Monday

Did holiday parade goody-tossers miss the boat?




A local community parade stepped off this past weekend, and folks fairly floated with excitement. This particular procession is popular in these parts, largely because of the prodigious amounts of candy and prizes the participants throw to spectators.

Sure, parade-goers love the color guards, marching bands, antique cars, and fancy floats. But freebies are a perennial crowd-pleaser.

Predictably, the politicians and their entourages glad-handed the public and handed out stickers and tiny American flags. Passengers on a tavern float bombarded onlookers with beer can Koozies. The car wash owners pitched tiny pop-up expandable sponges. People on the bank’s float pelted the crowd with logo-imprinted pencils.

Sometimes, well-planned parade giveaways make plenty of sense, particularly from a publicity viewpoint.

This year, however, something didn’t feel quite right about all these parade freebies.

  • The refrigeration company promoters distributed lollipops. Wouldn’t popsicles have made more sense?
  • The librarians distributed printed bookmarks. OK, that’s a lot better than Nerds. (Hey, I was a librarian for a spell!)
  • The garbage truck driver chucked candy, which people eagerly grabbed. Does anybody else find this a little hard to swallow? Maybe he should have stocked his truck cab with barf bags instead.
  • The weight loss clinic staffers gave out Jelly Belly candies. OK, that’s funny.
  • The pet store crew tossed Tootsie Rolls. That’s just plain wrong. Why not dog biscuits?
  • The Roto Rooter float offered Hershey's Chocolate Kisses. On a hot summer day, the irony was hard to miss.
  • The tutoring center threw Dum Dum suckers to the crowd. Wouldn’t Smarties have been a wiser choice?
  • And the brand-new vape shop parade walkers doled out discount coupons. Is it just me, or does anyone else think they might have scored big by including Airheads?

What was the most clever goody toss of the entire parade?

My parade-watching pals and I chuckled the most when the kids on the 4-H float showered onlookers with Jolly Ranchers. Smart kids.

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Parade Marching Band
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Thursday

Self-Googling can be dangerous!


Googling oneself may be seen as an act of vanity, or it may be a smart security tactic.

As a web writer, I periodically run such a search on my pen name.

Mostly, I do this because this helps to identify instances of copyright infringement or plagiarism. Whenever I run an internet search on my pseudonym, a host of illegal republications of my various blog posts or online articles seem to crop up in the search results.

This quick-and-easy process can be done with any major search engine: Bing, Yahoo, or another. I just happened to use Google this time.

Once in a while, I’ve Googled my real name and found surprising results.

This can be a helpful way to uncover possible identity theft, as well as a means of finding oneself in the news. Usually, things like family obituaries and real estate transactions show up. Sometimes, one finds a few surprises.

Today, I discovered that a woman in Tennessee, who was recently arrested for Breaking & Entering and Criminal Obstruction, shares my name.

OK, her middle name is different, along with virtually all of her pertinent details.

A doppleganger she is not.
This person, about 20 years younger than I am, stands 4’8” and weighs 185 pounds, according to the information included with her mug shot. She looks nothing like me. And she has apparently skipped bail.

This moniker-sharer seems to have a criminal record and an inmate number from the county jail.

Nice, huh?

A very sweet young lady I know entered her own name in the search engine bar and found shocking results. Apparently, a porn star in Europe has the same name.

Maybe a pen name wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.

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Friday

Just told my kid she could ignore the school’s ‘Homework Missing’ email




Looks like someone in the high school office didn’t get the memo. Seniors graduated over a week ago.

All year, the school’s automated alert system has fired out emails to warn parents about late and missing assignments, failing grades, truancy, and other academic or behavioral troubles.

We’ve counted our blessings to know we’ve missed out on most of this school-related fan mail. OK, we’ve seen a few missing assignment reports, but only because the system didn’t recognize excused absences and not-yet-filed homework and test grades.

Then it happened.

My kid went and graduated. In fact, the whopping majority of the senior class graduated right along with her.

Juniors, sophomores, and freshmen carried on – attending school for another week and a half.

As is often the case, a smattering of classes contained multi-aged students (in 9th through 12 grades). That meant seniors escaped early, as underclassmen continued classwork.

And the school’s parental notification system missed the boat. The week after graduation, scads of proud parents of the high school’s newest crop of alumni received “Missing Homework” emails.

Pretty sure no one’s gonna bother with those.

We’re already framing those sheepskins and thinking it’s a sure bet our kids have excused absences and homework exemptions for those post-commencement items.

In fact, although the school’s latest missive says my kid received a zero on a pre-calculus paper (assigned after graduation), I think it’s fair to say that’s a moot point. Yesterday, she registered for calculus at her chosen college.

So, it’s OK if the dog ate the homework, as long as the diploma is intact.

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Wednesday

Self-defecating humor: Is this a matter of humility or hygiene?




“My friend has a sense of self-defecating humor,” Barton said (in an online post).

Really?

Actually, that sounds kind of gross. It sounds tremendously gross – downright disgusting.

Still, I’m fairly sure Barton wasn’t talking about dung-tossing.

The actual expression is “self-deprecating humor,” and it means using self-critique, inward-pointed sarcasm, and the belittling of oneself. 

Self-deprecating humor smears the speaker, dropping jokes that may aim for a laugh while possibly making the actual person feel like … well, you know.

Maybe that’s not so far off the mark, after all.

But let’s face it. If a person has a tendency towards self-defecating humor, it’s a pretty fair bet someone’s gonna step in it, proverbially or for real. And it ain’t gonna be pretty.




Note: “Self-defecating humor” is also used to refer to jokes that miss the mark, fall flat like a worthless pile of discarded matter, and simply stink.

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