Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Do Elephants Really Have Memories?

OK. . . this is a question that MUST be answered, since the phrase 'memory like an elephant' has been used ad nauseum.

I don't usually like these heartwarming stories, but this one is truly interesting...and after all. . . it's the season for heartwarming stories anyway!

Here goes:

In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Mbembe approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Mbembe worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments.

Mbembe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.

Mbembe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Mbembe was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teen aged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Mbembe and his son Tapu were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Mbembe, lifted its front foot off the ground, and then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man. Remembering the encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant.

Mbembe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Mbembe's legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant....

Think about THAT the next time you hear someone say the phrase 'memory like an elephant'!!!

Now go out there and HAVE A NICE DAY!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

BLACK FRIDAY. . . The ecstasy and the agony!

OK everyone. . . got a question for ya. . . Did any insane person brave the weather and the ungodly hours to experience the thrills, chills, and spills of the event known as BLACK FRIDAY????

I gotta tell ya--after last year trying it--I WAS HOOKED! I had a friend tell me how she and her dear hubby go every year (loading up on Starbucks hot caffeine first to get all the needed adrenaline rush) and hit the sales and make mega finds. . .

So of course, I became intrigued by the idea myself. Now I consider myself a pretty savvy shopper---so I dutifully researched all the Black Friday sales in my area online and mapped out exactly where I wanted to go and when. . . and bundled up but GOOD and headed out in my trusty SUV and bagged bargains galore! (That was LAST year)

This year--I was ready once again to rise at the INSANE hour of 3:00 a.m. and hit the stores with a vengeance. After last year's lesson of what people are capable of doing to each other with (a) too much coffee in their system (b) still being half asleep (c) as well as totally hung over from Thanksgiving feasting. . . I suited up in full-plated body armor, spiked gloves, a can of pepper spray, and a wicked looking stick--just to be safe. I was NOT going to be shoved down some lonely isle where the only things on sale were the employees who were too afraid to come out and man the registers!

It was BITTER cold this year--and waiting in line for the first store to open for nearly 40 minutes was a test of sheer endurance and fortitude. . . but I managed to shuffle in with the rest of the frozen human pop sickles when they finally opened the doors at 4:00 a.m.

THE RUSH TO GET STUFF AND MORE STUFF WAS ON! By the time I got through the doors, no shopping carts were to be had. . . So I had to carry the 3 mattress pads and bedding, karaoke machine, 7 piece luggage set, bath towels, digital picture frames, and keyboard up to the register and out to the car on my own. I felt like a Sherpa loaded with 2x more than my body weight trying to make it up Mt. Everest. . .

After getting to the car, I had to strip down to my undies and dry off all the sweat with the bath towels I just purchased. (needless to say--I won't be giving them as Christmas gifts this year!)

Then it was on to the next store. . . again--I only came in with a couple of things I needed to get--but the deals were so doggone good--that I ended up with a new blender, waffle-maker, toaster oven, George Foreman grill and a player piano! (not to mention the digital camera, X-Box 360, laptop and Harry Potter gift set that were just too good to pass up)

After 3 more stores and hiring a U-Hall trailer to cart and unload all the goodies at my home. . . I was completely exhausted and bankrupt by 9:00 a.m.

That's when I got the phone call from dear daughter. . . "Hey, mom! How about coming with my mother-in-law and me to the Expo Center for the world's largest Christmas bazaar? We'll pick you up in 10 minutes!'

ME: 'Do I need to wear body armor for this event?'

DEAR DAUGHTER: 'Uh. . . I think it's optional this year.'

ME: 'Is it going to be big and crowded and completely overloaded with so much stuff that your head will implode from just looking at it?'

DEAR DAUGHTER: 'Of course.'

ME: 'OK--count me in. . .'

So from 10:00 a.m. until the late afternoon I went on another shopping frenzy with dear daughter, dear daughter's mother-in-law AND I brought along a dear friend for support (as I was just too doggone hot and tired from lugging around all that body armor)

I got off pretty easy at the big 'EXPO EVENT' I only came out with a bag full of cleaning supplies, cookware, a mop, broom, massage chair, and something that I couldn't quite identify that was stuck to my arm. . .

Sooooo I guess I can chalk up another year of success with BLACK FRIDAY shopping madness. . . (at least I completely cleaned out the checking account!) And Heaven knows it was just gathering dust from not being used as effectively and efficiently as it could have! Why in one fell swoop we are now back to all ZEROS again! (so at least it's balanced for the time being!)

OK---my question still stands. . . Is anyone else out there as crazy as I am for the Black Friday Sales ritual. . . or is it just me? Please post your experiences and share them with me so that I will feel that I am not alone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bad day at work?

Ahhhh. . . the proverbial BAD DAY at work conundrum. . .

Do you ever think no one's work day could POSSIBLY be worse that the one you are now having? Do you find yourself 'one-upping' the person at a dinner party who has just described a horrific day at work, with your own tale of woe? (you know, much like the women whose childbirth stories get more gruesome and catastrophic at the first-time-mom's baby shower)

well. . . LIGHTEN UP! I have a 'Bad Day At Work' story to make you smile--and rethink even your WORST day at the 'office.'

Here it is in all it's glory. . . (this comes from a friend who shared it with me) I thought it was SOOOOO GOOD I am putting it on my blog for you 2.7 faithful blogger friends of mine to read and enjoy!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Have a great laugh, and the next time you have a bad
day at work, think of this guy...

Rob is a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana. He performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs. Below is an e-mail he sent to his sister. She then sent to The X, 103.2 FM in Ft. Wayne, IN, who was sponsoring a 'worst job experience' contest. Needless to say, she won.

Here is the e-mail:

Hi Sue,

Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not so bad after all.

Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I
wear a suit to the office. It's a wet suit. This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to keep warm is this: we have a diesel powered industrial water
heater. This $20,000 piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature. It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose, which is taped to the air hose.

Now this sounds like a darn good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints. What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wet suit. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi. Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my butt started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. Within a few seconds my butt started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened. The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. Now since I don't have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn't stick to it. However, the crack of my butt was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into my butt. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with 5 other divers, were all laughing hysterically.

Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make 3 agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling 35 minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression. When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet. As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my butt as soon as I got in the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't poop for 2 days because my butt hole was swollen shut.

So, next time you're having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your butt. Now repeat to yourself,

"I love my job, I love my job, I love my job..."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dad or Dog?

OK. . . this is too funny not to share with the 2.7 bloggers out there who are actually READING my blog besides me.

The other day I had a conversation with my college son on the phone and we were talking about all kinds of stuff. . . when I started talking about the dog.

Now I need to mention here that we have a 14 year old black lab/terrier mix and even though he is getting 'up there' in years (for a dog) he is doing quite well and may just end up outliving all of us.

So before I share this conversation I had with my son--I have to let you know that I was talking about THE DOG. What my son heard on the other end of the phone line was 'DAD'. . . so while he thought I was talking about HIS DAD---I was actually talking about THE DOG.

Here's how it went:

ME: Hey! Did you know we found a cyst on his neck the other day?


ME: Yeah--it was kinda big and hard.

SON: No way! How's he doing?

ME: Well. . . things like this happen when they get older. You can't really see it--but you can feel it when you pet his neck.

SON: Oh my gosh! How does he feel?

ME: It doesn't really bother him at all. He runs around happy like there's nothing wrong. I wouldn't have even known about it if the neighborhood boy hadn't pointed it out to me.

SON: Well, are you taking him to the doctor.

ME: No. Dad says he doesn't need to go--that you get things like this when you get older--and we can just wait and watch for any changes since it doesn't seem to bother him.

SON: Well, do you think that's wise?

ME: I've left his care up to your father now--and he has always been pretty healthy and happy so I'm going to trust his judgment on this. . .

SON: Well, OK---but a cyst? Man, that doesn't sound good.

ME: No--and it feels kinda weird too. You can't really see it--there's so much hair on it. But he's really happy and otherwise healthy. He's running around right now!

SON: Mom, I can't understand why you are so calm about this. . .

ME: Because it's really not a big deal. . . it's just a normal thing that happens as they age.

SON: It doesn't SOUND RIGHT--I don't think it's normal.

ME: (Now I know that this son loves his dog--so I call his father to explain to him that it really IS OK)

THE DAD: Son, it is not a big deal at all--don't worry about it.

SON: (completely bewildered. . . makes some excuse to get off the phone)

The next day son calls back. . . (and remember my son still thinks I'm talking about his DAD--and I'm actually still talking about the DOG)

SON: Mom, I've been thinking about what you told me all night and I just wanna say. . .

ME: (Interrupting) Hey--we just found out that he's going deaf too. He doesn't hear the doorbell anymore--and if he doesn't actually SEE you, he won't come when you call him. But I'm told this also happens when they get older.

SON: (getting a bit huffy) Mom, I really think you need to take dad in to see the doctor. I really don't think it's just a little thing--and now if he's going deaf too--my gosh, WHY AREN'T YOU UPSET???

ME: Why do I need to take your dad to see the doctor?

SON: (Becoming even MORE agitated) BECAUSE OF THE CYST IN HIS NECK! And now you tell me he's going deaf?

ME: (completely flummoxed) You think I was talking about DAD?

SON: Yes--I've been up most of the night pretty worried. . .

ME: (Laughing hysterically and speaking incoherently) Just a minute. . .

ME: (Calling 'the dad' in question and putting my son on the speaker phone and explaining the conversation of the previous day about 'finding the cyst')

THE DAD & ME: (peels of uncontrollable laughter)

ME: Hon, it was THE DOG I was talking about, not your father. . . although he is also running around pretty happy and won't come when you call him either.

SON: (laughing too) You guys are SICK!

THE DAD & ME: Actually we're fine. . . (more laughter)

ME: (after regaining composure) Sorry you were worried that I was so cavalier about your father's condition--but really. . . he's OK and your dog is OK. . .and I gotta run, cuz neither one of them can hear that the doorbell is ringing. Perhaps I should start looking for cysts on your dad as well. . . can I call you back later? (Uncontrollable laughing again)

SON: (relief in his voice) Yeah. . . OK! I guess I should know better--I still say YOU GUYS ARE SICK! (hangs up)

Sooooo. . . After telling this story to a few select souls, it was suggested I put it on my blog---because after all. . . as one friend put it, 'That's good stuff right there!'

And you just can't make this kind of stuff up!