You Know You Live In Phoenix IF…

From my friend Dave, the retired cop, posted this for us today and I thought I’d share it. For anyone who’s never been to Phoenix, we are now in what we call “monsoon season” – winds have changed and moisture from the Southern Coast is beginning to drift into Arizona. We had our first big dust storm today although it was nothing like some of the storms we had last year (trust me on this one…they were BAD). I thought ya’ll might enjoy this.

You know you live in Phoenix IF…

You buy salsa by the gallon.

Your Christmas decorations include a half a yard of sand and 100 paper bags. And several chile ristras.

All of your out-of-state friends start to visit after October but clear out come the end of April.

You think someone driving while wearing oven mitts is clever (I choose firefighter’s gloves…I get a fantastic discount on them!).

Most of the restaurants in your town have the first name “El” or “Los.” (Locals also know that the other restaurants end in “-bertos”.)

You think six tons of crushed rock makes a beautiful yard (I never thought I’d want to go back to mowing the grass).

You notice your car overheating before you drive it.

Your house is made of stucco and has a red clay tile roof.

You can say Hohokam and people don’t think you’re laughing funny.

You no longer associate bridges or rivers with water.

You see more irrigation water on the street than there is in the Salt River.

You know a swamp cooler is not a happy hour drink.

You can say 120 degrees without fainting (if you can hike in 120 degree heat, you’re a god).

Vehicles with open windows have the right-of-way in the summer (ask me how I personally know this).

You discover, in July, it only takes two fingers to drive your car.

The pool can be warmer than you are.

You can make instant sun tea.

People will drive more than 100 miles just to see snow.

You run your air conditioner in the middle of winter so you can use your fireplace.

People with black cars or black upholstery are automatically assumed to be from out-of-state or nuts.

You know that Valley Fever isn’t a disco dance.

The water from the cold water tap is the same temperature as the hot one.

You can (correctly) pronounce the words: “Saguaro,” “Tempe,” “Gila Bend,” “San Xavier,” “Canyon de Chelly,” “Mogollon Rim,” “Cholla,” and “Ajo.”

It’s noon in July, kids are on summer vacation, and not one person is moving on the streets.

Sunscreen is sold year round, kept at the front of the checkout counter, a formula less than 30 SPF is a joke, and you wear it just to go to the Circle K.

Hot-air balloons can’t go up, because the air outside is hotter than the air inside.

No one would dream of putting vinyl upholstery in a car.

You learn that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron.

You break a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m. before work.

You realize that asphalt has a liquid state (as do your tires).

Family Stories

I will never forget the first time I saw a tampon commercial on TV with my great-grandmother (affectionately known as “Gaga”) in the room.

Ever.

Wouldn’t you know? I had no difficulty finding that commercial on YouTube!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=814VNDZh9IU]

Now, back in 1993, I was in the eighth grade at a private school in Houston. It was just after the first of the year. She had come to Houston and we were watching TV in the spare bedroom at Nana’s house (Nana was my grandmother, Gaga’s daughter). This commercial came on and the look of utter shock and revulsion that crossed Gaga’s face made me blush crimson (for comparison, I didn’t blush again until a girl flirted with me about three months ago). Right about the time that commercial was ending, my Aunt Jennifer, Uncle Kenny and two cousins came bounding through the door. The first person to notice outside the room was Nana; she asked what was wrong, and Gaga just speechlessly pointed at the TV.

Now, you would have had to know Gaga to understand just how serious that was. The woman wasn’t a gossip, but she was never rendered speechless, either. She was the kindest and wisest woman I ever knew. She always had some witty thing to say when someone did something embarrassing (farting at the dinner table would get a scowl from mom, but it always got a retort from Gaga). When this commercial came on, though, she was completely flummoxed.

Nana just snickered quietly and turned to face Aunt Jennifer. It’s probably best to describe that entire side of the family as a whole, because we’re all the same. We are borderline rednecks. I can’t say we’re actual rednecks, because according to Jeff Foxworthy it is defined by “a glorious lack of sophistication”. My family is actually pretty well sophisticated – well-educated, well-spoken, well-mannered…well, at least when we’re in public. When it’s just family there’s no such thing as sophistication. We know each and every one of each other’s secrets. Certain items bring on immediate jokes, laughter and jibes because of the stories associated with them. Remember my comment about fart jokes at the dinner table? My family is famous for them.

Okay, so back to the original story…Nana turns to face an exuberant Aunt Jennifer, who stops cold at the look of horror on Gaga’s face. She asks what’s wrong, and Gaga is still dumbstruck, so Nana just says, “we just watched a tampon commercial.”

Aunt Jennifer’s face went from confused to surprised to “ding!” to hysterical laughter in the space of about eight seconds (hey, we’re Texans!). I and the other kids are all still afraid to speak. Gaga was still struggling to form words, and Nana was trying not to laugh, but it wasn’t working so she turned around and covered her mouth while she giggled. Finally, all of us start laughing, too, but Gaga was still flabbergasted at the thought of a tampon commercial on television. It took her a little while, but she finally got back to her old self. We had our barbecue and croquet game, and we laughed until we cried about everything under the sun.

Finally, as everyone was getting ready to leave, the tampon jokes started. I knew it would happen at some point. I won’t tell you everything that was said, but eventually the remark was made (I think by my mother) that, “oh, they’re a fact of life! We’re all family. We all have to deal with our monthly visitor.” So Gaga says, “yet another reason I am enjoying my old age!”

I cannot imagine what her reaction could be if she were alive to see this commercial, newly minted, on TV.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0lZuB1DyhM&feature=player_embedded]

If she were still alive, she wouldn’t be for very long!

(I’ve been published on advocate.com! Go check it out, leave comments!)

LOL of the Day

I like Harry Potter. I was formerly a Lord of the Rings-only fan; I grew up on LOTR and was quite disinterested in the competition. Then, out of sheer boredom, I watched the first HP film on DVD and was instantly hooked. I immediately borrowed the first five books (they were the only ones out so far at that point) and read all five – yes, even Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, each weighing in at nearly 600 pages – in a week and a half.

This is what you do when you only have one job. Now you know why I have two.

That said, I was surfing Ambulance Driver’s blog and stumbled across something that made me laugh so hard I nearly ruptured my spleen:

And have you noticed that only Europe seems to have a problem with Deatheaters? Maybe it’s because Americans have spent the last 200 years shooting deer, playing GTA: Vice City, and keeping an eye out for black helicopters over their compounds. Meanwhile, Brits have been cutting their stakes with spoons. Remember: gun-control means that Voldemort wins. God made wizards and God made muggles, but Samuel Colt made them equal…

Imagine Harry out in the woods, wearing his invisibility cloak, carrying a .50bmg Barrett, turning Deatheaters into pink mist, scratching a lightning bolt into his rifle stock for each kill. I don’t think Madam Pomfrey has any spells that can scrape your brains off of the trees and put you back together after something like that. Voldmort’s wand may be 13.5 inches with a phoenix-feather core, but Harry’s would be 0.50 inches with a tungsten core. Let’s see Voldy wave his at 3,000 feet per second. Better hope you have some Essence of Dittany for that sucking chest wound.

Click here for the rest of the laughs. William the Coroner just became one of my new favorites.

Westboro’s Comeuppance

I’ve only posted once here in the past three or four years about Westboro Baptist Church and their lunatic ideas. I will repeat what I said then: that they aren’t trying to recruit, they are comprised entirely of the extended family of Fred Phelps, Sr., and the best thing to do with a group like this is often to simply ignore them. They’re after attention and deliberately trying to incite people to violence so they can become honest-to-Fred martyrs.

That said, I can’t blame the military families and friends who have nearly become violent with them. According to ihatethemedia and thehayride, the folks of a little town called Brandon, Mississippi, found a whole new way to deal with the Phelpsians.

Now, a little piece of the public safety worker in me doesn’t want to condone the first part, but the hot-blooded American that I am can’t help but feel some justification for it (if it’s true). There is a claim floating around that a male member of WBC was assaulted after he ran his yap at a gas station; if this had really happened, I promise they would have bleated it from the highest skyscraper in America and demanded justice. Instead, the members are denying that anyone was assaulted on the WBC website (no, I will NOT link it here). I can’t find much news about it – actually, I can’t find any verifiable reports on national media just yet – but that very night, before USMC SSgt. Jason Rogers was laid to rest in his hometown, a whole ‘nother form of peaceful counterprotest took place.

The Phelpsians woke at their hotel to find all of their vehicles boxed in. What’s more, the sole police wrecker in town was apparently busy and couldn’t tow the vehicles that were blocking them. A handful eventually made it to the funeral to protest, but they were escorted away by police. Reports that I’m getting say they weren’t arrested, they were merely asked to come in for questioning.

So, if you wanna know how to deal with WBC, just wait ’til they come to your town, find out where they’re staying, get a hundred friends or so and block their vehicles in so bad it’ll take a tow truck hours to dig ’em out. I don’t think there’s anything illegal about that.

The Best Little Johnny Joke EVER

Courtesy of our buddy Mark Cagle…

A teacher asked her 6th grade class how many of them were Obama fans.

Not really knowing what an Obama fan is, but wanting to be liked by the teacher, all the kids raised their hands except for Little Johnny .

The teacher asked Little Johnny why he has decided to be different… again.

Little Johnny said, “Because I’m not an Obama fan.”

The teacher asked, “Why aren’t you a fan of Obama?” Johnny said, “Because I’m a Republican.”

The teacher asked him why he’s a Republican. Little Johnny answered, “Well, my Mom’s a Republican and my Dad’s a Republican, so I’m a Republican.”

Annoyed by this answer, the teacher asked, “If your mom was a moron and your dad was an idiot, what would that make you?”

With a big smile, Little Johnny replied, “That would make me an Obama fan.”

Things That Annoy Me

This is, at least to a degree, meant to be sarcastic. Feel free to add to the list in the comments. I love personal stories of our interactions with the idiots in society.

1) People who can’t use turn signals. I don’t know if it’s something you’re simply incapable of or if you refuse to use the damn thing just to be a rebellious little bastard, but it’s really irritating when you practically come to a stop in front of me and give me no warning or reason for it. There were many features on your vehicle that were optional when you bought it–your turn signal was NOT one of them.

2) Fidgety, noisy kids in movie theaters. Dammit, I paid ten bucks just to get in! I’m sure you don’t want to be bothered by having to sit them down and tell them to knock off the noise, but I actually want to hear the movie I’m here to see (which, by the way, those little rodents are way too young to be seeing). Keep ’em on a leash.

2b) Parents who don’t know how to tell their kids NO. How hard is this? If you’d started putting your foot down when they were toddlers, they wouldn’t be such jerks today at age 6! And if you grow a pair now instead of later, you might spare yourself having to pick them up from jail after they steal a car at age 15.

3) Teenagers who think they’re all that. I realize not all teenagers fit this category, but here’s a few things those who do need to know: a) trying to be dark and brooding for shock value does not have the desired effect; b) smoking isn’t cool; and c) you are NOT a badass.

4) Anti-war protesters. I didn’t give you permission to hold a cross for my loved one in your demonstration, and you sure as hell never asked. But I’m sure if I had told you not to, you’d have ignored me anyway, ’cause you’re sure I’m misguided and angry and I just need a hug. I’m wondering how you can breathe with your head so far up your ass.

5) People who don’t know how to be neighbors. Okay, folks…we live in a condo complex. When you slam the door you rattle everyone else’s windows. When you yell you wake everyone else up. Loud music at two in the morning does not make you cool; it makes you a jerk. It makes me want to pelt you with paintballs as you’re sitting on your porch with a smoke. A little consideration goes a looooong way.

6) People who don’t realize that they’re idiots when they’re drunk. You were the reason AA was created; take heed and use it. I AM A LESBIAN, therefore completely uninterested in straight men; if you grind your crotch on me you will get a first-class beatdown. Your first step to a new life starts with a night in the drunk tank at the local jail. Don’t drop the soap.

7) People who don’t know how to park. You know what? My truck ain’t that big. If you make me crawl in the other way, I’m going to leave a nice little dent on your sportster on purpose. Don’t like it? Learn to back up and straighten yourself out, jackass!

7b) People who somehow can’t avoid denting your vehicle even when you give them more than enough room for their doors. Don’t be a prick.

8) Those of you who think you’re cool when you blast your rap from your car stereo in residential neighborhoods. Newsflash: there are still enough people in this world who hate rap to lynch you, especially when you go crusing by at some ungodly hour and wake us all up. That’s more than just a mild annoyance. Knock it the hell off.

9) Karaoke. I hate to be the one to break this to ya, folks, but karaoke is for people who have no talent. I’m writing a few new rules. First, if you don’t know the song, don’t attempt it; I’ll never be able to enjoy it again with your warbling in my head. Second, just because everyone in your family says you can sing doesn’t make it true–haven’t you watched the American Idol auditions? Third, if you’re one of those who does encourage a friend to sing when they really, truly suck, you’re buying the next round of drinks, ’cause I’m gonna need to be plastered to deal with that crap.

10) People who don’t know how to shut up. Whether we’re at work or school, why do some people feel it necessary to spread things they’ve heard to everyone? Good God, even churchians do it–“I have a major prayer request! Did you know Stan’s kid is going to drug counseling?” Chrissakes, I feel like a paranoid lunatic going over all the crap on my desk to make sure nobody’s going to see something too personal when I walk away because I know that if I don’t, I’m gonna hear it from five different people by the end of the day. The real winners, though, are the ones who insert themselves into the drama by inventing stories to get attention with, thereby making the whole thing worse. Keep your nose in your own business or someday, someone’s gonna break it. And if you come to me and say, “hey, I just heard…”, I will have no trouble telling you to piss off.

What annoys YOU?

Lessons Learned

Last year, a friend challenged me to write a positive blog–something non-political–and this is what came out.  I’ve decided to revise and update it and offer it to you.  One lesson learned for every year I’ve been on this planet, each one with a little chuckle.  😉

1. Never go camping with a princess.  Ever.  You’ll waste more fuel driving her to and from the nearest gas station four times a day to use the bathroom than you will on the trip to Flagstaff, because she won’t dare dig a hole.

2. If you’re a corrections officer, you can’t forget how much walking (and running) you have to do.  So never, ever wear brand-new boots to work.

3. Cats don’t like water. 

4. Don’t start reading the news ten minutes before you have to leave for work.  Especially if your name is Mel Maguire and you have a real problem tearing yourself away from all those interesting stories.

5. Don’t consume anything containing alcohol right before a hard workout.  Trust me.

6. Given a tiny amount of material, a small child can make a very large mess.  Even play-doh can become permanently ground into the carpet.

7. Speaking of small children, they can also hear through walls.  Watch what you say, or you will hear it again.

8. Women may be crazy, but men are far more dramatic.  Who woulda thought?

9. Most people think rednecks are idiots.  On the flip side, rednecks think that everyone else is way too tightly wound.  Nothing we do will change this miscommunication.

10. Once in a while, you will be uncouth whether you want to or not; farting is inevitable.  It’s all in how you react afterward.

11. Contrary to popular opinion, cats are lactose intolerant.

12. Rappers hate metalheads and metalheads hate rappers.  It’s a fact of life we’ll never change.  Just roll with it.

13. There is no such thing as an honest politician.  It is a species God forgot to create. 

14. You can have a lot of fun with a few cardboard boxes, some packing tape and a sharpie marker.  Just wait ’til your boss goes on vacation.

15. You can create complete havoc with the words, “I’m gonna puke!”

16. If you’re a martial artist, and you let people find out about it, you will be made fun of.  Face it: you’re a geek.  Might as well play along!

17. Tequila is the best clothing remover on the face of the planet. 

18. If someone tells you that you jumped on the table and proceeded to perform your best immitation of Riverdance on St. Patrick’s Day, but you don’t remember it, just laugh it off.  You sure as hell can’t change it now.  Don’t be surprised at anything else they tell you, either.

19. When saying the blessing for dinner at a minister’s house, do not say, “rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, yay God!”  The kids will think it’s hilarious, and the minister might chuckle, but the minister’s wife will not be amused.

20. In America, the wife is always in charge.  Remember this for any and all social occasions.

21. If you’re in a bar where a group of rowdy women are having a bachelorette party, just sit back and quietly watch.  You will not be disappointed.

22. Never, under any circumstances, walk into any Wisconsin bar, restaurant, truck stop or other such establishment on game day and openly root for any team other than Green Bay.

23. Don’t teach your best friend’s son to belch.

24. Always tip your waiter/waitress well, even if you feel they weren’t waiting on you to your expectations. 

25. Love like your heart has never been broken.

26. Nobody can stay mad if you make them laugh.

27. Be a complete goofball once in a while.

28. Always get to know your neighbor–AND their dog.

29. If you’re going to light the grill, make sure you do it right the first time.  Adding lighter fluid to a dying fire can result in the unwanted removal of your eyebrows.  (Or, if your initials are TZ, be careful to check that the gas isn’t already on when you light it, lest you lose your eyelashes, too.)

30. Be generous with everything you have.  Your money, your home, your time, your love, your laughter, your books, your faith, your forgiveness…everything.  God promised to provide for our needs, not necessarily for our wants; don’t refuse to give a couple of dollars to a homeless man simply because you think he’ll use it for booze.  Give it to him.  God might well be using you to provide.  If that man uses what is given for anything but food or shelter, it’s not on you.

But most importantly, I’ve learned that no matter how old you are, what walk of life you hail from, or what lessons you’ve learned, you’ll never know it all–so never stop learning.