Tag Archives: Humor

Four Out of Five

Time’s up. Please put your pencils down. The Five Things About Me Quiz is finished. The answers are below.

1. I was a cheerleader in high school.

Dive, are you sitting down?

Oh, this is fun. The looks I get when I admit this are priceless. YOU?! YOU WERE A CHEERLEADER?! people shout when I tell them. Yep. I was.

Please stay seated, Dive, as it gets worse.

I was not only a cheerleader; I was also the captain of the squad. In other words, I was a great cheerleader. I have the trophies to prove it (well, they are gathering dust in my parents’ attic, but you get the idea). If Smokestack makes herself known here, she’ll tell ya. I rocked the house.

Just as no one sets out to be a junkie, I didn’t set out to be a cheerleader. Thing is, I needed an activity for college, and dancing wasn’t going to cut it. I needed something I could letter in. I couldn’t play basketball. I wasn’t terribly good at softball (I throw like the girl I am). They didn’t offer volleyball until my junior year (I was pretty good at that).

I might not have possessed great athletic prowess, but boy could I dance, and I could yell loud enough to raise the dead. Hence, cheerleading. Even though I went to a tiny, conservative Christian school, we had real uniforms with short skirts, and we did plenty of jumping (and cartwheels, and flips, and splits). I hated it. I was not a stereotypical cheerleader. I was not popular, nor was I outgoing (Little Sassy Schmoozer took a big long snoozer during my awkward teenage years). I tried to quit my junior year, but my coach wouldn’t let me. Instead I became the captain of the cheerleaders.

So, yes I was a cheerleader in high school. I was also an excellent student. It always amused me when people at school used to put the cheerleaders down for being ditzy and dumb, especially since some of the most intelligent girls in school were on the squad. One of my cheerleading buddies majored in math and went on to earn oodles of money at IBM. Thanks to my AP credits, I was technically a college sophomore half-way through my first semester in college. But you know, I was like, a cheerleader, so I’m, like, totally dumb and stuff. Totally.

2. I worked at McDonald’s for a summer.

Doubly sad, but also true. I started college in the middle of a recession (thank you, Reagan and Bush I). There were no jobs, and so we were all taking what we could get for work. I had to suck up working at Mickey Ds. I was a vegetarian McDonald’s employee who really didn’t care if people got their fries in a hurry. They didn’t like me much.

My first day, I donned my high-water polyester pants (I am all of five feet, three inches tall, and I have never had a problem with high-waters before or since) with the arches emblazoned on the ass, the polyester striped button down complete with bow tie, and the visor. My friend beheld my appearance and nearly died of asphyixiation. In no way did I look like myself. I’m not just saying that. My McDonald’s costume would have made the perfect disguise if I had wanted to live a life of crime.

One time I worked at another store, and after my shift I changed my clothes before going back to the counter to get an employee drink. They asked to see my employee ID. I had to show them my mustard-stained uniform before they believed it was me and forked over the Diet Coke. When I brought back my uniform at the end of summer, one guy who hadn’t been particularly nice to me took one look at me and exclaimed, “You’re pretty?! Holy Shit!” Ha. Ass.

3. I can roll my tongue.

True. I also have hitchhiker thumbs. My second toe on my right foot is longer than my big toe, and if you believe the story, that makes me a werewolf. My hair’s perfect.

4. I’ve run for public office.

FALSE! Fooled you! I have never run for public office. I’m too much of a rabble-rouser to be interested in running for office. Besides, I was a wild child in my wild days, and there are pictures to prove it. I inhaled. I might get elected dogcatcher, but that’s about it.

5. I’ve been tear gassed at a protest.

True. By Canadian Mounties, no less. In the spring of 2001 my coworkers and I traveled up to Quebec City, Canada, to protest at the Free Trade Area of the Americas meetings. The authorities were stopping people at the border, but we had rented a car and wore decent clothes, so we got a pass. Although I didn’t personally witness any violent activity, the cops did not want thousands of protesters anywhere near the meeting headquarters. So, they repeatedly fired tear gas into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The stuff’s awful, and I’m horribly allergic to it. It made me very sick, but my allergist always considered me a hero after that. I’ve been to plenty of other protests in my day, but that was the only time I’ve been tear gassed.

Before Girl is indeed the Smartest Person Alive. She’s the only one who figured it out.

Tacky Gift Party

One of the highlights of my holiday season is the Tacky Gift Party. For years, my friends and I have scoured the world for the most useless, ugliest, most sick and wrong gifts we can find for less than $5. Then we wrap them up nicely and exchange.

In days of old, the Friendly Toast restaurant, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, home to some of the worst art ever created, served as the backdrop to Tacky Gift. Our wait person would judge the contest (we tipped well). Times change, however, and this year Tacky Gift will be held at a friend’s house. The host has instructed guests to bring the items like Twinkies, Tab, spray cheese, cocktail weenies, Boone’s Farm “wine,” Natty Ice, and Devil Dogs for the festivities. We won’t eat or drink, but merry we shall be.

A continual work in progress, there are no hard and fast rules to Tacky Gift. The following guidelines, however, are enforced:

  • The lower the cost, the higher the Tackiness Quotient. Tie will go to the cheapest gift. Hence, re-gifting always lends an advantage.
  • Kitsch is not the same thing as Tacky. Kitsch is too cool to be truly tacky.
  • In order to qualify, gifts must be something that people can conceivably imagine someone giving as a present.
  • The Uselessness Factor is always appreciated. A puzzled “What is it?” uttered upon opening is a sign of a truly tacky gift.

Memorable prize-winning gifts have included an orb of undetermined substance and origin; a clear Lucite rose ring holder, with hideous blue perfume in the flower—this thing also lit up and played a tinny, electronic Für Elise; a gigantic portrait of a copule’s eldest son; and a two-videotape set of the Left Behind movies, starring ex-child actor Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains fame and badly based on the biblical book of Revelation.

The recipient of the tackiest gift pledges to display the gift in a semi-prominent place for a year (that plastic flower gizmo was an eyesore, but I really feel bad for my friend who had to display Left Behind for an entire year), and the giver of the tackiest gift gets to bring home the plastic drunken Santa wine goblet as a trophy. The trophy is currently in my possession. I’m fairly confident that I will get to keep it, because here is my gift.

    I discovered this patriotic Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light™, bear, clearance price $2.99, while taking one for the team. If you don’t know about him, Thomas Kinkade is a strange bird. He’s an “artist” of the cheesiest order known for some bizarre outbursts. Take this story from his Wikipedia entry.

    “In 2006 John Dandois, Media Arts Group executive, recounted a story that on one occasion (“about six years ago”) Kinkade became drunk at a Siegfried and Roy magic show in Las Vegas and began shouting ‘Codpiece! Codpiece!’ at the performers. Eventually he was calmed by his mother.”

    Like I said, I’m going to win. If a patriotic bear designed by a drunken Siegfried and Roy fan obsessed with codpieces and his mother isn’t tacky, then I don’t know what is.

    Random Monday Musings

    Holy crap, this story made me laugh. I can see it now. A family brings home their Christmas tree, and the fresh pine scent fills the house. Mugs of hot chocolate all around. Singing along with the Christmas music, the family begins to decorate. Everything is just holiday perfect until… Aieeeeee! The tree has beady little eyes! I can see a horror movie franchise here. Perhaps I should write a screenplay, The Christmas Trees Have Eyes. Whaaa haaa haaaa haa.

    So I didn’t go out with Flattering French Guy, as you may have guessed. I just couldn’t go through with it. I called him and wound up having to leave a message saying that I didn’t think it was a good idea for us to meet up. When I hung up I felt nothing but relief. There are other men out there, and I’m sure that Flattering Guy can flatter his way in to some other woman’s heart.

    Nothing much went on with me this weekend. I stayed close to home and made some major progress on the holiday knitting. Check out my posts on Punk Rock Knitters (here and here), if you’d like (exception: Ms. Smokestack cannot click on these links, or she will ruin her surprise).

    The only other thing of note that happened to me was that I fell in the driveway. Splatted was more like it. Hey, Grace! I turned my foot, and now I’m walking with a limp. I have huge bruises on my elbow and hip. Pretty. And now it’s off to the warehouse.

    Christmas Cheer

    Hot Chocolate and the Best Yard Sale Find Ever

    After I graduated from college I went home to live with my parents for a year before I started graduate school. Two of my high school friends also returned to our hometown, and the three of us divided our time between our lousy part-time jobs (I worked in a supermarket deli, one friend was a waitress, and the other ran a sandwich shop) and the bar. We partied. We had more boys after us than we’ve ever had since. We had no major responsibilities. We were miserable.

    When Christmas rolled around that year, we all had to work Christmas Eve until mid-afternoon. It had snowed the day before, but the Christmas Eve broke sunny and not-too-cold, and so we decided to go sledding. All activities in those days required alcohol, of course, and the occasion called for something particularly festive. We decided upon a little concoction we dubbed “Christmas Cheer.”

    Christmas Cheer is disgusting. Here’s the recipe:

    You’ll Need:
    2 heaping teaspoons instant hot chocolate per partaker
    1 cup hot water per partaker
    Peppermint schnapps, I’d say to taste, but it was really more to obliterate
    1 candy cane per partaker
    Instant whipped cream, if desired

    To Assemble:
    Boil the water
    Add instant hot chocolate to mug
    Add boiling water to about three-quarters full, and stir
    Add schnapps (or shnappies, as my friends would say), and stir

    To Garnish:
    Spray whipped cream on top, if desired
    Add candy cane—Festive!

    Repeat, as often as desired


    I don’t remember much of the sledding trip, but I do remember singing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs and feeling absolutely awful afterwards (but with minty fresh breath!). It was the best Christmas Eve ever. All anyone has to say is “Christmas Cheer, wink wink,” and we’ll sigh and get all misty-eyed with remembrance of our last carefree days.

    Last Christmas one of the friends flew in to see her family. I picked her up in Boston, and we hung out for the evening at my place before heading to New Hampshire for the festivities. On a lark I had procured a bottle of peppermint schnapps under the pretence of making Christmas Cheer. We drank red wine and reminisced about it instead. Feeling wise and hangover-free, we left for New Hampshire the next day.

    My neighbor, apparently short of booze for the holidays, broke into my apartment while I was away and stole my Christmas Cheer. My guess is that he spent Christmas Day avoiding all things merry and bright.

    Quiz Mania

    Blame Robyn, Dive, and every other quiz-crazed maniac out there in the blogosphere.

    You Are 34% American

    America: You don’t love it or want to leave it.
    But you wouldn’t mind giving it an extreme make over.
    On the 4th of July, you’ll fly a freak flag instead…
    And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!
    Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

    Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know “no” from “know.” Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

    Are You Gooder at Grammar?
    Make a Quiz

    What Kind of Reader Are You?

    Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

    You’re probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people’s grammatical mistakes make you insane.

    Dedicated Reader
    Literate Good Citizen
    Book Snob
    Fad Reader
    What Kind of Reader Are You?
    Create Your Own Quiz
    You Are A Weeping Willow Tree

    You are a dreamer, and you’re into almost any kind of escapism.
    Restless and capricious, you love to travel to exotic places.
    You are easily influenced by others, as long as they don’t pressure you.
    You tend to suffer in love until you find that one loyal, steadfast partner.
    An empathetic friend, you love to make others smile and laugh.

    Fun with Craigslist Personals

    Sometimes when I need a laugh, I head on over to the Craigslist personals section. No, not the nasty “Casual Encounters” section (that place is just frightening), but the regular personals pages. Unlike regular online dating sites, where people tend to put their best dating foot forward, posters to Craigslist personals tend to reveal just what kind of bad shit was going down in their lives.

    I suppose it’s sad, but since most of the funny men-seeking-women ads are from unemployed, ugly men who are looking for a woman so perfect that she only exists in the toy isle in a Barbie Doll box, it doesn’t feel wrong to make fun of them. Here’s an interesting one from today. In New England (the NORTH), some guy is complaining that there aren’t any hot women who like country music. Here’s his post, sans his reply-to address, with commentary:

    convinced there are no hot women who like country music – 39
    You are in New England, you idiot. We women may be hot, but we are not from Dixie, so you’ll just have to settle. I think the best you can hope for is a woman who won’t leave you after she finds you that you like country music.

    are you out there?
    No. I’m not out there.

    Just like Tim McGraw…
    Tim McGraw is out there. I’m glad you understand that.

    Get it?
    Not really. Would you mind explaining?

    looking for real women who like country…
    Nothing to see here, move along. And learn how to capitalize your sentences, please.

    send pic. I aint no weirdo looking for pics.
    Phew. At least he “aint no weirdo looking for pics.” He just wants a pic, singular. I’m sure I have one around here someplace.

    Me? I am easy on the eyes…and you?
    His picture was of a cheesy sunset. I guess that’s what he meant by being easy on the eyes.

    There was another one from a business guy who wants to be a rock star and perform interesting acts, but it was really just gross.

    My Elton John Story

    So late last night at the wino party, when everyone still there was feeling toasty and the conversation was getting confusing, someone put in a documentary that featured a number of live musical performances from the late 70s at a club in England (I should remember what club it was—but I was in my cups last night, so I don’t). People were singing along and talking about the performances, and gradually the entire party wound up sitting around watching the documentary.

    I went in the room when I heard “I Will Follow,” and joined in the critique of Bono’s mullet (for the record—I fell in love with U2 at the age of ten after my babysitter played “War” for me, so I can live with the hair. I couldn’t really live with Zoo TV). Countless other acts followed, Bonnie Rait, REM, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Tom Waits (with an unlined face—I always think of him as an ancient man), and then Elton John. Oh oh.

    Elton John spelled trouble. The reason’s a bit complicated.

    As much as I hate the whole “Candle in the Wind” crap, that isn’t the reason why Elton John makes me cringe. The man made some beautiful music in the 70s. He’s phenomenally talented. I used to really love listening to him when I was a kid. Until this one evening when I was ten, I thought he was amazing. After that evening, I didn’t listen to him again for nearly twenty years. Now I can listen to him, but I usually have to tell people my Elton John story. So here’s my Elton John story.

    When I was a kid, my parents and their friends used to celebrate each other’s birthdays with rowdy dinner parties. The kind with lots of booze and inappropriate humor. We kids would always wind up stuck upstairs (we’d sneak down, but we’d usually be caught and sent back upstairs to bed).

    Well, I’d just turned ten when the party was again at my parents’ house. I’d done my sneaking around and had been sent to bed. I must have fallen asleep, because it was really dark when I woke up. Something was wrong, though, because Elton John was being played rather loudly on the stereo. I couldn’t get back to sleep because of the music, so I decided to go downstairs to ask if they could be quiet, or barring that, if I could have some cake.

    I padded down the stairs, and discovered that the house was dark. Perhaps the party moved to the porch, I thought. I wandered over to the porch door, and it was dark there too. No one seemed to be here anymore. Huh.

    In my family, we didn’t do things like shut doors and such. Things were pretty open, so I didn’t think anything at all about heading to my parents’ room to tell them to turn the music off. I walked toward my parents’ room, and yep, you guessed it.

    My parents were having sex.

    Now I was ten. I knew what sex was. My parents had given me the basic rundown as to how my sister and I came into the world, and I had watched enough HBO at my friends’ houses to know the other details. What I didn’t get was why in the hell anyone would want to do such a thing. It was so, so… Ick.

    Not one to keep things to myself, I decided to make myself heard. I shouted out, “I know what you’re doing, and I think it’s DISGUSTING!!!!”

    I’ve never seen my parents move so fast in all my days. My dad was out of that room in about two seconds flat. The music was off a second later.

    My mom, realizing that she was going to have to deal with this, gathered up some blankets and tried to soothe her distressed child.

    “Come here,” she said, and patted the bed.

    I looked at her like she was dangerous. I did not trust her one little bit. “I don’t want to sit down.”

    “It’s OK,” she said. “I think we need to have a little talk. Please sit down.”

    I sat down. “What did you think we were doing, honey?” my mother asked me.

    I stared down at the covers, shame flooding through me. I couldn’t say it at first, but I managed to mumble it, still staring at the pattern of my parents’ quilt, “Humping. You and dad were humping.”

    “Well, honey, that isn’t what I call it…” and she went on to explain that when two married people love each other, blah dee blah dee blah… After she finished her explanation, I felt better about things, but I still needed to make something clear. “If I get a little brother or sister out of this, I’m going to be really mad. One’s enough.”

    My mother replied, “Well, we’re not trying to have a baby, honey, so don’t worry.”

    “Then why were you doing it?” I demanded. This unfortunately led to more conversation about loving people and sex and nonsense like that. I was sorry I’d brought it up. I went back upstairs and tried to sleep. I couldn’t get Elton John music out of my head.

    The next month or so was awkward as ass around my parents, especially my dad (there was no eye contact for a good bit), but eventually things returned to normal. And about a year or two later, I had an inkling as to what the fuss was all about.

    But I still couldn’t listen to Elton John without wincing. Elton John equaled catching my parents in the sack. Elton John was yucky. People would occasionally play Elton John music, and I’d tell them to turn that shit off. If they wouldn’t turn it off, I’d tell them my story. Problem was, they’d usually laugh, and I’d have to tell it again when other people were around. In the retelling, I’ve realized just what an appalling little shit I was, sounding off like that. My poor, poor parents.

    It seems that time has also gone a long way toward mending that moment, because as I watched Elton John perform “Tiny Dancer,” on the TV last night, I once again thought that he was pretty great.

    But I still had to tell my Elton John story after the song was over.

    Contagious Quiz Mania Continues

    It’s not just me. When I checked out Dive’s blog this morning, my initial thought was that I’d created a monster. After I took my dating persona quiz two nights ago, I became obsessed with quiz taking. Last night I took a celebrity quiz (I am apparently like Susan Sarandon), a Sesame Street quiz (I am like Kermit the Frog), a quiz on commonly misused words (I aced it), and a host of other quizzes that I only vaguely remember. I stayed up too late; I felt guilty for wasting all that time.

    The guilt was only compounded when I saw that Dive, too, has been taking online quizzes. Oh shit, I thought, I owe him an apology and a link to a 12-step quiz program (you get to take a quiz to find out if you are addicted).

    But wait! Who did he ruefully thank for this latest time sucker? He didn’t thank me. He thanked Old Knudsen. I then checked out Old Knudsen’s blog to see if I’d somehow gotten him addicted and that he’d gone and gotten Dive addicted (thereby making my time suckage bad karma much worse than I thought). I held my breath and read.


    It wasn’t me. Knudsen got the idea from someone else.

    Apparently this quiz-taking obsession is just in the air. Rather like this cold I have that my friend in Memphis, Tennessee, also has—we haven’t seen each other in months, and so we couldn’t possibly have given it to each other. It’s just one of those things.

    Greatly relieved and now treating the quizzing thing more like a cold than an addiction, I reached for my tissues and took this new quiz. I’m feeling rather smug about catching a typo in the text. I am this kind of Tarot card (note the secret theme?):

    You are The High Priestess

    Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

    The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluctuation, particularly when it comes to your moods.

    What Tarot Card are You?
    Take the Test to Find Out.

    Sooo . . . Enough Politics

    OK, I couldn’t think of the election anymore, so I took some online quizzes instead. This one, courtesy of OK Cupid, killed me. I answered a couple of questions, and they told me that I’m a nice girl . . . kind of.

    These quizzes are bullshit (people are far more complicated than this). However, I’ve taken this one a couple of times, in a couple of different moods, and received the same answer, so I guess I’ll accept it. At least this profile is more interesting than the one I got from Nerve (“Social Philosopher”). Don’t get any funny ideas, but feel free to take the quiz.

    Oh, and I also took their politics test. I’m a socialist. Go figure.

    Remember This? Throw the Neocon Bums OUT!

    Remember this? Let’s not have it happen again, OK? OK.

    The time has come. Throw the neocon bums out!

    They’ve bungled the war they launched under cover of deception.
    They’ve failed to bring to justice those responsible for September 11.
    They’ve dispensed with the foundation of western democracy.
    They’ve tortured in our name.
    They’ve mortgaged our future to secure the support of the rich.
    They’ve sacrificed the environment for industry profits.
    They’ve spread hate, distrust, and fear.
    They’ve shown no shame after being caught spying on us.

    They’ve controlled this country long enough.

    Tomorrow we have a responsibility to stand up for democracy. To stand up for freedom. To stand up to those arrogant bastards who have taken everything good this country has ever stood for and tossed it aside for power’s sake.

    Vote them out!

    Check out Dr. James for information on how to keep your vote secure.