How to Look Smart

Well, if not smart, curiously informed. Trivia is fun, if for no other reason than you feel superior to the rest of us mere mortals. It also can create pet peeves, so beware. Here are a few fun facts to get you through the week:

Smokey Bear♦Smokey Bear fights forest fires. Not Smokey the Bear. Or Smokey da Bear.

♦A “jiffy” is 1/100 of a second. See you in a jiffy!

♦When the competition is between two people, the proper expression is “may the better man (woman) win.” When it’s between more than two people, you should say, “may the best man (woman) win.”

♦This is not a grammar rule, so teachers don’t like to hear it, but my favorite way to know when to use “it’s” versus “its” is this: “it’s” is the same as “it is.” Think of the apostrophe as replacing the “i.”

♦Back in the 70s we had “Jive Talking.” That’s not the same as when something doesn’t jibe with you. Yep, it’s “jibe,” not “jive,” for the latter expression.

♦And this is as political as I’ll get…”egghead,” a term with much the same meaning as “geek” or “nerd,” was used by Republican VP candidate Richard Nixon in the 1952 presidential campaign to pejoratively describe Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. I’ll leave it to you to compare and contrast political campaigns then and now, and I’m not doing it on this blog. But this could start some conversations for you.

 

Photo Credit: (Cow) © ChiccoDodiFC – 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


how to pretend you care about football

Cesar and me are ready for the game!So you’ve been invited to a friend’s house to watch the football game on their ginormous TV. Everyone is going, and you don’t feel like sitting at home alone.

I’ll never be an expert, by any definition, of any sport, but I do have some expertise in pretending to care.

First, a little insight into my own level of knowledge of the game of football, and then a few tips for getting through enjoying the game, or at least letting your friends think you do:

Some years ago,

I was late for my first date with a man who ended up being my boyfriend for an eternity. “I’m so sorry,” I said as I sidled up next to him at the bar (classy date, huh?). “I just had to watch the end of the football game. I know it’s only pre-season, but so-and-so is back from injuries and I wanted to see how he’d do.”

Condescending look. “That’s okay,” he said, “How did he do?”

I went into a two-minute recap of a game it turned out he’d watched in its entirety at that same bar. As I spoke, he had a look of increasing surprise, and when I finished he said, with a tone of incredulity, “You really do know football!”

So I know a little. However, I could have grasped only one fact about football — where the fifty-yard line is — and he would have been equally amazed. My point being, you’re probably not facing great expectations, and I can help you meet them.

50 yard line US Football s
Damn right you should be impressed.

Okay, that’s tip #1, illustrated. The fifty-yard line is smack-dab in the middle of the field going the long way. Once you’ve got that one down, here’s how to further pretend you love the game:

#2 Wear team colors

in some sort of tacky fashion. Mismatched socks will do. This will take a little pre-game research, but it’s important if for no other reason than you shouldn’t be wearing the other team’s colors.

#3 Bring a beastly yet delicious snack treat

and call it your “traditional football (name of food).” Don’t over-think this one. Remember, football fans love melted Velveeta cheese mixed with canned chili. The bar is not set high.

#4 Listen to the others gripe about the game,

and take your cues for shaking your head and saying, “you are SO right about THAT!” This tip is a little tricky since someone may ask a for a follow-up, so only do it if you dare.

#5 Every time you hear someone on TV say,

“it’s first and ten…”  yell, “FIRST AND TEN! DO IT AGAIN!”

(If someone points out the other team has the ball, smile sheepishly and say, “just another chance for our guys to sack the quarterback.” What that answer lacks in logic it makes up for with perceived quick thinking and advanced beginner knowledge.)

#6 Forget it.

You’re not fooling anyone. Take out your cell phone and text all your real friends about how bored you are.


Image Credit: (football field, w/o writing) © gomolach — Fotolia


my oasis of chaos

In my doll-sized apartment, one of the first things you see is my coffee table. Therefore, I strive to make sure it reflects me, the real me.

incredibly messy real me coffee table sm
This is a fictionalized depiction of what my coffee table would look like if it reflected the real me. FICTIONALIZED.

Well, if that were true, this is what it would look like on a good day. (Note the January 26, 1986 issue of People magazine: Sexiest Man Alive 1986 — Mark Harmon. Every few years I come across that magazine and think, I need to throw this thing away. But, how can I? WHAT IF I MEET MARK HARMON A WEEK AFTER I THROW IT OUT and miss my greatest chance ever for a celebrity autograph? Like I’d be carrying it in my purse if I did meet him when he traveled here to Arkansas [I hear it]. So it stays.)

Fortunately I have enough sense to decorate to a higher standard than my muddled mind. I won’t bother to show you a picture of that (the decorating, that is), since A) everyone’s taste is different and what I think is So Classy you might think is So Garage Sale and B) as you can see, the available photography isn’t going to do it justice anyway.

people magazine 012686 sm
Sure, I could put this on my coffee table, but nobody would be allowed to touch it.

Still, I do want that table to make a quality statement. So sometimes I put out a really cool book of photography my dad gave me, or other times I’ll trade that out for my favorite childhood picture books (I saw that done in a decorating book once and it looked good there, but never quite translates in my living room). Mostly I leave room for any magazines or books I might be reading, but I leave the esoteric ones most visible.

My copy of “Why Men Love Bitches” is in a basket under the table, buried beneath a couple of phone books. It always remains out of sight, but rarely out of  mind.

When it comes right down to it, I could really overthink this thing. Like I said before, my apartment is tiny. Everything needs to serve a purpose. While some of that purpose is ambiance, more of it is practical.

So maybe a little oasis of chaos would work.

in an alternate universe I am Donna Summer

My mother, who loves me, claims I have the worst singing voice she’s ever heard.

I take issue with that. My sister’s is much worse.

stop singing IIIf you want evidence of how bad a singer I am, tell me when your birthday is and wait for a call. When you hear “Happy Birthday” to the tune of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” you’ll know it’s me.

When I sang this jingle for my brother, leaving it on his voice mail, he laughed so hard he could hardly spit out the words “thank you. ” “That’s the funniest – and worst – thing I’ve ever heard,” he told me. He played it for his friends, who were certain I was pretending to be THAT BAD.

I wasn’t. I just am THAT BAD. You’ll never hear me sing in church. If I really like the song, I’ll mime it.

Maybe it’s that complete lack of talent that gives me the freedom to fully appreciate those with true ability. I have friends who can sing beautifully, but claim they can’t hear it in others. It’s not clear to me if it’s competitiveness or a different gauge for quality.

Could it be if you’re gifted, you only recognize those more talented you? I don’t know, and I’m too restless to ponder.

I do know one thing, however. My late great cat Paco was apparently tone deaf, because when I’d hold him and sing the classic tune, “You Don’t Know Me,” he’d lean his head into my shoulder and purr quietly. Until he’d had enough, when he’d let out a yowl like he was in wild pain.

Wait, I just got it. I think he was singing along with me.

Image Credit: (music notes) © Tawat Lamphoosri — Dreamstime.com