Month: August 2005

Steven Wright.

I hurt myself at work today, laughing so hard:

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don’t have film.

Join the Army, meet interesting people, kill them.

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Half the people you know are below average.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

Someone sent me a postcard picture of the earth.
On the back it said, “Wish you were here.”

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.

You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?

I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don’t know what to feed it.

I plugged my phone in where the blender used to be. I called someone. They
went “Aaaaahhhh…”

I still have my Christmas Tree. I looked at it today. Sure enough, I couldn’t
see any forests.

The sky is falling…no, I’m tipping over backwards.

Is “tired old cliche” one?

I had my coathangers spayed.

I took lessons in bicycle riding. But I could only afford half of them. Now I
can ride a unicycle.

I put my air conditioner in backwards. It got cold outside. The weatherman on
TV was confused. “It was supposed to be hot today.”

When I turned two I was really anxious, because I’d doubled my age in a year.
I thought, if this keeps up, by the time I’m six I’ll be ninety.

Sponges grow in the ocean. That just kills me. I wonder how much deeper the
ocean would be if that didn’t happen.

I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.

In my house there’s this light switch that doesn’t do anything. Every so often
I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a
woman in Madagascar. She said, “Cut it out.”

I got up one morning, couldn’t find my socks, so I called Information. She
said, “Hello, Information.” I said, “I can’t find my socks.” She said,
“They’re behind the couch.” And they were!

When I was a little kid we had a sand box. It was a quicksand box.
I was an only child….eventually.

I saw a bank that said “24 Hour Banking”, but I don’t have that much time.

I love to go shopping. I love to freak out salespeople. They ask me if they
can help me, and I say, “Have you got anything I’d like?” Then they ask me
what size I need, and I say, “Extra medium.”

I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap
department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know
when to stop unwrapping.

All of the people in my building are insane. The guy above me designs
synthetic hairballs for ceramic cats. The lady across the hall tried to rob a
department store…with a pricing gun. She said, “Give me all of the money in
the vault, or I’m marking down everything in the store.”

A cop stopped me for speeding. He said, “Why were you going so fast?” I said,
“See this thing my foot is on? It’s called an accelerator. When you push down
on it, it sends more gas to the engine. The whole car just takes right off.
And see this thing? This steers it.”

I can remember the first time I had to go to sleep. Mom said, “Steven, time to
go to sleep.” I said, “But I don’t know how.” She said, “It’s real easy.
Just go down to the end of tired and hang a left.” So I went down to the end
of tired, and just out of curiosity I hung a right. My mother was there, and
she said “I thought I told you to go to sleep.”

Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He
caught every other fish.

I put contact lenses in my dog’s eyes. They had little pictures of cats on
them. Then I took one out and he ran around in circles.

Shark Boy and Lava Girl:

Children’s movies should be rated on a scale of one to five based on the number of times you can stand to sit through the movie in a theater. Second-run theaters count.

The parental survival rate after three viewings of SBLG is 100%. Three stars.

Would you like a baguette?

I’m at Panera Bread, trying to order a cup of chai. There’s nobody at the bakery counter, so I stand in line at the cafe counter. Someone comes out from the back of the house and starts sweeping the bakery, so I ask her if I can get a cup of coffee from her. She doesn’t look up, so I laugh and say, “Can you hear me? Can you hear me?”

She jumps. “Oh!”

“Can I order coffee over here, or should I wait in the line?”

“Oh, no,” she says, and starts punching things into a register. “Just a cup of coffee?”

“No, actually,” I say. “A cup of chai.”

“A chai latte or an iced chai?”

Now, the menu doesn’t say chai latte, but Hot Spiced Chai. “Not a latte, no coffee in it,” I say. “But still hot.”

“That’s a latte,” she says.

“But I don’t want the coffee,” I repeat, because I quit drinking large amounts of caffeine over four years ago and I am afraid.

“There’s no coffee. A latte just means, just means it’s–” she holds out her hands in some kind of gesture I recognize as “Good-God-what-is-the-word-I’m-looking-for”– “hot!”

“That’s what I want. Just a hot chai. No coffee.”

She rings me up and makes me a big mug of chai. “Here you go,” she says.

“Thanks,” I say. “I’m sorry. I’m just easily confused.”

“Me too,” she says.

“We should be careful around each other,” I say.

She looks at me like I’m an idiot, or maybe that’s just self-defense, because I think she’s confused. But that’s okay, because she just walked over to my table and offered me a baguette, because they had too many baguettes. She has been passing out baguettes to various people. Not everyone, though. I’m not sure why.

And I noticed that most of the people, when they accepted their baguettes, got this look on their faces, like she was an idiot.

One man said, “Do I want this huge loaf of bread? Do I look like I’m an idiot?”

From Scientific American,
September 2004:

In an article about how nitrates may actually be beneficial:

“The story of nitrate’s positive side began ni 1994, when Jon Lundberg of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Nigel Benjamin of Peninsula Medical School of Exeter, Englind, independently observed that the human stomach harbos large amounts of the gas nitric oxide (NO).”

Unfortunately, on further research I have found that laughing gas is nitrous oxide.

Oh, well.

Good news! Nitric acid is found in automobile exhaust, mediates the erection of the penis, and aids in killing pathogens in the body. Amazing what you can find wandering around the web.


I hate autumn.

Lee’s discussed this with me, telling me about all the good things that autumn brings. Cooler temperatures, the crispness in the air, the turning of the leaves, etc.

I concede that autumn itself isn’t so bad.

But I still hate autumn, because of what happens to me every frikkin’ year.

I get sick. I get depressed. I get irritable for no good reason. I’m tired all the time. I have to start wearing socks and shoes when I’m not at work. I hear all the little plants squeaking “save me!” “save me!” and there isn’t a damn thing I can do.


Because of the cooler temperatures (and the grey skies), it’s already started happening this year. It’ll get better by the time I hit October. I like October. The air really is crisp. Nights are dark without being ridiculously long. It’s quit raining. There are not yet any holidays to worry excessively over…but October’s a ways to go, yet.

Why, oh why, did autumn have to start so early?


Ray, Lee, and I did indeed catch a cold, one that has prevented us from going up to see Kaylee. F*!@ing autumn.


moveable feast

n : a religious holiday that falls on different dates in different years


That is, Easter and the like. Now I know.


Over the weekend of the first, Ray and I drove out to Rapid City to see my Grandparents and other family, some of whom I hadn’t seen for…ten years? More than that?

Uncle Dan and Aunt Mararet were there from Reno. Surprisingly, they hadn’t changed much. Dan has gray hair. They both sound the same as I remember when they laugh, which, to my mind, is more important than anything else. Uncle Dave was there, my folks were there with all the sibs except Matt, and we caught up to Uncle Doyle and Sarah later on.

I think everybody that was older than I am got called “grandma” or “grandpa.” I don’t think we ever did convince Ray that my grandmother was my mother’s mother. And, of course, I had to hear old DeAnna stories about how similar I’d been at the age to the way Ray is now.

Here’s my favorite:

My uncle Larry (married to my dad’s sister Carol, the other side of my family), one day when I was three or four, told me that he had a key that, if inserted into my belly button, would cause my arms and legs to fall off. I said, “Do I look like I’m stupid?” and he replied, “Well, I’ll never make that mistake again.”

There’s another one, from about the same time, when my grandfather told me that if I didn’t quit sucking his thumb, it would fall off. Then he showed me his hand, missing a thumb. I don’t know what I said (the story doesn’t go so far), but apparently it didn’t work. My mother had to tell me that I couldn’t go to school if I didn’t quit sucking my thumb, and that was the only thing that worked.

Below is a picture that demonstrates a fundamental difference between Rachael and her mother:

My grandfather (the missing thumb is on the other hand) is using his cane to strech Ray to make her grow faster. Afterwards, she will walk around the deck on tippietoe, her chest stuck out and her eyes as wide as those of a Pekinese, showing everyone how tall she is. “Wook! I gwowing and gwowing!”

I know that she doesn’t believe him, but she enjoys playing out the game, both the attention and making people happy, too much to call him out on it.

My daughter is a wonderful creature.


So I’m finally reading Jasper Fforde’s* Thursday Next book, Something Rotten when I realize that it’s a silly book. Not a big jump, there. But then I think, “What is silly? says this:

adj. sil·li·er, sil·li·est

  • Exhibiting a lack of wisdom or good sense; foolish. See Synonyms at foolish.
  • Lacking seriousness or responsibleness; frivolous: indulged in silly word play; silly pet names for each other.
  • Semiconscious; dazed: knocked silly by the impact.

[Middle English seli, silli, blessed, innocent, hapless, from Old English gesælig, blessed.]
silli·ly (sl-l) adv.
silli·ness n.

Nah. That’s not right.

So how do you define silliness? It has something to do with a gap between an ordinary, commonsense, expected meaning and a meaning that uses a normally commonsense, ordinary pattern inappropriately.

For example. The name “Thursday Next”: You could name your kid Thursday, and it would be odd, but not silly. “Thursday Smith.” “Thursday Jones.” But “Thursday Next” means “next week on Thursday.” It’s a commonsense, ordinary pattern used inappropriately, because a person’s name is meant to identify a person, not to indicate a period of time.

More examples. If you had a conversation in which you expected someone to respond rationally, and they did, but their responses had a pattern to them that did not add to the meaning of the responses, that would be silly. That is, if all the responses began with the letter B, that would be silly. If every statement was phrased as a question, that would be silly. If the responses rhymed, that would be silly.

Puns are silly. The joke, “A man walked into a bar. He said to the bartender, ‘Ouch!'” is silly. Lewis Carroll is silly — most of the details of his books are formed from a mathematical pattern, or in response to a current saying or poem of his day. Sexual innuendo is silly. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is silly. Blonde jokes are silly — the epitome of using an inappropriate pattern to responsd to a commonsense situation.

I treat silliness not as foolishness, but as a subset of humor. You have to see the underlying pattern to the inappropriate responses in order to find it funny, and the pattern has to be something that you haven’t tired of, but there you go.

More thoughts later…



Sent to customer service at 08/02/05:

To whom it may concern,

I had a negative experience with the North Academy location of Thrifty in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is my first experience with Thrifty. If I ever choose this company again, it will not be at this location.

I rented a car from Friday, July 29th to Monday, August 1st. I had originally scheduled pickup of the rental for the afternoon. I called about 11 a.m. that day to ask whether it would be possible to pick up the rental early; I was told that when I would be arriving, half an hour later, the rental would be ready. When I arrived, the woman at the front desk was unaware that I would be arriving early — the car was not ready. I only had to wait for ten minutes, not an unreasonable amount of time, but not was was said over the phone. While waiting for the car to arrive, the woman who had been working at the desk complained about the lack of communication to her manager, using sarcastic language and tone in front of me. When the woman at the desk started entering my information, she interrupted me to take a personal phone call, which did not sound like an emergency.

When I dropped off the car, the gentleman at the desk seemed very impatient to have to stop doing what he was doing (I did not see what it was) to help me. Later, after I had left the office, I heard him swearing loudly across the parking lot, using the f-word.

A few hours later, when I had returned home, I had received several calls from this same gentleman asking me to call back to the office. When I returned the call, he said that there had been damage to the car, that the rear windshield had been damaged. I told him that I hadn’t noticed any damage to the windshield. He became very sarcastic and said something to the effect that he didn’t know how I hadn’t noticed the damage to the windshield — I felt like he was accusing me of lying to him. (I wonder now, that if the damage to the windshield were so obvious, why he did not see the damage when he went out to take the mileage. I had thought that at that point he had inspected the car.) He demanded that I return to the office to sign an accident report. I told him that I would be unavailable that evening, and he demanded that I come in first thing in the morning. I told him that I would be at work. He then asked me when I would be available, and I told him that I would come in as soon as I had finished work, at approximately 3:30 on Tuesday afternoon. I told him that I would like to see the damage to the car.

When I arrived at the office, the woman at the desk had not been informed that there had been any issues with my rental and was not expecting me. The car had been rented out again; I was informed that I would not be able to see the car until Friday, when it was scheduled to be returned. When I reviewed the accident report, the information was that the front windshield on the passenger’s side, rather than the rear window, had been damaged. I signed and dated the form, provided my policy number with Geico, and added a note that not only had I been unaware of any damage, the information that I had been provided on the phone call was different than the information on the report.

Again, I did not observe any damage to the car when I returned the car; I do not believe there was any damage to the car when I dropped it off. I find the gentleman’s behavior, both in not informing me of the damage to the car while I was in the office and in swearing in the parking lot, very suspicious.

When I spoke to the manager, I told her that I was uncomfortable about this situation, and uncomfortable with the way the gentleman had treated me. She told me that she had been standing next to the gentleman during our phone call and that he had told me that the damage had been to the front windshield, which was not what I recall from the conversation. In no way did she acknowledge or apologize that the gentleman used an inappropriate tone with me on the phone.

I feel very frustrated with this situation. I do not feel that I could expect — or that anyone else could expect — good service from this location because of the pattern of behavior that I saw. I do not trust the ability of this office to handle communication effectively. I do not trust the ability of this office to handle themselves courteously with their customers. I do not trust the ability of this office to salvage a negative situation. I do not trust the ability of this office to ensure the integrity of its employees.

I have contacted my insurance company, Geico, about this issue. I am not looking for any kind of recompense or resitution; I trust Geico to handle this situation equitably and fairly. If they pay a claim to your company, it is because they have assessed the situation and chosen to do so. I wanted to let you know about the behavior of the employees in this office because I cannot believe that such a systematic disregard for customer service is part of your company values.

Please let me know if you need additional information. I did not take the names of the people in the office. I would prefer to be contacted via email, if necessary.

Thank you for your time,
DeAnna Knippling

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