Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Monkey on Her Back

My sister recently dedicated a lovely song to me. It was rather touching and I thought I ought to respond with something equally sentimental. First off, if you'd like to listen to the song you can find it here,

The hat she wore in this video really brought back memories. She's worn it since she was little. There was nowhere this little cow girl went that she didn't wear that hat. Even when she didn't conciously know her mother was a cow, she still knew.

One, Two, Three, Four, I Declare a Blog War

Anyway, I went back and found some pictures of her in this hat. I thought you might like them. I'm including a description of each so you will understnad the context in which they were taken.
A picture with her brother. Why she's picking her nose, I still don't know.
 Another picture with her brother. She seems a little upset.

Cutting loose with Melynda, Candiss and Fishducky

On safari in Africa.

Taken while conducting a lecture tour on being politcally correct in China.

Showing off her muscles.

Meeting her biological cow mother for the first time. Touching.

Sumo wrestling in Japan.

 Elisa riding Aunt Bessie at her biological cow mother family reunion.

Elisa and Grandma
Strutting her stuff at Halloween. NO, 'F' is for fabulous.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

Ancient folklore and popular culture are filled with the threads of various morality tales; treat others as you wish to be treated; you reap what you sew; a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. While trite and cumbersome, these themes weave together the moral fabric of humanity. But my favorite has to be, never judge a book by its cover. In this age of self indulgence and gratification, we have forgotten this. With big industry using every ploy to get us to purchase their products, with Hollywood intoxicating the public on violence and sex, with politicians willing to pander to the current movement in order to maintain power, we have absolutely forgotten. We are told non-stop that appearance is of the utmost importance while at the same time the fundamental truths we have so long held to be self evident are putrefied. I mourn for honor, I mourn for truth, I mourn for our values. But, I am a hypocrite, as we are, all of us, if we can bare to be honest.

I was a fairly young engineer, perhaps five years into my career after graduating. My supervisor came to me one day with some interesting news.

"Shane, your peers have nominated you for Engineering Honors within the company," he said.

I was overjoyed. Recognition from management is great. It comes with increased pay and promotion, but this kind of award is something different. This kind says that people just like you see your potential. Needless-to-say, I was ecstatic.

"Thanks, Eric," I said. "That's a great honor, when do they let everyone know who receives the award?"

"Well, nomination by your peers is only the first step. The next step is review by management," he said. I knew management would have to put their stamp on it one way or another. " Part of this process is a dinner all the nominees attend."

I worked for a large company of about twenty thousand employees.  Around one percent (200) of the employees would get nominated for honors and attend this dinner. I look back on it now and laugh at the entire idea, but at the time, I was as happy as a pig in slop.

"Is there anything I can do to get noticed?" I asked my boss.

"Just be yourself. You'll do great."

Now, I'm pretty much a technical guy. I don't get off on politics or go for gossip around the water cooler. Apparently, if you want to climb the corporate ladder, you have to at least pay attention to these things.

On a side note: My sister just released a blog 'getting me back' for posting a video of her being pushed out of a cow in the midst of birth. Her biological mother was a cow after all. Nice job with the video, Elisa, but I have to say Cade in the monkey mask stole he show.

One, Two, Three, Four, I Declare a Blog War

Monkey Man

Today's post topic is actually inspired by Elisa, because as I have mentioned before, her poor readers have been duped. She continually puts up these model-esque images of herself and Cade. Well Cade, now there's a man's man, but Elisa, Elisa, Elisa, it is time to come clean. Put down the photoshop editing tools and come into the politically correct 21st century. To help you I am posting the following picture to spur on catharsis.


Now back to my story.

My wife and I went to the dinner, dressed to the nines. Both of us were excited, it wasn't every day we had the chance to go out together to something really fancy. Besides, we were anxious to lay the ground work to win. There were steep odds against us, but you have to try your best.

The night went pretty well, considering the people. Making small talk with a room full of engineers is like trying to squeeze blood for an orange. One guy in particular took me totally off guard. He walked up to me out of nowhere.

"Hi, how are you doing," he asked. He was short with a big nose and a shabby looking suit.

"I'm good, how are you?" I replied. Inside I was thinking, who is this guy and why is he talking to me.

"What do you do around here?"

"Controls work, developing algorithms," I answered curtly. I wanted this guy gone, I didn't need to look at this guys name tag to know I had better people to talk with. "What do you do here?" I asked in return.

"Oh, a little of this and a little of that," he said. "Well, have a nice night." Shorty walked off and I was happy to see him go.

The next day at work I saw my boss Eric again.

"So, how did it go?" He asked.

"Pretty good. I didn't really meet anyone interesting," I said.

"Shoot, that's too bad. I really thought you had a chance," Eric said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I heard the Vice President of Engineering for the whole company, not just our division, was there," my boss said. The whole company contained 80,000 employees, putting about 60,000 employees under him. "He was checking out the short list of engineers last night himself. I thought he might have talked to you."

I frowned. "No, I didn't meet anyone like that," I said, devastated.

"Well, I hear they had a photographer there. You should check the website to see if they happened to get a nice picture of you and your wife," he informed me.

"Okay, thanks Eric," I said.

Later that day I checked the company website. I scrolled through the photos and there did happen to be one of my wife and I, but then it was taken while we were talking to the shabbily dressed short man. The one good thing that could have come out of the evening and the same guy had ruined it. That's when I saw a caption for the photo. It read, "Vice President of Engineering from corporate talks to engineer." I nearly died. I had been rude to a VP even though he had taken the time to talk to me.

In the end the event has made little difference in my life given the importance I give work vs. family, but it was a good lesson to learn. Despite what movies say, or politicians, or pharmaceutical companies, don't judge a book by its cover.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How Now Brown Cow?

"Opie, you haven’t finished your milk. We can’t put it back in the cow, you know."
From The Andy Griffith Show.

It is rumored they said the same of my sister. I must say that on one account I am glad they were unable to put her back in her maternal cow mother. On another, I say what goes up must come down, what comes out must go back in and what happens in the past should perhaps stay in the past. (sigh) Although, this may not make for the best blog post fodder, it may be a wise enough rule.

Bloglings: Those people who follow blogs.

My sister's bloglings may not be entirely pleased with my tone, but I say they are duped, these little cow bloglings. Since my sister is quite a success (kudos to you sis), more than likely anyone intrepid enough to be reading this are of the aforementioned persuasion. So I write to you, enemy of mine. It is you who have been entertained. It is your approval, your clicks, your coveted comments she seeks to win.

If you happen to be in the dark as for why I would say things of such seemingly blatant cruelty, I refer you to my previous post and my sister's recent blog.

One, Two, Three, Four, I Declare a Blog War

There are some who would say I tinker with the sacred relationship between family members, that I endanger the friendship with my sister. To this I quote the immortal Mark Twain.

"Sacred cows make the best hamburgers."

My apologies to any of the Hindu readers from Elisa's blog, but the quote is rather apt.  So let me answer a few more basic questions.

"When a cow laughs, does milk come out her nose?"
Yes, I've seen Elisa do it first hand.

"Why does Elisa like coffee so much?"
After her cow mother gave birth to her the vet said she'd been de-Calf-inated.

When the customs agent asked who she was traveling with on her honeymoon what did Elisa say?
"Me and my 'udder' half."

What are Elisa's two favorite things?
Moosic and Moola.

When asked about the state of their marriage on their five year reunion, what did Elisa's husband, Cade, say?
"He who lets the goat be laid on his shoulders is soon after forced to carry the cow. It's an old Italian proverb."

Do you enjoy reading your sister's writing?
Let me answer using a quote from Lord Chesterfield. When I read Elisa's work it is like, "the mere brute pleasure of reading - the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing."

I received a most strange call the other day from someone claiming to have become a huge fan after visiting my website and reading my one blog. Elisa, elisa, elisa... I await your response.

I know you, dear reader, must be the most devoted bloglings of my sister, but I beg you. Help me draw her out into this Blog War. You can do so by going to her blog and posting cow jokes in her comment section.

Please, go to my sister's blog and support the cause by posting cow jokes in her comment section, the more juvenile the joke the better!

Crazy Writing Mom

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One, Two, Three, Four, I Declare a Blog War

My younger sister and I were born nine years apart, but don't let that delude you into thinking an impenetrable gap of time rests between us. On the contrary, a unique bond connects her and me, as strong as any healthy sibling relationship. I love her and respect what she has done in life. However, that being said, I declare war, blog war that is. It’s time for her come-uppins and I’m just the one to give them to her.
Twenty three years ago I had a friend of mine over at my parent’s house. We sat in front of the television playing one game or another. I had recently turned fourteen and perhaps spent less time with my little sister than I had before, with new found interest in friends and girls.

“Shane, push me on my tricycle?” Elisa asked in a way Princess Leah might have at five years old. She blocked half the television screen and I wasn’t about to have it.

“Out of the way, Furp.” I scolded and pushed her to the side. At three-years-old Elisa had had a smurf toy, but couldn’t pronounce the name correctly. It had taken me an hour to realize a ‘Furp’ was actually a smurf.

“I’m not a Smurf.” She drew out the last word, emphasizing her knowledge of its pronunciation.
“Okay, Furp, you’re blocking the T.V.” I pointed out.
“Can’t she go play with her dolls or something?” My friend interjected. He leaned out to the side to get a better look at the game we played.
I groaned. Elisa had golden curls and rosy cheeks, but a strong will of iron lie beneath the cherubic appearance.
“I’ll push you later, Okay?” I tried to pacify her.
She looked me in the eye. “Later?” She asked.
“Later, I promise.”
She skipped off, satisfied by my word, but later came sooner for her than I’d expected. It wasn’t long before she eclipsed Mario jumping through a maze of fireballs. Depressing notes rang from the T.V., indicating the game character had met an unhappy end in a pool of lava. Elisa grinned at the sound.
“Is your game done?” She knew exactly what the sequence of sounds meant.
“Dang it, Shane. I couldn’t see the screen. The Furp was blocking me.”
Elisa turned to my friend as if he were a trespasser on sacred soil. “I’m not a Furp… I mean a Smurf.”
“Whatever, Furp.” He said and threw the controller down.
I ignored Elisa and took the controller. “Ah, that’s too bad.” I mocked my friend’s anguish. “I guess it’s my turn then.”
The game started, but Elisa refused to move.
“It’s later.” She announced. “Tricycle time!”
I continued ignoring her. I’d played the game so many times I could still navigate the course with half the screen obscured.
I said nothing. She waved a hand in front of my face, but I sat like a Buddha on the floor. A hurt look crossed her face as she walked away. I smiled as she went into the kitchen, but little did I know that was just the opening foray of the battle.
A few minutes later she came back into the room and stood in front of the television. I pretended she wasn’t there. She casually held a full cup of water in her hand. She took a small sip from it and exaggeratedly sighed in satisfaction. She looked at me and waited, but I just pressed the buttons with my thumbs, Mario making sounds of warning I didn’t understand. She smiled, pulled the glass back, and through the water into my face.
Mario fell off a cliff and the game ended. I started the game over without a word. Elisa ran giggling back into the kitchen. My friend laughed at my side.
“Aren’t you gonna do something?”
“Naw, she’ll probably leave us alone now.” Drops of water slid prophetically down my face.
Seconds later she came back, loaded for bear. All pretense getting my attention by diplomatic means had evaporated in the heat of ignoring her. The delicate arm holding the glass of water cocked back and threw the cold liquid in my face. Off she went again and I heard the faucet refueling her glass like an ammunition depot.
Ten times she came back, each time dumping the liquid payload over my head, in my lap, down my shirt. By the end I laughed with her, my friend went home shaking his head as he went and I pushed Elisa around the house on her tricycle.
I tell this story because we may grow up. We might mature, but in the end we all act the same. It’s not real water now, no, it is proverbial blog water. It is the water of memory flung into the internet universe. I have sat, ignoring it, somewhat, drenched in the words of Elisa Hirsch.

Exhibit A:
Exhibit C:
And now I say it's on, Blog War little girl.
The latest effrontery is about how I told her she was adopted and made her cry when she was eleven. Immediately after that I pointed to an ugly dog on the television and said, “And that’s your mama.” It still makes me chuckle. I actually think it was a cow, but she remembers it being a dog.
For all I really know, Elisa really was adopted. I wasn’t in the delivery room. I didn’t track her progress as she went back and forth from the hospital nursery to my mother’s room. She could have been accidentally switched. So I went on the internet and found someone I think is Elisa’s real biological mom. See for yourself.
Elisa didn’t take too kindly to this website.
To make amends I have continued my search for truth on my sisters behalf and have found the most conclusive evidence of her adoption thus far. See for yourself and let me know what you think.       
Elisa's Special Movie

Click on Middle Damned to see My Book