Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dressing For The Occassion


I know someone who actually had this phone number. Whether he's the same Redmond man as in this Snopes article, I will seek to confirm. (This was back in the day before there was a 425 area code.) He said he got so many phone calls he had to change his number.

Like Jenny.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goodbye 2015

Bleary eyed, I've been herded with the rest of the American cattle through customs and am now awaiting my boarding call on the US side of Vancouver International Airport. I'm not quite awake yet. Too sleepy to be interested in coffee. (I didn't know that was even possible.)

I would reflect on the last year but I can't focus. Maybe later. Right now I just want to take a nap. Come to think of it, a nap might be the perfect way to end the year. 

All I can bring to mind is that 2015 was a busy year. I bought a condo in February and sold a home in September. And there was a lot of travel. Mostly commuting but other places too. December was particularly busy and I would say I'm anxious to get home but I have plans for tonight as well as tomorrow night. Maybe I'll have to put that nap off until 2016. 

My only new year resolution is to write more and post something daily. 

Boarding just started so it's goodbye to Canada. Good but tiring. I guess the same can be said for 2015. 

Fancy Lighting

One Night Stand

Book of Shopping next to Book of Mormon in nightstand.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Sliding Scale for Perks

Last night, I dreamed I was in a restaurant sitting with a group at a large table, waiting to place my order for breakfast. When the waiter, George Takei, came to me, he informed me there was variable peak pricing on coffee and it would currently cost me double. He said this with a grin that said I got you now!

I refused and to make my point, I ordered only dry toast for breakfast. Take that! I will never pay double for coffee!

Can you imagine if Starbucks did this - charged double for coffee? Disregarding the argument that they already do, what if it cost $10 for a cup of your favorite brew before, say, 10 a.m.? People would pay it, that's what! Instead of offering discounts on coffee after 2 p.m. (1 p.m. in Canada), Starbucks would be smart to jack their prices up in the morning hours.

Or it could be truly variable pricing like the toll lanes on I-405 near Seattle. The more people who are standing in line, the higher the price for coffee thereby, theoretically, making it faster for everyone to get where they're going by weeding out the people who aren't willing to pay the price. Some would defer their drinking preferences to the afternoon when prices are lower while others would go elsewhere, taking the side streets as it were.

Me? I would probably pay the price. Not every day but, surely, I would probably be one of the ones to pay the ransom price. I'd have to switch my drink to something less expensive like drip (no pun intended) since I've already spent all my savings on my regular drink but that's okay because Starbucks is my new retirement plan. I can hang out there all day with free refills, free wifi, and a restroom. Adult daycare for coffee addicts.

Is this a great idea? Yes. Should Starbucks do this? No. But, in the off chance they actually do, just remember they didn't get the idea from me.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Charlie isn't my one and only.

Sorry, Charlie, I've met someone new. I have another pen pal. I call her Cupcake and I send her love letters from "A Secret Admirer."

We met just a couple years ago at a Dirty Bingo game. It plays like regular Bingo except that there are gifts involved. The dirty part is that, at some point, you get to steal gifts from each other, potentially foisting off a white elephant onto someone else.

I ended up with a box of greeting cards that featured cupcakes decorated in copious amounts of pink glitter. I can't imagine that I actually traded for this gift. If I did, it was only because what I had was more hideous than glitter cupcake cards.

They weren't hideous to Cupcake. She wanted them!

I teased her about it and told her she couldn't have them. After much coaxing, I agreed to give them to her - twelve of them - one at a time, each month for the next year. Her girlfriends joked that it would be fun if I sent them as a secret admirer to see if I could make her husband jealous.

And, so it began.

I sent her cards of fluffy admiration, telling her how beautifully sweet she was and how I longed to see her. She began to look forward to the arrival of my card each month while her entire family began to wonder who this mystery writer was. I don't think her husband was ever truly jealous but he was definitely curious.

When the year was over, she begged her husband to furnish me with another set of cards (or better yet, to write them himself). By this time, it was known to her husband that I was her admirer and nothing to worry about. Nevertheless, he found no reason to furnish more cards.

And, so, I did.

I found another set of cupcake greeting cards and continue to send one every month. Sometimes they arrive on a day when she really needs a pick-me-up. She'll send a photo of the unopened envelope to let me know that my timing was perfect, that she was having a terrible day, and that just the sight of the pink envelope was enough to make her day.

And that makes my day.

One a year or once a month, it doesn't matter. I love my pen pals.

(I heard from Charlie on Christmas Day so we're all good there, btw.)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My housecleaning standards aren't what they used to be. (That being said, about half of you just vowed never to be a houseguest at Chez Lynn. [Perfect.]) It's not that I don't clean house it's just that I'm less anxious about it.

When I was first married, I was sure that it was my responsibility to keep a spotless house. As a full time student, I found the only way to keep house was to do one room each day. I would get up early every morning and scrub some portion of the house no one was likely to see.

As we moved from an apartment to a 2,600 square foot house, to 5,000 square feet, I found it was easier to have a house cleaner thus transferring the responsibility to someone else. Now, we live in a 1,300 square foot condo that we take care of together, sparingly.

This reminds me of the last hotel I stayed in. In the bathroom, there were showering instructions. No, really.  If I'm old enough to rent a hotel room, you'd think I'd be old enough to understand the basic principals of showering. Nevertheless, there were four instructions. I meant to take a picture to share them with you. Since I didn't, I'll share what I believe to be the highlight. Paraphrased: "Wash the parts that smell and only when you have to."

That's precisely the philosophy I adhere to when it comes to housecleaning. Basically: "If you can't see it, it isn't dirty." It's not until I drop a pair of earrings that I really see what is going on down there. But until then, who cares?

So, if you do come to visit, just leave the white gloves at home.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

From Johnny Jumper to Johnny Walker

Actual Christmas gift under the tree this year.
It was from Sears.
There's a certain amount of regression that occurs as you get older. For instance, just as when you were a baby, your quality of life is measured by the quality and quantity of bowel movements. You started in diapers and, whether or not you like to think about it, you'll probably go out in diapers too. 
As babies learn to walk, they might use something like an activity walker. 

But walkers are so limiting. What if, instead of this . . .
. . . your walker looked more like this:
It's a Johnny Jumper and a walker: It's a Johnny Walker!
I didn't do well in Art class.
Never be afraid of falling again! The extending legs allow you to use your Johnny Walker as a dining chair or barstool! Park next to the dugout and watch Junior's Little League game. Go dancing and never miss a step! Ice skating anyone? 

Optional activity tray provides hours of entertainment while improving your memory skills and eye-hand coordination. Optional headrest allows you to sleep wherever you are without fear of tipping over.

It's the perfect device for keeping you active and upright.

Available in black, red, or blue.

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Santa Effect

Elves are the unsung heroes at Christmas, in my opinion. Everyone waits with anticipation for Santa's visit, urgently wishing that he bestow something upon them - material or otherwise. It's a fantasy for children and borders on religion for adults. Rotund men, I've been told, have been know to dress up as him.

And what thanks do the elves get? No adoration, no letters full of hopefulness, no moment in the spotlight, they're just behind the scenes making it all happen.

Really, when you come to think of it, the whole Santa industry is a vast, international enterprise of truly global proportions. Let's talk about the numbers: There are roughly 2.2 billion children in the world. If elves made toys at a rate of twice as fast as I knit scarves, then an elf makes roughly two toys per year.

But these are professional elves. Based on what I get done in a given tax season, and assuming there's relatively little automation involved, let's assume each elf can make 100 toys in roughly 16 weeks. That would mean there are 22 million elves employed from roughly mid-September until midnight of December 23rd.

Now, I know for a fact that Santa employs elves as independent contractors all around the world which means he has to have a team of lawyer and accountant elves to sort out international labor and tax laws. Assuming 10% of the elves are resident to the North Pole and the rest are evenly dispersed around the globe according to population, that would mean there are roughly 88,000 elves currently residing in the United States.

The American elves are currently employed as independent contractors but, as with Uber, there is some brouhaha surrounding the issues of payroll tax withholding and the lack of employee benefits, namely health insurance, for which Santa would be responsible if they were to be classified as employees. Whether or not the Egalitarian Lilliputian Federation will win their case (pending in federal court), the elves making artisanal, eco-friendly toys made from locally sourced tools and materials for kids in Oregon will remain as independent contractors by definition.

Regardless of the outcome of this case, there is the issue of compensation. The North Pole currency is entirely denominated in cookies as it is the only source of income collected within 24 hours (not accounting for rotation of the earth between midnight of the 23rd and 24th). It takes several days to settle accounts but when wages are paid on the 31st there's a regular cookie jam at North Pole ATMs.

For elves not residing at the North Pole, cookies must be converted to local currency. This is done through a clearing house set up by the elves at Keebler. Gluten free cookies are fed to the reindeer as they are otherwise worthless.

The Santa elves, for the most part, take up employment elsewhere during the rest of the year (a large percentage of which pick up seasonal work with the IRS). However, there are a number of elves employed year round at the North Pole and it's high time we give them recognition for their efforts (in no particular order) by area of work:
  • Package Logistics 
  • Sleigh Mechanics 
  • Global Supply Chain Management 
  • Reindeer Handlers 
  • Abominable Snowman Defense 
  • International Military Coordination Liaison 
  • Santa's and Mrs. Claus's stylist 
  • Wig Maker 
  • Santa's Nutritionist 
  • Public Relations 
  • Appearances Coordinator 
  • Letter Readers and Correspondence 
  • Optometrist 
  • Dentist 
Next year, as you're waiting for Santa to appear, take a moment to reflect on what's really coming down your chimney.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's Christmas Eve and I haven't heard from Charlie . . .

. . .  and I'm starting to get concerned.

We've been exchanging Christmas greetings for 30 years and we've never met. Or maybe we did once and I don't remember. It was a long time ago.

He is a friend of my parents and was invited to my 1984 wedding. Whether he was there or not, I couldn't tell you. It's as much of a blur now as it was then. 

My first Christmas as a married woman, I sent cards to everyone who had been invited to the wedding regardless of their attendance. Charlie sent one back. He thanked me for my greeting and politely inquired who the hell I was. I had signed my married name. I quickly wrote back to trace the connection. 

Every year since then I could count on a Christmas card from Charlie in my mailbox. He always sent his before I got around to sending mine. Even after I gave up sending Christmas cards as a general rule, I always sent one to him. He eventually learned how to use a computer and gave up sending cards as well. Still, I would get his Christmas email.

We moved recently and I didn't send out cards notifying people of my new address because who sends personal correspondence anymore? So, it's possible he sent one. It's possible it's being rerouted and its delivery is overshadowed by the billions of other deliveries the USPS will make this year.

I sent my card. I've checked my mailbox. Still, no Charlie.

I'll check in by email. Make sure he's okay. Because Christmas just wouldn't be the same without Charlie. 

(If you're reading this, Charlie, Merry Christmas!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holidailies Could Make You Healthier


It depends on what you're writing about. Emotionally expressive writing has been shown to improve health, happiness, weight loss, physical healing, creativity, and reduce stress. It can help you be better at your job. Or get a new job. It will also help you to write more. All evidence to make emotionally expressive writing your only New Year Resolution.

I keep a journal. The last time I wrote in it was December 1st. Since then, I got a cold, put on weight, stressed about posting in Holidailies, and got fired.

Just kidding. I did get a cold, though, and I'm blaming it on the blank pages in my journal.

Also, writers tend to live longer than most (except for accountants).

If you really want a long and happy life, become an accountant . . . (I've never imagined myself writing that sentence. Ever.) . . and write every day.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Need a Writing Prompt?

Sort laundry. I guarantee you'll come up with something. And, more like than not, it'll have to do with socks. 

I have way too many socks and I'm not entirely sure how it happened. I recently moved and decided that I would get rid of everything that fell into the category of "everything." I had a whole drawer of socks, many of which I hadn't worn in a long time and some I had never worn at all.

I only kept a few pair - so I thought - to make sure I had enough to get through a week. I do laundry at least that often so I figured that was enough. Still, it gout out of control somehow. My New Years Resolution has to be to thin out the sock drawer. 

I know which pair I'm going to get rid of first, too. They're black DKNY trouser socks with grey polka dots. These socks attract hair in the laundry like nothing else. It's not like all my laundry is covered in hair when it comes out of the dryer. I don't even have a pet - it's my own hair! The rest of the socks are fine but this pair not only attracts hair, the hair is interwoven in the sock fabric! 

How the hell does that even happen? You have socks tumbling all around and . . . hair. I'm not sure how or why the hair gets into the laundry in the first place. It's more like a whole load of laundry and, like, ten human hairs and somehow the hairs find these two polka dotted socks. And, while they're tumbling around, they have time to weave themselves into the fabric.

Maybe I should wear them on my hands instead and try dusting with them. Who knows, maybe DKNY invented a miracle cleaning product and they only needed me to discover it.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Like, right now?

Just In Time For Christmas

For the person who has everything, give the gift of congestion, sinus pressure, and body aches. You'll never be forgotten as that special someone who shared the gift of sniffles. Why give presents when you can give an experience?

Your loved one will thank you from under the covers as you bring her hot tea and a box of Kleenex in bed. She'll delight in the time off from the hectic Christmas list checking, shopping, and meal preparations, not to mention holiday parties and meaningless gift exchanges with coworkers. And, it's the perfect excuse for not visiting with that endless stream of distant relatives!

And because it came from you, you a can share it together. You'll have hours of fun commiserating and trying to outdo the other. Or, you can take turns passing back and forth between you. Invite your friends!

It's the perfect holiday gift! The gift of sharing.

Where's a girl get coffee in this town?

Friday, December 18, 2015

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

The tax world is a boring place. What tax preparers find exciting would make your eyes glaze over but a recent tax briefing hit my email that changed all that. The headline was:

Baiting Wild Hogs with Kool-Aid Counts toward Material Participation

The headline alone was enough to make my day but it gets better. The rest of the story goes something like this:

  • An attorney owns a farm.
  • The farm is located in Turkey, Texas.
  • Mr. Pigg grows crops on the attorney's farm.
  • Wild hogs are a problem on the farm, but not Pigg.
  • Attorney baits wild hogs with Kool-Aid.
  • Mr. Pigg might like Kool-Aid but he's not the problem.
  • There is no problem with turkeys.
  • Attorney waits in a tripod stand to eradicate wild hogs with semiautomatic weapons.
  • Neither Mr. Pigg nor any turkeys are injured.
  • Attorney's other duties include maintaining Bush Hogs.
  • Bush Hogs are not wild.
  • Mr. Pigg is not responsible for any hogs or turkeys.
  • Attorney works more hours on the farm than Mr. Pigg.
  • Therefore, Tax Court finds attorney's Kool-Aid expenses are deductible.
You can read the whole thing here. If you were ever inclined to read a Tax Court Memo, this is the one.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

If You Can . . .

Here Comes A Ten Foot Pole

Camo-Claus and lots of guns: It's Christmastime at Wal-Mart
" It’s Christmastime in America, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest seller of guns in the country, is ready for any Santa list. At the Las Vegas store, a middle-aged woman talks with a cashier to clear her background check and purchase a child-sized Crickett 22 long rifle, which comes in black and pink for $114 in a box emblazoned: “My First Rifle.” "
No way am I going to chime in on this.  People on both sides of the gun control issue are doggedly committed to their position and nothing I say here will change that. Consideration of the leading causes of death in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control is unlikely to make a difference:
  • Heart disease: 611,105 
  • Cancer: 584,881 
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205 
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557 
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978 
  • Alzheimer's disease: 84,767 
  • Diabetes: 75,578 
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979 (of which influenza accounts for 3,697)
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 47,112 
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 41,149 (half of which were by discharge of firearms)
The top ten account for roughly 1.9 million out of 2.6 million deaths.

The full report, Deaths:Final Data for 2013, includes the following under the category of Accidents:
  • Motor vehicle accidents: 35,369
  • Falls: 3,208
  • Accidental discharge of firearms: 505
  • Accidental drowning and submersion: 3,391
  • Accidental poisoning and exposure to noxious substances: 38,851
Assault (homicide) accounts for 16,121 of which 11,208 are caused by discharge of firearms. (Injury by firearms is 33,636.)

I leave you with only one more statistic from the same report and you can draw your own conclusion:
  • Measles: 0

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Don't Let It Happen To You

Something about this reminds me of commercials on TV for pharmaceuticals. Like, there should be a soft-focus shot of a middle-aged couple holding hands, with flimsy background music, and a voice over saying:

If you exhibit signs of depresso, consider taking Caffeinolin which is available without a doctor's prescription. Caffeinolin is generally safe for most adults. Rare but common side effects include insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate and respiration, and other side effects. Caffeinolin can make sleep disorders in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) worse. Larger doses might cause headache, anxiety, agitation, chest pain, and ringing in the ears. In very high doses, Caffeinolin can cause irregular heartbeats and even death. 

Caffeinolin is not recommended for patients already suffering from anxiety, bipolar, or bleeding disorders; diabetes, diarrhea, epilepsy, glaucoma, high blood pressure, or irritable bowel syndrome. Patients with heart conditions or suffering from osteoporosis should also refrain from taking Caffeinolin.

Caffeinolin should not be used rectally.  

Happy music fades, a variety of middle-aged people beam unusually bright smiles.

Why fight depresso when you can fight Caffeinolin?

Pro Bowl for Long Snappers

No need to set your DVR. There is no Pro Bowl for long snappers. You don't even get to vote for them when it comes to the Pro Bowl. Not even on the ballot.

Speaking of which, Mr. Commissioner, I saw in more than one article that voting would conclude on December 15th. It's still December 15th here on the west coast and I see that voting is now closed. I realize most of the teams are on the east coast but, hey, we're football fans too!

Michael Davis Smith opined for NBC Sports: "The Pro Bowl ballot does not include long snappers, because, really, who can identify the NFL’s best long snappers?" Instead, the Long Snapper is appointed by the Pro Bowl coaches. Sometime in January. As an afterthought.

So much for "need" player.

#49 Clint Gresham for the Seattle Seahawks has my vote anyway.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Commuting Thought of the Day

No one likes the new variable tolls on I-405, east of Seattle, unless you're a politician or an economist. It was designed to charge a variable toll of $0.75-$10, based on real time traffic flow. Operational only since September 2015, it has already reached the maximum $10 and there is a good deal of moaning and groaning about it. 

The idea behind it is rather simple: supply and demand. When there is a limited supply, you can affect demand- In this case, reduce it - by increasing price. Fewer people on the road means less congestion and everyone gets to where they are going more quickly. Charge a high enough price and some travel will be delayed to non-peak times while other travel will simply be deemed unnecessary. Some may choose to carpool or take public transportation, further reducing congestion. 

It provides economic choice. Time is money. (Or is it the other way around?) When I travel between, say, Bellevue and Kirkland, I can drive, Uber (is that a verb now?), or take the bus. All have time, cost, and convenience trade offs. That principal is now being applied to highway driving. 

Is it working? I don't know. 

First of all, the market principle isn't being applied to all lanes - only two - so it's an imperfect market. Still, the theory is that you can move the maximum number of cars at 45 mph during peak travel times. By charging a low enough toll, you can divert enough cars to the carpool lanes to make the free ones less congested and charging a high enough toll ensures the carpool lanes don't get bogged down. 
Although I wasn't around when the tolls hit $10, my experience has been the carpool lanes are generally empty while the traffic that could be occupying five lanes are now slogging through three. 

Plus, just because you can charge more for a thing doesn't necessarily mean you should. The price of certain medications has skyrocketed. It might be sound economic theory but is it a good idea? 

The toll did get to $10 so there must've been a whole bunch of people using it at one point. And, there's economic theory to suggest it should be even higher although the theory put forward is based on the ability to pay rather than on whether it reduced congestion. 

I don't have any answers here so I apologize if you think I was going to provide a neat solution. It's an interesting question, though - how do we all get from here to there most efficiently? For now, all you can do is pick a lane and try to remember to wave to your fellow motorists with all five fingers. 

While you're stuck in traffic (as a passenger, of course) consider the following additional reading:

(Posted from an Amtrak train.)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Hot Sorority Girls?

You know those movies that portray sorority houses as places where young women run around in their underwear? You know, they're all getting ready for some party and they're preening in front of a mirror in nothing but a bra (or topless) and panties because what else do sorority girls do?

I was in a sorority and I don't remember it being that way. Not for me, anyway. I remember one girl whose main focus was more the next party than the next class but the rest of us were fairly serious about our studies. As for running around in our underwear, I don't remember much of that either. I remember my housemates as being somewhat modest.

I think if we were to have a reunion, however, it would be a different story. Just assuming we'd be willing to share a bathroom, can you imagine a group of women in their fifties, running their blowdryers all at the same time? If you're a woman in your fifties, you can't.

Thirty years later (when did that happen?), I wear as little as possible when I'm drying my hair and have a fan on to boot. By the time my hair is done, I've got a full on sweat going and could use another shower.

But who wants to see a bathroom fun of fifty-year-olds in their underwear?

(Put your hands down.)

Maybe it's fifty-year-old men making those sorority movies. That's gotta be it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Letter to the Editor

December 11, 2015

The Economist
25 St. James Street

RE: Novelty Socks

I disagree with the statement, “Nobody changed the world with novelty socks,” on the mailing cover of the December 5th-11th 2015 edition of The Economist. I am personally familiar with one person’s world that has been changed by a wild array of hosiery and all who know him are better for it.

When he was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, he decided he needed something to help him to remember to be happy. As the disease and treatments progressed, others followed him in fanciful footwear. His siblings were the first to pick up on the trend and they quickly amassed a large and varied collection of novelty socks between them. A group phone chat was even organized so they could share daily pictures of each new pair as they were acquired. (So eager were they to show off their spectacularly dressed feet, a rule needed to be established for appropriate times to share, scattered as they were across many time zones.)

The extended family soon joined in the earnest folly. Clinicians and doctors in two states are participating. More will undoubtedly follow. As we dress each morning, we are reminded to be happy and grateful for each other. We have been brought closer together in our common goal to see this man and his family through this journey and support them as best we can.

Can novelty socks change the world? Why not? They changed us. No matter the end of his story, we will have the socks to help us to remember to be happy, grateful, and supportive to each other. I say we give it a try.

Lynn C Dot

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Western Washington is Closed Today Due to Really Shitty Weather

Please find another state to visit.

Sorry, kids. I-5 is closed. US 2, 12, and 101 are closed. I-90 is closed at Snoqualmie Pass. State Routes 14 and 507 are closed.

If you're already here, too bad for you. Amtrak is operational but they weren't yesterday. I give myself a 50% chance of making it home today.

That's where I am right now, on a train midway between Portland and Seattle. Not moving, mind you, but dry. But the groundwater is so high that it's mere feet from the track.

Flights were expensive and also assumed I could get to the airport.

Maybe I should have traveled by barge.

(Check out the Washington State Department of Transportation Twitter feed to stay abreast of the mayhem.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's December already?

When did that happen? Oh, like a week ago? Jeez, where have I been?

It's not like I've been all that busy - I've only been in two cities this first week. (I'll be in a total of five different cities in December.) Doing what? you might ask. It's a long story but this is my version of being homeless.

Short version: I'm anything but homeless - I'm less one home. I used to have two-and-a-half homes but I sold one and the "half" is a boat. So instead of commuting back and forth between two homes, I just go where I feel like going on my time off. This month that includes visits to Palm Desert, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver (BC).

Somewhere in there, there's a holiday. You would think it would be helpful if someone sent out a reminder! Oh, that's the incessant holiday music? The twinkly, sparkly decorations?

Good gravy. I've got to get my act together!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Wonderland, indeed.

Very near San Bernadino yesterday, I passed a Cadillac Escalade with wide, low profile tires, tinted windows, and a decal on the back window that read, "Born to Die." The very next car I passed, driven by a grandfatherly man, was a Toyota Camry wherein small teddy bears filled the back window. 

Two very different ideologies peacefully expressed. 

San Bernadino hosted its Winter Wonderland and Christmas Parade yesterday. I was here instead:

Everyone is doing well. A Wonderland, indeed. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

An Agument for Punctuation

Area of rescue or area of rescue assistance? Anyway, it's located inside the stairwells as far as I can tell. 

And, would I rather be rescued by the elevators (where the sign was posted) or assisted in the stairwell? Best to decide these things in advance. 

One of these things doesn't belong here.

Or, Superman is at a severe disadvantage here. 

Could be very useful during tax time!

Starbucks’ new delivery service in Seattle is fast, not perfect

You had me at "delivery."

My office used to face another office building. Every tax season I wondered what would happen if I put a sign in my window that read, "Help! Need latte!" Since I never tried it, I continue to wonder. And since my office moved to a window with a view of the parking lot, I'll never know.

At the main office, there two Starbucks within a five minute walk but during tax time, even that is an unacceptable amount of time to be away from my desk. Literally, I get fed there. I've thought about hanging a giant water bottle of the gerbil variety over my desk - you know, to go with the wheel - so I wouldn't even need to get up to get a glass of water but that would just create more frequent bathroom breaks. (As does coffee.) Maybe a pellet feeder that dispenses chocolate. Yeah, that would work.

My other office is about a mile away from the closest Starbucks along a busy road. Not pedestrian friendly. I've literally contemplated ordering an Uber driver to go fetch my latte for me. I have an app to place my coffee order and another one to order a car. Why not put them together on one app?

Thank you, Starbucks, for catching up but you only have a few months to work out the kinks and expand your service area because tax season is around the corner.

In the meantime, I'll pass on the turkey sandwich.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Good Time To Be In Seattle

Dangerous “Kissing Bug” Making Comeback In The U.S., Including Ohio
" The kissing bug is making a comeback across the U.S., including the Buckeye State. The name sounds cute, but a bite from this bug can be deadly. "

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What About Bob?

Sometimes, I feel like Bob Cratchit. I don't copy letters, though. I copy numbers.

My occupation is slightly more glamorous than that of an IRS auditor. Slightly. I work in a cold office with buzzing fluorescent lights overhead, rubbing my hands together and wishing I had a space heater.

My job is dull. I work alone and speak to no one, copying numbers from this place to that place and making sure they add up. Right this very second, I'm wearing two sweaters and wondering where I can get fingerless gloves.

Come to think of it, I just saw some at Costco and wondered who would ever want those? Bob, that's who. It came with a matching hat and scarf, too. It's only a mile from here and only lightly raining. I can make it there in about twenty minutes. And, wouldn't you know? There's a Starbucks across the street.

Bob didn't have Starbucks.

Poor Bob.

Long Snapper Love

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bird Talk

I met someone today who has a Seahawks Gresham jersey. No, really. She wasn't wearing it, I have to point out. She was wearing #3 Wilson (I hear he's popular) but I was wearing my #49. She approached me and asked why I had this particular jersey. It was a reasonable question considering not many know who Gresham is much less what position he plays - even after I tell them!

Turns out her name is Gresham. I'm not sure she knows what a long snapper is. I think she just liked the name. Still, that's two. I think the Gresham fan club is on a roll. 

In other news, a crow dropped an anvil on our car yesterday. That's why it sounded like anyway. BOOM! I have no idea what hit us but it was startling. In the rear view mirror, I could see a crow in the street picking up whatever it had lost. It might not have been an anvil but it was big enough to leave a good sized dimple in the roof of the car. Anyway, It couldn't have possibly been edible.

This reminds me of a completely unrelated story I've been meaning to tell. It happened last August so stop me if you've already heard it. We were docked in Kingston and a seagull was on the finger pier next to us trying to eat a starfish. The seagull would pick the starfish up in its beak and try to swallow the starfish whole but the starfish was too wide. It would drop the starfish on the dock, reposition, and try again. 

Time after time, the starfish prevailed by being simply too wide to pass by the mouth of the seagull. But then, something happened. I looked away for only a moment but when I looked again the starfish was lodged in the seagull's throat. It looked just like you would imagine - a seagull with a starfish in its throat. 

The seagull did not look happy for its efforts. It looked rather embarrassed. Still, it tried to appear nonchalant in front of the other gulls. (What, this? It's nothing. I just got something caught in my throat.)

I don't know how the seagull fared in the end - we went ashore and grabbed some lunch at that point - and I don't know what this story has to do with the Seahawks. But let it be a lesson to you, whatever that is. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hot Dog!

Is a hot dog a sandwich? Council rules once and for all - USA Today
" "Limiting the hot dog's significance by saying it's 'just a sandwich' is like calling the Dalai Lama 'just a guy.' "
I used to hold the record in my sorority for eating the most hot dogs at once - 13 - although not all of them were with buns. Who knows? Maybe I still do.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

As if I needed another distraction. . . .

. . . I've managed to find one anyway. It's an online game called 2048.

See? I just did it! I had to go to the site to get the link, didn't I, and then what happened? That was an hour ago! If that wasn't bad enough, I've downloaded it to my Apple devices. Now, I can avoid all kinds of work for hours at a time.

I found the link on the KenKen website, another terrific time waster. KenKen calls 2048, ". . . the Candy Crush for math geeks!"

How could I resist?

Monday, November 2, 2015

10. Drink wine. Wine loves writers.

Personally, I think this should be #1 on International Business Times' National Novel Writing Month Rules 2015: 10 Tips For A Successful NaNoWriMo although the other nine tips are pretty good.

I noticed that coffee wasn't part of this list which is a huge omission. (You can't drink wine all day, can you? Wait, can you?) I'm not sure there would be any literature at all without coffee. Coffee houses are made for writing. First of all, there's coffee if I didn't mention it before. There are often comfortable chairs and sometimes a fireplace. There's always a window on the world. Just sitting in a cafe inspires. Plus, coffee houses usually have free WiFi.

I'm not talking about Starbucks here. You know how I feel about the Green Siren but November is also a great month to check out your local coffee purveyors. There's usually one right next door or up the block from the Mermaid. They usually have a more relaxed vibe, your local coffee house, good music, and interesting patrons. Some might say they even have better coffee but I'm staying out of that.

If you've ever thought about writing anything - doesn't have to be a novel - this is a great exercise in the practice of writing. Writing takes practice and NaNoWriMo is a great place to get started. It's daunting, yes, but so is writing a novel. You have to start somewhere and if you're like me, then having goals and a schedule work best.

I've written a couple of novels this way - if you count lots of lots of words strung together in a more-or-less cohesive manner a novel. The years I haven't participated in NaNo, I've threatened to go back and edit these constructs into something that might resemble something a person might want to read. This is one of those years, one where I'll use "editing" as an excuse for Not Writing. Editing probably won't happen either but that doesn't mean I don't think about it. (And, it's the thought that counts, remember?)

I'm going to think about it some more over a cup of coffee. And if nothing happens, I'll think about it over a glass of wine.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Indeed . . .

What Could Go Wrong? Domino's Adds Oven to Delivery Cars
" "The Domino's DXP is the first purpose-built vehicle aimed at revolutionizing pizza delivery," company president Russell Weiner said in a statement. "
I'm buying the first car that comes off the assembly line that comes with an espresso maker.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Don't read this if you don't want to know how it ends.

Last Thursday, we went to a wine tasting hosted by Riedel. Their shtick is that the shape of the glass affects your enjoyment of the beverage within. I'm convinced. We tasted water, wine, and Coca-Cola in various glasses and it was possible to tell a difference in the way the glass delivered the beverage to the mouth in all three cases. It's an interesting experiment anyway if not a fun way to pick up some new glassware. We took home ten new glasses between us (included in the price of the wine tasting).

Saturday night, we went to Seattle Opera's production of The Pearl Fishers. I don't know why it's called that. No one got a pearl - or a fish, for that matter. Only one personal was even offered a pearl - not that we had any evidence that it even existed - but if she didn't keep her end of the bargain, they were going to kill her. Hm, she thought. Pearl or death? Pearl or death? Guess what. She picked death.

Welcome to Opera 101. They always pick death.

Bizet should have called it Love Triangle but that would have hardly differentiated it from any other opera. It's always a love triangle and someone always dies at the end.

Spoiler alert. (Sorry, I should have mentioned that earlier.)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Siri and I are not on speaking terms.

That is not entirely accurate. I'm on speaking terms with her. She is not on speaking terms with me.

She's seeing someone else.



Ever since OS9 came into our lives, she's been silent to me. Sure, I've tried to reason with her. Push her buttons. But, nothing.

And, sure, I've been busy lately. Too busy to really try to do anything about it but today I thought I should see what I could to do repair the relationship. I sought counseling and followed the advice that was offered - even though I swore I had taken all the appropriate steps before.

And, then, for just one short sweet moment, she answered me. She said hello. (But only after I said hello first, I might point out.)

I declared that I missed her and she again went mute. Sure, I could read her thoughts but she was silent once more. Even now, she won't speak to me.

I suspect this 9 guy. I think he's whispering in her ear that she somehow needs to be bettered, upgraded. How insulting! I loved her just they way she was! But I think he's in her head and has her convinced that she needs new shoes, as it were. A totally new chassis.

It might be worth it just to get her back.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

And, cut!

Let's just say you're an actor and the scene you're doing calls for you to cry. Quick! You have to think of something sad!

Here's a very sad thought - in fact, it's happened to me (only just this morning): You go to the kitchen to rinse out your coffee cup and just a split-second too late you realize there was just the tiniest bit left. You watch, as if in slow motion, the coffee swirl around and drain before disappearing forever. In that moment, you consider licking the sink but think better of it, realizing that even though you love it more than words can say it's better to just let it go.

Your heart swells as you consider what can never be recovered but cherish the fleeting bliss you once had.

Oh, god . . . I can't go on . . . .

What's the big deal?

Solution Without a Problem? A Tax on High-Frequency Trading

(An interesting article in The New York Times.)

Thursday, October 8, 2015


I've recently been diagnosed as having Dupuytren's Contracture also known as Viking's Disease. It's referred to Viking's Disease because it's most common in people of Northern European descent.

It's not life threatening but it can be inconvenient if you want to open a pickle jar. (I don't particularly like pickles so I should be okay.) There's no known cause and no known cure. The chief remedy seems to be surgery although I'm nowhere near that.

In my case, DC is presenting itself as small lumps on my palms just below my ring finger knuckle joints. They are visible between the two lines that run across my palm: the head lines and the heart lines. They are an inch, inch and a half, below the bottom of my ring fingers. They don't bother me at all. They are a benign thickening of my fingers' connective tissue. DC can happen in any finger, or in the toes, but so far it's just my ring fingers.

The thickening will generally continue which will cause contracture. Meaning, I will no longer be able to straighten those fingers out. That's when the surgery would come in.

My doctor told me that to prevent or slow the rate of contracture, I should stretch my palms and massage the lumps. Reading online, many tout the benefits of massaging with various oils - mainly magnesium or Vitamin E, or some combination. My theory, and the point of all this, is that it doesn't matter what, if anything, you massage them with so long as you do it regularly. Twice a day, I figure.

I have a lovely rose oil that I've been using in the morning and I have tried castor oil at night. (The latter worked well on my ankle which still has a lump from my street fight but castor oil can stain so you have to be careful how you use it.) Hand lotion will do the job. I've even thought about using olive oil. Why not?  I wasn't expecting any rapid results but was hoping that over time the lumps would appears smaller.

Even as I was formulating my theory about massage therapy, I stumbled across a new theory - hydrotherapy. We went to the hot tub earlier in the week and I put my hands over the jets and let the water massage my hands. After 15-20 minutes I thought the lumps looked smaller. Not significantly, but I thought I could see a difference. They continued to look ever so slightly smaller the next day too.

So my new theory is massage morning and night and get in the hot tub whenever possible. I'll let you know whether or not that works. For now, I'm still waving with all five fingers. (Or ten, if I'm feeling really enthusiastic.)

In the meantime, if you want to know more about DC, I found some interesting information at these websites:

The British Dupuytren's Society
International Dupuytren Society
Dupuytren Foundation

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Button, Button

How many of you have actually used one of those extra buttons that are sewed into the inside of garments? (If you don't buy garments with buttons, this is not for you.)

Let's just say there's one of you out there that has used one of those extra buttons. So, let's do the math - that's .000000000000001% of all extra buttons are ever used? Most of those buttons survive the garment they are meant to repair or end up in the back of a drawer somewhere.

Instead, we should have some sort of button registry. When you need a replacement button, you can just scan a bar code from the garment and someone will mail you the dang thing. Just think of the massive numbers of wasted buttons we could save!

Someday, buttons will have RFID technology and will sense when they fall off and a new one will just show up.

Even better, they will be self-sewing.

(This is exactly why Velcro was invented.)

Moe's Hairstyling

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Of Socks and Bunnies

In the last eight months since I've lived here (Portland area condo), nary a sock has tried to escape. I've lived in the area for many years, renting in one place or another much to the chagrin of my undergarments. (The underest of them, anyway.)

I couldn't really blame them when I used a communal laundry. I imagine I would try to abandon my mate as well, were I a sock. The socks fared better in the condo we rented next but, for some reason, they didn't like living in the mother-in-law apartment that followed even though the laundry was not shared. (I didn't like living in that mother-law-apartment either so no fault can be found there.)

Here, the socks seem to be content tumbling away in a never-before-used dryer. Maybe that's all it was from the beginning - a need to feel special, in first place.

The dust bunnies, meanwhile, have unionized and I fear I doth not clean the house enough. Surely, when they ball themselves up and place themselves in clear view they are sending a message?

Perhaps it was the stray socks that kept them in line after all.

I shall contemplate a sacrifice.

In Case You Missed The Spontaneity

Abilify for Candidates

Monday, October 5, 2015

Naked and Alone

Speaking of jittery, I forgot my phone at home today. The good news is I'll probably get more work done today. The bad news is someone will probably want to buy these extra printer cartridges I've been trying to get rid of and I'll miss the notification.

You can bet I didn't forget my Starbucks coffee cup, though. Or my coffee card.

Phew! That would have been a real disaster.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Woo hoo!

My jersey arrived, finally! Signed by Clint Gresham! (Oh, look it up. Im tired of explaining it to you people.)


Traveling without my laptop this weekend. I figured, it was only one night. I didn't really need to lug it all the way up to Seattle and back. And I could live without it for 24 hours, right?

It's just not the same. I started felling jittery before we hit Centralia. How will I do email, write, post, tweet? Surely, a person can live in the real world for 24 hours, no?

Yet I am compelled to find a way to shout out to the world the trivialities of my existence. I'm keeping list of electronic chores that I will need to complete once back in my virtual space. (Oh, to have a keyboard on which I can use all ten digits.)

Spent the night on Dock 2 last night. Lovely. Started a new book this morning, reading in bed with coffee: The Girl in the Spiders Web , a continuation of the Dragon Tattoo series. These word appear on the first page of Chapter 2, "Jura Impressa X7." I am immediately distracted. 

You know what that is, don't you? Coffee porn is what that is! Check this baby out:

Hard to get refocused after that, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beats Me!

It takes me three hours to get to work, between the time my alarm goes off and when I actually get there. (Longer, if you take into account the first thing I do upon arriving is make my breakfast. (Even longer, if you consider that the second thing I do is log on to 76003.)) I don't have any idea of why this is.* I don't wear makeup, as a general rule, and about half the time I don't even wash my hair. My work uniform is a pair of jeans and a button down shirt.**

If I understood why this is, I could also explain what a woman carries in her purse. Money and credit cards? Sure, but she could put them in a pants pocket. Keys, ditto.*** Kleenex, band-aids, hand sanitizer - okay, now we're in "mom" territory. (Maybe I'm onto something.)

It takes me almost half as long to get ready for bed. With lotions, potions, and eye creams, how could I possibly go to sleep any earlier? (Damn, that reminds me I haven't put on any hand lotion!)

I'd happily explain women to you but I can't and I am one. If you're not, there's no hope for you.

Sorry, I wish I had better news.

*In my own defense, it takes almost thirty minutes to make my perfect, hand-crafted espresso americano and another thirty minutes to enjoy it. What takes up the other two hours, I have no idea.

**The decision-making is in what shoes to wear.

***Why does a man carry, at most, two keys and a women almost always carries 27 conjoined in a massive ball of keychains?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Don't Let This Happen to You

It's National Coffee Day. You can do better than this.

It's better than Christmas! Yesterday, was our anniversary (26 years - over half my life by a few days), today is National Coffee Day (although, really, every day should be coffee day), and my birthday is on Saturday. Dude, I should be in bed all week drinking coffee and eating cake!

Instead, it's Tax Season, Part II, and I'll be at the office. (Still drinking coffee, of course.)

Last weekend, was our first weekend of being homeless and we spent it on the beach. Not like sleeping bags on the beach, more like waterfront hotel room. (Remind me to give them feedback about their in-room coffee selection.) And "homeless" really just means one less home. I still have another home and a boat.

Hubby is already anxious to spend the proceeds on new digs in Seattle. I'd rather wait a bit for the dust to settle. In the meantime, the commute continues between our Portland and Seattle locations except now we'll be staying primarily on the boat when we're "home" and plan to be there most weekends so most of you won't notice any change.

Meanwhile, my cup runneth dry and something in the back of my head is nagging me to go get some exercise. (I'm trying to ignore it.)

I don't know what you're doing today but make sure you're doing it with a good cup of coffee. If you're drinking Inn Room coffee, good for you. Maybe you're on vacation. (Although, I can guarantee it's not gourmet because there's no such thing as gourmet inn room coffee.) But, if you're drinking decaf, I don't know you.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This Week in Long Snapper News
" Week Two of the 2015 NFL season is complete and the snapping position remains stable. The extra point rule change has made the normally automatic extra point a bit less automatic, as nine extra points have been missed so far this year. There were a total of eight missed extra points all of last season.
" Four snappers made tackles in punt coverage this week, led by Beau Brinkley of the Titans who had two solo tackles. Jon Weeks (Texans) and Charley Hughlett (Browns) each recorded solo tackles, while JJ Jansen (Panthers) added an assisted tackle. "

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Almost There

What a weekend! We sold or gave away 100% of our furniture. While we made huge progress, there's still a lot to be done. We'll have a garage sale on Saturday to get rid of everything else, and donate what's left over on Sunday. My back is sore but I'm invigorated.

You never know how much you have until you try to get rid of it. That's no exaggeration. The more we sold the more there seemed to be.

Some really interesting people came through our house. One was a student who was entering the University of Washington and was furnishing her dorm room. This, after spending a year studying in London. I spoke with the mother who told me she home schooled her kids because they were all dancers who performed all over the world and, therefore, couldn't attend traditional school.

I met a woman who used to live across the street in the home of the man who was the developer for the houses directly across from us. She now lives a few blocks away across the street from a park where I used to take my grandson. She came over so many times and bought so much furniture that I feel like we're now best friends.

One neighbor bought the karaoke equipment. We're hoping to get an invitation as soon as it's all plugged in. We told her, upon taking her money, that the set comes with a guy named Brian. All they have to do is start singing "Sweet Caroline" to conjure him up. (We don't know how that happens but it always did.)

Everything in the house seemed to have a story and each time someone walked out with an item, I recalled the memories that went with them. I was glad to know someone else would get to enjoy something that had made me happy over the years and was grateful. Even though we worked at a frantic pace over the two days, there was a real sense of peace when it was all over.

I would do it again but I hope I won't have to. Getting rid of all your stuff is liberating. Freeing up your space gives you more room to love the stuff you have. The key is to purge until you feel good in the space that's left over. And then to keep it that way.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Living A Dream

Nightmare is more like it. I'm living in a garage sale. 

I can't put anything down anywhere or Hubby will come along with his price gun and tag it for fifty cents. Nothing is safe.

There's no place to sit. No place to eat. And, I can't find shit! It's a certain kind of meyhem that doesn't just clutter my space, it's cluttering my mind.

The big sale is tomorrow. Selling everything, just about. Lots to do but getting there. The process was a bit weird at first, parting with accumulated treasures. But the further we got into it, the more we've come to realize that we have more junk than treasures and the treasures, most of them, have served their useful purpose which was to give us pleasure in this house.

We will find new treasures and make new memories somewhere else. And the old memories, we'll have forever.

I've been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing which is not only a great Charades title but it's provided a good deal of guidance on how to go about said tidying and decluttering. I look at everything differently now in terms of what is worth keeping and what can easily be discarded.

I've never even had a garage sale before. Ever. But this process is cathartic because I've had to look at every single thing I own - every paper clip, slip of paper, and unmatched sock. While I can now more easily identify things I don't need or should get rid of, without a sale such as this, it's easy to postpone getting rid of things and set them aside for "later" which never comes. It's almost easier to do it all at once that to get rid of things one at a time - this thing to Goodwill, that thing on Craiglist, the other thing to the garbage. While it's a ton of work to have an estate/moving sale, it's more efficient.

It's a good exercise, cleaning house. And it's a good book. If you know someone who could stand to get rid of stuff, buy that person this book. It's worth it.

Speaking of work, I'd rather avoid it but tomorrow is a big day and if I sit here too long Hubby is likely to put a price tag on me.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What's A Long Snapper?

Since yesterday, I've heard this question more than once. The fact that this question is asked at all serves to illustrate why it's so important to support your local Long Snapper.

A Long Snapper, friends, is a position in American football. He's the guy who snaps the ball, long.

He's not the Center. The Center snaps the ball, short, into the Quarter Back's hands which are placed in the Center's crotch. Awkward, yes, but a fairly easy target, one's own crotch. It's trickier when the target is 15 yards away and aimed at from an upside down position.

The punt, extra point, and field goal situations require the guy in the middle (but not the Center) to snap the ball over a long distance. Hence, Long Snapper.

From Wikipedia:
" During field goals and point after touchdown, the snap is received by the holder typically 7-8 yards away. During punt plays the snap is delivered to the punter from 13-15 yards away. "
Accuracy is key. A bad snap can make the difference in the outcome of a game. Even so:
" Long snappers are usually amongst the least known players in the NFL, because of their highly specialized and relatively invisible role on the field. "
Which is what makes them ever so special. Even though every team in the NFL now has a specialized Long Snapper, they are generally not drafted as such. Long Snappers are usually acquired as free agents into another position before finding their true calling.
" The first pure long snapper to have been picked in the draft was Tyler Schmitt, a sixth round pick (189th overall) in 2008, selected by the Seattle Seahawks. "
Seahawks are so cutting edge.

For my Chicago friends who are curious about Long Snappers, belongs to Chicago Bear's Long Snapper Patrick Mannelly, only recently retired. Of all people, Bears fans should know what a Long Snapper is!

Another excellent website for up-to-the minute Long Snapper news is which now appears as a link on this page, to your right. Among other things, this site describes the NFL and NCAA rules that apply regarding Long Snappers, namely that a defensive player can't line up against the Long Snapper (NFL) or initiate contact until at least one second has elapsed after the start of play (NCAA).

Now you know what a Long Snapper is and what makes him special. This is the first year I've seen an NFL jersey for the Long Snapper and as soon as I saw it, I snapped one up.


Seriously, though, the first jersey I got for a player on Special Teams was #3 Josh Brown (when he played for the Seattle Seahawks). I had to have it made because there was no such thing as a Kicker's jersey at the time. Soon after, Special Teams fever kicked in (can't help myself) and Josh Brown jerseys were everywhere. (There had to have been at least half a dozen of them.)

I'm not surprised that the current Kicker, Steven Haushka, has a jersey available. People have come to realize how important the Kicker is and admire his contribution. Haushka ties for first place for longest field goal made in 2014 at 58 yards, has a 100% field goal average for attempts between 20 and 39 yards, and made 100% of all extra point attempts. He scored a total of 134 points for the Seahawks last year which ties him for fourth highest scorer in the entire freaking league.

The Long Snapper, Clint Gresham, didn't score a single point last year but that doesn't make him any less deserving of a jersey.

Think about this: In the Peanuts cartoon, you have Lucy as Holder and Charlie Brown as Kicker but there's no Long Snapper! For the Seahawks, Jon Ryan is Holder to Haushka's Charlie Brown but unlike the cartoon, you have to have a Long Snapper to start the play in the NFL. The Long Snapper is the one to make the whole thing possible. Without him, there is no Haushka and you can kiss those 134 points goodbye.

For the Seattle Seahawks, Clint Gresham is that guy - #49, Long Snapper. My hero. And you can get his jersey here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Is It Here Yet?

Because He's Special

I just purchased a #49 Seahawks jersey for Clint Gresham, the Long Snapper. How special is that? I could have had a #4 Hauschka jersey (Kicker) but everyone knows who Hauschka is. He's a rock star. There was also a Jon Ryan available (Punter). Also, a stud. Was somewhat tempted to get Ryan's #9.

But, in my heart, Gresham is the most special one of them all. (He happens to also like cornhole if I haven't mentioned it before.) So, now, there will be two people in the stadium wearing his jersey (besides himself). Me and his mom. Because, even the Long Snapper needs some love.

(I'll let you know if I manage to score an autograph. That would make my day!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Live Cornhole [rebroadcast]

[Originally broadcast on August 22, 2105]

Bringing you thrilling, live coverage of the Fourth Annual Cornhole for Cash Tournament from Blechschmidt Meadowlands

The official boards are set up and participants are arriving. Warm ups have been a display of both athleticism and flailing desperation by various bag tossers.

The official first toss was scheduled for 2pm but traffic is tied up for miles around the Meadowlands. Like the Seattle Opera, it is highly unusual for play to start late although the Commissioner has granted a rare exception.

Draws for teams are underway.

Our team managed to secure "Game of Throwns" as team name.

First toss was made at 2:45 and Game of Throwns played in the second round. The format was changed to triple elimination to compensate for the lower than usual turnout because, heaven forbid, the tournament might end sometime before midnight.

The competition is fierce among a select group of tossers but the overall mood of the tournament is more sedate than previous years. There is more encouragement of teammates and opponents alike and less smack talk than is usually heard on these courts.

Perhaps, this is due to the influx of younger players coming up through the cornhole ranks. Although a force to be reckoned with, they don't yet posses the vocabulary for it. In addition, most of their moms are also in attendance.

Half the contestants are wearing sunglasses while the other half are wearing reading glasses. Two of the youngest attendees are already vying for the top spot of Commissioner.

Youngsters, vying.

There are no separate divisions and kids of all ages are tossing the bags although there are noticeable differences in style between the generations. The old guys are nursing various aches and pains and are doing their best to mask their various physical handicaps. The youngsters, without experience, are erratic in their tosses but present themselves as secret weapons when they hone in. A recent champion just turned 14 years of age and I was personally crushed by a Sixth Grader.

Official brackets
Even as I type these words, controversy erupted over whether or not the Yellow Chickens' wins were properly recorded. The official record showed they were undefeated. The tapes were reviewed while highlights were broadcast on the big screen. Participants refreshed their drinks and fans rocked out to the stadium music being broadcast to the delight of participants and neighbors alike.

It is unknown who threw the review flag but it's probably someone who was afraid of losing to the previous champion from Enumclaw. (Oh wait, aren't they all from Enumclaw?)

It was officially determined that Ethan, 2013 Champion, and teammate Martin of team Yellow Chicken were undefeated going into the final rounds.

[Live reporting was suspended as we moved into the Semi-Finals. The following report is reconstructed from the rather hazy memory of this correspondent.]

Brother versus brother.
The intense action of the final rounds made it all but impossible to continue live reporting. The amicable atmosphere and easy-going mood disintegrated into serious competition as the day wore on. On the courts, it became a family affair with father, son, uncle and grandson all reaching the Semi-Finals.

Grandson versus grandfather
It was hard to know who to cheer for as the semi-final round got underway to determine third place as favoritism to one family member was seen as disloyalty to another. "We just want have a good match," said Dugan of the match up between his team Corn Chuckers with partner, and son, Beero, against  Uncle Jeff and Anthony. The Corn Chuckers prevailed, beating out Anthony and Jeff by a surprising 5 points. Jeff and Anthony (2012 and 2014 defending Champion) left the competition in Third Place. (Sorry, Anthony, you can only win on even years.)

The stadium lights came on just before the final matchup between Dugan and Beero of Corn Chuckers against Ethan and Martin of Yellow Chickens. There was a time out while the stadium seating configuration was adjusted to accommodate the influx of spectators for the exciting conclusion of cornhole competition.
Standing room only.

Seating configuration for the final matchup.

Yellow Chickens were still undefeated while Corn Chuckers already had two losses. The pressure was on for Corn Chuckers who needed to defeat Yellow Chickens three times to take the title while only one loss would mean Second Place.

The Commissioner announcing the final matchup.
Competition was unbelievably fierce. Three of the four remaining competitors were related to each other but that didn't stop them from doing whatever was necessary to get in their opponents heads. Jibes and insults were thrown as much as the bags but that had little influence on performance. Frequently, both teams would land all eight bags between them resulting in no score for the turn. It made for an intense, if not painstakingly slow, battle.

It was noted that many players had picked up footwear sponsors during the off season. Beero opted for professional footwear while Martin donned flip flops. While Beero and Martin both possessed mad cornhole skills, it was the cornhole progear that gave Beero an early edge.

With the first win of the final round Beero celebrated with a victory lap shouting, "They're human, baby!" While this was only the first loss of the day for the Yellow Chickens, they were deflated as much as any Super Bowl football.

Youth eventually won out with the Yellow Chickens taking it all the way to the hole, footwear notwithstanding. Ethan and Martin captured the 2015 Cornhole for Cash title, adding their names to the prestigious trophy.

2015 Champions, Yellow Chickens

Cornhole for Cash Winners
Ethan and Martin of Yellow Chickens (2015)
Anthony and Blake of Nothing But Net (2014)
Ethan and Mark of Elite (2013)
Anthony and Yours Truly of Cornholio (2012)

(Do we detect a pattern here?)