I admit I have terrible grammar, or grammatical skills (see I can’t even write a sentence)! I’m sure English teachers are printing out my blog every week so they can show their students what NOT to write.
Some of you are probably thinking, “Wait a second. You used to be a newspaper editor how could you do your job if you’re so bad at grammar?” To that I say- Spell Check, proofreaders, and I never said I was good at my job.
When I was in school, diagramming sentences bored me so I spent my time doodling, daydreaming, and writing Mrs. Davy Jones in my notebook. As a result, I don’t know the difference between a dangling participle and a well-attached one.
Are you supposed to say – “The tiger is lying on the bed,” “The tiger is laying on the bed,” or “Run for your life there’s a tiger on the bed!” Each sentence adequately conveys the same message. As long as you can get your message across in an intelligent manner does it really matter if you mix up then and than? Does the average person really care about good grammar? Does Joe The Plumber care if you confuse its and it’s? No, all he cares about is his tax bill.
I’m sure members of the Grammar Police wish they had a red pen that could write on a computer screen so they could circle all my mistakes. Whenever I think about the Grammar Police, I imagine little old gray haired former English teachers, and college professors sitting in ivy towers:
“I say this is astounding, Winthrop spit an infinite in his dissertation on “Lady Chatterley’s Lover.”
“If that happened to me, I would be mortified. I’m surprised he dares to show his face on campus after that glaring faux pas.”
I don’t mind constructive criticism, but it really bugs me when people interrupt a normal conversation to correct my grammar because they’re usually condescending know-it-alls.
“I believe you meant to say whom not who.”
“I believe I meant to say shut your cakehole.”
What do you hope to accomplish by correcting people’s grammar besides trying to make them feel stupid?
“I just seen me a possum that falled out of that there tree.”
“Excuse me sir, but I believe you meant to say, I just saw a possum fall out of that tree.”
“By jove you’re right! Thanks to you I’ll never talk like a hillbilly again!”
Good grammar, or bad grammar it’s not going to stop me from writing.
Grammar Police, please make sure all your hate mail contains correct spelling and punctuation.
I’m amazed by species of birds, fish, and mammals that seem to have an inner GPS that can guide them across the world to the exact spot where they were born.
Salmon are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, and then return to the exact spot where they were born to spawn. Many sea turtles return to the exact beach where they were born to lay their eggs. Homing pigeons can find their way home from thousands of miles away and yet I can’t even find my van in the mall parking lot.
I have no sense of direction. At malls I have to write down a detailed map if I ever want to see my vehicle again: “Let’s see according to the map we go 20 paces due north from JC Penney’s, look for a dead pine tree, and go 30 paces east toward Great Clips. Then we go 15 paces in the direction of the McDonald’s and X marks the spot.” I actually painted an X on the top of my van in order to make it easier to find.
I believe I inherited my lack of direction from my mother who used to tell me stories about getting lost. In one of her stories, I was two years old, she was lost and driving around for hours, when I looked at her with sad eyes and said, “I wish daddy was here.” My father has a great sense of direction. We never got lost when he was behind the wheel.
Whenever my sister and I get together she usually drives in order to prevent an argument. We both love to dance so back in the 80’s whenever she came for a visit we would go to discos. That is if we could actually find the disco since I was the one who drove because I lived in the Twin Cities and therefore should where I was going.
“I heard about this cool disco called the Dance Factory we have to check it out.”
“Do you know how to get there?”
“Someone gave me directions.”
“This should be good.”
After driving around for two hours:
“I don’t think this is right. I think I should have gone south instead of north.”
“This looks like a bad neighborhood. Are those gang members standing on the corner?”
“Let’s not stereotype people based on their appearance. Maybe they’re on their way to the public library.”
“They have guns!”
“Let’s get the Hell out of here!”
After that incident, my sister always kept a map on her lap so she could call out helpful directions like, “I said right not left!”
Things didn’t get any better after I had children. A simple trip to the zoo became an all day excursion around the city of St. Paul until we accidentally stumbled upon some animals in cages. I’m still not sure that was a real zoo.
There was also the time my son wanted to go to take a vacation to Chicago. I had grave reservations about driving, but I told myself, “You’re a strong, independent woman, you can’t be afraid of a little traffic.” Wrong, I should have been afraid, very afraid.
If you’ve ever been to downtown Chicago you know there’s a lot of one-way streets. We spent all our time driving past tourist attractions and never actually visiting them. Finally I had enough. Our hotel wasn’t that far from Navy Pier so I decided it would be easier to just walk there. Unfortunately, I didn’t think of that until 10:00 p.m. My son was nervous about going out so late at night, but I assured him people in big cities stay out late.
Well, we were the only people on the street. We had to walk past a dark, deserted park and then go through a big black tunnel. Inside the tunnel was a man playing the saxophone.
I was sacred, too but I didn’t want my son to know it.
“Don’t worry I have pepper spray incase someone tries to mug us.” I looked in my purse, “Okay I don’t have any pepper spray but I have packets of salt and pepper and I can shake them into the eyes of a mugger!”
Luckily, we made it to and from Navy Pier safely and had a good time in Chicago until it came time to leave.
For some insane reason we decided to leave during rush hour which meant six lanes of heavy traffic going 80 miles an hour. I was driving in the far right lane when I saw a sign saying, “exit on the left.” I had to get across all those lanes of traffic in a few minutes. Then when I was driving in the left lane I saw a sign that said, “exit on the right”. By the time I got to Rockford, IL I was drenched in sweat, my heart was pounding, and my hands were like two dead claws with a death grip on the steering wheel. If I ever go back to Chicago, it will be by plane, train, or bus.
My lack of direction could be easily solved if I could afford to hire a chauffeur or install GPS. Until then I’ll just have to google MapQuest or keep a Homing Pigeon in the front seat, “Lift up your left wing for a left turn, your right wing for a right turn, and peck the dashboard if you want me to go straight.”
The National Geographic Channel has a show called “Doomsday Preppers” which “explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. They will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties.”
First of all I would argue with the use of the words ordinary Americans. Is it ordinary to spend eight hours a day preparing for a scenario that may or may not happen? Personally I would call them paranoid weirdoes but they might take issue with that.
The people on the show live in impenetrable bunker type houses and spend all their time stockpiling food, weapons, and planning escape routes. They also have camouflaged hideouts on their property so they can shoot and kill intruders.
I really feel sorry for the children of these Doomsday Preppers because they have to spend all their time preparing for the end of the world. Childhood should be a time of carefree innocence not a time to learn how to kill people with various weapons.
Teacher: “Who would like to share what they did over summer vacation?”
Susie: “I went to see Mount Rushmore with my family.”
Tommy: “I went to Boy Scout Camp.”
Billy: “I learned how to shoot an intruder in the eye with an AK-47!”
After watching a couple episodes of the show I’ve learned that I’m woefully unprepared for the end of the world. I can’t afford to stockpile food especially since my granddaughter has the metabolism of a humming bird. She has to eat every two hours or she freaks out. And by freaking out I mean Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You don’t want to be around her when she runs out of nachos! When I go to the grocery store my cart looks like I’m shopping for the Duggar family (they have 19 kids).
I don’t know if I want to survive an apocalypse. I don’t want to go back to the days of hunting and gathering food. I can’t even find food in a supermarket unless they have signs above the aisles. I once spent an hour wandering the supermarket aisles trying to find Panko breadcrumbs.
Several years ago a big storm came through and knocked out our electricity for a week. It was a nightmare since everything in my house is electric – heat, stove, pump for the well. I had to haul in water just to take a sponge bath. You don’t even want to imagine what my hair looked like. I don’t want to live in a world without electricity. I would have been a terrible pioneer because I don’t like to be hot, sweaty, or dirty.
“Let me get this straight. You want me to travel for weeks in a covered wagon with no air-conditioning to the middle of nowhere so that I can live in a sod house which is basically a house made out of dirt? No way!”
You also have to take into consideration that the only people who will survive a doomsday scenario are the paranoid weirdoes. All the creative people will be dead because they’re busy writing, painting, or making music and they’re not prepared for the end of the world. Do you want to live in a world populated by people who will shoot you if you come near their property? How is the world going to re-populate if everyone is trying to kill each other?
Instead of wasting my time preparing for a doomsday that may or may not come, I’m going to enjoy life while I can!
I recently watched a psychic medium on TV. She was in front of a large studio audience trying to communicate messages from the dead. The following scenario ensued:
“I’m getting the initial J or B. is there anyone here who has a deceased relative whose name starts with a J or B?”
“My father’s name was Bob.”
“I’m sensing chest pains and breathing problems.”
“That’s amazing! How could you possibly know that a giant boulder fell on his chest and killed him.”
“I’m sensing there are unresolved issues surrounding his death.”
“Yes. We don’t know what to do about his house. We’re thinking about selling it.”
“I’m sensing a lot of stress.”
“Yeah I’m pretty stressed out about it.”
“Your father says he doesn’t want you to be stressed out. Do what you think is best and it will be okay with him.”
“Thank you I feel a lot better now.”
I’ve seen this scene played out many times with different psychic mediums which has led me to the conclusion that the dead are terrible at communicating. Apparently, they like to beat around the bush and they never have anything earth shattering to say.
Possibly the dead are having problems getting their message across. Maybe there should be a class, “Communicating With Mortals 101,” that they can sign up for once they cross over. If I were a spirit with an important message I’d come right to the point!
“My name is Deb, D-E-B got it?”
“I have a message for someone named Deb.”
“No that’s MY name! I have a message for my granddaughter.”
“I’m getting a message from Deb who wants to communicate with her granddaughter.”
“My grandmother’s name was Deb.”
“That’s my granddaughter. Tell her to call off her wedding and dump her fiancee because he’s a dog!”
“She has a message about a dog.”
“She had a Jack Russell Terrier that’s how she died. She was taking him for a walk when he saw a squirrel, took off running, and dragged her for two miles.”
“She wants you to dump him.”
“No I didn’t say that, you idiot! I said to dump her fiancee not my dog! OMG”
“This is taking too long. I have an important message for my ex-wife!”
“Back off and wait your turn. There’s no line jumping in Heaven.”
Maybe the problem's not with the deceased after all.
Do you believe in psychic mediums?
Stink Eye: a facial expression of distrust, disdain, or disapproval also called skunk eye or hairy eyeball.
I’ve been known to give people the stink eye. For instance people cutting in line a head of me, talking loudly on a cell phone in a restaurant, or when my granddaughter tries to tell someone how much I weigh. But I’m an amatuer at giving the stink eye compared to the judges on the Food Network’s Chopped, a cooking competition show where four up-and-coming chefs compete before a panel of three expert judges, take everyday items and turn them into an extraordinary three-course meal. The judges on the show vary but whether it’s Scott Conant, Marc Murphy, Alex Guamascheli, Aaron Sanchez or one of the show’s other rotating judges they all give the contestants the stink eye before they've even tasted the food they’ve prepared. They act like they’re looking at Nazi war criminals instead of chefs.
They’re not the only judges on the Food Network that give contestants the hairy eyeball. There’s Florian Bellanger (with a name like that I’d be crabby, too) and Candace Nelson on Cupcake Wars. Their job is to taste and judge cupcakes. If I got paid to do that I’d be smiling all day instead of looking like I was about to sample excrement.
Some other experts at giving the stink eye include:
Clint Eastwood. I think he’s been giving the stink eye for so long that his face just naturally grew that way. He probably even gave his pet Orangutan, Clyde, the stink eye in, “Any Which Way You Can.”
Simon Cowell. The judge to be feared on American Idol. I haven’t seen his new show yet nor do I intend to because I’m sick of all the singing shows on TV, but I’m sure he’s still giving the stink eye and harsh comments to a new batch of contestants.
Donald Trump. At the end of his show, “Celebrity Apprentice” he gives the contestants the stink eye before he announces, “You’re fired!” Although it’s hard for me to take someone who looks like they have a dead squirrel balanced on their head seriously.
Bea Arthur. She was my favorite Golden Girl and an expert at giving the stink eye. Remember when Rose would launch into one of her stories about St. Olaf?
Well I have to go now, I have to go practice my stink eye because I just saw a traveling steak salesman approaching my door. There’s no way I’m buying beef from the back of a stranger’s truck.
Who do you think gives the best stink eye?
As you can see I've never had Botox although I may need some!