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I’ve written before about the evil leveled against me by my “Internet service provider”–a term I use loosely.

I’ve railed on the dangers of their wires criss-crossing my yard and tripping unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

I’ve lamented the unsightly holes, mosquito-attracting mud bogs and outright grass murder their many attempts at “burying” important wires have wrought.

I’ve threatened “supervisors,” “client retention agents” and poor call center workers alike.

I’ve racked up overages on my cell phone waiting to speak with a “live agent.”

I have seen this company install signal “boosters” all over my house–the last one in my daughter’s room because it was the optimal site.

I’ve been charged by this company for work done down the street.

I could rail on and on about my displeasure with this provider but that would only bore you further.

And lest you wonder why I wouldn’t just switch to a different provider, let me assure I have tried other providers to no avail.  There are few choices in this sad sister of a town: remember our restaurant options?

froglegsbetter

A year later and this billboard still stands, the restaurant thriving!  Thriving I tell you!

OK, I digress.  Back to the cable issue.

Yesterday they actually managed to send a live person to my house to, yet again, “check the line.”

This fellow plodded his muddy feet all over my house (even when I told him the problem was with the outside line) and then charged out into the yard only to emerge, triumphant, twenty minutes later.

“I found it, ma’am.  Yes I did,”  he encouraged, sweat dripping onto my newly-mopped floor.

“Found what?’ I countered, fully ready to believe that rodents or snakes or bats had severed a cord or built a damaging nest.

“The (insert complicated cable part here) had melted.  You see that occasionally but not that often.”  Figures…

“I’d like to have that old (complicated cable part) for my records if you don’t mind,” I challenged.

He returned a few minutes later with this:

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Doesn’t look so complicated, does it?

Are you buying this?

Does anyone agree that he might, just might have grabbed some old part out of his truck in an attempt to appease the ignorant but slightly belligerant housewife?

I’ve got the piece in my posession and there is nothing melted about it.

Nothing melted at all…

Posted on 16 June '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 11 Comments.

Vigilante Mama

A drunk driver tried to run me off the road 5:30 Wednesday afternoon; he kept tailing me and trying to bump my bumper, and then he careened inches next to me on the off-ramp, our rear view mirrors parallel and nearly clashing as he swerved and swayed.

He barely missing hitting me (and my three children tightly fastened in their Britax seats).  This man continued to drive like a crazed person, swerving all over sidewalks and medians near my house and a nearby school.

I couldn’t believe it.  I followed the man.  I dialed 911 on my cell phone without looking down.

“What kind of car is he in, ma’am?”  the 911 operator asks.  “Champagne Mercedes, license plate _____.  Is that right, Edward?” I bark into the phone.

Edward knew.

He’ll know that license plate number the day he graduates from college.

“And what kind of vehicle are you in, ma’am?” the operator asked.  “Chrysler Town & Country minivan, silver-gray.  Soccer sticker on the back,” I countered.

I tailed the maniac while the dispatch planned the patrol rendezvous.  The driver realized I was there, relentless, and he hated me, I could tell.  But he almost hit my babies.  He wasn’t getting free if I had anything to say about it.  This beast almost hit 12 cars in rush hour traffic as I detailed his every irrational move to the 911 dispatch.

Granted I stayed safely behind the lunatic.  He would try to lose me by faking an off-ramp move, and then when I saw his plan and countered, he’d race over the median back onto the highway.  This continued for miles, my children, for the most part, oblivious in their seats, Edward reading Oliver Twist.

Finally we came to a traffic light.  I could see the officers flanking my left and right, ready for the kill.  And then the man flounders…he can’t stop…he rear ends the poor girl in front of me.  Her bumper flies, my children screel, the man gets out of the car and reels around.

Our eyes meet and he stumbles, incapacitated.  The officers surround him.

It is done.

Nobody was hurt.

One officer stops by to thank me and get my statement.  She explains, “Ahh, we saw him last night.  It’s not alcohol, most likely.  It’s probably a combination of prescription drugs.  Last night we dealt with him and he was let go.”

“Hmmm,” I utter angrily under my breath.

And then I launch into my diatribe –my children, my neighborhood, this man, aware of his own uncaring evil.

“Let’s not let him go again, shall we?”  I tell her, my eyes brimming with tears.

Let’s not let him go again.

Posted on 26 April '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 16 Comments.

Dodging Tornadoes ?

Certainly, I’m not sure what is going on in my life at any given moment, but whatever it is of late, it has to do with dodging and near-misses.

Sunday afternoon, after returning from the wedding, we made a leisurely drive-stroll through Alabama. We stopped in one of our favorite towns, and former homes, Birmingham, and hit Cahaba Heights to eat at a cool place called Mudtown.

Edward spilled his Sprite, swizzled ketchup and twirled precariously on his stool.  Sue insisted on visiting the bathroom the minute we hit the place and rejected her chicken fingers because the breading was too “spikey.”

Things felt normal.

We’d already seen a rainbow earlier, and much to the excitement of the boys, an old couch floating in a flooded culvert, so we felt quite peaceful and jolly about the storms.

(Sorry I missed the couch in the shot! Isn’t this photographic excellence?  I know Karla will be particularly impressed for two reasons.)

rainbow

We’re relaxing on the porch with our salads and sweet teas, enjoying the break in rain,when the storm sirens suddenly go off.  H leisurely walks inside the restaurant only to notice blaring tornado-red Weather Channel panic.  Soon we are faced with several looming tornadoes quote close to the restaurant.

Our waitress speaks in shrill tones to her cell phone, “The tornado just hit my neighborhood!  My children are OK.  They were on the trampoline but my neighbor’s house is toast!”  She throws down our bill and rushes inside to check the weather.

Soon we realize that if we hadn’t stopped at this lovely spot, we would have driven right through one tornado and directly into the paths of at least three more!

Joseph began to feel a bit panicky, with good reason.  Two years ago, a large tornado hit our neighborhood, completely destroying one of our best friend’s homes, our former church and 13 other houses nearby.  The devastation was massive and shocking, and the freight train sound and fear of what could have happened have lingered with Joseph, and of course, many others.

With dueling cell phones connected to weather.com, we tracked the storms throughout the night, stopping to let certain angry “cells” pass and arriving home around 1 am with two sleeping children and one wide-awake Edward!  We barely missed one tornado that actually hit our town, causing damage to several businesses and homes, but thankfully injuring no one.

During the whole drive I felt undeniable peace.  I knew God was protecting us, and I knew we would arrive home unscathed, despite the rain, potential hail, other reckless drivers, hydroplaning and a host of other typical fears that generally plague me in situations such as this.  This assurance allowed me, often a fearful, anxious person, to (hopefully), pass my faith-confidence on to my son.

While I was thinking about the whole experience, the term “dodging” kept running through my mind.  Yet as I worked on this post, I realized there was no dodging on my part.  Instead it was God who was guiding us through this literal storm just as He guides us through the figurative storms of life.  And whereas I so often rush to panic, and therefore cause alarm and terror in my children, by remaining calm and giving in to a new level of trust, I finally gave my children an important gift.

While I was pregnant with Sue, I had many occasions to “rush to panic,” yet early in the pregnancy a dear friend’s mother gave me this verse from Isaiah 28:16:

“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.'”

Certainly this verse spoke volumes to a mother with two recent miscarriages: the stone, the tiny embryo; the foundation, my womb.

Another translation of this verse reads, “If you trust in Him, you will not give way to sudden panic.”

Sue is almost four, and sadly I had “abandoned” this verse in an old flip-deck of verses I used to carry around.  I’ve panicked too many times when Edward or Sue crashed over backward in a chair onto the tile floor, fell off the patio table onto concrete, or simply ran headlong into a door jamb, their foreheads purpling with a burgeoning swell of unknown severity, ice bags applied, pupils checked, prayers muttered.

I’ve screamed too many times Joseph has almost fallen out of a tree, cavalierly employed a butcher knife to open a video game or been crunched in football by a hulking boy twice his size.

Sudden panic has been my middle name throughout much of motherhood, and I have realized this week that it must stop.


Posted on 23 April '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 6 Comments.

Monday Mumber Mumbo Jumbo Humbo

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Thanks to Kia, again, for making Monday manageable again!

1 – Number of teeth Edward lost last week.  “My incisors are gone!  All I have are molars and canines!  I can no longer say the word ‘the’ beautifully!  I have no front teeth.  The train traveled…hmmm.”

H texted me this up-to-the-minute conversation while I was having dinner with Ashley of Many Sparkling Gems.  She looked at me so quizzically, as I’m sure you are too.

Translation: Edward has now lost all four front teeth and can no longer make the “th” or “tr” sounds just like Cindy from Brady Bunch, who employed a tongue twister book in her own cost-effective form of speech therapy.  (Would that we all had it so easy!)  Later Buddy Hinton, a bully who plagues Peter throughout this episode, aptly entitled “A Fistful of Reasons,” asks to borrow Cindy’s book after Peter knocks out his two front teeth.  “The train traveled” was part of a tongue twister.  The grand part of this tooth loss is that it brings Edward $5.00 closer to paying me back for the games he downloaded to my cell phone.  (Sort of like reading The Wasteland with the notes?)

450 Number of times per day I tell my children not to ‘W” sit…that it will lead to knee and hip replacements in later years…

w-sit

10 – Number of days my neighbors are gone to the beach and are therefore unable to address the pool water seepage I discussed last week.

6 – Number of days before the “Big Easter Egg Hunt” held at my house…in the mud and pool water seepage.  Bring out yer rain boots!

3 – Number of times Edward asked the hostess at our local Mexican restaurant the definition of a composite number.  “So, how many composite numbers do you think you could name?”

5 – Number of clay items other children completed during a 6-week pottery class.

1 1/2 – Number of items Edward completed during the same class because he chose to harness all his creative energy into the one “pig-mouse” pictured here.  Understandable.  (There is also a claim of a penguin, which is the white lump next to the “pig-mouse.”  Since it has never been painted, I’m hopeful he’s created the amazingly rare “albino” penguin…)

pig-mouse

Behold, the “Pig-Mouse!”

pig-mouse-closeup

I can’t wait for it to grace my mantle!

Posted on 6 April '09 by , under Accidental Homeschooling, Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 18 Comments.

Because Mondays are trying enough…

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A Good Mum makes life easier, with this handy mumber number!

1 Number of goals Edward got in his soccer scrimmage game tonight!

Me:  “So how was Cardinal Coach Kelly?”  I ask, since, after the day we had today, (I’ll post later), I needed to stay home with the other two and stare blankly at the ceiling.

Edward:  “She’s not literally a bird, Mom, she’s only figuratively a ‘cardinal coach.’  That’s something you need to understand, Mom.”

7 Number of times Swiffer and Mr. Mop were discussed, pontificated upon, queried about, etc., today alone.

Edward:  “Why does Mr. Mop always fail?  Why Mom?  Why does he have all these hairs stuck to him?  Why?  Let’s compare the two like the commercial!  Won’t that be fun?  Don’t you want to do that right now, Mom?  Let’s do it now, shall we?  I think that’s such a good idea, don’t you, Mom?  Go find the Mr. Mop you have, Mom, and I’ll find the Swiffer and we’ll do it right now!  It’s time to find out for ourselves what the truth is!  You go, please, go now, and get that Mr. Mop!  I’m looking forward to doing this, aren’t you?  Don’t you think it will be the greatest thing to see? I know it’s time to eat dinner but I believe this is more important, don’t you Mom?”

mop-compare

1 Number of Lhasa Apso pups I almost hit in the road today, scooped up from near-death, took home, allowed to tee-tee on my rug, found the owner for.  Of course there’s more but I’m still processing it all…

2 Number of Lean Shakes I drank today in my weight-loss yearnings.

5 Number of Bagel Bites I consumed, thereby canceling out the “lean-ness” of the shakes.

4 Number of consecutive days Edward has worn his Upward soccer uniform 24/7.  The reversible nature of the shirt is perfect for E.  Ketchup smear on the blue “cardinal” side?  Simply switch over to the gray “cardinal” image!  Your undershirt will soak up the remaining ketchup, keeping your chest clean and dry!

upward-forever

$14.96 Actual amount Edward charged to my cell phone in downloaded games.  (The bill came today.)  Tonight he promised it would be more in the $9.00 range soon since he has another tooth that’s ready to fly and that should earn him a “cool $5.00″ from “that Fairy.”  Sounds a bit like entitlement to me.  If I were Edward, I’d be concerned the “Fairy” might change her offerings in the wake of the economic downturn…

2,507 Number of gallons of old pool water our grocery-store-chain-owning, horse breeding “top neighbors” on the hill drained into our yard, leaving it a festering, mudboggy swamp, before realizing their pool pump line was broken.  I’m contemplating calling them tomorrow to see if one of their “yard men,”  (I did say men), can come and sop up some of the watery sludge my children are splashing about every time they try to walk Sophie, or trudge to the trampoline, or dig up grubs, or whatever else they do in the back yard.  I need these children to be in the back yard.  For long periods of time.  Perhaps my “top neighbor” can send her maid on down with a Swiffer or Mr. Mop to swab my floors?

top-neighbor-view

I know the view down into my yard from her pool deck isn’t the most inviting, but I’m fairly confident we could drag out even more Little Tikes toys and render it more tempting.  Her darlings are always clamoring to climb the fence into our yard.  Wouldn’t you?

Posted on 30 March '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 14 Comments.

Random Tuesday Thoughts Spoiled Eggbeaters

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This is the Un Mom‘s creation and if you haven’t done it, you should start!

* I found a carton of Eggbeaters in my fridge a few minutes ago.  From November 2008.  Do you think it’s spoiled?

*  Edward is playing Upward Soccer for the first time, proudly expounding to anyone who will listen that his team is the Cardinals.  Trouble ensued, however, yesterday when he received his blue uniform because all the Upward uniforms are identical.  “Coach Kelly, Cardinal Coach Kelly, there are no blue cardinals.  I think we have the wrong uniform.  The cardinal bird is a bright red, Cardinal Coach Kelly!  Red, I tell you!”  Here’s what I wrote on his application form:  We need the most patient coach you have, please. And Cardinal Coach Kelly is amazingly patient…so far.

*  Although it’s early for the season and I haven’t been in any woods, I have contracted a huge ‘swok’ of poison ivy on my forearm.  How could this happen?

*  I haven’t adjusted to my hair but I’m still living up to the purse.  A friend had to go get the purse for me at the ball park Saturday because my children had to visit the squatty potty four times during an hour-and-a-half baseball game.  As she hefted it up, she described it as a “suitcase.”  I was a bit miffed until she began rifling around in it and pulled out an entire bottle of organic ketchup.  After two hours of sport, I finally set up shop on the bleachers with the ketchup, three orders of french fries and a pump bottle of hand gel.  This enabled me to watch the game for five minutes.

*  Edward downloaded $21.00 worth of games to my cell phone before I realized his new-found skills.  (Ignore my own inability to download new ring tones.)  Now he clutches my cell phone in one hand and a ketchupy french fry in the other while swigging a Sprite and pretending to watch his brother’s baseball game.

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*  If I made an omlette with those Eggbeaters, how many of you would try it and why?

Posted on 25 March '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 19 Comments.

Be Not Mistaken…God has a Grand Sense of Humor

Otherwise why would He allow Edward’s Darth Vader Cape to catch on fire from some errant Maple Cove Halloween Exhibit Candle in full view of two prominent local families.

If Edward learned one thing at Skippy John Jones Computer Magnet Academy, it was “stop, drop and roll.”

He’s unscathed.  Now we owe the Blether’s family a Darth Vader cape…small price to pay for not being a burn victim…or having to return to the ER.  (Not that I don’t have an ER doctor’s cell phone on speed dial at this point.)

(I’ve got to stop bragging about this, seriously…)

Joseph, however, ran on his merry, candy-crazed way, exclaiming to the amazed Maple Cove crowd:  “I think Edward’s on fire!”

Yep.

I can’t make this stuff up.

Laney Cohn was just standing there…”Was Edward just on fire???”

Alivia Blanengard just smiles on the sidewalk… “Excitement follows you all wherever you go, doesn’t it?”

Pretty much.

Try not to be so jealous….

Posted on 1 November '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 15 Comments.

More Wisdom from the ER…Trip IV

It’s become a tradition around here–get close to the weekend and have a trip to the ER.  It’s gotten so crazy that I frequently receive emails from some of you saying something to the effect of “Here’s a cool meme if you can break yourself away from the ER.”  Seriously.

Let me begin with asserting that I adore going to the grocery store alone.  Love it with a grand passion!  I relish plopping my purse in the conspicuously empty seat part of the cart, looking at all the others struggling with their three or four children, glancing knowingly to the tired, worn mother wrestling her brood, and then perusing my own grocery list…my mind clear and unfettered with questions about trichinosis and why we can’t buy foods with Blue Lake 3 and Red 40 food dyes.

I will be able to actually calculate which purchases are mathematically cromulent with a “buy-one-get-one-free” offer.  So after I had leisurely shopped (45 minutes), paid, allowed a sweet Publix friend to take my groceries to the van, turned up some Casting Crowns, cruised out of the parking lot feeling that all was right with the world, my cell phone rang.  Not unusual.

I scrambled around my purse, grasping for the phone but snagging a linty craisin and old buppie instead.  Immediately it rang again in succession.

I grabbed it, only to hear, “Come home right now, drop everything.  I’ve called an ambulance.”

CLICK.

It’s amazing how the mind races with the possibilities when receiving a phone call like that.  Fear runs through your veins like ice crystals.  A rush of prayer-pleas filled my brain for about 10 seconds.  Then I had to redial.

“Just tell me was it for Grandmama or one of the children?”  “Grandmama,” he replied.  And then I sighed slight relief, and partial guilt for that relief.

Most of you know that H’s 88-year-old grandmother has been staying with us for several weeks, and has been in and out of the ER during those weeks.

When I burst in the door, Grandmama was lying on the ground, pale, gray and clammy.  My children, thank goodness, had been shuttled outdoor with a neighbor and were joyfully busy covering themselves in fire pit soot.

As is the case with such traumas, time stood still as ambulance personnel stabilized her, asked us pertinent questions, and retrieved her medications.  My husband hopped in the ambulance and off they roared.

The house was eerily silent for a moment.  I stood still, watching dust motes rise and fall in the sunlight, and reflecting on what might have happened and what might happen in the future.  We don’t have any guarantees (other than that of our Salvation should we elect to receive it).  Not at three, not at 42 and not at 88.

And then I looked outside to see my three-year-old rubbing black soot on her legs and face.  This snapped me back into reality and gave me purpose!  I scrubbed her down haphazardly and shuttled all three children off to the Perfume Stalker’s.

(Again, a friend who will receive three soot-covered, shoeless, unfed children is a friend indeed.)

It turns out that Grandmama did not have a stroke as was suspected but only an electrolyte imbalance due, again, to blood pressure medicine.  She actually came back home that same night.  Yet the blessing in the whole affair centered around conversations that H was able to have with her during the ambulance ride and after as she rested in the hospital.

While he did not go into great detail, I believe he was able to tell her what a blessing she has been in his life; he grasped that coveted chance many of us miss or neglect–that often ignored opportunity to let important people in our lives know how much they mean to us…that chance to say goodbye in a certain sense and to make sure nothing remains unsaid.

I, too, seized (or more likely was pushed by God to seize) those opportunities with my own grandmothers before they passed, and it has given me such great comfort throughout the years.  I will post about that at a later date, but today I just felt led to pass this story along…for no particular purpose…just to pass it along.

Have a blessed day!

Posted on 16 October '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 26 Comments.

Tiresome Tuesday: Kia, The Good Enough Mama, My Friend

Thank you Kia from Good Enough Mama for this idea!

Kia wrote a particularly vitriolic, authentic and fascinating post about the things she’s tired of!  I simply love reading her blog because she is so fascinatingly real.

I crave real these days.

Anyway, I read her post a few minutes ago and I decided that I feel so much the same way she feels these days.  So while I can’t hope to be as entertaining or neologistic as Kia, here’s a list of things I’m tired of of which I’m tired.

1.  Every day, without fail, my sweet three-year-old, whom I am trying to teach how to drink out of an “open big girl cup,” spills highly expensive organic ‘chochat’ almond milk all over my clean kitchen floor.  And it splashes up on the kitchen table, about 6 feet away on the tile, always hits school papers, and always mixes with cracker crumbs and craisins to make a glue-like, sticky ick mash that inevitably gets tracked by other children’s shoes throughout the home and all over the one light-colored area rug.

Every day, I get down on my hands and knees with a navy wash cloth (leftover from my trousseau when the ‘in’ colors were navy, hunter green and wine,) and clean, swab, scrub and rub this chocolately goo.  And every day I miss countless drops, which then become mixed with bagel crumbs, raisins, banana strings, carpet fuzz, grass and, despite my costly pest control service, ants.

I am tired of this.  It make me feel like a charwoman.  An incredibly over-educated charwoman.

2.  I am tired of my children picking their noses.  Every last one of them.

3.  I love my children’s creativity, but occasionally I grow a tad weary of the messes.  Yes, Edward has innovatively used a basket to become a life-like turtle.  Still yes, he dumped out 200 Hot Wheel cars in order to do so.

4. I am tired of that Jitterbug commercial about the cell phone service with over-sized buttons targeting an older population that is unable to add or retrieve phone numbers from their cell phone.  I am also tired of relatives who actually tape paper to their cell phones with the phone numbers of family members because they, too, are unable to use the phone to retrieve the numbers.  WHY CAN’T THEY JUST USE THIS JITTERBUG SERVICE?

5.  I am tired of trying to make meals for my family…lately my creativity has stopped at offerings like canned Mandarin oranges, plain noodles and re-heated chicken nuggets.

I am so weary.  This exercise, however, has made me feel better.  Thank you Kia!

Posted on 7 October '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 5 Comments.

Tiny Dwarf Hamster Jeopardy

I’m not completely clear regarding the statue of limitations on a blog story.  That being said, I’m fairly certain the parties/witnesses involved are not posting this story on their blogs since I’ve given them three weeks to do so.

Therefore I’m running free with a bit of hamster humor.

I have to shout out at Stimey who has written so winningly/trepidatiously of late regarding class pet gerbils/hamsters.

We have a great “small group” from our church that meets weekly to do Bible studies, discuss topics, pray, etc.  We take turns leading (sort of.)

So this was the first time for our leader Chris to direct the talk.  Let me just say he was well-prepared!  He is knee-deep in discussion of a John Eldredge book when his cell phone rings.  He grabs his phone, glances at the number, mouths to the group that it is the “babysitter” and passes the phone to his wife, who adroitly tosses it back to him in a clever “hot-potato” move.

He reluctantly answers the phone, frowns, looks annoyed and tells the babysitter, “Well, they have lots of toys.  Don’t worry about that Strawberry Shortcake thing–there is no telling what other kind of garbage is under that fridge.”

He then hangs up the phone, a trifle annoyed.  He turns to all of us and says, “New babysitter.  A Strawberry Shortcake is caught under the refrigerator…why would she call about that?  She actually sounds like she’s crying.  Oh well…”

He then glances at his notes and begins talking again.  His wife, however, looks at him dumbfoundedly:

“You obviously don’t know who Strawberry Shortcake is, do you?”

“Some dumb toy, right?” he answers.

“No, sweetheart, it’s the babysitter’s new pet hamster.  I think it’s some sort of rare dwarf.”

“Oh, in that case, it’s stuck under our refrigerator.”

Lots of ideas were bantered around regarding the best way to safely excise the tiny pet.  Some suggested yard sticks, others posterboard with lots of tape.  Concern was expressed regarding movement of the fridge…it was reportedly such a tiny, fragile creature, and quite dear to the babysitter.

Finally a dear friend, neighbor and blogger Tubal Cain was texted, and he agreed to stop his important work to go a few doors down and rescue this sweet Shortcake.

As with most things, he was successful.

And he used the yardstick technique.

Posted on 2 October '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 12 Comments.