Friday, September 30, 2016

Have You Dug Wall Drug?


Beloved and I took a trip Out West last week to spend some time with her siblings and watch the deer and the antelope play.

The trip through South Dakota on Interstate 90 is always an...uh...experience in itself.

You're driving by exits for towns with names like Reliance and Mudsludger...or, as often as not, you're driving by exits with no name at all. Seriously. There are several exit signs that just have the mile marker number and an arrow...and they lead to dirt roads. (True truth!)

And every 3.7 miles is a billboard advertising the amazing piece of Americana known as Wall Drug: home of free ice water, five-cent cups of coffee, and $47 bags of authentic jackalope pellets.


There are animatronic-wannabe mannequins lip-syncing to The Sons of the Pioneers, wall after wall of framed newspaper and magazine articles about Wall Drug, and an endless selection of pop guns, shot glasses, shirts, hats, porcelain dinosaurs, and wooden puzzles emblazoned with Wall Drug, Wall, S.D.

But wait! Let us not forget the fiberglass photo opportunities:


Several years ago, we stopped in Wall on our way back from Wyoming... with a chair strapped to the roof of our minivan.

Didn't feel out of place. At. All.   

Friday, September 23, 2016

Almost True Confessions


What with all the political wrangling and accusations swirling around, I feel the need to set a good example by laying my cards on the table and owning up to a few things about myself:




  • When I dial in for a conference call at work (DocumentCzar), and the computer voice says "At the sound of the tone, state your name and press the pound sign," I usually say "Your name".
  • While listening to the news, my brain shuts off whenever it hears the words "On Wall Street today...".
  • When giving our tiny canine-like creature (MarcoSansPolo, a practically weightless chihuahua) a bath, I secretly contemplate how easy it would be to wring his little neck and never have to pick up after him in our backyard ever again.
  • I sometimes use an online word generator (http://www.wineverygame.com) to help me play Scrabble. (The almost true part of that confession is the word sometimes.)
  • I don't really understand the popularity of Twitter.
  • I don't really give a tweet about understanding popularity.
  • I'm not really as popular as Tweety Bird.
  • Larry Bird wasn't really a fan of Conway Twitty.
  • Lady Bird was really a twit on the subway.
  • Big Bird can't fit on a subway.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Observed Absurdities™ 25 - Grammar Police Permanently Peeved


AUGH!



When a tattoo goes wrong, there's not a whole lot a person can do without the aid of a laser and a bankroll...which leads me to believe this apostrophe atrocity is going to be around for a long, long time.



Friday, September 9, 2016

The Great Minnesota Sweat-Together


Monday afternoon, Beloved and I took our lives in our hands, along with a sizable bankroll, and braved the streets and gastronomic challenges of the Minnesota State Fair.

The Weather Channel promised there would be overcast skies all day, with a decent chance for scattered showers, so we thought the final-day crowd would be slimmer than normal.

We were wrong...and not just from the viewpoint of the calorie-rich, batter-dipped, deep-fried carbohydrate bombs being passed off as food by the unending parade of vendors. There were tons of people, some weighing close to a ton individually, on almost every square foot of horizontal surface.



We carefully tip-toed our way to what passed for a line of people waiting to purchase different seafood offerings from a place called Giggles. Beloved had her palate poised to enjoy what Giggles calls a "Boatload of Perch", but what the picture on the menu board made clear was three small filet in a tiny paper basket. We'll never know what it was really like, because after the 15 minutes it took for the barely-dressed gal in front of us to decide which authentically-crafted beer she wanted in a souvenir plastic cup, we were told that Giggles had run out of perch...but we could have a crab cake if we'd like.

No...we would not like.

Beloved settled for a bowl of Greek-flavored chicken and rice from Flavored Chicken & Rice in a Bowl. (Okay, that wasn't the real name of the place, but it should have been.) Me? I tried one of this year's new offerings: SpamCurds.


I've found a new fair favorite; worthy of piling up next to Australian Batter-Dipped Potatoes with Ranch and Cheese. These little cubes are lightly breaded with a crisp burst of flavor that perfectly complements the marvelous mystery of Spam®.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Now, go back to the 4th paragraph and revisit the phrase "barely-dressed gal."

First, what an interesting oxymoron barely dressed is.

Second, the gal in front of us in line, with her napkin of a top and sliver of denim of a bottom, was in no way an anomaly in the crowd. Between cover-ups that didn't and pantyhose posing as leggings posing as pants, there was nowhere safe for my eyes to focus except for my ever-expanding belly. Beloved just grabbed my hand and tried to keep me from running into people.

Ha! Fat chance!

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Grumpy Old Man Makes a Grocery Run - No Wait - Walk


Before you get all distracted by wondering who the grumpy old man in this tale is, let me just lay it on the table for you...it's me.

Earlier this week, on my way to work, I made what I was planning to be a quick stop in the big box food retailer's establishment near my home. I just wanted to run in and pick up a couple things to include with my packed lunch.

But my expectation of a fast trip in and out was quickly dashed against the rocks of reality.

On my way to Aisle 7, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the sight of an unexpected site...an M & M's Halloween display.



Did I mention this was earlier this week...as in the 31st of August?

I had to pull out my phone to check the date and make sure I wasn't two months late to work.

A less-startling diversion was this t-shirt. I am especially fond of Chewbacca's designation.



Having chosen my items, I hurried to the checkout lanes where a man was leisurely scanning his items in the single self-service lane (as in Only One Out Of The Four Available) and a fine, upstanding woman-of-a-certain-age was just sliding into the single cashier-operated lane (as in Only One Out Of The Twelve Available).

"No worries," thought I, "I'll just stand here between the two and go to the first one available."

I should have pulled up a chair.

The cashier made quick work of sliding the woman's few items over the scanner and announcing the total, but the shopper then emptied her sizable purse onto the conveyor belt in search of her pocketbook.

I glanced at the self-service guy and wondered why he kept making trips from his scanning station to the little wastebasket at the supervisor's kiosk...which had no supervisor supervising at it.

The woman found her pocketbook and started counting out her cash.

The self-service guy unwrapped a package of tortillas and made a chicken-bacon-ranch wrap to sustain himself on his multiple treks back and forth to the wastebasket.

The woman determined she didn't have enough cash and emptied her pocketbook onto the conveyor belt in search of her debit card.

The self-service guy called someone to ask his or her opinion on the brand of mustard he was about to run over the scanner.

The woman realized she forgot something on her shopping list and scurried off in the direction of the gluten-free section.

The self-service guy kept yelling "What?!?" into his phone.

One of the two items I had picked up passed its expiration date.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Good thing I recently got a smart phone...I'm posting this while I'm still waiting.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Purple Passion


When a restless group of students plead with you to tell them a particular story over and over again, you begin to think that:
          1. It's a pretty good story.
          2. You're a pretty good storyteller.
          3. These kids really need to get a life.



In order for you to be able to decide  for yourself the validity of any of those statements, I offer you the favorite Stupid Story™ of most cast members from the last 16 years of Giant Step Theatre...Purple Passion.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Dakota Chautauqua Bloopers


Last week was the 12th time I'd spent a week in Farmington, Minnesota, performing scenes and songs written by Pete Martin and Eric Peltoniemi (and even a few by me!) in a little production called Dakota Chautauqua. It began as a way to commemorate the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the founding of Dakota County, Minnesota. It has continued as a way to promote Dakota City Heritage Village and the Dewey Roth Sweat-Your-Way-To-Your-Perfect-Weigh weight loss plan.

Of course the hitch to the whole weight loss thing is all the fair food I ate throughout the week (which ends up sounding like the 12 days of Christmas): 32 ounces of fresh cut fries, 1/3 pound Angus burger, one-and-a-half servings of deep-fried cheese curds, two waffle cones, two roasted potatoes (with bacon and cheese), one Pronto Brat, a root beer float, and a New Zealand Breakfast Meat Pie.

The show itself was stuffed full of the weird and goofy things that make Minnesota and its overwhelmingly Scandihoovian residents...how shall we say it...unique.

For example:

  • Norway vs. Sweden: The Lutefisk Controversy (white sauce or butter?)
  • Spam
  • "Doncha know"
  • Moonshine-makin' mamas



  • An obsession with Paul Bunyan
  • Arsonist, thief, and murderer: Marjorie Congdon Leroy Caldwell Hagen
  • The total fabrication of St. Urho (Giving Finns a reason to drink the bars dry the day before St. Patrick's Day)

As for the bloopers mentioned in this post's title?

You should have been there for the opening night performance when the whole cast totally blew the words of the closing song, which  -  appropriately enough  -  was titled "Uffda!" We just stood there shaking our heads at one another and repeating the word "uffda", but with none of the other lyrics intact.


Not to mention my mini panic attack every performance because I could never guarantee whether I would say the scripted "We keep the chicken-heads out of Wisconsin and they keep the margarine out of Minnesota" or if "marmalade" would inexplicably spring from my lips instead. 

Oh wait...I guess I DID mention it.

Gotta love live theater.