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Posts Tagged ‘Martha Stewart’

Your House

I've been hearing the "doom-and-gloomers" (a.k.a. the "drive-by media") going on a lot lately about the housing situation here in the USA. (I suspect it's in an effort to remind us how desperately we need Hillary). Anyway, it made my mind go to an e-mail I received a while back about how various people view your house.

your house as seen by...


as seen by a potential buyer...

as seen by the lending institution...

as seen by the buyer's appraiser...

as seen by a general contractor...

as seen by the local Historical Preservation Society...

as seen by a nosy neighbor...

as seen by the tax assessor...


"The certainty of future events should drive us to testify." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

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If Women Ruled the World

In my last blog post I had a good time poking fun at some of the unsafe things men do at times. Since ivman is an equal opportunity tease, today's post has a little fun at the expense of women. I've accumulated some pictures of what things would look like if women ruled the world. Some would quip, "Whaddya mean, IF women ruled the world?!?" Well, anyway, below are some very funny pictures. (The following is not a political statement on the scary prospect of a Hillary presidency. I'm not sure she's "into" many of the feminine touches lampooned in this blog post, though she's reputed to be quite the cookie baker.)

Bowling alleys would take on a different appearance.

Many tools, kits, and objects more often used by men would look quite different also.

Even the once familiar Swiss Army knife might be hard to recognize.

And hiking boots would be redesigned for nature loving women who prefer high heels.

If the male-dominated world of computers underwent a softening effect, things could also look very different.

And computers would actually have an "any key"

Prison life would be even cushier. (We have Martha Stewart to thank for this!)

Credit cards would take on new functions to meet a woman's shopping needs.

Even popular tourist attractions might have to undergo modifications to make them more aesthetically pleasing.

Then, of course, bathrooms would be radically changed to suit a woman's tastes.

Car shopping would be easier for some women, with fewer difficult choices.

But then other cars would look different and have great new features.

And on that same side of the car for the gals in England....

No consideration of a world run by women would be complete without a look at women and driving. A "women's world" would include signs thoughtfully warning of traffic surveillance cameras.

There would be special "women only" parking spaces with appropriate modifications for their special needs.

Finally, a world ruled by women would have proper signage along our highways.


"If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a noose around your neck?" - Linda Ellerbee

=^..^= =^..^=

"My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint." - Erma Bombeck

Let the comments begin....

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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

A while back I received an email with what purported to be some winning entries to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC). During my 34 years of teaching French, I've graded my share of student compositions. Some things that students have written, not always intentionally, have made me laugh out loud. The most memorable is what one student wrote in a composition for second semester French - they have to write the first paragraph of a thriller. One student wrote (and I translate) something like "The man and his dog rounded the corner and found the baker lying in the alley behind the bakery with a spoon in his chest." This student had obviously not taken the time to look up the French word for "knife" in the dictionary and gone with her memory. I commented on her paper that that must have been a horribly painful way to die! I still laugh at this one, but the really humorous twist on this is that that student went on to minor in French and is now living in Paris, France, where she's been transferred to work for three years with the Ernst and Young accounting firm.

I did a little research online about this contest. If you go to the Bulwer-Lytton site, be warned that some of what you find may not be to your liking. I trudged through a lot to give you what I'm posting today. 😎 Here's some of what I learned from Wikipedia and from the official site for the BLFC:

Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (May 25, 1803—January 18, 1873) was an English novelist, playwright, and politician. Lord Lytton was a florid, popular writer of his day, who coined such phrases as "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", and the infamous incipid "It was a dark and stormy night." Despite the popularity in his heyday, today his name is known as a byword for bad writing. Since 1982 the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. The first year there were only three entries, but the contest has really taken off since then.

Here's the opening sentence of Bulwer-Lytton's novel Paul Clifford (1830): "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents - except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

(And here I had always attributed "It was a dark and stormy night..." to Snoopy sitting atop his doghouse with his typewriter! Is nothing sacred?! The "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized Bulwer-Lytton for years!)

"Lyttony" of Grand Prize Winners (I'm posting the ones I enjoyed most.)

The camel died quite suddenly on the second day, and Selena fretted sulkily and, buffing her already impeccable nails - not for the first time since the journey began - pondered snidely if this would dissolve into a vignette of minor inconveniences like all the other holidays spent with Basil. - Gail Cain, San Francisco, CA (1983 Winner)

The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and pleasant for those who hadn't heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it but your brain wasn't reacting yet to let you know. - Patricia E. Presutti, Lewiston, NY (1986 Winner)

Professor Frobisher couldn't believe he had missed seeing it for so long - it was, after all, right there under his nose - but in all his years of research into the intricate and mysterious ways of the universe, he had never noticed that the freckles on his upper lip, just below and to the left of the nostril, partially hidden until now by a hairy mole he had just removed a week before, exactly matched the pattern of the stars in the Pleides, down to the angry red zit that had just popped up where he and his colleagues had only today discovered an exploding nova. - Ray C. Gainey, Indianapolis, IN (1989 Winner)

Paul Revere had just discovered that someone in Boston was a spy for the British, and when he saw the young woman believed to be the spy's girlfriend in an Italian restaurant he said to the waiter, "Hold the spumoni - I'm going to follow the chick an' catch a Tory." - John L. Ashman, Houston, TX (1995 Winner)

The moment he laid eyes on the lifeless body of the nude socialite sprawled across the bathroom floor, Detective Leary knew she had committed suicide by grasping the cap on the tamper-proof bottle, pushing down and twisting while she kept her thumb firmly pressed against the spot the arrow pointed to, until she hit the exact spot where the tab clicks into place, allowing her to remove the cap and swallow the entire contents of the bottle, thus ending her life. - Artie Kalemeris, Fairfax, VA (1997 Winner)

The corpse exuded the irresistible aroma of a piquant, ancho chili glaze enticingly enhanced with a hint of fresh cilantro as it lay before him, coyly garnished by a garland of variegated radicchio and caramelized onions, and impishly drizzled with glistening rivulets of vintage balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic oil; yes, as he surveyed the body of the slain food critic slumped on the floor of the cozy, but nearly empty, bistro, a quick inventory of his senses told corpulent Inspector Moreau that this was, in all likelihood, an inside job. - Bob Perry, Milton, MA (1998 Winner)

Through the gathering gloom of a late-October afternoon, along the greasy, cracked paving-stones slick from the sputum of the sky, Stanley Ruddlethorp wearily trudged up the hill from the cemetery where his wife, sister, brother, and three children were all buried, and forced open the door of his decaying house, blissfully unaware of the catastrophe that was soon to devastate his life. - Dr. David Chuter, Kingston, Surrey, ENGLAND (1999 Winner)

A small assortment of astonishingly loud brass instruments raced each other lustily to the respective ends of their distinct musical choices as the gates flew open to release a torrent of tawny fur comprised of angry yapping bullets that nipped at Desdemona's ankles, causing her to reflect once again (as blood filled her sneakers and she fought her way through the panicking crowd) that the annual Running of the Pomeranians in Liechtenstein was a stupid idea. - Sera Kirk, Vancouver, BC (2001 Winner)

She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight...summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail...though the term "love affair" now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism...not unlike "sand vein," which is after all an intestine, not a vein...and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand...and that brought her back to Ramon. - Dave Zobel, Manhattan Beach, CA (2004 Winner)


Here are some that weren't chosen as winners, and some were actually given "dishonorable mention!"

It was a day, like any other day, in that Linus got up, faced the sunrise, used his inhaler, applied that special cream between his toes, wrote a quick note and put it in a bottle, and wished he'd been stranded on the island with something other than 40 cases each of inhalers, decorative bottles, and special toe cream. - Chris Harget, Campbell, CA

As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it. - David C. Mortensen, Pocatello, ID

He loved her like no other, their romance developing quickly, like the rapid growth of farm swine which grow from 2 to 4 pounds daily until they're fully grown and put to market for slaughter, or like the rapidly growing cells that produce moose antlers until they fall off in early spring, and suddenly Bill sensed the imminent doom of his romance lying in wait. - Jeremy Perreaux, Sarnia, Ontario

She looked at her hands and saw the desiccated skin hanging in Shar-Pei wrinkles, confetti-like freckles, and those dry, dry cuticles - even her "Fatale Crimson" nail color had faded in the relentless sun to the color of old sirloin - and she vowed if she ever got out of the Sahara alive, she'd never buy polish on sale at Walgreen's again. - Christin Keck, Kent, OH

The victim said her attacker was nondescript - 5' 10 and 3/4", 163 pounds, with Clairol #83N hair (a hint of #84N at his temples) - and last seen wearing Acuvue2 contacts, a white Hanes 65/35% poly-cotton t-shirt with a 3mm round Grey Poupon stain on the neckband, Levi's 501s missing the second button, and Nike Crosstrainers with muddy aglets. - Linda Fields, Framingham, MA

Lisa moved like a cat, not the kind of cat that moves with a slinky grace but more like the kind that always falls off the book shelf when he's washing himself and then gets all mad at you like it's your fault (which it wasn't although it probably was kind of mean to laugh at him like that), although on the bright side, she hardly ever attacked Ricky's toes in his sleep. - Debra Allen, Wichita Falls, TX

When he heard the woman upstairs scream, the Maytag man's heart thumped in his chest like an off-balance washer full of heavy bath towels. - Linda Shakespeare, Elk Grove, CA (real name? I don't know - that's how it came! Rob adds on 15 Aug., 2007 - if you look at the comments to this post, Linda Shakespeare herself commented on this!)

Words cannot describe the exquisite loveliness of the brilliant azure sky with its cerulean striations of periwinkle, cornflower, and cyan. - Mary Barberio, Northville, MI

Like an over-ripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor. - John Renfro Davis, Conroe, TX

"This is almost worth the high blood pressure!" he thought as yet another mosquito exploded. - Richard Patching, Calgary, Alberta

Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do. - John Witschey, Alexandria, VA


Many have been asking how Megan and Drew are doing, so I'll give a quick update. Megan is steadily feeling better and stronger, though she is still anemic. Drew is still in the NICU, but he's gaining an ounce or two a day. Several times in the past few days, he has stopped breathing as he is eating. Each time this happens, it pushes his release from the hospital off by 48 hours. Jim is cheerful but tired - on top of his work schedule, he's got a lot of running around to do since Megan can't drive yet. It's hard to believe the baby is already two weeks old today! Wow! *So much* has happened in the past two weeks!

This week is our annual Bible Conference here on campus. It's been a great time of spiritual refreshment and fellowship. My wife and I have been invited to drop in on several class reunions tomorrow evening. I guess this is all part of our being among the "old timers" now. It's been great to run into people from all over the world and from many decades of my life and teaching!


"When was the last time your king heard your voice?" - Dr. Will Senn

=^..^= =^..^=

Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from eeking out a living at a local pet store.

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It’s Great to Be a Guy!

Some of the following is so true, and some of it, I can only wish it were true. Anyway, enjoy!

It's great to be a guy! Here are over 50 reasons for that assertion....

You know stuff about tanks.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

You can open all your own jars.

You don't have to learn to spell a new last name.

You can leave the motel bed unmade.

You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

Wedding plans take care of themselves.

If someone forgets to invite you to something, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $10 for a three-pack.

If you are 34 and single, nobody notices.

Everything on your face stays its original color.

Old friends don't care if you've lost or gained weight

Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

You don't have to clean your apartment if the meter reader is coming.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.

You can quietly watch a game with your buddy for hours without even once thinking, "He must be mad at me."

Gray hair and wrinkles only add character.

Tuxedo rental - 75 bucks. (Wedding dress - $2,000)

You don't pass on the dessert and then mooch off someone else's.

You can drop by to see a friend without having to bring a little gift.

If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, you just might become lifelong friends.

You are not expected to know the names of more than five colors.

You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

You almost never have strap problems in public.

You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

You don't have to shave below your neck.

You never have to clean the toilet

At least a few belches are expected and tolerated.

Your belly usually hides your big hips.

One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons.

You can "do" your nails with a pocketknife.

You are free to choose whether to grow a mustache.

Christmas shopping can be accomplished for 25 relatives, on December 24th, in 45 minutes.

Your bathroom lines are 80% shorter.

Dry cleaners and haircutters don't rob you blind.

When clicking through the channels, you don't have to stall out on every shot of someone crying.

One mood, all the time.

You don't have to lug a bag of useful stuff around everywhere you go.

You can go to the bathroom without a support group.

When your work is criticized, you don't have to panic that everyone secretly hates you.

The garage is all yours.

You can be showered and ready in 10 minutes.

None of your co-workers have the power to make you cry.

Chocolate is just another snack.

Flowers fix everything.

The remote is yours and yours alone

You don't care if someone notices your new haircut.

If you retain water, it's in a canteen.

You don't need to pretend you're "freshening up" to go to the bathroom.

If you don't call your buddy when you say you will, he won't tell your friends you've changed.

If something mechanical doesn't work, you can bash it with a hammer and throw it across the room.

New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

You don't have to remember everyone's birthdays and anniversaries.

Your pals can be trusted never to trap you with "So ... notice anything different?"


This past Sunday was Chinese New Year's Day. I emailed my students from the past two summers, several teachers, and several personal friends to wish them each a Happy New Year. I've heard back from many of them, but one reply in particular was simply amazing! Here's what Nancy wrote:

Dear Professor Loach,

Thank you for your greetings!

Actually I am celebrating the Chinese New Year in Florida with my parents
now. I have recently published a fantasy novel, SWORDBIRD, and I was on the
Martha Stewart Show just a few days ago.

Happy New Year to you and your family!


P.S. I enjoyed your teachings in Hainan!


I did some searching and found out that what she told me was all too true! When I taught her in 2005 she was a middle school student in a group of mainly university students, and her English was head and shoulders over theirs! After doing some Google searches and learning more about her background. I learned that when I taught her she was only 11 years old, but she had lived for several years in the USA. Check out Nancy's googlepage to learn more about her and/or her books.

Another thing going on in my life this week is attending the Family Enrichment Conference at our church. Dr. Greg Mazak, a colleague from BJU, is the speaker to us adults. If any of you who are local to the Greenville area would like to attend the remaining evenings (this evening and tomorrow evening - Feb. 20 and 21), you would really profit from what he has to say. Sunday evening, as an opener, he read a list he'd received by email - reasons of why it's great to be a guy. Several people accused me of being his source for that. I really wasn't, but since I had it on file and it's so fresh in mind, I thought I'd share it here on the blog.

=^..^= =^..^=

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks!

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