Hey, TypePad-ers --
Is there any way to make my "About Me" page less...um...bland?
Is there a way to do colors or something?
I’ve never been much into fashion, save a time during my adolescence when not thinking about clothes was the height of uncool behavior.
Tangent Alert: I distinctly remember begging my mom for a pair of oh-so-trendy Z. Cavarici pants, the ones with the tag over the fly. My mother didn’t budge. In retrospect, I’m glad she didn’t, as they were damn ugly! (Editor’s Note: I tried to link to a picture but apparently people, in a desperate attempt to hide their former bad taste, have buried the dreaded pants in the back of dusty closets, snugly nestled between their aging HyperColor mood-ring-like shirts and Ace of Base tapes.)
I suppose I’ve never been into fashion so much as the idea of dressing appropriately. A bris coming up? Mazeltov! Let me iron my pair of dress pants! Someone is having a wedding? Time to whip out my cocktail dress and beaded bag.
Apparently this is not a new thing with me. At an engagement party on Sunday night, my grandmother told me I said the following to her at my grandfather’s wake.
Me: Grandma, I’m so sorry about Grandpa. Also, I’m sorry about my flowered dress. Everyone is wearing black. I feel silly.
(I know – TACKY! However, you have to forgive me; I was in 3rd grade.)
However, the next day I showed up at the funeral wearing navy blue – the darkest color I had.
Although I am by no means an expert, I thought I would put together a list of closet essentials for you enjoy. (Sorry guys, this is mainly for the ladies.) So, next time you have a birthday party, job interview or christening, you’ll have something to throw on.
Good Pair of Wrinkle-Free Black Pants
There is no better standby than a good pair of black pants. Make sure they’re wrinkle free, so if you throw them in a suitcase, you won’t have to press them. You can dress these down with a structured t-shirt or dress them up with a sequined top. Always a winner.
Black Cocktail Dress
This is a closet staple and deservedly so. Make sure the design is plain so you can dress it up/down with jewelry. Also, grab some black gloves and a tiara and you can dress up as Holly Golightly for Halloween.
Plain Suit in a Dark Color
This is for interviews and fancy occasions. Try to get something single breasted and without pleats. (If you’re at all like me, double-breasted stuff and pleats will make you look like you’ve been hitting the Doritos.)
Nice Looking Pajamas
There will come a time when you will spend the night at the home of someone special. (Get your mind out of the gutter! I was talking about Christmas morning at your Great Aunt PittyPat's place.) Make sure you have a comfy pair of pajamas you would actually feel comfortable hanging around in. Don’t you think it’s about time you threw out that coffee-stained, faded Minnie Mouse sleep shirt?
A Dress Coat
Make sure you have a coat to wear to work and events that not the same one you wear when shoveling snow. Buy a dark color; that will save you a chunk of change on dry cleaning bills.
A Nice Handbag Big Enough to Accommodate all of Your Crap
There are a lot of essentials you have to tote around. Make sure your handbag fits all of them comfortably.
Well, that’s all I can think of for now.
Feel free to share some tips of your own!
I can still use all the help I can get.
For the heck of it, I glanced over at my hit counter and realized I just broke the 10,000 mark. (This number rolls in the counts from my old Blogspot site.)
When I started the Blog, I figured it would be a way for me to do a little bit of writing every day. (I was always one of those folks who wanted to write “The Great American Novel,” but had neither the time nor the stamina to do so. Also, I would think to myself: Who on earth would want to read it?)
I never figured anyone would be interested in little ol’ me, save perhaps Parkway Rest Stop's Jim (aka Dad). As such, I was and continue to be incredibly tickled that folks visit and, even more remarkably, keep coming back.
I’m flattered and very grateful.
So, in short:
Thanks for visiting…and come back soon!
Against strict orders from Dr. P. (and me!), Sciatica-ridden J went out grocery shopping last night.
As I unloaded the groceries, bitched intermittently and fed him meds, I busted out laughing when I read one of the bags.
Our local supermarket typically emblazons all of its bags with a bright, red store logo. Instead, the managers have decided to scrap the logo and get out a valuable public service message sponsored by the USDA Meat and Poultry Council.
The bag features Thermy™ a happy, meat thermometer wearing a chef’s hat. Thermy is pictured doing a little jig and mopping his sweaty “brow.” He (I’m assuming it’s a he) has this to say:
”It’s safe to bite when the temperature is right!”
The text of the bag then goes on to talk about proper meat temperature, encourages store patrons to use a meat thermometer and lists the phone number and e-mail address for the “USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline.”
Call me crazy, but I think we’ve become a far too safety-conscious culture. Everyday it seems there are more and more rules to follow and thousands more warnings than there used to be.
For example, the above-mentioned Thermy bag also had this rather menacing warning printed in bold letters on the side of the bag:
WARNING: TO AVOID DANGER OF SUFFOCATION: KEEP THIS BAG AWAY FROM BABIES AND CHILDREN. DO NOT USE THIS BAG IN CRIBS, BEDS, CARRIAGES OR PLAYPENS. PLASTIC BAG COULD BLOCK NOSE AND PREVENT BREATHING. THIS BAG IS NOT A TOY.
Oh, yeah, like this would actually happen:
Me: K, congratulations on the new baby! Forget about gifts of clothes and baby products, instead I’ve decided to get you the hottest baby toy on the market right now – old plastic bags!
Are legislators really bored or is it that we all possess total disregard for our own safety (and that of our children)?
In this day and age:
- McDonald’s coffee has to carry warnings. (I mean, it’s coffee, people! Hot coffee. Come on!)
- Seatbelts must be worn under penalty of law.
- The rearview mirror of my car, in and of itself, carries four warning messages. (A mirror?)
This is only a small sampling.
It’s not that I’m against rules. I suppose I’m just against using legislation as a means to control random acts of stupidity. I’m a meat charring (Ecoli be gone!), non-smoking, seat-belt wearer. However, if there is some person out there who enjoys slugging back piping-hot coffee while gnawing on a dangerously rare steak, he/she should be allowed to do so.
Yep. Somewhere out there, a little, oily, chicken-flavored tear is running down Thermy’s face.
I’m a multi-tasker, so as of late, I’ve taken to blow-drying my hair while reading some of my favorite Blogs.
This morning, I was very engrossed by something or another and kept reading while I reached under the desk to unplug the blow dryer.
J’s Expert Advice
Me: (Running into bedroom) Honey, I think I was just electrocuted! What should I do?
J: You were what? How did you do that?
Me: Well, I was unplugging the blow dryer and accidentally touched the metal prongs…my hand is all tingly, should I do something? Should I go to emergency?
J: You’re fine.**
Me: Really? How do you know?!?
J: (Kisses my hand.) Really, honey, you’re fine. You were just shocked. I wouldn’t worry.
(I finish getting ready in the other room then go back into the bedroom to get my stuff.)
Me: My arm feels kind of funky. Are you sure I’m okay?
J: Yes, you’re fine, although I just had a crazy bathroom adventure –
Me: Oh my God! Are you all right?
J: Well, I was blow-drying my hair and this pack of wild dogs flew out of the medicine cabinet and tried to attack me –
Me: Stop messing with me!
J: Then, there was this snapping turtle in the toilet –
Me: I’m leaving!
Dr. P’s Expert Advice
So, a hypochondriac by nature, I immediately call the famous Dr. P., general practitioner, when I get to work.
Me: Hi, this is TJ McGuinness. Um…I think I may have been electrocuted this morning, is there anything I should do?
Mary (Office Manager): TJ, if you were electrocuted you wouldn't be talking to me right now.
Me: Um…okay. I guess I was shocked then.
Mary: Let me go get Dr. P.
Dr. P: Hi, TJ, how are you?
Me: Well, I’m okay. The thing is, I think I may have been shocked or something.
Dr. P: What happened?
(I tell him the story.)
Dr. P: Your heart okay? Any strange rhythms?
Me: Nope. My arm is a little sore and my grip is a bit weak. Should I do anything?
Dr. P: No, you’re fine.
Dr. P: Yup.
* I’ve taken to calling myself TJ McGuinness (Mc = Irish! McDonald’s!, Guinness = Yummy Brand of Beer), as “TJ (Generic Irish Last Name)” is a little cumbersome.
** Tangent Alert: This is not the first time J has demonstrated his trademark stoicism in the face of crisis. The following happened a few months before our wedding.
Setting: McGuinness Family Living Room. J is sitting at the coffee table reading the Sunday paper right next to a Yankee Candle. The paper goes into flames.
Me: Honey, FIRE! FIRE! Your paper is on FIRE!!!
(J continues to read the paper.)
Me: FIRE! FIRE! Give me that!
(I grab flaming paper, dash into the kitchen and douse it in the sink. I run back into the living room.)
Me: Sweetie, are you OKAY?!?
J: Damn. I was reading that.
Yesterday I was talking to Sarah and we got on the subject of pet peeves. One of hers is people who are from Jersey who say they’re from New York. I 100% agree.
I was, as I’ve mentioned more than my share of times, born and raised in Jersey. My only extended venture out of the state was a 4-year stint in Pennsylvania, where I attended college.
I’ve traveled my share for both business and pleasure. The fact that I’m from Jersey makes me an interesting curiosity.
When I tell people I’m from Jersey, here’s what I usually get asked:
“What Exit are you off?” (This is always followed by ripples of laughter.)
I tell them what exit I’m off on both the Turnpike and the Parkway. They’re being cute. I’m being helpful. Truth be told, it is how we navigate around here:
Jersey Person 1: So, what exit you off?
Jersey Person 2: Ten. Turnpike.
Jersey Person 1: Cool. I’m 142 on the Parkway.
Jersey Person 2: OK. So, I’m about a ½ hour away from you, right?
Jersey Person 1: Yep.
“You go to Rutgers?”
Rutgers is the State University of New Jersey. Everyone from Jersey has either:
- Gone to Rutgers
- Knows 10 people who have gone (or are currently going) to Rutgers
Most of the time these folks are inspired to ask this after they’ve seen the episode of The Sopranos when Meadow’s boyfriend, whose name escapes me, robs the place.
Speaking of The Sopranos…
“So, have you seen Tony’s [Sopranos] house?”
Yes, I have. It’s big and has a lot of yellow bricks. It’s in a very fancy town in Northern Jersey. However, I’m definitely in the minority. Contrary to popular belief, seeing the place is not a requirement to, say, get a NJ driver’s license.
“You must love Bon Jovi, right?”
Yes, I like them very much. I’m even going to see a Bon Jovi tribute band concert in a few days. (Free tickets! Outdoor concert! Woo hoo!)
However, this is the question I get asked more often than any other:
“Where’s your accent? You don’t sound like you’re from ‘JOISEY.’ Get it? ‘JOISEY!’ “
I’m guessing that this is some kind of imitation of a Jersey accent.
Jersey accents don’t sound like that at all. (Although, admittedly former Governor Kean did have kind of a wack-a-do speech inflection going on.) If anything, a Jersey accent kind of sounds like a New York accent – only more elegant, more subtle. (Yes, I’m very prejudiced about this.)
In case you’re wondering, most days I don’t have an accent. (Years of acting and diction training took the Jersey right out of me.) However, if I’m tired or if I hang out with my mom, it all comes flooding back.
Pre Mom Visit
Me: Hi, good to see you mom!
Mom: Good to see you, honey. I tried to CAWL* you in the car on the phone. Grab a seat. Want a hot DAWG*?
* To get the full effect, you have to drag this out to last about 5 syllables.
Post Mom Visit
Mom: Bye. Drive safe. Don’t FAWL down the stairs.
Me: ERRIGHT**! I’m okay, ERRIGHT? Love you too. I’ll give you a CAWL later.
** This is Jersey speak for “Yes. I hear you” or “Fine.”
So, yes, I’m proud to say I’m from the Garden State.
All you Jersey folks who say you’re from elsewhere, gimmee a CAWL. We’ll TAWK.
DR.STEVEN UGAMA Ph.D (UNN), MNIM, FCA
>>> Wow! You’re a doctor and a PhD? Pretty impressive.
Financial Controller & Contract Award Committee Chairman (NEPA)
>>> While I’m not the President, I sure appreciate your e-mail.
>>> Err…Madame, you mean.
REQUEST FOR URGENT/CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP.
I hope this letter will not embarrass you since we have not had any previous
>>> I’m not easily embarrassed. Do go on.
I got your reference from your country`s trade department under
private enquiry that is not related to my aim of writing you this letter and
went further to have it confirmed by the Nigeria Exports Promotion
>>> Sounds important.
I am DR.STEVEN UGAMA the Financial Controller and Contract Award Committee
Chairman in the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) in Lagos, Nigeria. My
colleagues have assigned me to seek for assistance of a reliable foreigner
through whom we can transfer the sum of US$38,600,000.00 (Thirty-Eight Million,
Six Hundred Thousand U.S. Dollars) which arose from the deliberate over-inflated
contract value for the General expansion of the Kanji Dam Hydro Station on
behalf of National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) for increased energy
generation in Nigeria and some other West African countries.
>>> That’s quite a bit of money. I’d be happy to take it off your hands. Yeah, free grad school education!
The contract was awarded in 1998 during the General Sani Abacha regime to a foreign firm with the consideration of 10% commission agreement on the total contract value of
US$386,000,000. The contract has been completed and the contractor has long
been paid, we are now left with this US$38,600,000 representing the 10% (our own
share) as agreed presently in the Federal Government's account. The Current
favourable political/economic climate in this country now presented an
opportunity for this money to be transferred out of the country.
>>> Dr. Ugama, PhD., you’re losing me here.
Our contact in the Federal Ministry of Finance have given us a go ahead advice
to begin the process of the remittance, hence we have set in motion the
machinery for the take off of this transaction and further action will commence
immediately we hear from you.
>>> “Set in motion the machinery”…?
Please note that as soon as the Federal Ministry
of Finance grants approval for the remittance of the money into your bank
account they shall inform your bank and accompany the transfer with legal
documents showing that the money is legal and legitimately acquired in the
Federal Republic of Nigeria through the execution of government contract(s).
>>> This is good. Sounds on the level.
We have agreed that after the transfer of the money into your account, you shall
be entitled to 30% of the total amount transferred, while the remaining 70% will
be for me and my colleagues. We decided to give you this percentage in order to
motivate you and also to let you feel satisfied at the end of this transaction.
>>> Woo hoo! So I get, like, a couple million bucks? Hell yeah, I’m satisfied with this transaction!
The nature of your business is not particularly relevant for the success of this
transaction. All we require is your willingness to co-operate and assurance
that our own share will be given to us when this money is transferred into your
account. All necessary precautions have been taken to ensure a no risk
situation on the sides of both parties and it is believed that the conclusion of
this transaction will not last more than 8 working days.
>>> 8 days? Works for me.
Since we have no knowledge of business, our plan is to invest this money into
Real Estate, Stocks and we can also invest in some other profitable businesses
in your country based on your advice because many of our years has been spent as
civil servant, and we may likely resign from government service to private
business after this money is transferred into your account.
>>> You were a civil servant? I thought you were a double Dr.
Please note that this business is strictly confidential and must not be disclosed to a third
party. This is necessary to avoid disclosure that may jeopardise the
>>> Crap! I already blabbed about it on my Blog.
Finally, if this proposal is acceptable to you, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me immediately on the above Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tel number 234-1-7760497 or Fax number 234-1-7599947, you should also send to me your private e-mail address, telephone number and fax number for easy and confidential communication. I will oblige you with further
information if so required.
>>> I’ll get right on that.
>>> Hugs from Jersey,
Dr. TJ, MA, PhD, esq., LoC (Lover of Cheese)
This semester I’m taking an undergraduate class cross-listed with the Master’s program. I thought it would be the answer to my prayers and, in many ways, it is. The workload is appropriate (a fine complement to my other, very difficult class). The class is small with approximately 20 students, 3 of whom are in my graduate program. Finally, the professor is a pretty amazing guy.
I graduated from college in 1998, so it has been a while since I’ve been in an undergraduate classroom. Wow. Five years makes a world of difference.
There is a trick that, I’m sure, all undergraduates know.
At the beginning of the semester, you figure out what kind of stuff the professor is interested in. Maybe she just wrote a book. Maybe he likes fly-fishing. Maybe she is interested in some decidedly obscure research topic. Commit it to memory.
A day will come when class will be especially rough. Perhaps the readings are miserable or most of the class is hungover because it is the Friday of Greek Week. Whatever the case may be, now is the time to bring up that special topic in the form of a really complicated, open-ended question.
“Other than the brutal assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, what factors fanned the flames of World War I?”
Without fail, the professor will answer your question in maddening detail. If you’re especially lucky, he/she will talk clear on through the end of the period. Works every time.
Speaking from personal experience, Sarah and I have been known to employ this technique. We had this one English professor who really dug Freud. All you had to do was use “phallus” and “sword” in your question and you could take the first train to Nap-ville: population “you.”
Now, here’s what you have to bear in mind: You should only use this trick once or twice per semester. Otherwise, you don’t learn much of anything but, more importantly, it begins to look downright tacky.
Remember that graduate school class I was talking about?
Here’s the problem: The undergrads in my class have pulled this trick every single class this semester. Worse yet, they have asked the professor the same friggin’ question every time.
I swear to you. I think I know more about the Kennedy / Nixon debate than anyone else on the planet.
The situation makes me very disappointed. My professor is a very, very accomplished guy. (I would love to share some specific details but I would prefer not to give away his identity.) He has written books. He hosts a television show. He has amazing stories about famous people. Even his ramblings are thought provoking.
To make matters worse, he doesn’t even see it coming. Every time he goes off on one of the student-encouraged tangents, I just want to leap across the table, in slow motion, yelling “Nooooooo!” (Sorry. I was channeling MacGuyver just then.) Instead, I just doodle in my notebook and try to stay awake.
“Popular wisdom says that the Kennedy / Nixon debate was…”