Posts Tagged ‘DPchallenge’

We’re Still Aging!

There is a scene in the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth, where the characters are falling through a lava tube into, well, the center of the earth.  The four characters are screaming as the ground they were standing on shatters and they free fall for miles supposedly, not knowing how and when it will end.  At one point, they all stop screaming and they look at each other.  And then, Brendan Fraser yells, “We’re still falling!”


We’re still aging!

And it’s no less scary.  And we never know when and how it will end!

The Daily Prompt Weekly Writing Challenge this week is entitled GOLDEN YEARS.

No matter how you shake it, it happens to all of us: we grow older. As our age changes, so does our perspective. This week, we’re asking you to take a look at those little numbers that often mean so much.

Two years ago to the day, I wrote a blog entry called I am the Cryptkeeper, an amusing story of the times I have been mistaken for someone’s grandfather.  My own 5 year old son.  My neighbor’s teenage daughter.  Unfortunately, this has happened more than once, and once is way more than enough.

They say age is just a number.  So is pi.  So is 2,456,923.  But no one will live that long.  It might be a number, but for the vast majority of us, it is one that will remain in two digits left of the decimal point.

I can remember when I thought thirty was old.  Yes.  I can still remember that far back.  Can’t remember what I had for breakfast today, but is that really an important piece of information in the whole scheme of things?

Thirty?  Old?  WTF!  I can’t even blame it on the alcohol since I was too young to legally drink when I thought thirty was old.

I have unfortunately reached that point in my life when I tell people I’m 39, but they politely don’t believe me anymore.  Unless they are blind or senile.

I’m old.  There.  I said it.  Are you happy?

Shouldn’t old and age be four letter words?

As I have often said, getting old is better than the alternative.  The only alternative to getting old is to die young.  How do I feel about getting older now?  It’s like a Catch-22!

Age is just a state of mind.  Unfortunately, as we age, our minds get old right along with us.  Senility is a state of mind too.

GettingOldAs an eye surgeon, I have cared for many people in their golden years.  I am unhappy to report my findings.

There is nothing golden about the golden years.  They should be called the rust years.

The only thing golden about the golden years is the color of your urine.  And you might need Flomax.  Or Depends.

Getting old ain’t for sissies.

You can’t do the things you used to do, you can’t see as well as you used to, you can’t hear as well as you used to, and if you are lucky, you still remember how things used to be!

I could go on, but I forget the rest.

We spend the first 21 years of our life trying to get to 21.  We then spend the rest of our lives trying to get back there.  Is drinking legally really worth getting old?

Wine improves with age.

Does whine improve as well?

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The Daily Post asks, “Why did you start your blog? Is that still why you blog, or has your site gone in a different direction than you’d planned?

They’re kind of nosy that way.

But that got me to thinking . . . and that is always a dangerous thing.

You see, when you think about things, bad stuff happens.  Most wars occur because some politician or military general thought about things.  Einstein thought about things and eventually that led to the nuclear bomb.  If I think about a putt too long, I miss it.  (I miss it if I don’t think about it and just whack away at it, but then missing it doesn’t bother me so much.)  But I digress.

I first started blogging about Penn State football in the late 1990’s.  I had a free site on a place called Xoom.  It was basically free, which was the most significant criterion for my blog at the time.  You are now reading my ramblings on Word Press, so that criterion is still pretty significant.  Some things never change.

At one point, Xoom died as a web hosting site and I went to GeoCities.  It went belly up as well, except in Japan.  I don’t speak Japanese.  I am not a legend in Japan.  I’m not very funny in Japanese.  Or so I have been told.  Actually, I didn’t know GeoCities still existed anywhere, let alone Japan, until I Googled it.  I think they are hiding from me!

The basic formula to date has been to find a free web hosting service and then help it go bankrupt.  (If you have stock in Word Press, you might want to bail now.)

Along the way, I also diversified from a simple football blog to what you are reading now.

Ta Da!  (Jazz hands!)

(Actually, it was not an evolution from one to the other as it was a spin-off.  This is Frasier to my old Cheers blog.  Or something like that.  I still blog about Penn State, but the humor is secondary.)  Both blogs coexist, but they don’t communicate well together.  Kind of like my multiple personalities.  But we digress.

When I first started writing about Penn State football, I pictured myself as the Dave Barry of the football world.  Except for the part that I didn’t have a syndicated column with a gazillion readers.  And I didn’t make up names for rock bands.  But I thought I was funny.  Alas, looks aren’t everything.

I found that football was too narrow a subject and there were times–like when Penn State lost 6-4 to Iowa–when there was no way to make that humorous, unless you lived in freaking Iowa and had a corn fetish.

Humor is cathartic.  It’s what keeps me sane in an insane world.  I’m no longer Dave Barry trying to make a Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama into a joke, but rather Hawkeye Pierce surviving a daily war with humor and surgical skills as my only weapons.


Damn it, Jim, I’m just an eye doctor.

Living the Eye Life.

Welcome to the war.

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The Daily Prompt asks bloggers to “Create a short story, piece of memoir, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet.”

These people hate me.  Where do they come up with this?  Is this like that quick brown zebra chasing a fox that has every letter of the alphabet in it?  Does 26 sentences an epic poem make?

Have you ever played the game Apples to Apples?

In this game, you are dealt a hand of red cards, each with a person, place, thing or phrase (basically a noun of some sort).  Players take turns being the “judge.”  A card is then drawn from a second set of green cards with descriptive words (Adjectives perhaps?)   Players must pick a card from their hand that somehow matches the green card (for example, a synonym or antonym but probably not a homonym or a church hymn.)  For instance, the green card might say SMART.  If you have ALBERT EINSTEIN in your hand, the judge will probably pick your card.

My hand sucks.

My hand sucks.  Is Detroit radiant this time of year?

I never have EINSTEIN when SMART comes up.  I never have BILL GATES when RICH comes up.  If you don’t have anything that matches. you end up throwing in a random card which you know won’t get picked, but at least the worthless piece of crap (SOY SAUCE) is out of your hand and you have the opportunity to draw another card next turn that might actually match one of the 7,000 other green cards.  (Is it politically correct to call them green cards?)

Short story, memoir or epic poem?

Three green cards and I don’t have anything in my blog hand.

So here we go . . .

A man walks into a

Bar. (He hits his head.)  This gives him a

Concussion.  (See, the bar wasn’t a tavern but an actual bar . . . . get it?)


Eventually he comes to and yells “what the

F&$%!  Who put a bar there?!


How unsafe

Is that?

Just put a bar up there with no warning?

Kinda stupid, don’t you think?

Like it’s my fault I walked into that bar.


Nobody gives a crap anymore about



Quite the sign of the times.


Some people deserve to be sued.

That’s what I should do!

Unleash my lawyer on the world!

Very good idea!

Wait.  What?

Xcept I don’t have a lawyer, do I?  (see what I did there, wink, wink!)

Yikes!  Lawyers cost a lot of money!

Zero chance of me getting anything from that bar.  I’m underage anyway and shouldn’t have been walking into that bar.”

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The Daily Prompt has challenged Word Press bloggers to analyze their top 3-5 posts and find a connection between them.

Since The Eye Life was hatched, here are the top 5 posts:

The Little Piggie That Should Have Stayed Home   2,835
My Lunch Bucket List   1,321
Youse Guys Ever Eat at Five Guys?   1,002
Signature Moment   841
Sponge Boobs   588

For those that don’t feel like clicking through the links, The Little Piggie That Stayed Home is a light-hearted post about my experience having several toe nails surgically removed.  I am a runner, and this activity is apparently hard on toenails.  But I think the number of hits has nothing to do with HUMOR or RUNNING, but rather visitors are brought there by Google Images–there is a picture of cute little toes decorated to look like piggies.  This picture has also been linked to Pinterest.  There are also before and after photos of my feet but I’m pretty sure that is NOT what has driven traffic to that page.

People love this pic!   The Blog--not so much!

People love this pic!
The Blog–not so much!

My Lunch Bucket List is a post based on a Facebook posting of 100 Things One Should Eat Before You Die, which may include some things which might cause me to die if I actually tried to eat them.  The article is humorous and the title is an amusing play on Bucket List (things to do before you die) and Lunch Bucket (which implies foods.)  Get it?  Whatever.

Youse Guys Ever Eat At Five Guys is an amusing tale of my trip to Five Guys where I’m pretty sure there were a couple of women working.  This confused me, but I am easily confused.  Search terms that bring one here are led by FIVE GUYS.  Go figure.

Signature Moment is my tribute to our founding fathers and always gets a blip of hits on July Fourth.  GO FIGURE!

Seriously, if the Congrefs of today was meeting to pass this resolution, we all know what that would mean.  We’d still be British citizens.  God Save the Queen!

And lastly Sponge Boobs, which has nothing to do with boobs as a synonym for female anatomy, but probably benefits from searches for said anatomical parts, is about a study that showed that four year olds who watch just nine minutes of Sponge Bob (that’s two episodes minus the commercials) experienced learning difficulties.  I know!  I watched an entire Sponge Bob Marathon one day–but I did it at a Holiday Inn Express!

It should be quite clear what the connection is here between these posts.

They were all posted on this blog.

I’m sorry.  I’ve got nothing else.

It’s a humor blog, so I guess they have that in common.

Two are about food.  The rest, not so much.

Oh, and they all made this post about stats!  So they’ve got that going for them too.

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Whine and Dine

My idea of dining out is sitting down at the neighborhood McDonald’s for a Big Mac—McReservations optional.  In my younger years I was convinced that gourmet food was something that came in a Styrofoam container.  Alas, I married and discovered (or was taught by force depending on how you look at it) that gourmet food is not served in Styrofoam (although the remnants may be taken home for pets, kids, etc. in such) and they have since stopped serving Big Macs in Styrofoam.  Apparently, the Styrofoam is not biodegradable (and the Big Mac is?)

Anyway, there are these occasions when my wife insists on exposing me to the finer things in life.  I am not talking about a hot dog slathered in mustard at a football game (which should be included in any discussion between galloping gourmands.)  No indeed, we are talking about a restaurant wherein you must wear a tie.  This, gentlemen should be your first warning that you will not receive beef in a bag—having to wear a tie to eat.  Business is barely a reasonable excuse for wearing a tie.  But enforcing some medieval dress code for satisfying ones basic nutritional needs is bordering upon lunacy.

But I wanted to eat, and later on I would want to sleep in my bed and not the sofa, so I grudgingly obliged.  I finished clipping my tie on and was about to strike a GQ pose, or maybe just pass some gas, when my wife demanded, “Aren’t you going to wear anything with that?”

Not only must I suffer the indignation of having to wear a tie, but I must wear a suit coat as well.  Eating alone at McDonald’s and sleeping on the couch were starting to sound more appealing.

So, I found myself in a posh restaurant, wearing a clip-on tie and the best polyester coat I own just to please my wife, and I was thinking: what is on this menu?

It could have been Hollandaise sauce or maybe Béarnaise.  It was hard to tell just by the color.  I know it’s not special sauce!  But it was not the stain that was confusing me.

The top of the menu listed a CONSOMMÉ of CHICKEN.  I think I know what chicken is, but I have nary a clue what part of the chicken a CONSOMMÉ comes from.  I was becoming afraid.  Very afraid.

The salad (I think) was PASTRAMI CURED SALMON NAPOLEON SALAD WITH WASABI CRÈME FRESH.  I did not jumble these words either—this is the order they were presented.  The only words I understood were ‘fresh with salad.’  Wasabi is not an American word.  Napoleon was French.  I was ordering something and I had no idea what I would be eating.  It could be snails for all I know.  Or, escargots.

The list of entrees included Beef Tournedos, A Duck Two Ways, and Cranberry Scallops.  I have no idea what the Tornado might be, but at least it has a recognizable meat associated with it.  So does the duck, but the only way I would eat duck is cooked, and since I didn’t want to find out what the other way was, I thought it best to pass on that.   Scallops are seafood and this dinner was not during my seafood period of life.

The entrees also come with a bird’s nest of root vegetables and a multi-grain pilaf.  Now I don’t remember much botany from school, but vegetables in general, are plants.  Plants have roots, which distinguishes them from orphans.  So root vegetables could be any conceivable plant.  It would be a veritable chef’s surprise of organic material.

Usually I look forward to dessert, but tonight the last course awaiting my palate was a heart cup filled with a chocolate mousse, pecan tuile (?) and a sorbet medley (was this something I was to eat or listen to while munching my chocolate covered mouse?)

Thank God the meal was served with a wine flight.  (Strap on your helmets and get ready to fly!)  The table was set with the usual accoutrements, including a lot of silverware that I would never use (and had no idea what to use it for if I had to) and four liquor/wine glasses awaiting the various wines and champagnes.   I figure the primary purpose of the flight is to liquor you up enough to know that you’re not crunching a chocolate covered mouse, various inedible plants and a beef hurricane.

We started off with a delicious Champagne.  Things went downhill after that.

The consommé arrived in a large shallow bowl.  I looked at my wife as if to say, you’ve got to be kidding.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I said after the initial shock wore off.

There were three little piles of organic debris in my bowl—none of which resembled any part of any chicken I had ever seen.  They could have been chicken food at one time, I suppose.  The waitress seemed concerned by my lack of enthusiasm.


Just Add Organic Debris!

“What is this?” I dared to ask.

“Bok choy, enoki mushrooms, asparagus tips and orzo.”

I now knew less than before I asked.  Obviously, chicken must mean garden fungus in some foreign language, and I don’t want to even speculate at this point what consommé might mean.

However, the bubbly was loosening my inhibitions.  I started to gently pick up something—I prayed it was the asparagus tips—with something that might have been my butter knife.  It was definitely not a spork, but that would have been helpful given the ambiguity of the situation.  I no sooner began crunching the green crap when the waitress returned with a pitcher.  She poured broth out of the pitcher on my wife’s vegetable piles and gave her a soupspoon.  With sprigs of asparagus sticking out between my lips, the waitress looked at me —it was a look of disdain.  No ambiguity there.  She dropped my spoon aside my bowl and poured the broth over what I hadn’t managed to eat yet.

I tried to explain.  “I’m very hungry.”

She snorted and left.  It’s a good thing for her that the tip was included in the meal, because otherwise she just blew a perfectly good quarter.  Would it have killed them to say BROTH instead of CONSOMMÉ???

Before the consommé was finished, the second wine was poured.  The glass was a little bigger, and this time it was a chardonnay.  It may have had a full body and fruity flavors, but I hardly noticed as I downed it in one gulp.

I was beginning to feel better and thinking to myself that this might not be all that bad.  The next glass was humongous and I figured if I could survive the salad without any further gourmet faux pas I was all set.

I tried to loosen my tie, but it fell in my consommé.  I looked around frantically for the wine steward—hoping I could get a refill on the chardonnay.  I think the staff was avoiding our table for some reason.

And when you think things couldn’t get any worse, the salad came, such as it was.  The salmon was a raw chunk of meat wrapped in a waffled potato chip and the salad greens looked more like dandelions and weeds from my backyard than it did like lettuce or other more-or-less edible leaves.

“Aren’t you going to eat your salad,” my wife asked.

I leaned over to her, and in a hushed voice, unmuted by alcohol, I explained, “I can’t eat anything I mow in my lawn.  It’s a tradition.”wineglass

There was a candle on the table so I was able to cook my salmon—until it caught on fire.  I doused it in my water glass.  No problem.

Thankfully, the third wine—a Marietta from California—came.  Unfortunately, the wine steward didn’t fill the glass to the rim.  I asked him if he would.  He rolled his eyes and walked away—quickly.

The ‘beef’ was beef and it was delectable.  The final wine was a naughty little port.  Or it might have been starboard.  At that point in the meal, I was in flight and even the chocolate mouse tasted great.

Next time, I wonder if I could just get the wine flight.

For more humor, check out the Daily Post Weekly Challenge:  The Best Medicine.

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A Story About Nothing

The writer woke upon a slab of granite.  It was really just a rock, but being a writer, a rock was simply insufficient to describe that upon which he awoke.  It was too flat to be a boulder.  It certainly was as hard as granite, but he doubted that it was granite.  After all, he was a writer, not a geologist.

He sat up gingerly; his head pounding.  His vision was blurred.  He couldn’t remember where he’d left his glasses.


He was trapped in a prison of stone.  Or rock.  Granite.  Maybe gneiss.  That wouldn’t be nice.  But talc would be nice.  He could claw and powder his way out of that conundrum.  Alas, it was a prison of stone.  Why, oh why, had he not taken geology in college?

Even more curious, there was light.  And it was good.  Otherwise, he’d have been trapped in a stone prison in the dark.  Like a tomb.

But there was no apparent source of light.

He rubbed his temples, massaging away the cobwebs.

Squinting, he saw a table and a single chair.  Well, it’s not as though he was going to have company over anyway.  A single sheet of paper was on the table and the strange light with no source seemed centered on that.

He slowly rose and shuffled to the table, noting as he got nearer and could see better that there was a pen beside the paper.  He pulled the chair out with a mock flourish and sat down.  It was an oak chair and table—good and sturdy.  Odd that he would know his wood better than his stone, since he had not taking botany in college either, but life was strange that way.

How could something as simple as a piece of paper seem so threatening?  Yet, it held the key to his prison.


He thought back on the events which brought him to this rocky point.  Or would that be a stony point?

She was playing games with him, but the challenge was proving too great.

Michelle Weber, the evil temptress of Word Press, had cast her spell.

Write about something you would not write about.

So simple, yet so deceptively evil.

As soon as he wrote something on the paper—about anything—then by default he had written something about it and the ink disappeared.

His headache grew stronger as his spirit fatigued.  The paper and pen were the rock and hill in this version of Sisyphus in which he now starred, although in that myth a boulder was probably the proper analogy.  Granite or gneiss was immaterial to the plot, much as it is here.

Each time he tried to write about what he would not write about, the words disappeared, and he was forced to start over.

Write about something you would not write about.

Curse the sorceress Weber!  How can she torture him so?  Why?

He buried his face in his hands, his breathing ragged with a mixture of anger and frustration.

He was a writer.  He could write about anything.  He would write about anything.  So there was nothing for him to write.  No way to solve the puzzle.  No way out of this prison.  He would die here, a skeleton and dust decaying on a solid oak chair before a blank piece of paper.

No way out.

There was nothing for him to write.

Perhaps the stone is basalt.  Is that possible?

Nothing to write.

He took his hands away from his face, a smile carving its way over his haggard features.

He snatched up the pen and with a dramatic flourish penned the words that bought him his freedom.

I would never write about nothing.

He threw down the pen and raised his arms in victory—either that or the field goal was good.

And instantly, the rock walls melted away and he was back in his own bedroom, with a real bed.

Was it just a bad dream?

He still had the headache, and he had resorted to a double negative which gnawed at his soul.  He would never be the same.

Well, maybe never isn’t the right word . . .

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The Daily Prompt poses the following . . .”Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity — running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in “the zone”?

There’s no place like zone . . . there’s no place like zone.

But where, for art thou, is my zone?


The obvious answer is the North End Zone at Beaver Stadium where I have season tickets.  I have spent many an enjoyable Saturday afternoon there, and a few not so enjoyable ones as well.  When the crowd is cheering–108,000+ fans–there is an electricity in the air, a power which one can only experience but not describe.  Those who have been there know it.  It simply is nothing you will get watching a sporting event on TV.  You have to feel it.

As a runner, I often find myself ‘in the zone.’  I usually listen to music when I run, and at some point I become one with the road and the beat and I feel like I could run forever.  It is very relaxing and even the tensions of my worse days melt away with the pavement beneath my feet.  I have never ‘hit the wall’ as some runners claim, but I have run into a few cars, sign posts and the occasional tree.  I’m just kidding about that, although I have been close to getting run over by cars and buses.

I despise–no loathe–construction zones.  I know they are a necessary evil on our roadways, but necessity does not breed acceptance.

I really don’t like the O-zone, not the protective layer but the football site.  It’s too bad hydrochlorofluorocarbons can’t put holes in that as well.

I liked the Twilight Zone, the original series (the movie was OK), but for better or worse, I have never been in the Twilight Zone.

But of all the zones, I think the one I like the best is my light zone:

Here I am--in the ZONE!

Here I am–in the ZONE!

There is just something very relaxing about floating on cool water while basking in the heat of gorgeous sunshine.  I could float for hours, just California day dreaming, reading a book, sleeping, or making Vitamin D.

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That only a Mother can love.

When I was younger, my dad and I went out shopping for Mother’s Day.  Maybe it was Christmas.  I don’t know.  This is Mother’s Day so it was a Mother’s Day gift.  Dammit, Jim, I’m just an eye doctor!

My mom wanted a new lamp for our end table in the family room.  The one she had still worked.  Neither my dad nor I could understand why a perfectly good lamp needed to be replaced.  Seriously . . .do you change the bulb before it burns out?  But I digress.

So we went in search of a lamp.  At a furniture store–which also sold “accessories.”  It really wouldn’t have mattered if we went to a lamp store.  We were both clueless if we couldn’t find it in the hardware store.  And even then . . .

After wandering around with glazed looks on our eyes, a sale person finally took pity on us and helped us find a lamp.

Neither my dad nor I could find anything wrong with the lamp.  It looked nice next to the display furniture that looked nothing like our family room, but we could kind of picture it on the end table.  Who am I kidding?  The sales clerk said it was a nice lamp.  We were getting hungry and woozy.  Therefore . . . it was perfect.

My dad questioned the price, because it was apparently more than what he wanted to spend on a lamp.

The lady explained to him that the lamp was actually sold as a set of TWO lamps.

My dad told her we only wanted one.

She explained that this was not the way lamps were sold.

He explained that we only had one end table and one lamp to replace on that end table.  (He also explained that the current lamp worked just fine, and he was still unsure why we were here.)

She would have to check with her manager.

Breaking Up is apparently hard to do.

Breaking Up is apparently hard to do.

After  what seemed like days of debating to a teenager who would rather be home watching TV and filling my young mind with important things, the manager finally relented and sold my dad ONE lamp–for slightly more than half price.  This apparently was an accord of epic proportions like the Sadat-Begin Treaty (which I believe was going on around this time–eventually signed in September of 1978.)  You would have thought we were breaking up Sonny and Cher!  But I digress.

I think we also wrapped up the scissors in the box.  The paper mostly stayed on until she opened it.

She loved the lamp!  Success!

But then she looked around and with the most curious look on her face, she asked, “where’s the other lamp?”

My dad replied that we only needed one for the one end table.  This was it.

“But they usually come as a set.  I want to put the other one over there.”

My mom did eventually get the other lamp.  The sales clerk at the same furniture store that sold her the unmatched lamp to the one she had told her this amusing story about the two guys that refused to buy both lamps.  They didn’t think they’d ever be able to sell this odd one, and they were thrilled my mom was willing to buy it by itself.  My mom didn’t mention my dad or I.  I’m pretty sure she pretended she didn’t know us.  The store clerks may still be laughing about this in their retirement.

So here is my Daily Prompt letter to Mom:

Dear Mom:

          It was all dad’s fault.

          I love you.


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But if you can have a free refill.

The Daily Post asks the question, “Is the glass half-full, or half-empty?

To be honest, I always thought the real philosophical issue at stake here was not whether my glass was half-empty or half-full, but rather who drank half my beer!Beers

After all, it’s just a matter of perspective.  I went golfing last week.  I can brag that I was at least putting for a par on every hole.  Of course, more than a dozen of those putts were from the fairway or the sand, sometimes a hundred-yards away, but I still putted for a potential par on every hole!

I read somewhere once that the optimist sees the glass as half full, the pessimist sees the glass as half empty, and the realist simply drinks the rest.

Which got me to wondering . . . what do other people think about this question?

The opportunist sees a chance to sell you more beverage.

The surrealist sees a glass with arms and legs beneath a green sky with three moons.

The fundamentalist wonders if the glass has been saved.

The scientist wonders what is in the glass, and what would happen if he heated it with a Bunsen burner.

The psychiatrist wonders how the glass feels about this.

The artist sees a still life.

The perfectionist sees that the glass is too large.

The minimalist thinks there is too much fluid.

The stock analyst wonders if the level will be going up or down.

The racist is sure that a minority is responsible.

The plagiarist took the glass from someone else and claimed it as his own.

The diarist plans to write about the glass tonight.

The jurist will look for a legal precedent, but either way, will take 40% of what’s left.

The masochist won’t drink it no matter how thirsty he gets.

The sadist will make the masochist drink it, even though he doesn’t want to.

The therapist will try to make it feel better.

The dentist wonders if it is sugar-free.

The optometrist focuses on the glasses.

And the centrist is ecstatic.

I’m sure you can come up with more . . .

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This week’s writing challenge implores writers to analyze, discuss and otherwise blog about a word or phrase “unique to your cultural background.”

Yinz has come to the right place, doncha know.

And while my grandmother would talk about Warshington D.C. while eating feesh for dinner on Friday, my all time favorite is when my mom asked us to “red up our rooms.”

And while my sisters and I always knew what she meant, even if we didn’t want to do it, it was very strange the first time I encountered someone (probably not from Pennsylvania) who had no idea what I was talking about.

“I’ll be with you in a minute . . . I have to red up my desk.”

“Are you going to paint it red?”

“No, you silly hobknocker.  I’m going to clean up my desk!”

“So why didn’t you just say that?

“I did!”  Not in so many words.  Actually red up and clean up are the same number of words, so I’m not sure it’s a time saving convention as much as it is an etymological one.

Insects?  Really?

Etymological–not entomological.

Where was I?  I have to red up this blog or I’ll never be able to find the end.

I guess, when you think about it, it is kind of a strange phrase.  I always assumed (and you know what happens when you do that!) that it was short for ready up something or get it ready, as in clean it or neaten it.  Of course, in that vein, the proper phrase should be typed “read up” where ‘read’ is the past tense of the verb to read, as in ‘I read that book last year.’  And if next year is this year then that would make this year last year?  Capiche?

But if that is not confusing enough, the Word Detective claims that it comes from a Scottish word ‘redd’ which actually means to clean or clear, and probably is related to the origin of the word rid.  I made that last part up, but it could be true.  Another source claims it is Danish, from the words rydde op which means to clean up.  Tomato; tom-ah-to.  A Danish is something you eat at breakfast, and scotch is something you drink.  Or tape packages with.  But I digress.

In fact, I have seen the term in print as “redd up.”

Pittsburgh’s Mayor even has a “REDD UP ZONE” to clean the streets and reduce blight.


Lamont Redd up his room–this is the Big One

But there was another phrase my mom used a lot growing up that I have not seen or heard anywhere else–and Google failed to find any hits in the first few pages I took the time to scan.

Whenever someone farted or there was a bad odor, she would say “Someone needs to go outside and scrape a leg.”

Scrape a . . . what?  Mom?  Did your auto-correct go on the fritz?  Unfortunately, I heard this before cell phones (before cordless phones!) or texting.

I have no idea what this means.  Did someone get dog poop on their leg and they need to scrape it off?  A shoe perhaps.  But a leg?

What else could they be scraping off their leg that smells so bad?  I’m afraid to find out!

I probably should have asked her what it meant.  But we all knew what she was talking about.  And since I was probably the source of the odor in most cases, I didn’t want to press the issue.

And I still hadn’t redd up my room yet.

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