My co-workers are hilarious. They have been planning various things for my going-away party on Friday, and they are doing their best to cloak it in as much secrecy as possible. I’m flattered by the notion they’re doing anything, so I made a decision right away to respect the secrecy. I’m making no effort to discover what they’re planning. I won’t even try to imagine what may happen. But to retain some semblance of secrecy, I practically had to wipe my memory.

People have been huddling in small groups with poorly fabricated nonchalance. If I had been paying attention and keeping track, in the past week alone, I would have witnessed 26 not-so-secret secret meetings, caught 147 furtive glances, laughed at 5 dramatic caught-red-handed reactions, and overheard two accidental public disclosures of would-be private projects.

But I’m not keeping track. At all. It’s just so much fun, and so flattering to see people work so hard at trying to show me a good time and honor/embarrass me (for me, those two actions are inseparable).

I’m gonna miss these people. But . . . I’m still leaving.

Oompa Loompas

Dear Adam, I work at a candy factory at Wonka’s Midwest Branch. Actually, I live there. My boss is nice . . . a bit quirky. But I’m an illegal alien. I miss my family. I can’t vote. I feel slightly guilty that I haven’t paid a dime of income tax for the past 40 years. And I’d like to take a break from experimenting with radiation and pulling fat kids out of high-powered suction tubes. I want to test the waters of employment elsewhere, but I’m afraid if I ask my boss for vacation time, he’ll ship me back to Oompa Loompa Land. What should I do?

–OverWonked in Omaha.

Dear Wonked,

I feel your pain. From what I know of your predicament, your boss is a shrewd businessman who puts a premium on trust and loyalty. If you violate that trust, you lose, you get nothing, good day, sir. If you want to try something new, be honest and forthcoming to your boss. Stay positive. Tell him about your goals outside the candy factory, and he may give you the opportunity to follow your dream. But that’s the smaller issue here.

On a grander scale, you need to think about your fellow Oompa Loompas. You have a lot more influence over the situation than you think. Your boss created a loophole in the traditional international outsourcing trend by bringing you and your fellow expatriate OLs out of your home country. Instead of exploiting the weak economy of Oompa Loompa Land, he brought you across U. S. borders. He certainly showed you compassion, but he also exhibited blatant contempt for immigration and employment laws. Bottom line: your boss is a nice guy, but he’s breaking the law.

My advice? Rally together as OLs. Formally demand the opportunity to apply for work visas and eventually citizenship. Avoid the temptation to unionize. Just stay organized and civilized, and you should be fine. Your boss might be more of a dreamer than a detail person, so appoint your most anal Oompa Loompa as a spokesman. He can help your boss address his employment problems without compromising his core business goals–this will only serve to build trust and create a win-win for everyone.

I know, you didn’t really ask. You aren’t really real. Still, though, think about it.

March 27, 2008 question

Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation is so much less cool than laser. These folks, though, are the epitome of laseresque coolness:

Karen H (the H stands for Heads Of Sharks Mounted With Lasers)

Now . . . on to today’s trivia otherwise known as news. Obama and Clinton are in-laws. Researchers interested in that kind of thing discovered that Obama is related to Brad Pitt and Hillary is related to Angelina Jolie. I’m not at all surprised. All four have smoldering gazes of desire seared into their expressions. Any one of them could win my vote . . . in the Smoldering Gaze of Desire of the Year election. Yeah, it’s true. I’m not kidding. Hillary especially has me entranced. I just now realized it. I also just now realized that enTRANCE and ENtrance are homographs. Obviously, I’m not that entranced, or I wouldn’t be distracted by homographs. Here’s today’s question:

What is the most common blood type? (ignoring positive or negative)


I know you didn’t ask, but . . . the texting has got to stop. I h8 it. U should 2.

Pushing out those repeated threads of truncated text is turning your hands into acidic balls of lactic waste. By the time researchers do any meaningful studies on the longterm effects of texting, your thumbs will be permanently petrified into a Picasso-esque portrait of pain.

And we non-texters are getting sick of seeing the tops of texting heads as they stare into the digital abyss. Seriously people, Ferris had it right. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in awhile, you might miss it.

Texting melts the polar ice caps. It depletes your soul. It causes fallen arches. It fixed the 1919 World Series. It used to be a member of the Communist Party. It stole Claire’s baby. Every time a text alert rings, a demon gets its tail.

For all these reasons and more, do your thumbs and the rest of the world a favor by following this threefold unwanted advice: 1) Throw your phone away; 2) Talk, don’t text; 3) Try to use a complete sentence every once in awhile.

Thursday, Friday, Monday

I have three days left at Moody. That’s crazy. I am still absolutely excited about what’s in store, and I couldn’t help but laugh after I decided to play Ray LaMontagne’s “Three More Days” on my iTunes. Obviously, the “three more days” part was fitting, but the whole song was perfect. It was just funny how one song could be so perfect for one moment and then . . . never again. At 7:00 AM tomorrow, I’ll need a new song for the day. But for now, I’m enjoying this:

Dude Talking On His Cell Phone in the Car

Dude. Get off your cell phone. You’re going to kill someone. I guarantee your call is not that important.

What are you doing, talking about work? If your job were really that important, you’d be there already or you wouldn’t have left. But you did leave. You don’t live there. You have a life. Live it.

Maybe you’re on the phone with your family. Or your friend. Or a telemarketer. None of those people want you to die. Then again, they probably have better things to do than talk to you. Get off the phone.

And think of what you’re missing. You’re missing the guy in the car next to you picking his nose. You’re missing the lady in the truck behind you singing, “A Moment Like This,” at the top of her lungs. You’re missing the lake on your left, the park on your right, and skyline up ahead. Heck, you barely missed me when you almost ran me over. Hang up. Or flip down. Whatever. Just stop talking.

And I don’t care if you have a headset. It’s not your hands I’m concerned about, it’s that brain of yours that is somewhere else. Please, drive, pay attention, and don’t kill me. That’s my advice. You’ll never ask, because you have to take this call . . . but I’m texting you right now. GOTP.

March 26, 2008 question

Believe it or not (no, seriously, believe it) Canada had been the leading exporter to the U.S. before China claimed the title. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, Canada.” It’s okay, go ahead. Sing the rest of the song in your head. I’ll give you a minute.

. . .

. . .

Okay, sell the ending. Come on . . . and . . . yes! Great job. Also mucho kudos to Charles and Trevor who knew the answer and also stand on guard for thee. Okay, here’s today’s question:

What does the acronym LASER stand for? (And, yes, laser is an acronym.)

Please Advise

I decided to add a new blog today. Actually, I decided today to create two new blogs. The decision was made today, but only one blog was made today. The second one is going to be for word nerds and grammar nazis. (Note: if you found this page on a search for how to be a Nazi, I’m so not sorry to disappoint you.)

But this one is about advice I would give to people famous, infamous, and unfamous. The first installment is my advice to Hillary. Anyway, the blog is called “Dear Me – Advice Nobody Asked For,” and you can find it at You can also find anything else anywhere else. But that’s neither here nor there. On second thought, it is both here and there. Okay, I’m done.

Hillary Clinton

Okay, Mrs. Clinton, you ran a fine campaign. You showed everybody that America is ready for a female president. The only question is, are you ready to be a female?

For the first half of this campaign, you rode the soiled coattails of the Clinton name. For the second half of the campaign, you have ridden Obama into the ground. But the entirety of your campaign, with the exception of one tiny moment, has had nothing to do with you.

America is ready for a female presidential candidate who acts like a woman instead of like a male presidential candidate. And it’s not because they don’t believe a woman can be every bit as authoritative as a male presidential candidate, it’s because they don’t even like male presidential candidates. Voters like candidates who appear to be real people (see your husband). But for 99.99% of your campaign, you’ve chosen to carry yourself like a male presidential candidate.

The only time you acted like a woman, and the only reason Obama hasn’t completely iced the nomination, was during that one interview when you actually showed a genuine emotion. You talked about eating pizza. You spoke at a normal volume. You did not, contrary to media reports, tear up. You just seemed real. For you to win the presidential election, you need to seem human a lot more frequently than once every 15 years.

Actually, there was one other time when you seemed human, and that was when you said that no matter which Democrat won the nomination, the nation would be in good hands. Well . . . I could not care less if you or Obama gets the nomination. If you don’t quit now, neither of you has a shot at the White House.

So act like a real person and quit. It worked for Al Gore. He won an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Nobel Prize. That could be you in five years. If Al Gore can make people think he’s human, there’s hope for anyone (or anything). That’s my advice . . . even though you didn’t ask.

March 25, 2008 question

April 25 is the latest possible date for Easter. The Easter Bunny can file for an extension of up to three months, but he must submit Form 1085EGG with a postmark of April 25 or earlier. Trevor found that hidden fact deep within the recesses of his ginormous brain. Congratulations!

Okay, I have to hurry now. I’m being shot at by Bosnian sniper fire. Oh, no. Wait. I misspoke. I guess I just got distracted by the deafening screech coming from the brakes of the Democratic National Party tour bus. It’s amazing how much momentum these candidates have lost so quickly. They’re both doing a phenomenal job of making each other look bad . . . and making themselves look bad. Winning an election is kind of like winning a divorce settlement. You don’t have to show what a great parent/partner you are; you just have to make the other person look incompetent and evil. And right now, it looks like John McCain is gonna get the kids and the house. Okay, so the metaphor only works in a two-party polygamist marriage, but I think you get the idea. Here’s today’s question:

In 2005, China surpassed what country as the leading exporter to the United States?