the funny guys at school.  There we were all sitting in the same spot between classes and at lunch.  We never left.  Where would we go?  We weren't jocks, we weren't interested in finding out what really happened at the alley, we (sorry to lump all you guys in) weren't smooth with the ladies.  What was there to do?  Tell jokes.  All day, every day.  We were just on the coolish side of nerd (I definitely pulled the average down for the group) but we were not picked on too much.  The reason?  We could collectively make people laugh!  It was a great defense mechanism.  If I was a little less shy I could see becoming a stand up comic...isn't that the prerequisite for that job?  Uncomfortable childhood?  Able to keep most bullies away with humor.  Oh yeah Mr. B. I hope the person removing the tack is Chuck R. straight from his prison release work furlough program.  But I'm not bitter...

Anyway, in thinking about these times I figured it would be a good time to talk about the jokes we told back then.  I am blessed with an awesome memory regarding jokes...problem is, there are maybe two that I can share in decent company without significantly altering everything that makes them funny.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many times Sylvia has said something that has made me say, "That reminds me of a joke!...but I can't tell it to you...sorry."  It got so bad there for a while that when I got that stupid silly grin on my face, Sylvia would just say, "Junior high joke?"  "yeah."  "Nevermind." 

But some of these are really funny!  I hate to ignore a large part of my comedic timing and material...I need to at least pay homage to some of the best.  I think what I will have to do is to eliminate the set up and go straight to the punch line.  I am guessing that some of you will recognize the joke and be reminded of a simpler, funnier time...cruder, yes, but funnier.

Ok, Here goes:  Unconnected punchlines.

Why do you ask dog peeing on bush? 
I didn't.  I didn't.
There's a gnat on the ceiling!
What's all this quack quack nonsense?!
But that is how I get ketchup out of the bottle!
Twenty bucks, same as in town.
How do you think I rang the doorbell?
It started out as a wart on my butt.
He should have quit when he was a head.
Frayed knot!
Mind if I smoke?
If you find your flashlight, help me find my keys and we can drive out of here!
I don't know his name...but his face sure rings a bell!
...and one of my favorites...
some people just can't tell a joke!

Hope you enjoyed these!  I SAY, HOPE YOU ALL ENJOYED THESE!  (that was large-print joke for the people who are having birthdays today and having a little trouble seeing where did I put my reading glasses?)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My First Contest!

In order to thank all of my readers for their kind words and messages, I have decided to give an award to one.  (I know, it didn't make a lot of sense to me either.)  I would like to send one lucky reader an original, signed, Jeff Garrett masterpiece!  I was thinking about giving away the entire contents of the kids' college accounts, but this drawing is worth more.  This particular piece of art has been seen in many countries by countless individuals (it's my Facebook profile picture) and might be worth a little something some day.  (They are giving $1.25 for a ton of recycled paper...if prices continue to soar like this, it could be worth $0.0000000023 in no time!)  Ok, what the heck...I will even frame it for you.  I didn't say what I would frame it in...probably some sort of colored duct tape that I have laying around.  (Hey! What did you expect?  Solid mahogany?  It's two days after're lucky I don't frame it with leftover turkey!) 

But that's not all!  That is the way they do it on TV right?  I will, at an unspecified time in the future, use your name in a future blog post!  Of course knowing me I will probably use it when I am writing a short story about a manure salesman (excuse me...manure salesperson) and I need a name of someone who falls into...wait!  You almost tricked me into giving away the ending! 

I have a friend, Faye, who has told me to go check out another person's blog, the pioneer woman, because she is so funny.  Well I went there and...holy cow...her blog makes mine look like I am just sitting here at my home computer, in the spare room, writing my blog in my underwear.  (you should read some of the blogs I have written in my underwear, they are hysterical!...although, more people can see the ones I write on the computer)  Do not be alarmed. I am all for promoting family values.  I do not write these while wearing only underwear.  I have an Armani tuxedo that I pull out for writing.  I feel it gives class to the writing...especially when talking about manure. 

Well Faye told me that this pioneer woman has thousands of readers and that she actually makes money at writing her blog.  I asked her how she is doing that (Faye is the leading authority on answering questions about other people's blogs) and she said, "Well she has written a cookbook. (pass!) And she has contests where she gives away things!"  (I could do that!)  She has given away big things...a washer and dryer come to mind...but I think Sylvia would be slightly more than peeved if we gave away our washer and dryer.  I am not prepared to test my theory.

Another thing this pioneer woman has is a visually pleasing site.  It is virtually covered with pictures, and graphics, and color, and videos, and...crap, I'm talking you into going over there aren't I?  That's ok, my boring ole blog will be here when you get back...sniff.  I could talk about how I am ADHD and cannot handle too much stimulus (true).  Or I could talk about how I have some OCD tendencies and need things to be just so (true).  Or I could tell you the real reason that I don't have a site as nice as hers...I dunno how!  But I do know how to fill an envelope, address it, and mail a picture to one lucky person!  (Well I live with people who can help me do that)  And as for the having more pictures on the site, allow me to show you what you could win!

I will now describe this in painstaking detail as if it was the grand prize on The Price is Right!  A New Picture!  This doodle was drawn by none other than Jeff Garrett, blogger, in order to make children, and children at heart, laugh.  In the style of the great masters (while the great masters were talking on their phones) it is an example of ball point pen (and then marker when the pen ran out of ink) on scratch pad and it can be yours for the low low price of...
Wait a minute...I haven't told you how you can win.  Mostly because I haven't come up with an idea yet, but that goes without saying.  (even though I just said it)  Let's see, how to win, how to win, I know!  Write me a comment about why you deserve this fabulous piece of Americana.  Be compelling, tell me as many details as your hopeful hearts can stand.  People who talk about purchasing one (or two) of those bronze artwork lamps to showcase this wonder of wonders will receive special consideration.  Including the phrase, "I solemnly swear that I will bequeath this stunning work of art to my children" is not a requirement but it couldn't hurt.  I will choose the best and the brightest of comments and I will arrange to have it sent to you.

So there you go.  My first contest!  Can you feel the electricity in the air?  Do you live in Kansas?  Under power lines?  Perhaps you should call the authorities...and stay away from standing water...and for heaven's sake get out from under that tree.  Good luck everyone!   Oh wait, Sylvia is up...I'll ask her about the washer and dryer for next time!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

No, Seriously, I'm Thankful

When Sylvia read my post from yesterday she failed to mention to me that it was the day before Thanksgiving!  You know teachers...give them a few days off and they have no idea what day it is!  Now I am up early and I am pretty sure I would get drummed out of the "write bizarre stuff and put it on the internet" club if I wrote about anything else but Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving morning.  I feel so silly...and I wondered why we had TV dinners last night! 

OK, I am just kidding.  I knew that yesterday was the day before seriously...I got this.  You know how the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday.  That is because in accounting terms to be in the black means to have money, a positive cash flow...note to self, "remember to pick up red pens at the store.  Lots of them!"  Well ever since I was a kid we had something called, "Blue Wednesday" on the day before Thanksgiving.  This was because in cleaning terms Windex is a very pleasant shade of blue.  (Anybody work for Windex?  We're almost out.  I could use a coupon.) 

Our house is lived in. We have a saying (We means, me and the mouse in my pocket)
If you came to see us, come on in.  If you came to see the house, come back in three weeks.
  As I've mentioned before Sylvia and I are both pilers.  It is a filing system based on strata.  Much like an archaeological dig the strata system is my chosen method of locating important documents.  As I look through a stack of paperwork looking for the vet bill I can be heard saying, "Did we take Fudge to the doc before or after we bought the tickets to the play?"  You need a phenomenal memory and a powerful mind to pull off the strata system so, if you come over, please know that we are not disorganized...we're showing off!

Blue Wednesday is the day dedicated to putting stuff away.  Believe me.  I knew yesterday was not Thanksgiving.  The kids were troopers.  Toys got put away.  Jake attacked the sliding glass door with the blue fluid and a roll of paper towels.  Neither survived.  The sliding glass door is the door that separates Fudge, the Brown Bomber, from the living room.  Fudge either doesn't know that it is possible to stop when the door is closed or is trying to create an exact replica of a Jackson Pollock painting with mud, water, and wet nose.  (I am almost 100% certain that Jack the Dripper's first "painting" was done by his Saint Bernard who had just rolled through a bunch of house paint left carelessly outside...but I digress)  Kristiana has a system for her chosen job.  She is exceptional at it.  She would hate it if I mentioned what she was working on.  I'll spare her...this time.  Well maybe if I wrote in code.  Let me just say that the athrooms-bay ook-lay antastic-fay!  Ank-thay ou-yay istiana-Kay! 

Sylvia and I have our own system...sitting with our feet up watching old Monk re-runs and snapping our fingers so the kids will keep bringing us those umbrella drinks.  Sorry, slipped away there for a second.  No, we decided that yesterday would be a good day to rearrange the furniture in the family room.  I knew I shouldn't have started cleaning early so we had extra time yesterday!  But seriously, it needed to be done.  This is the room where the kids are taught.  This is the first place people see when they walk into our house.  This is where I write my blogs.  This is the place the kids think is named, "AWAY!"

Let me explain.  "Jake, put this away."  Into this room as far as you can walk...put it down.  "Kristiana, put those away."  Into this room, a little less than Jake was able to go...put it down.  They don't even know they're doing it.  I think the gravity in this room is a little heavier than anywhere else in the house.  It is just too much for their developing muscles to fight.  Picture this.  Yesterday, smack dab in the middle of Blue Wednesday, I handed Jake three items that belong in his room and then turned around.  I turned back to Jake, who had not left the spot where he was standing, was still there...but his hands were empty!
"Jake, did you get super powers?"
"Well I didn't see you leave and come back.  Are you that fast?"
"Can you teleport objects now?"
"I just handed you three things to put away, you didn't leave, your hands are empty...can you explain?"
"You did?"
"8...9...10...Yes, in fact those three things that made it almost 8 inches closer to your room before you set them down.  Can we shoot for all the way now.  Please."
"These three things?"
I may get a plaque made..."This Room Is Not Away!"  Wish me luck.

So, we made it.  I feel that we are ready for anybody but Martha Stewart to come in. (and if she shows, and says anything, I'm kicking her bottom all the way to Black and blue Friday.  We are done, let's watch the parade!

I have just realized that I came all the way to the end and didn't say anything that I was thankful for.  I didn't realize that I would have time to write today so I kind of covered it all yesterday.  I can't let it go though.  Give me a second, I'll come up with some thanks.

OK, I got it.  I am thankful that our cars have special glass that is clear for me to look through but impossible to see in.  (no seriously...I was just scratching my nose!)  I am thankful that women always show Sylvia their brand new babies because my sense of humor sometimes kicks in and is inappropriate.  (Wow!  Didn't I see him in Lord of the Rings?)  I am thankful that I have not been kidnapped by aliens, subjected to invasive tests, implanted with a probe that keeps track of me and makes me do random things at odd times of the day. (as far as I know...beep boop beep beep)  I am thankful that there have only been two Charlie's Angels movies and No sequel to the Dukes of Hazzard. (less thankful that they were made in the first place)  I am thankful that cows do not fly.  (for obvious reasons)  I am thankful that I live in the time of computers and language. (If I tried to do this in front of a group of people around a campfire, in the oral tradition, I would be regularly pelted with wooly mammoth femurs) 

But mostly I am thankful for all of my family, my friends, my passing acquaintances, and my readers...both of you...without whom I would just be like a sad middle-aged Doogie Howser putting down random thoughts for no one to ever see.   Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Am Thankful, Thankful Am I

I wanted to take a short amount of time to check in and write a smidgen about what makes me thankful this year.  Believe it or not there is an "obligatory thankful clause" in the Terms and Conditions section of this website.  When you sign up in section 32 it says, "You must write a warm and fuzzy entry describing things that make you thankful toward the end of November.  Failure to do so will call your patriotism, your punctuality, and even the expiration date on the milk in your fridge into question."  Section 33 says that I must haul Bill Gates around in a rickshaw for one week out of the year.  I gotta start reading those things more closely.

Anyway, I am truly thankful.  I am thankful for everything...the end.  I told you I was just going to write a little.

No, seriously, I am thankful for all the usual things that people who actually read and follow the terms and conditions.  Not like those slackers who think they can write whatever they want near the fourth Thursday in November.  Even recipes for moister turkey.  I am thankful for my family, my job, my need for sleep that keeps me as far away from black Friday sales as possible.  I am thankful for my computer, my fingers, and the ability to put those two things together in a way that makes sense...well occasionally anyway.  I have been blessed in so many ways I am filled with gratefulness.

I am trying to be thankful for things that I can do for others and not for things that I have.  I have gotten some comments telling me that I am making people laugh with my silly ramblings.  I am thankful for the ability to do that. 

I am thankful for... I am thankful for... I am thankful for everything!  Good and bad, happy and sad, ups and downs, comedians and clowns.  I appreciate it all.  I try to stay positive in most situations (yes most, I am human) and remember that God has allowed me to do, say, hear, feel, experience, touch, learn, teach, and love everything that I encounter.  Without Him I would be sitting in a corner sucking my thumb and wondering when all of the bad stuff would just stop happening to me.  (Much like without Sylvia I would be driving in circles around, lost, in the middle of Illinois...but to a smaller extent)  Bloggers don't typically do the end zone dance when finished writing for the day but you can imagine me kissing my fingers and pointing at the sky when I finish...the end zone dance is saved for when I get comments from famous people. (my sister has been in the paper...that's famous) 

So my wish for you is a happy Thanksgiving.  May you appreciate all things in your life and be truly thankful.  God Bless.

Monday, November 22, 2010

You Mean People Get Paid For This?!

I have just discovered that people get paid for doing this sort of writing.  Yes, yes, I know...I am (was) the proud owner of a $2.00 off coupon directly related to my blog, but I tried sending that to my mortgage company and they sent me a a red envelope!  Apparently they are a little particular about the type of currency they will receive.  I wish they would have sent it back though, I'm pretty sure that my car insurance would have taken it.

So anyway, I happened to be straightening up a little and I came across a book my sister had given me for my birthday a while ago.  My birthday is in a little less than a week in case any of you would like to send me books, food, Cd's, Stock certificates, German bearer bonds, the gold that you were going to send in to that company from the TV commercials...whatever.  I would have offered to put my bank account number here so you could just deposit your "birthday wishes" directly but I just gave it out to a Nigerian Prince who has millions of dollars hidden and only needs to stash it in an American bank for a while.  I don't really want to jeopardize that transaction.  It will help me make up for my losses in the coupon market. 

But I digress...I realize that I say that so often I should get it tattooed on my arm but that is the wonder of my brain.  Picture a gymnasium with note cards all over the floor.  Throw in a ping pong ball and every time it hits a new card I need to comment about whatever is on it.  Makes for interesting day of explaining to Sylvia, "Umm, I'm on a new topic now."  Always keep it fresh I like to say!  And yes, I do realize that I just compared my brain to a large empty room...I'm good with that.

But I digress... Actually what got me started this morning was the book Sue gave me.  It is a signed copy of a Dave Barry book.  I can picture Sue talking to Mr. Barry and saying, "My brother is a funny guy and he wrote me letters in college that I thought were pretty good."  Well look where that encounter has landed me!  I have my very own blog!  They tried to explain that "just anyone" can start a blog.  Riiiiiiight!  Just anyone who has Dave Barry greasing the wheels to make all the red tape disappear.  I see how it is.  You, Mr. Barry, would like to remain behind the scenes in getting young writers started on their way to fame and fortune.  I understand.  Who needs the publicity!  I promise that when I become rich and famous, like you, I will carry on the tradition.

I'm not sure I can handle notoriety though.  I already have people walking up to me on the street and saying, "A thing for pygmies!  Good one."  Just the other day I got a technical drawing for a "plastic encrusted lead suppository."  After I put it back into the envelope (with salad tongs), and took a Silkwood shower, I wrote to this person explaining that I was just using that phrase as an example and that it wasn't an idea that needed to go to the patent office.  I was respectful, of course, I mean my mom is a little sensitive.  (just kidding Mom, see you at Thanksgiving)  With this kind of thing happening now I'm not sure I could handle what would happen if more than 25 people started reading my little corner of the internet.

I do know that Mr. Barry is one funny human.  (It says so on his book cover)  And I appreciate that some of my friends have said that my goofy prose is similar to his.  Really?  Thanks!  I'm not trying to copy anyone but I think he is funny, and people compare me to him, so ipso facto (which means 'it is a fat fact') I am funny.  Nice!  Now if I could only figure out how to get this into book form, like Mr. Barry, then I would be set!  I mean not everyone has time to sit at the computer to do something as silly as read my blog...but everyone has time to sit "somewhere else" for enough time to read an article in a book.  If you know what I mean...wink wink.  I don't want to be indelicate, but there is "a certain room" that people go "to sit a spell" and it "takes a little while" to "do their business."  I think I have figured out my target audience!  Perhaps I can get Charmin as a sponsor.

So anyway, I would like to thank Mr. Barry for not blocking my attempts at being a blogger.  I think I will send him a note telling him that I would like to meet him one day (although it's like I already know him...he signed my book).  But don't worry, I shan't be giving up my day job as a kindergarten teacher to pursue a career in writing.  Even though I could, I mean I just used the word "shan't" for crying out loud!  I have some talent don't you think?  I also do not have any plans to stock up the car with Depends and Gatorade to drive across the country and meet you.  I will never do that!....again.  At this time I would like to publicly apologize to Miss Bonnie Hunt... for no particular reason. 

That's all for now.  I hope you are enjoying that I have the week off and I can afford the time to write a little more often.  I will get the hint if people send me notes telling me to take care of myself and sleep in.  I would like to end by saying that I really do think Dave Barry is funny and if your paper does not have his articles (mine doesn't) you may want to check out his books.  You would enjoy them.  And finally, Mr. Barry, I would like to say that "a thing for pygmies" and "plastic encrusted lead suppositories" would both be excellent names for bands!  Just saying!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Great Debate

Hello again, I'm back and I have been castigated by Sylvia.  I had to look it up, and (thankfully) it doesn't mean what I thought it meant.  According to Jethro Webster (Noah's lesser known and slightly less well read cousin) castigate means: to chew out.  Apparently portions of yesterday's blog were, in her words, "a little much."  She did say that it proves I am a good writer, but romance novels are not really what I am going for.  I tried to explain that it was "tongue in cheek" but as any comedian knows, if you have to explain a joke it's not a good joke.  Moving on!

Yesterday was a day like any other.  Went to the Post Office, did a little shopping, and had roughly 842 activities planned to do with our kids...3 of them were generated by Sylvia and me.  There was choir, and laser tag, and buying things for a shower (baby not hygienic), and so on, and so on.  It all culminated in Kristiana being at a progressive dinner/scavenger hunt/party.  I assumed that it was to celebrate Christmas really early but I am finding that home-school parents are an active breed and this just seemed to be a great time for an event.  God bless people who have more energy than me. 

It was while I was picking her up from this event that I observed two people having the most universal of debates.  Unlike yesterday, where I championed the privacy rights of individuals and was very clear where I stand, I chose to stay neutral on this new debate.  I didn't really want anyone to call the police.  We have all heard that you do not discuss politics or religion in casual conversation.  I am finding that if you want to remain civil in your discourse, do not approach this hot button debate topic.  Not even with a ten meter cattle prod (OK, which movie?)

As you sit at your computer, mentally shouting, "NOOOOOO!!!  Don't do it Jeff!!  Just walk away!"  I appreciate your concern.  But that is me...I want to put it all out there and let the chips fall where they may.  (Unlike when I worked at the butcher shop...they get a little upset when you let the chops fall where they may...but I digress)  Yes, dear readers, I want to once and for all handle the subject that has been the cause of strife the world over.  Wars have started, marriages have ended, lives have been ruined!  Can't we all just get along...and decide once and for all,  Butter cream or whipped cream frosting.

That's right, I went there...and this time I brought a cupcake. 

Turns out there is a right and a wrong answer to this debate.  The trouble is that everyone has their own opinion of what that answer is...and that the other side is wrong!  I am very happily married and the reason, to a large degree, is that Sylvia and I share the same view on frosting.  We both suffer from the delusion that cake was invented because bringing a spoonful of frosting alone to your face seemed impolite.  I can pretend to eat cake to get to the frosting.  I'm a team player.  Sylvia and I also know that corner pieces are little gifts from God.  A corner piece with a flower?  Dare to dream!   

In nature there are some symbiotic relationships where both organisms benefit from being together.  For example, one person will eat all of the pizza and leave the crust, the other will savor the crust and leave the gooey stuff.  You need to find out if this is your situation before you start going after your partner's frosting.  It tends to ruin the mood at your niece's wedding if you start wrestling on the ground with your wife, arguing over the last glob of frosting from the wedding cake plate.  I do, hereby, solemnly swear that I will never, ever, ever do that...again.  (Uh oh, I can feel another castigation coming) Just kidding Hon.  Love you! 

At the risk of losing readers, and in the interest of full disclosure, I feel I must tell you where I stand on this issue.  For me, if you bring me a cake with whipped cream icing you run the risk of having your cake go to opposed to the butter cream I like so much, which goes to waist.  In fact, if there is a function with multiple types of cakes, I will always go for the carrot cake.  I think the cake itself is ok...but more importantly, I have never met a carrot cake with whipped cream frosting.  To do so, I think, is punishable by 6 months in jail and a hefty fine.  I believe the issue is addressed in the Constitution.

Back to last night. I was picking up Kristiana, the teenager, and she was actually acknowledging that I was alive.  Yes!  Guess I am improving my geeky Dad to allowing space ratio. (either that or she knew it was raining and didn't want to walk home)  As I waited for all the hugs, "see you later"s and "I'll Facebook you"s to subside two people started talking about frosting.  It was all well and good until an interloper strolled in and just haphazardly blurted out, "Give me Cream Cheese or give me death!"  I grabbed Kristiana and hustled out of there before the chairs started to fly. 

I have to believe that people will learn to live and let live.  It seems so silly to me that all of this trouble can result from something so simple as this.  I mean, it's not like pie, where everybody knows that fruit/berry is far superior to cream!  There you go, talk amongst yourselves.

Perhaps in the future I will cover the second most important debate.  Catch spiders with a glass and release them outside, or smush them with a Kleenex?  Now if you'll excuse me there is a spider, from the Latin; spider-eww toomanylegsidae, in front of me who is about to find out where I stand on this debate...anybody out there know how to play Taps?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fly The Friendly (Naked) Skies!

If you have read my blog before you realize that I have just found out that I can track how many people have looked at it...and from which country.  (Turkey, thanks for joining the party.  South Korea, watch out...Mexico is trying to pass you on the outside)  Anyway, in an attempt at sensationalism, taking on a current topic, and artificially increasing readership I decided to pepper today's entry with a lot of provocative words that might get searched more often.  We'll see if it works.  If you think this is a little much then don't worry...I'll be back to writing about imaginary conversations with my pencil sharpener in no time.  (By the way, it says hi!)

I apologize to my regular readers but I need to rate this entry "IMA"...for Immature Mature Audiences.  The following is written in first person.  But believe me when I say, "It ain't me!"  (it's a little risque but I'm asking that you at least read to the last line of the next paragraph to know that I haven't completely lost my mind and there is a point)  You can let me know if I have gone too far...or if you are the publisher of romance novels.

There was something about her that made lights go off.  Buzzers sounded.   She was blond, blue-eyed, I would guess that she was somewhere in her mid 40s.  Perfect.  I pulled her out of the line and over to the side.  I said, "I need you."  She didn't resist...she couldn't resist.  What could she do?  She knew the risks when she came here.  I wondered if I should tell her that we could get a room.  No, let's see if I can get away with it right here.  After all, a hundred people or so isn't too many to be watching.  I ran my fingers along her waistband, I slipped them inside, when I pulled her pants away and peeked inside she gasped but didn't say a word.  I bent down and ran my hands along her thighs.  She raised up on her toes.  OK, I thought, I'll move on.  I ran my hand between her breasts, I cupped them in my breath quickened at what I found.  I said, "Please stop crying ma'am.  I am a TSA agent and I am only doing my job.  Now would you be so kind as to remove your prosthetic breast and show it to me?"
WHAT!?  Yes, you heard me right.  I maybe took a little creative license with the details but a poor embarrassed woman was required to do just that.  It wasn't even as if she could have told them that she would choose not to fly rather than suffer this humiliation.  She is a flight attendant!  She was just trying to get to work!  I will not mention her name, nor will I mention the name of the woman who did the screening (mostly because it isn't in the article), and I apologize for resulting to cheap stunts to try to "catch" people searching for questionable material.  You'll notice, however, that I used the word "thighs" when I could have said "milky white thighs"...oops, there I go again.  Forgive me?

I feel I should say that I understand that there needs to be security for our planes.  I would love it if it wasn't needed, but I know that it is.  There are people who are willing to do awful things and would like to use planes to do them.  I get it.  But when I hear police officers saying that if they used this type of "pat down" on a suspect they would be arrested, and it is useless for finding contraband, I think there has to be a better way.  Perhaps someone smarter than me, Jeff Garrett...kindergarten teacher, can think of something.  We'll see, but I am not holding my breath...unless I am in the full body scanner trying to suck in my gut.

I do have a suggestion though for the airlines to make things safer.  Nudity!  If you want to fly leave your clothes at home!  A comedian suggested this years ago...and it was wildly laughed at for being boldly outrageous!  Now it seems to be the direction we're heading.  Apparently the scanners that they are making people go through allow the screeners to "see" through clothes and show more curves than the average man or woman would care to admit existed.  They sell stretchy clothes for a reason.  We're told that the images aren't saved and there is no possibility of images being leaked onto the internet.  Consequently, there are tens of thousands of these pictures that have been leaked and sites like, are popping up like weeds all over the seedier side of the internet.  (by the way...if anyone actually tries to go to this site that I made up, please please please do not tell me if it is real.  I would like to think there is hope for our civilization.)

So there you go.    Painters and printers would need to re-do all of the materials and signs.  It's no longer United...It's U-Nude-d Airlines.  Or how about Amer-I-can-see-you.  Nude-West?  There is a Japanese airline named All Nippon but I refuse to alter that one.  I do have my limits!   Ads would show Lady Godiva not on horseback but straddling a 747.  Gym memberships would soar!  They would all start advertising in June..."Going to see Grandma this Thanksgiving?  You know the new rules on the airlines!  Come in now and tone up to fly."  The possibilities are endless!  Talk about stimulating the economy!

Honestly, I will probably end up on some sort of no fly list due to my little piece of creative writing.  That will undoubtedly prevent me from getting to the television studios in New York to do interviews about how crazy I am for poking fun at the hornet's nest that is the TSA (which should be re-named the T&A) but I think it was worth it.  I want to say that I am sorry that this flight attendant was forced to go through this mortifying experience.  I hope that after she settles in to her new house (purchased with the proceeds from her lawsuit) that she is able to move past this...and that there is enough left over to buy a really nice motor home, because, my suggestion would be that she, like me, not fly again until the lunatics are run out of the leadership of the T&A...minus their clothes!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Do Know Where Canada Is, Eh

It has been brought to my attention (because I am a guy and a lot of things would go unnoticed if they weren't) that I was a little late in my changing my blog tag.  It now reads that it is internationally renowned (thanks to my uncle).  My friend, Sophie, correctly pointed out that this blog was already international...due to the fact that she lives in Canada.  My uncle lives in Thailand.  It all gets very me. 

I have been to school.  I have a few college degrees.  I have even, yes I know it's hard to believe...seen a globe!  I know that Canada is a different nation than the United States.  When I flew over to Germany (another one right!) I have to tell you I was a little disappointed that the states and countries were not different colors like all of the map puzzles I have ever put together have lied about.  Cartoons lie too in that regard.  I was so shaken.  Next someone is going to try to tell me that "hill cows" really don't have two short legs on one side and two long ones on the other.  AND that they wouldn't fall over and start to roll down the hill if they tried to turn around.  If anyone needs me I'll be in the corner with my fingers in my ears....LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

So back to my uncle.  He flew in from Thailand to bring his newly graduated son to the states so he can look for a job.  (I know, terrible timing)  We went out for dinner and we were talking about what was going on.  I started to tell a story and I said, "I wrote about it in my blog.  Have you ever read it?"
"Yeah, I tried to read it once but something didn't work."
"That's ok.  You tried.  I'm going to change my blog to internationally renowned!"

I put that on Facebook and Sophie asked, "Is that because of me?"
"D'oh!  Well, to tell you the truth I am not exactly sure where you live because the ground didn't change color when we drove through the border crossings!  It could have been Minnesota...Eh." 

Now to alleviate tensions and hopefully stop an international incident and prevent a war before it starts (you know how those Canadians from Canadia are) Sophie and her family (one of whom happens to be my awesome God-daughter...thank you very much!) live in Quebec and I only heard one person in all of Quebec say "Eh" at the end of a sentence.  And that was from a waitress who was there on a cultural exchange program, Eh.

I need to apologize to Sophie, her family, and all of the Canadian peoples who read my blog (which totals approximately....let's see, carry the two...Sophie) for leaving them off of the status of internationally renowned blog.  I'm sure will be sending some sort of plaque to commemorate the occasion, eh.

So I am going to sign off for now.  It takes a lot out of a guy to prevent a war this early in the morning.  And I haven't even had my bowl of frosted flakes yet.  (small "Fs" on purpose...we can't afford Tony's brand)  Of course if Kellogg's wanted to send me, say, a pallet of them, I would be willing to mention them in the blog.  Wait.  Oops.  Guess that was for free!  But you won't get me to admit that my voice is an almost perfect match for the "THEY'RRRRRRE  GRRREAT!" guy.  Wait, D'oh!!

At this point I want to say that I was goofing around and I really wouldn't have room for a pallet of cereal.  It wouldn't fit into the garage.  Because that is where the brand new convertible BMW is going to go...and if BMW gives me one I will stop telling my joke that compares BMW drivers to porcupines...ask me in person, I try to keep this blog "G" rated.  I do want to tell my loyal readers, both of you, that I have finally been compensated for writing this blog.  I wrote, when I was sick, that I was "hopped up on Zicam and orange juice" just because I thought it sounded funny. (I was taking Zicam though)  I got a comment from someone who works with Zicam.  Jin wrote, "I read about you having a sinus cold.  Sorry you aren't feeling well.  If you go to this link you will find a coupon for $2.00 off of the nasal gel"  There you have it.  The power of the Blog!  Seriously, Thank you very much Jin!  You are the first to pay me.  That might even get you a part in the movie they make about my life...I of course will be played by Tony Shaloub.  I wonder if Shakespeare started this way?

OK, I really need to go now!  I have a geography class to take.  It's taught at the local pre-school.  They know that Canadians are from Canadia.  I just hope they have the puzzle that shows California is really orange.  I like that

P.S.  I almost never do this...but...I found something out about my little corner of the internet.  Apparently I have been international for quite some time.  Whenever someone sends it as a link to a friend or shares it on Facebook, it spins off all over the globe.  Thanks!  Keep sending it out there!  It seems there is a button on here that lets me check into where the people are who are reading my blog.  I have been read in 10 countries!  Including Trinidad and Tobago! (And I do not have any friends or uncles in Trinidad and Tobago or is it Trinidad or Tobago)  Also, I am being read in Russia.  It's the second largest group after the United States!  Oh no!  Maybe the blog is being used as a torture device in Siberia.  Allow me to apologize!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cahoots!! I Tell Ya!!

I have been told...often...that people are waiting anxiously for my next blog post.  While that is a compliment of gargantuan proportions, it also adds a bit of pressure...especially around report card time at school.  When I have 29 little kinders to test, data to record, comments to write, input it all into the computer, FIGHT WITH THE DISTRICT SO THEY'LL TREAT ME LIKE A PROFESSIONAL AND GIVE ME A KEY TO THE STAFF ROOM ALARM SO I CAN GET TO THE PRINTER I NEED TO PRINT REPORT CARDS...ON MY OWN UNPAID TIME!!! (but i'm not bitter)  Anyway, it lends little time to be able to create silliness for my blog.

...Unlessssss...I somehow wake early on a Saturday, before everyone else, so I don't feel guilty for isolating myself from the family for an hour while I pound out typographical oddities for your reading pleasure.  (Unless you have been court-mandated to read this as some sort of psychological torture system that is totally against the Geneva convention...if that's the case, I apologize)  Then we have Sundays where I would need to get up REALLY early in order to be able to do this...and be ready for church at 9:05.  Church really starts at 9, but let's be honest...we have no idea what happens at the very beginning of church.  For all we know that could be, "Let's all talk about how the Garrett family never gets here on time" portion of the morning.  Maybe I'll have to wake up really, really early one day and go to church in disguise.  Then I'll know for sure.

So now I want to talk about how my sister and my wife are in cahoots!  I am not certain my sister is the mastermind of this whole scheme but, Susan has been the most vocal advocate for more blog posts in the past.  What I do know is that Sylvia is a willing participant.  What she is getting out of the deal is a mystery to better be good. 

This morning, I awoke early.  (thus the new post)  That in itself is not too earth shattering.  What is peculiar is the way I woke up.  Not to reveal too much information to the general public, but we purposely bought the largest sized comforter for our not the largest size bed.  One reason...I have never met a bed that I didn't end up hanging my feet off the end.  At 6' 3" I sometimes wonder how people taller than me can afford to have beds custom made...I can afford to curl into a ball.  I try not to wonder about other people's sleep needs.  Most of the time I am wondering if everyone else who is tall is made to walk in front of the group to clear unseen spiderwebs away from the path.  Twice!  Last night!  I felt like I was in the last movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy!

Getting back to me getting up...this morning.  Our comforter, on a good night, reaches halfway to the floor on either side of the bed and off the end enough to cover my tender widdle tootsies.  (sorry channeling Elmer Fudd for a moment)   There's plenty of blanket real estate to go around...usually!  This morning I sleepily wondered how we had suddenly been transported overnight to the Arctic Circle...and why someone had decided to hilariously dunk my feet in a snowdrift.  When I shook from my delirium I realized that we were still in town, there was still snowdrift, but there was a very warm Sylvia all snuggled up in 98.9% of the covers.  Had it been late enough for the sun to be out, I would have seen her blanket-stealing grin!  Apparently she has been paid off! 

Now in Sylvia's defense, she does not have what I call my, "sweater on the inside."  It's a layer of padding that keeps me warmer than the average human.  And even though I just lost 35 pounds...the hard way...I could afford to do that again, weight wise.  I really don't want to go through the whole hospital thing again but you get the idea.  The main thing is that Sylvia gets cold easily.  I can see where this would have been an easy way for someone (Sue) to get to her.  Through imaginary technology I have acquired a recording of the conversation. 

Sue:      "Sylvia, I LIVE for Jeff's blog.  You gotta help me!"
Sylvia:   "I know what you mean, but Jeff is so wonderful that I cannot stand to have him away from me, even for an instant."  (This part was a little was open to interpretation...I went with it)
             "I'll tell you what.  How about if we make it so he gets up early?  You could sleep innnnnnnnn."
             "I don't know.  I would hate to do that to him.  He needs his sleep too you know.  He was just sick and in the hospital."
              (unintelligible...but I am guessing that it was something about my being wonderful...again)    
              "But then you could have all the covers!"
              "I'll do it!"
Imaginary technology is new so we're still working out the bugs.  You get the gist.

So there you have it...I am awake, I am cold, and I am at the mercy of Sylvia and her conspirator(s).  I still don't hear anyone moving around yet.  Maybe "they" got to the kids too.  If I get up and walk down the hall I will probably hear them all in the back, playing Monopoly (the LONG version), and saying "Shh Shh Shh...I think he's coming.  Pretend to be asleep or Aunt Susie won't pay up!"

I hope they sleep well at night...I know Sylvia does...with all the covers!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Sign, A Sign, My Kingdom For a Sign

At the risk of seeming an insensitive clod, I want to write about something that struck me in a funny way.  It seemed a bit off to me but it also reminded me of something I saw when I was a teenager but didn't have the courage to write about in my blog back then.  I didn't actually have a blog back then so that seems to be a moot point.  I also didn't have a computer back then so that presents another problem.  And when I wanted a copy of something I wrote, back then, I couldn't right-click copy and paste, I needed to plan ahead and put a piece of carbon paper into the typewriter before I wrote.  I would also have to make sure it was facing the right way or I would just have what I had written backwards on the opposite side of my original, and could only be read with the aid of a mirror.  But I digress...depressingly I might add.

I saw this sign hanging under the "register is open" light at I believe it was number 3 at Safeway in The Hub.  I was in the next lane getting ready to pay for my purchase when my "blog sense" kicked in.  Blog sense is kind of like "Spidey sense" but I don't get to do cool stuff like save subway cars full of people or kiss Sylvia while hanging upside down (in fact, if she thought that I was even partly related to a spider she would have called an exterminator years ago).  But if someone on that subway car is holding a book titled, "The Importance Of A College Education" written by Kim Kardashian, you can bet my blog sense will kick in and I will write about it!

So back to this sign.  I get what it is meant to do.  This is designed to inform people who are visually impaired that this is a register that has no boundaries for them.  Braille keypads come to mind.  Possibly a little wider, for access with the cane.  Maybe it has nothing food related that might tempt a seeing eye dog at seeing at dog level.  The thing that struck me is, a sign?  And I am not talking about a sign that makes noise like the beeps that tell people it's safe to start crossing the street at the intersection with the light.  It just sits there. does even less than that because apparently the only way to see this 4 inch by 4 inch, partially hidden, sign was to actually be in the lane next to it and already at the register.  I suppose if someone needed assistance because they were visually impaired they could say, "Could someone please tell me which register has the visually impaired sign on it?"  Then after a few minutes of searching a good Samaritan (with keen eyes, a sextant, and "blog sense") could let them know.  Of course in this scenario the clerks at the registers would have to be cruelly silent in order to have the need of a sign.  I'm sure they know which is the register to use. 

I pointed out the incongruity of a sign to indicate the visually impaired register to the clerk and he stopped, thought for a second, and said, "You know you're right.  And nobody has ever pointed that out before."  Welcome to my world sir...and did you also notice that you just rang up Ice cream, candy bars, potato chips, Frosted Flakes, and diet soda for the lady ahead of us?  My blog sense is tingling...or maybe I forgot to take my phone off of vibrate.  I then told this clerk about the sign I had seen as a teenager, at the public library.  Apparently I think that the clerks at Safeway have all the time in the world and are interested in hearing stories from their customers.

Back when the Internet was called, "The Library" and to "surf" it you needed to wait until they were open and get a ride from your mom.  It was not permissible to "surf" in your underwear. (not saying that is what I am doing now...or am I?)  And horny little weirdos could still look for naked stuff, but you had to go to the National Geographic section...and have a thing for pygmies.  ANYWAY, once, when my mom dropped me off and I was doing a research paper for some class, (with plenty of time to spare...and my mom wasn't exasperated because, "You always wait until the last minute to tell me that you need to write a research paper") I looked over toward the reference books and I saw it.  "It" was a hand-made sign.  It said, "Braille Books Here."  That may have been enough to make me think, "Hmm, that is curious."  But this sign had three extra features that made me wonder what the heck was going on.  On this hand-made sign, that indicated where the Braille books were, there were three of the tiniest arrows that I have ever seen...on a sign that talked about books for the blind.  They all pointed straight down. 

It was as if someone said, "These books are for blind people.  They won't notice the sign.  I better put a little something extra on it.  One arrow.  That won't do.  Two arrows.  Maybe.  Three arrows.  That's the stuff!  I feel good about myself for being a useful member of society...unlike people who will write blogs on their the their underwear."

In my youthful shyness I didn't ask about the incongruity of arrows and Braille so, alas, we will never know what the creator of the sign was thinking.  Again, like the register in the store, it would be a very useful tool for others to help the visually impaired...but arrows?  Really?

So that is the end of my tale.  The poor clerk had to shut down his lane and the people behind me had to be scooted over to other registers.  The ones where people know the rule of shopping conversation...The answer to, "Did you find everything?" is "Uh huh" and "How are you today?" is "Fine."  I sat there and finished my odd tale.  I was there so long that my ice cream melted all over my frosted flakes and potato chips...but that's OK, I drowned my sorrows in candy bars and diet soda.