Aug 30, 2006

Fresh headlines from "Hey, Watch This!"

Click here to see the latest stories collected by Click and Clack of Car Talk

  • Iced wine, anyone?
  • Shocking lesson
  • Snot a good idea
  • Llama have it
  • Fire eater
  • Cannon ball!
  • How to make bucket soup

Aug 29, 2006

Names submitted to a co-worker who's expecting

The baby's last name will be Rehm (pronounced "reem.") That's important for understanding the following list of ideas for the first name. No, not just important, c-r-u-c-i-a-l.
  • Chris Peek
  • Isaac, pronounced with an "s" sound and not a "z."
  • M. Ericand
  • Heezad (boy) or Sheezad (girl)
  • Follo Yord
  • Hadda Bad
  • Lifis Buttud
  • Cookies Ank
  • Old Milst
  • Ime Gonnask
  • Rowan Upst
  • Sowerk
  • Bostonk

Names inspired by the format of last-name-first:
  • Ark Ubbel
  • Atch
  • E. Deeyate
  • M. Burr
  • Ian Derr (long "I" on the first name)
  • Itt Uns
  • Odd L.
  • Ote
  • Oov L.
  • Yooner Ate

If our co-worker doesn't go for any of these gems, we can only say: Ya Goof!

The topic this time? Oh, just desserts.

After work one day last week, I opened my car door to find a can of chocolate pudding in the seat.

And I mean a BIG can. Institutional size. Evidently someone thought I wasn't getting my daily allowance.

(On the other hand, others would be quick to say that I'm full of chocolate pudding, if you know what I mean.)

Or maybe someone bought some chocolate pudding from someone else and it ended up in my car by mistake?

I brought it in the next morning and paused in the doorway of my co-worker Beth, pudding can on hip. That brought a knowing smile.

"I've heard that was going around. It just keeps turning up where you least expect it."

I know a budding Pudding War when I see it, so I decided the circuit would end with me.

You know my posting yesterday about Camp Blue Diamond? That's a very busy church camp. With a dining hall that can always use donations. This weekend when I was there, the kitchen manager gratefully accepted my contribution.

Drop a dessert on me, eh? Ya Goof!

Aug 27, 2006

Rain drops keep fallin' on my chair

If one runs about in the rain with a chair on his head, surely one deserves to be addressed as: "Ya Goof!"

Or maybe not. You decide after you read the following, which I posted at, a site that everyone should know about, because it provides (CarePages' description) "free, easy-to-use Web pages that help family and friends communicate when a loved one is receiving care. It takes just a few minutes to create a CarePage, share it with friends and family, and build a community of support."

I've been following two CarePages for two friends with cancer. One, Karen Eckenrode, died yesterday. Readers of this blog may know her and her wonderfully supportive husband, Ray. All sympathy to all of Karen's loved ones.

Readers may also know the other patient, Doug Rhodes. At CarePages, he creates beautiful and often-funny posts on his progress, with reminders to enjoy each day. Livin', as he says.

Today, Doug, who attends the same church as the YaGoof! goofs, posted that he missed this morning's service. This was my response:

Doug, you didn't miss anything at church this morning. Because the service was down at Camp Blue Diamond!

(Last I knew, there wasn't going to be a service at the church building itself, to encourage everyone to enjoy a change of pace. My apologies if there WAS a service at Hollidaysburg.)

We prayed for you, as always. Pastor Marlys told an inspiring story about a young man she met at M.Div. school--a PhD at 26--whose parents are both mentally handicapped. Have her tell you the rest; she'll do it with much more style than I would. The service concluded with four being baptized in the lake. It was a special time.

The Eldred and Imler families each spent last night in a separate cabin at the Camp; Bonnie and I were at the same training in the Lodge yesterday. We had a fire and made "banana boats." You probably know this recipe from survival training at Parris Island:

1. Take a banana
2. Slit the side
3. Scoop out some of the banana
4. Insert little marshmallows and chocolate chips
5. Wrap the banana in aluminum foil
6. Place the boat on coals to melt the marshmallows and chocolate
7. Pull it out with tongs OR
8. If you're a Marine, just pull it out
9. Remove foil and peel and eat with a spoon OR
10. If you're a Marine, just pop it (hot foil, peel and all) into your mouth

I woke up before everyone else and was showered and relaxing with a book before the rain started. It came down pretty good. I had to jog up to the car holding one of those folding canvas chairs (unfolded, upside-down) over my head for an umbrella, so I could drive down for us to pack up before the service. Another survival school trick (or should be).

A little later in the morning, while Janet got cleaned up, the boys each used the chair-as-umbrella trick as we ran over to the little gazebo in front of the Lodge, where we at a breakfast of cold Pop-Tarts and warm bottled water.

I guess I'm posting this because it's what you're talking about: Livin'. Enjoying the moment. Thank you for all the reminders to do that. God bless.

Aug 25, 2006

This side up

The DVD player said: This disc cannot be played.

I said: Maybe it just needs to be wiped off.

Emmett said: I'll get it.

I said: Is it shiny side down?

Ethan said: Dad, even Emmett knows that.

Emmett said: Picture side up, right?

Then Emmett ejected the disc.

And he said: Oops.

And he turned the disc picture side up.

And then it worked just fine.

Emmett, Ya Goof!

And they say you can't get back lost time

Faithful readers of this blog—yes, both of you—will remember that I got my first cell phone at the beginning of June.

May it rest in peace. Three months later, it has been declared dead by TracFone.

The first sign of its demise was last Tuesday, when I was about to make a call and saw that instead of 108 or so minutes available, I had 0.00 minutes.

Shoot! I ran out of air time! That means I've lost my unused minutes. YaGoof!

Or so I thought.

I went online the next day and bought 310 minutes, but the phone didn't let me add them. They TracFone site threw up a screen that apologized for technical difficulites and gave me three pin numbers to use in adding the minutes later.

That evening, I still couldn't add the minutes. I called Technical Support.

I talked to three different people and never got a handle on the accent(s) I was hearing. Support calls are supposed to go to India a lot, but I've heard that Africa is getting in on the action, too. I don't know where in the globe I was.

Anyway, the reps were very, very polite. This was typical: "I need to check on something, Mr. Eldred. May I put you on hold for two minutes?"

"Sure." It's okay when they ask nicely. Even after the sixth time. Given that I wasn't pressed for time, and it was a toll-free call.

The first rep ended up telling me (a) I had a defective phone, so they would send a new one, and (b) I had bought twice as many minutes as I had thought and would be charged twice as much.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa." (I hope that was understandable in whatever country the person was in.)

To shorten a story that's familiar to many, the first rep told me I had ordered twice; I said I hadn't; he said they don't give refunds; I asked to talk to his supervisor. I've learned to stay calm during these calls and sometimes you can get satisfaction.

The first rep said, "May I put you on hold for three minutes?" Note: Up from two minutes.


The supervisor finally came on. He agreed that is was possible that the system could have goofed, not me. Imagine that! And he said of course, they could give a refund.

"Did you know the first person I talked to said you don't give refunds?" He smoothly ignored that. Heck, he was the supervisor.

I ended up with credit, who gave me some options. I'm supposed to get a new phone in a few days with my lost 108 minutes and a pre-paid mailer to ship back the deceased unit. I can't complain.

And I thought this entry would be about my losing the minutes and end in my usual way. I was wrong.

But hey, that mistake lets me say ...

Keith, Ya Goof!

Aug 21, 2006

Back from Vermont in ALMOST record time

We made the loooooong drive back from Waterville, Vermont yesterday. Check it out on a map. It's way up at the top of the state. I always shoot to make the trip in ten hours. I've done it once in dozens of voyages.

Yesterday, we would have made it within the magic time limit it not for for—

You know, I really wish I could point the finger at another member of the traveling party here. Naturally, everyone else is the anchor holding us back, wanting to make stops for things like—pah!—food and bathroom breaks. When we could be making time! I kid you not.

But no, the goof in the ointment was moi.

Early in the trip, while taking a pullover jacket off, I snagged my glasses and lost one lens. Well, not the lens, but the fiberglass thread that runs underneath it. The lens support system on that side. Fortunately, I use clip-on sunglasses that I was able to use to hold the lens in place while I drove. God forbid that I trust the schedule to Janet.

But because I had a meeting yesterday evening where it would definitely have looked out of place to wear clip-ons indoors, I had to detour to the Nittany Mall in State College and run into Pearle Vision for a quick fix. It only took twelve minutes, but that made our trip time about 10 hours and nine minutes.


Keith, Ya Goof!

Aug 19, 2006

Ah, memories—and lack of memory

I'm blogging from Camp Grammie. That's the period each summer where Ethan and Emmett stay with my parents in Vermont. They've been here for three weeks. Tomorrow we go home.

Janet and I received glowing reports of how the boys were well-behaved and actually worked whenever they were asked. They helped pile about five cords of wood that my parents will burn for heat through the winter. My father bought a load of logs; he and my brother-in-law Curt blocked them up with chain saws; and a friend, Ron Dennison, let them use a gas-powered splitting machine for a day. When I was a kid—cue nostalgic music here—we used a splitting hammer, which is a cross between an axe and a sledge hammer, sometimes using a splitting wedge for the stubborn blocks. The wedge was basically a big squat chisel that you would pound on with the blunt end of the head of the splitting hammer.

Believe it or not, I have fond memories of splitting and stacking wood. I didn't always enjoy the work at the time, but it had a nice rhythm to it. It left me with great mental pictures and sensations: hefting the block into place, setting myself to swing the hammer, bringing it down (sometimes actually in the spot I was aiming for) and feeling the grain pop as the chunks of wood flew apart. I'd toss the chunks aside for Michael (my brother) to pick up—on those rare occasions when he was actually working. Then we would switch places, and I'd pick up the chunks that Michael split, sometimes five or six heavy pieces of wood at a time to cut down on the trips back and forth, enough wood that I couldn't even see over the armload, probably twenty-five or thirty pounds of wood. And coming back and back and back for more. And finally ending up with walls of wood in the correct place that were satisfying to look at.

Anyway, Ethan and Emmett have a lot of cousins to spend time with up here. They swam a lot and played baseball a lot at a field down the road, walking past a dairy farm to get there. The farm is going organic—no chemicals used on fields or in feed—because you get a much better price for milk that way.

Okay, I'm rambling. Here's the YaGoof! part of it. When I dropped the boys off here three weeks ago, I made a note to bring something up on my return trip—a box of the collectible Mr. Potato Head figure whose production I oversaw for New Pig. It was the lastest of our semi-famous promotional items.

But did I actually remember to bring the box? No.

And when I was cleaning the basement last weekend ((I sure could have used the allegedly hard-working pair on leave in Vermont), I boxed up some old bird houses that the boys and I had made when they were in Cub Scouts but that we had never put up. My father has bird houses scattered all over his property in Vermont, so I was going to bring that box with me, too.

But did I remember it? No.

Keith, Ya Goof!

Ah, well. There's always the next trip we make up here. Maybe the next Camp Grammie.

Aug 14, 2006

Now THESE are our kind of stories

Click and Clack of Car Talk have a new feature called "Hey, Watch This!" that collects stories of bad, bad moves.


Tales like:

Death by fish!
Near-death by tennis ball! And teeter-totter!
Branded by your own glasses!
Fire out the butt!
Arrested on Halloween!

The authors get one collective: Ya Goof!

Aug 9, 2006

A blight on the Dark Knight

All I've ever wanted for my whole entire life was for someone to give me a free Batman shirt. Last week, it finally happened.

"This doesn't fit me any more," my pal Norm said. "Want it?"

"Yes! Yes!"

"Fair warning, it needs a good washing."

"No problem! Thanks!"

The shirt immediately hit the laundry table and a few days later came out of the washer and dryer with a load of other dark clothes.

It fit me perfectly! I was an associate scourge on evil! A junior juggernaut against crime! A ...

Hey, what's this near the shoulder? And on the chest?!

Marks! Bleach burns!

I asked Janet about them. Yes, I do laundry (and not very well, I'm told), but I hadn't done this load.

Janet's thought was that while on the laundry table, the shirt must have touched a cloth that had some bleach or cleaner on it.


I can only blame myself for not being more careful. Sigh. Now I can't wear it to church.

Keith, Ya Goof!

Someone's getting a penalty card for this

So this morning I'm watering some plants and probably not too alert yet, and I have to get this lawn chair out of the way. I slide it aside a little bit and from underneath something moves out, and that thing is about as big as a cat and pure black and white. So naturally, my stomach clenches up and I freeze because inside I'm yelling:


But it was just a soccer ball. My heart didn't take toooo long to drop back to its normal rate.

Whichever member of my dear family member left it there, I know you couldn't have known what would happen, but I still have to say to you: Ya Goof!

Aug 8, 2006

"Hey, honey: Go fish!"

Here's an emailed post from our new friend Lori!

My husband and I enjoy fishing. We had gone a summer or two ago to Glendale Lake as we do on occasion. This particular day, I had to "go." So he tosses me the keys to the truck so I can find the bathroom up the road.

Turns out after I walk up the little hill where we parked, there was a bathroom right there. So I proceed to throw the keys in my shirt pocket where they'll be safe and walk a little farther to the bathroom. As many of you know, these aren't the hi-tech toilets or anywhere near as clean as home. So, I bend over to lay some TP on the seat and the keys come clanking down hitting the seat, before coming to rest on the floor. UGH! That was a close call!

(YaGoof! says: Lori, Ya Goof!)

So as I am standing there counting my lucky stars that the keys didn't go the other direction, I figure, "OK, why not scare hubby too?" So after I do my business—with the keys in my hand—I leave the "facilities," tuck the keys in my back pocket and return to the fishing area. As I approach, I start telling him that there was a bathroom right here and I didn't need the keys, and good thing too—cause they fell out of my pocket when I bent over to do the TP thing. Well, he saw where I was going with it, and was like "OH, NO!!! Tell me you didn't!!!"

I couldn't keep a straight face long enough to fool him so I admitted having the keys in my pocket. Had I really dropped the keys in the "outhouse," we'd have had to call his dad to bring us the spare keys. I can hear that conversation!!

Anyhow, now I have it hanging over my head. Every so often when we are out, my husband will ask, "Do you have the keys?"—followed by, "Oh, that's right, you're not allowed to have keys."

Thanks, Lori! I feel a little funny mentioning this right now—but you're now entered to win free CHOCOLATE!

Aug 5, 2006

Unforgettable, that's what YOU are

There have been several new hires where I work, and too often I put off introducing myself. I decided not to make that mistake during a training session that I was delivering the other day. As the room filled with trainees, I stepped up to one man and jauntily offered my hand.

"I don't believe I know you," I said.

He took my hand, but with a look of extreme surprise, and conversation in the room immediately dropped off. Then understanding dawned.

"Omigosh," I said. "Mike!"

I already knew him!

He works in another building, and I rarely see him. I asked if he'd lost weight, and he gamely agreed.

But we were both lying.

It's more likely that this simply marks the start of irreversible mental decline. Not that there's any great height to descend from.

All together now ...

Keith, Ya Goof!

Aug 4, 2006

Bad dog! No Teddy Grahams for you!

Heard this on National Public Radio this morning:

A children's museum in England had almost a million dollars worth of rare teddy bears, including one once owned by Elvis Presley. It was so valuable that the insurance company required guard dogs. Bad idea.

One of the Dobermans went on what museum officials describe as a rampage, shredding hundreds of teddy bears, including the King's—who had his head ripped off. The museum says this is one hound dog that'll be retired to a farm where he can chase real chickens.

To whomever hired this dog, we say: Ya Goof!