Invasion Of The iPhone Snatchers

You can run, but you cannot hid.

You can run, but you cannot hide.

My husband has become one of Them.  They’re taking over.

I keep trying to tell people, but they won’t listen.
“You’re paranoid.” they say.
“That’s crazy talk.” they say.

Oh sure, it seemed innocent enough at first.  The iPod was great – who wouldn’t want to make their own music play lists?  Soon, everybody had one.  Then came the iPhones, then the iPads, then upgrades without end.  They infiltrated our lives so slowly that nobody noticed they were taking over.

Those who have already been transformed are the biggest threat.

It’s hard to tell iPod People from normal people, except for their total lack of emotion about anything but apps and future upgrades.  They wear a perpetually glazed-over look until the subject swings round to the latest iGizmo.  Then they come to life, eyes firing with the religious fervor of a tent-revival preacher.

Ever since my 2-year contract with Verizon came up, they’ve been after me in dead earnest; the phone calls, the emails, the relentless barrage of ads.  I already have a “smart” phone, but it’s a 2-year-old Android.  It’s not the latest thing.  It’s not an iPhone.

When one of the iPod People catches sight of my old phone, it is like waving a red cape before a bull.

They almost got me last week at a party.  I thought this man was a friend, but he pinned me down and proceeded to explain every, single, mother-loving enhancement coming in the iPhone 6.  Foam flecked the corners of his mouth.   I created a diversion by pointing at someone across the room, saying, “Look, he got the iPhone 6 early!”  I was able to slip away when he charged at the guy, knocking people aside to get to his quarry.  I barely escaped with my life.

iPhone6snatchersThey’ve already got my husband, Bill.   He doesn’t look any different, but a wife knows.  He is an empty shell of the man he used to be.  His body still sits on the couch in our living room, but his spirit is fully taken over by the pursuit and mastery of new iPhone apps.

I’m afraid to go down to the basement – afraid my iPod is growing down there, just waiting to take me over.   I’ll hold out as long as I can, but I’m getting tired.  So tired.

What’s that you say?  It can’t happen to you?  Oh, you naïve fool, don’t you know?   They’re already here.


        We’re next.

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Let Your Fingers Do The Talking: Universal Sign Language For Drivers

I am somewhat displeased.

I am somewhat displeased.

The problem with Driver’s Ed is that students only learn useless information like the proper distance to maintain when following a car towing a house trailer up an incline of more than 30 degrees during an ice storm (2 miles.) Why don’t they teach things you can really use?

As a public service to all, here is valuable information drivers need to navigate in the real world:

Universal Sign Language for Drivers

driversNoYouGo2No, No, After You:  One hand makes a shooing motion, right to left or left to right, depending on the position of the other car. Usually accompanied by a smile and nod of the head. Used by a driver to indicate that the other driver may go first when they come to a 4-way stop at the same time. A more vigorous shooing motion may also be used to indicate to pedestrians that they may proceed across the street in front of your car, and that you will not run them over.

driversMergeVirg2Let Me In!: One hand pointing to the next lane where you want to go. Accompanied by a pleading look directed at the driver currently in that lane. Used to try to get the other guy to recognize you as a deserving human being, and not a competing race-car at the Indianapolis 500. Intensity of pointing gesture and pleading look increases the closer you get to your lane ending and the very real possibility that you will hurl over the approaching cliff to your doom in a fiery crash.

driversHowThanks2How, Kemosabe: One hand up straight, palm forward as if swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in a court of law (or how Hollywood depicted Native Americans saying hello in movies 50 years ago.) This gesture is accompanied by a half-smile and possibly an incline of the head. It is used to respond to another driver who has waived you ahead at a four-way stop, or has let you merge in front of them. It serves as acknowledgment, agreement and thank you.

driversGiveMeStrength2Give Me Strength: Both hands raised, palms up. Accompanied by both eyes looking to heaven with an expression of open-mouthed disbelief. This indicates you are appealing to a Higher Power for the strength to resist the nearly overpowering urge to unleash a can of wup-ass on the clueless driver sharing the road with you, even though he or she definitely deserves said ass-wuppery.

driversLightChanged2Got a Light?: One hand raised, palm up. Both eyes also raised, but not as far as heaven – just as far as the traffic light. May be accompanied by a short toot on the horn to awaken the driver who is obviously asleep in the car ahead of you. This indicates that the light turned green a whole, 2 seconds ago and some people have places to go!

driversSorry2My Bad: Both hands raised, palms up. Differs from the Give Me Strength gesture as it is accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders and a sheepish smile of apology. Used to indicate you are sorry for forcing the other driver to slam on the brakes to avoid certain death, and to say that in the future you promise to check your blind spot by actually turning your head BEFORE changing lanes. If the other driver answers with an Up Yours sign, you are not allowed to respond in kind.

driversCan'tGoOn3I Give Up: Both hands grasping the steering wheel, head bowed in defeat. Possible tears. Used to signify your total befuddlement at how some people were ever allowed to get a driver’s license, and that you can no longer stand the seemingly endless parade of rude and clueless drivers on the road nowadays. Also signifies your intention to sell your car and take the bus from now on.

There you have it. Learn to interpret these universal hand signals and there will be no mistaking the messages you are sending and receiving.  This is especially true when you use the following signal:

driversVeryDispleased2Up Yours: One hand raised, the middle finger extended skyward. The other hand may clasp the arm above the elbow for emphasis. Accompanied by an expression of anger and, often, words that would have gotten your mouth washed out with soap when you were a child. Used to signal displeasure with another driver’s performance.

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Take The Bucket O Chicken Challenge To Cure LAFF


The phenomenal success of the ice bucket challenge has brought in a ton of money for ALS, as well as bringing much-needed awareness to this worthy cause.   I’m going to borrow the idea to raise funds for another cause that is near and dear to my heart, the effort to stamp out LAFF.

Of course I’ve known about this horrible condition for a long time, but I never fully realized how many people are afflicted until last week…when I was Freshly Pressed.

My piece was a tongue-in-cheek announcement of my intention to sue Facebook for posting a picture of me as a dorky kid.   WordPress FPd the post under the tag “Social Media,” and therein lies the trouble. Since it wasn’t specifically tagged as “Humor”, a significant number of new readers thought I was serious. They chided, they scolded, and some even cursed me out for my irresponsible suit.

I was puzzled. How could somebody NOT get that I was joking? Who wouldn’t recognize the funny unless they had a large, neon “Humor” sign pointing it out? That’s when it hit me. Those readers are obviously suffering from advanced cases of LAFF.

Lack of
For the

My heart bleeds for these poor sufferers, but pity is not enough. What is needed here is action. There is so much to be done. These are just a few of the projects the good folks at the Society to Eradicate LAFF are working on:

A dedicated volunteer

A dedicated volunteer

1) Remedial classes diagramming knock-knock jokes

2) Humor sensitivity training involving The Three Stooges, Monty Python, old Saturday Night Live sketches and other seminal works

3) Training volunteer Funny Buddies to sit with LAFF sufferers and guide them during key events, like when watching standup comedy, or reading this blog

4) Genetic research to identify and isolate the “funny gene” which LAFF sufferers are clearly lacking

The work is vital, but it is not cheap. That’s where you come in.

I’m asking you to take the LAFF Bucket Challenge. Donate $10 to the cause, and then film yourself being doused. With a bucket of chicken.  Rubber chickens.  Share your video on social media and let the cause go viral.

Elyse at the great blog FiftyFourandAHalf is already hard at work on a series of Public Service Ads featuring the LAFF spokeschicken, Foghorn Leghorn.

Remember, people with LAFF are just like you and me, except not funny.  Take the challenge, give generously and with your help, we can cure LAFF during our lifetime. Hopefully before I publish my next post.

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My Best Friend Won The Nobel Prize And I Stayed Home To Watch Toddlers & Tiaras

Best Actress

Imagine your best friend won the Nobel prize.  Dignitaries, family and friends from all over the world would fly in to Stanislav or wherever, just to pay homage to the deserving honoree.  And imagine you didn’t go.  You stayed home, curled up on the couch in your jammies, eating cheese curls and drinking cheap Muscato while watching Toddlers & Tiaras.  What kind of friend would you be?

A pretty, darn sucky one.  Like me.

Darla at She’s a Maineiac got Freshly Pressed a couple of weeks ago for her hilarious post, Happy Impending Death Day.   I missed the whole thing.

Word Press devotees know that there are few higher honors than having your post selected as the best of the best in your category for that day.  It’s a public pat on the back, an “atta boy” – a bracing affirmation for bloggers who write words day after day and often wonder if what they’re sending out is any good.

I read Darla’s wonderful piece about her wonderful mom when it was first posted.  And it was wonderful.  I snorted milk out of my nose, something that often happens when reading her stuff.  But I missed seeing it up on the Freshly Pressed page on the big day, which, as it happens, was my birthday.  I missed her blog post announcing the big event.    Missed the celebratory party.  Didn’t help clean up the empty Ripple bottles, streamers and deflated balloons, and didn’t join in the next day’s hangover.

It’s been an incredibly hectic summer, and I’ve been somewhat MIA around WordPress, as some of you may have noticed, but that’s no excuse.  Hope you can forgive me, Darlinkidinkidoo.   WordPress will just have to Freshly Press your next post so I can join in the celebration in real time.  I see no reason why that shouldn’t happen.

p.s.  Me too.  Today.  For this post.  Yay.

p.p.s. Toddlers & Tiaras doesn’t seem to be on TV anymore, so it’s hard to find a reason to go on.  Being Freshly Pressed again is no substitute for watching baby princesses in mile-high hair throwing temper tantrums, but it does help lighten the spirits.

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Facebook Ruined My Life, Now They Must Pay

Should a ginormous corporation be allowed to humiliate a child and profit from her pain? Could $167,000,000 in compensation even begin to make up for her suffering? We can only hope so.

I give you, Exhibit A

Oh, the humanity

Oh, the humanity

What’s the first thing you notice about this picture? (Besides the vast number of people piled onto 2 chairs.) Your eyes are drawn to the child on the right.

She sits alone. Two skinned knees are proof of a life spent tripping and bumping into coffee tables, and it’s not hard to see why.  Her cats-eyes glasses hint at the weak eyes beneath, while her chubby body attests to a complete lack of athletic skills. Her hand-me-down dress is so short the viewer can practically see both London AND France. From the top of her head (uneven hack-job on too-short bangs) to the soles of her feet (in black knee-socks perpetually sagging at the ankles,) she is a living, breathing “kick me” sign.

Can you imagine the misery this 10-year-old child experienced? I can.  For I am that child.

I mean, I used to be that child.  Modern-day me is successful, witty and urbane – a female version of that guy in the Dos Equis beer commercials.  10-year-old me and the torment she endured is buried deep in the mists of time, and that’s where I want her to stay. Is that too much to ask?

Facebook seems to think so.

They recently posted this picture for the whole world to see.  Being confronted by my childhood misery was like having a Band-Aid ripped off an old wound. It took the scab of time (along with a couple of hairs) off of memories I had blocked, and all the old feelings of hurt and rage came oozing out like blood and that clear liquid that looks like water, but nobody knows what it really is.

Facebook had a duty to protect me, they failed in that duty, and their failure caused me immeasurable pain. That is why I am suing them for $167,000,000.

“What about Facebook’s privacy settings?” you ask.


They have some rudimentary filters, but I can’t figure them out – I’m over 50.  I don’t even know how to upload pictures. Every photo on my wall has been put there by “friends.” I let them tag me, but that doesn’t mean I want anyone to see all of those pictures.  This isn’t about privacy; it’s about flattery.

“Can’t we trust our friends to show us in the best light?” you ask.

Grow up.

Facebook “friends” aren’t REAL friends – nobody has 1,379 real friends. There may be a few on the list, but it’s mainly family members, co-workers, acquaintances and people you knew in the 10th grade. They don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart.

If Facebook’s facial recognition software is sophisticated enough to pick 10-year-old me out of a 40-year-old lineup, why haven’t they bothered to develop more useful programs? Clearly, they are more concerned with raking in the moolah than about protecting their trusting clients. That is why I am also asking the courts to force Facebook to develop an additional layer of “friend” protection filters like:

Photo Bombed Recognition: Slack mouth, eyes at half-mast, goofy grin – we can all tell when someone is drunk, so why can’t Facebook?   Each of our accounts should have a “Do You Really Want This Posted? REALLY??” pending photo file, where pictures identified as questionable are sent for review.  That gives the tagged person a chance to sober up and realize that engaging in midget jello wrestling at the bar last night may not have been their best decision.   At any rate, the pictorial evidence is probably not something they want their mother to see on their wall.

Motivation Recognition: Why is your “friend” posting this picture? Is it a co-worker going after the same promotion? A sibling who always resented the fact that mom and dad liked you better?  Facebook should be able to recognize the tagger’s motive.  It should block the malicious and self-serving, and only let through pictures taken by the pure of heart.

Shar-pei Filter: How many times has a friend tagged you in a picture where she still looks like a high school cheerleader, and you look like Quasimodo? The one snapped just when you were saying something to the cameraman so your hand is half-raised and your mouth is open like you’re about to barf? The shot taken from such a bad angle that you look like you have more wrinkles and folds than a Shar-pei?   Pictures should be automatically Photoshopped, taking out any offending elements and making us look 20 pounds lighter and 10 years younger.

Career Killer Filter: That photo of you proudly wearing the beer pong championship crown will probably not tip the scales in your favor when your boss is looking for someone to take over the San Francisco office.   Especially since the crown on your head is the pair of tighty-whities you were wearing elsewhere on your body at the start of the game.  Into the “Do You Really Want This Posted? REALLY??” file it goes.

My attorney, Huey Dewey, came up with the $167 million figure.   That’s $100 million to cover the expenses of the crack legal team at Dewey, Cheatum & Howe, and $67 million for me – $1 million for each of my 67 Facebook friends who witnessed this humiliation.

Remember when that lady sued McDonald’s because they showed a total lack of concern for the safety of the public, motivated solely by corporate greed, and served hot coffee that was… hot?  The courts awarded her the equivalent of 1 day of McDonald’s coffee receipts. It was symbolic.

That’s what we’re going for with our cash demand.  We want to send a message.  We want to teach Facebook a lesson. And we want $167,000,000.

You may be thinking, “How much humiliation could you have suffered since only 67 people saw the picture?”  I figure this is just the tip of the shame iceberg.  This is just the sort of picture that becomes a meme.   It will probably go viral.   Soon half the interwebz will be racking up LOLs at the expense of poor, pitiful young me.

Mr. Dewey is optimistic, but he warned that a big company like Facebook has a warehouse of lawyers at their beck and call.   Justice may not prevail.  That’s why we had to have a backup plan.   We are also suing my sister, Lib, who posted the picture, and my aged parents for letting 10-year-old me leave the house looking like that.   The sheriff will serve them with the papers right after Dad gets home from dialysis.

Nothing personal, guys.

I’m not doing this for selfish reasons; I’m doing it for all of YOU. I want to save you from  experiencing pain like this, which has become like a millstone around my neck.  So much pain that I am now forced to wear a padded, cervical collar on the advice of my attorney…er, I mean doctor.

Join with me in urging Facebook to settle out of court and save us all the unpleasantness of a trial.  It’s not about money; it’s about doing the right thing.  $167,000,000 won’t dry the tears of a heart-broken child. But it will buy quite a few boxes of Kleenex.

What other edits does Facebook need?

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Song Lyrics I Got Horribly Wrong #387

Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

…back to the howling old owl in the woods,
humpin’ the horny back toad.

So very wrong.

This will hurt you more than it hurts me.


Have you ever discovered you were totally messing up a song’s lyrics?

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How To Earn The Title: World’s Worst Mother-In-Law


About 25 years ago my mother-in-law, Virginia, and sister-in-law, Jane, asked me to go with them to a taping of a talk show then popular in Chicago, the Jenny Jones Show.   We were put in a holding room where the producers worked us up like cheerleaders at a pep rally before the big game. Once we were all riled up, they announced the heretofore-unknown topic for the show: In-laws you love to hate.   “Do any of you have stories to share?” they asked. “Just between us? (and about 1,000,000 viewers)”

Hands shot up across the crowded room.

I considered volunteering along with the other fame-whores, but my intentions were pure. I would say, “I have no idea what you could POSSIBLY mean – my in-laws are fabulous!” This had little or nothing to do with the fact that, at the time, I was sitting there like the filling in an in-law sandwich. I kept my hand down.

I’ve known a lot of women who act like the Wicked Witch of the West to the person their kid married. They seem to be actively pursuing the title of: World’s Worst Mother-In-Law. If you’re in the running, here’s some practical advice on how to snag the trophy:

1)      Tell her that he’s not good enough
2)      Start every other sentence with, “far be it from me to criticize, but…”
3)      Tell her that her spaghetti is not bad, but it’s not QUITE the way he likes it
4)      Never forgive him for deciding to stay home for major holidays, rather than spending the day in the car, trying to be as fair as Solomon and split the day evenly between the families
5)      Tell him you feel sorry for him because she’s such a lousy housekeeper
6)      Give helpful hints on how she SHOULD be raising your grandkids
7)      Remind them that you told them not to buy that house
8)      Keep track of the time they spend with his family, compare it – to the minute – against the pitiful amount they allot to you, and complain about the difference…loudly
9)      If they have financial troubles, tell her you knew he would never amount to anything

If your goal is, instead, to nab the title of World’s Best Mother-in-Law, the rules are a whole lot simpler:

1)      Be friendly, polite, and make the new member feel like a welcome part of the family
2)      When she does things differently from you (and she will,) when they fight (and they will,) when he make mistakes (and he will,) bite your tongue.   Often.  Until it bleeds.
3)      Remember that your child, who you love more than life itself, picked THIS person above all others. He or she must have some redeeming qualities.

My two girls are neither married, nor significantly other-ised, so you may wonder what qualifies me to comment. I’ve been observing the actions of my own, dear mother-in-law for almost 32 years. Virginia provided the model for the World’s Best Mother-In-Law.   When my turn comes, I hope I can do the job half as graciously as she did.

Love you, Ginny. We are going to miss you more than I can say.


6/25/28 – 7/1/14. Rest in peace.

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