Short Notes

Donating Tuna or Chicken Helper

At our church we donate shopping bags full of groceries for the Sharing Center. I try to be very understanding with what we donate. Our grocery store often has “twofers” that they call “bogos” (buy one get one free). I get those and give one to the collection. When I line up the pairs of products together on the checkout counter, I say it looks like I am provisioning Noah’s Ark.

I donate Tuna Helper or Chicken Helper but never Lobster Helper, because I know from experience, when one is on a very tight budget, after lobster night, there are rarely enough leftovers for a casserole the next night.

Of course, Lobster Helper does not exist and neither does lobster night, in our house!

Grocery Shopping

We have always managed to be on Plan A, buying groceries for us and cat food for our cat. We have never had to go to Plan B, just buying cat food that we all eat. I do not mention Plan C in front of the cat. I did, once, and she meowed, “You got that backwards!”


My wife and I joke about our purchases. Our grocery store has a display of collapsible umbrellas in various colors. One week, Linda bought one on one day and another color later in the week. I said, “You bought two $15 umbrellas in the same week? That was money we were supposed to be saving for a rainy day!”


I bought a Bachmann HO-scale model train set, some extra tracks, blinking railroad crossing lights, and two diverter tracks. I also bought a water tower and a box car. I admire the elaborate model train layouts other people create but for me, my train set is complete because the incremental value of another component would be zero.

One day, Linda saw I was on the Generac backup power supply website. She said, “Don’t tell me you are buying a $5,000 backup power supply for your $150 train set!” I replied, “No, I am downloading just a picture of a Generac unit to replicate and print out then wrap around to hide each 9-volt battery and electric-switch unit!”

Try and Find

People say, “Try and find” when they should say “Try to find” something. There are other variations of the “Try and” idiom that do not make sense. I suppose you could try and convict a criminal. The Word Editor’s grammar checker should diagnose this misuse.


The word “unbelievable” is often misused as praise. Perhaps the speaker means “amazing” or “wonderful”. I first noticed this when someone on TV said that Senator Ted Kennedy had “unbelievable personal integrity”. I recognized this was a case of “speaking in tongues” because his fans could interpret this as praise and others could interpret this literally as a lack of honesty.

Copy Editor

I recently realized why I am such a good copy editor, finding typographical errors. It is in my blood: I am Type-O Positive.

Dental Hygienist

A high-school girl wanted to be a mathematician. She ended up becoming a dental hygienist because she found the best she could do was to scrape through calculus.

No Problem

A common reply at the end of a phone call with a business is the phrase, “No Problem”. It would be much better to train employees to say, “Thank you!” or “You are welcome!”

I would not have called them, or they would not have called me if there were no problem.

Fries With That

At Burger King, the servers always would ask, “Do you want fries with that?” When my wife would go to the bank, on the way home, our young son, in his car seat, would see the Burger King sign and sight read, “French Fries!” Linda would go to the drive-up window and order only a small French fry serving. The server would usually say, “Do you want fries with that?” The answer should be obvious, but she had to be careful not to order a duplicate!


A tambourine is the musical equivalent of a cigar. When some guy smokes a cigar, I wonder how bad the world smells to him that he thinks a cigar improves it! When someone bangs a tambourine while a church choir sings a hymn, I wonder how bad they think the choir sounds that a tambourine improves it!

Machine Gun Kelly

There was a lot of noise from a repair crew digging up the road with a jack hammer outside our office. I said it sounded like Machine Kelly doing a medley of his greatest hits!

Bowling “7 – 10 Split”

We met a woman who told us another woman rear-ended her car and that is why her brake lights are out. I said I think the lights were already out and caused the collision. It was very unlikely that the collision would pick up the “7 – 10 split”.

Rice Krispies

I am impressed with how medicines seem to know where to go to fix problems. (OK, I know they go everywhere and latch onto receptors on cells.)

It is not just medicines. It applies to regular food, also. I ate some Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and now my arthritic knees snap, crackle and pop!

Prairie ‘n Diary

There is a new sausage called “Prairie ‘n Dairy”. One half is beef sausage, and the other half is cheese. It is for people who cannot afford to make both ends meat.