Dollars and degrees

Dollars and degrees

“Dollars and degrees. That’s all you ever think about, you self-centered bastard,” she said before turning and taking a large sip of her martini.

He took a swig of his beer. They were sitting next to one another at the bar of the Tomfoolery, a popular pub in the Foggy Bottom section of D.C. “It’s Wednesday night, Deb. You know I have that urban planning course paper due for tomorrow night’s class. I really need to head back to my place to finish it up.”

“Any excuse to get up and leave me here by myself,” Debbie slurred. “I swear, you don’t give two shits about me. All you care about are dollars and degrees.”

He liked Debbie. She was attractive, reasonably bright, and quite accomplished in the sack. But he was working on his master’s degree at night while holding down a full-time job during the day. Barely half way through his 54 credit-hour curriculum, completing his master’s program by the end of the next year was his highest priority.

“I think you’re a little drunk, Debbie,” he responded, finishing up his beer.

“And I think you’re a selfish son of a bitch” she snapped back.

He turned toward her and, affecting his most sincere, genuine manner, said, “I really do care about you, Debbie. I enjoy our time together. A lot, actually. But I have to finish this paper tonight. I’ll probably be up quite late and I have to be at work again by 8:30 in the morning. So even though I’d much rather stay here with you a little while longer and then head over to your place and spend the night, I’ve got to go.”

It was only a little white lie, he told himself.

She moved her bar stool closer to his, snuggled up next to him, and while running her hand up and down his inner thigh, whispered in a low, throaty voice, “I’d rather we head over to my place, too. We can both call in sick for work tomorrow.”

“I can’t,” he said, removing her hand from high up on his thigh. “I’m sorry, Debbie, but I just can’t. Not tonight. I need to get this paper done.”

He stood up and retrieved his jacket and backpack from the hook beneath the bar overhang. He leaned over toward Debbie and kissed her on her cheek. “I’ll call you tomorrow,”  he said, and headed for the door.

As he was leaving the pub he heard her yell after him. “Dollars and degrees, you fucking asshole! That’s all that’s important to you. Dollars and fucking degrees.”

This post is my entry this week in Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. This week’s word is “degree/degrees.”


Posted by on October 25, 2014 in Blogging


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Father of the bride

Tracy & Jay's wedding 049Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt asked us to recall our “craziest, busiest, most hectic day we’ve had in the past decade.”

For me, that was easy. I didn’t have to give more than an instant’s thought to what day that was:

October 31, 2008

That was the day my only daughter got married. And for all fathers who have daughters, they know — or will find out — that the day of their daughter’s wedding is the craziest, busiest, most hectic day a father can experience.

Well perhaps craziest, busiest, most hectic day since the day his daughter was born.

My daughter and her then future husband met at a Halloween party seven years earlier. And when they decided to get married, they wanted a Halloween-themed wedding. Conveniently, Halloween in 2008 fell on a Friday night.

There is so much that needed to get done, checked on, set up, and verified before the actual ceremony and reception started. So many activities to coordinate, so many items to attend to.

I couldn’t rely on my wife and daughter. They were spending the day getting their hair done, having make-up professionally applied, getting into their dresses/gowns, and doing whatever other magical, mysterious things that the mother of the bride, the bride, and the bridesmaids do on the day of the wedding.

So there I was at the wedding venue all afternoon for a wedding that wasn’t scheduled to start until early evening. I was running around making sure all would be ready when it was supposed to be, that everything was in its place. That the tables were set, the flowers properly arranged, the DJ table and equipment ready and working, the lighting just right, the clowns in position.

Okay, there were no clowns.

When I felt everything was as it should be, I went back to my hotel room not far from the venue and checked to make sure that the bus to transport out-of-town guests to the wedding site would be on time. And then I showered and changed into my proper wedding attire, preparing to assume my role as the proud father of the bride.

Once things got underway and I could see that everything was proceeding nicely according to plan, I was at last able to take a step back, relax, take it all in, and enjoy myself.


But getting to that point made for quite a harrowing day.


Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Blogging


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Make it a double

canvas bagsI live in San Francisco. For those of you who don’t know it, the city of San Francisco banned plastic bags a few years ago. And then the city decided that consumers who don’t provide their own, reusable bags when they purchase merchandise, food, or just about anything, need to be charged a dime if they want a paper bag in which to put said merchandise, food, or just about anything.

And since a lot of merchandise, food, and just about anything can be heavy, in order to support the weight of the items shoved into said paper bag, you may require double bagging, for which stores charge 20 cents.

And if you need more than one double bag, say two or three, in order to carry your merchandise, food, and just about anything you’ve just purchased out of the store, you’ll have to up to pony up an addition 40 or 60 cents for the paper bags.

It’s not just about the money

When you get in line at the checkout counter these days and finally reach the cashier, rather than being greeted by a friendly “Hello, how are you today?” or even the old standby, “Paper or plastic?” instead you hear, “Do you need a bag?”

If they answer is yes, you are then asked if you want your groceries double bagged. This requires you to look at your groceries and, in your head and under time pressure, perform some complex calculations:

Can my groceries fit into one bag or do I need two or three?
Do I need double bags so that my groceries won’t end up scattered on the store floor or the sidewalk outside the store when the single bag breaks?
Is it more cost-effective to pack my groceries in three or four single bags or in two double bags?

In order to avoid having to make such weighty (pun intended) decisions, I invested a few years ago in a couple of reusable canvas grocery bags that I always take with me whenever I go grocery shopping — except when I forget to take them with me, as I did yesterday morning.

I pulled my car, the one with the brand new battery, so it started right up, into the parking lot behind the grocery store. When I looked for my expensive, reusable canvas bags, they were nowhere to be found. I realized that I left them sitting on the kitchen counter when I grabbed my car keys.

So I went into the grocery store, placed my items into my shopping cart and, once I had everything that was on my list, I made my way to the cashier. As I approached her, she looked up at me, smiled, and said, “Do you need a bag?”

“Yes, I do need a bag, please.” Surveying the items on the checkout counter conveyor belt, I added, “Make it a double.”

It’s about “the look”

I am a good citizen of planet earth. I limit my driving to the bare minimum. I mostly walk or use public transportation to get around. I recycle. I compost.

But this cashier shot me a look that made me feel like she’d just seen my face on a Most Wanted poster on the post office wall. It was a really dirty look.

Her look put me on the defensive and I found myself saying, “Well, I do have reusable bags at home, but,” and I started to chuckle a little bit, as if I were letting her in on a big, funny secret, “I left them sitting on my kitchen counter.”

She raised an eyebrow and looked at me as if to say, “Yeah, right, buddy. I didn’t just fall of the turnip truck, you know. I’ve heard them all and I know bullshit when I hear it.” At least that’s what I think she was silently saying to me.

And then she looked to her left toward a shiny, metal stand on which were hanging around a dozen reusable canvas bags with the store’s name emblazoned on them.

She looked back at me, then back at the stand with the bags, then back at me.

“How much are those reusable bags?” I asked, knowing that price was no object.

“Two dollars and 95 cents each, she said, an air of victory about her, knowing that she’d shamed me into buying at least one reusable canvas bag.

“Fine,” I said, resigned to my fate, “I’ll take two of them.”

She was literally gleeful as she packed up my groceries into the two canvas bags. And then, to add insult to injury, as I was leaving with my newly acquired reusable canvas bags stuffed with my groceries, she called out,

Don’t forget to bring your bags with you next time you come by for groceries. Have a wonderful day.

And then she winked at me.


Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Blogging


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Best Day Ever

WordPRess StatsHere’s a question for you.

What was your best day ever since you started blogging on WordPress? By best day ever, I’m not asking you what, in general, may have been your best, most fun, most fulfilling overall day you’ve had since you’ve been blogging on WordPress. We’re talking about blogging here, people, so keep it in the context of your blog.

And I’m not even asking you what you think was your best post ever or which post you had the best time writing. No, I’m talking strictly quantitatively, as in most views in any single day?

In case you don’t know what your best day ever was, all you need to do is go to your Stats page and there, right in the middle, under the bar graph like the one in the image above, it tells you “Best Ever,” along with the number of views you had on your best day ever. That is your best day ever.

For example, my best day ever was just nine days ago on October 14. Here’s what WordPress reported:

11481Okay, I made that stat up. My best day ever was not even close to that. I slightly overstated my number of views — by around 11,074.

Here’s is what WordPress really reported as my best day ever:

407And if you want to gather further details about your best day ever — and who wouldn’t want to do that? — you just click on the number under best ever and it will show you the posts, ranked in numerical order, that were viewed that day.

Here are my posts that were viewed on my best day ever.

posts viewedAnd you can also see the search terms used on that day to access your blog. Here were the search terms used on my best day ever:

Search terms on best dayAh, no wonder “My First Vagina” continues to be one of my most popular posts, even though I posted it more than nine months ago. How disappointed those searchers must be when they land on my post and find just a PG-rated story of innocence, young love, and curiosity.

So tell me, please, what was your best day ever so far on your blog?

Because, you know, I asked nicely.


Posted by on October 23, 2014 in Blogging


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Here’s the answer. What’s the question?


If you haven’t visited Gibber Jabberin, you should give it a try. Especially if you feel like playing a game of Jeopardy today.

Today’s Jeopardy category is EDUCATION and today’s Jeopardy answer is FIFTY PERCENT OF DOCTORS.

Now go over to the site and provide your question to that answer.

Have fun.

(Comments will be disabled on this post, so you must go to the original post to enter your answers.)

Originally posted on Gibber Jabberin:

Gibber Jeopardy

Gibber wrote about an idea I had for her blog in a post she wrote last week. She wrote:

Doobster from over at  gave me an idea I want to run by all of you as well.

He thought it might be fun to have a day where someone gives an answer, and we all have to figure out the question. Like Jeopardy. I wonder what kind of answers you would all come up with.So maybe I’d set one day aside for that if you all like the idea.

And then Gibber asked me — I’m Doobster —  if I would “guest post” these Jeopardy-like answers and she suggested that I do it every Wednesday. You know, happy hump day. And I thought sure, why not?

Piece of cake, right? Easy-peasy. I mean seriously, how hard can it be?  So I said sure, why not?

What was I…

View original 204 more words

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Posted by on October 22, 2014 in Blogging, Humor


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One-Liner Wednesday — Life


Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering — and it’s all over much too soon.

Woody Allen

This is my contribution to Linda G Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt.


Posted by on October 22, 2014 in Blogging


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Small talk

Small-TalkSome people are really good at small talk. I am not one of those people.

Small talk, according to Wikipedia, is “an informal type of discourse that does not cover any functional topics of conversation or any transactions that need to be addressed.” So it’s basically bullshit. It’s filler with no substance to it, sort of like popcorn, only less salty.

Wikipedia goes on to say that small talk “serves many functions in helping to define the relationships between friends, work colleagues, and new acquaintances. In particular, it helps new acquaintances to explore and categorize each other’s social position.”

Seriously? Small talk helps define relationships and is used to categorize social positions? Crap. That doesn’t bode well for someone like me who is really bad at small talk.

My small talk conversations typically go something like this:

Other person: Hey Doobster, how was your weekend?
Me: Fine, thanks.
Other person: Great. You know, my wife, the kids, and I piled into the car and headed on up to Napa this weekend and while we were there….
Me: Shut up, I don’t give a shit.

Well, I suppose that does define the relationship (none) and does categorize my social position (disconnected and disinterested).

It’s not that I’m anti-social. I enjoy being social with people I know. And I enjoy engaging in lively conversations and/or debates on topics of substance with people I respect.

But these hi-how-are-you-I’m-fine-thanks-how-are-you-what-do-you-think-of-this-weather-we’re-having-sure-could-use-some-rain types of conversations bore the hell out of me.

One part of my job that I hate is when I have to participate in a group dinner with clients or prospects. The only thing in we have common is work-related, and few people want to talk about work at dinner. So small talk is pretty much all there is.

Coupled with my disdain for small talk — I tend to show disdain for those things I’m not proficient at — is the fact that I am challenged to hear well in restaurants where there is a lot of ambient noise.

So not only am I bored, I have difficulty hearing what people are saying. I end up sitting there with a stupid smile on my face, nodding my head occasionally, and pretending that I hear what people are talking about while feigning interest. And I pray that no one asks me a direct question.

I’m equally as bad at parties where I don’t know a lot of people. Parties are often loud affairs, with music blaring and a cacophony of voices in the background.

I’ve found that the best method for minimizing small talk at parties is to lie.

Other person: Hello, my name is Jack. Nice to meet you. I’m an accountant over at Gotcher Mooney & Moore. This is my wife, Penelope.
Me: Nice to meet you as well (lie).
Other person: So what do you do for a living?
Me: I can’t talk about it. It’s classified; top-secret (lie). If I told you I’d have to kill you (truth).
Other person (looking around the room nervously): Say Penelope, isn’t that your cousin Matilda over there?

Jack grabs Penelope’s hand and departs quickly. I get another drink, look at my watch, and try to decide how much longer I need to remain at this torturous affair.

One of the reasons I enjoy blogging is because I don’t need to engage in small talk.

So, how’s the weather in your part of the world?


Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Blogging, Society


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