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Myriad musings, marketing and more.

There isn’t a part one. Well, there was, but it was crap. Not that part two is any better.

After the rain clouds have Burst in the sky, out Comes the sun and Dries up all the rain.

Even though you thought I was Fooling you with that rhyme, the Goal of the poem, is not to keep time.

How can you expect me to know every Itsy, bitsy thing Just because I’m the King?

Lately I’ve been thinking that Most of the work done around here is done by No one. That’s right. The Only one who seems to have a grasp on what is Possible is the Queen.

but her problem is that she Refuses to let anyone else offer advice, or do anything to Steal her Thunder.

honestly she really does Underestimate the Value of a good companion.

When will she ever learn that Xenon headlights are better for night driving?

Yesterday is too late – if she doesn’t get with it the Zephyr in the sky at night will hit her.

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of words. Actually more than just a fan, I’m an addict. I use them constantly…every day…without pause. Sometimes I think that there’s nothing else I can do but use words.

When I’m waking up, I use words (“oh my god not another day of this“, “turn off the alarm!”, “is it Friday yet?”).

When I take a shower I use words (“did you use up ALL of the shampoo?”, “what happened to my loofah?”).

Driving to work…words (“GET OUT OF MY WAY!“, “GET OFF THE PHONE AND DRIVE!”, “@#&%(&@#%(*&@!!!!!“).

And when I get to work, just watch out because it’s like word overload!

Moving forward, we need to recognize that a paradigm shift is needed for the right engagement. In today’s world, we have a need for a robust escalation process that will provide accountability and ownership to the ratifying body, namely the MRC. The culture of tomorrow, will have to migrate toward a sustainable corporate ecosystem, whereby the employee resources will be empowered to define, address, and solve problems as they arise, enabling a versatile risk valuing dynamic.” *I’ve actually only worked in one place where this paragraph would be heard and would make complete sense.

But it doesn’t stop there…when I get home from work, there are more words there too (“I thought I asked you to take the trash cans out this morning“, “Why is there cat vomit all over my keyboard?”, “I was nearly run off the road driving home by some idiot on their phone“).

It’s like they are there waiting for me. They sit dormant all day long, and then as soon as I open the door to my house, BOOM! Words! But it still doesn’t stop. You’d think that maybe while I’m eating dinner there would be some type of reprieve.

You’d be thinking wrong (“I thought I told you that I was trying to watch my carb intake…I can’t eat all this bread.”, “I don’t like feta in my Merlot.“, “What is this?“).

And even then it’s not over…I go to bed and pick up my latest novel to read…more words (I am unable to share any words for this portion due to copyright law). And this time it’s not just me using them, it’s the author of the book! I’m not the only one dealing with this terrible affliction apparently.

Then finally it’s time for sleep…you guessed it, more words. Only this time they are in my head…and they just won’t stop. It’s just one word after another, creating all these strange sentences and paragraphs that no one understands, especially me.

Peas porridge hot. Cold pigs fly. Why oh why oh why oh why. The bell rang again today as I dreamed of Manderlay. Unfortunately, the can on the stove was boiling and I was unable to clean the litter box again. I cried for what seemed like napkins, and still I cried some more. Did I leave the gas on or was that the doorbell? Wait…wait…MELON LIQUOR!

I wake up the next day and this cycle starts itself all over again.

I’ve been to the doctor numerous times about the problem, unfortunately, he seems to be afflicted as well, because he just can’t shut UP with all the words. Different words, yes, because he has to use all that doctor jargon like “delusional” and “mental instability” and “psychotic episode“. But who understands those doctor words anyway except doctors…so he couldn’t help me really, although he prescribed me some sort of pill that’s supposed to reduce the number of words I have…it’s called “valium” or “Demerol” or something like that, but again, doctor words, so I just ignore them.

I long for the day when the words take a break, even if just for a moment, so that I can have some peace and quiet and listen to the birds chirp, and the crickets crick, and the bees buzz, and the moths moth, and the fish gurgle, and the diet pepsi vanilla fizz, and the phone ring, and the cats meow, and the refrigerator hum, and the fan whirl, and the vacuum cleaner inhale, and the stairs creak, and the champagne cork pop, and the pill bottle whisper sweet nothings in my ear.

* Disclaimer: If you dislike what I write, there is a wonderful set of words I’d like to introduce you to. [censored]. You.

PS. There are 756 words in this post. Thought you’d want to know.

solar-system-emergence-spitzer-telescope-telescope-41951.jpegI get headaches all the time. Not those little baby headaches that lazy people get so they can call in sick or leave early because they don’t like the project they are on and can just as easily browse the web from home as they can from work. I’m talking about the king of headaches. The Alpha and Omega of headaches. The great, I AM headache. I am of course speaking of the migraine.

The Book of Webster defines migraine as:
Main Entry: mi•graine
Pronunciation: ‘mI-“grAn, British often ‘mE-
Function: noun
Etymology: French, modification of Late Latin hemicrania pain in one side of the head, from Greek hEmikrania, from hEmi- hemi- + kranion cranium
Date: 15th century
1 : a condition marked by recurrent severe headache often with nausea and vomiting
2 : an episode or attack of migraine
– mi•grain•ous /-“grA-n&s/ adjective

I, however, define a migraine as: shoot me up with crystal meth, throw me to the ground, stomp on my neck with stiletto pumps (which look great when worn with a bathing suit because they help slenderize your hips *snaps to Ellen*), while Metallica plays through seven Infinity speakers attached to my ears (one extra on the left side), and a two year old boy digs out both of my eyes using a rusted fork, while a Shetland pony is kicking my ass, kind of headache.

In days of Olde when Knights were bold if a limb hurt bad enough, say a left arm that became gangrenous, you just cut it off, sewed up the hole, and went on living. Such a method would be a bit life-prohibitive in dealing with a migraine. Clearly we see that the most evident solution to a problem may not always be the most effective.

I know someone who says that she has migraines every day. She loves to pretend she has a migraine just so she doesn’t have to go to work. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the land of make believe, I like to pretend something good. Like that I’m wearing a huge black cape with tall black boots, and a sassy black top hat, and I’m in New Orleans in the middle of an Anne Rice novel. I’m the vampire Jejune, consort to Lestat and Louis, leader of a vast empire of vampires, feeding on all the insanely boring and tasteless people of the world.

Unfortunately, some people like to pretend bad things, so that others will feel sympathy for them, bake cakes for them, send flowers to them, or let them go home early. I, however, am not a pretender when it comes to migraines. I can’t even imagine how someone could pretend to be exploding and imploding at the same time (if they can they should be in Cirque du Soleil, because that takes true talent).

My style of migraine, which some people also refer to as a cluster headache (because they cluster themselves together for a few months, then go on sabbatical, then come back for more), occurs on the left side of my head. It starts as a dull throbbing, more of a tease-ache, that tells me if I don’t get medicated soon, I’m going to regret it.

It then unfolds, like a bad novel. Multiple characters, subplots, climaxes, dénouements, it spreads its tendrils out across the left side of my face (the migraine, not the bad novel), snaking its way into my left eye, my left eardrum, and my left temple.

Sounds become muffled as my ear drum begins to pound to the beat of a symphony gone awry. My vision becomes blurry as my eyes tear, trying to wash out the invading menace (not Dennis, the migraine).

My face flushes as if I’ve just heard the naughtiest joke ever told. Streaks of heat shoot through my temple causing veins and arteries to rise to the surface, pulsing and throbbing to the beat of my heart. And then, the pain hits.

The pain is not unlike what Cary Elwes went through in The Princess Bride, when he was subjected to the pain amplifier down in the pit of despair. (if you haven’t realized by now, I am the master of obscure analogies)

Once the pain begins, there really is no way to stop it. I am down for the count. My left eye continues to tear, and becomes increasingly bloodshot, as if I’ve been on an all night drinking binge (though apparently only drinking from the left side of my mouth). My left cheek starts to alternately tense and relax, finally slacking into a downward flow as if a stroke has rendered it useless. (Although, since the right side of the body is controlled by the left side of the brain, one would think my right cheek would collapse, but migraines break all the rules.)

The blood vessels in my temple strain against the pressure as my heart continues to send blood to the side of the brain that really doesn’t need any more pressure.

And then, the vice is turned. I find myself laying face down, head between huge metal plates attached to screws. Slowly those screws are turning and the plates are moving closer and closer to each other, with my head still between them. I start to feel the pressure building. I’m like a roast inside a pressure cooker. The flames are on high, and the steam is flying out of the whistle so fast it’s gone supersonic. Dogs in the neighborhood start howling and barking as I get closer and closer to blowing my top.

Suddenly, the metal plates are gone. The dull ache has returned. It feels like a torn fingernail, that pulses and throbs, again to the beat of my tell tale heart. The throbbing that won’t go away, but stabs at my senses over and over. And then, the nausea hits.

I rarely throw up (except for a Cadbury Cream Egg incident, which I’ll bring up at Easter). Even after a night of heavy alcohol consumption (which is usually only on a day ending in “ay”) I never throw up. I was actually born with the anti-hangover gene. While technically a recessive gene, not unlike the gene for green eyes, blonde hair, or hitchhikers thumb, the anti-hangover gene was quite the envy of my college aged friends. Unfortunately, migraine is an “e” word (despite the fact that it starts with an M, if you turn the M sideways it resembles an E enough to be considered e-ville), and breaks all those rules, including rules that are genetically encoded in my body.

I’m not sure who came up with the term dry heaves, but whoever they are, they should be locked away in Azkaban (snaps to Harry Potter) for all eternity. Just hearing those two words, dry heaves, is enough to send one running to the nearest restroom. Rarely are my heaves dry. (note: those readers with delicate or weak stomachs are advised that the next section contains vivid and graphic language)

Dry heaves would indicate that absolutely nothing comes out in the process more clinically described as reverse peristalsis (and just to point out how much of a nerd I am, I didn’t even have to look that one up. It’s part of my daily vocabulary). For those who have not incorporated this…

Main Entry: peri•stal•sis
Pronunciation: “per-&-‘stol-s&s, -‘stäl-, -‘stal-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural peri•stal•ses /-“sEz/
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek peristaltikos peristaltic
Date: 1859
: successive waves of involuntary contraction passing along the walls of a hollow muscular structure (as the esophagus or intestine) and forcing the contents onward

Unfortunately, for me, there is nothing dry about a migraine heave.

Let us consider for a moment, bile. Bile is a yellow or greenish viscid alkaline fluid produced in the liver, that aids in the emulsification and absorption of fats. I would assume that people who have had their liver removed for some reason would not be subject to dry heaves. I, on the other hand (or on the same hand – I am really not sure why you have to switch hands), have my liver, and get to have what I’d like to refer to as bile heaves. Sounds a lot better than dry heaves doesn’t it?

When my stomach and esophagus start to work in reverse, out comes the bile. A yucky, gooey, not dissimilar to Ghostbusters slime, comes spraying out of my body. The bitter e-ville sensation washes across my taste buds, causing me to heave again. (note: the taste buds have the ability to sense salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and umami – bile most likely falling into the sour and bitter category) (and that’s umami, not unagi for all you sushi fans who might get confused)

Quickly I down a glass of water, because when I was younger, I was told that throwing up water was better than a dry heave, and old habits are hard to break. The only benefit to drinking water during a period of nausea is that now you have something to mix with the bile before it comes back up.

Personally, if I know that whatever I drink is going to come right back up, I want it to be something that tastes good, or at least can mask the taste of the bile. My choice is rum. Not the nasty Bacardi gold rum, or the little bunny foo-foo Malibu rum that is so sweet I could throw it up even if I didn’t have a migraine…I’m talking about the Lieutenant Commander of rums, no, the Captain of rums. Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. Not only is this rum so crisp and refreshing that it can be shot or served on the rocks without a mixer, but it has the ability to overpower the bile, and eliminate any bitter taste of green digestive enzyme. The side benefit to using rum over water, is that you get a nice healthy buzz while you remain crouched over the toilet.

Soon the nausea passes and I feel like my body has expended the last remaining ounce of energy left. I’m not unlike the battery on my laptop, that is like a poor player that struts and frets its hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. At this point I either collapse on the bathroom floor, or somehow stagger my way back to my bed or my desk (in the event I am at work during this brutal attack, in which case you may be wondering where I keep my rum, but that’s really not any of your concern right now), and lay my head down and close my eyes.

The tears start to stream down my face, as my body can simply withstand no more. I lay there panting like a rabid mongrel dog from a Stephen King novel (obviously Cujo), with small drips of saliva (another digestive enzyme but not one that is produced in the liver, nor one that is green) trickling down my dead left cheek. Obviously, I have my head left side down, otherwise the saliva would be defying gravity to flow down my left cheek, and despite the fact that saliva is a very cool enzyme, it’s not cool enough to break the laws of physics (I cannot change the laws of physics captain!).

Co-workers walk by with wide eyes and puzzled looks on their faces, as they see a little puddle of saliva and residual bile from my earlier heaving episode, wondering if they should call for help, or bring me a towel (because at Delta, it’s laid out like that).

As I continue to sit, and drool, and silently moan in pain (I’m once again screaming lonely in my nightmare), I realize that now the enzymes (including some leftover rum) are beginning to drip onto my polyester slacks (don’t ask why I’m wearing polyester…perhaps I became a flight attendant in my spare time, who knows).

Unfortunately, because polyester is made from multiple esters, and esters being any of a class of often fragrant compounds that can be represented by the formula RCOOR and that are usually formed by the reaction between an acid and an alcohol with elimination of water, I am in the position of having digestive enzymes reacting with acids and alcohols, and a terrible burning sensation ensues on my thigh. (ok, very obscure, I know, but you’ve read this far and haven’t stopped, so I’m trying to see how much I can get away with)

I glance over at the clock and see that’s it’s 8:05am. I lift my head up, send an email to the team, and tell them I’m going home with a headache. Thankfully they all have my address and know where to send the flowers and cake.

A short story from many, many, many years gone by…

Is everyone feeling hella good??? I know that when this special dark day of the year rolls around, I’m feeling hella great! Or for adults who wear braces, or have small children, you are permitted to feel hecka great.

What a joyous and fun day to celebrate the exhumation of spirits and ghouls and ghosts and zombies that creep out from every tomb and are closing in to seal your doom.B1TQEd4CEAAHcRs

Halloween is my second favourite holiday, just after Xmas. Third on the list is Turkey Day, and then after that, there are no other holidays that float my boat. Halloween and Xmas are the only two holidays in our culture that require massive amounts of decorations, themed parties, and costuming. Houses are decorated with strands of orange lights and pumpkins for Halloween, and are decorated with strands of white and multi-coloured lights and trees for Xmas.

Halloween brings us carved pumpkins, while Xmas brings us carved turkeys and hams. For the dark holiday we dress up in costumes that could be scary, funny, wild, naughty, sexy, Disney, or crazy. And for the bright holiday, we dress up in festive reds and whites and stockings and hats, an homage to the leader of Xmas, Santa Claus.

Halloween, however, doesn’t have the same type of official mascot as Xmas. In fact, when we look across the gamut of holidays, we have an issue. There’s an Easter Bunny, a Tooth Fairy, a July 4th Firework, but what do we have for Halloween? Personally I think it’s about time for an Officially Designated Leader of Halloween.

Those of you who are huge fans of The Nightmare Before Xmas, may begin the lobby for Jack Skellington, that hollow-headed, insane creature who has a fascination for women with stitches all over their bodies. Others of you might feel that because this is the dark holiday, we need a more loathsome, e-ville (as in frew-its of the de-ville) type of creature like Satan, the Devil, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the Fallen One, or some other derivative of the former angel of music (if you didn’t get this, please refer to the Music Makes a People Editorial).

Jack is too happy. The Devil is too devilish. We need something more better. And so this is that story…of a most memorable day in our history…The Great Halloween Massacre…

Looming larger than life above the skyscrapers of the most scrapingest city, a massively evil orange man-pumpkin – basically the size of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man from that classic Hellaween movie Ghostbusters – looms larger than life above the horizon.

What other figure could simultaneously cause laughter and screams of terror from children everywhere, as the Halloween Evil Man-Pumpkin (HEMP) comes crashing through their neighbourhoods, stealing candy, decorations, and any child dressed up as a pumpkin. And on that very frightful day, that is exactly what happened.

The world was thrown into panic, as children everywhere began to notice a massive pumpkin-shaped man looming larger in the skies above each of their respective cities. Not knowing what was happening, who this was, where it came from, and why it was so orange and as big as the sun – the children began to scream, as they madly dashed home in a desperate escape from the HEMP.

But alas, it was too late. HEMP had already blanketed the terrified population, and ghosts and ghouls from every tomb and mortuary emerged from the depths to begin the attack.

batsEerie bats, who make that WEEE WEEE WEEE sound, flew out from caverns deep within the mountains…but more than just eerie they were vampire bats, swooping down on unsuspecting children and carrying them to the lair of the evil HEMP. There he would munch and crunch and gnash and gash and chew and spew until the children were mere pulp for pies.

Screams from all corners of the globe were heard as far as the international space station, as children raced to change their costumes into something other than pumpkins, so that the HEMP would pass them over.

But the HEMP remembered.

Parents quickly smashed all of their carved pumpkins into the street, not only in protest and defiance, but so the HEMP wouldn’t see how they had desecrated his next of kin.

But the HEMP remembered.

Orange lights on houses were quickly replaced with black, so the HEMP couldn’t see the scared children hiding behind the fake tombstones and witch statues.

But the HEMP had night vision goggles.

The HEMP smashed buildings, ripped out trees, broke through darns causing huge floods, threw cars around like little toys, expressed copious amounts of cloudy gas from his pumpkiny butt, and rampaged through town after town.

After an unnecessary number of hours, the government finally declared a state of emergency.

“The HEMP must be stopped! We must send in armed guards dressed in orange camouflage! We must send in helicopters and tanks! We must burn the HEMP and protect our children from this dark holiday!”

But the HEMP was formidable, and the army was unable to prevail. And so it was that the people of the country united against HEMP on their own – through referendums and ballot measures.

“DOWN WITH THE HEMP, DOWN WITH THE HEMP” they shouted, as parents and children armed themselves with the pitchforks that were stuck in haystacks in their front yard decorations, and carving knives from the pumpkin carving set, and torches burning bright to illuminate the city in the unnatural darkness of Halloween.

The HEMP crashed into the center of the last town in the world. An angry mob surrounded it. It blasted gas at the townspeople and grabbed for the children who hadn’t had time to change costumes. Those poor children became the fodder for more of the HEMP’s wretched gas.

The angry crowd chanted, “BURN THE HEMP, BURN THE HEMP, SMOKE HIM OUT!!!”.

Flames erupted around the HEMP, as he tried to jump up onto the side of a building to get away from the flames, but the force of the parents and differently-costumed children were overpowering him, burning into his tender orange flesh.

Dark black smoke filled the air of Halloween night, blocking out the last rays of the smoldering sun, sending children and parents dashing through the darkness with costumes and capes blowing behind, as the HEMP came crashing down in a blaze of glory and seeds.

The Halloween Bonfire had begun.

The HEMP grew hotter and hotter, and angrier and angrier. He began to expand and bulge, and then suddenly the HEMP exploded! Piles of pumpkin and freshly baked seeds flew across the earth, smacking unwary children in the face and blasting them miles away from the force of the seeds.

Ghosts and ghouls from every tomb flew in every direction with skeletal faces full of cooked pumpkin.

Showers of orange splattered the rooftops of houses and buildings, and the leaves of the trees and the slopes of the mountains. Pumpkin filled all the lakes and rivers with an orange soupy mess.

And at last the explosion stopped. The angry and scared people stood dumbstruck at the carnage around them. Their clothing and hair dripped with pumpkin, as they wandered about in search of their loved ones, on this the night of the Great Halloween Massacre.

But as people do – they began to rebuild. Parents found their children, still in costume, but scattered far and wide. And they realized that the day had been saved, and joyous cheering erupted from every mouth (along with seeds and pumpkin rind).

“HURRAY, HURRAH, the HEMP IS GONE!!!!!”

The government, satisfied that the HEMP infestation had been abolished, went back into hibernation. While the people of this good Earth gathered around, brought bags of brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg, and enjoyed freshly baked pumpkin pie to celebrate the defeat of the HEMP.

And then suddenly, they realized that the HEMP wasn’t really all that bad.

Yes it had caused some destruction of city property, and yes it had caused people to run around screaming and laughing and doing foolish things, and yes it had devoured 1/4th of the population, and yes they were covered in a wet sticky mess, but there had also been a wonderful by-product of the HEMP…this delicious and marvelous spicy (and a bit fermented) pumpkin pie that they were now enjoying, and the fantabulous baked seeds that they were crunching.

Suddenly the crowd began to sing, “LONG LIVE THE HEMP, LONG LIVE THE HEMP!!”

And so even today, on this special dark holiday, as we remember the sacrifices made by the people during the Great Halloween Massacre, we are reminded that HEMP isn’t really all that bad.

Happy Halloween everyone, and enjoy that pumpkin pie :-).

Boo!

I originally published this in 2003, and it’s long, so grab a soda and sit for a while. I felt that during this critical time in our country, when separation is becoming the norm, instead of inclusion it might be time to remind everyone that Music Makes a People Come Together. Because look around…everywhere you turn it’s heartache, it’s everywhere that you go…

Also note: If you are able to accurately count the number of musical references contained herein, you might win a prize.

Ma ma se, Ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa (Mama-say mama-sah ma-ma-coo-sah). Some of the most expressive words ever put to music (note: these words should not be mistaken for mecca lecca hi mecca hiney ho, which were expressive, yet never put to music).

Michael JacksonI want to spend a little time discussing the meaning of this phrase, this poetry in motion as it were and if you will, and the very critical place it holds in the balance of our universe. (note: for the unenlightened, this phrase comes from the great Michael Jackson, although borrowed from previous music samples)

As I am fond of doing, let me first consult the book. I am, of course, referring to the Alpha and Omega of books…Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (note: I am sure there will be those of you who are sons of preacher men, and will wanna be startin’ somethin’ with me for referring to this as “The Book”, but nothing you could say could tear me away from my god, my god, because literally, if god was one of us, or if god is a DJ and life is a dance floor, I think he/she/it would be OK with me making reference to multiple sources of lyrics).

Additionally, I find it valuable for us to slightly condense and/or modify this set of words, to help clarify the denotation, for you the reader. What we would come up with as a more apropos representation of the phonetic is “mama say, mama SA, ma ma coo ça.” While the difference is subtle, it will allow us a more cohesive representation of the true meaning of the phrase.

Those of you who were with us back on Mother’s Day, learned the origin and meaning behind that very special day and the word mother. This is the term we will begin with. Mama. While technically slang, or baby talk, as seen in the definition below, mama is a perfectly acceptable replacement for the colloquial mother (note: not the mother superior, who is a nun and not a real mother).

Main Entry: ma·ma
Variant(s): or mam·ma /’mä-m&, chiefly British m&-‘m[a’]/
Function: noun
Etymology: baby talk
Date: 1579
1 : MOTHER

Who could dispute that some of the most important words of our time would include a reference to the holy and wonderful mother of creation, the mother earth? No one, that’s who. And if they did, then they obviously don’t believe in life after love and aren’t a part of this great and wonderful boogie rhythm nation that we call the United States. Because we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy. (note: the attentive reader will notice that mama is a noun, and we all know that a noun’s a special kind of word, it’s any name you’ve ever heard, and you might find it quite interesting, a noun’s a person place or thing.)

Next, let’s schlemiel and schlimazel our way over to the word “say”. While you may think you know what this word means (“Why yes, I do! It’s the present tense of the action verb to say, meaning to verbalize thought through the mouth!”), you really don’t. The book defines say as:

Main Entry: say
Pronunciation: ‘sA, Southern also ‘se
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): said /’sed, esp when subject follows s&d/; say·ing /’sA-i[ng]/; says /’sez, sometimes ‘sAz, esp when subject follows s&z/
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English secgan; akin to Old High German sagEn to say, Lithuanian sakyti, Greek ennepein to speak, tell
Date: before 12th century
transitive senses
1 a : to express in words b : to state as opinion or belief

You will notice, no doubt, that this verb stems from numerous languages, and is therefore an important word in the world. Expressions and beliefs are some of the founding notions of our information society. The first amendment of our constitution provides for the ability to freely express our beliefs, without retaliation or condemnation, no matter how divergent those beliefs may be – it’s an up thing. Kinda makes you think…Baby, I’m the lucky one. Obviously, society has found the great value and importance of the verb, say.
(Editorial note: I had to pause at this point because my phone was ringing…it was Rhiannon from Vienna calling…)

Next we see that the reference to the holy and wonderful mother of creation is so important, our phrase repeats it again.

So next up is “sa”. If you were to capitalize both letters to “SA”, you might wind up with the city code for San Antonio, Texas. You may be asking yourself at this point, Who’s Johnny? Or you may ask yourself, what does our phrase have to do with Texas, being that we’re talking about words of IMPORTANCE here? If you were to ask yourself these things, you’d be talking to yourself, quite possibly sharing the secrets that you keep while you’re talking in your sleep, which is a sign of insanity, and you obviously have too much free time and are probably sitting around on the beach drawing circles in the sand. But what else could these two letters mean or represent? Again, let us look to the book.

Main Entry: SA
Function: abbreviation
Latin sine anno without year, without date (everlasting, eternal)

Purple People EaterWell of course! The holy and wonderful mama, who speaks and expresses thought and belief and understanding and compassion without judgment, does so without end. World without end. Everlasting and eternal beliefs. Everlasting and eternal creation. The meaning is so obvious, if it were a one eyed one horned flying purple people eater, it might have bitten us.

Next we come to the doublet of ma’s. While you may be tempted to attribute this to the contracted slang for mama, don’t (note: at this point you probably wish you could turn back time and not give into the temptations, but you can’t, so you’re just going to have to face the music and hope that love will save the day). This word has rich meaning in and of itself. Once again, let us consult the book.

Main Entry: ma
Pronunciation: m[a’]
Usage: foreign term
Etymology: French
: my

This is truly a very interesting word to be incorporated into our phrase. My. Clearly what we see here is that use of a foreign language is critical in identifying that our phrase is for ALL people, not just for those of us who speak English as a primary language (note: obviously our phrase is encouraging us to go west, and shake our groove thing all across the world).

Additionally, by selecting French as the language of choice, our phrase adds a touch of class and refinement to its meaning. Additionally, on top of the previous additionally, the word “my” represents ownership, belonging, membership, self realization. As we all know, self awareness is one of the key factors to determining life, as defined by Star Trek, so let’s go Star Trekkin’ across the universe, boldly going forward ’cause we can’t find reverse. The ability to be aware of one’s self, and one’s place in the universe created by the holy and wonderful mama, is critical to the understanding of our phrase.

Next we come to one of the more interesting words in our phrase, “coo.”

Main Entry: coo
Pronunciation: ‘kü
Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: imitative
Date: 1670
1 : to make the low soft cry of a dove (which is representative of love and peace)
2 : to talk fondly, amorously (a love profusion)

You may have initially thought that this was a contracted form of cool, cootie, or Hacoona Matatta (what a wonderful phrase). It is not, so don’t. This word is big, it’s beautiful, and you’re gonna love it! Representative of peace, love, care and fondness, one should not be surprised that the holy and wonderful mama who eternally speaks of compassion and non-judgement would be juxtaposed with this word. (And in case you didn’t know, mother earth’s love is better than chocolate) This word is not dissimilar to a ray of light, cutting through the darkness of the world, and illuminating us with a higher love. Love is a many splendid thing. Love, lifts us up where we belong, all we need is love. You should already see that all things just keep getting better in our magical phrase.

Finally we come to the final word.

Main Entry: ça
Pronunciation: s[a’]
Usage: foreign term
Etymology: French
: it

You will note the diacritical mark on the first letter of this word, as again, we note the use of a foreign language to remind us of the worldly nature of our phrase. Also you will note that the word is again in French, reminding us that the French are very important in the world (Voulez-vous danser avec moi?).

A phrase can never be complete without a blend of both first and third person. As we noted before with “ma” translated to “my”, there is a word which represents the self, the oneness that we feel when we look at the man in the mirror and see ourselves staring back at us with the look of love. Here we are seeing the inclusion of the third person “it“, which represents not the masculine, not the feminine, but the neutral.

In the eyes of the loving and wonderful mama, we are all equal, we are family. Not created differently than anyone else, but created from one and the same. The use of the word “it” reminds us all that despite our differences, we are all uniquely unique in our uniqueness. (note: at this point you probably wish you could take one moment in time to ponder this paradox, but you can’t, so keep reading)

And so, accepting this phrase as exceptional, meaningful and the whole truth and nothing but the truth (would I lie to you?), let us take a brief moment to explore some of the other musical ramifications on life. Not all music is positive and happy. While the phrase that we have recently analyzed gives us a sense of peace, life, meaning, goodness and grace, there are those bits of word put to music, which fall into the “e-ville” category.

Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand, creatures crawl in search of blood, to terrorize ya’lls neighborhood. And whosoever shall be found, without the soul for getting down, must stand and face the hounds of hell, and rot inside a corpse shell. The foul stench is in the air, the funk of 40,000 years, and grisly ghouls from every tomb are closing in to seal your doom. And though you fight to stay alive, your body starts to shiver, for no known mortal can resist, the evil of the Thriller.

OK…what the H-E-double hockey sticks is THAT?! Calgon, take me away!
(Interjections HEY show excitement YEAH and emotion WOW, they’re generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point, or by a comma when the feeling’s not as strong: ignore for a moment that the above lyrics are from one of the best songs of all time and stay within the world of “e” with me a bit longer)

I’m sorry, but that’s just plain SCARY! I hear those words and I”m no longer one of the shiny happy people. I’m in the world of terror, pain, fright, death, and am screaming lonely in my nightmare. When Thriller first came out on video, I was in my middle school days of roller-skating-mania. Every free weekend a group of kids would go over to SportsWorld (which several years later was converted to an ice rink and renamed to the Ice House, which is also a brand of really cheap and repulsive beer, but anyway), and spend several hours spinning right round baby, right round like a record baby right round round round.

Sometimes, the DJ would stop the music, tell everyone to don’t turn around (Oh!Oh! der Kommissar’s in town Oh!Oh!), and skate in “reverse”. This was often a good thing to balance the blisters we were burning on the inside of our ankles. Down in one corner of the skating rink, was a huge movie screen that would descend from the rafters, like a Deus ex Machina, whenever they decided to play a video. Additionally, there was a huge shiny disco ball hanging in the middle of the rink, with little white lights pointed towards it, to provide a glittering light show on the floor. (note: there was also an ultra-cool snack bar that sold hot dogs, burgers, dirty pop, and cotton candy, but this isn’t really integral to the story, so I won’t mention it)

Being that Michael Jackson was mega-popular with the middle school crowd of the 80’s, it’s no wonder that the management at SportsWorld capitalized on the captive audience they had, and played the video as often as they possibly could. And this wasn’t the stripped down video, this was the full length mega-video. In case you weren’t aware, Thriller was the first music video to actually incorporate a plot and spoken story line into the production. In fact, the video starts off with MJ and his girlfriend (note: this may have been Billy Jean, or Valerie, who later turned into a bad girl toot toot beep beep talkin’ bout the sad girl, but we don’t know for sure) taking a little stroll, and coming across a very scary place…a graveyard with zombies and ghouls from every tomb, closing in to seal their doom, (note: notice how the e-ville creeps into everything, even my commentary) and having nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

The video was amazing. Everyone on the skate floor would stop to watch the hero of the movie suddenly grow fangs and start moon walking across the tombstones. Little did we know, that very early in our young lives, we were being introduced to the influence of “e” on the musical industry.

Ironically, there are those who believe that just because the former-archangel Lucifer was the former-angel of music (just call me angel, of the morning angel), that he has a direct influence on our lives by making music inherently e-ville, but that’s just a big load of malarkey, and the only people who believe that are people who obviously got a good job in the city, working for the man every night and day, never lose a minute of sleeping worrying about the way that things might have been if the devil had a blue dress on…oops, I did it again and got a little carried away there…back to our phrase…

By now it should be clear that the human population should rightly hold our phrase as the new mantra of celebration and unity (and while we’re at it, we might as well take a holiday and celebrate). We may not be movie stars, but when it comes to being happy, we are, and a day should never pass that we fail to kneel in front of our crosses, pentagrams, tetragrams, octograms (note: not to be confused with an octagon which would represent a stop in the name of love sign), polymorphic shrines, a father figure of a squatting Buddha, or any other icon which is representative of our own personal beliefs and gives praise to the new moon on blue monday.

I encourage all of you to get up offa that thang, reach up for the sunrise, jump for your love, and sing with me now (note: try to avoid singing this out loud at work, because with these compressed office cubes, voices carry) …

The world goes round and round but some things never change…the joy of living, joy of life, joy of laughing, joy of sight, the joy of Pepsi in your life, the joy of bubbles, joy of fun, the joy of Pepsi on your tongue, the greatest taste sensation under the sun. La la la la la, la la la la la…

easter bunnyWhat is Easter? Where did it come from? Is it solely a Christian holiday to celebrate the death and resurrection of a deity? Or is it a Pagan rite of fertility? Or perhaps it was created by a bunch of people who were really fond of rabbit fur.

When I ponder my childhood, I remember trying to stay up as late as I could on Easter Eve, so I could catch a glimpse of the resurrected Easter Bunny coming down the chimney to deliver fabulous and colourful eggs that would remind me of the cave and the stone that was rolled away.

I usually lasted until about 8pm, at which point my eyelids could no longer stay open.

But just like the savior, I arose the next day (well, technically 2 days earlier than he may have), and I jumped out of bed to see what Jesus had left for me. Who knew that Jesus could not only turn water into wine, but also into a basket of multi-coloured eggs?

I think that’s why I’m gay. No, not because a god performed a miracle with the chicken and the Easter egg, but because the rainbow flag was bestowed upon me at such an early age. The eggs were red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach, ruby and olive and violet and fawn, cream and silver and purple and gold, russet and white and pink and orange and BLUE! (From memory, people. That’s the real reason I’m gay.)

Okay, so the basket didn’t have that many eggs, but it was quite full. But these were not just ordinary eggs. These eggs were plastic! I wasn’t sure what chemical process to apply to an egg to make it plastic, so I decided that this was just an Easter Miracle performed by a Great and Powerful Bunny.

eggsNot only were these eggs plastic, but they each had a perfectly carved seam around the middle. Easier to crack them with my dear. I tore them apart because I knew there was no yolk to spill. What I didn’t realize is that instead of yolk, Jesus had put money and candy inside these eggs! The money was obviously meant for me to put into the offering plate at church, but the candy was all mine! Candy can’t build a cathedral.

Inside the non-monetary eggs were jelly beans of every colour imaginable, jujube’s, candy corn (not just for Halloween anymore), marshmallow ducks with sugar on top, and raindrops on roses and noses on kittens. It was simply fabulous. Thanks Easter Bunny! Bwak! Bwak!

I was surrounded by candies of every sort, and I thought back to those post-Halloween candy review meetings with my parents in the kitchen. So many things I had to throw away for fear of poison and razor blades. You might ask what kind of neighbourhood I grew up in that would have such a fear, but in middle-class North Carolina you can never be too careful.

The Easter candy, unlike the Halloween candy, was sacred. The resurrected bunny would never think of putting something harmful inside his eggs, so these candies were one-hundred percent free and clear for the taking. And so of course I had to eat all of it before we left for church, which by the counting of the clock in my bedroom was in exactly two hours.

By the time we got to god’s newly decorated house – which for the occasion had been decked out with bright purple bunting and more shades of pink than I have ever seen in my life – I had a tummy ache. Let us give thanks to the Lord for these gifts which give us gas.

While my stomach churned and vocalized its own Easter music, the rest of the congregation sang songs about a tomb and a rock, and then something about rising from the dead. As a cold sweat broke out over my forehead I could not understand what those things had to do with candy so I didn’t sing along.

Church finally concluded with a never-ending sermon about the after-life. I was sure that I was about to experience the after-life because my stomach was in such turmoil, but there was no time. We had to make it to Easter Brunch before the lunch rush.

I don’t know why my parents insisted on calling it Easter Brunch, because by the time we got there it was well after noon. It was firmly into the lunch hour, but the point was not to be argued by me – the last thing I wanted to talk about was food.

To further confuse the issue, Easter Brunch consisted of the exact same food as we’d had for Thanksgiving Brunch and Dinner. It seemed to me that the two holidays must be related on some level. I could understand giving thanks for friends and family on the same day every year, but I didn’t know why anyone would give thanks for dying on the same day every year only to be stuck into a cold rocky tomb. But who am I to judge another person’s lifestyle?

So Easter Brunch Lunch ended, and my tummy was in even more distress, because how could I be expected to sit at the table and not eat the bounty placed before me? Now the jelly beans were combined with turkey and baked beans, and the juxtaposition of the two beans in my stomach created a very unpleasant ride home.

I am still not quite sure how I managed the ten minute drive, at which point I rushed to my room, shut the door, and lay on my bed moaning in pain. Let us give thanks to the Resurrection Rabbit for the blessings bestowed upon us this day.

For several hours I listened to the sounds of my stomach attempting to manage the onslaught of beans I was forcing it to process, but soon I began to feel somewhat better and the cold sweats dried up on my forehead. I decided to take account of the Easter basket to see if perhaps I had overlooked any additional gifts from the Rabbit.

eggs2Those who have experienced the Easter Basket know how easily things can get lost in the green plastic grass strips, and this basket did not disappoint. I dumped the money out of the non-candy eggs, and put the coins into my piggy bank. I continued to dig through the plastic greenery and behold and ye verily the Mother Lode appeared.
Apparently the savior appreciated me going to church to celebrate his death, because what to my wondering eyes should appear but The Cadbury Creme Egg. The epitome of egg. The creme-de-la-creme of egg. The Alpha and the Omega of egg. The great I AM egg.

I held the CCE gently in my hand, being careful not to warm it too much so that the chocolate would melt inside the wrapper. Slowly, I peeled back the foil which held it so tight, to reveal the true meaning of Easter: liquid sugar encased in chocolate.

Forget about all this death and dying and after-life nonsense. This was the only reason for living. My salvation and my rock. A gift from above that was to be savored, worshiped, and praised. And so like a good boy who was brought up right, I praised it like I should.

With one gigantic bite I split the egg apart, showering my taste buds with the rich and creamy goodness that could only come from such a precious gift. I let the egg-styled fondant melt across my tongue, washing away any leftover tastes from the Easter Brunch.

Gently I swallowed. I wanted to remember what it felt like – this very special egg – and in that moment I resolved to never forget the true meaning of Easter.

And then I promptly ran to the bathroom and showered the god who sits on the white porcelain throne with all that I had been bestowed on this most precious of holidays.

________________________________________
* Easter, like Christmas, is a blend of paganism and Christianity. The word Easter is derived from Eostre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon Goddess who symbolized rebirth of the day at dawn and the rebirth of life in the spring. The arrival of spring was celebrated well before any religious meaning became associated with Easter.
** Like most of the things I write, I include references to pop culture, products, or names which are copyrights and trademarks of their respective companies.

Amazing PlaidFluorescent Lighting. Buying Heath a book called “The Superior Person’s Book of Words”. Carpool lanes that require more than 1 person in the car. Plaid. What do all these things have to do with Valentine’s Day? They are all incredibly BAD ideas. (except for the plaid)

What drives us to buy chocolates, flowers, and cards today? What causes us to make reservations for the hottest restaurant four months in advance? Why do we max out our credit cards each and every year on a day that we don’t even get off from work? What are the origins of this false “holiday”…where did it come from…why do people accept and tolerate it…why does Hallmark stock break volume trading records on this day?

Let’s discuss.

Editorial note: Whether or not you subscribe to this historical interpretation of Valentine’s Day (or whether you actually celebrate it as a “holiday”), this is, in my opinion, the correct version of the truth. Referenced at the end of this editorial, you will find alternate interpretations. Believe them if you will.

Rudolph ValentinoLong, long, long ago…1895 to be exact, Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina D’Antonguolla was born (the smart readers will already know where I’m going with this, and yes, that really is his full and complete name).

Nothing especially special happened for the first 14 years of his life, so we’ll skip ahead to age 15: he decided to spice things up a bit and join the Navy.

Unfortunately, he did not pass the rigorous physical exam (running, jumping, climbing trees, hat, flag, bang, stuff like that – snaps to eddie izzard), or the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Rodolfo was so distraught by the military rejecting him, he took it upon himself to personally maintain a military-like-level of physical fitness.

Daily, he could be seen at 24-hour fitness, sweating to the oldies on the Precor elliptical bike. Of course, the oldies of the 1900’s were droll love songs, like Oh Lover Where Art Thou in thine Olde Kingdome, which really weren’t written to be danced to or ellipticalled to, but somehow it all worked out.

We’ll call this fitness fad Life Event #1 (with more to come).

For three years he worked out and worked out and worked out, eventually developing an 8 pack (due to a genetic aberration that gave him extra musculature that we can all be jealous of).

At age 18, he arrived in the United States, with a heavy Italian accent (unfortunately it was so heavy that he couldn’t bring it as a carry on and it had to be checked, and was subsequently damaged enroute even though he’d paid the overweight fee and insured it for an additional $50), which we’ll call Life Event #2.

After about a year or so travelling around America, Rodolfo developed a liking for driving cars very, very fast, not dissimilar to residents of LA or Sacramento (but completely dissimilar to the drivers of Oregon’s highway 26 which for some reason has a speed limit of 55), and we’ll call this Life Event #3.

And finally, as Rodolfo reached the drinking age of 21, he got drunk, broke into Hollywood, got arrested, and was given a job as an actor (hey, a creeping kid, for my new film, The Creeping Kid – word to eddie izzard), Life Event #4.

What have these four Life Events lead up to? The creation of the Ultimate and Total Ladies Man (UTLM) (or one could argue, a man’s man). And so the story continues…

SheikEvery year, the weather gets cold in America. Typically that time is around January/February, which means that people are bundling up in warmer clothing, burning wood in the fireplace, drinking hot cider or mulled wine, lighting candles, and snuggling under or on top of the bear skin rug in front of the aforementioned fireplace.

In some locations, such as Hell, Michigan (which incidentally froze over in an extremely cold winter of 1995-96, and made the news), the weather is colder than cold, which means that people are snuggling much closer than they normally would. Often, this snuggling leads to interludes of passion, which in many cases leads to hospital overcrowding in the September/October time-frame.

Being the physically fit, foreign, daredevil actor that he was, Rodolfo was no exception to the rules of cold weather and love, and thus he was never without a date for a cold Friday or Saturday night. Women flocked from all over the world to spend time with this fine specimen of manhood.

In fact, due to the volume of women continually invading his home trying to get some quality time with him, Rodolfo had a 9-foot-high stucco wall and floodlights erected at the mansion, and also purchased three Great Danes, two Italian mastiffs, and one Spanish greyhound to patrol the courtyard and terrace. (all true)

However, he did actually enjoy some of this “woman flocking”, which, due to his…um…”popularity”, extended well beyond just Friday and Saturday nights.

Cute BearDuring the winter months, Rodolfo had to hire a full time assistant just to keep the living room cleaned up from the night before. He had a different bear skin rug for each day, which were kept cleaned and hanging in a special room in the house, which he called the Bear Skin Rug Room (as you’ll come to understand as you keep reading, that he wasn’t the most creative guy in the world).

A full time dry cleaner, who specialized in authentic bear skin rug care was on-staff to monitor and manage the quality of the rugs. Rodolfo certainly couldn’t have one of his ladies over on a matted burber.

WineIn addition to the dedicated cleaning staff, Rodolfo also had one of the best stocked wine cellars in the country. Racks and racks of premium Italian wines were shipped from overseas, as well as boxes and boxes of Italian chocolates. In the back yard of his mansion, another full time employee tended to the elaborate rose garden, which included nearly 8 varieties of red, white, pink, lavender, mauve, carnelian, canary and aubergine roses.

Rodolfo (Rudy) Valentino was pretty much set to entertain any number of ladies, each day of the winter months. With a nearly endless supply of wine, chocolate, and roses, he could afford to meet with a new lady every weekday, and possibly two on each weekend day (depending upon cleaning staff availability). But he was faced with a dilemma…

From a day-to-day perspective, he had no problem keeping up with the rigorous duties required. He was physically fit, knew how to thrill a woman by taking her on a fast ride on his motorcycle or in the Fiat, and had all the supplies to make for a wonderful evening. But Rudy was never the kind of man to have a one-night-stand without some type of follow-up. He wanted these women to feel special, and to feel as though they had really meant something to him (which they had). He needed a way to show his appreciation and gratitude to these lovely ladies who had spent the evenings with him.

Thank You CardFortunately for Rudy, his close friend Hal came up with a way for Rudy to really mark the occasion. Why not send a little paper note of thanks to the numerous ladies, and attach a small personal message in each one? Rudy was very keen to this idea, as he did not want any of the ladies to think that they were not as special as the others, and in fact, he did not want them to KNOW that there had been any others besides them. In this way, he could maintain very positive relationships with all of them, and quite possibly have repeat performances with those whom he found most enjoyable.

So Rudy and Hal set out to write the letters.

Unfortunately, Rudy had spent so much of his energy on the evenings of passion, he lacked the creativity to develop personalized messages for so many different ladies. Again, his pal Hal came to the rescue. Hal, being a man of the “creative” persuasion (and before you go there, I can put that in quotes because _I_ am so go ahead and hang up with HR), had no trouble coming up with cute little rhymes or poems which spoke of love, passion, friendship, and pleasure.

Rose PetalsHe spent several weeks sitting out on the veranda of the mansion, writing poem after poem, but making each one unique and special. Hal even had another idea. Why not include a petal from one of the roses in the garden, inside each note? A petal from the same colour rose that Rudy had used on the night of passion. Now he had a card with a personalized poem and a personalized token of affection, which would truly make a mark on the occasion.

Rudy was thrilled! His friend had really come through to provide a solution to the problem. Rudy was a very humble man, however, and refused to take the credit for this creativity. He insisted that on the back side of every card, a small letter H would be watermarked into the paper, in deference to his great friend who had helped him thank all of these women.

When Hal noticed the small letter, he asked Rudy what it meant. Rudy informed him that this was the Mark of Hal, otherwise known as the Halmark. Needless to say, Hal was most pleased.

And so Rudy rushed down to the postal office, and mailed off each of the notes to each of the women he had come to adore. The notes arrived, poems were read, rose petals were smelled, and the women knew that they had made a difference in the life of this handsome, dashing man.

As Rudy aged, the number of women he sent these cards to increased and decreased (we all have good years and bad years), but he continued to send the notes, and continued to stamp the small H on the back, even after his friend Hal had passed on.

Valentine CardWe continue this tradition today, celebrating the unique style and nature of a man named Hal, who might never have become a published poet were it not for his dear friend Rudy Valentino. And this, is the true story, of Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all 🙂

Editorial Comments:
Interview on The Awful Truth, Michael Moore’s TV show
Michael Moore: You seem like a very sensitive man – you got married on Valentine’s Day. Don’t you think you’re in the wrong job, being Secretary of Defence?
Secretary William Cohen: Not at all. The preservation of the nation’s security is the most important thing. We couldn’t write poetry if we didn’t have a secure country.

To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say and to finish without knowing what you have written.
– Jean Jacques Rousseau

Epipremnum aureum (Wikipedia)

Epipremnum aureum (Wikipedia)

Epipremnum aureum. Common name, Pothos.

Derived from the Latin Vulgate meaning that which grows and spreads like wildfire yet can grow even in dark closets.

This amazing plant has sprung up in every restaurant, every airport, every hospital, everywhere – and the obvious benefits of such a plant are well…obvious!

They add a sparkle of green and yellow to the decor. They easily spread to cover a large area, and can be used to accent not only table tops, but also counters, shelves, bookcases, and in ancient times they even put them on either side of the portcullis of a castle.

But what we’re really concerned with today are the health benefits of the Pothos. As with any chlorophyll rich foliage, the Pothos is responsible for contributing to our ability to live and breathe and thrive and do other things on this planet.

Without the Pothos, oxygen would in fact be a rare commodity, sold on the black market: bottled, canned, spritzed, and vacuum sealed. There would be different quality and purity levels of O2.

For those on a diet, we’d offer Diet-O2 (or O2 Lite if you’re somewhere other than the United States), and if you wanted all the flavour of O2 but not all the gassy aftertaste, we would offer O1.

At some point, we’d start with the marketing gimmicks.

NewO2, CherryO2, Diet CarbonFreeO2, Diet Black Cherry Vanilla O2. All of this would happen were it not for the Pothos.

Obviously we can’t do without this precious plant. Unfortunately they are so abundant that their relative value and cost is next to nothing. Any resident of our planet with $5 can go to their neighborhood Target/Wal-Mart/Kmart (well not Kmart unless you live in some remote location where they haven’t gone out of business) and pick up a Pothos. Just imagine if we suddenly had only a finite supply of them left, or if they only grew in one remote sector of the world.

They’d become as valuable as diamonds.

Soon you could only buy them at DeBeers Exotic Pothos Emporium, but you would have to get on a waiting list, and the only way to get on the waiting list would be to call a special phone number at a special time, and hope to not get a busy signal. Assuming you got through, then assuming you got on the waiting list, you would still have to pass a rigorous Pothos Ownership Operating Process (POOP). Not only is there a written exam, but also an oral exam, home inspection, and a requirement to sign a waiver allowing DeBeers to reclaim the plant in the case of neglect, and also allowing for periodic home re-evaluations.

There are probably those of you out there who think “I’m safe. I already have several Pothos at my house, so I don’t ever have to worry.”

Unfortunately, George W. Bush signed an executive order before he left office, authorizing the military to enter any personal property and seize any live Pothos on the premises. The law is actually so all-encompassing that they can seize dead Pothos as well, or force you to search your own garbage for any that you may have thrown away.

No one will be safe from the threat of Pothos extinction.

Well, except for the very very rich. Anyone making over $500,000 a year is exempt from the new law of course. Heaven forbid we deprive the rich from their double half-caf, half-decaf O2 with a twist of lime (oooh I’ll have a twist of lime too!).

Besides, the middle class should just learn to be happy with the middle class Starbucks O2 Au Lait right? For those of you who aren’t bilingual, Au Lait means with milk. That’s French. Which means that if you travelled to France and wanted to have some O2 with milk, you’d have to say “Au Lait” instead of “with milk” otherwise they wouldn’t understand you, because no one in France is bilingual. Be careful about using this term in other countries, such as Mexico or Spain, or they might send a bull charging after you, because Au Lait is surprisingly similar in sound to O’le! (I learned this the hard way.)

Tour Eiffel (Wikipedia)

Tour Eiffel (Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, there are no Pothos in France, so I don’t know why anyone would go there anyway. Except maybe to see La Toure Eiffel, which means Eiffel Tower. But you can see pictures of that online, so again I ask, what’s the point? I’d much rather go somewhere and see something that no one has ever seen or taken a picture of.

Maybe there’s a remote cave in the middle of a vast line of underground caverns that maybe hasn’t even been discovered, and maybe contains a vast cache of Pothos growing wildly and abundantly, creating so much O2 that if it ever escaped from the cave it would throw off the balance of the entire global O2 market sending O2 stocks crashing down and ensuring quality breathing air for anyone on our planet, turning billionaires and other rich folks into ordinary middle class citizens within minutes. (this reminds me of the Great Chopsticks Incident of 2004)

It could happen…

* This commentary is based on the Award-Winning Best-Selling Novel by the same author, and in no way supports or defames the holiday of Independence Day, because it has absolutely nothing to do with it.

This one was written a while ago – but it seemed appropriate to bring out on 6/26/2015.

I want to get married. I want a big church wedding, with flowers, and candles, and brides maids and grooms men, and as much pomp and as much circumstance as the building can hold. Actually that’s all a lie. I haven’t set foot in a church in ages, flowers make me sneeze and make my eyes water, candles from anywhere other than Illuminations are an abomination, brides maids assumes that there is a female involved or a person playing a female role which is not me in the least, and pomp and circumstance are highly overrated in today’s society.

That being said. I want a fast, efficient, process driven, project plan scheduled meeting, where I sign a piece of paper, a notary watermarks it, and a legally authorized official says “it’s done!” I don’t want to wear a veil, even if properly tszujed, I don’t want to pay a ton of money for a tuxedo that I will never wear again (despite the recommendations that every man should own one good tuxedo), and I don’t want to spend hours registering for things at Macy’s, Cost-Plus, or Best Buy that no one wants to buy me anyway.

I don’t like getting gifts and I question the value of surprises.

Birthday’s are always a chore because there is something wrapped that will come as a complete surprise, unless of course it’s from my amazon.com wish list, in which case I can just click that button that says “show me what’s been purchased” and the surprise is over. Weddings are a different story. Nothing is a surprise, because you asked for it all. In fact, registering for a wedding is one of the most pretentious things that I can imagine.

How dare you tell me what to bring to your wedding. If I want to make sure you get 8 toaster ovens and 3 crock pots, I’m darn well going to do it. Planning the gifts that you will receive is materialism to the highest level. And people, you don’t really want the sterling silver ash tray set. Half of the people who register for crap like that don’t even smoke, and don’t even know how to polish it. Basically it verdigris (turns green) before they remember what it was, and they set it on the back patio, under the tiki torches and use it as a cheap ash tray for their summer barbecues. Eventually the person who gave it to them will notice it and feel utterly rejected that the $75 gift is relegated to having a puddle of water and soggy ashes in it because it rained last night and the host didn’t bother to clean it up.

When I get married, I don’t want a wedding, I just want the reception. That’s where all the fun happens. I don’t want gifts, if anything I want cash that I can spend in any way I want. That way, if I decide that I just can’t live without that vegetable juicer or that automated onion slicer, I can go buy those things myself, and then be the only one to blame when I realize after 4 years that I haven’t even used them at all, and they wind up in a moving sale when we move into a bigger house, and they sell for 1/50th what I paid for them.

Come to think of it, I’d rather people not even give me cash. Let’s just avoid that whole self-guilt thing that would be caused, because being the awesome, wonderful, non-materialistic person that I am, I just want my friends and family to be there, dancing to awesome music, drinking tons of champagne or red wine, eating from the elaborate buffet, and enjoying themselves and sharing the day with me and my new husband. OK, reality check. Who cares about all that crap, bring on the CASH!

So, instead of saving up money for an elaborate wedding, I’d funnel all the money into the biggest reception possible. Given how hugely popular I am, renting out a ballroom at a hotel or resort would be the best option. Obviously, everyone I know will want to be there, and that can easily fill a small room. But the point of having a reception is that you invite everyone you’ve ever met before in your life, to maximize the number of useless gifts you can receive. If you go with the cash option as I mentioned before, you can actually recover all the cost of the reception, pay for your honeymoon, and a new car at the same time. It’s amazing how much cash you can raise if everyone gives you $30, instead of buying you another useless hand mixer.

Let’s add this up. Say you invite 50 people, each bringing $30 for the cause. That adds up to $1,500.00 right there. That covers a lot of cases of wine, and tons of ready to serve buffet food. But why stop there? Use the network you’ve been building! Start sending invitations to every distribution list you are on, whether at work or outside the company. Now you’ve increased your invitation list to, let’s say 750-1000 people. If we use the standard statistical estimate that you’ll get approximately 75% of the invited population to actually attend, and we assume 1000 receipts, you’ve got a list of 750 people. Guess what that means? We’re talking $22,500.00 baby!

With that kind of cash, you’re on your way to a week-long cruise around the south of Africa! Down payment on the new useless H2 SUV? No problem! A couple thousand for new granite tops on the kitchen counters? Done! A reception cover charge is the way to go for the couple of the 2000’s. We’re already used to cover charges for every other party we go to, so why not a wedding reception?

So now you have your money problems solved, and you don’t have to worry with returning useless gifts to the store to recover cash that way (you know you’ve all done it so don’t get all huffy, I’m just pointing out the facts), you’ve had the reception of a lifetime, with all of your friends, acquaintances, and really anyone who was willing to pay a $30 cover charge to a mega-dance party. What more could you ask for?

Personally, I’m thinking of having an 80’s cover band attend, and filling the entire place with foam and making everyone show up in only their underwear. For that, I’m thinking we can go to $50 a person. $37,500.00 would be a great down payment on a new BMW 7 series…

So over the last few months, I’ve been fighting off a recurring problem which I think impacts a large number of people. Some of you may have experienced this issue both at work and at home. At work, it is less frequent, but often makes people stop, look around, and wonder. At home at least you are in the privacy of your own home. I am of course talking about dieresis.

Dieresis is a problem that affects, on average, 873 million people per day…mostly Europeans. For those of us who are not European, and may be slightly concerned, I offer a translation. Dieresis is an umlaut. An umlaut you say? But I dreamed about one of those just last night! Those two precious little dots that appear above some but not all of the vowels in our language, causing a tightening of the mouth…a puckering if you will…to achieve perfect pronunciation.

Some of you possibly have lives and don’t dream about umlauts. Instead you may have day dreams of degree signs, affirmations of acutes, tirades about tildes, or dialogues about diphthongs. Some of you, a very small special some of you, may even be having an affair with a cedilla. But no matter which of these marvelous characters you ponder, they all serve the amazing purpose of turning words and sounds into the language that we speak every day. (Ponder that one for a moment.)

Most of us are pretty familiar with “special characters”. I’m not referring to Tinky Winky, or Binky Banky, or Plinky Plonky, or whatever the h*ll those creatures are called. I’m referring to those marvelous symbols that were not originally included in the 26 letter English alphabet. Perhaps you are familiar with the ampersand &, the at @, the pound # (or £ if you’re Region-2), the splat *, and the bang !. Those special characters do nothing to change the way a word sounds, but often represent words of their own (mostly because we are too lazy as a species to write “and” or “at” so someone developed the & and @). But having a language means that it must be adaptable. New words must be created on a regular basis to keep the discussions flowing. But how are we to create new words with only the 26 letters available to us?

There comes the true value and impact of the diacritical marks. Not only are the diacritical marks “special characters”, but they are “diacritical special characters”, DSC for short. DSC have allowed us to extend and expand the language to include words that may never have appeared. DSC allow us to change the pronunciation of a word, without changing the composite letters. DSC allow us to truly sound more pompous and pretentious than we ever could have been, unless we had been born in Europe. (*snaps to my European friends who sign away most of their rights once they become my friends*)

Many years ago while on a trip to Oregon I had a lovely dinner and social event with a group of work folks. I had traveled north to attend a leadership development class, and on the journey felt as though I should go amongst my people and drink. After a lovely dinner, the remaining group made our way to the local Chevy’s for margaritas. Chevy’s, being an authentic Spanish restaurant, offered us the opportunity to interact with people who speak somewhat differently than we do, and who natively make use of DSC in every-day language. I am of course talking about our friends in the south, our Spanish-Mexican-Or-Other-Spanish-Speaking-Country-Americans.

One such native speaker was our waitress/attendant/server/provider/food service professional. Her name, Consuèlla Maria Conchita Aloña Rodriguez Turner. I knew that this was a person I could ask a question that I had been waiting all my life to ask.

What on earth is a cedilla?

For those of you just joining us: Ç. It’s basically the letter C with a little curvy tail. Almost as though a comma and a C just got a little too close one night after several top shelf margaritas on the rocks no salt. Honey, if I had a comma shoved in me, I’d pronounce things differently too. (sorry, I just channeled Queen Latìfa for a moment)

Much to my chagrin, CMCART had never heard of the cedilla. I don’t know whether it is because I pronounced it “seh-DEE-uh” or whether she was from an area that simply did not have this DSC as part of their dialect, but none the less, my question remained unanswered. [note: I later discovered that the cedilla is NOT part of the Spanish dialect at all, therefore, I was totally off-base in asking CMCART]

So what to do with all of these special characters? Well, once you’ve had a few TSMotRnS (top shelf margaritas on the rocks no salt – honestly, if you would keep up with me I wouldn’t have to explain these things), the natural inclination is to start using DSC to make fun of people. And that we did. Thankfully, there were so few people sitting near us, we thought it easier to just make fun of ourselves by giving everyone their own special accented name.

I won’t go into the full detail of our naming scheme, but suffice it to say we made sure that everyone had at least one special character. To illustrate our most precious name, I will introduce Monte.

Now in the original form this would be pronounced: Mahn-tee, with the accent on the first syllable. Obviously, this name needed some special characters, and with so many at our disposal here’s what we came up with… Möñté. Three special characters (o-umlaut, n-yay, and the l’accent acute), all in the same name…transforming Mahn-tee into Moon-Yehn-Tay. As you can clearly see, inclusion of special characters transformed this normally boring and bland name into something posh, debonair, and ear-catching. Imagine the looks you would get yelling across the cafe…”Moon-Yehn-Tay…over here!!” (So much better than Mahn-tee…don’t you agree? *snaps to Monte for his willingness to be temporarily portrayed as a boring/bland-named individual, because he’s not boring or bland at all*)

Alas, not everyone can have such a special name like Möñté. Most of you will go through life with mundane-as-molasses-Martin’s, bland-as-butter-Bonnie’s or routine-as-rain-Rhonda’s. But just think of the possibilities for your career, or your life, if you could be Mare-TEEN-yah, BOON-yeee, or Ro-HOON-day. Great Las Vegas Showgirl names…