Mixing Helpfulness and Humor Since 2005

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Goat Tip of the Day

If you're someone who gets squeamish at the sight of roadkill, or a teenaged girly girl, you'll want to heed this advice. Do NOT ride in a front or window seat on a bus while traveling in a third-world country. It just so happened that on my trip, the girliest of all girly girls were sitting in the front of the bus. We're driving along the interstate, when suddenly we see goats trying to cross the road! Our Dominican driver slammed on his brakes and tried to steer to avoid the ensuing carnage, but was unable to, and with a loud smashing sound, nailed the goat, much to the girly girls' dismay. There was a shriek of panic, and many tears shed by the girls, but the fate for the goat, I'm sure, was far worse. So, my advice is, if things like that freak you out, you're better off not seeing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ironing Tip of the Day

Let's face it, we all hate ironing. So here's a couple of solutions to help lessen the hardship of this horrible chore. First, try wearing the shirt wrinkly. Insist "I swear I got it at American Eagle and it's a distressed shirt that's supposed to be wrinkled." That will work a few times. When people continue to publicly mock you, throw the shirt in the dryer with a wet wash cloth (how you get the wash cloth wet is up to you). It'll be "the diet coke of wrinkle-free." If that doesn't suffice, try that spray de-wrinkler stuff (and let me know if it works). Finally, if you MUST iron, I suggest making Saturday or Sunday an "ironing day," as horrible as it sounds. Basically, get a week's worth of clothes that need ironed and go nuts. You'll wake up each morning with a delighted smile on your face because you're not only pressed for time, your clothes are pressed as well! (This is in the running for the THE worst pun ever.) Finally, you can always find a friend who likes ironing (and they seriously do exist) or contact Willa to hear from "the Ironing Lady."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part IV)

4. Make a Ground-Breaking Anthropological/Archeological Discovery - The easiest way to get listed on the National Register of Protected Historical Places is to find something historical on your property. This is easiest if your house is built over an indian burial ground, a civil war battlefield, or Atlantis, but is not necessary. If you are like most of us, you live on plain, boring old non-eventful turf, but it doesn't have to be that way! Whenever your kids bring home art from school, go out and plant it in the yard. Anything works - macaroni glued to construction paper, shoddy crayon drawings (caution-strong language), or a lopsided ceramic flowervase. Wait several weeks, then invite all your archaeologist/anthropologist friends over for a big "Dig Up My Yard!"-themed party. Make sure to serve plenty of alcohol, and then hand out shovels. When they start making discoveries, be sure to act surprised. The booze should do the rest. The only downside to this plan is that the government might confiscate your land anyway, and make it a National Park.

Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part I)
Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part II)
Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part III)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

House Selling Tip of the Day


Now we have purchased homes, we know at some point we will have to sell them. And though this may be years off for you, there are a few things we can do to help increase/maintain our property value. One of these things is to have it inspected every few years. Remember, we won't always see everything that needs repair. I mean, it's obvious when your roof starts falling apart, or when your air conditioner goes out, but there are pleanty of things that happen that we may not see. In fact, the guys working on my eaves could not even see everything that was wrong with them until they started getting into the project. Beside just the value, this will also increase your curb appeal, and save you on the last minute improvements that the buyers will ask you to make before you close the sale.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

House Buying Tip of the Day

No, we have not all gotten the first house we put a bid on, in fact, most of us didn't. But, when we did get "the call", everything went semi-smooth from that point on. Our inspections went fine, and the people fixed what we asked them to before moving in. My advice to you? Be careful. Things do not always go quite this way. Make very sure you have a clear statement in your contract that upon inspection, if there is something wrong with the house, and the current owner refuses to fix it or have it fixed, then you are not obligated to purchase the house. Some people are just jerks and will threaten to sue regardless if you attempt to back out of their bum deal. So, when buying a house, go with friends, family, an experienced realtor, much caution and prayer. Make sure you are with someone who can at least spot the obvious flaws, and hire a very thurough inspector to catch the smaller things.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Fruit Tip of the Day

In America, we tend to think that we know every kind of fruit. Apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, and if you want to get exotic, mangoes, papayas, passion fruit, etc. But, when you visit a foreign country, you'll be shocked and amazed that there are many more fruits and veggies that somehow you've NEVER seen! One such fruit is known in the DR as a limoncio. It's a lime-sized green fruit on a stick that requires breaking its skin, which causes the fruit to pop out. you then eat a slimy Starburst-flavored fruit off of a large pit. The kids called these things "snot rockets" and for good reason, but they did taste good! Another vegetable was a root known a yucca. When deep fried, these things were better than french fries! So, at Kroger, if you see an odd fruit or vegetable, give 'er a try!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Work Sweater Tip of the Day

The thing about modern offices is that they are over-air conditioned. So even if it's a nasty hot August afternoon outside, it's probably a polar ice cap in your cubicle. The return from lunch is the worst part; if you've been outside, thawing for any length of time, the refrigerator that is your office will seem that much colder. The solution is to have a sweater, just like Mr. Rogers, that you leave at work all the time. In my case, a Gortex sleeping bag and an insulated down coat would barely make a dent. I add fingerless gloves in extreme circumstances. My tip is this: make sure your office sweater is the right combination of old/ratty and presentable. You want to make sure no one notices it or wants to steal it, but you can't very well be sporting pilly fleece with embroidered Christmas decorations in front of management and maintain any kind of dignity. It's all about balance.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chocolate Tip of the Day

You can make chocolate-covered anything with minimal effort just by keeping M&Ms on hand. Chocolate covered pretzels? Just throw a few M&Ms and a couple of pretzels into your mouth. The same principal works for chocolate covered cashews, raisins, and peanuts. I discovered this during a lull at Phonathon one night and I can’t tell you how much it has improved the quality of my life!

I even know “someone” who made turtles in his mouth by adding a Kraft caramel to the M&Ms and pecans.

-Jeanette (aka, "Real Rock's Mom")

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Flavoring Tip of the Day

Here's an easy way to spice up a regular old pot of coffee. This is especially helpful if your budget has required you to buy Maxwell House this month, instead of Starbucks. Sprinkle some cinnamon in the bottom of the coffee filter. Fill filter with coffee, and then add a few (2-3) drops of almond extract to the coffee grounds. The coffee is now lightly flavored without adding calorie-laden syrups. At the very least, you have at least succeeded in masking not so great coffee. Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part III)

3. Piranha-Infested Moat - Centuries ago, when people wanted to defend their land, did they look to Brinks Security or ADT? Heck no. They surrounded the castle with a moat, and poured burning oil on anyone foolhardy enough to cross it. As we already noted, however, oil is a bit pricey these days, and spraying your town council with the garden hose is unlikely to have the same effect (unless the Wicked Witch of the West is on your town council, in which case it's at least worth a try). To compensate for these changes, we suggest filling your moat with piranhas. While you're at it, go ahead and release all sorts of savage animals into your yard, like wolverines, walruses, and mongeese to leap out of the undergrowth and savagely maul any intruders. No doubt this will further endear the hippies from #2 to your cause.

Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part I)
Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part II)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Running Tip of the Day

The mileage on our bodies is like the mileage on our cars; the further we go, the more maintenence we need. One way to keep ourselves healthy is to change our shoes as often as we would, say change the oil on our car. Just like each car is different, and takes oil changes at different times...some 3,000 miles, and some can go 6,000, different shoes are the same way. While Nike recommends that you change your shoes every 300 miles, New Balance recommends a 500 mile change. So, when you go to buy your shoes, ask how many miles those shoes are rated for (or better yet, do your research before you hit the store), and make sure to keep track of how many miles you have run in those shoes.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Dental Tip of the Day

For those of you who live or work in and around the Nicholasville, Kentucky area you can find a treat of a dentist in Dr. Hinkle. No one really wants to go to the dentist, but you wasn't find a friendlier one in the Bluegrass area. When you leave you might actually find yourself thinking "That's was nice, I wasn't wait to go back. What the heck was I just thinking? I can wait to go back its then dentist. Ohh I can't believe I just thought that, I am so ashamed." The added bonus about going into the dentist in Nicholasville is that since the teeth to people ration is slightly lower then in other parts of the country you don't have to worry about waiting in line. And did I talk about price yet? Dr. H is cheap, I've heard about a family of 4 getting out of there for under $300, and I paid less than $80 just for myself. That is great for those of us without a dental insurance, but for those who do have dental insurance, here is a bonus tip thanks to Jay: Always check to see if your dentist is part of your coverage area, cause down home doctor Hink isn't.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Yellow Tip of the Day

While I realize this tip is more vulnerable than most people tend to be, it's also ME we're talking about, so you shouldn't be surprised. That being said, read at your own risk. So, I've never been a heavy sweater. I sweat a little, but not a lot. So I was always surprised that my undershirts would yellow in the arms. Because I didn't sweat too much, I used to wear my undershirts a couple days before washing them. I always did the smell test, but figured undershirts weren't EXACTLY underwear. You can disagree if you want. Anyway, what's my point? My point is, I recently bought a new batch of undershirts, and with a new lease on life decided to only wear undershirts for one day before retiring them. I noticed that the yellowing is no longer an issue! This leads me to my tip. Only wear undershirts for one day. ALSO, I heard rumors that the yellowing is caused not from sweat but from the deodorant itself! So, if you see someone with pitted out yellow shirts, feel free to peruse, caress, or stroke their underarm because it's the deodorant that's causing the nastiness! In related news, you have GOT to see this blog on a very similar topic. HILARIOUS stuff. Some people care more about pits than we do!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Marriagability Tip of the Day

A friend of mine once asked her sleazy male co-worker what men looked for in women. I don't know why she thought that was a good idea. Anyway, his answer was: "wear shiny things and red". I rolled my eyes, but tested and found it true. That's all it takes; try it out. It will bring you to a new level of disappointment in the shallowness of the human race. It's kind of like the Clark Kent/Superman syndrome, only in reverse. (Now she's pretty, now she's not. Red and shiny, not red and shiny, and so on.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ironing Tip of the Day

It's amusing to get an ironing tip from someone who doesn't actually own an iron, isn't it? Tip: you don't really need an iron. As long as you're prompt when it comes to pulling clothes out of the dryer and you don't heavily invest in linen, everything just kind of de-wrinkles itself. If you get to the dryer too late, throw a wet washcloth in with the wrinkly clothes and give them another ten minutes. Presto!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Food Tip of the Day

You're starving. You're in a third-world country. You're at the airport and you see a sandwich vendor. You buy one of his delectable sandwiches and are very excited to eat it, when you realize he hands you a sandwich that's been sitting out, unrefrigerated. Do you eat it anyway? If you're feeling lucky. My eating of such a sandwich resulted in about 36 hours of stomach discomfort, thankfully AFTER I returned home. Still, in general, you never what strains of salmonella, typhoid or syphilis you can get from such a sandwich. When in doubt, throw it out.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part II)

2. Create an Endangered Habitat - If wanton environmental catastrophe isn't your style, then that first option is probably not for you. You also probably never had much fun playing SimCity. However, rather than destroying the environment (and earning the ire of hippies everywhere), you can actually use that same awesome power to your advantage! (No, I'm not talking about summoning a tornado, although if that is within your capabilities, go for it.) Instead, take your garden hose (or better yet, the neighbor's!) and leave it on all night. And the next day. And for the better part of a week. Gather a mob of tree-huggers, then contact the local news and tell them how the government wants to turn your wetland into a parking lot. (Note: it is crucial that you use the word "wetland." This is the politically correct code word for "must be saved at all costs," as opposed to "swamp," which is the exact same thing, but conjures a different image in people's minds. If you happen to have a "jungle" on your property, refer to it as a "rain forest.") This plan is foolproof. Unless your neighbor confronts you with his water bill.

How-To Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part I)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Polygraph Tip of the Day

In watching movies such as Meet the Parents, or High Crimes, we get a glimpse of what it would be like to be subjected to a polygraph. The truth is, they are not really "lie" detectors. They simply read our bodily reactions to questions. Just because you have a strong reaction to a question does not mean that you are lying about it. In fact, they simply can not tell why you have the reaction. A good test administrator will be able to get a confession.
There are, however, ways to fool a polygraph machine, and perhaps the administrator of the test. One way is to bite your tongue for about 15 seconds before a question to about 15 seconds after (not including, of course the time that you're actually saying 'yes' or 'no'). Doing this on a control question will cause the machine to read a reaction. Then, on more difficult questions, your reaction won't seem so big. Specialists use to tell people to "pucker" to get this same effect, but now that anylists are using counter-counter measures such as motion detecting chairs, this one is no longer effective.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Blogging Tip O Da Day

If you have your own blog and would like to add a few personal touches one easy way to do this is to change your comments link to say whatever you want. Example: You can change your comments from saying 0,1,2 comments to...Show me some love, 1 wink, 2 hugs, etc... The above changes are just an example from my blog.

Directions for how to change your comments can be found at Interblogger. There are also other great tips for personalizing your blog at this site.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Baking Tip of the Day

cake overflowing
When doubling, tripling or quadrupling a cake recipe, make sure you pay attention to how much you fill the pan. The math might tell you that a 12 x 18 pan requires you to multiply everything in your normal yellow cake recipe by four, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll end up with the correct amount of batter for said pan. When in doubt, just fill the cake pan to between 1/2 and 3/4 full and put the rest in a smaller pan...(yes, I know it's hard to accept that you can't use every bit of the batter that you've slaved over for an hour in that one pan). If you put any more than this amount in such a gargantuan pan, you might find yourself cleaning up cake-batter stalagtites and stalagmites in your residential oven until 2:30am...not to mention extinguishing multiple oven fires.

Also, remember that if you are using farm-fresh eggs to bake (NOT ones that have been refrigerated and at Kroger for a week), they will cause a cake to rise twice as much as store-bought eggs. Also, whereas stiff peaks might form when you beat the whites of store-bought eggs in about three minutes, it only takes about 30 seconds with farm-fresh eggs!

Probably the best take-home message I can give you is that one can never underestimate the wonders of a store-bought cake for your roommate's birthday.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Stars Tip O Da Day

For those of you who enjoy shooting stars, there is a meteor shower called the Perseid that can best be seen between 1-5 am on Thursday and Friday August 12 and 13. Make sure the sky is clear, that you are in an open area and you are reclining or laying down as not to get a sore neck. The meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus which in North America rises in the evening in the northeast. Happy shooting star gazing!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Marriagability Tip of the Day

Girls, do not wait until prince charming magically appears to buy things for your kitchen. I don't cook (ever) but have noticed this trend in young women who do. Some things should wait for marriage (ahem), but buying a KitchenAid mixer? Go for it. If you DO get married, I can pretty much guarantee the groom-to-be is not going to give two flips about registering for one. Unless he's an amazing chef, in which case he would've gone out and bought his own mixer, because men are apparently allowed to do that. Same principle applies for matching dishes, small appliances and "real" furniture. None of that junk is super important, but if your sole reason for holding out is the hope of eventual matrimony, sweetie, you got problems.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Confidence Tip of the Day

In the professional world, if you need to gain approval from another department for something, it's more effective to take a confident approach. As long as you are the resident expert on said subject, try thanking them for their approval ahead of time, rather than saying "I hope we'll receive your approval." As you deliver the piece, a polite, "I appreciate your approval on this," will go a long way in establishing your expertise on the subject and return an approval to you faster than you could have thought.

Creating the Perfect Design Brief
by Peter L. Philips

Monday, August 08, 2005

How-To Guide to Keep the Government from Seizing your Property (Part I)

In response to the Supreme Court's decision in the Kelo case back in June (which basically said it's cool if the government wants to bulldoze your 19th century Victorian to build a 21st century shopping mall), it looks like local governments around the country are standing up and saying, "Actually, we're not big fans of that idea. Shame on you! Bad court! Bad!"

Unfortunately, since many of you find yourselves living in states that could care less about silly notions as "private property" (i.e. Connecticut, California, or Red China), here is part one of the handy-dandy guide (in no particular order):

1. Scorched Earth - Perhaps the easiest strategy is to simply douse your property in sweet sweet gasoline. Depending on your level of technical sophistication, this can be done using a variety of methods, be it crop duster, sprinkler, or a simple bucket. Sadly, the price of gasoline these days could make this a little costly, but for us pyromaniacs, it will be more than worth it. This strategy has two key features going for it: it will instantly devalue your property to nearly nothing and no one will want to shoulder the burden of conforming to EPA regulations by paying for expensive cleansing of the property. Furthermore, when the government suits show up to evict you or arrest you or whatever, simply tell them, "Oh, you want my property? That's cool. Think I'll just have a cigar (or a 4th of July sparkler, for those of us who don't smoke)." When you light it, toss the match onto your property, and stand back and watch the inferno of your own handiwork. It would probably be wise to be standing in the street or your neighbor's yard when you do this. You should be prepared for the grim spectacle of having your land be a blasted wasteland where no plants or animals will live for several years, if ever.

Thanks to Citizen Grim for this guide. Join us next week for Part II

Sunday, August 07, 2005

608 Tip of the Day

After the service has ended, wait until the well-meaning, but still very loud praise band has finished up their closing song before you attempt to have a conversation with anyone. You may as well just sit around and look at each other because you can barely hear yourself think, much less hear about someone else's weekend. So unless you want to be forced to talk to someone (of the opposite sex) quite closely, ahem, then you're really better off waiting.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Texting Tips of the Day

For those of you who may not have lost your wallet, keys and pants but still have your cell phone with you you might appreciate a couple of kinda geeky but kinda cool things. If you want to send a text message to yourself or someone else but don't want to fiddle through trying to type on a numpad check out this little page from Google. (A little note, where it says "Select your phone's cellular carrier", you actually need to select the carrier of the person your sending the message to.) Some of us just have to have that kind of fucntionality in a Widget, and there are widgets avaible for sending text messages to Verizon customers for both Dashboard and Konfabulator. Or if that kind of stuff is child's play for ya and you actually want to get the weather, find the meaning of a word or just wanna know the zip codes of the town your in check out Yahoo! Mobile. Also, each individual cellular carrier has their own set of tricks up their sleeve, check out your carrier's website.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Flying Tip of the Day

If you're a frequent flyer, or even an infrequent flyer, you're always looking for the best fares. Recently a friend suggested Independence Air. Right now at their site, flyi.com, they're offering one-way ticket sales of $49, and some even from $39 to a lot of places! You really can't beat that. The cities are a bit limited, but you may be able to find the flight of your dreams.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Floral Tip of the Day

Whether you're just in the doghouse, or want to do something nice for a gal, it's important to use flowers. (That's a freebie...girls of all types LOVE flowers. Even if they're not "girly girls." Trust me.) Here's the 50-cent tip. When you pick up the flowers and they're looking all purty, you need to sort of stand them up so they don't get smooshed. But, if you have cats, gerbils, SUGAR GLIDERS and the like, they may see interesting flowers and baby's breath as a fun new toy. (See illustration below)

So, we have developed a great flower holster for anyone to use. Simply put the flowers atop your kitchen "chandelier" and they'll hold the flowers well above the reach of most pets, and also keep the flowers from getting crushed.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hair Coloring Tip O Da Day

Sometimes you may like to try something new or different with your hair color. If that is the case, there are some things that you may want to consider before you head to your local Wal-Mart and buy a box of hair color. First of all, everyone's hair has different undertones that will be pulled out when you dye your hair. Also the darkness of your hair will determine how much of the color your hair will be able to pick up. Blondes and people with light colored hair have an easier time getting the desired hair color while people with really dark hair have a harder time getting their hair to match the shade on the side of the box. If you are unsure of the shade that's best for you or if you are planning on choosing a color that is quite a bit different from what you currently have, your best bet is to seek the help of a professional the first time you dye your hair. They will know what blend of chemicals should give you the best-suited shade for your complexion. Most stylists will also tell you what you will need in order to get the same results at home which can save you time, money, and a few bad coloring mishaps.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Gift Giving Tip of the Day

At some point the person you are dating will have a birthday. Always make sure you know when this day is and plan accordingly. Pay attention to what they like or something that has some significance for them. If they like a certain band, sport, animal, movie, restaurant, or activity get them something or take them somewhere that will show you were listening. Ex. If they are a huge Dave Matthews fan get them concert tickets, a poster, or a CD. Try to pick something they will like and shows you care but isn't weird...(i.e. If you are dating a girl and you know she really likes to eat salad it probably isn't a good idea to get her a bag of "fresh from the farmer's market" bag of vegetables complete with the dirt). If you are going to get a girl something that grows out of the ground, make sure it's a flower.
-Lalah DeSha

Monday, August 01, 2005

Receipt Tip of the Day

So we all have millions of receipts, and well we might not think we'll ever need any of them, and well in most cases you are right. But you never know when your favorite gadget or gizmo might have a class action lawsuit filed on your behalf because a particular aspect of it doesn't live up to advertised claims. The problem comes when you need to prove that you actually purchased and didn't steal said gadget, well that becomes tricky if it was a gift. So those, be it parents or whomever, should just get over the fact that its ok for you to know how much they spent. (You can look it up on eBay anyway) Well, say that they were thinking ahead and did give you the reciept, well then you should probably put it someplace where you might actually find it again. Now you can't live you life with a million receipts, at least without a few of these, so you have to choose wisely. If you need help consult our handy-dandy guide below:
  • Receipts for donuts = throw out
  • Receipts for iPods = keep