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Seriously, Siri? December 5, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play.
27 comments

Mickey-LoungingA few days before Thanksgiving, when the temps in Florida had dipped below 60 degrees, I decided to check the weather in the islands of the Caribbean.

Since one of my nieces is temporarily stationed in St. Maarten, I started there:

“Siri, what’s the weather in St. Maarten today?

“The weather in St. Maarten is 57 degrees.”

Glancing at the thermometer on my wall, I saw that the outside temperature was 56 degrees.  Odd.

Certain that Siri was wrong, but giving her the benefit of the doubt, I asked:

Mickey-Surfer“Where is St. Maarten?”

Siri pulled up a Google map showing the island of St. Maarten, with the capital city of Philipsburg.  Great!

“Siri, what’s the weather in Philipsburg, St. Maarten.”

I watched Siri transcribe what she heard me say ~> an exact match for what I had said.

Satisfied that the failure in communication didn’t stem from my failure to enunciate, I waited for her response.

“OK.  Here’s the weather for Philipsburg, Pennsylvania for today ~ 44 degrees.”

Exercising a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, Siri had changed my request from the island of St. Maarten to the State of Pennsylvania.

I decided to switch tactics.

Mickey-In-Hammock“Siri, where is St. Maarten?”

Once again, Siri pulled up the Google map of the island of St. Maarten.   But when I asked about the weather, Siri continued to insist that the weather in St. Maarten matched the weather outside my door.

I remained unconvinced.

“Siri, is there another St. Maarten?”

“OK, here’s what I found . . .”

With that, Siri pulled up a Google map of Saint Maarten Condominium.

I clicked the map.  The map expanded to reveal that Saint Maarten Condominium is located just south of us in Naples, Florida.  No wonder the temps there were just a few degrees off from the temps right outside my door.

I decided to confirm that Siri’s weather report for St. Maarten coincided with the weather in Naples, Florida.

mr-rossi“Siri, what’s the weather in Naples?”

“OK.  The weather in Naples, Italy is 44 degrees.”

“What’s the weather in Naples, Florida.”

“The weather in Naples, Florida is 57 degrees.”

Mystery solved.

But I didn’t want a weather report for Saint Maarten Condominium in Naples, Florida . . . I still wanted the weather for the island of St. Maarten.

Mickey-OKInstead of continuing the somewhat exhausting exchange with Siri, I went to weather.com and typed in “Philipsburg, St. Maarten.”

As expected, the temps there looked awesome!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Snooty Snotty Sneering Snobs! May 9, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, People, Word Play.
34 comments

The-Pink-PantherI don’t care for snooty attitudes.
People like that just seem snotty to me.

“Here! Have a Kleenex!”

Most of the time, I find snotty attitudes more amusing than upsetting.

Donald-Duck-LaughingIf a snooty snotty sneering snob “looks down on me,” I happily retaliate . . .

By laughing my ass off at them.

Especially if I know their snottitude cost them a commission!

If someone gives you a “hard time” or a “bad review,” do you consider the source before allowing their opinion to ruffle your feathers?

Mickey-OKWe cannot control others.

We can control how we choose to view them . . . with anger or compassion, with amused detachment or frustration.

We can choose NOT to be offended.

Aah . . . that’s better!

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Related:  Shopping for Tile: A Tale of Snobbery and Comeuppance (Ally Bean) * How To Thicken Your Skin (RoughWighting)

Piles of Poetic Jello February 25, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
48 comments

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30Wading through descriptive prose that sounds poetic but makes no sense is like trying to climb over a pile of jello.

It’s rarely worth the effort.

When poetic prose adds depth without detracting from the story line, a lilting flow is relaxing and peaceful.

In contrast, when writing causes readers to get mired down deciphering images that make no sense, it’s just nonsense.

And it’s distracting.

Mainspring_wind-up_keysBy way of example:

“I am hypnotized by keys, thick fistfuls of them, I can taste their acid galvanization, more precious than wisdom.”

~ White Oleander, Janet Finch

Blech!

When writing detracts from my enjoyment of a book, I ask myself whether I should forge ahead through the dreck . . . to see if the unseen destination is worth the trek.

The answer is almost always:  Nah!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Dress It Up (El Space)

Spools of Gossamer Thread February 11, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
23 comments

448px-Alice_05a-1116x1492If writers wrote only from first hand experience and observation without extrapolation, we would not have been gifted with:

Harry Potter
Gulliver’s Travels
Alice in Wonderland
Mary Poppins
A Christmas Carol

When writers write from the heart, our worlds collide into a kaleidoscope of shared experience.

Hookah optional.

Of course, we never step into the same stream, book, or painting twice ~ it’s always New . . . Now.

170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_02Why insist on writing only “what we know” when most thoughts and memories flow from fertile imaginations fueled by spools of gossamer threads?

Keep honoring your creative curiosity!

Even if you end up chasing harried white rabbits bewitched by pocket watches.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  You Don’t Know What It’s Like To Be . . . (Behind The Story) * How Jack Daniels Kicked The Bucket (Another Day in Paradise)

Challenging Times December 12, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Word Play.
26 comments

Huey,-Dewey-And-LouieHunter was 4 years old and was staying with his grandfather for a few days.

He’d been playing outside with the other kids, when he came into the house and asked, “Grandpa, what’s that called when two people sleep in the same bedroom and one is on top of the other?”

His Grandpa was a little taken aback, but decided to tell him the truth. “Well, Hunter, it’s called sexual intercourse.”

“Oh,” Little Hunter said, “OK,” and went back outside to play with the other kids.

Edna-KrabappelA few minutes later he returned and said, “Grandpa, it isn’t called sexual intercourse. It’s called bunk beds! And … Jimmy’s mom wants to talk to you.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  E-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Writing Without Distracting November 5, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
43 comments

220px-Arthur-Pyle_The_Enchanter_MerlinDiversity of vocabulary and a playful turn of phrase add depth and flavor when they complement the prose without distracting from the missive.

That said, writers who douse paragraph after paragraph with lexicon that is not a natural part of their vocabulary remind me of cooks who over-season food rather than letting it speak for itself.

When a writer writes with thesaurus in hand to impress readers with a depth of vocabulary not possessed in common measure, I lose interest and turn my attention elsewhere.

Not that I’m missed.

Aah . . . that’s better!

But what does our distinguished panel of experts have to say?

Woodstock-&-SnoopyJohn D. MacDonald: My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.

Blaise Pascal: Anything that is written to please the author is worthless.

Marianne Moore: Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.

Samuel Johnson:  Read over your compositions and, when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.

SnoopyAlfred North Whitehead: A man really writes for an audience of about ten persons. Of course, if others like it, that is clear gain.  But if those ten are satisfied, he is content.

Mickey Spillane:  Those big shot writers . . . could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar.

catlady

Grace Metalious: I’m a lousy writer; a helluva lot of people have got lousy taste.

Snoopy2John Hall Wheelock:  Most writers are in a state of gloom a good deal of the time; they need perpetual reassurance.

Georges Simenon:  Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness.

Peter De Vries:  I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paperwork.

Related post:  Defending the Chamois (Silver in the Barn)

Definitions September 5, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play.
43 comments

Frog-CircusCOMMITTEE
A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.

MOSQUITO
An insect that makes you like flies better.

NARCISSIST
Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.

NAYSAYER
A no-it-all.

SECRET
A story you tell to one person at a time.

180px-Leonardo_Skeleton_1511SKELETON
A bunch of bones with the person scraped off.

TOOTHACHE
The pain that drives you to extraction.

TOMORROW
One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.

YAWN
An honest opinion openly expressed.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source: e-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.) 

Building To The Punchline June 13, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
28 comments

Andrew Stanton begins his TED talk with a joke about three men in a bar in the Scottish Highlands ~ a backpacking tourist, a bartender, and an old man.

He uses the joke as a tool to convey compelling storytelling:

* The old man engages the audience, drawing us into his world and revealing his character as he shares his tale with a strong Scottish brogue.

* He makes us care as he explains how he built the bar, constructed the stone wall out front, and installed planks on the pier . . . “with me bare hands.”

* The old man claims center stage with the sole speaking role, yet all three characters are necessary.  None is extraneous.  The tourist provides the reason for the telling of the tale.  The bartender’s presence establishes that the old man is not exaggerating.

* In the same way he crafted the bar, the stone wall, and the pier, the old man builds his story on a firm foundation, one piece at a time.  He keeps the finish line in mind.  He never veers off course.  He steers the story to its predetermined end.

IMGP3282b

* He creates drama (“anticipation mingled with uncertainty”) as he decries the fact that he’s not called “MacGregor the Bar Builder” or”MacGregor the Stone Wall Builder” or “MacGregor the Pier Builder.”

Now he’s got us!

We’re curious.  We want to hear the end of the story.  We want to know what he IS called.  We are ready for the reveal . . .

* When he delivers the punch line, he doesn’t complete the sentence. He allows the thought to hang mid-air.  He doesn’t spell it out.  He doesn’t beat us over the head.  He doesn’t insult our intelligence.  He doesn’t reveal his actual nickname.

He allows us to follow the breadcrumbs and connect the dots.

He’s given us 2 + 2 and leaves it to the born problem solver in each of us to fill in the blanks and come up with the solution.

And we do.

Mickey-OKSince he constructed his tale with the same precision he used when building the bar, the stone wall, and the pier, we lay the last piece with confidence.

There’s no wiggle room.  We cannot misplace his meaning.

“Och, mon . . . ye must be MacGregor the Story Teller!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

First published: L. Marie’s Blog ~ The Stanton Effect: Building To The Punchline

From See To Shining See May 21, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Mindfulness, Nature, Word Play.
44 comments

Florida is not all blue skies and palm trees.

2015-01-20 16-36-42_0021

We also enjoy pink spring blossoms.

2015-01-20 16-42-58_0028.ajpg

Framed by palm fronds.

2015-01-20 16-43-45_0030a

And budding families of Sandhill Cranes.

IMGP1186

Brilliant reds dot the landscape.

IMGP2608b

While Great White Egrets patrol for lizards al fresco.

IMGP1648a

Gardens may be a wild riot of competing colors.

IMGP1937b

Or a single shade of shade-loving ground cover.

IMGP2535b

That’s why I keep my eyes open when prowling from see to shining see!

IMGP2532b

Here . . . see for yourself:

Aah . . . that’s better!

Definition of Service April 15, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Word Play.
47 comments

250px-New_Orleans_City_of_Old_Romance_and_New_Opportunity_Crop_p_23_MoneybagsHave you ever wondered how the Internal Revenue Service got its name?

Doesn’t the word “service” seem at odds with its function?

I’ve never been able to reconcile “taking money” and “raiding piggy banks” with the dictionary definition of “service.”

Until today.

3D-CowWhile waiting in line at the Post Office to pay my taxes, I overheard two farmers talking.

One of them said he had hired a bull to service a few cows.

Now I understand why it’s called the Internal Revenue Service.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Inspiration:  email from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

BTW:  Ever notice when you put “The” and “IRS” together it spells “Theirs”?