Wich Stayts Nede Speling Hellp

For years I have warned that permitting retail establishments to intentionally misspell words would have dire consequences.

Schoolkids with minds full of mush would grow up confused about what to do with the letter Q. Adults learning English would face difficulties discerning how to spell certain breakfast pastries. Fans of beef and fowl alike would forget how to spell chicken. General havoc and mayhem would ensue.

A recent report by Google about which states need help spelling which words proves my fears were well-founded.

Google is a great help in research, such as “how to spell prestidigitation.” One of the drawbacks, however, is that Google records such things, and now everyone knows what your state’s citizens can’t spell.

Another drawback is the inability to use a dictionary, because, well, you have to have some skill in spelling to find the word you need to spell properly. And, because, well, you have to properly identify a book.

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How to Chill Tea with Sweet Potato

At the risk of sounding like one of those new parents who thinks his baby is the most intellectually astute or physically adept and that everyone else wants to hear about the tot’s early exploits, I will reluctantly relate one of my own experiences.

Every new parent thinks that the profound changes that occur in his household as the result of the first child’s birth are the most hilarious and the most novel, but seldom do they prove to be either.

Robert Brooks Faircloth was born to Carrie and me December 11, 1999. It was a marvelous event, but I was crushed that Carrie couldn’t hold out just a little longer and give us a shot at winning all those millennium baby prizes. You can be reasonably assured that I would hold my tongue about it not really being the millennium if we were being loaded up with cool, free stuff.

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Church Elders Nab Absent Members with Sting Operation

SPOOF, Wisconsin (Wire) — Inactive members of a local church expressed alarm and surprise when their elders used a police-style sting operation to draw them out of hiding.

“I’m hurt and embarrassed that our spiritual leaders would resort to subterfuge and chicanery to lure me out of my indifference, sloth and lukewarmness. It’s a real shame,” said one disgruntled alleged member.

When asked to describe their methods, one of the church’s elders said “For example, we intentionally ‘under-edit’ our bulletin, newsletter and emails, and leave a few mistakes. We know that those who are able to resist spiritual discipline can’t resist the urge to correct someone else’s grammar. It gets them every time.”

One member, who admitted that he avoided speaking to elders in the halls and ignored the pastor’s requests to meet for devotions, thought he was on solid theological ground. “Don’t I have the right to use my God-given talents of correcting others while standing in the shadows? Isn’t that a fruit of the Spirit?”

Another member said she couldn’t resist attending a church meeting when she thought that the congregation’s future was at stake. “Why, I just had to go! They said they were going to change the color of the carpet, but when I got there, it was just a prayer meeting. For Pete’s sake, I couldn’t just leave then. I actually had to say things to people. I was mortified.”

The Elders said they have no intention of stopping. “Our next project is to draw in inactive members with the promise of a steak dinner, then surprise them with a spiritual gifts inventory and visits to our shut-ins.”

Southern Pastor Learns North Not Filled with “Bible-Heads”

SPOOF, Wisconsin (Wire) — Local pastor Jim Bob Evans, a recent transplant from the Deep South, says he was surprised to learn that the area was not the locus of spiritual revival, as he was led to believe.

“When I first come up here to give my trial preachin’,” said Evans, “I thought some serious rejuvenatin’ out to lunchwas goin’ on. I kept hearin’ all these radio spots talkin’ about this bein’ the Bible-head capital of the world.”

Through a thick accent and many dropped Gs, Evans told how he misread the spiritual landscape.

“I always say you find where the Spirit’s movin’ and join him there, but I hadn’t heard o’ no Bible-heads before. I just figured it musta been sorta like Bible-thumpers and Jesus freaks, as we say down to the farm. When I heard ’em say the biggest Bible-head business was right here, I was so excited I wanted to cannonball into the baptismal pool.”

Evans found his baptismal frequently frozen, and eventually discovered that he had also been the victim of differences in regional vocal inflection.

“After movin’ all my earthly goods and kin up here to start spreadin’ the good news with the rest of the holy-rollers, I learnt that people talk different, and they weren’t sayin’ Bible-heads at all. They were talkin’ ’bout those dolls with the spring-loaded noggins.”

Apparently the Midwest accent detectable in commercials for a local bobble-head maker led to Evans’ confusion. It remains unclear whether Evans’ congregation is able to understand him through the brogue, or if he is able to order successfully at a drive-thru. Evans nevertheless remains hopeful.

“When you think about it, bobble-heads look like they might  be filled with the Spirit, and show more excitement than some church folk.”

What I Learned on a 10-hour Drive with 5 Other Humans

Confinement in tight spaces for long spans with other humans is, at the same time, most definitely not what God envisioned for the race and very instructive.

Instructive at least in the sense that you learn much about yourself: what annoys you, what smells are most offensive, which family member breaks first in tight spaces for long spans.

But, if you’re observant, you can learn some other things, too.out to lunch

Northern Illinois is full of corn fields and wind turbine farms, responsible, one must presume, for much human ocular boredom syndrome (H.O.B.S. — “there’s not much to look at, here…”), for droves of farmers aimlessly shuffling through the infinite stalks of corn after having been rendered catatonic by the ultra-low-frequency electrical hum of sky-scraping wind turbines, for scores of formerly living birds who happened into the path of a truck-length turbine blade, and for minivans full of frazzled families thwarted by agrarian vistas in their attempts to distract one another with the “ABC Game.”

After several hours of driving, I envied the birds, in a sense, who at least were not confined in tight spaces with anything for any length of time.

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Why Dixie will Ditch the Internet

Out to Lunch, 1998

From time to time the Yankee capitalist oppressors have attempted to force their useless wares upon Dixie, with occasional success. They get our hard-earned greenbacks, and we end up with things like minivans and Egg Beaters.out to lunch

Their latest attempt to hoodwink us is the so-called Internet, but this time we will ultimately overcome the oppressor and reject this alleged World Wide Web.

As we all know, Dixie’s people are different culturally and socially. Our collective spirit of independence and rebellion will rise within us until we see through the fog of technical gadgetry and the awe of sophisticated machinery, at which time we will throw off the shackles of computerized communication.

Though temporarily star-struck by the Yankee’s baubles and shiny trinkets, we shall nonetheless prevail.

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Would You Like Some Fries with that Tan?

One of my favorite topics is beeper and cell phone sales.out to lunch

That there is an almost endless combination of retail establishments offering beepers and cell phones has often been the subject of the withering repartee of the fine honed edge of my rapier wit. Of course, that depends on your perspective, and one might just as well say “He yields his wit like a wooden club: those he cannot induce to laugh voluntarily he bashes about the head with the blunt edge of a medieval mallet he calls redundancy.”

I’m not sure I understand what I just said, but rest assured, it is quite hilarious.

By the way, speaking of beeper sales, Granny Ferguson’s Quilting Service has now become Granny’s Quilting, Beeper and Cell Phone Bee.

I thought I had seen, or imagined, almost every combination of retail business that would reasonably subject itself to ridicule and a column, but in my worldwide travels between Clio and Abbeville I came across one that I have not seen before: Ted’s Famous Cheeseburgers & Tanning Beds.

I would not have thought twice had Ted decided to combine his famous cheeseburgers with beepers or cell phones. The fact that Ted’s is in the middle of nowhere, halfway between Obscureville and Grease-Spot-on-the-Map-Burg, of interest primarily to grazing cattle and location scouts for the nearest moonshiners, would not have diminished my recognition of the synergy between electronic communication devices and grilled, formerly-grazing cattle.

As it were, though, I had been paying some attention to this tanning bed thing, because it has threatened once or twice to overtake beepers and cell phones in sheer volume, and the juxtaposition of sizzling beef and sizzling people caught my eye.

Initially, tanning beds seemed to be limited to salons dedicated solely to tanning, although some spas and beauty parlors also had a bed or two.

(Is “beauty parlor” the correct term? Once again, this demonstrates the truth that women’s things are naturally more complex than men’s. Men get their hair cut at barber shops, where everyone understands that the term “high and tight” does not mean stoned and frugal, and where the combs are kept in huge jars of a mysterious blue liquid. If men’s grooming can’t be done with scissors, electric clippers, and mysterious blue liquid, it shouldn’t be done at all.)

Then, tanning beds began popping up in gyms, health food stores, apartment clubhouses, and finally, remotely located burger joints.

I wonder, incidentally, if Ted’s cheeseburgers were independently famous, or whether fame came to Ted when he combined his formerly mediocre and slightly known burgers with cheese and tanning.

The market, as they say, delivers what the market desires, so we should at least conclude, regardless of how we view fame, that Ted and his neighbors desire to be neither hungry nor pale.