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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Ok, I already talked about the North Carolina preschooler with the non-USDA approved lunch that failed inspection and got replaced by chicken nuggets.  Stupid, yes, but probably not widespread, right?

Actually, it seems that the lunch inspection was part of a national points system that affected the school’s public perception.  Another parent has come forward to complain that her daughter’s lunch was also set aside in favor of a mostly fried lunch from the cafeteria.  Possibly the funniest thing was the letter sent home to parents to explain this.

North Carolina Mother Diane Zambrano Says Her Daughters Homemade School Lunch Wasnt Healthy Enough | West Hoke Elementary

The entire memo is disturbing.  The lunches children bring from home are part of the grading system for the “NC Star Rated License”?  Why is the school responsible for that?  How was the school lunch that was condescendingly substituted in compliance with these guidelines?

Just as glaring a problem, however, was the grammar.  My DH forwarded the link to our home account under the subject line, “Principals of Elementary Grammar.”  Yes, the pun is intended; the principal signed this thing, probably after multiple people theoretically proofread it, but doesn’t understand principles of grammar that a grade schooler should know.

She is the principal of a public school, one of those eminently qualified “experts” we’re supposed to hand our children over to for schooling, and, yet, there are commas where they obviously don’t belong, missing commas, an incomplete sentence, missing words, and sentences that fail to communicate what she meant.  This is “High Expectations from…”?

It reminds me of the two women at the cutting counter of our local fabric store who couldn’t figure out how many inches are in a foot or how to fulfill my request for, “A foot and a half of this, please.”  The experienced woman explained to the new hire that there are nine inches in a foot (I quietly corrected her).  Then they couldn’t figure out how to enter it into the computer by inches instead of fractions of a foot.  There was a clearly labelled ruler glued to the edge of the cutting table which showed that 18 inches lined up with precisely half a yard, but, of course, they’d miscomputed what a foot and a half was (I think they’d decided on sixteen inches).  I had gone over this little math problem on the way in with my second grader and was just hoping he wouldn’t loudly blurt out the explanation of the correct solution while they struggled.  He had gotten it right, but these two women who probably graduated from public high school and worked in a freaking fabric store couldn’t remember how many inches are in a foot or how to figure out “half”.  I worried a bit less about how homeschooling had gone that week.

Of course, the problem with schooling today (in addition to the horrible hazard that is bag lunches!) is those awful, dangerous, unsocialized homeschoolers!  Those parents might not really care at all about what their kids are learning!  Who’s checking up on them?  What standards are they fulfilling?  What if they *gasp* teach the children to embrace a rigid sense of right and wrong?!?  What if they become moralizing grammar police and write blogs laughing at our self-righteous memos about the necessity of inspected bag lunches for our point system when we’re turning out graduates who can’t read, principals who can’t use commas, and people who don’t know how many inches are in a foot?  We won’t get a pretty silver star on our progress chart!!!  *sniff*  *sob*  I need to go sit in the “hurt feelings” corner until my self esteem comes back…

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Oh.  My.  Goodness!

You have to go read this over at Fear Not Little Flock: it’s a spoof (or an homage) to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and it’s a riot… in a, “Yeah, that’s my day, all right!” kind of way.

DH: when you’re reading this, I’d just like to tell you this explains where my day goes!

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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

People tell me I have a weird sense of humor.  My DH said this (see below) was typical.  Most of my father-in-law’s bass-shaped birthday cake had been eaten, leaving only the head.  And I looked at it and thought, “It needs something…” then grabbed the leftover icing bag and *fixed* it.

See?  Much better. 🙂

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I’m currently reading What’s Wrong With the World by G.K. Chesterton, part of my haul from the American Chesterton Society table at the homeschooling conference last month.  (I’m also re-varnishing the front hall floor… so if my spelling or grammar is off tonight, blame the fumes.  Last night, it dropped to a reasonable 75 degrees and kept dropping.  Not tonight, of course, when I need to ventilate the house.  It’s still 80 and miserably humid at 1 am.  Ick.)

As Dale Ahlquist, the president of the ACS said in several of his talks, (I’m paraphrasing), “The thing to cure all your problems is more Chesterton!  And I have tons of him at my table, right against the far wall of the vendor area…”  So, I will endevor (too late, too many fumes to get that right…) attempt to enliven your day with an extended quote from Chesterton:

Some impatient trader, some superficial missionary, walks across an island and sees the squaw digging in the fields while the man is playing a flute; and immediately says that the man is a mere lord of creation and the woman a mere serf.  He does not remember that he might see the same thing in half the back gardens in Brixton, merely because women are at once more conscientious and more impatient, while men are at once more quiescent and more greedy for pleasure.  It may often be in Hawaii as it is in Hoxton.  That is, the woman does not work because the man tells her to work and she obeys.  On the contrary, the woman works because she has told the man to work and he hasn’t obeyed.

I read this to my DH the other night.  It was about ten o’clock, at least.  I had just finished folding laundry and filling the dishwasher.  I was impatiently waiting for him to get off his obnoxious submarine-hunting video game (on my laptop, which he insists is not “mine”, but jointly held) so I could enter a bunch of data in my Excel spreadsheet of garden output.  (Yes, seriously.  I’ve got lovely little graphs of lettuce, bean, and tomato production.  Theoretically, this is going to help me decide what’s worth its footprint in the garden and what isn’t.)  Plus, I wanted to catch up on blogging, and I needed to get online to decide on a pattern for the table runner I’m weaving for my in-laws.

DH made that face and some garbled sentences that came out mostly as, “I’d try to be offended, but I’m in the middle of a game, which only proves the point, so I might as well quit defending my gender before I start and admit that Chesterton, as usual, has precisely described the issue…”

I could go on with the examples (Me: the lawn needs mowing.  Him: oh, it can wait another two or three days… Me: I mowed the lawn while he was at work.), but it’s late (Me: I should go to bed, after I run the dishwasher, put away the clean clothes, check the calendar for tomorrow… Him: I’m going to bed.  Zzzzzz…..) and he does read the blog every so often, so I’ll hear about it.  (speaking of hearing about it: Me: KILL THE MUSKRATS!  I’ve tried everything!  Him: Why don’t we wait a bit and see if it goes away?  Me, three days later: Ok, it ate what was left of the corn plants.  Him: Ok, so let’s wait a bit longer and see if it leaves…)

This is a large part of why, I think, Chesterton also commented that divorce because of incompatibility was silly.  Men and women are, at their core, incompatible, and, “Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honor should decline.”

(DH rolled his eyes at that quote, too… )

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Nope, this is not going to be one of those dire warnings about the top seven things you should never, ever say to your kids or you will permanently mess them up and be stuck with the therapy bill!!!!

This is a bit lighter.  You think you have some clue what you’re doing as a parent (maybe), and then you get blindsided with something that you didn’t even consider could be a problem.  Some examples:

1.  “Spit it out already!”  Crash, especially when excited, will repeat himself for a minute before getting to the point.  Once, I made the mistake of annoyedly telling him, “Spit it out already, buddy!”  Since I was gesturing with my hand up, about at his mouth level, he promptly tried to spit into it.

“Figure of speech” is a difficult concept to explain to a five-year-old.

2.  “Rub dirt in it!”  Playing in the yard with Big Dummy (a German Shepherd), Crash got scratched.  I wiped the dirt off, verified that it was not actually bleeding, and sent Crash back out to play.  Ten minutes later, he’s back on the deck, thumping around, and complaining that his leg is bleeding and can’t he have a snack?  No, go play, I told him, reverifying that the leg was not bleeding.  DH added, “Rub dirt in it, buddy!”

“But Diva already did, and it still hurts!” Crash replied.

As experienced parents, we know you’re allowed to laugh until you shake, but not laugh out loud. 😉

3.  Why you shouldn’t let your kids watch too many documentaries: they get ideas.  I went upstairs to sing to everyone, as required.  Empress was snoring, Diva was half asleep, but Crash was waiting for me, his Webkinz bald eagle sitting on his chest.

“Momma, my eagle can’t sleep.”

“Really, buddy?  What’s the matter?”

“He needs one of those hoods we saw on TV to help him calm down and sleep.”

“Uh huh.  Will tomorrow morning be ok?”

“No, he can’t sleep now.”

I’m a sucker for smart kids.  Hence, the eagle hood, in Amerian flag motif, of course.  From watching documentaries on China, including the Mongolian who trained and hunted with golden eagles.

The eagle seemed much calmer today.

4.  Why you shouldn’t let your kids (especially active ones) watch Kung Fu Panda on bath night.  Crash, in the shower, by himself… doing kung fu.  It took a bit, but we did get the bleeding from the gouge in his chin to stop.   The pediatrician saw the scar the other day, during Crash’s annual check-up, and asked what happened.  To her credit, she laughed and said something about his being remarkably coordinated, active, and well-suited for lots of sports.

5.  “Come on, honey, you know you want to lick the bear!”

(Come on, you know you’re trying to figure that one out!)  Empress has a bear with towel-like fur, which substituted for the towels she liked to lick as a pacifier in China (in China, we read, it is normal to use cloth as pacifiers).  So, even now, she has to have the bear to sleep.  As she approaches dropping off, her tongue sticks out and wiggles.  If we can get the bear near enough to the tongue, a nap is guaranteed.

Yet another thing they don’t tell you in the parenting books.

6.  The trials of caring for stuffed animals.  When she was younger, Diva carried her favorite otter everywhere.  Not that anyone could really tell it was an otter anymore; the fur has that Velveteen Rabbit look, i.e. the fur has been loved to a state of nappiness that only Diva could love.  Anyways, when she was potty training, she apparently decided that the otter needed to do a better job than she was.

Half-way to church one morning, the announcement came from the back seat: “Ottie need to poop!”

I had been through this routine before.  Suggesting a pretend potty in the back seat didn’t work.  Ignoring her was quite counterproductive, if your goal was quiet.  Telling the Ottie to wait was useless.

I reached back, grabbed the proferred otter, held its butt to the window (fortunately, Diva did not demand that the windows be rolled down for extra realism on the process) and said, “Poop, poop, poop!  Good job, Otter, putting the poop where you should!” and handed it back.  My husband looked at me like I had finally lost my mind.

After observing this once while visiting, my dad commented, “Oh, is that why the windows look like they do?”

7.  More dangers of documentaries: plush animal fights.  While watching Planet Earth, Crash decided he just had to go get his shark to watch the “Making of” mini-documentary about filming the sharks.  When he got back down, the shark was hungry.  Trying to be helpful, I pointed out that Diva has a Webkinz seal.  Crash looked, but couldn’t find it.  Diva chimed in to offer that the seal was in her room.

Crash came downstairs with his shark holding the seal in its mouth.  Diva ignored him.

I suggested the shark really needed to shake the seal harder, like the Great Whites scarfing down seals on the documentary, or the seal would escape.  (DH laughed, “Oh, that’s just wrong!”)  Crash complied with enthusiasm.

Diva shreiked and fighting ensued.

So, of course, having lost his shark’s dinner, Crash wanted to go to the local aquarium to buy a small plush seal from the gift shop so his shark has something to eat.  Couldn’t find one.  Even better: a plastic seal on wheels that zips and spins across the floor for chasing.

For some reason, the checkout ladies looked at me funny.  I wanted to ask them, “Well, what do you think sharks eat?  Tofu?”

For more 7 Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary… especially for the explanation of why her husband had to be rescued off a mountain by helicopter last week.  I was going to say “for more normal and/or helpful sets of 7 Quick Takes”, but nothing on my list made the TV news. 😉

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Ash Wednesday

*sigh*  Late, as usual.  (The dragon is getting done, but I’m sick, again.)

In the meantime, and lacking in news info because I’ve been watching Olympics, I am submitting a very non-serious start to Lent.

The lead-up:  At the Naval Academy (at least back when we had a real plebe year, unlike everyone after us…), plebes (aka freshmen) had a rough time at breakfast and lunch.  We sat with our squads, stood at attention before meal, ate at attention, and got grilled on professional knowledge.  “Weapons fore to aft on the Arleigh Burke destroyer, and pass the ketchup!” was not unheard-of conversation.

On Fridays, the upperclassmen were usually exhausted from their own weeks; they, after all, were heavy into their majors courses.  Plebes were busy trying to survive and trying to sleep through Chemistry.  Anyways, Fridays, therefore, were joke day.

I was known as a miserable joke teller, but this week, luck was with me.  I had a good joke from the music/humor tape that had been playing in the local Irish shop.  And the set-up was about to make it priceless.

It was Lent.  On Fridays, the entree was some sort of fish, out of respect for the Catholics, who abstain from meat in Lent on Fridays.  (We all had to eat the exact same thing, so there wasn’t really a way to give options, except that every table got bread, peanut butter, and jelly as a last resort.  That’s lunch “family style” with about 4,000 of your closest friends.)

One of my upperclassmen came in, threw his cover (aka “hat”) onto the hat shelf under his chair, and commenced ranting about the fish.

Why do I have to eat fish?!?  I’m not Catholic!  This is all your fault!  [pointing at me, the only Catholic plebe in the squad]  Tell me why I have to eat fish?!?  What happened to separation of church and state!?!?!”

The rest of the squad laughed at him, and I, upon further questioning, admitted to hating fish (especially the Navy version: square or triangle) and commented that I got through Lent on peanut butter and jelly.

Then, after the fish had been picked over, came joke time.

The joke:

A while back, in Ireland, John, a Protestant boy, fell madly in love with Mary, a Catholic girl.  Deciding that mixed-marriages were not wise, he decided that he would convert.  John converted happily, they were married, and life seemed good.

One day, Father O’Malley, the local priest, dropped by to pay the newlyweds a visit.

“Oh, hello, Father!  I’ve been meaning to come talk to you…” began John uneasily.

“Why?  What’s the matter?  It isn’t Mary, is it?  You haven’t changed your mind now?” worried the priest.

“Oh, no, Father, Mary’s wonderful!  I couldn’t be happier being married.  The problem is…” and John dropped his voice to a confidential whisper: “I don’t feel Catholic.”

“Hmmm.  That is a problem.”  The priest pondered for a minute.  “Well, try this: whenever you don’t ‘feel Catholic’, just tell yourself, ‘I’m not a Protestant, I’m a Catholic.  I’m not a Protestant, I’m a Catholic.’  See if that helps, and I’ll look for some books that might help, too.”

Grateful, John thanked the priest, Mary came in from shopping, and all had a lovely visit.

A week later, bringing the promised books, Father showed up at John and Mary’s house and knocked on the door.  Mary opened it, and a lovely smell wafted out.

“Well, good morning, Mary!  And how are– Wait a minute.  That isn’t a smell that should be coming from a good Catholic house on a Friday, Mary!”

Rolling her eyes, Mary gestured the priest inside and replied simply, “Check the kitchen, Father.”

Reaching the kitchen, Father O’Malley found John standing over a huge, fragrant, sizzling steak.  As the juices dripped and the wonderful smells filled the entire neighborhood… [and now my upperclassman was practically drooling and looking like, seriously, he would’ve liked to have strangled me, except his classmates were loving seeing him squirm…]

Waving his grill spatula at the pan, John was telling the steak, “You’re not a steak, you’re a flounder!  You’re not  a steak, you’re a flounder!”

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I was looking for something else, honest.  I don’t even know how this came up on the search engine.  I mean, do you think I was actually looking for a Chinese steamed bun doing martial arts?  Just one of those things I didn’t know I needed to see, I guess.

For anyone local and coming to the New Year’s party, I promise that my char siu bao (stuffed pork buns) are much, much tamer than this.

Then again, I’ve never snuck up on them with the lights out, so I really don’t know, do I?

New Year’s greetings for the Year of the Tiger:

Super Baozi vs. Sushi Man  (DH preferred this one… and said it was good he doesn’t like sushi.)

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go get the char siu in the oven.

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