Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sticks at the Alhambra

Outside the Alhambra, a wizened old woman, thin and draped in an oversized black dress, was shaking twigs at people, moaning in Spanish about thwarting evil spirits. She had a basket of twigs for sale at her feet; they were talismans to ward off the spirits in the palace.

I broke off some twigs from a nearby bush (which had a suspicious resemblance to her twigs) and decided that I too could become an entrepreneur.

Friday, January 13, 2012

An experiment

One day when I was in a London suburb, I was feeding some pigeons some bread. The pigeons did not seem to be particularly intelligent, but that's okay, we can't all be rocket scientists. I spotted a cigarette butt on the ground. I decided to try an experiment, because I doubted that pigeons could be that dumb. I tossed it to a pigeon, and was horrified when he ATE it. D'oh, sorry Mr. Pigeon, I hope it all worked out. Of course, how stupid was I to not think he'd eat it?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

He'll take Geography for $5

From Aug 4, 2009
My friend's daughter, C, moved to Alaska with her husband. Apparently it has been an interesting life thus far and she's almost to the point of writing a book about all the odd things that the contiguous US believes about Alaska and vice versa. My friend told me one funny story that C had told her.
Whiles she was in in Alaska, C needed to call the post office in California to get some information. When she called the California office, the very friendly postal worker asked her, "so, how's the weather down there?"
C, thinking she heard things wrong, said, "Excuse me?"
Postal worker: "How's the weather down there?"
C: "You know I'm in Alaska, right?"
PW: "Yes ma'am. Are you having nice weather down there?"
By this point in the story, I'm howling with laughter and I told my friend that the weather is probably just about the same in Alaska as it is in Hawaii or Mexico, because that's obviously where the postal worker is picturing Alaska on the map.
Go ahead, look for yourself. I especially love the representation where Alaska and Hawaii are on top of Mexico. I wonder how Mr. PW explains that one?
The best part of this story is that, if anyone should know his geography, shouldn't it be a postal worker? Can we file that under postal worker fail?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Get it right!

This is one of the favorite stories my mom has told me:
One of her co-workers was very excited about some cookies she was going to bake and bring in. She raved about these cookies and my mom asked her what type they were.
"They're anus cookies!" the coworker crowed.
That gave my mom pause. "ANUS cookies?" she asked.
"Yes, anus cookies! They're quite good."
At this point my mom thought that the coworker had taken leave of her senses but she can think on her feet.
"Wait, don't you mean anise cookies?" my mom asked.
The coworker gave her a confused look, so my mom continued, while trying to keep a straight face: "You mean anise; trust me on this one."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I love my job, but sometimes it gets weird

From Nov 20, 2009

I feel rather lucky to be employed in a profession that is intellectual, offbeat, and rewarding (at least to me it is). However, I have experienced some job duties that are have been very random, odd, or a combination of the two. I've had to stumble through crazy translations and transliterations of Hindi and Tagalog (while my coworker breezed through Russian, Polish, German, French, and Hebrew works; she's absolutely awesome). I've met with IRS agents as well as a Census Bureau agent. I've been asked to babysit random strangers' children (I don't think the owners of said children would be pleased with the prices I would quote for such services). I've been asked to write grants and conduct legal research for people during off-work hours (no thank you, very much at all; sorry folks, I'm not that nice to do it for free and plus it would be no fun and the last time I checked, I wasn't a paralegal).

One of the more squeamish events happened yesterday, however. To solve a work-related problem, I found myself watching After the Kill, a DVD about processing deer in the field, in my house before I left for work. The video was hosted by characters with semi-mullets, handlebar mustaches, and an obedient housewife who would cook up the varmints they done killed. Here's the problem though: I don't generally eat meat and think that dead animals are gross (I'm not entirely sure I how I sliced and diced a cat in high school anatomy class). Duty called, though, so I listened to clips from the DVD and tried my best not to watch. I guess maybe it's not much weirder than all the emerald ash borer information I had to sift through once (Don't Move Firewood; It Bugs Me!), but to me, it was definitely more disgusting.