Humor

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April Fools Day…a day of shenanigans. As children, we made up simple tricks, that didn’t fool our parents, and might not have even fooled our siblings. I remember telling my sisters that there was a spider in their hair, or some such silliness. That worked for a short time, but then you have to get creative. Things like switching the salt and sugar became common jokes to us. Eventually, we learned to taste a little bit, before we used it liberally on our food…yuck!!

As we get older, we have to get far more creative with our shenanigans, because lets face it, adults aren’t going to go for the spider in your hair gag. They know what day it is too. April Fools Day pranks have to be carefully planned out, and they have to be such that they do no harm, because that would not be what it is all about. Of course, there could always be the unplanned, unforeseen problem with reversing the prank, that could backfire, but hopefully the people you prank are good sports about things, who know that it could have happened to them too.

It would seem that some of the best pranks these days are tech pranks. There are a variety of ways to “mess with” someone’s computer, making them think that it has gone crazy. A simple placement of tape over the mouse sensor will make the computer appear frozen. You can change the language on the computer too, but as I found out from personal experience, this can be difficult to reverse, if you change it to a language you can’t read…yikes!! I think my personal favorite is to flip the screen, so that everything is upside down. And that one is simple to reverse, so no harm…no foul. Of course, there are many low tech ways to “mess with” a computer too, like covering it and everything else in the office in newspaper, or filling the room with balloons, so that the only way in is to pop them. I think office pranks are a natural way to expand your prank playing game into new vistas. Plus, they are really fun when the people you prank are just stunned. Happy April Fools Day everyone!! The day to prank or be pranked. Let the fun begin.

My niece, Liz Masterson is a gifted teacher of high school journalism. She is also a gifted photographer. I suppose the two things go together in many ways, but I don’t know if most journalists are also gifted photographers. This dual career that Liz has keeps her very busy. If she is not grading papers, she is taking pictures of the sporting events at the school for the annual and the Kelly Kall. During the school year, she has very little time to do much else.

Nevertheless, on Thursday nights, Liz; her mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson; Liz’s niece, Aleesia Spethman; and I go to dinner. We try to go different places, so that we don’t get bored, but the reality is that we just enjoy spending time together. Liz has many interests, and we enjoy hearing about the challenging subjects she addresses with her students. I think they do too, because most of her students become her lifelong friends. I think very few teachers can say that. Most teachers prepare their students for graduation and the next step in their lives, and then they slowly fade into the student’s past. Liz is very different. Her students don’t want her to fade into the past. They want to always be able to share the great things they do in life with their favorite teacher.

In her off-time, Liz is a mommy to her fur babies. Her puppies, Luka, Scout, and Buffy; and her cat, Professor McGonagall…usually known as Kitty. Liz loves her fur babies, and feels bad that she has to leave them during the day to go to work, so if she ends up working at night, as teachers often do, her puppies get to go to the grandma, Cheryl’s house to play with her puppy, Missy. It’s almost comical to me, because I’m not used to seeing puppies need a babysitter for an evening, but these are Liz’s fur babies, and she wants the best for them. And what baby doesn’t want to spend time with their grandma when their mommy can’t be home to play. When Liz is home, she and her fur babies have the best times playing together. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Imagine thinking that things that have no substance, actually do have substance. I know that sounds odd, but consider our shadow. It is caused by our body coming between the sun and the ground. We have all seen them, and most of us give them no thought at all. Now consider a two year old girl, who notices her shadow for the first time. Suddenly, something strange is following her and she cannot get away from it. Many of this little ones actually become quite upset, and telling them it is ok, or it is only their shadow doesn’t help at all. Explaining what creates a shadow to a two year old doesn’t help either, because they are too young to figure out what you are saying. To them, the shadow is a thing of substance…a stranger, and the child does not like it. While a little child being afraid of their shadow is pretty normal, what of other things that have no substance being mistaken for things of substance.

In reality, it is probably just people being able to use their imagination, like the little girl who was the subject of a photograph taken by Adam Diston in 1886. Little is known about the photographer himself, but his imagination and creative thought are fascinating to me. I did find out he was born 1827 in Edinburgh and spent the greater majority of his life as a photographer. I don’t know if the little girl thought you could cut a sunbeam or not, but maybe…just for a moment it seemed possible that something without substance, could have substance. Diston brought that out in her, and in his picture, made it almost believable. I think he might have been a truly great photographer.

And what of the wind? Wind can blow all around you and still you stand in the same place, and yet, if you raise your jacket over your head, it can fill the fabric and take you for a little ride. We can’t go far on just jacket power, but put that same wind in a sail, connected to a boat and you can travel the world. And yet, a breeze goes by almost unnoticed…because it has no real substance…at least not until we harness it. Or in the case of a sunbeam, we imagine it’s substance. And in the case of the shadow, we envision it as a person…a stranger. It’s all in how we see things.

Many people have gone on a journey to find themselves. I used to think that those were mostly the Hippies, but the reality is that while most of us don’t necessarily go anywhere, we are on a mind journey to find ourselves, because for whatever reason we aren’t happy with where we are, or our situation has changed, and now we need to re-define ourselves.

One woman went on a visit to Iceland in 2012, and somehow managed to put a totally new spin on the idea of finding herself. The woman, decided to take a tour of Iceland’s southern volcanic region. The tour was going well, and everyone was having a great time. After a stop, the tour company driver counted all the passengers on the tour, and found that one woman was missing. The tour driver waited for an hour for the woman to return, assuming that she was just a little delayed or lost track of time at the stop. Finally, he had no choice but to report her missing to the police.

The missing woman was in Iceland’s southern volcanic region near the island’s Eidgja canyon, a remote but popular walking area for visiting tourists. The police set up search teams, which were dispatched to the area. They started combing the barren treeless hillsides looking for an Asian woman described as 5 foot 2 inches tall, and wearing dark clothing. The teams searched the area until 3am, when the search was finally called off. Oddly, it wasn’t called off because there was no hope of finding her, but because she was located…and, in the most bizarre way.

It turns out that the woman wasn’t missing after all. She had decided to freshen up a bit, and in the process, she changed her clothes. The people on the tour somehow didn’t recognize her with the different clothing, and since the woman’s name was not given, but rather, just a description of her, the woman had no idea that she had joined the search teams…in search of herself!! The minute it occurred to her that they were searching for her, she quickly informed the police that she was the woman who was the subject of their search.

Sveinn Runarsson, the police chief in charge of the rescue, commented that “the people on the bus had not been counted correctly”. What a bizarre turn of events. Thankfully the woman was found, but the whole scenario would be quite hilarious, had everyone not been so concerned for her safety. I guess the moral of the story would be that in these situations, it might be a good idea to say the name of the subject of the search, so that if they happen to be there, they can tell you not to bother.

Naming your baby is a big job, and not one to be taken lightly. The name you bless them with, or sometimes stick them with, is very important. Of course whether the name is a blessing or a curse is a matter of opinion. Some people think you should give your children common names, while others don’t want their child to have the same name a dozens of other kids born that year.

My parents were of the persuasion that their kids were unique, and so their name should be too. If not in pronunciation, then in spelling. Every one of their daughters’ names are spelled in an unusual way…Cheryl, not Sheryl; Caryn, not Karen; Caryl, not Carol; Alena, not Elena; and Allyn, not Lynn. While our names don’t necessarily sound different, very few people spell them correctly.

In my family there are a number of unusual names. Chantel, Corrie (for a girl), Garrett, Lacey, Keifer, Siara, Shai, Caalab, Aurora, Reece (for a girl), and Jaxx. Some are hard to pronounce and some are hard to spell. Either way, they are all unique. We also have some in my husband’s family that are unique…Corrie and Shai (who are in both sides of the family), Machelle, Weston and Easton (who are brothers), Marlyce, Jala, Kaytlyn, Hattie (it’s making a comeback), and Bowen (which I hadn’t heard before). I guess there are a number of us who like the unique names.

Every year lists come out to tell of the most popular baby names. The celebrities are famous for giving their children unique names. Moon, Apple, North are just a few that are easily recalled. Some of them make you wonder just what they are thinking, but apparently they all have their reasons for the unusual names. Names are important as they help to create our identity to the world and to ourselves. Unique Names Day takes a moment in the year to celebrate those who have these interesting names. We are the people who can never find our name on souvenirs, and other personalized items. We have to create our own, have it spelled wrong, or just skip it. We are never on any lists that are produced with all the common names that are out there depicting funny situations applying to names…sometimes that may not be a bad thing.

Someone, at some point realized that unique names was something of some significance, and Unique Names Day came into being in 1997. Since then it has been a yearly occurrence. There are some things that people with unique names go through that those with common names never think about. As children who want keepsakes with their name on it, visiting a tourist attraction or taking a trip there is rarely an item that people with these names will ever be able to have. While that may seem like a small thing, for a child trying to fit it, it’s a big deal. When there is nothing that they can ever find with their name on it, they feel like they don’t really belong.

Unique Name Day is the perfect chance to embrace those with unique names. Having a day just for those who put up with repeating their names, spelling it, teaching people how to say it and rarely having any of the fun trinkets with their name on may not take away any frustration, but it can help make new memories! Find out is their name from their cultural background? If you are the one who walks through life with a unique name, you can take this day to revel in your uniqueness. This day can be used to find out the story of how your parents picked this name for you. My own mom liked the name Karen, but didn’t like the spelling, since they wanted their kids to have names beginning with “C” for my mom and “A” for my dad. So, they came up with ways to make the chosen names fit the categories. As for Caryl, I think they liked the “y” in my name and continued it with her. The funny thing about that is just how easy it is for Caryl and me to type our own name when we mean to type the other name…thereby misspelling our own sister’s name. Do you have a unique name? what is your story? This is your day, and your chance to tell the world.

My grand nephew, Jake Harman has really come into his own over the past few years. We have watched Jake go from being a footloose kid, who didn’t really have any definite direction in life, to a family man with three kids who absolutely love their Daddy. Jake and his wife, Melanie are perfect for each other. Their personalities are quite opposite of each other, and maybe that is part of why their relationship works. As to the children…Jake loves kids, and they love him. He can get them laughing in an instant. I think that is mainly because Jake is a big kid himself.

Speaking of kids, Jake is now the assisting the youth pastor at Mountain View Baptist church. As I said, Jake is great with kids, but as we all know, teenagers are a different thing. Teenagers take patience, tempered with stubbornness. It isn’t that teenagers are bad people, but just that they are growing up and they want to show that to others. Teenagers love to show their teacher, or in this case, youth leader, that teenagers run the show. I know this, because like Jake, I was a Sunday School teacher for the teenagers. I’ll never forget my first day. The students told me, “We have gone through a lot of teachers!” They were proud of that, but unfortunately for them, they hadn’t met me…yet. My comment was, “Well, you won’t go through me!” And they didn’t. So Jake, if you want to use that one, it’s on the house. Teachers of teenagers need all the help they can get. Just ask your Aunt Liz. That’s why we start with babies.

In Jake’s case, I think the teenagers will find that he is really a lot of fun. He loves being goofy, and laughing, as well as making others laugh. That gives him an edge when it comes to handling kids, and even teenagers. He can make even studying fun, and the fun activities even more fun. When you start the day out with humor, it’s always going to be a sunny day. And Jake has that funny bone trait going on, so I know the kids he works with will be blessed by him. Today is Jake’s birthday. Happy birthday Jake!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Dave Chase is a good natured, and often funny guy. He likes a good joke and in general comedic situations. That is not what one would expect from him when you first meet him, however, because he seems a bit reserved…until you get to know him. Dave is the kind of man you like immediately, because he has a pleasing personality. He’s easy to talk to and intelligent, making conversations with him quite interesting. Dave has been a chief reservoir engineer, working for the Bureau of Land Management for a number of years, and in fact, knew my Aunt Sandy Pattan before he knew his future wife, my niece, Toni. Aunt Sandy was a little surprised when Dave told her who he was dating, and Dave was equally surprised when Aunt Sandy told him that Toni was her grandniece. They were both surprised.

Dave is all about family. From the moment he met Toni, he has worked hard at bonding with her son, James Renville, and these days they are good friends. James has a dad, but he also has a great step-dad, and they have a great time. When he married my niece, Dave inherited a large extended family. Toni has 4 siblings, and there are a number of nieces, nephews, grand nieces and a grand nephew. If you ask the kids about their Uncle Dave Chase, they will all tell you the same thing…”He loves his nieces and nephews.” Now to have one child say that is one thing, but when the consensus is in total agreement, you know that it is very true. Dave is generous and kind, and he is a lot of fun to be around. The kids all love him, and Dave feels the same way.

Dave is very athletic. He loves to play basketball, and I’m told that Dave runs circles around the younger crowd. Dave keeps himself in great shape, and you know that the work you are doing is working, when a kid says that you can run circles around the kids. Recently, Dave, like many government workers, spent a month on furlough because of the government shutdown, but Dave didn’t just sit around sulking, he took the opportunity to go skiing in Jackson. Dave loves to ski, and he had a great time. Nevertheless, he was glad to get back to work, because Dave isn’t the kind of guy to just sit around. He likes to stay busy. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My uncle, Wayne Byer was for many years the head of the bus garage of the Natrona County School District. It was a job he liked, and he was very well known and liked by everyone within the district. We, his nieces and nephews, were also very proud of the fact that our uncle was in charge of the bus garage…whether we rode a bus or not. I think most of us felt like he ran the school, which of course, he didn’t, but we were kids…what did we know?

While he wasn’t in charge of the school, some of us still found that it pays to know people in high places, or not so high places. As long as they were liked, it paid to know them. Knowing Uncle Wayne was not something that I ever recall bringing me any special treatment, but my sisters, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and Allyn Hadlock had a different take on that story. While attending East Junior High School, the subject of Uncle Wayne, and our relationship to him, somehow came up. That was advantageous for my sisters, in that the ladies who worked in the cafeteria, knew and very much liked Uncle Wayne. That said, they also took a liking to my sisters, and therefore, saved them some of the best food…freshest, best cuts, biggest pieces, best desserts, and such, were among the perks. I’m sure that Uncle Wayne never knew this was happening, not that it would have bothered him. I can see him grinning over such an event right now.

Of course, it was a great compliment to Uncle Wayne, and well earned. He was always an easy going, fun loving, slightly mischievous man, and that endeared him to a lot of people. He didn’t have to do much…just smile at them with that infectious smile of his, and people immediately loved him. And anyone who could honestly say they were related to him should have special treatment too. I guess it was just not something I ever thought of telling everyone, although I can see now that I should have. I can totally see how the ladies in the cafeteria could grow to like Uncle Wayne, because he was a very likeable man, and every one of his nieces and nephews would tell you the same. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 81st birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Strange laws seem to be a part of our legal system. I suppose they might have had a purpose at some point, but somehow most of us just can’t see what it might have been. Section 18-54 of the Little Rock Arkansas city ordinances says, “No person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9:00 p.m.” Immediately my mind begins to question this law, known as the Little Rock Sandwich Shop Law.

It is mind boggling to think that this could have been such a constant problem in Little Rock that it could require immediate legal intervention. And it wasn’t that honking in front of the sandwich shop was a problem all the time, just after 9 p.m. In reality, that isn’t even late. So, honking after 9 p.m. would get the culprit a citation and a fine, but what if you were trying to prevent an accident? Think about it. What a choice, have an accident, or get a ticket for trying to prevent one. So, with our accident, does the person who honked to prevent the accident get the ticket, or is it the guy who caused the accident, but obeyed the law, and didn’t honk.

Now, be aware that “drive-by honkings” that are performed prior to 9 p.m. are completely acceptable, so any sandwich shop heckling that you may have planned just had to be completed with this time frame in mind. I leave questions like these to be answered by those with more formidable legal minds than myself. My guess is that it had something to do with teenaged drivers, who were really just out for a good time, and wanted to say “Hello” to their friends. I suppose the adults didn’t like all the honking, but seriously, how early do these adults go to bed, or need their quiet time, anyway. Whatever the case may be…this was one law that could only be classified as ridiculous.

My grandnephew, Ethan Hadlock is such a loving boy. The older he gets, the more his sweet personality is showing. Not every boy willingly hug his aunts, and especially great aunts, who can seem…ancient to them, but Ethan doesn’t care what people think. That is a rare quality, and one that Ethan shares with a couple of his cousins, Caalab Royce and Zack Spethman. All of these boys are confident enough in who they are, that they feel no pressure to put on a “cool act” for their friends. A “cool act” involves doing whatever your friends think is cool…even if it isn’t how you feel about things. Ethan doesn’t care about that. He is his own man, and that makes me very proud of him. Ethan is a great big brother to his sister, Aurora, and really loves being and older cousin to Adelaide Sawdon and Makenzie Moore. Ethan’s quick wit, keeps the girls laughing, and the adults too. He gets much of his wit from his dad, Ryan Hadlock, but don’t be fooled, because, his mom, Chelsea Hadlock can be pretty funny too.

Ethan is in 4th grade this year, and he is very smart. He really enjoys Math, which many children find to be a difficult subject to master. This year, Ethan is able to participate in a Lego Robotics Club after school. He loves building the different robots, and making them work. There are a number of events that he can participate in too, and he really enjoys them. This year for Christmas, he received several set of Lego robotics, and he had the put together in short order, so his Aunt Jessi Sawdon was able to get pictures right away. I know Ethan will have lots of fun with those Lego Robotics, because you can tweak them to do different things, and to have more power. In my opinion, Lego Robotics is a great way for kids to learn how electronics work.

Ethan had long been a Star Wars fan, and that doesn’t appear to be changing. He and his friends love to dress up as the different characters, and play Star Wars games. Like most Star Wars fans, I don’t suppose that Ethan will ever stop being a fan. Once a Star Wars fan, always a Star Wars fan…right!! I find it hard to believe that Ethan is 10 years old. It just doesn’t seem possible. He is getting so tall, and he is really coming into his own as a person. I look forward to watching him grow into the young man he will be. Today is Ethan’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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