Merry Christmas

nativity2Merry Christmas!!!

Yep, I said it. Merry Christmas. Merry, Merry Christmas.  Yes, I know that phrase is supposed to be avoided in public settings because it is exclusive and offensive to some.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. However I’m tired of those who are trying ruin the Christmas Season.

I’m tired of the thin-skinned people who are offended by anything and everything in the name of diversity, equality and inclusion.  The reasoning is that anything associated with Christmas, especially the greeting Merry Christmas, is offensive and even exclusionary to those who aren’t Christians.   Ironically, those who cry out for diversity and being respectful of all are except towards Christians. It is somehow okay to target and exclude Christians because of our faith.

So, here is the deal for all those politically correct crowd that believe we need safe spaces, taking a stand, and avoid anything that could possibly be offensive — you are missing the point. It is possible to get along with and even be friends with people who don’t agree with you. It is possible to get along with those who stand for things you oppose.

So I’m going to continue saying Merry Christmas. I’m not going to be offended if someone greets me with Happy Holidays or  even just a plain old hi.

Oh, Merry Christmas!!!!

Restroom Rant aka Poor Customer Service

I know there has been a lot in the news lately about cities, states etc passing laws about restrooms lately and whether or not restrooms should be restricted by gender. Well, this post isn’t about that, I’ve already address that years ago.  This post is in response to an incident that happened at a local Applebees.   This rant is also about poor customer service.

So yesterday we went to Applebees for lunch. We got a meal deal that included an appetizer and 2 entrees.  So I had both wings and ribs. After lunch I went to the restroom to wash my hands.  I walked in on a male Applebees employee standing in the ladies room. It appeared that he has been using the restroom. He muttered something about “I’m not supposed to be in here and oh, I’m in the wrong restroom.” He scurried out and into the men’s room.

So, this is no the first time I’ve encountered men in the women’s restroom. I lived in a town for 8 years where it was legal use the restroom of the opposite gender. Usually they were more a nuisance than anything.  Today’s incident was nothing like that. First the guy, was acting weird when I entered.  He just had this creepy vibe going. The incident was unsettling enough that I left sticky hands and all.

I ran into a couple of female management types immediately after it happened. One of them came to my table to explain why the creepy guy was in the ladies room. Her excuse was that the staff had to check the restrooms every thirty minutes. I challenged why a male was in the ladies room. The only feeble excuse she could come of with was that it was his job. So this guy had no cleaning supplies, the door was closed and there was no sign on the door. It appeared he was checking something out but it sure wasn’t the restroom. It seems irresponsible to assign a male employee to monitor the ladies restroom, especially when there were numerous female staff members working today.

The manager needs to rethink customer service.  She really didn’t handle the situation well. Her only concern was keeping me quite. My experience with Applebees customer service in several states is that just like their food it is average.  They do have a good allergy menu. That is the reason we even go to them. Applebees could be a really good place if they would just make the effort to strive for excellence.

Another English Rant

Me and Billy Joe Bubba Bob (insert random name here) ….

This is a mistake I hear from otherwise well-educated  people. That phrase absolutely drives me bonkers. Why?

First, it is grammatically incorrect.  It should be:

Billy Joe Bubba Bob and me/I …..

Second,  it sounds self-centered. Always list the other person first.   In grammar just like in life things are better if we put others first.


TDZ Retrospective: Commas, Diagramming and Other Rants About English

Silly pencil dude

Originally posted December 15, 2007.  After eight years look for another English rant coming soon.

The other day The Big Guy was reading my blog and informed me that I needed a comma for some reason or another. This lead to lively and humorous dialogue about my not needing commas and semi-colons. TBG that it would be a great topic for a blog. Of course, he thinks everything makes a great blog topic.

If you read much of my writing you will probably realize that I have little need for commas. Unless you are like me and then you will think everything is just fine. A friend that used to proofread my papers in grad school was always telling me I really needed to learn to use commas. Okay, I know commas are used in dates, addresses, series and after a clause but after that it gets fuzzy. It’s not that I’m anti-comma, I just don’t see the need for them. At least a comma is a little more useful than a semi-colon. You are probably thinking: didn’t I learn that stuff back in high school English. I’m sure my English teachers taught about commas and semi-colons but I was probably not listening, bothering someone or reading a book. If my teacher didn’t tell me, I’m sure my English teacher mom did. Somehow along the way I just didn’t pick up on all of the rules of grammar and was able to sort of fake my way through class. My vocabulary and oral language skills have always been advanced, thanks to my mom. I learned grammar orally based on what sounded correct and not written.

A related topic is sentence diagramming. That is one activity that I just hated. In theory, the practice of breaking a sentence apart and drawing a bunch of silly lines is supposed to teach the parts of speech. Of course in my dyslexic brain that is not what happened. I had to focus on drawing the lines and where things went. Gee, I’m doing good some days just to remember right and left and then you want me to draw a bunch of silly lines. I never understood the purpose. Why would I want to make a silly illustration with a sentence? If you want me to identify the parts of speech then just ask. In college, I learned that diagramming has no educational benefits because it takes the parts of speech out of context. Labeling the parts of speech in context is more effective. I think it is just a form of torture invented by English teachers.

Another form of torture is spelling test. I’m dyslexic and dysgraphic and spelling just isn’t my thing. I have always been a poor speller. Yes, I’ve been told many times that unless I learned to spell correctly I would never be successful in school. OK, I have a masters degree and I still can’t spell well. However, I have learned that spell check is my friend. I actually know what the little red and green squiggly lines are and how to use them. In college, I remember one of my professors saying that spelling as a subject matter above 4th grade was pointless. Either you could spell or you couldn’t. Above 4th grade spelling tests would just torture bad spellers. Did my teachers really think making me write all of the words I missed on a spelling test 10 times each would teach me how to spell? I had already written each word 5 times each, in a sentence and the definition earlier in the week. Gee, it didn’t help much.

Well, this brings me to my last rant. Do you ever remember asking a teacher or parent how to spell a word and being told to look it up in the dictionary? This always left me wondering how to look up something I had no idea how to spell. Another reply that I found equally frustrating was being told to sound out the word. That may sound like an easy enough task for most people. Until you throw in the added challenge of being dyslexic. Apparently, my brain doesn’t necessarily connect letter with sounds.

After all of my rants about English you may think I did poorly and just didn’t like the class. English was usually one of my favorite classes especially literature. My grades were usually B’s because I didn’t really apply myself.

After reading this you have probably realized that I don’t use commas much. The Big Guy just informed me that I am missing a lot of commas. Here are some extra commas , , , , , , just insert where needed.

TDZ Retrospective: What is Barbecue?

Barbecue Grill

Originally posted February 24, 2008.

Sunday I wrote about my Top 10: Favorite Foods. Number #5 barbecue has created a little bit of discussion. So, I have decided to devote an entire post to it. While I do not claim to be a barbecue expert I am from Texas and that is about the same thing. In Texas we are serious about are beef especially barbecue.

That is right I said beef. Barbecue is beef! It is not chicken or pork. Turkey, ham and German or Czech sausage are also acceptable. I prefer brisket although I do like a good Czech or German sausage.

Now that we have established what type of meat to use let’s discuss how to cook. First, dry rub and then marinate it for a long time. Yes, I did say marinate and dry rub, it is not either/or it is both. The meat should be slow cooked in either a pit or a big smoker rig. The trick to making a nice tender brisket is to dry rub it & marinate then, cook slow cook it over heat. If you can get mesquite wood for cooking it is even better and it smells great.

Ok, we have the meat cooked lets talk about how to serve it. The meat should be served hot with a warm sauce. There is no need for 400 gazillion sauces all you need is one or two good sauces. If you want variety make a mild one and a spicy one. It is however important that the sauce is warm. Also, mustard is for hot dogs not barbecue do not add it to the sauce. You may however add jalapenos, honey, molasses, beer or Dublin Dr Pepper (Don’t know what Dublin Dr Pepper is then read this.) Barbecue is about the meat not the sauce. If you cook it right, you don’t have to hide it under the sauce. Brisket should be served in thick slices for a plate dinner. In a sandwich it can be either sliced or chopped. Brisket is never to be served thin sliced or pulled. Keep your hands out of my meat! A barbecue sandwich contains bread, meat, pickles, onions and maybe a few jalapenos. Keep your slaw and other frilly vegetables away from my meat. After all this is barbecue not a salad bar.

One last thing about barbecue. When you have people over for burgers and hot dogs break out the grill that isn’t a barbecue. That is grilling or cooking out. It isn’t the same thing. Barbecue involves the use of smoke.

Of course that is just my humble opinion about real Texas style barbecue.

TDZ Retrospective: Itchy Tags

Itchy tagsAnother of my favorites originally posted December 19, 2007.  Oh, yeah I’m still battling those itchy tags.

I’m trying to work  but unfortunately I’m distracted by an itchy tag. There is nothing worse than creating the optimal work environment only to be distracted by something as trivial as an itchy tag. I just hate the little tags in the back of shirt collars. So, if one tag isn’t bad enough some shirts have a tag on the side as well.

Recently, I found some shirts that were advertised as being “tag-less”. Sounded like a great solution to the itchy tag dilemma. Well, I bought a couple of tag-less shirts and took them home. The shirt had a tag stamped on the inside of the shirt.

The day came when I decided to try out one of my new miracle tag-less shirts. Imagine a day of no distractions due to itchy tags. Well, I put on my miracle shirt and begin my day. I’m deep in concentration about something and all of sudden I feel an itchy tag. Oh no, how can that be, I’m wearing my miracle tag-less shirt. After some serious investigating I discover that my “miracle tag-less shirt” has a tag located on the side. The tag on the side of the shirt is much worse than the back of the shirt. If a shirt has a tag on the side how can it be considered tag-less? Tag-less means zero, nada no stinking tags on the shirt!

Please Put On More Clothes

Or my fashion advice

A few weeks ago the Big Guy and I were at the mall for some reason, on a Saturday. I know absolutely crazy and I’m not much of a shopper.  I have a 5 store shopping limit. Oh, well that is a post for another day back to my original rant. We had stopped at one of those over priced chain coffee type places. The Big Guy was enjoying chai tea, I’m sure I had something with coffee in it. So we were sitting in the “outside” seating area by the coffee shop watching a live music group, that too is for another post, I’ll try to post some pictures of the group. Anyway we had great seats until others decided to stand in front of us. That is mildly annoying but fair because of the location, except for the one young lady (either a teen or 20 something) who decided to stand right in front of The Big Guy. I think she must have been wearing her little sisters shorts, because these shorts were way too short. Good grief butt cheeks where hanging out. Of course this was not a sight either one of us wanted to  see.

So for the past couple of weeks a few thoughts have been bouncing through my head.  I have a couple of decades experience working with teens and young adults as an educator, church and on the job. One issue that often has to be dealt with is what is acceptable dress.  Even when I was younger I never really got into wearing skimpy clothes. Shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops are more my style.  When I wear shorts I prefer cargo pockets because of all the pockets.

It makes me cringe when I see a teen or young woman dressed like that. I think  the message that media and our society sends is that to get a guy you have to dress in a provocative manner. I just want to scream have a little respect for yourself. It is okay to dress attractively but you don’t need to provide a full show for everyone. One of my high school teachers used to say be careful about the bait you use, because you might not like what you catch. Don’t allow yourself to be defined by a single aspect.

So here is my fashion advice: Seriously, people watch what you wear.  It just is not attractive if you have body parts hanging out of your clothes. Oh, yeah and look in a mirror before you leave home.