Jun 30

Dear Readers of my Blog,

We all know the importance of getting an education, and furthering our academic knowledge throughout the entirety of our lives. That’s why, upon receiving a recent community college brochure, I dedicated myself to carefully studying each page to identify those academic subjects in which I could enhance my knowledge.

And it’s a good thing I did. It turns out that there are many vital topics about which I know very little. Having identified the most crucial classes, I would like your advice, Readers, on which class I should take first.

Urban Chicken Keeping
If I take this class, I will gain knowledge on the delights of keeping an urban flock for enhancing my gardenscape and harvesting fresh eggs. More importantly, this class will guide me on “…raising chicks into happy hens and cover their husbandry.” As I like to offer indispensable dating advice to humans on my blog, it is excellent that I will now also be qualified to offer this advice to happy hens in search of a good husband!

Planning Your Own Funeral: Having the Last Word
I think you’ll agree with me that there is nothing worse than dying. Except for dying WITHOUT having planned your own funeral. Sure, I’ve planned other people’s funerals, but it’s just not as satisfying. I don’t know everything that will be covered in this class, but I hope it will cover the basics I’ve always wanted to learn, such as grave-digging, casket-decoration, and affordable funeral catering. Because I’m sure I’m not the only person who attends funerals for the free food.

Soap Making
In the case of an apocalypse, I want to stay fresh and clean. After all, it is likely that at some point in my life, I will be stranded in a bomb shelter with a handsome member of the opposite sex, and I will discover that we are the only two people left on earth and that we must mate to ensure the propagation of the human race. Being stocked with frivolities such as “water” and “food,” there may be a soap shortage, and I’ll want to freshen up before the requisite repopulation of the earth. The apocalypse is never easy, but knowing that I will have soap-making capabilities at my disposal will definitely offset any losses the apocalypse brings.

Readers, please vote on which class I should take first. Please know that I value your opinions, all six of you, and will take your recommendations under careful advisement.

–Troi out

Jun 23

Dear Readers,

Have you ever been given bad advice? For example, when you had the hiccups, somebody advised you to hold your breath until they stopped, and you passed out? And then, when you came to, you were STILL hiccuping?? (Um, me neither. That never happened to me either.)

A person who gives bad advice is known as an A.S.S. (Advice that Sucks Specialist). It is bad enough to be the recipient of suggestions given by an A.S.S. It is much worse to live with the knowledge that there are A.S.S.es out there giving bad advice, and profiting from it.

Luckily I am in the T.A.G.* (Terrific Advice Giver) program and I give really excellent advice. For example, just tonight, as a good friend bemoaned his single life while driving me back to my apartment after a movie, I assured him that life in the single lane (which means if you use the left carpool lane during peak traffic hours, you’ll be ticketed) is far superior to codependent coupledom.

As a T.A.G. member, I was eager to dispense my advice to my forlorn friend. “Look at it this way,” I told him, “in the long run, there’s really no difference between a single person and a person in a relationship. In a relationship, there are one of three possible inevitable conclusions. One, a break-up. Two, marriage and subsequent divorce. Three, death. See? When you look at it that way, there’s really no reason to be sad; we’re all going to end up single anyway!”

I’m not sure what my friend thought of my helpful advice, because he opened the car door and flung himself out into the road. I hope he’s okay. More importantly, though, if he is okay, I hope he doesn’t seek advice from an A.S.S. Only qualified advice givers (T.A.G.s) such as myself can be trusted to cheer up the lonely singles out there.

For more advice, please visit my website. Wait, if you’re reading this, you’re already there.

-Troi out

*The university from which Troi received her T.A.G. licensure and certification was unable to be verified and her T.A.G. degree was not available for review at the time of this blog posting.

Jun 21

I recently arrived at work and was met by a disconcerting site: all of the fourth-grade girls were dressed in long, flowing dresses and wearing bonnets. I have been dabbling in time travel as of late, so as you can imagine, I came to the obvious conclusion that I had finally succeeded and that I was now working in the year 1868.

I would have held to this assumption longer had it not been for the electric lighting in the hallway, the computers in the classrooms, the SUVs in the school parking lot, and the genetically-modified food in the cafeteria. Once I realized that I remained in 2008, I celebrated with some genetically-modified coffee and partially hydrogenated french vanilla creamer, and then went about the business of coming up with a second hypothesis regarding the strangely attired 4th grade students.

But before I could refine my hypothesis of children from 1868 traveling to the present, the real reason for the bonnets was divulged by a passing student. “I can’t wait for our field trip to the Pioneer Farm!” she exclaimed.

(A field trip to Pioneer Farm was going to be my third hypothesis, I’m sure of it.)

The students apparently derived much enjoyment from their field trip to the Pioneer Farm. They told me they made bread (although when I probed a student for details, she disclosed that the dough had already been made and they simply had to pop it in the wood-burning oven. That’s my kind of cooking) and candles.

The students enjoyed telling me of their field trip, even amidst my diatribe on the many inadequacies present in that historic time. In 1868, for example, there were no drive-thru espresso shops. There were no fast food restaurants, and not nearly enough clothing stores. A person such as myself, who cannot sew, cook, nor make decent espresso, would be forced to walk around naked, nibbling on flour, and feeling tired.

Okay that’s an exaggeration. I can’t sew, but I actually make great coffee. So I would have been walking around naked, but I would have been very awake while doing so. I imagine so would everybody else around me. 🙂

I also know that I would not have been successful in 1868 due to my present-day reactions to losing the luxuries to which I am so accustomed. A recent cataclysmic event occurred in which my apartment had no hot water. The apartment manager alleges that the paucity of hot water lasted a mere 20 minutes, but I’m pretty convinced it was an eternity. Washing my hair in cold water was pretty much the most oppressive experience I’ve had to endure.

Not really. But you get my drift.

Since the hot water incident, I’ve stopped dabbling in time travel. I wouldn’t mind going on a field trip to Pioneer Farm for 7 hours, as long as at the end of the day I can take a hot shower. And have pre-made clothes to put on afterward.

–Troi out

Jun 15

Dear Loyal Readers,

Speaking of laffy taffy jokes (Funny? Or Just Dumb?), you may find yourself spending endless hours wondering just where these jokes originated. I know I do. I decided to set off to investigate into the laffy taffy industry to discover just how this comical candy finds its bad jokes.

The laffy taffy industry (no relation to the salt water taffy industry, which is not funny at all) referred me to Earl from Nowhere, Midwest, who granted me an exclusive interview* to give me an inside look at the origins of the jokes on laffy taffy wrappers.

Me: Hi Earl. Do you have a last name that I can report in my findings?

Earl: Nah, over here, we all gots the same last name anyhow.

Me: Earl, can you tell me just where the jokes on those laffy taffy wrappers come from?

Earl: I don’t listen to no rappers. I gots me some good country music fer to listen to.

Me: No, not rappers. Wrappers. The paper that surrounds laffy taffy candy.

Earl: I shore do like me some laffy taffy candy, and those there jokes are originally thunk up by me and my friends!

Me: Earl, are you telling me that YOU have contributed some of the jokes on the laffy taffy paper covering?

Earl: Yep, shore enough, I’s out tippin’ some cows the other day, and I says to my friend Billy, I says, “Billy, them cows are everywhere! How many of ‘em you think there are total?” And Billy says, “Gee whiz Earl, I can’t count that high, but if we had one of them cowculators, that would be just swell!” And so I says, “Yesiree, a cowculator would shore help us count them cows!”

Me: So, Earl, one of my all-time favorite laffy taffy jokes, “How do you count cows?” “With a COWculator!” that joke originated with you?

Earl: Well, I don’t likes to brag, but that’s just one of thousands of jokes I’ve sent in that has made the front page of that paper covering on my laffy taffy candy.

Earl then escorted me to the barn, where he had indeed hung thousands of laffy taffy wrappers that contained jokes he and his friends had contributed.

So, Readers, you can now sleep a little easier at night knowing the sources of laffy taffy jokes.

–Troi out

*The preceding blog post does not contain any accurate information and does not reflect the author’s actual feelings toward the midwest or any other region of the United States or beyond. The preceding post was inspired by my good friend, e. Lucas, whose true feelings are also not represented by the fictional information contained in this post.

Jun 14

I have a longstanding reputation among my friends. No, I’m not talking about the way I dissect my food while I eat it, nor my phobia of eating red meat and riding on an airplane (or the worst, eating red meat WHILE on an airplane). No, I am most infamous for my inability to tell a joke.

This is not to say I’m not funny. In fact, most of my friends would consider me to be one of the most amusing people they know. But most of the time this is due to accidental humor. That is, I believe what I say to be of incredible importance, but they consider it to be ridiculously amusing. Those times I go for intentional humor and try to properly deliver a punchline, I’m met with, at best, averted eyes, and at worst, loud booing from the crowd. And these are my friends. I don’t dare attempt a joke in front of strangers. Not since that unfortunate incident on the bus.

The primary culprit for my lack of success at joke telling is the fact that I already know the punchline, and I already love it. Thus I am unable to hold my laughter until I get to the punchline. The whole joke experience is virtually destroyed by my incessant giggling as I envision the fantastic punchline that I will inevitably botch.

My hysterical laughter increases my audience’s expectations for the joke. After all, if I find the joke THIS comical, it must be the greatest joke ever told. The audience is therefore disproportionately devastated by the mediocre punchline. And this after suffering through the laborious telling of the joke marked by fits of laughter from me.

Thankfully, after years of friendship, my friends have appropriately lowered their expectations to the point that as soon as I utter, “Oh, I have a new joke, and this one’s GOOD!” they already know that it won’t be.

I work with students who have disabilities, and I know the importance of modifying assignments that are too difficult so that the students can still experience success at their level of learning and understanding. Applying this technique to my life, I acknowledge that it could be said that I have a joke-telling disability (and for those who don’t consider that a true disability, consult my friends), and I need to modify my joke-telling so that I experience success. And while my closest friends insist that I will experience the most success by simply never telling a joke again, ever, I know that excluding me entirely from participation in the joke-telling culture is not an appropriate modification for someone with special (joke-telling) needs.

Therefore I have developed and am in the process of implementing two modifications for joke-telling for myself and those who are similarly afflicted with impairments in properly delivering jokes. The first is to accept and embrace the contexts in which we are considered most humorous. That is, those times when I’m actually attempting to be serious. Second, identify a joke-telling success, and capitalize on it. For me, these are laffy taffy jokes. They tend to be so bad that they elicit a laugh from even the most skeptic audience members. (Generally, they are laughing at how bad the laffy taffy joke is, but a laugh is a laugh.) Moreover, these jokes are so short that I have experienced a 74% success rate at making it through the entire joke without bursting into laughter when I increase my rate of speech by approximately seventeen syllables per minute. I experience a 97% success rate when I tell these jokes to my students who are under the age of eleven. I experience a 100% success rate when I tell my students that they can eat the laffy taffy if they laugh at my joke.

The moral of this blog, if you were looking for one, is that anybody can be funny, but it’s not funny to be anybody.

Just kidding. Don’t ever look for a moral in my blogs. Not even the one entitled “This Blog Has a Moral!” because you know I’m just messing with you.

–Troi out