Category Archives: statistics

I assume this is the hopeless place in which to find love Rihanna was talking about.

Sometimes sj sends me awesome things. Well, a LOT of times, I don’t want it to sound like it’s only once and a WHILE the things she sends me are awesome. That would be a terribly ungrateful thing to say, now wouldn’t it? (And also untrue.)

So a while ago (I TOLD you guys I had a lot of things saved up! I wasn’t even LYING!) she sent me a link to the following. It is called “the saddest map in America.”

So apparently, someone named Dorothy Gambrell did a study for Psychology Today about where people, state by state, miss most connections on Craig’s List. The results are…well, kind of terrifyingly sad. This really might be the saddest thing ever.

First, I’m sure you know about Craig’s List Missed Connections, right? People see someone and think they have…I don’t know, a bond with them, or something, or they talk to them briefly, and then for whatever reason they don’t (or I guess can’t) ask them out. So they hit Craig’s List and they post a Missed Connection post, which very often read something like this:

Hot moma on the bus – m4f – 34

I was taking the bus yestrday to get to my job at the condem plant and saw you on the bus and gurl you are fine. You had long fingernailz adn also a hat. I asked you for gum because I had bad breath but you didn’t have no gum. If you want to hit this reply and tell me what body part I asked you to touch.

I wish I was kidding but I am sadly not at all kidding.

So let’s take a look at this map.

Well, obviously the saddest thing is that so many people miss their connections at Walmart. I don’t know if that says more about the type of people that go to Walmart or the type of people that use Missed Connections, to be honest. I can tell you right now I never once have seen someone that turned my crank (totally a euphemism) at Walmart. However, I have been boycotting Walmart for years, and go into one maybe…once a year? Maybe? And then only when I’m with one or the other of my parents who haven’t got many options for shopping OTHER than Walmart.

Save money; live better; regret for the rest of your life not asking out the lady buying the gallon of delousing shampoo.

Save money; live better; regret for the rest of your life not asking out the lady buying the gallon of delousing shampoo.

Also there are many states that are missing connections in supermarkets. I think a lot of people are squeezing melons and fondling avocados out there. I also enjoy missed connections at “McDonald’s” and “parking lots,” the State Fair and, my PERSONAL favorite, “at home.” I like to think of the “at home” people missing their connections with their husbands or wives, like two ships passing in the night. And then going on Craig’s List and writing to each other. “Saw you in the living room the other day. Like what you’ve done with your hair. Text me!”

However, I take offense at New York’s. “Subway”? REALLY? Well, I get it. New York City is the most populated part of our state. True. But I do not LIVE in New York City. I live in ALBANY. And we have a Craig’s List, too, you know. We TOTALLY do. With its OWN Missed Connections section! (I cannot ensure, if you click on that, it’s safe for work. Or for those of you that like good spelling, grammar, or taste.)

"Hey, boy, liked they way you looked all disaffected and shit, if you like talking about the environment and long foreign films, I might be the one for you!"

“Hey, boy, liked they way you looked all disaffected and shit, if you like talking about the environment and long foreign films, I might be the one for you!”

WELL! What was I to do with that?

Ms. Gambrell, to get her results, collected each state’s 100 most recent missed connections per state (which makes sense – New York City, of course, is going to have a higher number of postings that little old Albany.)

SO, because I am SCIENCY, I went on OUR Craig’s List (and didn’t even catch an STD, I’m pretty impressed, too) and read through enough sad, scary Missed Connections to collect 100 of them with locations in them to come up with the following ALBANY statistics for you. I know. You don’t even have to thank me. YOU ARE WELCOME!

Work                          13
Restaurant              10
Bar                                8
Gas station                8
Grocery store          7
Gym                             6
Mall                              5
Home                           5
Driving                        4
Online dating            4
Hospital                      3
Bank                             3
Walmart                     2
Coffee shop               2
Radio Shack              2
Drugstore                   2
Massage parlor
Best Buy
Hockey game
Time Warner Cable
Home Depot
Hotel
Dollar store
Bus stop
Jiffy Lube
Auto repair shop
Game Stop
Bowling station
DMV
Porn shop
Verizon
Goodwill

WELL! What have we learned about Albany, or at least the type of people who post on Albany Craig’s List?

Apparently, we miss most of our connections at work. That makes me sad. If you work with the person (or if the person is a delivery person or whatever) you see them regularly, I’d assume? Flirt with them. Lead up to asking them out, maybe as part of a group thing, I don’t know. I know it’s awkward, because you work together, but you’re obviously hoping that something will happen, otherwise you wouldn’t have posted on Craig’s List. So DO something about it, jellybean, or you’re going to spend the rest of your life wracked with regret.

Psst, Brian, let's go photocopy our naughty bits together.

Psst, Brian, let’s go photocopy our naughty bits together.

A lot of people have missed connections at restaurants and the person they’re missing connections with are the servers. I am pleased to report that once, I had a hot waiter, and I gave him my number, and he, a friend of his, and a friend of mine went on a somewhat-successful double date. He was pretty. There was kissing. It didn’t happen again, but he also wasn’t a psycho-killer and I can say I gave a stranger my number one time, you know, in case that ever comes up in conversation or whatever.

I couldn't say this one with a straight face. I hate raisins. SO MUCH.

I couldn’t say this one with a straight face. I hate raisins. SO MUCH.

There are a lot of things you would expect on here, but also some perplexing things. “Home,” for the record, are people who are secretly in love with their neighbors, not sending out missed connections to their wives or husbands. One of the “driving” people was trying to hook up with the cop that pulled her over for speeding, and I’m not even kidding about that. The “online dating” people made me so sad. They were people who had been talking to someone online, and then the person stopped talking to them or returning their calls, so they hit Craig’s List as a last-ditch effort to reconnect. Aw, honey. The person didn’t get hit by a bus, they’re no longer interested. I’m sorry to hit you with some hard truth, here, but it’s the way of the world. The “hospital” people were in love with their nurses. Which I think says something about their psyches more than anything. Those people are paid to be nice to you, sweetheart. “Radio Shack” made me confused, mostly because I wasn’t aware we even still had a Radio Shack, let alone that people were missing connections at one. Don’t people just buy their electronics online nowadays? Then we’ve got the porn store or massage parlor people, of course, as you do. Or the dollar store/Goodwill people.

So there you have it: Albany’s biggest missed connection is: WORK. So! Do yourself a favor, and if you are secretly in love with your cubicle-mate, ask him or her out for a drink or to Applebee’s or something. (Once, I was totally in love with my coworker Jim. Jim was SO HANDSOME. However, even though there was quite a bit of flirting, I realized he was just flirty, and not madly in love with me as I’d hoped, so I gave up, with a sigh of melancholy. Every now and then I think of pretty, pretty Work-Jim and smile, because even though nothing happened, it was a fun few months of flirting, and getting dressed up for work and looking forward to actually GOING to work and such. Aw, Work-Jim, I hope you are doing well wherever you ended up, you were a fun, and all-too-brief, distraction.)

Oh – Newcat update and SIDE NOTE! She is well. She still wants nothing to do with Dumbcat and he is still fascinated by her. She is very lovey with me unless I bother her when she is sleeping; then she becomes a complete ball of hisses and growls and bites and claws, which is an interesting and worrisome cat-behavior. She has a checkup on Thursday to make sure she’s healthy because she’s limping a little and I want to make sure she’s alright (plus I’m a responsible cat-mom and Dumbcat needs his annual booster shots and checkup as well.) She’s still a little skittish, but things are all very new here. I’m very happy, overall, with the progress, and the past two nights, the cats have cuddled me, one on one side, one on the other, and I’ve been very warm and loved. So all’s well!

Left side...

Left side…

...and right side. I'm buffered by warm kittehs.

…and right side. I’m buffered by warm kittehs.


An Open Letter to People Who Find my Blog Accidentally (Volume 10)

Dear People Who Find My Blog Accidentally:

Howdy! It’s April! And I made it through tax season in one piece, whoo-hoo! And here we are again, and your search terms continue to befuddle me. Or entertain me. Or sometimes make me a little bit squicked out. But they just keep a’comin’!

I’ve been in a tax-season fog for the past month. Seriously, it’s amazing to me how many things I missed. A friend of mine was in the hospital and I didn’t even KNOW. I’m distressed by that. I’m so hoping to get back into the swing of things now that my life is my own again. But the past month has been extreme tunnel vision: work, home, blog, sleep, lather, rinse, repeat. I do, however, seem to keep getting new readers. That just totally rings my bell, let me just tell you. So, in case you’re new, let me catch you up on this recurring post.  I’m obsessed with my stats; I like to check what search terms drive people to my blog; then I feel REALLY BAD this isn’t what they were looking for. So I write them a letter of apology (this is the tenth one. As you can tell from the title. Search for the others; they’re stellar.) Why do I do this? Oh, for many a reason. But probably for love. Probably, just like Nancy Wilson, I did it all for love. I mean, what other reason could there be? Oh, billions of other reasons? Oh, ok then. Carry on.

The search terms this month were actually more humorous and confusing than icky. I’m pleased with that development. HOWEVER, I think that means I’m not writing about en0ugh sex-related topics anymore. Am I totally disappointing you all? I’ll try to talk about sex before May’s over. Maybe. If you’re all really, really good. Or naughty. Your choice.

So ANYWAY, instead of addressing you all individually, which would take a TON of time and I WOULD like to do some other things tonight, like maybe the dishes, or water my one plant that I haven’t yet killed, I’m going to break you down into categories and address you in groups.  What? It’s GOOD. It’s a GOOD thing. Don’t be so weird. Everyone likes groups. They’re FUN. You can work as a TEAM and maybe make a team CHEER or something, I don’t know. IT WILL BE AWESOME.

Category the First: Sometimes search terms made me a sad panda

an open letter to my husband who watch gay porn  Well, in good news: it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gay. I’ve watched lesbian porn, and yet, still want men rather than women in my bed. It could just be curiosity. It could just be that he was bored and there was nothing else on. It could just be that watching sex in any form turns him on, even if he, at the end of the day, wants you. In not as good news: writing him an OPEN letter is just about the worst way to confront it you can choose. Talk to your husband. For the love of Pete, you married the guy. Discuss the porn. Discuss what it means. And if he’s gay? Well, shit happens, babe. The first guy I seriously fell for in college? Walked in on him having sex with my then-BFF. Another guy. IT HAPPENS. Move the hell on. Sexuality’s kind of fluid. It’s nothing personal. It doesn’t mean you’re broken and it doesn’t mean he’s rejecting you. It means you two weren’t meant to be, that’s all. Also? Maybe watch the gay porn. Those guys are purty.

either dying or pregnant Cripes, are those your only options? Probably neither, honey. Probably neither. But make a doctor’s appointment and get that shit checked out. Sheesh.

happy birthday dad even though we don’t know each other Aw, jeez. Why are you doing a Google search for this? That’s so sad! On so many levels! (Also, on a related note, I got SO MANY SEARCHES this month for “what to say to your father on his birthday.” So many people don’t know what to say, so they had to read my letter to my dad for ideas? I mean, I’m happy to help, but it makes me sad you needed my words. Use your OWN words. Aw, kiddos. Parent/child relationships never get much easier, do they? I’m sorry.

solving the mystery of my mom  Again, aw! The mystery of your mom! That’s – well, kind of poetic, actually. My mom’s a mystery, too. I will never be able to solve why she still thinks watching The Waltons is the best use of her time, in 2012. Or why she always feels the need to criticize me in a weird passive-aggressive way. But, she’s my mom. You know? Moms are kind of weird. So are dads. It’s the way of the world. Don’t fret too much.

Category the Second: Pervy Search Terms (danger Will Robinson, because, ew)

abnormal self sucker  Is there any other kind of self-sucker? One of my college friends told me this was every man’s dream, to be able to do this, because then he could be self-sufficient. I’m not going to pass judgment on that. Ooh, look. I totally talked about sex right there. Aren’t you so impressed, Ding Dong Joe?

Then I had a weird, very long  paragraph about how the Dutch have no morals, so that’s why they like bestiality. I don’t know, either. I don’t understand how I keep getting these paragraph-long search terms. Also, just because they have all the weed, I don’t think the Dutch have no morals. I spent a very nice few days in Amsterdam in my early 20s, and the people there were lovely. And they seemed no less morally than anyone else. Even the ladies in the red light district were so friendly and nice. I loved Amsterdam.

beastiality pig boar stories erotic  Ew ew ew what? Also, you spelled bestiality wrong.

Category the Third: Curiouser and Curiouser

“girl with the dragon tattoo” sex scene “but i’m old”
“you’re a great girl” finland
don’t ever call me april fool jokes
don’t worry about people they will die
hair did what does did mean?
sugar glider that’s dead on the side of the road

These are all very confusing. Are you too old to watch or read the sex scene in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Yeah, it’s horrible and it’s intense but it’s important for the plot, in my opinion. I know others disagree with me. I both laughed and was confused by “You’re a great girl” Finland. Are you breaking up with a Finnish lady? Because that’s totally the phrase one uses before a breakup. Or are you LOOKING for a great girl in Finland? Ask Andreas, maybe he can help. He’s moving soon. Don’t ever call me is a bad April Fools joke. Because that person may never call you again. April Fools is the suck. Hair what does did mean. I…I can’t even parse this sentence, to be frank. There’s no song in the musical Hair called “did.” Are you trying to say “what does IT mean?” And are you referring to the hair on your head, or the musical? I’d love to help you out if this is musical-related but I’m just bewildered. Don’t worry about people, they will die. Again, vague. Are you not worrying, because you think, in some strange cause-and-effect way, your worry CAUSES their death? Or are you all, “meh, why both worrying, they’re going to die anyway?” Either way, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Also, you shouldn’t be seeing dead sugar gliders on the side of the road. They’re not wild animals here. If you did, something’s afoot.

Category the Fourth: You sure do love the celebs

This month, the most popular searches, celebrity-wise, were:

Spencer Reid (5) – nice, but as always, HE IS MINE

Samantha Brick (5) – ugh, you can have her, she’s so weird. Did you all see she wrote a REBUTTAL to her article about how she was a pretty pretty princess saying that she’s a pretty pretty princess because her Daddy always told her she was beautiful and when everyone was SO MEAN after her article came out, Daddy told her they were just jealous haters and she’s the most beautiful girl in the world? Yeah, I’m all for daddies instilling positive body image in their daughters…but not completely inflated and incorrect body image. Don’t be absurd.

Benedict Cumberbatch (3) – again, well done, but MINE MINE MINE.

Ben Wyatt (2) – SIGH. Why are you trying to steal all my internet boyfriends, people? I’m totally disappointed in your stealing ways.

Category the Fifth: Things that made me snort-laugh.

“lucy’s football” why so judgy?  “Random searcher” why so nosy? Also, I’m not overly judgy. Unless you’re an asshole.

airbrush unicorn van YES GET ONE PLEASE THANK YOU

april fools day pranks stupid  They TOTALLY are. Good call, broheim.

call someone a messerschmitt  I looked this up because I love all the German and apparently messerschmitt is just a last name, and a plane company, but if you want to break it down, it means knifesmith. So if you call someone a messerschmitt, you’re calling them either a German last name, a plane, or a knifesmith. None of these is a good thing to call someone. I learned a naughty German cuss from Ken the other day but I won’t say it because naughty (but also the MOST fun) but if you knew THAT you could call them THAT. I know, totally unhelpful.

dwight shrute byronic hero Ha! Kind of, actually. Not a bad call. Also, what is WITH me, I’m totally finding Dwight more and more attractive lately. I AM BROKEN HELP.

everyone i know is an assassin Me too, random searcher. Me, too. Or a spy. Or a psychokiller.

i can sleep you’re not touch me Grammar aside, this is totally something I would say to someone, were they to spend the night. “No, it’s ok. I can sleep. As long as you don’t touch me.”

i’m sorry baby i hate you  Are you sorry? Probably not really. This is the worst apology ever. Also, people calling other people “baby” all the time makes me SO EFFING STABBY. They do this all the time on The Amazing Race and I want to punch them through the television screen.

liebchen + cake This is another one I totally Google translated for you. Are you so happy? And it’s ADORABLE. You’re going to throw up in your mouth a little. Ready? “Little love.” AW. And also YAK. This would be cute for, like, a grandpa to call his granddaughter, but not as cute for the pervy dude on the bus to call you when he was all rubbing up against you for no reason. I have no idea what’s up with the cake part of this search so don’t ask. I was hoping you’d forget that part.

lucy no good woman  Yep. Sounds about right.

mules i have known stories  I WANT TO HEAR SOME OF THESE STORIES. So do my readers, based on the response from the Helper Mule saga. WHAT ARE THE STORIES.

my mama told me son please be beare there this thing called love and its every where Please be “beare?” Is that to make this rhyme with “everywhere?” Are you writing bad verse in my searches? This doesn’t even make SENSE. I am CONFUSED. And also giggling a little. “There this thing called love!” Hee.

no one pays me in gum sad owl I think someone wanted a meme smooshing up the sad owl and the “no one pays me in gum” guy but it’s not a thing. I could make it a thing. But I don’t want to. It’s dumb. But I will give you this. It’s my favorite sad meme. Ready?

I love this so much that I have it hanging on my fridge. NO PONY. NOT YOURS.

oh randy randy randy, thank you randy Um. That’s effusive! And an odd thing to search, honestly.

staged readings are useless theatre Ha! Well, they’re not USELESS. They’re not my FAVORITE form of theater, but calling them useless is kind of harsh. Would I rather see a fully staged production? Sure. But staged readings have their place. I’m just glad you have strong feelings about theater, my searchy friend. Come back again, will you?

we have to be careful when talking in secret YES WE DO. Why, are we talking in secret? Do we have a secret? That’s sexy-fun-good-times, no? Was I being too loud? I often am. I’m so sorry. Please don’t break up our secret whatever-it-is-we-have-here.

yoda riding a unicorn I WANT A PHOTO OF THIS RIGHT NOW.

Here’s the best I could do. I found a Yoda riding a cat, too, but that’s not what was asked for.

Category the Sixth: No no no. STERN FACE.

darius rucker promised you dad not to do the things you do  the first time I saw this I was SO MAD. I was all, “That’s the COWARD of the COUNTY. That’s not a Darius Rucker song. That’s a KENNY ROGERS song. What planet are you from? Hootie probably wasn’t even BORN when that came out.” Then I researched it. And for the love of all that’s holy, Darius Rucker recently covered “The Coward of the County.” UGH NO NO NO. No need. It’s PERFECT the way it is. NO NEED NO NEED.

Category the Seventh: Way to go, Rude McRuderson.

frigid bitch Um, ok, yeah, I can totally be a bitch. But I’m not really all that frigid? And I don’t know what empirical testing you used to come up with this conclusion? Thanks, jackhole.

Category the Eighth: Thanks? I think?

i love lucys football  That’s nice! Unless you’re a killer. Then, that’s creepy, cut that out.

Category the Ninth: Stop asking me to do your homework for you. I WILL NOT.

imaginary what does loyalty look like, smell like, taste like, feel like and sound like  Now, come on. This question’s so subjective you could answer just about anything and any teacher worth his or her salt would give you full marks. STOP ASKING THE INTERNET TO ANSWER YOUR HOMEWORK QUESTIONS. Use your brainpan. If you don’t use it, it will die. Do you want your brainpan to die? Well, DO YOU?

think about something you would like to buy write a paragraph to tell about ways you can be thrifty so you can save enough money to buy it use key words and spelling words OK, now, this is just sad. How would the interwebs know what your key words and spelling words even ARE? Again, this is NOT HARD. You need to use your brains, people. USE THEM. Or they’re going to ATROPHY and one day you will SNEEZE and they will run right out of your nose. Do you think that’s true? Well, you’d know if it was or not if you USED YOUR BRAIN ONCE AND A WHILE.

Category the Tenth: Still sneaky and still going strong!

Seven sneaky fucker searches this month, and five for feline fatal attraction. I want this on my tombstone. It is my CLAIM to FAME. SO PROUUUUD.

Yikes. I’m glad I’m going on vacation next week. This week’s blogging is EXHAUSTING me. Whoo!

Until next month, my poor lost lambikins. May Google be kind in your searches.

Love, Me.

(As always, thank you to Mer for the inspiration for these posts!)


Feline Fatal Attraction: Dumbcat is Trying To Kill Me With Brain Parasites

Oh, man, there is totally an issue we have to discuss right now that I found out today and it is MAJOR, you guys, no joke.

OUR CATS ARE INFECTING US WITH BRAIN CONTROLLING PARASITES.

No, I’m not EVEN exaggerating, a SCIENTIST said it. A scientist! This guy right HERE!

I think he looks jazzy. It's the sweater. Or the unruly hair. I do like a good head of unruly hair on a man.

Yes, yes. Let’s just get this out of the way: I am aware that the scientist in question, Dr. Jaroslav Flegr, looks like a ginger version of, well…

1.21 GIGAWATTS!

Great Scott.

But listen! DOC BROWN WAS A GENIUS YOU GUYS. I mean, flux capacitor? Come on, not just any yahoo could invent that. I’m sure some yahoos have tried, too. I mean, who WOULDN’T want to go back…to the future?

I also think Flegr looks a little like this:

But imagine him with unrulier hair. Total face twins.

And the fact that Filch has a cat is VERY MYSTERIOUS.

ANYWAY. So today I was playing around online, you know, as one does, and saw this article, and thought, ha ha, MY CAT TOTALLY MAKES ME CRAY-CRAY, I mean, the minute I walk in the damn house he’s all, “Meow? Meow? Meeee-ow? Mrooow? Meow? Mieuuuuu? Mrooo. Mroooouuu?” like we’re having a little conversation, only I’m not fluent in cat, you see, so it’s kind of one-sided. So mostly it’s him saying those things, and me being all, “Hi, Dumbcat. YES, Dumbcat. I SEE you, Dumbcat. I KNOW, Dumbcat, yes, there you are! There you ARE! Good BOY! Aren’t you a GOOD BOY! Oh, man, was that a totally hard headbutt into my stomach. Ouch, your nails are sharp, digging into my leg like that OW OW OW DUMBCAT now I am BLEEDING, I still love you, don’t be scared, aw, my little sweet potato.” Also, he likes to leap on my head half an hour before the alarm goes off in the morning, or really early on the days I can sleep in, all “HI MOM! Pet me. Want to pet me? YOU TOTES DO MOM. Right NOW you do. I KNOW IT. Pet me pet me pet me AREN’T I SO CUUUUTE purr purr PURR IN YOUR EAR PURR.” My response to this is usually “Mrrphmph Dumbcat stop it so scheepy stop stop ow stop you’re stepping on my eyeball.”

But oh, no no, this article was NOT about how your cat, who probably, let’s face it, isn’t named Dumbcat (honestly, mine isn’t either, that’s just his blog-pseudonym, so you don’t kidnap him or open a credit card in his name, because I know if you called him he’d totally be fooled into giving you his social security number, he’s very trusting) is making you a little crazy with the meowing and purring and early-risering. It’s about BRAIN PARASITES and SEX and CAR CRASHES and RAW MEAT and EUROPE and RATS and URINE.

It’s also eleven pages long. And, because I love you (and you, and you, and YOU, oh, wait, no, not you, sorry to be misleading) I printed it, and brought it with me on my lunch break, and read it twice, and wrote my thoughts all over it so we could totally have a serious scientific discussion about how your cats are infecting you with brain parasites. Andreas! Are you totally the most proud of me right now? I thought so.

First, this is from The Atlantic. I don’t think I was aware of this publication. But you guys, it is totally fancy. I am impressed with this. It is well-written, it is easy to peruse online, and according to research I totally just did right now so you don’t think I’m just making shit up, it’s been around since the mid 1800s. And the reason I wasn’t aware of it was because it used to be called The Atlantic Monthly and I WAS aware of The Atlantic Monthly, so now I don’t feel like a heathen.

Anyway. Because the article was ELEVEN PAGES LONG ZOMG, and totally twisty and turny and sciency, I do NOT expect you to click. Well, I bet Andreas will click. He grooves on science. But I totally read this for you so you don’t have to click. Unless you want to. It is interesting and worth a read, if you want to. And I really liked the article, and the author’s style. So, yeah, you go, The Atlantic! You get my stamp of approval. Stamp, stamp, stamp.

Also, any sciency-type mistakes I make here are totally my own and not the fault of the original article. I take full responsibility for science-style mistakes made in the name of tomfoolery and shenanigans.

Here’s the story:

The scientist above, who is NOT Doc Brown but kind of LOOKS like a ginger Doc Brown, Dr. Jaroslav Flegr, has been doing research into the Toxoplasma gondii microbe for some time. This is the microbe that is in cat feces (you know how pregnant women are told to not change cat litter? that’s why, it can cause birth defects) that causes toxoplasmosis. This microbe is also found on unwashed fruits and vegetables and in dirty water and undercooked meat.

Flegr (hee, I love that name, I think if you were to say it, you’d have to say it with a very guttural pronunciation, just for fun) one day realized he was acting strangely. He was not afraid of things that he should be. Like walking into busy streets! And the Communists who ruled his homeland of Czechoslovakia! This made him curious. One day, the university where he worked was running tests for a study they were doing on the T. gondii microbe, and needed test subjects, so he took the test and tested positive.

This led to years and years and YEARS of intense research on this parasitic microbe. He’s been working on this for twelve years exclusively, to be precise. It is his life’s work.

Here is what Flegr has discovered about good old T. gondii:

Healthy adults and children experience brief flu-like symptoms when infected; they quickly fight them off. Then the “protozoan…thereafter lies dormant inside brain cells.” FOREVER. Ugh ZOMG WTF.

Once there, the parasite (according to Flegr’s research) causes changes in our behavior – anything from “changing our response to frightening situations,” to changing our “trust in others, how outgoing we are, and even our preferences for certain scents.”

YES! The insidious microbe, having taken up residence in our BRAINS, “rewire(s) circuits in parts of the brain that deal with such primal emotions such as fear, anxiety, and sexual arousal.” It does this by causing multiple small cysts in various parts of the brain.

THIS CAUSES BRAIN CYSTS THIS MICROBE CAUSES BRAIN CYSTS DUMBCAT IS GIVING ME BRAIN CYSTS

Some people consider what Flegr is doing to be “fringe science.” This made me VERY EXCITED because I was hoping that the article would go on to say they called in Joshua Jackson to consult on the matter but that never happened dammit.

*sigh* Peter Bishop, you can investigate my fringe science any old damn time you've got a notion.

How T. gondii works in rats, who are T. gondii’s primary targets, anyway, is that it gets into them, it rewires their brains with all the cysts, and then – no, I’m totally not kidding – it makes cat pee smell GOOD to them. It makes the rats LOVE THE SMELL OF CAT PEE. It also makes the rats GET SEXUALLY AROUSED BY CAT PEE. It ALSO makes the rats more active. So you have rats tantalizingly running around more and hanging out where cats pee. The scientists call this “feline fatal attraction” in what I can only assume is a bit of scientist-humor. HA WELL-PLAYED SCIENTISTS. Well! Who’s going to catch THOSE rats, I wonder? CATS. And once cats catch and eat them, T. gondii’s life cycle is complete – it can mate, because there are (I assume? The article didn’t really go into this) other T. gondii’s hanging out in the cats’ digestive tracts that they want to pump it, pump it real good with.

How it works in HUMANS is a little less easy to explain, because T. gondii doesn’t really want to BE in humans. It’s not MEANT to be in humans. But, good old T. gondii! It adapts!

It makes the following things happen:

Men become “more introverted, suspicious, oblivious to other people’s opinions of them, and inclined to disregard rules”

Women become “more outgoing, trusting, image-conscious, and rule-abiding”

Infected subjects have a slower response time and a lower fear response, so they are more apt to get in car accidents

Men who are infected are perceived as more masculine by members of the opposite sex than uninfected men (presumably because the microbe wants you to mate with its host)

If you have a genetic disposition toward depression or schizophrenia, it may be heightened or precipitated by infection

Men who are infected find the scent of cat urine attractive

Infected subjects have increased levels of dopamine, so their fear, pleasure, and attention signals are all out of whack (most upsetting side effect: it can rewire your fear sensors into your sexual arousal sensors, so when you are afraid, you become sexually aroused)

This is VERY UPSETTING.

However, I think we can surmise, based on the above, that I am not infected. OR, if I AM, I am male. Because look up there at the symptoms female subjects experience. Just look. Now look back at me. NOW BACK AT THE SYMPTOMS. I am NONE of those things. However! I am ALL of the things that the MALE subjects experience. So either I’m male (let me check…nope) or I’m parasitic-brain-sucking-microbe-free. WHOO. Didn’t get me YET, Dumbcat!

Now, the best part of this article, for me, was the testing section, where they talked about the scientific tests they ran to come up with the results above, and other tests they ran. My favorites:

“…a postdoctoral student decided to inspect infected rats’ testicles for signs of cysts. Sure enough, he found them there – as well as in the animals’ semen.”

I LOVE THIS. Is this not the WORST post-doctoral gig EVER? “What’d you do today, honey?” “Oh, nothing much. Manually masturbated rats, checked their semen and testicles for cysts. Typical day. How about you, babe? What’s for dinner? Can I help make it?” “WASH YOUR HANDS YOU ARE DISGUSTING DON’T EVEN TOUCH ME.”

And:

“To test whether they were prone to being suspicious, they were asked, among other things, to drink an unidentified liquid…And when it came to downing the mystery fluid…‘the infected males were much more hesitant than uninfected men.  They wanted to know why they had to do it. Would it harm them?’ In contrast, the infected women were the most trusting of all subjects. ‘They just did what they were told.’”

First, if you’re in a scientific test situation, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to kill you. That’s like being worried on Survivor that you might really die rappelling or something. You won’t, or they can’t air the footage, you know? The test is already flawed. Second, “downing the mystery fluid” is the funniest non-euphemism euphemism I’ve read all day. THIRD, infected girls would TOTALLY be a hit at college frat parties. Gah. Nervous-making. I’m thinking of the friends I had to pull out of “they just did what they were told” situations back in the early-to-mid-nineties and this is making me shudder. I wish I had known that it was the fault of their damn murdery brain-parasite infecting cats.

And:

“…infected men like the smell of cat pee…more favorably than uninfected men do…The sniff test was done blind and also included urine collected from a dog, horse, hyena, and tiger.”

This made me laugh and snort iced coffee out my nose, you guys. “OK, Bachelor #1, your blindfold tied tight? Good, good. Now, sniff, nice and deep. Get a gooood whiff. What’s that bouquet? Explain the notes you detect in this sample. Would you say it’s more or less pleasing than the last sample?” “OH MY GOD THEY ALL SMELL LIKE PISS PLEASE MAKE THIS STOP”

Alright. SO. Does Flegr say to get rid of Dumbcat? NO HE DOES NOT. He actually HAS cats. (Of course he does. He’s already infected, what does HE care?) He says it’s actually more important to wash your fruits and vegetables, make sure you have clean water, and cook your meat well (or at least freeze it before preparing it, if you have to have it done rare, to “kill the cysts.” UGH EW. ALSO! Have I not TOLD you people, ALL ALONG, that beef is DISGUSTING? Yes I HAVE. I’ve TOTALLY been trying to save you from BRAIN PARASITES.)

Also, this sentence, totally full of win: “The so-called cat craze began among ‘poets and left-wing avant-garde Greenwich Village types.’” Hee! YES. All the hippies and rebels and the ones your momma warned you about with their crazy hair and eyes and KITTY CATS FILLED WITH DISEASE!

As you can see, our cats are totally trying to kill us through car accidents and inappropriate sexual behavior due to BRAIN PARASITES. Barring that, they’re trying to get us to fall in love with the scent of their urine, I assume so they can start peeing all over the damn apartment.

SO! Let’s take our new-found knowledge and apply it in the REAL WORLD. Like scientists! Scientists of SCIENCE! Here are some famous people with cats. Let’s diagnose them!

Ian Somerholder! Totally not infected. He is very sweet and very non-scary. Unless this is a photo of Damon, in which case, YES. Damon is TOTALLY infected with cat-poo-borne brain parasites. That would explain why I am so attracted to Damon, as well. Hmm. This one’s iffy.

Michael Jackson before he was scary and filled with plastic surgery and also dead! No, not infected. Michael Jackson was a lot of things, but overly masculine was not one of them.

Holly Golightly! I think half-infected. The fashion-conscious and outgoing half. The other half, the rule-abiding and trusting half, not so much. The asshatty half, TOTALLY all her, though. If you’re mathing for me, that’s three halves.

Bill Clinton! NOT INFECTED. Don’t you even say a WORD. I won’t hear ANYTHING against my Bill Clinton. I LOVE HIM THE MOST. He has NO BRAIN PARASITES. He is PERFECT. Well, he might have a touch of whatever makes me irrationally attracted to him, but not brain parasites.

Dr. Evil! TOTALLY infected. Also, hairless cats creep me out the most. I had a friend with a hairless dog once. It was so icky.

Marilyn Monroe! Candle-in-the-wind poster child for parasitic brain infection. She fits the bill perfectly.

And finally, a young and adorable Michael J. Fox holding Dumbcat’s DOPPELGANGER! (Although with a tail. Dumbcat doesn’t have a tail. He lost it somewhere, I assume, and forgot where he left it and then wandered off and didn’t go back for it. That’s just like Dumbcat, honestly.) Not infected. Marty McFly is totally not infected with brain parasites.

So! In SUMMATION! Dumbcat! I TOTALLY have my eye on you right now, bud. If I start acting all compliant and friendly and wearing “expensive, designer-brand clothing” (HA, like that is EVER going to happen, I’d buy electronics or nail polish with that money first) you KNOW I have been body-snatched by a furry assassin with too many toes and ever-so-slightly crossed eyes. WATCH OUT FOR HIM. He is ONE WILY CAT. Him falling off the back of the couch and get his head stuck in my winter boot last night WAS JUST A RUSE. A cunning, cunning, hysterically clumsy MURDEROUS ruse.


The Lighting of a Fire

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” –William Butler Yeats

As you are all undoubtedly aware, I love English. And words. And language. And grammar. And all things related to such. Not just English, either. I love other languages equally as much. Yesterday, Andreas taught me the word Jötunn, which means a Scandinavian troll. HOW AWESOME IS THAT. The most awesome, is how. (Per Andreas, it is “the origin of the word giant – jätte in Swedish.” You all only WISH you had a friend as awesome as Andreas who knows about not ONLY science but ALSO geekily kickass foreign words with umlauts! Oh, how mouth-watering, a well-placed umlaut! I SWOON FOR YOU, UMLAUTS!)

I’m reading a book right now, which we will soon be discussing over at Insatiable Booksluts (OH! HEY! By the way, are you reading/following/obsessing over Insatiable Booksluts? Because you should be. It’s awesome, and me writing for them is only a teeny portion of that awesomeness. It’s all things that are amazing in the world of books and publishing and related things on a well-written, intelligent, humorous blog. So go, go go. Follow. Read. You’ll love it. I promise. I mean, I’d promise you your money back? But no money is expended, so that’d be an empty promise. Also, I have no money to give. THIS WELL IS DRY) so I don’t want to spoil that or anything, but anyway, this book has some of the most gorgeous phrasing I’ve come across since I read Swamplandia! last year. It’s got some sentences that I read, then I re-read, aloud, to myself, two or three times, just to hear them in the air, and to taste them in my mouth, it’s that well-written. I’m that much of a fan of the beauty of language, and the power of language. I want to be MOVED by words. I want to weep when reading, or become enraged, or laugh out loud. I don’t want it to be a passive experience; I want to be engulfed, I want to burn with the words on the page. I want to be swept away, I want to drown.

I was lucky enough to have parents who believed very strongly in books and reading, and instilled that love in me from an early age. My mother read to me until I was old enough to take that duty on myself (much to both her glee and chagrin, that happened earlier than expected – glee because who wouldn’t be proud of a child reading to herself at three? But chagrin because that three-year-old was all, “DO IT MYSELF!” and she became irrelevant in the world of book-reading.) I’ve talked about this here before. My father, not a big reader, read to me when she was unavailable, and taught me the value of making books fun, of using voices and gestures and facial expressions when reading to make the experience richer and more fulfilling for a child. So really, my dad was my first well-narrated audiobook, I suppose. I remember reading to my younger brother, making him laugh until my mother would beg me to stop because he was getting red in the face with giggles and having trouble catching his breath.

All of this to say, I’ve always been a reader. Once I learned how to laboriously print my name, then the intricacies and beautiful loops and whorls of cursive, I became a writer as well. Maybe not the kind of writer who gets published (or, at least often), but there haven’t been many times in my life that I haven’t been writing SOMETHING. Short stories. Unfinished (and, horrible) novels. Poetry. Diaries upon tortured diaries. Long letters to friends in far-flung locales. Plays. Emails that take up pages and pages. And, obviously, more recently, blogs and tweets and (non-emo, thank you very much) Facebook statuses. And I’ve never been happier. Do I think my words are moving people to tears? Not often, probably. But they seem to be making people laugh, most days. And that makes me (to quote The Bloggess) FURIOUSLY HAPPY.

So yesterday, All Over Albany (one of my favorite local blogs, and my favorite local news/happenings blog) posted this. And because it was from them, and because it had the word “poetry” in the title, and because it was grammatically incorrect (but in quotes, so obviously not All Over Albany’s grammatical inaccuracy), I of COURSE had to click through to the article and read what was happening.

Oh, ouch. OUCH MY BRAIN. On so many ouchy levels.

So for those of you who are not aware of how the New York State educational system is set up, I’ll give you a quick crash-course. As a junior-high/high school student, you can follow a Regents track, and I believe there’s also a BOCES/VOTECH track, where you attend BOCES and vocational technology classes off-campus (my mother works in a building where these students attend classes so I believe this is still occurring as it did when I was a student.) (When I was in school, there was a non-Regents option. This has been phased out.) (There are a lot of parenthetical asides in this paragraph. Hee.) Regents are exams given at the end of the year (or, in some cases, I think after a semester – I feel like our government Regents was only a semester-long course? I may be misremembering this, though, and now that I think of it, did we even HAVE a government Regents? It says there’s one now, but I don’t remember if there was one then. Man, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been a student!) in a variety of subjects – 3 separate math exams (Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry), 4 separate science exams (Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics), 2 separate Social Studies exams (global history/geography and US history/government) and an English exam. If you are a New York State student who passes the exams, you graduate with a Regents diploma (or, maybe since they changed it, it’s just a “diploma,” since everyone takes the exams now? Not sure about that, honestly.) If you graduate with high enough grades on them, you can get a Regents diploma with honors. (I’m not going to braaaag, or anything, but…yeah, that’s what I got. SHUT UP YOU KNEW I WAS A SUPERSTAR.)

If you want to know more (you probably don’t, it’s not all that interesting, I don’t think, to anyone but a New Yorker, or maybe people who get off on testing) here’s the Wikipedia page. It seems fairly accurate.

The exams weren’t easy, but I’m one of those annoying bitches who tests well (no, seriously, there really are people like this, we seem to have a sixth sense for what’s being asked for in test questions. I know. It’s annoying to others. Sorry), so I breezed them all but Algebra, Chem, Physics and Earth Science, which were my worst four subjects in school. Well, and Phys Ed, but you (THANK YOU ALL THE HEAVENS ABOVE) didn’t have to take a Phys Ed Regents exam. You can also re-take the exams as many times as you want to get your grade up, so I re-took three of those tests, and aced them the second time around. I did NOT retake Physics, because I had graduated high school at that point, already had my diploma, and wanted to hang out with my skeevy emo lead-singer-in-a-band skaterat boyfriend more than I wanted to study for an exam that had no bearing on my life, since I’d been accepted early into the college of my choice. Yep. Never looked back. Hated Physics. HAAAAATED IT.

Now, in that article from the New York Times I referenced like a million years  ago above, which I know you’re not clicking because a., you like me to recap shit for you, and I’m happy to do so, and b., you hate clicking on things, it’s like a phobia with you people, it talks about how the standards for the English Regents in New York State have fallen. OH HOW THEY HAVE FALLEN.

Teachers (again, I remember this from AGO, so correct me if I’m wrong) can make a little (WAY LITTLE, don’t even get me started on how much teachers get paid, don’t even) extra money if they sign up to score Regents exams. They’re given a sample scoring booklet. There’s a short-answer section on the English Regents (supposed to be a paragraph long) where the score is zero or one. According to the article, the following comes from a paragraph that would score a one, therefore the FULL POINT LEVEL, for one of these sections:

These two Charater have very different mind Sets because they are creative in away that no one would imagen just put clay together and using leaves to create Art.

Now, you do have to hand-write the exams, so yes, kids today are used to spell-check, I get that, even me, Queen of Spelling Bees (oh, I SO have to tell you all about my reign as the Queen of Upstate New York Spelling Bees someday), relies on spell-check a little more than I should, and even then, spells things wrong now and again, I AM NOT INFALLIBLE I AM NOT THE POPE. But reading this makes me think of the mythic “automatic 200 points” you were supposed to get if you put your name on top of the S.A.T. I mean, I guess, since the kid wrote SOMETHING, and it’s not GIBBERISH, and your choices in scoring are ALL THE POINTS or NO POINTS, you’d give him all, rather than none? But oh, my. Random capitalization! “imagen” and “charater” and “in away!” Run-on sentences!

(Please bear in mind that when you take this test, you are at the end of your junior year in high school. So you are between sixteen and seventeen years old. Not 12, as this sample might imply.)

According to the article, since the change where there is no longer a non-Regents track option, and all students must pass the Regents to graduate, the Regents board had one of three options: leave the tests difficult, leave the scoring as-is, and risk failing a lot of students; “dumb-down” the tests; or “dumb-down” the scoring. They seem to have gone for the third option. Scoring seems to be a very “just show up, Sally and Brian, and we’ll do our best by you” situation. And this is so, so sad to me. And it is failing our students. No, not “failing” them in a “you fail, repeat senior year” way; failing them in a “here, go forth unto the world without knowing how to write, spell, or think critically” way.

This one was my favorite. This was, according to the scoring booklet, supposed to get full marks on the long-form essay – four points. The assignment was to analyze Goethe’s quote “No two persons regard the world in exactly the same way.”

In life, “no two people regard the world in exactly the same way,” as J. W. von Goethe says. Everyone sees and reacts to things in different ways. Even though they may see the world in similar ways, no two people’s views will ever be exactly the same. This statement is true since everyone sees things through different viewpoints. 

ZOMG you guys. TOTAL FUTURE POLITICIAN. Every one of the sentences IS SAYING THE SAME THING. Just re-worded. Actually, I might be tempted to give this kid full marks for bullshittery. His grammar and spelling are perfect, though, I have to say. But the content in this? There is none. He (or it could be a she, don’t mean to be sexist) didn’t fulfill the assignment. I have no idea what the kid thinks of this quote. Because the kid just rephrased the quote FOUR TIMES. Brilliant way to get around doing any thinking, though. Gold stars for that.

And then there’s this, from the article: “Sad to say, during the Bloomberg administration, little if any progress has been made, if test results are to be believed. In 2003, 52.5 percent of fourth graders were proficient in English, compared with 51 percent in 2011. In 2003, 32.6 percent of eighth graders were proficient, compared with 35 percent today.”

Yes, I know test results are to be taken with a grain of salt. I know. And I know test results often don’t represent how much a child actually knows, and that some people test poorly, and on and on and on. But 35% of our eighth graders are proficient in English? THIRTY-FIVE PERCENT?

Here’s the thing. They don’t get any JOY out of language. They see English as I see Physics – a joyless soul-suck. And even I got some joy out of Physics – seeing how and why things worked the way they did was kind of cool, even though I couldn’t totally wrap my mind around it.

What’s the fix? Shit, I don’t know. I’m not an educational reformer. I just know that something’s terribly broken.

I have some ideas. They’re not fixes. Just ideas.

We need to bring the joy of language back to our students. We need to make it fun and cool again. We need to show them the worlds that books can open up for them and the magic in those worlds and the escape hatches contained therein. We need to show them the utter awe of having the exact right word available when needed. We need to teach critical thinking and debate skills. We need to show them the humor innate in any language, because you know what makes kids want to learn? HAVING FUN WITH IT. We need to drill the rules of grammar into their heads like we drill the multiplication tables in there, because they’re equally important. We need to cultivate a nation of children who will grow into a nation of adults who are proficient in the language they speak and write. Is this so hard? Is this so difficult to achieve? Obviously, it is. Why?

English teachers were some of my favorites, over the years. Because they, for the most part, absolutely dig what they do. They understood how a beautiful poem could burst in your mouth like a ripe fruit. They understood how a good short story took hold of you and shook you until you were limp when you closed the book. They loved when the students got something, really GOT something, when their little sponge-like minds soaked up knowledge and put it all together and were able to connect the dots.

What’s the fix? I don’t know. I couldn’t begin to tell you. But I’m despairing a little today. As someone who loves language as much as I do, who sees it as a constant companion and guide and friend? I’m despairing for the youth of America. They’re bereft, and this is a sad state of affairs. We’re failing them. There has to be a fix for this.


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.)


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