9 Links For People Who Like Wordplay

… because information is FUN dammit.

Dear me, am I seeing a photo of a deer? Aye, it is a deer, my dear. Is the deer near here? No, from what I hear, the deer is not near here, my dear. 😁

 • • •

Need a laugh? Enjoy a generic millennial ad here.

But I don’t want to not say this word when I apologize.

Did you know that grok, like Jabberwocky, are examples of nonce words?

Miss Phryne Fisher’s 1920s Australian slang is here to help you increase your vocabulary.

There used to be more to the alphabet.

If you write headlines, how good are they? Find out here. [link revised 9/22]

The Oxford comma has an online dating profile that you can view here.

Looking for some petty phrases to use in your work emails? Click here.

According to this, your craft beer name is your grandfather’s job + a word you don’t fully understand.  My craft beer is: Salesman’s Milieu.

When Home Isn’t There Anymore This Is What You’ll See

This is what curiosity, based on nostalgia, will get you.

On a whim, while using Google street view to see what my doctor’s new office building looks like, I entered the address of where I grew up as a young child.

I was only thinking about my early childhood home because my dad’s modest medical office was on the first floor of the building, and we lived in the apartment above the office.

[Different times, eh?]

When I found the photo of where the building used to be I started laughing.  I mean, I haven’t been back to my hometown in over a decade, maybe longer, but when they say you can’t go home again, who knew it’d be literal for me, an English major educated to think figuratively?

However, be that as it may, getting to my point here, as the photo below proves, there is no house to go to anymore.  Of course, considering my family is long gone the loss of the building seems insignificant to me. Funny, even.

No doubt they’d laugh, too, if they saw this photo.

I’m sure that this just goes to show you something, but I’ll be darned if I know what that something is.

All I can tell you is this photo made me smile thinking about how everyone else shares lovely pics of the house they grew up in, but me?  I have a photo of a blank space.

Uh huh.

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-11-18-14-am

Question Of The Day:

Have you ever searched online for a photo of where you used to live? If so, what did you find? If you’ve never tried searching, why not?  

I Is For Ice Cream, I Do Believe

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.51.53 AM“I scream, You scream, We all scream for ice cream.”

This is what my Dad used to say, kind of like he was casting a spell, when we as a family would get in the car to go get ice cream cones at the local dairy.

This was big deal back then in my small town.

There were no stores open 24/7.  All we had were a few dairies in town, each featuring a rotating list of flavors, that sold ice cream cones, during limited hours of operation.

icecreamcone

I never knew why he said what he said.  But a fast googling tells me that this saying is part of the lyrics to a dreadful 1920s novelty song of the same name.  The stupid lyrics are whacked, making references to Alaska and Eskimos;  the irritating tune is a fox trot.

How he ever came to know this song I couldn’t say.  But like most of the food sayings I’ve talked about so far, they just get into your brain and never leave.

3 Simple Rules To Make Your Yuletide Joyful

I’M A CHEERFUL CYNIC about this time of the year.  Not really a fan of all the seasonal hoopla, but I can see the positive in it.

So as my last blog post of the year, I’ll leave you, gentle readers, with 3 simple rules.

~ ~ • ~ ~

1)  PLAY NICE WITH OTHERS.

2)  BE GOOD TO YOUR FAMILY.

3)  MAKE THINGS PRETTY.

~ ~ • ~ ~

AND WITH THAT, I say to you an Irish toast:

“Merry met and merry part, I drink to thee with all my heart.”

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, everyone.

See you next year.

Revisiting The Intentional Sobriety Experience

Today will be 6 weeks since I stopped drinking alcohol.  And “NO,” I didn’t join AA.  But I did decide to stop drinking for three months to see what it’s like to be a sober adult in social situations.

So far I’m finding that it’s boring.

  • First of all, there’s nothing to look forward to on the weekends.  [Oh Barkeep, I’ll have a cranberry juice, please.]
  • Plus there are no more sparks of creative thinking while inebriated.  [What to write, what to write… why can’t I think of something??!]
  • And, not to put too fine a point on this, there’s no way to politely tune-out the dull peoples when you’re sober.  [Dear lord, is that boring man still talking to me?]

• • •

My decision to be alcohol-free came about by accident.  On Labor Day afternoon as Zen-Den and I sat outside, drinking the last alcoholic beverages in the house, it occurred to me that I was *duh* sipping the last beer.

We were out of our staples, beer + bourbon + wine.

Z-D was leaving that week for his annual Canada camping trip with his friends, then he was traveling for work most of the rest of the month.

I realized that I’d be on my own most of the time in September, and in that moment it dawned on me this would be a great time to revisit the intentional sobriety experience, something I dabbled in for a few years, a decade ago.

Back then it was difficult for me.

• • •

At this point I’d love to tell you that I’m a better person because of my decision to not drink.  That I feel healthier and more alive.  Filled with clear thoughts and a strong connection to those people around me.

But I’m too sincere to lie like that.

Despite taking in fewer alcohol calories, I weigh the same as before.  So there’s no news of that front.

And despite being an introvert, I haven’t felt any social pressure to drink this time around, confirming that I don’t need alcohol to feel comfortable among the peoples of this world.

No, the only concrete change that I can see is financial.  That is, reduced grocery bills and smaller restaurant checks.  Nothing to sneeze at, but nothing of much spiritual significance either.

• • • 

Obviously I have 6 more weeks to go with Project Intentional Sobriety.  I don’t know how I’ll hold up under the upcoming plethora of social activities we’ve planned, but I’m thinking, based on what has unfolded so far, that I’ll do okay.

It might be that not drinking is no big deal for me.

Coming from the WASP-y family that I do, and begging their forgiveness here, I admit that the words above are about as close to an anathema as one can get.

But I said them and I mean them.

People change all the time, right?  So maybe, for at least these few months, I am a new Ally Bean.  Bored. With a bit more coin in my pocket. But happy that I’ve trusted my instincts to explore this way of living again.

For a while.

When Good Grapefruit Has Bad Marketing

DSCN5865 To your left you will see a photo of half a grapefruit, on a pretty white bread & butter plate, plus the label off the sturdy red mesh bag it came in.

This grapefruit, purchased at the local K. Roger, is not as humongous as many of the grapefruits available, nor is it as intensely pink in color as most of the individually sold grapefruits.

It was tasty.  Easy to section. Juicy, but not overly so. With just the right amount of sweetness.

# # #

But here’s the weird thing about this grapefruit.  Just like Proust’s madeleines, this grapefruit stimulated long-lost memories from my childhood.

It reminded me of being an elementary school-age girl.  Sitting at home in my parents’ warm kitchen while eating breakfast at the old, slightly wobbly, wooden drop-leaf table.  Listening to the local AM radio “Quickie Quiz” show.  Wondering what I’d be doing at recess later in the morning.

So considering the effect that this grapefruit had on me, I’m left wondering what marketing genius came up with the idea to name this product:

NOT your MOTHER’S Grapefruit.

# # #

Putting aside the stupid inconsistent capitalization of the letters of the product’s name, if there was ever a fruit whose essence reminded me positively of my past, it would be these grapefruits.

And considering that grapefruits are pretty much the same old fruit now that they were 40 years ago, I’m irritated with the somewhat passive aggressive marketing message that I’ll be an old fuddy duddy if I don’t buy these particular grapefruits.

I understand that times change, but I gotta wonder how it could be that bad-mouthing grapefruit is the key to more sales.  Does that even make sense?

In Honor Of St. Paddy, A Story About Corned Beef & My Daddy

Here’s a memory from my childhood, which was in many ways more unusual than most.  😉

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 11.53.19 AMSt. Patrick’s Day reminds me of my father.

He loved this holiday, partly because of his Irish heritage and partly because of the whisky [and whiskey] that flows on this day.

Among the many things that I could tell you about him, I’ll start with the fact that he was a genius.  As in, GENIUS.  Scary smart.  Wickedly funny.  Strangely conservative.

Always up to something batty in his spare time.

He was a foodie long before that term existed, and being a physician he thought that he could make anything, no matter how obscure, if only he had a good recipe.

• • •

So one day when I was about 8 years, Dad decided to make Corned Beef.

He bought cookbooks & researched recipes.  He bought the perfect pickling spices from catalogues.  He bought many large 10 gallon stainless steel cans with lids.  He bought 7 or 8 different cuts of meat after talking with meat cutters about which ones would be best.  He bought gallons of premium vinegar.

Then he set about making Corned Beef.  Lots of it.

This required brining solution, boiled in huge pots on the stove top;  large containers in which to put the beef, with brining solution, as it pickled;  a cool place, like the basement, to leave the containers;  and the ability to turn the containers every so often so that the beef was evenly brined.

It was a mess to make.

• • •

During this activity, my mother and I watched. Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 11.51.42 AM

She was not thrilled with his latest excuse for spending money;  but I, on the other hand, found it fascinating to see what was going to happen next.  I had my doubts, but then again I’d seen this guy successfully do many a nutty thing, so I was rooting for him.

Well, as it turns out, when one is making Corned Beef from scratch one can determine if the brining process isn’t going well by using one’s nose.

That is, the meat begins to rot.

It fills a home, from bottom to top in our case, with a pungent carrion potpourri.  Easily distinguished from any other normal home scent, by anyone who is willing to admit that there’s a problem here.

• • •

But Daddy wasn’t immediately willing to admit defeat.  NO WAY.  For days he refused to say that anything was wrong, determined instead to make his project work through the magic of denial.

But he didn’t succeed.

Eventually, my mother convinced him that he had to throw out the rotting meat, and begrudgingly he did so.  Then he went to the grocery store to buy a piece of Corned Beef so that we might have it on St. Patrick’s Day.

Providing for us a holiday meal that could well be the most expensive one we ever had!

[Images from here.]