"One ought, everyday at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and speak a few reasonable words." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday - Fill in the Blank

I don't know if this is a typo or just bad grammar, but the 'Your' makes me want to add something. How about we play a little game of fill in the blank? 

Your                 will be successful in love.

I'm leaning toward body parts like 'nostril' or 'eye'. But I can feel a funnier option that is eluding me. Please offer your answers in the comments.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Wal-mart Wiseguy

Dear Mrs. Denner,

Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behaviour and may be forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Denner are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.
July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in House-wares to go off at 5-minute intervals
July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.
July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in House-wares. Get on it right away."
August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.
September 14: Moved a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.
September 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department.
September 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
October 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.
November 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.
December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the "Mission Impossible" theme.
December 6: In the auto department, he practiced his "Madonna look" by using different sizes of funnels.
December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled "PICK ME! PICK ME!"
December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fatal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!"
December 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, and then yelled very loudly, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!"

Once again we cannot tolerate this behaviour in our store.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - Pride is Competition

"If you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, 'How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off? The point is that each person's pride is in competition with every one else's pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive -- is competitive by its very nature -- while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest."
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday - Boy Humor

You'll have to forgive me...I'm in an odd mood. Maybe it's because I was a tom-boy as a child surrounded by nothing but boys and other tom-boys, then grew up and gave birth to a bunch of boys, but I found the following extremely hilarious. It's obviously photoshopped, but I don't care. It made me laugh and I wanted to share. Enjoy the fruits of my weird, boyish mood! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two Glasses of Water

"The world says . . . I am my own master; I am an independent being; I will take my own course, etc...'I am a free man; I will be damned if I don't do as I please, etc.' Well, I will tell you another part of that story. You will be damned if you *do* act as you please, unless you please to do and to keep the laws of God. We cannot violate his laws with impunity nor trample under foot these eternal principles which exist in all nature. If all nature is compelled to be governed by law or suffer loss, why not man?"
--John Taylor

Imagine one of these glasses of water represents someone that disciplines themself to live by a set of high moral standards, the other represents someone caught up in unrestrained pleasure seeking.

With each unrestrained act, the pleasure seeker loses a sip of water from the glass.

At first it sure looks like the pleasure seeker got something the disciplined person missed. Turn that thinking around. The pleasure seeker is clearly the one that’s missing something.

--Object lesson used by Brad Wilcox

Related Links:
The Freedom Paradox
Pleasure vs. Happiness
Happiness and Ice Cream

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Money

There was a man who worked all of his life and saved all of his money. He was a real miser and loved money more than just about anything.

Just before he died, he said to his wife, "Now listen, when I die, I want you to take all my money and place it in the casket with me. I wanna take my money to the afterlife."

So he got his wife to promise him with all her heart that when he died, she would put all the money in the casket with him.

Well, one day he died. He was stretched out in the casket, the wife was sitting there in black next to her closest friend. When they finished the ceremony, just before the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said "Wait just a minute!" 

She had a shoe box with her, she came over with the box and placed it in the casket. Then the undertakers locked the casket down and rolled it away. Her friend said, "I hope you weren't crazy enough to put all that money in the casket."

"Yes," the wife said, "I promised. I'm a good Christian, I can't lie. I promised him that I was going to put that money in that casket with him."

"You mean to tell me you put every cent of his money in the casket with him?"

"I sure did. I got it all together, put it into my account and I wrote him a check." 
--Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happiness: Failure and Self-Delusion

“We’ve done three seasons of American Idol and by now it is safe to assume that most people know that you have to be able to sing. But people turn up who can’t sing a note and yet they believe they are the Second Coming.”
--Simon Cowell

I haven’t written anything about Happiness lately. Maybe that’s because life has been a little rocky for me and I’m in survival mode. My mantra: Slap a smile on your face and fake it ‘til ya make it, girl! I’ve been grinning and bearing it for so long now, that I’m really starting to see that failure and self-delusion can play a vital role in Happiness. Because mysteriously enough, I do feel a general sense of happiness, despite all the bumps in the road.

This reminds me of Iceland. Did you know that Iceland produces more artists and writers per capita than any other nation? It's true! How is this possible, you ask? Well, in part, the tiny island nation experiences that much success by cultivating an atmosphere of – you guessed it – failure and self-delusion.

Failure is admirable in Iceland because it means you tried. And an atmosphere where trying is applauded – regardless of result – is fertile ground for creativity.

In The Geography of Bliss, one of my favorite non-fiction books off all time, Eric Weiner observes, “We Americans like to think that we, too, embrace failure, and it’s true, up to a point. We love a good failure story as long as it ends with success. The entrepreneur who failed half a dozen times before hitting the jackpot with a brilliant idea. The bestselling author whose manuscript was rejected a dozen times. In these stories, failure serves merely to sweeten the taste of success. It’s the appetizer. For Icelanders, though, failure is the main course.”

Interesting! If you remove the stigma of failure, people feel free try things. And the more people try things, the more success will be found. It is inevitable.

I think one of the reasons American Idol is so wildly popular is because the American culture despises self-delusion as much or more than failure. You know that chick that is convinced her singing voice is worthy of a record deal and fame, but really sounds like an elephant in labor? Yeah. We love it when Simon Cowell dashes her hopes and dreams with witty quips such as, “If your lifeguard duties were as good as your singing, a lot of people would be drowning.” Yes, in America we like our delusions tempered with strong doses of reality.


“The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote in his book Flow, ‘It is not the skills we actually have that determine how we feel but the ones we think we have’ (emphasis added). When I first encountered that sentence, I reread it four or five times, convinced that it must be a misprint, or perhaps Csikszentmihalyi was strung out on consonants. He seems to be advocating a delusional outlook on life. If I think I’m a violin virtuoso but in fact I’m tone-deaf, aren’t I fooling myself? Yes, but it doesn’t matter, Csikszentmihalyi argues. Either way, we experience flow, a state of mind where we are so engaged in an activity that our worries evaporate and we lose track of time. Likewise, Martin Seligman, founder of the positive-psychology movement, discovered that happy people remembered more good events in their lives than actually occurred. Depressed people remembered the past accurately. ‘Know thyself’ may not be the best advice after all. A pinch of self-delusion, it turns out, is an important ingredient in the happiness recipe.

“It works for the Icelanders. There’s no one on the island telling them they’re not good enough, so they just go ahead and sing and paint and write. One result of this freewheeling attitude is that Icelandic artists produce a lot of crap. They’re the first to admit it. But crap plays an important role in the art world. In fact, it plays exactly the same role as it does in the farming world. It’s fertilizer. The crap allows the good stuff to grow.” 
--Excerpt from The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner

Sunday, September 18, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - Pride and Vanity

"Pleasure in being praised is not Pride. The child who is patted on the back for doing a lesson well, the woman whose beauty is praised by her love, the saved soul to whom Christ says 'Well done,' are pleased and ought to be. For here the pleasure lies not in what you are but in the fact that you have pleased someone you wanted (and rightly wanted) to please. The trouble begins when you pass from thinking 'I have pleased him; all is well.' to thinking, 'What a fine person I must be to have done it.' The more you delight in yourself and the less you delight in the praise, the worse you are becoming. When you delight wholly in yourself and do not care about the praise at all, you have reached the bottom. That is why vanity, though it is the sort of Pride which shows most on the surface, is really the least bad and most pardonable sort. The vain person wants praise, applause, admiration, too much and is always angling for it. It is a fault, but a child-like and even (in an odd way) a humble fault. It shows that you are not yet completely contented with your own admiration. You value other people enough to want them to look at you. You are, in fact, still human."
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Sometimes we wonder, 'What did I do to deserve this?' or 'Why did God have to do this to me?' Here is a wonderful explanation!

A teenage girl was telling her mother how everything is going wrong: she's failing algebra; her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.

Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'Absolutely, Mom, I love your cake.'

'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers. 'Yuck,' says her daughter.

'How about a couple raw eggs?' 'Gross, Mom!'
'Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?'

'Mom, those are all yucky!'

To which the mother replies: 'Yes, all those things seem bad by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!

God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. 

--Author Unknown

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Funny Ads 1

All of the following ads were actually published in newspapers. Enjoy!

Full sized mattress. 20 year warranty. Like New. Slight urine smell.

Nordic Track $300 hardly used, call Chubby.

Help wanted, singer for rock band. Must be female or male.

Tired of working for only $9.75 per hour? We offer profit sharing and flexible hours. Starting pay: $7--$9 per hour.

Braille dictionary for sale. Must see to appreciate.

FOR SALE BY OWNER: Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica. 45 volumes. Excellent condition. $1,000.00 or best offer. No longer needed. Got married last weekend. Wife knows everything.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Personal Pet Peeves # 2,432 & 2,433

"I don't have pet peeves. I have whole kennels of irritation."
--Whoopi Goldberg

If you've ever watched 10 minutes of Reality TV, you probably noticed a couple of my pet peeves. 

1) Ever notice how much the word 'Like' is utilized in conversation? I like sooo want to like slap like the next person who says 'like' for the like thirtieth time in this sentence! Holy garbage, when did 'like' become the go-to word for expressing ourselves? 'Like' is the new 'Um'; it has become an annoying pause word and it ticks me off! STOP IT, people! 'Like' is not an adjective OR an adverb and you are not Shaggy (from Scooby Do)! Like, just say NO, already!

2) I heard someone on Reality TV just last night say, "I was so scared, I literally had pee running down my leg." Ok, gross. But REALLY? You had pee running down your leg? Funny, I'm pretty sure the cameras would have been all over that and yet we never saw you wetting your pants on TV. Let me let you in on a secret: Literally means it ACTUALLY happened! Here's an example for all you visual learners...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fortune Cookie Friday - 'Nothing is Impossible' My Bootie!

Interesting...I was just telling my husband yesterday that one of my biggest pet peeves is when people say "Nothing is Impossible!" It's so annoying to me because in fact, there are quite a few things that really ARE impossible. I get what they're trying to say and all...don't give up or fail to try because you think something can't be done, blah, blah, blah. But honestly, "Nothing is Impossible" is a fat LIE and I wish people would stop saying it and getting all moved by it. Last time I checked it's still impossible to squeeze orange juice from watermelon or slam a revolving door. Apparently, it's also impossible not to aggravate me when you say "Nothing is Impossible!" ;-)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wiseguy Wednesday - Thumbtacks

"I went to pick up several items at a discount store. When I finally got up to the checker, I learned that one of my items had no price tag. Imagine my embarrassment when the checker got on the intercom and boomed out for the entire store to hear, 
That was bad enough, but somebody at the rear of the store apparently misunderstood the word 'Tampax' for ‘Thumbtacks.’ In a businesslike tone, a voice boomed back over the intercom: 
--Author Unknown
(Too Embarrassed to Claim the Experience)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

C.S. Lewis Sunday - What 'Turn the Other Cheek' DOESN'T Mean

"Does anyone suppose that Our Lord's hearers understood to mean that if a homicidal maniac, attempting to murder a third party, tried to knock me out of the way, I must stand aside and let him get his victim? I at any rate think it impossible they could have so understood Him. I think it equally impossible that they supposed Him to mean that the best way of bringing up a child was to let it hit its parents whenever it was in a temper, or, when it had grabbed at the jam, to give it the honey also. I think the meaning of the words was perfectly clear -- 'Insofar as you are simply an angry man who has been hurt, mortify your anger and do not hit back.'"
--C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
"Why I Am Not a Pacifist"

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fortune Friday: Uh-oh...What Now?

"Your coming is as the footsteps of doom."
--Lady Galadriel
The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship

My husband and I went to our favorite Thai Restaurant for lunch yesterday and got the following fortunes. Umm...seriously? I can't say that I like the spooky resemblance. My life has been such a study in Murphy's Law lately that I already feel like the ground could drop out from under me any second. And now THIS! Good thing I don't put much stock in fortunes! This is just a fun thing I do...right? RIGHT?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Anon: The "Man," the Myth, the Legend

"There is a foolish corner even in the brain of the sage."

If you were to open up my quote closet and take a quick look around, you'd find a pretty big section labeled 'Anon'. Now, I have never claimed to be the brightest bulb in the pack, but I like to think I'm smarter than your average bear. Well, apparently bears aren't all that smart to begin with and being smarter than one is not much to brag about. After doing a Google search for a bio on this mysterious 'Anon' who authored so many of my favorite quotes, my perceived IQ has been duly humbled. However, I figure if you're gonna get an IQ attitude adjustment, it better be funny. And this article definitely delivers...right down to the scholarly notes. Enjoy!

~The Myth Behind the Legend~
© 1983 by Donald Simanek

Few literary puzzles have inspired such universal apathy as the question: "Who was Anon?" Books of quotations are cluttered with sayings attributed to Anon, and these scraps of truth and wisdom have earned Anon universal recognition and immortality. Innumerable biographies have been written about lesser authors, even authors so obscure that their works are seldom read. But Anon, though widely read and widely quoted, has been accorded only widespread indifference by the literary community. Even the most astute literary scholar would be perplexed if asked to identify the central themes of Anon's work. If a historian were asked how Anon's work was influenced by the culture and events of his times, he would be at a total loss for a sensible answer.

Anon, the Greek
So complete has been the scholarly neglect of Anon that his name has become a synonym for "unknown." In spite of this, his works have stood the test of time, and he continues to be one of the most often quoted authors. (Ibid may be more frequently cited, but his works were derivative.)

What little we know of Anon's life is of doubtful validity. We have no authentic picture of Anon, nor any first hand description of him by anyone who would admit to having known him. Not one scrap of original manuscript in his own hand has survived the ravages of time. Scholars have given up hope of ever discovering an autobiography of Anon in some dusty attic.

Yet, from the available dearth of evidence, we can piece together a sketch (albeit apocryphal) of this prolific genius. We know that Anon's wisdom appeared very early in history. When references to him are traced backward in time, in the general direction towards the emergence of civilization, they lead us to a blank wall. This suggests that Anon must be placed in historical times so ancient as to predate the emergence of intelligent thought. He was certainly ahead of his time, which may be the reason why none of his contemporaries knew of him.

If that argument seems specious, consider this independent and equally convincing evidence which leads to the same conclusion. Anon's work was considered immortal in all historical ages, and it is generally quite difficult for an author to achieve immortality in his own time.
Perhaps Anon inspired an ancient "school" of thinkers who later traveled far and wide disseminating his ideas. This may be true. Nobody knows. But then, he would, since Nobody knew Anon personally. Indeed, Nobody knew a lot of things which baffled everyone else. But the hypothesis that Nobody was a pupil of Anon is dubious, if true.

The historical problem is compounded by the timeless quality of Anon's work. His wisdom seems too old-fashioned for modern times, yet too advanced for ancient times. Either Anon was in the habit of living in the past, or anticipating the future. If so, it follows that he was probably neglected and unappreciated in his own age, and that could explain a lot.

Leaving these irrelevant questions aside, let us look at Anon's career. It can be divided into three distinct phases: the first, the second, and the third. That leaves only the problem of deciding into which phase to place each of Anon's works. This is especially troublesome for his posthumous works. Since we have no idea when Anon died, it's even a bit difficult to determine which of his works were posthumous.

We might at least hope to extract Anon's philosophy from those fragments of his genius which have trickled down to us through the sieve of history. It is a vain hope. While Anon wrote (or perhaps spoke) on many subjects, he had the infuriating habit of speaking on every side of every question. No consistent pattern emerges, but this is itself consistent with Anon's own observation that "Consistency is the curse of small minds." On yet another occasion he said, "Sticking consistently to any one position sooner or later leads to logical difficulties." Perhaps Anon merely wanted to ensure that all sides of every question be heard. Yet he expressed reservations about this approach, saying, "One who can see both sides of a question doesn't understand the question." Such remarks strongly suggest that Anon may be the true father of the disciplines of logic and philosophy. 

To achieve a true appreciation of Anon's work we must first recognize that the inconsistencies and contradictions inherent or implied in his work do, in fact, represent the central, unifying theme of his philosophy. 

Anon's fragmentary output has become so diffused throughout many cultures that it is nearly impossible to specify his country of origin. Some have suggested that Anon was German, his full name being Till Anon--a ridiculous notion at best. Another improbable theory has it that Anon was Spanish with a German surname: Anon y' Maus. Or could this be a nickname describing Anon's timidity: "Anon, the mouse"? 
Anon, from and old print of questionable authenticity.

One historian even goes so far as to suggest that all of Anon's works are forgeries of recent (19th century) origin, perpetrated by author Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) writing under the pseudonym: E. M. Anon. When this name is read backwards it is seen to be an anagram of the kind Carroll loved to devise. This outrageous theory deserves to be rejected on its merits.  

Lest we be overawed by Anon's versatility, we should look at what he didn't do, for that demonstrates his discrimination and good taste. He never wrote an epic poem, a play, or an opera. He never wrote a best selling work of fiction, never wrote a textbook, and never edited an anthology. He left such enterprises to hacks and lesser intellects. 

No painting or drawing bears the signature "Anon." No sculpture has "Anon" chiseled on its base. If he ever tried his hand at art, he apparently never signed his works.

For all of his output of serious sagacity, homely homilies, and profound pronouncements, Anon had a lighter side. In fact his output of jokes far exceeded the rest of his literary work. It is true that many of these jokes are off-color, but that has only enhanced their popularity. They are remembered and quoted verbatim by people who couldn't recite one line of "The Ancient Mariner." Anon knew that art is of no value without an audience, or as he put it so well, "'Tis better to be obscene than unheard."

So, a picture of Anon emerges: a witty, slightly cynical, philosopher of the people. He could sum up the essence of an idea in one pithy sentence. Though many others plagiarized his works, he never complained. He must have cared little for money, for there is no record that he was ever paid for any of his work. 

Anon demonstrated that the best way to achieve recognition is by not seeking it. He was unconcerned about the judgment of posterity, for he said, "Be not obligated to posterity. What has posterity ever done for you? The critical judgment of posterity comes too late to be useful."

Of course any conclusions about Anon, the man, might have to be modified if it were shown that Anon was a woman. The true sex of Anon may be a matter of dispute among scholars, yet we have no reason to believe that Anon ever had the slightest concern about this question. 

As usual, Anon had the first word on such speculations when he (or she) said, "Nothing stimulates outrageous theories so effectively as an absence of evidence."


  1. The name "Anon" is virtually unknown in any language, which suggests that Anon had no descendants. Perhaps Anon's family suffered from hereditary infertility. It's a well-known biological fact that if your parents had no children, it's very likely that you won't either.
  1. Recently Anon's works have been subjected to stylistic analysis with the aid of a computer. The tentative conclusion is that Anon plagiarized all of his works from others.
  1. Those who fault Anon's style should remember that his sayings would probably sound better in Anon's native tongue, if we only knew what language that was.
  1. We may safely assume that Anon never had the advantage of higher education, for no Ph.D. thesis bears his name.
  1. Though Anon's life is shrouded in obscurity, his works have far greater merit than those of authors whose meaning is shrouded in obscurity.
This document first appeared in The Vector, 7, 2 (May 1983).