’17 A To Z Challenge – X

Challenge2017

Letter X

For reasons unknown to me, X has always stood for the unknown.  This post will be short, because I don’t know even more about X than I don’t know about anything else.

Even when Wilhelm Roentgen discovered electromagnetic waves that were previously unknown to scientists, he just called them X-Rays.

When pirates buried treasure, X marked the spot on a map, because, without the map, the location would be unknown.  If they’d marked the location with a Taco Bell, I could find that treasure-chest quick and easy….though there’d be a hard decision to make.  Dig up the treasure first – or have lunch at Taco Bell?  Probably dig up the gold and jewels first, and use them to pay for lunch.  Save some for a second course over at Pizza Hut.

If you are illiterate, you ‘sign’ documents with an X, because the ability to read and write is unknown to you, and then someone else must witness your signature.  Mom and Dad rented a mobile home from a man in Florida who signed with an X.  I’ve never met anyone quite that unschooled but, despite the ready availability of free education, some winners that I have met weren’t far above it.

DNA

I downloaded a prompt of Xenophobia, but with the number and degree of weird specimens that I’ve met locally, you’d have to go pretty far afield to come up with something better that I might fear or hate.  More and more people are doing what I did, getting a DNA test.  An amusing number of racist, white-supremacists are getting back results that show that they are actually 23% (or whatever) Negro.  😯  😳  I wonder how many heads have exploded under those pointy little white hoods.

It is unknown to me why road intersections are called X-crossings.  Anywhere except in this strangely-laid-out city, my squirrelly, OCD brain insists that streets should meet at right angles.  They should be called t-crossings….except that the Bible thumpers would then insist that each intersection represented the Holy cross, and we would need priests, instead of traffic cops.

Perhaps they all started out as plus signs (+), and just got drunk, or stoned, and fell over.  As Canada makes marijuana legal on July 1 (Happy Canada Day – if you remember it) we’ll see more of that.  Traffic lights will be replaced with bags of Doritos.

What a terrible thought! I think I’ll just X it out and invite you to return later, for the adventures of Y.

 

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IDIOT SIGHTING

Homer Simpson

IDIOT SIGHTING

I handed the teller at my bank a withdrawal slip for $400.00. I said, ‘May I have large bills, please?’ She looked at me and said, ‘I’m sorry sir, all the bills are the same size.’ When I got up off the floor I explained it to her…

  ***

IDIOT SIGHTING When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked.

‘Hey,’ I announced to the technician, ‘it’s open!’

His reply: ‘I know. I already got that side. ‘

***

IDIOT SIGHTING We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a ‘large enough’ motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, ‘Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.’ I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, ‘NO, it’s not.’ Four is larger than two.’

We haven’t used Sears repair since.

***

IDIOT SIGHTING My daughter and I went through the McDonald’s take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, ‘You gave me too much money.’

I said, ‘Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back. She sighed and went to get the manager, who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said, ‘We’re sorry, but we can’t do that kind of thing.’ The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change. Do not confuse the clerks at McD’s.

***

IDIOT SIGHTING IN FOOD SERVICE My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for ‘minimal lettuce.’ He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce. In Kansas City.

***

IDIOT SIGHTING I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, ‘Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?’ To which I replied, ‘If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?’ He smiled knowingly and nodded, ‘That’s why we ask.’ Happened in Birmingham, Ala.

***

IDIOT SIGHTING The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it’s safe to cross the street. I was crossing with a co-worker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, ‘What on earth are blind people doing driving?!’ She was a probation officer in Wichita, KS.

***

IDIOT SIGHTING At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear co-worker who was leaving the company due to ‘downsizing,’ our manager commented cheerfully, ‘This is fun. We should do this more often.’ Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

This was a lunch at Texas Instruments.

  ***

IDIOT SIGHTING I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn’t understand why her system would not turn on.

A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriff’s office, no less.

***

A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!  Happy Holidays.   😀

Fruit Salad

Not to be confused with White Lady In The Hood’s poke salad, this is just an excuse for another little serving of a bit of this and a bit of that, with some humor dressing.

If KayJai goes back to Chatham, Ontario to visit friends and family, she’s going to find that she’s got some new neighbors.  A Fundamentalist Jewish sect from near Montreal, has been ordered to surrender 14 children, from two months to 16 years of age, to Child Welfare Services, on charges of neglect and abuse.  Instead of doing so, 200 of them moved 500 miles west, into a new province.

The newspaper article does not say how many families are involved, but 14 children were from only two families.  Even more so than our local Mennonites and Amish, they wish to do things the modest, old-fashioned way, a claim validated by photos, black clothing, hats, ankle-length skirts on girls, clunky shoes, adult females swathed in black blanket-like wraps, covering half their faces.

Most of the members speak only Yiddish and/or Hebrew. Despite this, and their declared dedication to a simple life, they have an English-language website.

The son has a young male temp at his shop who is white.  Not an albino, but the guys agree that he looks like he lives in his mom’s basement and eats chalk.  He is as white as the Elf, Legolas, from the Lord of the Rings movies.  If you built a child’s toy blocks replica of him, it would be a Lego Legolas.  If you broke the bottom off the figure, it would be a legless Lego Legolas.

The son insists that, if you read and inflect the following eight words correctly, they form a coherent sentence.  Anybody want to try? Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo; buffalo buffalo buffalo.  Translation provided upon request.

The local Traffic Department seems to have been working overtime to further F**k things up.  There are two spots, one a mile to my east, another, a mile to my west, where small subdivision streets come out to meet the main thoroughfares.  In both cases, they do so at a tee intersection, and at the top of a hill.

The Works Department has installed a (partial) set of lights at each.  The main road faces the lights, but there are none on the side streets.  With reduced sightlines, it is surprising enough to have someone make a right turn in front of oncoming vehicles, but panic can ensue when lines of traffic are rushing up the hill, with a green light and the right-of-way – never faster than the 40MPH limit of course – and have some asshat little jackrabbit driver perform a perfectly legal, but highly unsafe, left turn, in front of four lanes of traffic.

Many bus stops were located just before intersections.  Apparently there has been much complaint about drivers not being able to make right turns on green lights, so, with agreement from the Transit Department, many of the stops have been moved to the other side of the intersections.  Now, the buses go through the lights, and immediately stop – and traffic backs up behind them, right across the intersections, despite regulations about not entering unless you are sure you can clear.

Even after the lights turn red, and there is no following traffic, the sheep refuse to pull out and pass the bus, and just sit there and wait for it to proceed.  Thanx Traffic Department, I see how this new system is so much better.

A local city councillor has chosen a strange hobbyhorse to ride.  He was quoted in the paper recently, railing against the proliferation of used clothing donation bins around the city.  I agree with most of his rants.  They are everywhere, beside corner stores, in mall parking lots, sometimes two and three, side by side.

They’re often overflowing.  There are often boxes of wet books and magazines, broken toys, even old black and white TVs, beside them.  This guy wants to licence and restrict them.  (Doesn’t every politician?)  He wants to get the names and addresses of all these charities, so that they can be notified and held responsible for cleaning up the mess.

I’m with him through most of that – right until he gets to the word “charity.”  Just because the word “donation” appears on these bins, doesn’t make them the property of any charity, except for the odd Salvation Army one.

Almost all are owned and placed by commercial companies.  They take the used clothing that you throw in.  They sort it out, and anything worth reselling is shipped to a third-world country.  When your raw material is free, even sorting, shipping and sale at pennies on the dollar means you can turn a tidy profit.

The next time you see some kid on television after the tsunami in Malaysia, or typhoon in Bangladesh, wearing an AC/DC concert tee, just like you used to own, it doesn’t mean he’s got the same shitty taste in music you do.  That’s your old shirt!  The unsalable balance is ripped to pieces, and winds up at places like my son’s plant, in fifty-pound bales of rags, again, turning a further profit.

If you’ve been putting clothing in these boxes, thinking it goes to underprivileged kids, or homeless people, you may want to think again.  Then again, maybe not.  We occasionally donate used clothing and other household goods to either Muscular Dystrophy, or Juvenile Diabetes.  They call us and tell us when they’ll be in the neighborhood with a truck for pick-up.

Okay, the meds are kicking in.  You may want to take some now – or a three-martini lunch.  I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas, and we look forward to New Years.

Triviana Two

The further spewings of a mind incapable of holding a cogent thought longer than….what was I saying?  Oh, yeah.

Do you store your kitchen knives in a wooden knife-block?  Are there grooves in the bottom of each slot?  You aren’t doing the edge, or the block, any good.  I was watching a British detective show, and the young Copper wanted to impress a date, by cooking up a home-made meal.  He reached over and removed a knife from the block – upside-down!  And the little light went on!  There’s no rule that says they have to go in edge down.  The knife-nut took a Gibbs’ head-smack out of petty-cash, and moved on.

This area must be a good one to live in.  There have been three articles about birthdays in the paper recently.  First, the oldest person in the Region is a lady who is now 106 years old.  A week later, we had a report of twin brothers who had celebrated their 100th.  Granted, they were born in India, and came here after W.W. II, but two of them??!  One hundred!!  Must be the water…. or the preservatives in the Twinkies.  Finally, there was an article about a pair of female twins who had reached 90 years of age.

When she listens to radio in the evening, while reading, the wife likes to put on a local station which carries a syndicated show by New-Ager, John Tesh.  She likes the choice of music on his show, but his inane yammering drives her crazy.  I heard him say, the other night, that someone had done a study of 3700 crosswalk push buttons.  I don’t know what disturbed me most, that someone had got paid to study crosswalk buttons, or how badly they screwed up the findings.

Tesh claimed that 47% weren’t connected to anything, because, when they were pushed, nothing happened.  In my Analog Curmudgeon post, I bitched about things going on in the background in computers, which I couldn’t see.  It’s the same with computer-controlled traffic lights.  Just because you push a button, it doesn’t mean that the light will immediately go green.

The Traffic Department doesn’t want the flow of traffic disrupted, nor drivers slamming on brakes to stop at suddenly-red lights.  Your request goes into the system and your walk-light will appear in sequence.

MSN had an article today, about lengthening the time on yellow lights.  If the dwell-time is too short, drivers are put in a dilemma-spot.  Do they take a chance on running a red light, or slam on the brakes, and possibly get rear-ended?  The local Traffic Department, like others everywhere, installed red-light cameras at several problem intersections, “To improve safety!”  An independent survey group recently revealed that crashes at these corners are up 31%, and personal injuries have increased by 51 %.

Despite having these data given to him, the Traffic Co-ordinator insists that it’s not about the cash infusion from the fines, “It’s about the safety.”  We pay the company which installed and maintains the cameras, an outrageous fee.  The Ontario government takes an unearned cut, and the Region banks what’s left.  Thanks, Mr. Co-ordinator, my wallet feels much safer, just like your job.

As an ego sop to a bunch of egotistic saps, the Regional Council seems hell-bent on putting an LRT street-railroad down the middle of the already too-small, over-burdened main street.  Despite huge public outrage, it seems destined to be a fait accompli.  The projected cost is 818$ million.  The Provincial and Federal Governments are each providing one-third of the funding, but that just means we’re getting our own money back.  The inevitable cost over-runs will push it above ONE BILLION.

Regional Council has paid a local think-tank $75,000, to come up with a name which will make us like it.  Citizen suggestions had already included White Elephant, SUB – seldom used boondoggle, WTF – Waterloo Transit fiasco, TNT – Taxpayers’ nightmare transit, MET – money-eating taxer, FUUS – forced upon us suckers, RBI – really bad investment, RMP – Regional money pit, and OUCH – over-priced, under-used cash hole.

Without consulting the public, probably because of the above, the fairy-dust sniffers brought it down to three names.  They felt it should be Trio, for the three main cities in the Region, even though Cambridge will not be hooked up for years, if ever; Arc, because of the pot-of-gold (Which it’s going to cost us.) at the end of the rainbow feeling, and the curve it forms on the map; or Ion, which is supposed to represent energy, and the local electronic/technology industry.

With the predictable public reaction, they are now back-pedalling, and offering to accept public input.  C’mon guys, you’re burning money!  Somebody do what they’re (over)paid to do, make a damned decision.  Why not officially name it what everybody’s going to call it anyway – LRT?

Three naked male teens were reported jumping on a trampoline in a residential backyard recently.  They were clothed when police arrived, but were cautioned.  This is Ontario, in mid-January; parts can freeze and break off.

In case you didn’t notice at Christmas-time, the Politically-Correct Police removed the reference to Santa smoking a pipe, from the, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, poem.  They declared that nicotine addiction was “a pediatric disease, for which prevention must start early.”  This ranks with the Bowdlerization of Mark Twain’s, Huck Finn, and the recent furore over the movie Django Unchained.  It ain’t pretty, but it’s historical fact.  Not being exposed to it merely prevents us from making an informed decision when it inevitably arises.

I know my header says “Rants and Rambles”, but that’s enough for now.  I don’t want to tire you out with all that thinkin’ stuff.

Don’t Yell!

I got yelled at by three people I’m not related to by marriage or blood last week.  I must be doing something right.  Well, one was a honked horn, and one was a snide whisper, but still, a good week.

I started off the week at Eurofoods, my favorite little deli.  It must have been seniors’ day, at least six pairs of old folks wandering around.  I was the young kid in the room.  I walked down the counter to the number-spitter and got a ticket.  Then I tried to get down to the far end of the counter.  Just past the bingo machine, the counter dips in about eight feet.  This leaves space on the floor for a refrigerated bunk, but the room between them is restricted.

Ahead of me was some old lady bossing a clerk around.  As so often happens, her cart wasn’t ahead or behind her, adjacent to the counter, it was just south of her outstretched butt.  Halfway between the cart and the bunk drifted her husband.  I looked at the open spaces in front and behind him, and decided that I would pass his ass.  I headed for the bunk….and he backed up and leaned on it.  I pulled the cart back, aimed it between him and his wife….and she called him, and he stepped right back in front of me.  I turned the cart towards his butt again, and looked him in the eye.  He turned sideways, and took hold of her cart.  Finally, I pushed my cart past, and as I passed him, sotto voce, I got, “Some cart driver.”  Yeah well, if you got out of the way, and stayed there, you could see me really spin.

A day later, because of my destination, I went the long way around, and left the subdivision by the back street.  As I got to the intersection with the main road, there was a van, already pulled across the line, at a 45 degree angle.  I pulled up behind him and took a quick look up the street.  Nothing coming, so I pulled out and turned right, behind the van.  As I started my turn, I noticed a car on the far side of the intersection start to move forward also.  As he pulled in behind me, I got BEEEP!   Apparently I was supposed to treat the corner as a four-way stop, where alternate vehicles move in sequence.  Damn!  How dare I have the right of way?  I figure, if you have the time and the presence of mind to honk a horn, it wasn’t an emergency, just petulant bad manners.  Then we got to the lights, where he still had to wait for a green anyway.

Finally, on Thursday, I got the best of the bunch.  If this guy hadn’t been so irritatingly dumb, it might have been amusing.  I left the subdivision the short way, out onto the big road that runs behind my house.  When I got to the T-intersection, I had to wait for two cars coming down the hill, one in the curb lane and one out in the center.  After I pulled out, I pulled over behind the guy in the outer lane.  There were quite a number of cars in the curb lane.  Some of them will want to turn down the side-road to get in the side entrance to the plaza.  Others will want to go through the lights, but still slow down to go in the front entrance.

I want to go straight through, so I stayed in the go-through lane.  When we stopped behind the crowd at the light, he left a whole car length in front of him.  At this point I wasn’t even trying to be an asshole.  I left two feet between us; I’ve left a lot less.  He crept forward five feet.  I crept forward five feet, and stopped two feet from his bumper.  Suddenly he lurched forward.  I thought he might hit the guy in front, but after another five feet, he slammed the brakes on again.  I drifted forward five feet, and stopped two feet behind him.

Suddenly the driver’s door opened, and he climbed out.  Two things ran through my mind.  First, he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.  Second, where in Hell is the windshield scraper/brush?  I may need it to teach him to stay in his car.  He faced me and made shooing motions.  It’s unsafe and illegal to back up, so he must mean not to get so close.  I stuck my left arm out and shooed him back into his car, and through the soon-to-be-green light.

That did not sit well.  Now he’s coming back to my car, and I’m really looking for that nylon scraper-stick.  He stops a couple of feet from my window and starts bitching.  Leapers, creepers, I’m being yelled at by some oriental dude who can’t drive. (Is there any other kind?)  “Why you stop so close?  Why you stop so close??”  I picked the wrong side of the argument.  I asked, ”Why are you stopped back here?”  “The light is red.”  “I know, but why are you stopped back here?”  I actually thought I might get a long sought answer.

This is where I thought it really got silly.  He looked at me and said, “I’m your neighbor.  Why you do this to me?  I’m you neighbor.  Don’t you recognize me?”  Hmm, you came down the hill in front of me.  Did you go four blocks out of your way to get here?  Do I recognize you?  Let’s see.  Twenty-five feet in front of me, through my windshield, through your back window, with your back to me, and a car seat-back and headrest between us?!  Oh yeah, you’re the guy who has lived across the street from me for ten years, and has never smiled, never waved, never said hello, never came across the street to introduce yourself, the one who makes me look friendly and gregarious.  Yeah, sure, I recognize you now!  He finally got back in his car, drove through the now-green light, pulled over into the curb lane without signalling, cutting three drivers off, and went into the plaza.

He never did explain how far back he thought I should be.  As long as I don’t hit him, I can stop wherever I want.  The *neighbor* thing bewildered me also.  He was giving me shit for doing something he didn’t feel was acceptable; what does being a neighbor have to do with it??  Is it okay that I do the unforgivable to anybody else, just not to him?  Damn, now I’ve offended him.  He may not talk to me for another ten years.  I hope!

Leapers, Creepers

A couple of months back I did a post about the timid and/or confused fools who can’t seem to manage to tidy up to the white line at an intersection, and the ones behind them who won’t close the gaps to the cars in front.  I thought it might be time to make fun of the doofuses who protrude into the crosswalks, or even into the cross traffic, how Freudianly phallic!

We seem to have a timid Timothy police officer who patrols this area.  I’ve seen him numerous times at three or four near-by intersections.  Pull up beside him at a red light, and realize he’s back there, a car length or more, in the other lane.  It’s so different from the usual Type-A Personality police driving style, I almost want to get out and ask for verifying ID to prove he’s really a cop.

There are about three types of asshats with their protuberant power-plants.  First there is the creeper.  This dip-stick might have actually stopped at the line at first, or (s)he might be one of the hang-backs from my first rant.  Wherever they originally stop, they then start inching forward, six inches, stop, another six inches, stop, etc., etc., etc!  It’s not as if the orange light for the cross traffic has come up.  They’ve still got a green, but, creep, creep, creep!  Out into the crosswalk, so the kid on the bike and the young mom with the stroller have to go out and around.  Pick a spot, even if it’s a wrong spot, and stick with it.  You can’t make the light change any sooner by your stupid creeping.

The second entry into the intersection brain trust is the leaper.  He’s similar to the creeper.  He may stop at the line, or a car-length back, but suddenly, it’s as if a drag-strip Christmas tree counted down in front of him.  VROOOM!, and forward he lunges….and slams on the brakes, scattering the two old ladies with their shopping bags.  I’ve almost been caught a couple of times.  Somebody movin’ out that quick must mean I’ve dozed off and the light’s green, so I go to drop the hammer, and realize the same as above.  The Don’t Walk lights on the cross street haven’t even begun to flash yet.  Why are you in such a Hell of a hurry to get nowhere?

The third winner of the used toilet-paper lookalike contest, is No-Brakes Norman, or is that No-Brains?  The Transportation Department paints those white lines on the road at specific places for a reason.  Especially where narrow side-streets meet larger thoroughfares, the lines are set back from the corner to facilitate turning traffic.  Whether from gross stupidity or egotistic entitlement, these geniuses just breeze past the line and stop as far forward as they want.  Every once in a while one of these thoughtless ego-trippers gets his comeuppance, and, if you’re there to see it, it feels so GOOD.

If I drive home by myself, I go up the hill to the lights, turn left, come halfway down the hill, and turn right, into the subdivision.  If I were to take the wife that way, the deceleration and twist to turn across the hill creates G-forces that cause her pain, so I go straight through.  It’s a bit longer, but it’s flatter and smoother, and pain-free.

One day I had her in the car, so I stayed in the go-through lane.  As we waited, I kept watching traffic around me, and spotted Harry Hotrodder come screaming up the hill, and into the left turn lane without signalling.  There’s no rush.  The pedestrian signal hadn’t started to flash.  This is one of those spots where there are magnetic strips to activate the signal, but he flashed past them, and finally came to a stop blocking the crosswalk.  The teenagers going home from school had to step out into traffic to get around him.  Finally the light went orange the other way, and he jumped forward yet another foot, ready to power into the turn, just in time to almost get hit by some fool running the red light.  Damn, I wanted to see an accident.  I’ve seen several immediate outcomes, but I’ve only eye-witnessed four accidents in my life, and that one would have been a good one.

Because he’s not on the mag-strip, he gets no advanced green.  He’s still edging out, but only the guys on the other side get to make the turn.  Finally all the lights go green, but now he’s got to wait for a block of oncoming traffic.  Did he learn anything from this?  Probably not!  Did I laugh my ass off as I drove by and waved at him?  OH yeah!

The son was riding the bus one day.  It went down a big street, and then had to turn off, onto one of those smaller cross-streets.  The Stop-Here-Fool line is painted a car length back, to facilitate busses turning, but there’s Joe Jerkoff, right up at the front.  The driver swung the bus left, aimed for his lane and came to a stop just a foot off the nitwit’s grill.  Then he leaned forward and put his forearm on the horn.

Then the arm waving began.  First it was Oh, Am I in your way?  Then it was backwards, to show there were several other cars, tidied up behind him and he couldn’t do anything to fix the situation.  Finally it was desperately out the driver’s window to tell his followers to wake up and back up.  It took three traffic light cycles to allow the bus to make its legal turn, and the driver never lifted off the horn.

The son said that he hoped the bus driver would get out with the fire-axe and tell the idjit if he didn’t move his car, the driver would, piece by piece.  Why is stupidity so often married to arrogance?  Oh dear, now the Catholic Church will be angry at me.  They insist marriage can only be between one man and one woman.