The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Unpredictable Yearnings

Sometimes I find it so very odd how I feel yearnings or cravings for things at various times, yet often they do not seem to correlate with anything I can discern.

For example, at the moment (and all morning), I have been daydreaming, yearning, and thinking about smoking my pipe. Now, I have smoked my pipe this morning when I have been able to do so. I have indulged more frequently than usual for a work morning in fact. Yet, I am still thinking and daydreaming about smoking my pipe in ways that are wholly atypical for me.

How do I explain these thoughts and their strength? I cannot. I am not overly anxious, nor overly sad, nor overly bored, nor overly happy. I am simply having an average day.

It is so curious to me to NOT see a correlation or a pattern in something felt so strongly as a yearning or craving.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some Days It Is So True....

The Sunshine Club

The above comic by the late, great Howie Schneider is one I can certainly find sympathy with. Some days, the "e" in our lives is too overwhelming.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Getting Ready...

I am starting the process this week to prepare for a talk I will be giving on my research at a national conference being held in Utah near the end of June. I am looking forward to traveling out in that area as I have not been to that region for any real length of time.

My wife and I are going to take the kids and make a real, true vacation of it by heading all around following the meeting. Even though I knew this opportunity to speak at the meeting was a possibility, now that I have had my research talk accepted, I am beginning to feel the trip is really going to happen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Long Time Gone

Getting over the flu this week has been rough. I really do not know what I will do today. I am still very tired.


Thursday, May 20, 2010


The last several days of being under the weather have caused me a great deal of sadness. I have been crying quite a bit as I try to sleep. I am crying about a multitude of things, including:

1. Feelings of failure.

2. Fear of Death.

3. Disappointment in how I am as a person.

4. Fear that I am simply a "zero".

5. Missing of my mother.

6. Fear that I am selfish and not giving enough to those I love.

7. Sadness about the deaths of all my relatives that have passed away.

8. Feelings like I do not show people my love in the way I should.

9. Fear of having more people I love die.

10. Fear of my own death.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In Science News

I try to highlight here, some of the more interesting biologically relevant news. I hope that you enjoy it. Today's article is from Science News:

Fight or Flee, It’s In the Pee: Researchers Get a Better Understanding of how Mice Smell a Rat, or a Cat

By Rachel Ehrenberg

The smell of a protein found in urine leaves mice quaking with fear when they smell it coming from cats and rats, scientists report in the May 14 Cell. Yet when mice smell the same protein coming from other mice, the odor prompts mouse-on-mouse aggression.

What signals the mice to flee in one instance and fight in the other isn’t clear, but the find suggests that the animals have adapted an existing sensory communication system to interpret the scent of danger.

Most animals are hardwired to recognize predators, says study coauthor Lisa Stowers of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. Lab mice are terrorized by the scent of cat, even though they — and hundreds of generations of their ancestors — have never met one. To explore which molecules might trigger this innate fear response, Stowers and her colleagues exposed lab mice to the scents of several predators, including a cat, a rat and a snake.

They found that each mammal predator’s scent contained a protein component that signaled danger to mice. Oddly enough, the danger molecule was a variation on a protein that mice make themselves. And when one male mouse smells the molecule on another, there’s frequently a fight.

“It was quite surprising,” says Stowers. “But the more we thought about it, it made sense — how does a mouse evolve the capacity to be afraid of a wide variety of predators, from weasels to ferrets to cats to snakes to rats?”

The question has puzzled researchers for a while, because it would require a lot of resources to maintain the ability to detect a variety of proteins from a variety of potential enemies, many of whom an animal might never encounter.

But a protein that’s made in slightly different versions by many animals would do the trick. For the mice, this fear-inducing molecule is a MUP, or major urinary protein. Despite their name, MUPs are secreted not just in urine, but in milk, saliva and tears. And while scientists aren’t sure what MUPs do for the animals that secrete them, plenty of animals do make them — including cats and rats.

Previous research showed that when a male mouse smells another male’s MUPs, it triggers aggressive, let’s-fight behavior. The new work shows that MUPs can also trigger fear, at least when they’re produced by predators. The mice weren’t concerned by rabbit MUPs. And Stowers isn’t sure if snakes or other reptiles make MUPs at all. The team couldn’t isolate any from the swabbed snakeskin used in the mouse experiments.

It’s not surprising that the mice have tuned an existing sensory system to detect dangerous predators that might be nearby, says sensory biologist Charles Derby of Georgia State University in Atlanta.

“If you are leaking something or releasing something, other species will use that to their benefit,” Derby says.

The work also nailed down the part of the nose mice use to detect MUPs: a specialized clump of cells previously thought to smell only scents from the same species.

Most noses have cells that that serve as all-purpose odor detectors. But many animals also have specialized clumps of cells near the tips of their noses known as vomeronasal organs, or VNOs. The VNO is known to be important for detecting pheromones, specialized chemical cues that some animals use to communicate with each other.

But the VNO also detects MUPs, Stowers reports. Mice without working VNO sensory neurons weren’t afraid of the swabbed rat, cat and snake scents. One mouse even curled up and went to sleep next to an anesthetized rat, an animal that usually makes mice hide, tiptoe in fear and pump out stress hormones.

The work suggests that the nasal regions of mice and perhaps other animals might not be as specialized as previously thought, at least when it comes to the scent of danger, comments Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Catherine Dulac of Harvard University. “The more redundancy you have in a system, probably the safer you are,” Dulac says.

A multitasking VNO suggests that interpreting the finer points of what an odor means is the purview of the brain, says Dulac. “Somehow the animal has been able to distinguish friend from foe — an animal who can’t make that distinction clearly is dead.”

* * * * *

This article highlights the significance for the vomeronasal organ. Most rodents have this structure (which is sort of like a blended organ that allows a finer interpretation of both taste and smell.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No Flash Fiction This Week

There is no Flash Fiction event this week as Cormac has need to focus on some other matters. I look forward to its return, hopefully soon. I am still feeling qutie crummy.


Monday, May 17, 2010


I have the flu. I have a temperature of 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit (39.7 degrees Celsius). I feel horrible.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Summer Routine?

I am contemplating going to visit my elderly father-in-law again today. Perhaps this will become a wonderful Friday routine during the Summer months? It was very relaxing and enjoyable last Friday, so I am hopeful that today's work at the U goes well and I can leave at a comfortable time and have some fun.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 600

I have walked now, every damn day for 600 days! I am happy with myself for my stick-to-it-ivness! It is something I really never thought I would do, but I have.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


My Brother, the Caveman

Neandertal Genome Yields Evidence of Interbreeding With Humans

by Tina Hesman Saey
web edition: Thursday, May 6th, 2010
from: Science News

These three fragments of Neandertal bones yielded the first DNA evidence of human-Neandertal interbreeding.Max-Planck-Institute EVA

Some people don’t just have a caveman mentality; they may actually carry a little relic of the Stone Age in their DNA.

A new study of the Neandertal genome shows that humans and Neandertals interbred. The discovery comes as a big surprise to researchers who have been searching for genetic evidence of human-Neandertal interbreeding for years and finding none.

About 1 percent to 4 percent of DNA in modern people from Europe and Asia was inherited from Neandertals, researchers report in the May 7 Science. “It’s a small, but very real proportion of our ancestry,” says study coauthor David Reich of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. Comparisons of the human and Neandertal genomes are also revealing how humans evolved to become the sole living hominid species on the planet.

Neandertals lived in Europe, the Middle East and western Asia until they disappeared about 30,000 years ago. The new data indicate that humans may not have replaced Neandertals, but assimilated them into the human gene pool.

“Neandertals are not totally extinct; they live on in some of us,” says Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and leader of the Neandertal genome project.

He and other geneticists involved in the effort to compile the complete genetic instruction book of Neandertals didn’t expect to find that Neandertals had left a genetic legacy. Earlier analyses that looked at only a small part of the genome had contradicted the notion that humans and Neandertals intermixed (SN Online: 8/7/08).

“We as a consortium came into this with a very, very strong bias against gene flow,” Reich says. In fact, when he and his colleagues announced the completion of a rough draft of the Neandertal genome a year ago, the researchers said such genetic exchange was unlikely (SN: 3/14/09, p. 5).

But several independent lines of evidence now convince the researchers that humans and Neandertals did interbreed. “The breakthrough here is to show that it could happen and it did happen,” Pääbo says.

The result came as no surprise to some scientists, however. Archaeologists have described ancient skeletons from Europe that had characteristics of both early modern humans and Neandertals; evidence, the researchers say, of interbreeding between the two groups. But until the cataloging of the entire Neanderthal genome, genetic studies could find no evidence to support the idea.

“After all these years the geneticists are coming to the same conclusions that some of us in the field of archaeology and human paleontology have had for a long time,” says João Zilhão, an archaeologist and paleoanthropologist at the University of Bristol in England. “What can I say? If the geneticists come to this same conclusion, that’s to be expected.”

Researchers recreated the Neandertal’s genetic blueprints using DNA extracted from three bone fragments — each from a different Neandertal woman — found in a cave in Croatia.

Comparing the resulting blueprints of the female Neandertals, who lived about 40,000 years ago, with those of five present-day humans from China, France, Papua New Guinea and southern and western Africa, revealed that people outside of Africa carry Neandertal DNA.

Scientists were surprised to find that people from China and Papua New Guinea (places where Neandertals never lived) have just as much Neandertal ancestry as people from France. The group did not find traces of Neandertal heritage in the two African people studied. The result probably means that interbreeding between Neandertals and humans took place about 50,000 to 80,000 years ago in the Middle East as humans began migrating out of Africa to colonize the rest of the world, Reich says.

It is not clear how extensive interbreeding was; the data are consistent with either a short period with a great deal of interbreeding or with a long period of little interbreeding, says Richard E. (Ed) Green, a genome biologist now at the University of California Santa Cruz and a coauthor of the new study.

Comparison of the Neandertal genome to human and chimpanzee genetic sequences have led to some clues about recent human evolution. Neandertals “were not genetically very distinct from us,” says Pääbo. For example, the researchers were able to find only 78 proteins in which humans carry a different amino acid than is found in Neandertals and chimpanzees. That means that few changes in proteins have taken place in the past few hundred thousand years of human evolution. Researchers don’t know yet whether the changes in the proteins alter their function or give humans some survival advantage.

But some parts of the human genome clearly do produce an evolutionary advantage, the researchers say. Again, the team compared the human genome to those of Neandertals and chimpanzees and identified places where humans differ. If nothing of importance had happened in human evolution since humans and Neandertals diverged, such changes would be spread evenly across the genome, Green says. Instead, the researchers found large swaths of the genome where humans have distinct changes not found in Neandertals or chimpanzees. The team identified 212 such regions where “selective sweeps” were likely to have happened, many of which include genes involved in brain function. The researchers don’t yet know what the changes are or how they produce a selective advantage.

“These data are really a goldmine for understanding recent human evolution,” Green says.

Since humans and Neandertals could interbreed, some people question whether the two groups are different hominid species. The question doesn’t hold interest for John Hawks, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Genealogically, he says, the new study shows that many humans had a Neandertal great-great-great-great … grandfather. “It’s impossible to talk about them as ‘them’ anymore,” he says. “Neandertals are us.”

* * * * *

It is entertaining to contemplate who among us may have Neandertal genes? Could it be that I, due to my general "furriness" have some of those genes? I shall rub my beard and gently contemplate the possibilities.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flash Fiction Effort

Not sure what to think this week about my effort. I was in a different sort of mood. But here is my Flash Fiction Effort for this week:

Aftermath & Phonics

Millicent Johnston
145 Harvard Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02134


It seemed like it was only yesterday, but in reality it is just about 10 years now, since you had gone. I cannot say much beyond that, for to me, that time was once reality, but now is an historical artifact of my mind, akin to a musty and mildewed book. It was beautiful once, but now it is nothing, it does not matter. Only now matters. Today is today, and the past is long gone.

Let me catch you up by hearing about my life, for now is what matters, and it doesn't matter what was before. My life is all about now. It really does not matter about us back then. You see, I'm getting by down here. Its hotter then hell a lot of the Summer in this what-you-would-call backwater town, but after you left, I left the job at the University with no plans nor prospects for much in the way of income. So, I figured I'd drift South, deep in the South, to avoid having to pay for heat or other sh*t like that. When you left, I decided it didn't matter much if I did another damn thing, other than just do exactly what I damn well pleased.

I'm finding it fairly easy to live frugally down here. In fact, I lived in a tent the first year, until I found a boarded up, abandoned place just outside of Claiborne. This was a rural town, but has been largely abandoned, which is fine by me. I get what is necessary to live a good life here, residing at a fork in a road on the Alabama River, about an hour and a half’s drive northeast of Mobil.

My costs are low, so the savings I got will probably keep me going at this rate for another decade or so. All I buy are half gallons of cheap whiskey, pipe tobacco in bulk, and whatever I see at the dollar counter in the way of food, just to get me something to eat. Oh, and yeah, I forgot, I do indulge a bit still, and I get myself a couple of boxes of the nicotine patches every month. It helps jazz things up a bit.

I'm going to take a bit of a break in this letter for a minute, for I better go put another patch on right now, in fact. One of them fell off earlier when I woke up. They really help brighten up the pleasure of my pipe.

When you left, you said I wasn't working hard, but sh*t, I still don't understand how you could tell me that. Why did you latch on to that mantra? I'd been teaching in the Department for 20 years, and I had a good publication record to boot. But for you it wasn't enough. What more could I have done? Did I have to be a Dean to satisfy you? You never did say, but it don't matter any more, I'm better off how I am today, so forget about it.

But, what the hell, it really was your move that made my move possible, and I got off that rodent wheel you called life. I got to thank you for that. You say I snapped, that I went nutso, but hell, I think you're the crazy one now, for it wasn't till you left that I finally figured out how to live.

"Hedonism, brother, that's where its at!" Isn't that what all the cool ones said back when I was just a duck-stepping conformisit, toiling away, trying to do the right thing? I thought it would make you proud of me, my going to graduate school. I thought you wanted me to try to make a stable life for us? But you were right, and I was just a damn old fool. But no more!

Hedonism *IS* where it's at, my friend. And, don't you forget, you helped me see the light. And, after I am done with this letter to you, I'm going to latch onto the good life I've been missing all morning. I got my pipe and I got my cup. There isn't nothing more I need, and you showed me the path to enlightenment.

Yes, you did. I owe it all to you. Back early in our marriage, you made me a batch of home made salsa from our garden, and you used our own, home grown Coriander in it. That was the moment I most loved you, for it was when I felt our life together was truly stable.

But, it was too ephemeral a concept, that idea of stability with you, with a family. It was about as likely and as real as imagining a batch of cookies coming out of the oven, and staying hot, and chewy and melty forever. That is just a load of sh*t.

I now know what *is* stable, and I know how to keep it that way. I love the life I have. Don't you forget it. I know what I need to do each day, and the pattern is so reliable. I get up, and befriend my pipe, befriend my patches, and embrace my bottle. It is predictable, it is reliable, it is a true life.

I can drift into a dream in a moment, and find peace. I can find it, and know it will be there when I seek it. You would not give that to me. You berated me, and did not care.

I am happy, and fulfilled now, and you are nothing to me.


* * * * *

As always, I appreciate all comments, good or bad. I am experimenting here and am trying out new voices and approaches.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Anger Management

I have been contemplating for a while now, how to best keep me from getting "down" about all the b*llsh*t that happens at work and from others. It is difficult as I tend to get quite angry when my feelings are hurt. For me, the anger turns inside and the reality is that I harm myself physically and emotionally by keeping the anger and rage inside me.

Yet, expressing that anger and/or rage is not fruitful either. If I yell and holler, that is perceived badly and often times is not actually spoken towards the people I am angry at. The end result of expressing my anger and/or rage is to simply hurt other people's feelings, which is also not healthy for me emotionally or physically, for then I worry about that.

The best I can come up with is to a) try to view work as less of a "family" affair, where we are all "looking out" for each other, and b) focus much more adamantly on doing "my own thing" as opposed to trying to be a team player who works hard for the benefit of the group.

My U, as much as I would like it to be, *IS NOT* a family. There are many people in my area that are short-sighted and often unpleasant to interact with, and I should really diminish my time spent with them. Also, some in my area also have some ideas that are rather paranoid and delusional, and since it is beyond my ability to fix their paranoia and molly-coddle them into seeing a more accurate reality, it is best for me to detach myself from a sizable amount of the interaction I have with them.

In focusing more on doing "my own thing" I believe I will feel more accomplished in my own goals and aspirations in life. I am planning to make myself scarce by not being in my normal work areas other than when absolutely necessary. Instead, I will hide away from the hindrances (the people who try to smother me with their own issues and work in a variety of different campus nooks and crannies where I can sit and work with my laptop at will... without the negative people hindering my own life and progress towards happiness.

Let us hope it goes well. Wish me luck.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

A grand wish for a happy mother's day to all Moms out there. I hope you have a day that is filled with love and joy.

This will be the third Mother's Day since my own beloved Mom has died. I miss her enormously and wish she could talk with me. Last evening, I drove across town and placed a rose bush at her grave. I additionally placed a container of flowers at my grandmother's grave, and the grave of a very dear aunt. My mother always asked me to bring flowers to her own mother during times when my mother was sick in the hospital, and I will do this every year to honor and hopefully please her.

Mom, I wish and hope that you can hear me and see me. I love you! I miss you greatly! I so wish you could speak with me! I hope that you feel I am a good father, husband, son, and professor! I hope that you are proud of me! I hope that I will always live life in a way that will make you proud of me!


Saturday, May 08, 2010


In my parish, a very nice change has happened roughly 6 months ago. A group there has set forth to have a group meditation on the rosary before the Saturday evening mass. It is quite rare in most parishes today (at least in my region). The comfort, the tranquility, and the spiritualness I feel while participating is helpful to my emotional well being.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Best Laid Plans

If all goes well, this afternoon, I should be able to go have some fun. I am hoping to go visit my father-in-law and perhaps enjoy a libation or two and some pipes. We will likely talk about all manner of enjoyable things. It would be an excellent Friday afternoon... if my plans go well.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Emotions Can Alter Genetic Expression

A very interesting story in Science News that was published yesterday. It concerns how PTSD patients have identifiable changes in the expression of their genes. The implications are earth shattering... our emotional health can even more significantly affect our physical health than was previously thought. We all need to stay as happy as possible:

Genetic Changes Show Up in People With PTSD

By Nathan Seppa
Monday, May 3rd, 2010

People with post-traumatic stress disorder seem to accumulate an array of genetic changes different from those found in healthy people, researchers report online May 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The new findings, while showing differences between people with and without PTSD, don't shed light on whether these differences might play a role in PTSD, says study coauthor Sandro Galea, a physician and epidemiologist at Columbia University in New York City.

Only a fraction of people who witness a traumatic event develop PTSD. In an attempt to identify what makes people who develop PTSD biologically different from those who don’t, Galea and his colleagues obtained blood samples from 100 people in the Detroit area. All had been exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event, and 23 were diagnosed with PTSD. The scientists tested 14,000 genes in these blood samples for chemical changes to DNA that can affect gene activity without altering the genetic information itself.

The researchers focused on the methylation of genes, a process in which a methyl molecule is added to DNA, typically turning off a gene and inhibiting production of the protein that the gene encodes. If people with PTSD have more or less methylation in specific genes, that might somehow contribute to PTSD, Galea says.

The team found that the people with PTSD showed less methylation in several immune system genes and more methylation in genes linked to the growth of brain cells. “There is evidence that PTSD is involved in immune dysfunction, and we suggest that that’s part of a larger process,” Galea says. Although previous studies have also suggested a PTSD link to immune gene activation, the connection is unclear.

“This is interesting data, but there are a lot of things still to do,” says Manel Esteller, a molecular geneticist at the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research in Spain and the University of Barcelona who was not part of the study. “What’s missing is an explanation of how the traumatic stress really causes these changes in methylation — what is the mechanistic link?”

What’s more, the sample size of 23 patients is small, and PTSD diagnosis is tricky, says Naomi Breslau, a sociologist and epidemiologist who studies PTSD at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “I don’t believe this can be taken as a breakthrough.”

Galea agrees that finding the mechanisms involved will be the key to determining whether these methylation differences matter for PTSD. If further research clarifies how these changes play out in the body, he says, “that may allow us to eventually do something about it.”

So very fascinating. It also sounds like it could make a really frightening movie script as well.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010


The countdown is underway for me as I work towards my new major number goal of "600." If I make it, it will mean I have walked between 4-5 miles EVERY SINGLE DAY for 600 consecutive days. This is regardless of temperature (I always walk outside, and have had temperatures as low as -15 Degrees Fahrenheit (-26 Degrees Celsius) and as high as 101 Degrees Fahrenheit (38 Degrees Celsius)), regardless of weather (I have walked in blizzards, in pouring rain, in the blazing sun, and in extreme winds).

I am very happy I have kept up this effort. I have shed roughly 70 pounds (31.5 kilograms) from my body weight and I have maintained a normal BMI for the last year.

The exertion has helped me mentally and physically. It has helped me enjoy winters more, and has forced me to buy new clothes (the old clothes literally dripped off of me).

I hope that I continue to walk daily, and that I am able to continue in these very positive experiences. It is so odd, that something so VERY SIMPLE has changed me in so many ways that have helped me.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Flash Fiction Post

Today happens to be the date (57 years ago on May 4, 1953) that Ernest Hemingway received the Pulitzer for his novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Therefore, I thought it fitting to attempt today's Flash Fiction Effort in my rendition of his noteworthy style.

Title: "Homage to Papa"

"Is it me, or does this coffee taste weird?"
she said.

I look at my mug. The coffee is hot. The flavor is robust.

"No." I state.

"No, it doesn't taste weird? Or no, its me?" she looks towards me.

I think of work. Life was better then, before the Spring. The cold of the snow forced us together.

"It is fine." I say.

She looks at me. Her eyes are like daggers.

"You don't..." she starts.

Now the Spring has brought warmth. We do not need each other.

I look away. I get the keys out of my jacket. I pick up my pipe.

The harshness in her eyes diminishes. It is as if a light had dimmed.

"No, don't... please. We have flowers to plant."

Tears fall from her eyes. It is a sad, but true emotion. I am glad for her.

"No." I state again.

"You won't..." she begins, but does not finish.

I leave.

* * * * *


Monday, May 03, 2010

1200 Posts

Without realizing it, I posted my 1200th post here this past Saturday. I had not been looking at the number of posts I had made, and just happened to notice it today. It is very interesting to me to have writing this many times here.

As a side note, as I am still quite new to the idea of publishing photos, it seems this feature has been disabled today. I hope it is not gone for long. Does anyone know what is happening?


Saturday, May 01, 2010

Unfortunate Truths

I saw this and thought it good enough to pass on:

1. Even when opportunity knocks, you still have to get off your butt and open the door.

2. Not much is worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

7. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

8. Bad decisions make good stories.

9. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

10. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

11. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

12. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.

13. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

14. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

15. Caller ID is important, just so I know not to answer the phone when certain people/businesses call.

16. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

17. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Budweiser or Miller Lite than Kay.

18. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

19. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

20. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

21. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

22. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent an idiot driver from cutting in at the front. Stay strong!

23. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

24. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

25. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

26. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

27. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

* * * * *