Showing posts with label I Couldn't Make This Up. Show all posts
Showing posts with label I Couldn't Make This Up. Show all posts

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sin of Omission

It is twelve months since the spousal unit's second knee replacement surgery, and he had a final follow up visit with the surgeon this morning.

Me:  And what did the doctor say?

He:  He says they look good -- I can pretty much do whatever I want on them.

Me:  Did it occur to you to tell him that you plan on participating in the Bataan Memorial Death March next spring?

He:  No.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The ABCs of Cooking

"Not this trip, old pal," by Arthur Davenport Fuller

"For Men with no experience of cooking on Small Boats, Patrol Boats, in Camp, on Marches, etc. Moffat, Yard and Company. For the benefit of the Knitting Committee of the AMERICAN DEFENSE SOCIETY, which is knitting for American Soldiers and Sailors, and it is hoped that both cook-book and knitted garments may help to make more comfortable the men who are only too ready to do their bit.  New York, May 26th, 1917."


1/2 cup of oatmeal (Quaker Oats)
1 quart of hot water
A pinch of salt

Boil fifteen minutes.


1/2 cup of rice in two quarts of boiling water.

Boil for fifteen minutes.  Wash rice first.


Break into inch pieces a cup full of macaroni, and cover with boiling water in a saucepan.  Add a little salt, and cook until soft (about an hour).  Keep covered with water while boiling.


2 cups of flour
4 teaspoonsful of baking powder
1 teaspoonful of salt
1 Tablespoonful of lard
1 Tablespoonful of butter
3/4 cup of milk and water in equal parts

Mix the dry ingredients as well as you can with a spoon, then add the milk and water.  Roll out and cut into biscuits, and bake about ten minutes in a medium hot oven.


Dip the hard bread into cold water for a minute or two, not to get too soft.  Then fry in a hot frying pan in butter or bacon.


Put a can of salmon in a dish to bake, a lump of butter the size of a walnut, pepper and salt, and fill up the dish with milk.  Put some cracker crumbs and a little butter on the top, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

(This little booklet, which can be found on the Internet Archive in various downloadable formats, was either the work of German saboteurs or some very well-meaning and terribly misguided American ladies.  Either way, of limited to no usefulness to its intended audience. I can only imagine what a young man with no previous cooking experience made of any of these recipes;  I have visions of the can winding up in that last dish.)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Is That Mephistopheles Wearing Snowshoes?

The CDC wants our formal input -- me and my sweet and lovely boss -- on some Public Health-related nuclear response issues.  And they're going to pay us.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

History Repeats Itself

I spent half this week at a volunteer management conference (I keep saying that I want to re-negotiate my employment contract to be paid by the conference).  A man* is lecturing us on the correct way to prepare disaster volunteers to go out on assignment.

He:  And we strongly recommend that you have them complete a "Fit for Duty" checklist before deploying.  This protects both the volunteer, and the sponsoring unit.

Lady Who Has My Job In Another County:  (Somewhat despairingly) Do you happen to have a sample "Fit for Duty" checklist that we can use?

He:  Er...well, we recommend that each jurisdiction develop one.

Peeved stares from 98% of his audience, all of whom wear at least two hats if not three in their respective departments and for whom this is a new paperwork requirement.

Me:  (quietly, to LWHMJIAC)  April, email me when you get back to your office, I'll send you a copy of ours.

After the workshop is over, he approaches me and gives me his card.

He:  Would you be willing to send me your "Fit for Duty" checklist too?

*Not in a suit and tie, but in the uniform of the Public Health Service. As I told my sweet, lovely boss, there has to be a way we can leverage some $$$ out of the Feds for this.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Want To Clone This One

It occurs to me that I have not taken the time to introduce my new (well...since September)  Americorps member, Fernanda*.

She is not a pre-med competitive swimmer but she is a runner, an honors graduate, tri-lingual, and her parents let her go backpacking to South America when she was a freshman in college.  She got as far as Peru, volunteered with an earthquake recovery agency  there, and wound up spending six months running their volunteer program.

Her very first week on the job was the airport crash drill (that's her in the second photo, applying moulage to a victim). I asked her to put together folders for the exercise evaluators.  She cross-referenced and color-coded them.

In January I assigned her the job of putting on a family preparedness day  at the local Home Depot.  The manager was so impressed with Fernanda's ideas for children's preparedness games that she forwarded them to corporate.

I am giving my annual guest lecture to the global public health class at That Other University and I asked her to meet with me and brainstorm some ideas. She arrived in my office with an outline, a Powerpoint, and an interactive decision-making roleplay for the students.

I really like the kid, but it's hell trying to live up to her.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mamma Said There'd Be Days Like This

1.  The countertop man says he won't have them ready to install until the 6th.
2.  At thirteen minutes past ten this morning, my life got very interesting, very fast.
3.  I re-chipped my front tooth.

These things only come in threes, right?  Right?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

And To Make Things Really Peachy

The water main just broke.

I am hosting a tabletop exercise tomorrow with our Incident Command Staff, RSVP, the Red Cross, the EMA, and the county's largest employer.  There is no way in hell there will be enough water pressure to shower in the morning.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Call Him The Kitchenator

I had to take a VITA class this afternoon.  When I got home the kitchen had been completely dismantled.

He even took up the old floor.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Swear On A Stack I Am Not Making This Up

One of the additional duties performed by Trudy*, our Administrative Assistant, is to record and release the telephone notices that go out to inform personnel of emergencies. Fortunately, this rarely happens, but Sunday night all staff got to hear her calm, competent voice letting them know that the Health Department would be closed on Monday due to snow.  

Tuesday morning our singularly clueless senior staff person came to find me with a worried look on her face.

SCSSP:  I don't have Trudy's name on my call-down list. Do you know if she got the message about the office being closed?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

They're Not Just Cheeseheads Anymore

Milwaukee is experimenting with something new as a sidewalk de-icer.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More Stuff for Germans

(I had to read this out loud to get the full flavor of it, and the woman in the next office is convinced I'm off my rocker.  Although it's possible she's felt this way before).


German is a relatively easy language. If you know Latin you're used to declensions and can learn German without great difficulty.

That's what German teachers tell you at the first lesson. Then you start studying the der, die, das, den... and they tell you that everything follows a logical order.

So it's easy. And to prove it, let's look at an example more closely:

You sign up for first-year German and go out and buy the textbook.

It's a beautiful, expensive, hard-bound book, published in Dortmund. The book mentions the customs of the Hottentots (Hottentotten in German).

The book tells us that when opossums (Beutelratten) are captured, they are placed in cages (Kasten) with bars made of wood slats (Lattengitter) to keep them from escaping.

These particular cages are called Lattengitterkasten in German and when there are opossums inside them they are known as Beutelrattenlattengitterkasten.

One day, the Hottentot police arrested a would-be murderer (Attentater), who allegedly tried to kill a Hottentot mother (mutter).

Her son is a good-for-nothing stutterer (Stottertrottel), so his mother is, therefore, a Hottentottenstottertrottelmutter and her would-be murderer is a Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterattentater.

Easy, right?

So the police captured the suspect and put him, temporarily, in an opossum cage (Beutelrattenlattengitterkasten) for safe-keeping until they could take him to jail, but the prisoner escaped!

A search ensued and a Hottentot warrior cried out, "I have captured the murder suspect (den Attentater)!"

"Yes? Which one?" asked the chieftain.

"The Beutelrattenlattengitterkastenattentater!" replied the warrior.

"What? The murder suspect who was in the opossum cage?" asked the Hottentot chieftain.

"That's right," said the warrior, "the Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterattentater."

By now you know enough German to understand that he's talking about the would-be murderer of the mother of the good-for-nothing Hottentot stutterer, right?

"Oh, I see", says the Hottentot chieftain, "why didn't you say so right away? You could have begun by saying that you had captured the ... wait for it.......


(sent by Jen in Oz).

Friday, October 4, 2013

Silver Lining Dep't, Encore

I'm at the regional hospital meeting.  The regional hospital coordinator is going down the list and asking for updates since the August meeting.

He: Fulton County?

Fulton County Lady:  We've had a couple of HAZMAT incidents.

He:  I wondered what you were going to do with all that corn syrup*.

Fulton County Lady:  (brightly)'s killing the Asian carp in the Spoon River!

(*17,000 gallons, to be precise).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Silver Lining Dep't

The KKK had to cancel the rally they planned for Gettysburg this weekend.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Another One Of Life's Little Mysteries

I was tidying away some paperwork and found a scrap of paper, undated, in my handwriting. It contained the following list (in its entirety) :

white jersey top black bra
furry white cat's head

I have no idea.  Seriously.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Timing is Everything

Day after tomorrow, I am being awarded my PDS in a ceremony at the state EMA conference.  

This morning, I knocked a chunk out of one of my front teeth.

(Note to self:  smile for the cameras with mouth CLOSED).

Friday, July 19, 2013

Great Larks, Pip

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.  Nonetheless, I have been following, with great glee, the saga of Prenda Law on various sites such as Arstechnica and Popehat.

For those of you who have better things to do with their time than watch judges slice and dice lawyers, Prenda Law are a charming group of well-educated sociopaths who developed and then implemented what seemed to them a can’t-lose business model.

1. Upload porn flicks to various sites like Pirate Bay and Bit Torrent
2. Track down who downloaded them, and
3. Hit the downloadee with a copyright-infringement lawsuit.

This was always followed by an offer to settle for a few thousand dollars, Prenda correctly assuming that most people would rather fork over that amount than have to go to court and risk everyone in their immediate circle of friends and relatives finding out they were making illegal copies of “Debbie Does Dallas XXIIV.”

These enterprising individuals (based in Chicago, which for some reason does not surprise me) unfortunately went to the well once too often, and their last trip involved filing a suit – if I am remembering correctly, and I’m probably not – against a father for some porn his teenage son allegedly downloaded.

Pop fought back, and Prenda’s house of cards started to tumble.   In fact, it quickly began to resemble something left over from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as evidence of all kinds of skullduggery began creeping out into the open.

I started to get interested when the case landed in a circuit court in California presided over by a bespectacled, benign-looking gentleman named Otis Wright.  In addition to a fondness for bow ties, which of course immediately won me over, Judge Wright was in a previous lifetime a Marine.  

I have seen judges who came to bench via Parris Island in action before, so I decided that this bore watching.  I have not been disappointed.

Judge Wright has a quirky sense of humor, as evidenced when he issued an opinion that not only handed Prenda their collective asses on a platter, but did so in a document that was rife with Star Trek references.  How can one not admire a judge who quotes the Wrath of Khan?

The luckless Prenderasts immediately began defending themselves and in the process showed that they were not only terrible lawyers (one of their filings invoked the recent marriage equality decision as a reason not to rule against them.  Wait, what?) but really, really, really stupid.

The head of the firm shouted at Judge Wright.  In his court.  During a hearing.  

Poking a Federal judge with a sharp stick during your appeal is unwise.  Poking a Federal judge who in addition is a former Marine rates about an eight on a scale of one to fatal.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Life Imitates Art

I am leaving at 0600 tomorrow for a public health emergency preparedness conference which -- coincidentally, I'm sure -- is being held in a town currently experiencing an e coli outbreak.

See you all on Friday.  Perhaps.