Tough Zebras, Sexy Coquettes and Frozen Judges

I have a new obsession.

It’s pangrams, sentences that include every letter of the alphabet. You can use letters twice (you pretty much have to), but you can’t include proper names, foreign words or abbreviations. The goal is for them to make sense (relatively speaking) and to have as few letters as possible.

The most famous of these is “the quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.”

I think my lowest count is 39 letters. I have a friend who claims her 32-word sentences are clear and logical, but they have no verbs, so I’ve disqualified them. From what, I’m not sure, but she’s going to have to do better.

Here’s one of my early (that would be yesterday) pangrams:

“Valued oxen graze quietly before heckling jumpy cows.” (45 letters)

Paints a picture, right? There’s a story there. I’m just not sure I’m the one to tell it.

Here’s one we all can relate to:

“Sexy coquettes dazzle big jocks when frumps arrive.” (43  letters)

The 39-letter pangram is a little disturbing, so I’m not going to include it. In fact, I’d prefer to forget it, so it may be burned before you have a chance to read this post. I have another one, but it’s a stretch to say it makes sense:

“Tough zebras vow to just mix funky cupid liquor.”

Here’s a headline you have to hope you never see:

“Quickly Hide Frozen Judge Mix Up, Beasts Vow.”

I’ve learned something with this little mind game. The obvious — and perhaps smartest — thing to do is to choose the words with q, x and z first, then maybe w and y. I typically start a sentence with the more challenging words, then write down the letters I’m missing. Sometimes filling in the blank is a clear choice, such as when I needed a word (or words) with m, p, r, and t in it.

I promptly figured that one out.

I seem to often get stuck with the letters c, g, k, and j. Putting the c and the k together seems obvious enough, but what do I do with the g and j? As seen above, “jock” is one answer, but there aren’t a sloughful of others.

(Sloughful — that’s a good word for this game, and I swear I’ve heard it many times before. But when I looked it up, I couldn’t find it. If any of you are familiar with it, I’d love to hear from you.)

There is a serious side to this fun. Word games are valuable exercise for our brain, and we all know brain health is important. So keep your mind active, and maybe give this addictive game a try.

Start with “wizards” or “zebras.”

Images courtesy of Pixabay, except for Young Woman — © micro – Fotolia


how to effectively waste your time, part two

Too much time on your hands? Here are some suggestions for wasting it:

Tell a five-year-old what not to say at the family Christmas gathering.

My Daddy thinks...Well, it’s a fine passive-aggressive way to get your point across, or an option for some mean-spirited fun.

58-413-tissue_xl lrDebate “over-the-top” or “under-the-bottom” with regard to toilet paper.

If you must, be sure to quote reputable sources, even if you have to make them up.

 cola bottleLearn how to make your own cola.

I have never, ever heard anybody say homemade is better than the real thing. And I did my research (speaking of a waste of time).

Sewing Machine smMake a dress (or shirt) that’s a size too small as incentive to lose weight.

Not fair buying it. This is how to waste your time, not how to waste your  money.

Binge-watch “Family Feud.”

screen-371643_1280You cannot possibly justify this one.

And last but not least…
Make New Year’s Resolutions.

If I need to explain, congratulations.

Clock Almost Midnight Time

Image Credits: (cola bottle, sewing machine, tv set) © GraphicStock. (toilet paper) © owattaphotos — Fotolia; (clock) © niroworld – Fotolia

waterloo, oh, I needed you

vinyl-records-isolated-on-white_f1ZNpkvd lrTalk about guilty pleasures. I was certain I was going to hell.

Back in the 70s, I was deeply involved in an evangelical church that told me virtually any pop or rock group that didn’t sing praises to God was of the devil. And the group ABBA, well, that was a name for the Lord, not a group of singing sinners.

But, how could I not be captivated by their bouncy, upbeat music? Their enthusiasm for what they were doing, and those godawful outfits?

Years later I was working in Europe and found myself trapped one Saturday morning in a hotel on the outskirts of the city of Alkmaar, the Netherlands. This hotel could have been on an island for all of its lack of access to anything, and I didn’t have a car. I was stuck while waiting for a ride to the train station.

So I turned the TV to the only station of any remote interest, MTV Europe, where they had a three-hour marathon of ABBA’s greatest hits, that is, any song that boasted a video. There aren’t as many as you might think. Within 45 minutes I was ready to scream. For some reason I had no books, no magazines, nothing, and this was long before laptops, smart phones or anything else I could have used for diversion.

Silence with nothing to fill the time was worse, so for three hours, I watched and listened to Sweden’s pride and joy. There were perhaps seven songs, played in an eternal loop.

As a result, for years, I couldn’t listen to ABBA. But this week I was perusing You Tube and found they’re back for me, a celebrated guilty pleasure. To commemorate the occasion, here’s one of their signature songs.

Photo Credit: (record albums)

how to effectively waste your time

Thankfully, I had to think about this one.

Sadly, there came a point when the ideas, all based on real-life (mine), came a’tumblin. For the record, I haven’t done everything on this list — at least not #4.

Anyway, here are some ideas for how to effectively waste your time:

1. Write your acceptance speech for your Academy Award.

Then give it — tears and all — to your pets, stuffed animals or your own image in the mirror.

2. Play computer solitaire.

This is an old-time favorite, and there are plenty of newer or more complex games out there as well. But I chose this because a friend of mine (friend — yeah, right. no — really.) has played an incredible number of games, as evidenced here. (I wrote the number really large. You may have to click on the picture to believe it.)

Number of solitaire games my friend has played as of August 2015.
Number of games my friend has played as of August 2015.
3. Take selfies. Lots and lots of them.

I started to take a bunch of myself and post them here, then I remembered photos from these posts end up on Google Images under your name (check it out if you don’t believe me).

4. Oh yes, check Google Images for the disconcerting pictures that come up under your name.

Then check all your friends’ names & images. Then save some of the more intriguing images, e-mail them to the corresponding friend and ask them what it’s all about.

5. Make endless amounts of bookmarks.

Fifteen years ago I discovered blank bookmarks at a craft store, along with small stencils & stencil paint. I had a couple dozen pots of paint, about eight stencil sheets and a handful of brushes. I made more than 200 bookmarks, and it’s taken me all this time to get rid of half of them. And, I laminated as many as I could. This is a portion of what I have left:

bookmarks sm

6. Watch my all-time favorite YouTube animal video.

It’s mesmerizing:

Goats on Sheet Metal

Before you judge me,

I know you have a list. I’d love to hear it.

one man’s shame is another man’s glory

Ah, guilty pleasures. If you don’t have one, shame on you.

guilty pleasureFor me, it’s currently the TV show “Jane the Virgin.” I know, I know. That’s why it’s a guilty pleasure. To those of who you feel a need to start talking about PBS when I mention it, phooey. There’s a reason I like it. It’s fun. It’s good. It’s pure escapism.

There are a few songs I’ll blast when need be…well, actually, my apartment has thin walls and bitchy neighbors (including me on occasion), so I don’t really blast the music. It’s just played a wee bit louder than usual.

“Money for Nothing.” Hmmm…maybe not so much to feel guilty about there.

“Sugar Sugar.” A little closer. (Completely irrelevant to this piece, my friend Tom uses this as the ring tone for his wife.)

“It’s Raining Men.”

That’s what I’m talking about. I think that’s as bad as I get, but I’ll stop just in case.

Now there are other things I like that confuse some people as well, but I don’t think of them as guilty pleasures, anything I’m going to hide from the public. I have all seven seasons of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” on DVD. When the cable guy came out (on time – what do you know!) he looked at them, looked at me, and said, “well, I used to watch cartoons.”

Again, phooey! Frankly, I don’t get the comparison.

Now some of you have guilty pleasures I don’t want to know about, and thank you for keeping that information to yourself. Others of you are just plain boring. Ice cream is not a guilty pleasure. You may feel guilty about eating it, but that’s not the same thing. There has to be something a little shameful, a little “what the what?” about it.

In some circles, “Jane the Virgin” isn’t going to be a guilty pleasure. In my friends’ elitist little world, it is, so I keep quiet. Yet those snoots have their favorite less-than-esoteric television shows I never give them grief about.

Oh, I’m not going to list them because one man’s shame is another man’s glory. (I just made that up.) Like Jane. The more I think about it, the less guilty I feel. It’s funny. It’s campy. It’s a telenovela.

Wait, I just watched last night’s re-run. It IS a guilty pleasure…but a really good one.

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