Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Mom: Stop this car so that I can smack that guy.

Me: No.

Mom:  You never let me do what I want to do!

Me:  That's because everything you want to do is a felony.

Mom: You are no fun.  It's heartbreaking, really heartbreaking that you never let me do what I want to do!

Me: Yes, I am a terrible daughter.


Mom:  Oh!  Did you see that!  Pull over, so I can smack the <expletive deleted> out of that guy!

Me:  We've talked about this.

Mom:  Listen, you put it on the computer, and all your computer friends said that you should let me do what I want!

Me:  That's because none of my computer friends would have to come up with the cash to bail you out of jail.

Mom: (long pause) That's not how it works.  They wouldn't charge me anything.

Me: What are you talking about?

Mom:  People over seventy-five don't have to pay any bail.

Me: That is not true.

Mom: How do you know?  How do you know?  It is true.  And you should let me do what I want.

Me: No.

Mom:  My Kimmy would let me do it.  My Alyce would let me do it.  All your computer friends would let me...

Me:  Mom!  We do not live in a society where you turn seventy-five and can go around committing felonious assault any time you want!

Mom:  (long pause)  Can I have a baby elephant?

Me: No.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Unanticipated Assistance

Scene 1: Grocery Store Parking Lot

Me:  "Hi!"

Wonderful friends:  "Hey! <insert standard small talk here>"

Me: <more pleasant chatter>

Wonderful friends: "So, do you need your grocery list?  Because you texted it to us this morning."

Me: "Ugh!  So sorry!"

Scene II: Produce Section

Delightful neighbor:  "Don't forget the watermelon."

Me: "What?"

Delightful neighbor:  "The watermelon.  It was on the grocery list you texted me this morning.  Don't forget it."

Me: "Oh no!  Um...thanks!"

Delightful neighbor:  "No problem, dear."
Scene III: Frozen Foods

Colleague from Work: "I don't see the cherry pie.  You're supposed to get a cherry pie."

Me: "Um...did I text that to you this morning?"

Colleague:  "You did.  Don't forget it."

Me: "Thanks.  And sorry for the text."

Colleague: "I'm saving it for the fall party!"

Me: "Wonderful."

Scene IV: While Searching for Raspberry Tea

Former Student: "Hey, did you remember the cheese?"

Me:  "Alright!  What is this?  I don't even have your cell phone number!"

Former Student (backing away slowly): "Uh, you posted it to facebook this morning."

Me:  "I did not!"

Former Student: "Then how did I know about the cheese?"

Me: <growl>
Scene V: The Check-out Line

Cashier:  "Did you find everything you were looking for?"

Me: <very shouty> "YES!"

Cashier: ?!

Me: <quietly> "I'm sorry.  I'm having some trouble working my phone."

Cashier: "It's okay, honey.  They don't make them for us normal people anymore."

Me: "No, no, they don't." <whispering>  "The phones are evil."

Cashier: "Right.  Evil.  You go home and rest now."

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Frightening Poem (in more ways than one)

 Beloved readers, I have returned unto the blog!  This week is a week full of craziness, with much grading, and writing of conference papers, and removing of wild animals from one's basement, so naturally there are sleep disturbances, and in one of these I dreamed that my Provost, who is a very good provost and not evil or covered in black feathers at all, came to my office and recited the works of Edgar Allan Poe to me until I started crying.

I don't know what that means, but it can't be good.

Since this beloved provost is retiring this summer, I decided turn my torment into his torment and compose a little poem in his honor.  Sort of.  Anyway, for your enjoyment and/or horror, I present:

The Provost
A Poem Not by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midday dreary, while I graded, weak and weary,
Reading many a quaint and curious phrases of misassembled lore—
    While I jotted, deeply sighing, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my office door.
“’Tis some lost student,” I muttered, “tapping at my office door—
            Only this and nothing more.”

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in a bleak semester;
And each graded research paper floated heavy to the floor.
    Desperately I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
    From facebook surcease of headache—headache at this endless chore—
At the bare and empty grading which professors deem a chore—
            Endless here for evermore.

    And the limping, sad, pretentious plodding of each purple sentence
Killed me—filled me with outrageous comments never made before;
    So that now, to still the bleeding of my pen, I stood repeating
    “’Tis some student entreating final grades at my office door—
Some late student entreating final grades at my office door;—
            This it is and nothing more.”

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your fine patience I implore;
    But the fact is I was grading, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my office door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
            My provost there and nothing more.

    Deep into his dark eyes peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, fearing fears professors never dared to fear before;
    But his silence was unbroken, and his gaze it gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken were the whispered words, “What more?”
These I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, “What, more!”—
            Merely this and nothing more.

    Back into my office turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    “Surely,” said I, “surely that is someone at the copy machine;
      Let me see, then, who thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ’Tis a colleague, nothing more!”

    Downward here I closed my laptop, with its classic Star Trek backdrop.
In there stepped my stately provost of the harried days of yore;
    Not the least kind greeting made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, leaned into my office door—
Leaned upon a wooden bookcase just aside my office door—
            Leaned, and looked, and nothing more.

Then this academic dean beguiling my rattled nerves into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance he wore,
“Though thy time here has ended almost, thou,” I said, “art still our headmost,
Leader grim and ancient Provost wandering Old Main's second floor—
Tell me how long I must keep reading hellish prose that I abhore!”
            Quoth the Provost: “Evermore.”

    Much I marvelled this elevated scholar to hear my future plainly,
Though his answer little respite—little comfort for me bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blessed with such a provost leaning in her office door—
Dean or provost at the wooden bookcase right aside her office door,
            Singing her fate as “Evermore.”

    But the Provost, leaning lonely on that bookcase, spoke only
That one word, as if my life in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing farther then he uttered—not an eyebrow then he fluttered—
    Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other papers graded I before—
On the morrow they will be graded, as those papers I've done before.”
            Then the dean said “Nevermore.”

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what he utters is his joke, no more!
    Caught in some unhappy humor with a bad and thoughtless rumor
    Followed by a bleak sarcasm till his words a cruel joke bore—
Till the dirges of my hope that melancholy jokester bore
            Grading's end 'nevermore’.”

    But the Provost still beguiling my rattled nerves into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a squeaking desk chair in front of dean, and books and door;
    Then, upon the leather sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this academic dean of yore—
What this grim, unsmiling, ghastly, gaunt, academic dean of yore
            Meant in claiming: “Nevermore.”

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the dean whose glowing cell phone hummed with calls he did ignore;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head all cricked, reclining
    On the desk chair's leather lining that the desk-light flickered o’er,
But whose cracking leather lining with the desk-light flickered o’er,
            Ink shall press, no, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by alumni whose foot-falls echoed on the tiled floor.
    “Wretch,” I cried, “thy Board hath sent thee—by these lost ghosts it hath sent thee
    Respite—respite and retirement from thy grading chores of yore;
Go, oh go to thy retirement and forget my ungraded papers on my office floor!”
            Quoth the Provost:  “Nevermore.”

    “Provost!” said I, “thing of evil!—provost still, if dean or devil!—
Whether by Board sent, or whether committee sent thee to my door,
    Smirking here as well undaunted, by ungraded papers haunted—
    At this desk by grading haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there rest in summer?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
            Quoth the Provost:  “Nevermore.”

    “Provost!” said I, “thing of evil!—provost still, if dean or devil!
By that August that stretches before us—by that Sun we both adore—
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant future,
    I shall clasp a gin and tonic when I'm finished with this chore—
Clasp a tall, cold gin and tonic when I'm finished with this chore.”
            Quoth the Provost “Nevermore.”

    “Be that word our sign of parting, dean or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into retirement and thy sunny, bright relaxing shores!
    Leave no learning outcome as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my fantasies unbroken!—quit the bookcase near my door!
Take thy pen from out my heart, and take thy form without my door!”
            Quoth the Provost: “Nevermore.”

    And the Provost, never stirring, still is leaning, still is leaning
At the wooden bookcase just beside my office door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the desk-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out those papers that lie floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ten Things General Leia Didn’t Say Aloud

Yes, gentle readers, I have returned to the blog!  Forgive my absence; I have no excuse.  I was doing Other Things, Things a person should wot not of.  In my absence, a new Star Wars movie was released, and social media has blown up with twitter accounts and memes and passionate analyses of the film.  Here is my modest contribution.

Ten Things General Leia Didn’t Say Aloud
 (but was definitely thinking) During the Force Awakens

1.     “Well, it looks like Poe has eyes for the new guy.  Good. If I had to listen to ‘Jagged Little Pill’ one more time, I was going feed him to a sarlacc.”
2.      “Oh great, the flying hunk of garbage is back.  I paid good money to have that ship stolen, too.”
3.     “Five planets.  They just blew up five planets.  I wish Kenobi was alive to bitch slap my brother into action.”
4.     How can the same shit happen to the same princess twice?”
5.     “So I was rescued by a farmer and smuggler, and Rey is rescued by a sanitation worker.  Well, not so much rescued as hitched a ride with…”
6.     “When all’s said and done, I’d rather just have a shot of Corellian whiskey and a hot bath.”
7.     “Why is it that they have to blow up 80% of my fleet every time we have to take out a superweapon?   We’re rebels, terrorists.  We can’t just buy new fighters on ebay.”
8.     “I know it’s not a new jacket; I can smell it from here.  He never could take a hint.”
9.     “Maybe if I repeat ‘our son’ over and over again, Han won’t notice how much the kid looks like Wedge…”

10.  “Hmm…I like this Rey.  She reminds me of someone.  No, not Luke.  No, not Gen. Kenobi…oh, never mind.  Where’s that whiskey?”

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Carole for the Season

Deck the Halls (and Threaten the Director)

Deck the halls with blinking droids
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Gen-Xers now are overjoyed
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Don we now Star Wars apparel
Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la.
Trolls post spoilers at their peril!
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

See the blazing sabers flying.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
No more Jar-Jar’s satisfying.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Follow Fisher’s dog on twitter.
Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la.
While Phasma’s armor’s all a-glitter
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Alas, the Rebel torch, it passes.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Hail new Jedi, lads and lasses
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Warn we Abrams, all together,
Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la.
Screw this up, forgiveness never.

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Very Brief Conversation with Mom: Favorite Star Wars Characters

Mom:  I like the green guy the best.  Yogi is cute.

Me:  Yoda, Mom.  His name is Yoda.

Mom:  I like calling him Yogi better.  He is the best except when he hits Artie Doody with a stick.  That's not nice.

Me: R2D2, Mom.  He doesn't even look like an Artie.

Mom:  Look, you put a big, light-up Doody in our yard, so I can call him whatever I want!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Five Analogies for What It's Like to Be a Cubs Fan

Ah, gentle readers, it is October, and I know that for some of you, sweet barbarians, you are following the game of football.  But not only is it still baseball season, but my beloved Chicago Cubs are in a playoff game against the vexatious Pittsburgh Pirates.

In fact, I tell you all now, the season is already a great victory for us, even if those nasty ones win and keep us from further post-season play, for our record has been remarkable and tragedy-free.  While we Cubs fans live in unending hope of seeing our team return to the World Series one day, our hope is fragile and inconsistent, rather like our fielding and relief pitching.

So accustomed are we to failure, in fact, that my fellow Cubs fans are all braced for a loss, if not to the Pirates, then to the Evil Ones of St. Louis or the Not Quite As Evil Ones Whom We Have Not Forgiven for 1969.

Rare is the sports fan who understands what it is to be a fan of the Cubs, so I, loyal friends, have endeavored to explain it through a few analogies:

Five Analogies for What It's Like to Be a Cubs Fan

  1. It's like knowing that if you eat this candy bar, you will vomit.  But it's made of chocolate.  And it's the best candy bar in the world.  And maybe if you eat it really slowly and try not to get excited, then you can savor it.  Obviously, you ate the last one too fast.  And on an empty stomach.  But this time will be different.  So you take a bite.  It's wonderful!  So sweet, so rich!  This is the best candy bar in the world!  But then half way through, you start to feel sick.  But you can't stop because...chocolate.  So you keep eating, and you keep feeling sicker and sicker... And then you throw up.  Again.
  2. It's like you worked hard in school and got good grades and didn't drink or do drugs or get yourself or someone else pregnant.  Then, on graduation day, it rains, your school burns down, and your parents give you socks as a graduation gift.  Brown socks. 
  3. It's like April is the kindest month.  In April you fall in love.  You sing songs.  You wave flags.  You write passionate poetry.  And in August, your lover gets hit by a city bus with a big ugly red bird on it.
  4. It's like dropping your ice cream cone in a mud puddle, begging your mom for more change, chasing down the ice cream truck, and getting a replacement cone, only to have someone knock the new cone out of your hands by doing a racially insensitive hand gesture.  Again.
  5. It's like one hundred years ago, your great grandparents won a tidy sum in a local raffle.  Your grandparents, your parents and you have bought a lottery ticket every single week since then.   In 1945, your grandparents won one dollar, but a goat ate it.