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Category Archives: manners

How to make enemies and alienate people

We’ve discussed here before how to win social media, both on Facebook and Twitter. Most of the advice boils down to Wheaton’s Law, which is:

Surprisingly, this is very, very difficult for a lot of people. I’m not sure if this is because they truly like being dickish, or they don’t REALIZE they’re being dickish, or it’s too hard to think, so therefore they just say whatever crosses their minds the minute they sit down at a keyboard…but whatever the reason is, the dicks seem to outnumber the people with something real and helpful to say online, most specifically in the comment sections.

Most people I know are, for good reason, aware that if you read an article online, you don’t, under any circumstances, read the comment section. Why? Well. Because here be dragons, of course.

For every kind, helpful and relevant comment online, you have to wade through people being racist, sexist, or just downright weird, and it starts to turn your stomach and despair for the human race.

But what about if you CAN’T avoid the comments? What if it’s your job to be the one to POLICE the comments?

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLTICIAN EVER!

I will never not love this guy. FAVORITE POLITICIAN EVER!

One of the aspects of my current job is social media. Five days a week, I’m in charge of the work Facebook page and Twitter account (along with my other multitudinous tasks, of course. I’m a busy bee. But I am a HAPPY busy bee, so there’s that, then.) I not only schedule the posts our readers see, I’m in charge of reading their comments for a few reasons – to see what they’re saying (it might come in handy in the future); to see if there are problems (sometimes they tell us about typos/errors in the article or on the site, which we can hopefully quickly fix); and to make sure things aren’t getting off-topic or squirrelly.

Things often get off-topic and squirrelly.

Twitter isn’t bad, only because people in this area don’t use Twitter as much as I wish they did. (It’s a great resource for a newspaper – we can get the news out almost immediately and have a constant stream of it going to our readers. It just hasn’t taken off around here like it has in more populated regions. I think it will, eventually; we’re just late adopters.) The people who follow us on Twitter are respectful and polite, for the most part, and I never feel like I’m wading into The Princess Bride‘s Fire Swamp when I check our Twitter page.

fireswamp

The Facebook page, however, is a very different beast.

Now, please don’t go into this thinking I don’t appreciate – and even enjoy – a vast majority of our commenters. We’d be nowhere without our readers, and I love that they’re out there and paying attention.

It’s the fringe contingent that worries me. And keep me busy hiding their comments. And sometimes shaking my head and thinking, “oh, I don’t…oh, oh no.”

SO. For those people, I’d like to give you a quick list of pointers. You are very quick to complain when your comments disappear, vocally and angrily; you are very quick to shout “CENSORSHIP!” and “THANKS, OBAMA!” when you think you’ve been silenced. Hopefully, this will help you navigate the waters of our social media more successfully.

HOW TO NOT BE A DICK ON PUBLIC SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES

  • Watch your language. I don’t know if you’re aware, but Facebook has a helpful function for those of us that moderate a public page. We can choose to have comments with swear words immediately hidden, so only we can see them. We very much utilize this function, as we have every intention of being a public page, and the last thing we want is some hapless child stumbling upon you cussing the hell out of a news story. Also, you kiss your mother with that mouth? Good grief, yo.
  • Stay on topic. Of course, there’s leeway here. I’m not saying there’s one path to greatness, people. But if we put up a post about, say, a fundraiser picnic, and you start rambling on about how angry you are that there are so many mosquitoes this year and there’s no global warming because of that LIAR AL GORE!, that’s just confusing and you might be a conspiracy-crazy. I’m not saying I’m blocking it, but people are going to think you’re a looney.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

    Except for you, Mulder. You can comment any old time.

  • Remember: since it’s a public page, everyone on your timeline, as well as anyone in the world, can see what you’ve said, and hover over your icon and see your profile. It’s just the way Facebook is set up, my little chickadees. You give up your anonymity when you comment on a public page. If you’ve got your page locked down, when they go to look at you, they won’t see much…but you’re still not anonymous. Your name is there. EVERYONE NOW KNOWS YOUR NAME. And your comment shows up in your friends’ newsfeed. I have a friend of a friend who’s very involved with commenting on social media sites. Every time he comments on our paper, my friend says, “I see So-and-So commented on your work Facebook page again!” Everyone’s seeing what you say. Keep that in mind when you comment. If you’re not being a jerk, you have nothing to worry about. If you are, however…well, your mom’s probably seeing that (assuming your mom has Facebook. My mom doesn’t. I’m one of the lucky few.) Do you want your mom seeing that? Are you sure?
  • Personal insults? Really? What grade are you in? We have had to take down entire posts because people randomly started insulting the other commenters, the people in the article, random politicians (seriously, if I never see another non-ironic “THANKS, OBAMA!” it’ll be too soon), and, in one weird thread, God. (Yes, some guy started really insulting God, like, over and over. SO MAD AT GOD.) That counts as off-topic, and it counts as just downright mean, people. STOP IT. I get it. You are filled with all of the hatred. You are ready to explode like a hatred volcano. Sometimes *I* am the target of the hatred volcano. Sometimes my beloved coworkers who wrote the articles are (and it takes every bit of my precarious self-control to not respond with a very biting “WE ARE RUBBER YOU ARE GLUE!” rebuttal, because when it comes to my coworkers, I am such a Momma Bear.) But if you go too far, I’m hiding your comments, buckaroo. I don’t like meanness. I don’t like the idea that people are walking around with a stomachache because someone was mean to them for no reason on our social media. Make a new plan, Stan, and screw off home.

    Oh, is THIS who's to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

    Oh, is THIS who’s to blame. UGH THANKS OBAMA

  • Why you gotta be so dirty? SO MUCH NAUGHTINESS. I’m immediately hiding your comments saying female politicians got to where they are “on their knees” or that the local taco place sells “fish tacos that remind me of my ex-girlfriend.” Seriously? What are you hoping to accomplish with this comment? Like, cracking up your friends with a “HEE HEE DIRTY COMMENT ON A PUBLIC SITE?” or “UNGH I AM SO SEXY THIS IS LIKE AN OBSCENE PHONE CALL FOR *EVERYONE*!” I don’t even know. I have ALMOST the least tolerance for this. The LEAST tolerance is saved for…
  • On my watch? No racist, sexist, homophobic comments. Not going to happen. Don’t even try. And if they happen when the other people I work with are on social media, I’ll sometimes randomly check and hide your comments EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT WORKING. Yeah, you heard me right. I FEEL SO STRONGLY ABOUT THIS, I DO THAT SHIT FOR FREE, YO. You don’t get to have a public forum to spew your hatred. Sorry. I know, right, FREE SPEECH? Well, we run the page, and you lost your right to free speech when you commented on it. We have the right to moderate. And until the day my fingers fall off, I will not allow you to put hate speech on our site.
  • Acting too cool for school is actually the stupidest thing ever. We get a lot of “who cares?” or “slow news day” comments. Did you really take time out of your day to write that? Actual time you could have been spending on something else? YOU obviously care, because you took that time out of your day. And no, it’s not a “slow news day.” There’s no such thing. If we posted the article, we think someone can benefit from reading it; if it doesn’t resonate with you, maybe…oh, I don’t know, don’t feel like you have to comment? It’s not like you have to comment on everything. No! Really! You don’t have to! I know, freeing, right?
  • Maybe spell/grammar check? I’m a little more stringent about this than others. I hate ALL typos. It’s what I do for a living; you can’t really blame me. Most people don’t care if you make a few. But I’m talking about the people who write a comment like “For teh all people eat fodo there waffles, good yunger.” I don’t…what does this mean? Do you even know what it means? Is it a puzzle? If I solve it, what do I win? (Is it waffles? That’s a worthy prize. I’ll take it.)
  • Don’t try to sell me a car. We randomly get a Ugandan businessman who spams about 15 of our posts with a huge long “CARS FOR SALE!” comment. We block him; he comes back in another incarnation about a month later. We’re going to keep blocking you, buddy. No one wants your used Buicks. And how would they even GET here from Uganda? Logistical nightmare.

These all seem common sense, right? Yeah, you’d be surprised. If you’re looking at the comment section of a public site, know that most likely, even though your blood pressure is up? Most of the worst comments HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAKEN DOWN. I know. Humbling, right?

So the next time you’re going to comment on a public page, take a deep breath, think, “Is this a dick move? Should I do this? Am I building someone up, or knocking someone down? Do I have a valid point? Is there even any REASON for me to make this comment?” If you can answer all of your questions and still look yourself in the eye in the mirror…you are welcome! Comment away! If not…maybe start a blog where you can say what you want, with no fear of The Powers That Be shutting you down.

...or you'll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don't want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

…or you’ll make Ron Swanson annoyed. You don’t want to make Ron Swanson annoyed. Trust me.

And, to those of you with actual, helpful, intelligent comments to make? THANK YOU. You make my day/month/year. Keep on keepin’ on, you guys. You make what we do worthwhile.

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Seeing that would have put me in a good moooo-d.

I totally have some stories. So really this is kind of random crap Monday but these are all stories that I have to tell you because they’re totally the most funny and/or interesting and/or annoying.

You know, someday? I’m going to get one of those tablet-thingys where I can draw really awful illustrations to accompany my posts, because really what my posts need are additional added horrible illustrations. You know what I can’t do? Walk like I’m not 95 years old on ice? Well, that either. Draw. I totally can’t draw.

How not to treat your patrons (unless you’re WANTING to lose customers, then go ahead, I guess)

So this weekend, I went to see a play. It was a good play, at a good theater; I left pleased with the performance. I did NOT leave pleased with the customer service.

Here’s the scoop.

I showed up. The usher (the ushers are volunteers, and, as such, some are more skilled than others; I try to cut them some slack. We all draw from the same pool of volunteers. I see some of my theater’s volunteers over there, from time to time. You take what you can get, volunteer-wise. You’re not paying a volunteer. Some work like it’s a job; some are there because, in exchange for volunteering, you get a free ticket, so they go through the motions accordingly in order to get their free ticket; some act like they’re there on a prison work-release program, and I don’t 100% understand why they come at all, no one’s forcing them) was having trouble seating people, because she didn’t understand left from right. That’s rude-sounding, and not meant to be – the theater’s somewhat in the round, so I can see that it might be a little confusing, which side is right and which is left. Also, there’s the whole stage left/stage right vs. audience left/audience right thing. I get it. So I seated myself, because I’ve been there before and I knew where my seat was.

About fifteen minutes later, she came up to me, very fluttery, with a couple of patrons. “Um…” she said, looking like she was about to combust.

“Yes?” I asked.

“I think you’re in these people’s seat,” she said.

“I don’t think so,” I said.

“Do you have a ticket?” she asked. Now, I really wanted to say, no, no I don’t, I’m a street person and I’m gate-crashing, but I produced it. She looked at mine. She looked at theirs. She looked like she was going to cry, because we all had the same seat number on our tickets.

At that point, she called over Officious Jones.

I AM THE MOST OFFICIOUS YO.

Officious Jones was an usher I’d been watching while seated, waiting for the show to start. Apparently, he thought that he ran the theater, even though he was an unpaid volunteer. He was cock-of-the-walking around, chest puffed out, yelling at the other ushers, attempting to herd the patrons into orderly lines when they were already in orderly lines, and generally being a pain in the ass. Also, an elderly woman walked in with snow on her shoes – it snowed here on Saturday – and he TOOK HER TO TASK for tracking snow into the theater. She apologized, and he told her “well, you’ll know not to do it again.” Yep. I was loving Officious Jones.

Officious Jones came over.

“Do you have a NAME?” he asked me. (Our names aren’t on the tickets.)

“Yes,” I replied.

He stood there. His face was getting red.

“Oh, did you want me to give it to you?” I asked. (People like Officious Jones make me obstinate. Well, let’s be frank, most people do, but people like him ESPECIALLY do.)

He grunted out a yes.

As Officious Jones stomped off, I gave my seat to the very nice couple who were waiting (they said they always had these seats, and were season subscribers, and there was an empty seat next to mine, and as I was just one person and they were very, very old and I’m really quite nice and actually very understanding, I KNOW SHOCKER, I let them sit) and stood waiting for the verdict.

Officious Jones stomped back in.

“The PROBLEM is,” he huffed, “you purchased your ticket for YESTERDAY’S show.”

(The tickets, because they recently switched over to a new e-ticketing system, don’t have a date printed on them.)

“Really. That seems unlikely, considering I worked yesterday. Why would I have purchased a ticket for a show that was occurring during a work shift, when I’ve worked the same shift for almost seven years now?” I asked him. Officious Jones didn’t enjoy this answer.

“THE COMPUTER SAYS YOU DID,” he hissed. “But since you’re here, I’ve been authorized to give you THIS SEAT” (and he pointed out a seat that was actually better than my original seat.) He waited until I sat, I guess to make sure I didn’t cause a ruckus or try to steal other people’s seats or strip naked or track in snow or something, GLARED at me, then stomped out.

OK, here’s the scoop.

I’m a paying customer. It is not my fault that your e-ticket system doesn’t have a date on the e-ticket; it is not my fault that your computer system says I purchased a ticket for a show that I KNOW I did not purchase a ticket for (and I didn’t keep the original email, so I can’t confirm or deny that I bought the ticket for yesterday’s show, but I can’t imagine I wouldn’t have – I’ve never made a mistake like that before, and I’ve been buying online tickets for years, I do it with a calendar at my side and write the dates on the calendar as I purchase because I see a number of shows a month and I want to keep it straight what I’m going to see when.) As a paying customer, I should be afforded a certain level of courtesy. That level of courtesy means that you do NOT treat me like I’m attempting to rip you off or that I haven’t bathed in a month or that I’m putting you out by being there. Our local theaters are in trouble. You need all the paying customers you can get. The tickets for this theater aren’t cheap. If you continue to treat your customers like garbage, you’re going to lose them, and we’re going to lose another theater venue in town.

At my theater, the patron is always right. Even when they’re an annoying, lying asshat. We bend over backward to make sure they’re accommodated. Once, we had a woman who refused to get out of a seat that wasn’t her ticketed seat. She made a huge stink over the whole thing. Could we have also raised a stink and probably physically ejected her or called the cops or something? Yep. But we didn’t. And you know what? She’s still a patron. We’re careful to make sure she sits in her ticketed seat every show, but we still get her money every time. We NEED that money. Theaters are going under every day.

Are patrons often asshats? Yep. In that case, we paste on a smile, we make them feel like we made the mistake, even when we didn’t, and when they’ve been seated with grace and style, we bitch about them until the air is blue WHERE THEY CAN’T HEAR OR SEE US. Because they are PAYING DAMN CUSTOMERS.

So, Officious Jones, you are very, very bad at customer service. Also, I didn’t whip out my credentials when I was there, because I am not an asshole. Oh, how I wanted to say, “Can I talk to your supervisor?” and tell them I’m the Artistic Director of my theater. Or that I know the person who runs your box office. BUT I DIDN’T. I totally behaved myself. Well, other than being a little stubborn, but I don’t think you can blame me, you were being a jackhole.

Also, to the ladies seated behind me who commented “There sure is a lot of talking in this play!” Yes, yes there is. It’s a play. About family relationships. Probably not many explosions. If you want explosions, I’d go to the movies, I’m sure something there would satisfy you. Also, YES, one of the actresses stars in the local Raymour & Flanigan furniture commercials. But you don’t need to point it out EVERY TIME SHE COMES ON STAGE. “There she is! AGAIN! The FURNITURE lady!” Shhh.

Murder most rodenticidinal IN MY FAMILY

My great-granduncle probably didn't die in the house.

So I was telling my mom about the Rough on Rats post from yesterday and she said, “Oh, like your grandmother’s uncle?”

WHAT?

So I said that – “WHAT?” and got this story:

My grandmother’s uncle – so my grandmother’s mother’s brother, my great-granduncle, I guess? was married to a woman. The woman, as it was BACK IN THE DAY, made all his food and drink, of course. He was known to not want to eat or drink anything anyone else made, when he was visiting others. It was his thing. “My wife makes MY coffee! The way I like it!” he’d boast, while turning down offers of coffee when visiting people.

Well, he died. And the wife remarried. And that husband grew very ill, similarly. And the doctors thought, hmm. And looked into it. And ran some tests. And found ALL THE ARSENIC in her new husband’s system. So they exhumed my great-great-uncle and found HE’D BEEN ROUGH ON RATTED.

Well, I don’t know if she actually USED Rough on Rats but my mom says it was totally a rat poison of some sort. Probably Rough on Rats. Let’s do the math. My grandmother is in her late 80’s. This happened when she was a child. Rough on Rats was around when she was a child. THEREFORE I’VE DECIDED IT WAS ROUGH ON RATS.

My mom says my grandmother still has the clippings from the paper and that my grandmother, who LOVES to tell stories, would be HAPPY to tell them to me the next time I see her and show me the clippings. THIS IS TOTALLY EXCITING.

When I told my dad he said, “Glad that’s not MY side of the family” but I said, “that woman wasn’t ON that side of the family, DAD, she was MARRIED to someone on Mom’s side of the family, I’m not genetically related to her or anything, damn” and he said “same thing” but it’s not, really, Dad.

Although I totally want to be related to the Black Widow of Upstate New York. HOW EXCITING. I can’t wait to see the clippings and hear my grandmother’s story. More on this as it develops! Rough on Rats in my FAMILY you guys!

Well! That was…unexpected! AND ALSO AWESOME! 

My uncle recently purchased a truck. He needed to get it inspected. He lives in the boonies, as do most of my people. The garage he brought it to was teeny, and cold because who heats a whole garage? And the inspection was taking a while, so with the cold and the waiting he eventually realized he had to pee like a mofo.

So he asked the guy, “Can I use your bathroom?” and the guy was all, “Sure” and waved him back to it. On the way back, my uncle saw a lot of what looked like cat litter on the floor of the garage. “Odd,” thought my uncle.

The bathroom door was broken and would not shut, but listen, if it’s cold and you have to go to the bathroom, no one cares much. That time I had to pee because effing AAA wouldn’t come and rescue me from the side of the highway and I still have not forgiven them, the bathroom door at the gas station when I finally got to pee was broken and I was totally Honey Badger did NOT give a shit, you know?

So he was in the bathroom, and all of a sudden, the door opened while he was in there, and! Well, THAT’S off-putting! And guess what came into the bathroom?

Awww! Squish!

A BABY CALF YO!

The garage guy was bottle-feeding a baby calf that the momma cow had rejected (I assume the garage guy was also a farmer, we’re pretty multi-tasky, up there in the North Country) and the litter on the floor was apparently because the calf was pooping all over or something, I don’t know, that seems odd, but whatever, BABY CAAAALLLLFFFFF!

My mom, who told me this story, didn’t seem to think that my response of “I would have screamed, because who would have expected that there? Then totally cuddled its little nose and asked the guy if I could bottle-feed it!” was appropriate, but I would have. Aw, little wee calf! I love cows!

Listen, although I love living in civilization, I have to say, awesome things like a calf walking in on you while you are peeing in a rural garage do not often happen here where I live. We don’t get a lot of livestock situations here. That’s kind of sad.

Happy Monday to all and to all a happy week! May you all avoid dictatorial ushers, murderous wives, and get to pet all the adorable baby calves you desire!


Common Sense: Genius, Dressed Up in Its Working Clothes

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about common sense.

Like, some people have this in spades, and some people – well, they just don’t. And I guess sometimes, depending on the person, that’s cute. You know, like some people, you’re all, “Aw! That’s so Raven,” or whatever. And sometimes you want to kick them in the head and tell them to smarten up, because survival of the fittest, bucko, go for a long walk in the woods and don’t bring a compass and I hear there are bears because you’re really too dumb to live.

I think I kind of fall in the middle. About most things, I am eminently practical. I inherited a very common-sensical gene from both parents. They don’t see a lot of magic, my parents, in things. They see things as they are. If there is a problem: how can they solve it, or, if it can’t be solved, that is too bad about that problem. I got a lot of that from them.

Then somehow I got, also, this weird insane throwback hippie gene where some people would see a tree and I’d see a magic portal into another universe, and who knows where that came from. I can’t explain that one. No one on either side of my family is really all that prone to flights of fantasy. I blame too many books as a child. Well, not “blame.” It’s not a blame-thing. Can you even imagine how boring life would be if you DIDN’T look at a cat and imagine it wearing a little suit of clothing and a mustache every once and a while? SO boring, is the answer.

Now, I am not qualified to get all Heinakroon on you, because he’s a hell of a lot smarter than I am, and I think if I tried to get all sciency, I’d sound like I was speaking gibberish, but apparently, those of us (own horn, toot toot, sorry) with high IQ’s are predisposed to override our common sense when making decisions. There are those of us who are able to do both, but apparently we’re a “rare breed of genius.” I can only do both SOME of the time. I’m an OCCASIONAL rare breed of genius, I guess.

Now, that’s nice, and, in my life, having known a lot of very intelligent people (like calls to like, I think, and I really enjoy the company of intelligent people, because what the hell do I have to talk about with people who are dummies? Nothing, is what) I have to agree with this, for the most part – we do some really, really boneheaded things, from time to time. The statement “For such a smart person, that was a really dumb move” comes up a lot in reference to both myself and my friends. You know, like a “headdesk” moment, if you’re internet-savvy? It’s a total headdesk moment. I’m not saying we have them ALL THE TIME. Just more than you’d think a person should. It’s not that we’re dumb, I don’t think. It’s that we have a LOT ON OUR MINDS. And that we’re really busy using up those brain cells for other things, so we do things like fall down staircases, or drive into signposts, or file an entire cart of files incorrectly, or something along those lines. Not that any of those things have happened to me. Those were PURELY HYPOTHETICAL THINGS.

But not everyone is this absent-minded professor type. I mean, MOST people aren’t this absent-minded professor type, right? I mean, I looked this up, and the average person has an IQ of about 100, and that’s like, middle-of-the-road IQ. That’s like the normal-person IQ. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, people with this IQ! That’s perfectly acceptable! It is JUST A NUMBER! Anyway, so that’s the average person, and they’re not all brilliant and shit. So what the hell’s wrong with them and why don’t they have any common sense?

Things that have confused me lately that seem to be total common sense:

  • People not looking, like, at ALL, when they drive, so there are a lot of people getting hit and killed in crosswalks, and then they interview the driver and the driver’s all “I didn’t even SEE her!” and they interview a bystander and the bystander’s all “Um, the pedestrian was wearing hot pink and waving a huge flag, I don’t know how the driver missed her.” Common sense thing: LOOKING BEFORE YOU DRIVE THROUGH A CLEARLY MARKED CROSSWALK, you’re driving a CAR, for the love of Pete
  •  People being confused when their identity is stolen, but they say things like “but that person seemed totally trustworthy that I MET ONLINE so I gave them my Social Security number.” Common sense thing: Realizing that the internet is where liars live, and not trusting anyone there with anything too important, like your social security number, your home address, your date of birth, or the location of where you’ve buried your gold bricks.
  • Calling your doctor’s office/garage/HVAC technician’s office at 5:30 pm on a Saturday and being both confused AND upset they’re not open. Common sense thing: Have you heard the term “business hours?” Yep. So have BUSINESSES.
  • Getting really pissed at “the man” for things that are your fault: speeding tickets, parking tickets, tickets for not moving over for emergency vehicles, etc. Common sense thing: You know the damn law, and if you don’t, you shouldn’t be driving, really. You agreed to follow the law when you got behind the wheel. Who likes tickets? No one. But you played, so now you pay, Jackass Jones. That isn’t the cop’s fault, as much as they annoy me sometimes, too. They have a job to do, same as you do, whatever your job is, being entitled, or whatever. Your best revenge? Don’t give them a REASON to ticket you. Then they leave EMPTY-HANDED. Muah-hah-hah.
  • Getting to the register at a store after waiting in a long line and taking an hour to get out your money, your credit card, your store rewards card, your coupons, whatever. Common sense thing: YOU HAD SO MUCH TIME WHILE YOU WERE WAITING. Why didn’t you use your time productively? Listen, at any given time? I’m doing like SEVENTEEN THINGS. I don’t think I haven’t been multitasking once for the past YEAR. I’m usually even doing something while I SLEEP. You can’t be bothered to pull out your money while you wait in line? You know what that says to me? “You, people behind me, and you, person behind the register, your TIME, it means NOTHING to me. I am Oz! The Great and Terrible! And all you are is dust in the wind!” Eff you, babe.
  • And don’t even get me started about relationships. They’re tougher, because common sense totally goes out the window when sex gets thrown in the mix (see Heinakroon’s post about sexy monkeys if you want more information on this, because, as stated, he’s sciency and I’m just rambly) and I get it, it’s tough when your penis or vagina are doing the thinking for you. I get it. I do. They are LOUD TALKERS and use ANIMATED HAND GESTURES and it’s VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE THEM. I am not exempt, my little tomatillos. But sometimes don’t you just want to shake someone – or, hell, YOURSELF, when it’s a relationshippy thing and it’s stupid and it’s common-effing-SENSE that it’s bad news or the same shit over and over and yet you or the person who’s come to you for advice or whoever the person in question is just keeps dorby-dorbing forward, ignoring the “caution!” and the “dropoff ahead” and the “DANGER WILL ROBINSON” signage? Common sense thing: Shit, I don’t know. Don’t get into relationships would seem to be the answer, but that’s just sad. Avoid assholes? How about avoid assholes. There. That’ll be easy, right? RIGHT. Sigh.

There are millions more. MILLIONS more. Like, more than I even care to THINK about, more. I mean, that’s what the Darwin Awards are about every year, right? Like, common sense things? And people dying because they don’t have any? Common sense, I mean?

So what’s going on, exactly? Is it that we all have a million things on our minds, and we’re all so distracty that common sense goes right out the window? Is it that we’re so all self-entitled that we just don’t give a shit about anyone else’s comfort, or time, or, in some extreme cases, people’s LIVES, so it’s not so much that we’re not using our common-sense-bones, it really has nothing to do with common sense at all, it’s just rudeness, pure and simple, we just don’t give a shit because it’s ALL ABOUT US ALL THE TIME? I’m completely serious. @heinakroon! You need to be sciency about this, because I don’t have that kind of brain. I’m not saying I was BAD in science, I was actually very GOOD in science, but this is already too long and it’s making my head hurt. You’re good at making things organize-y. ORGANIZE THIS FOR ME @HEINAKROON.

As for me, I’m going to be 85% practical and 15% seeing sparkly things in the clouds, which seems like a decent mix, overall? Because we all need a little magic. But also, I think we need some hard-headed practicality, because it’s the practical people who are getting shit done while the sparkly rainbow magic people are riding invisible unicorns, you know?

And I’m going to look out for signposts and try not to drive into them this year, because those things come out of NOWHERE sometimes. Damn, yo.

(Title from a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. I’m on a poet kick! No, I do NOT recommend you kick a poet. STOP KICKING POETS.)


One of the top songs of 1938: “Whistle While You Work” by the Seven Dwarves. This says a lot about 1938.

OK, before we get started, let’s tell a story about THE WORST 8 HOURS OF MY LIFE. Ready?

So I went to work yesterday, and that sucked, but whatever, I need the money, as I am a very poor person and all, and so I got to the parking lot at work. And I had some time to kill because I thought, ZOMG I have to leave the house on BLACK FRIDAY DUN DUN DUNNNNNN so I left hella early (like that? I’m totally hep, yo) and then there wasn’t any traffic so I got to work half an hour early. So, when I have half an hour to kill, I inundate the people I love with tweets and emails and texts. I mean, as you do. THAT’S HOW THEY KNOW YOU LOVE THEM IT’S NOT AT ALL ANNOYING. But! When I pulled my phone out of my bag! NO Gs. Usually, I have three Gs! No. No Gs! So usually that’s fixable by turning the phone on and off and also glaring at it because I’m totally the scariest but THAT DIDN’T WORK YOU GUYS. AT ALL. All DAY. And there’s no internet at my second job.

Just take a minute and let this soak in. I WENT 8 HOURS WITHOUT INTERNET OR TEXTING CAPABILITIES.

Somehow, at lunch, two tweets snuck through the Iron Curtain of evil and I could SEE THEM, as TEXTS, but I could not RESPOND to them, and I could see that they were AWESOME, and I WANTED to respond, but COULD NOT. The dingoes totally ate my baby.

So as the day progressed I got scratchy and started seeing bugs climbing out of the walls, you know, like the addicts in the filmstrips they used to show us in health class, and then on the drive home the Gs returned. WHERE WERE YOU Gs. I don’t UNDERSTAND.

My father assures me that this was not some sort of conspiracy perpetrated by my employers to keep me from checking my phone by employing G-blocking technology even though they were TOTALLY digging a big hole by the building for no apparent reason the other day that I think probably could house some sort of cloaking device. And my dad is all about the conspiracy theories so if my DAD tells me I’m being cuckoo-bananas, then probably he’s right.

ANYWAY. I totally survived the DAY WITHOUT PHONE SERVICE. I’m pretty sure I deserve a medal. And NO, people who thought I hated them all day because I wasn’t responding to you, I don’t. Well, MOST of you, anyway. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

OK. Moving on! So, my wonderful friend @melme found this article yesterday on Alligator Sunglasses called 1938 Dating Guide for Single Women. It is full of very, very helpful advice. And photos! Of women being BAD DATES! And men SCOWLING AT THEM! I’d gank all the photos but that seems rude. I don’t want to get eaten by some alligator wearing sunglasses. So click. It will make your WEEK.

I’m totally ganking the advice, though. I’m not THAT scared of an alligator in sunglasses.

“Don’t sit in awkward positions, and never look bored, even if you are. Be alert, and if you must chew gum (not advised), do it silently, mouth closed.”

Um…what’s awkward? THIS IS UNHELPFUL. I win the gum thing, though. I have TMJ. If I chew gum, my jaw locks shut like a trap. IT IS HOT.

“Careless women never appeal to gentlemen.”

FOREVER ALONE

“Don’t use the car mirror to fix your make-up. Man needs it in driving, and it annoys him very much to have to turn around to see what’s behind him.”

This bugs the shit out of me. What kind of woman is all pulling the rearview mirror around to fix her lipstick while someone is DRIVING? I get pissed if someone ADJUSTS THE PASSENGER SEAT in my car. I’d probably lop their hand off with my ice scraper if they decided to rearrange my rearview mirror. That’s set just so. STOP TOUCHING IT.

“If you need a brassiere, wear one.”

Helpful! Thanks.

“Don’t be familiar with your escort by caressing him in public.”

I’m pretty sure they don’t mind unless you’re all “snuggy wuggly cuddly cuddlums” or something annoying like that. It means you want to fuck them later. They like that, because it’s not always obvious to them that you want that unless you flat-out say “hey, I want to fuck you later.”

“Don’t be sentimental…men don’t like tears, especially in public places.”

I’m very weird about crying about sad things in front of people. I will seriously run a Chariots-of-Fire like SPRINT rather than let people see me have an actual sad emotion. However, that being said, Jesus, men in 1938 and I would NOT have gotten along. I have totally overactive tear ducts. I cry over EVERYTHING funny. Especially horrible things like people falling. Men in 1938 would NOT have wanted to see my brassiere at ALL.

“Don’t be familiar with the headwaiter, talking about the fun you had with someone else another time. Men deserve, desire your entire attention.”

Hee! Headwaiter! If someone brought me to a place with a headwaiter, I’d be more excited about the fancy salt and pepper shakers than chatting up the headwaiter, let me tell you. Also, “deserve, desire” my entire attention? They might desire it – and well they should, I’m amazing as shit, and when I’m into you, you feel like a million bucks – but they DESERVE nothing. Screw you, 1938.

“Please and flatter your date by talking about the things he wants to talk about.”

Oh, good. Can we talk about cars, please. And also maybe sports. And to top it off let’s talk about really cool things your friends said when you were hanging out the other night. HEADWAITER GET OVER HERE.

“Don’t drink too much, as a man expects you to keep your dignity all evening. Drinking may make some girls seem clever, but most get silly. The last straw is to pass out from too much liquor. Chances are your date will never call you again!”

If I went somewhere I was “expected” to keep my dignity, I’d be flat-on-my-ass drunk before the appetizer course was served. I’m really bad at living up to expectations. AND I AM TOTALLY ALWAYS CLEVER. “The last straw.” Hee! Well! Isn’t THAT knicker-twisty. Just think, this boring sap MIGHT NEVER CALL YOU AGAIN. OH THE HUMANITY.

I want to go back to 1938 and give this chick the following set of rules:

  1. This dude’s probably going to get drafted in 3 years. Don’t waste your good brassiere.
  2. Look bored now, so he can get used to it. Imagine the letdown when you start looking bored AFTER the wedding. Best to get it out there early on.
  3. Careless women totally appeal to gentlemen. Don’t be fooled. That’s why the words “shameless hussy” were strung together originally. Men LURVE a shameless hussy.
  4. If he won’t let you use his car mirrors to touch up your makeup (which, what the hell, you should know better, Grabby-Hands McGillicutty), either get your own goddamn car and drive YOURSELF to the date, pop a little compact mirror in your purse, OR DON’T WEAR SUCH HIGH-MAINTENANCE MAKEUP. I solved it.
  5. Wear a brassiere, don’t, I don’t give a shit. Those brassieres in the 30’s looked like total torture chambers anyway.
  6. If your guy doesn’t want to be caressed in public, even a little, maybe introduce him to your nice friend Steve the hairdresser. Then you’d have totally fabulous friends and be invited to the best parties.
  7. Why are you even CRYING in public? Go to the damn BATHROOM. Unless you’re crying because you’re laughing so hard because someone fell down and/or ripped the ass out of their pants. OBVIOUSLY that’s ok.
  8. If you need to slut it up with the headwaiter, be polite and go back at the end of his shift. That being said, NO ONE DESERVES YOUR ENTIRE ANYTHING.
  9. If you want to talk about the things your date wants to talk about, more power to you. If your eyes are glazing over from boredom, TELL HIM TO SHUT HIS EFFING CAKEHOLE AND IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT MUTUALLY PLEASING THINGS NOW. Ugh.
  10. And you know what? Yep. Drinking too much does make an asshat out of you. I’d like to go back and tell little college Amy this as she falls asleep on the bathroom floor because it’s closer to the toilet, you know, for the all-night vomiting. Mostly, though, it’s for your own damn protection, little 1938 lady. Hard to fight someone off when you can’t even stand on your own two feet without being all “the world! So SPINNY!”

Do we even HAVE dating rules now? There’s the milk and the cow thing that my mom still says (don’t get me started, I KNOW) and, like, the three-date rule or something (I was never very good at that, sorry, propriety) and probably don’t go on a date with someone who asks you if you’re cool with being stabbed to death HA HA JUST KIDDING GET IN MY WINDOWLESS VAN NOW. I need MODERN DATING RULES. I’m going to research this for tomorrow. Or how about you all comment or tweet me some, because that’s a hell of a lot easier than researching? DO MY BIDDING MINIONS.


Why should we be fated to do nothing but brood on food?

Happy Monday! Isn’t it just the loveliest of lovelies? I mean, you get up, you’re perky, you’re happy to be ALIVE GODDAMNIT ALL IS WELL!

Sorry. Sorry. Super-sorry. If anyone says “looks like someone’s got a case of the Mondays!” I might slap you in the face with a yardstick. The kind with the metal embedded in the edge for added sting. Just a tip.

Anyway, one good thing is, with daylight savings time, it was light out when I woke up this morning, so I don’t feel as much like I’m a farmer, going to work in the dark. However, as the winter progresses, it’s always a joy both going to work AND coming home in the dark, isn’t it? Yep.

Today! We have something near and dear to all of our hearts. Something we all love and all need to survive. It is:

The Lucy’s Football Yippee-Ki-Yay Food Roundup.

Get along little dogies.

I am not married in the least to that title.

TIME TO WASTE THE DOUGHNUTS

On Friday morning, a truck overturned just outside of Binghamton (GO BEARCATS!) and spilled doughnuts all over the highway.

This is such a total and complete travesty I can’t even fathom it.

OK, first, I went to college in Binghamton, and, aside from the Capital Region, my home and most beloved land of all, and New York City, my most favorite place to visit in the world, it is my third favorite place in the whole state. I know what you’re thinking, if you’ve ever been to Binghamton. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU. Listen, I know it’s very grey, and rains and snows for like 98% of the year, and kind of depressed and industrial. But some of my favorite memories are in Binghamton; I loved the university, I loved the town and surrounding area; and I really feel a connection to it. So bite me, Binghamton haters. Also, the university mascot is the bearcat. As we’ve mentioned in the past, they smell like popcorn and look, they totally give high-fives.

High-five to you, too, little popcorn-scented friend. High-five to you, too.

So anyway, I love Binghamton. And now I find out that there was a very, very serious doughnut spillage on the highway. This is very upsetting. You can’t just bounce back from that. You can’t recover those doughnuts. Those are GONE. Please, moment of silence for the wasted doughnut goodness. We should probably have some sort of telethon, right? Like, Save the Doughnuts. Because their wives and children are ORPHANS NOW. OH THE HUMANITY.

I’m kind of Homer Simpson when it comes to doughnuts on the highway.

What? Oh, the driver was fine. What’s that? I should have mentioned that sooner? DID YOU NOT HEAR THAT AN ENTIRE TRACTOR TRAILER OF DOUGHNUTS SPILLED ALL OVER A HIGHWAY. You really have no soul, I swear. Someone should probably perform an exorcism on you.

ALSO, IT KIND OF TASTES LIKE LUKEWARM BARBECUED ASS

So last week, people were all up-in-arms because it came out in the news that there was an ingredient in McDonald’s limited-time-only cult-following OH MY GOD IT’S BAAAACK McRib that is more commonly found in yoga mats. From this article:

“But it’s still a little disconcerting to know that, for example, azodicarbonamide, a flour-bleaching agent that is most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like in gym mats and the soles of shoes, is found in the McRib bun. The compound is banned in Europe and Australia as a food additive. (England’s Health and Safety Executive classified it as a “respiratory sensitizer” that potentially contributes to asthma through occupational exposure.) The U.S. limits azodicarbonamide to 45 parts per million in commercial flour products, based on analysis of lab testing.”

OK, so when I first heard about this, I thought, well, I’m not all that shocked by this, because the McRib is GROSS. I mean, they cover it up with a shit-ton of barbecue sauce, but if you look UNDER the barbecue sauce, it is DISGUSTING and looks like something a DOG HORKED UP. But then I read the article and the bad ingredients are in the bun? The BUN has the ingredient that’s also in yoga mats and shoes. Well, that’s kind of stupid. Because I don’t know, and don’t WANT to know, what’s in my McDonald’s meat. I choose to remain ignorant of that. I’M SERIOUS IF YOU KNOW DON’T TELL ME. But in the bun? Why are there yoga-mat compounds that may or may not cause asthma in my bread? This is foolish. I think you could leave those out, right?

Also, it bears mentioning? I hate beef. Hate. HAAAAAATE. But I love Big Macs? Because the beef patties bear no resemblance to, in taste or texture or likeness, to beef. Which I know should be totally worrisome, but I don’t care I loves me some Big Macs. It’s the special sauce, yo. That is like crack to me. And I know they SAY you can recreate it by buying some Thousand Island dressing but it is NOT THE SAME. Also I like the pickles. They’re cheery and just dill enough. SHUT UP I HAVE THE CULINARY TASTE OF A LONG-HAUL TRUCKER. Also, before you go passing JUDGMENT, Mr. Judgment-Passer, I probably eat about 4 Big Macs a YEAR. Because they’re like death on a bun. BUT SOOOO GOOOOD.

Anyway, the McRib is gross, and also when you eat it, you’re constantly finding little pieces of what I HOPE are gristle but what I’m pretty sure are something much, much more sinister in your mouth. Probably yoga mats. So bear this in mind when you’re all OH MY GOD THE MCRIB IS BACK.

Also, and only a little off-topic, were you aware this existed?

It is the McDonald’s Custard Pie, and it’s only available around the holidays, usually after Thanksgiving until right around New Year’s, and it’s never on the outdoor drivethrough menu, so you have to ask, “Hey, what kind of PIES do you have today?” like you’re at a speakeasy? (The other day I asked that and they had ONE PUMPKIN PIE LEFT. Pumpkin wasn’t even on the menu. WIN!) So that’s like your code-phrase. And they always say “Apple,” and then you wait. And then they’ll either say “Cherry” – then you’re shit out of luck – or they’ll say “Holiday” or “Custard.” (Also, you have to have NO SHAME. Because once they told me “Apple” and stopped there and if I hadn’t said “AND WHAT ELSE” I would NEVER HAVE GOTTEN MY PRECIOUS.) If they say Holiday or Custard, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY GET ONE. Because do you know what it is?

IT IS A FRIED FUNFETTI PIE FILLED WITH CUSTARD.

Is it gross? Yes. Is it also THE BEST THING YOU’VE EVER HAD IN YOUR MOUTH? Well, I don’t know, I don’t know where your mouth has been. But odds are good that it’s up there, my friends. This is my holiday gift to you. If you drop dead of a heart attack, though, I can’t be held accountable for that. I mean, you have to take some responsibility for your own well-being. There’s only so much I can do for you.

THERE’S ANOTHER WORD FOR FORGETTING TO PAY FOR SOMETHING

I didn’t hear about this until today. I’m kind of out of the loop of things. You probably all knew about this, right?

A chick in Hawaii went to the grocery store, was totally hungry, ate a $5 chicken salad sandwich, supposedly “forgot” to pay for it, and she and her husband were arrested for it. Their child was taken by CPS when they were taken into custody.

All is well – Safeway dropped the charges, and they got their daughter back eighteen hours later.

The story, according to Mamma Cass (sandwich! Get it? Because Mamma Cass…and the sandwich…FINE IT’S TOTALLY FUNNY IF YOU HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR) is that she was pregnant, and had to walk to the grocery store, and when she got there, she was hungry, so she ate the sandwich because otherwise, she was going to pass out. Then she saved the wrapper so she could pay for it, and just “forgot” to pay.

Here’s my take on this. Because it’s my BLOG, that’s why, shut UP already.

You don’t eat food or drink beverages in the grocery store before you pay for them. That is STEALING. Also? IT IS NOT A RESTAURANT. Would you put on clothes at Macy’s and wear them around before you checked out? Would you start making toast at Target before you bought the toaster oven? Would you start shooting paintballs before you purchased the paintball gun?

OK, fine, yes, most people would do all of these things. That doesn’t mean it’s right.

We’re a now-now-now me-me-me culture. I think that’s rude. YOU DIDN’T PAY YET. Pay. Then eat/use/consume. Also, what the hell with not washing things before eating or using them I don’t even know. I get that the sandwich wasn’t something you wash or it would get all spongy I’m not completely weird about cleanliness. But in that article, people are all talking about eating fruit right off the displays. GROSS GROSS GROSS. Wash it! Also, don’t wear clothes from a store without washing them first, have you SEEN who goes into the dressing rooms and their naughty bits are all squashing up inside your new clothes? Ugh.

Is it a bit much that Safeway had a woman and her husband arrested for a $5 sandwich? Yeah, a little, sure. They’ve admitted as much. They dropped the charges and apologized because the child was separated from her parents. But I think Safeway kind of is fed up. I mean, people walk into grocery stores like they own the place. They’re eating food they don’t own, they’re putting their hands in the bulk bins, they’re acting like gigantic douchecanoes, and I think Safeway kind of had had enough, right? Also, I think a lot of people “forget” to pay. I don’t know if Mamma Cass was not planning on paying, or totally really honestly forgot, but I think Safeway was like “hell no, not again, THIS IS SO EFFING ANNOYING WITH THE THIEVERY.” I would probably have done the same thing. Sorry.

Forgetting to pay? There’s another name for that. Can anyone tell me what the other name for forgetting to pay is? Oh! Yes! Ding ding ding, we have a winner! STEALING. Also, what if you got to the register, and you didn’t have any cash on you and were planning on paying with your credit card but the credit card machines were down that day which totally happened to me one time? You can’t wash dishes at the grocery store to pay for that sammy, Mamma Cass.

Also, if you’re pregnant, like Mamma Cass was, and you’re walking to the grocery store, can you maybe think ahead and pack a snack and a beverage? Like a string cheese and a bottle of water, or something, I don’t know. THE GROCERY STORE IS NOT YOUR RESTAURANT MAMMA CASS.

I don’t feel bad for these people. I think you plan ahead. I feel bad for the kid, scared and separated from her parents, and sorry to be a stickler, but PAY THEN EAT AT THE GROCERY STORE YOU ENTITLED JERKS.

Now back to your Monday! I hope it is filled with goodness and light and all things bright and beautiful. Or, barring that, I hope your copier isn’t broken, like ours is, for 3 hours and counting WHICH IS TOTALLY ANNOYING and the copier tech keeps SIGHING LIKE THE WIND and that is DISHEARTENING. He probably heard about the doughnut mishap. I know, copier guy. I know. IT IS THE SADDEST.


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