Monthly Archives: May 2008

Just pick one, fuh cripesake

Be passive OR aggressive. Not both. And I’m not talking about the passive-aggressive tendency to be nice to somebody’s face and nasty behind his back. Rather, I mean the kind of passive-aggressive behavior whereby the perp uses juuuust the right turn of phrase to make his point and get his desired response. Here’s a sample PA conversation, between two imaginary roommates:

Jane: Hey, what’s wrong?

Liz: Oh, nothing. We’re just out of eggs; I swear I bought some last week. I was going to make French toast after class tonight, and I went to the fridge and the eggs are all gone. It’s ok. I’ll make something else.

Jane: Oh no! I’m really sorry. I ate the last 2 yesterday and totally forgot to pick up more. I’ll go out and get another dozen right now.

Liz: No, that’s ok. I’ll just have some cereal. It doesn’t matter anyway.

Jane: No really — I feel bad because I didn’t replace the eggs. My brain is Jello. Let me run out and get them real quick. It’ll just take a minute.

Liz: Well, ok. If you want to.

Obviously, Liz’s martyrdom got her what she wanted: the eggs, and emotional control. It’s a head game that borders on abuse, and I try never to play it. But let’s face it: sometimes it gets you what you want. We’ve all likely pulled the trick from time to time. But chronic passive-aggressives are much more dangerous. I divide them into two categories:

1. The Guilter. This one hangs on the cross, but somehow still survives. Picture a mother (usually stereotyped in a certain ethnic light), telling her adult son, “No, don’t bother coming over today to mow my lawn. I will try to do it myself. I’ll just take lots of aspirin before I go outside, and hope that my legs hold up.” Of course, this achieves the desired effect. Son cancels his golf game and mows the lawn. Mom gets what she wants: the reassurance that her son will give up anything for her. It’s a total power play.

Sometimes, when my students are giving me a hard time, I’ll jokingly tell them, “Ok, if you need me, I’ll be outside, lying under my truck wheels.” We all get a laugh and it’s over. But there are those who take that shtick and play it to the nth degree. They are the Grand Manipulators, and you need to either a) confront them about it, or b) run away.

2. The Joker. And yes, I do mean the character from Batman. All laughs and funny ha-ha on the surface, but hiding a vicious secret. These people take pleasure in ambiguous humor, designed to make you doubt yourself. Have you ever endured somebody teasing you — or making general observations about something you’ve said or done — in what appears to be a playful manner, but you get a creepy feeling that the little jabs thrown out in jest are actually serious, veiled insults? If you have, you’ve been Jokered.

The Joker attempts to cover his own screaming insecurity and feelings of mediocrity by chipping away at the self-esteem of others. I urge you to call him on it.

And that’s all I have to say today. My mood matches this dreary weather. Ick.

Fink out.


Yes, friend. Today is my 100th blog post since beginning this little labor of love back in February. A momentous occasion indeed. Please send chocolate.

Some of you (OK, probably like 3 of you) read me every day, and for that I should send you chocolate.

Anyway, to celebrate this milestone, I figured I’d do something with the number 100. The following is my second choice, given that asking for $100 from each of my readers would likely end in disappointment. Therefore, I have collected some facts about life in America 100 years ago (give or take a year).

In 1908…

  • The entire population of Las Vegas: 30.
  • Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at local drug stores.
  • You could buy a dozen eggs for 14 cents.
  • A 3-minute telephone call from Denver to New York City cost $11.
  • Coca-Cola contained cocaine.
  • Most women washed their hair once a month. Nice.
  • Ninety percent of US doctors had no formal college education.
  • Average life expectancy: 47 years. Holy carp, I’d be dead.
  • There were more deaths from lynchings than from automobile accidents.
  • The Theodore Roosevelt administration created the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Congress voted in the first Worker Compensation law for men hurt on the job.
  • The Ex-Lax Company is formed in New York City.
  • Albert von Tilzer wrote “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
  • The Cubs won the World Series. Heh.
  • Kate Mulcahey was arrested in New York for smoking in a restaurant — but not because it was illegal to smoke in public places like it is today. It was just illegal for women to smoke in public places.
  • The J. I. Case Company began selling gasoline-powered tractors.
  • The skin test for tuberculosis is produced. At the time, TB was the #2 killer of Americans. (Influenza and its resultant pneumonia was #1 on the list.)
  • Henry Ford built the first Model T.
  • Women competed in the Olympics for the first time.
  • A guy named Tom Selfridge became the first person to die in a plane crash. The pilot, Orville Wright, survived.
  • William Howard Taft (R-Ohio) was elected president in November 1908. He weighed over 300 lbs. Heavy.

Today is my last day of school with students in attendance. Everyone will celebrate. Yippy!

Fink out….for the hundredth time.

I must say…

….WikiHow is freaking awesome.

But on to more serious matters. As you know, I really like to find out stuff. Research makes me happy. I sometimes wonder how I find the goodies that end up on my screen, but I do enjoy running across it all. I highly doubt I’ll ever run out of pages to look at. Consider this:

J’ever think about how many pages there are on the web now? According to, there are, as of last night, 103,005,661 active domains on the internet. Ok, so exactly how big a number is 103 million? Say you wanted to count to one million. Saying one number per second, non-stop for eight hours a day, seven days a week would take you slightly longer than a month. Yikes.

And that’s just domain names – it doesn’t take into account the number of pages within each domain. We’re talking exponential here, friend. My brain doesn’t work like that, so I’ll leave this subject alone.

Recently, I heard about a student who was not allowed to do a report on a certain musician because he (the musician, not the student) was a drug user, and therefore not an acceptable contributor to society. Because I always want to help students everywhere, I will now suggest a few other historical figures about whom to write instead:

  1. Thomas Edison. Uh…cocaine user. Scratch that.
  2. W. A. Mozart. Whoopsy. Alcohol abuser.
  3. Sigmund Freud. Cocaine addict. Nevermind. (Actually, the guy was a wackjob without the dope.)
  4. Robert Louis Stevenson. Ah, nuts. Scratch him, too. Wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in its entirety, in six sleepless days and nights, on a coke binge. Worthless slacker.
  5. L. van Beethoven. Dang. See #2.
  6. Ted Kennedy. Prescription drug addict. Sorry, luv.
  7. Admiral Horatio Nelson. Most famous of all British Navy commanders. He was honored as …. wait. Forget that. Opium addict.
  8. Edgar Allen Poe. Nope. Opium. Probably never wrote anything worthwhile.
  9. Winston Churchill. Don’t waste your time. Loser was a barbiturate junkie.
  10. Benjamin Franklin. Snap. Another opium user. Musta been a dummy.

Well then. That ought to do it. Glad I could help.

[I do get all ate up with the smart-aleck once’t in awhile. Got me in trouble quite often with the parental units, as I recall. I know. It’s a character flaw. I’ll work on it.]

Have a nice Thursday.

They Call Me Sarcasmo


Random Neuron Firings

  1. I think we’d have fewer incidents of insubordination at school if teachers were still allowed to bash a kid up against a locker once in awhile. A little healthy fear is good. Bring back the good old days of the assistant principal with the alligator arms patrolling the hallways and keeping order via extreme prejudice.
  2. Teachers will never be treated as educated professionals so long as they are affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
  3. My fingers and neck are screaming after I played an hour-long rehearsal last night on violin. Ouchy.
  4. Franklin Gutierrez is the cutest player on the Indians roster.
  5. My friend D lost a pillow sham in her house, and it was right in front of her face the whole time. Heh. Glad someone else does that besides me.
  6. As much as I liked (almost) all my seniors, I’m glad they’ve graduated and moved on. I’m already looking forward to what my singers are going to do next year.
  7. I love Pinwheel cookies. Don’t you?
  8. I’m still mad that they canceled The 4400. Really mad.
  9. It’s a sad day when my 6th and 7th graders rave about the latest R-rated movies they’ve seen.
  10. I have four more days of school. Four.
  11. It’s Wednesday morning, and I have yet to begin the 90-page reading assignment I have to discuss on Friday.
  12. Tesla was framed.
  13. I am sick to death of wearing my wool winter coat when it’s almost June.

What’s the big deal?

Ok, so there’s some controversy as to whether or not Paul McCartney has had plastic surgery. Look at this picture. What do you think?

(Click for larger view.)

Personally, I couldn’t care less. But I do wonder: if he did have it (and I must say it looks like he has less of a “hooded” look about his eyelids and upper brow line), why is he denying it? There’s no shame in a little face work. When I’m 65, you can bet your life I will be having it.

In Sir Paul’s defense, 2007 wasn’t his best year. Slightly stressful. He also looks as if he’s lost some weight since then. But still, look at the skin around his eyes. For a 65-year-old man, it’s miraculously smooth. I don’t know, maybe he mixes up an avocado-and-yogurt paste every morning to maintain his youthful look.

No matter. He could look like a troll and I’d still think he was divine.

Off to school for a short week. Yay for short weeks. Have I mentioned that this is the last week of school?

Fink out.