Emergency calls in Britain

What constitutes a crisis in Britain? Not much, if you ask some people, so periodically the ambulance/police/fire/coast guard emergency number publicizes a handful of the weirder calls they get in a—doomed, I’m sure—effort to make people get serious about this. They’re being tweeted at #ThinkBeforeYouDial!

So here we go: a quick visit to what the emergency number—999—deals with.

Someone wanted to borrow a charger for their phone’s battery.

Someone complained that the groomer had shaved their dog instead of trimming it.

Someone asked when the betting shops close.

Irrelevant photo: wild gladiolus–also called whistling jacks in the Scilly Isles.

Someone complained that McDonald’s didn’t give him a Monopoly sticker with his drink.

Someone asked, “Will I get arrested if I move my housemate’s banana?”

Yes, almost surely.

Someone said, “My TV is broken and Eastenders in about to start.”

Someone wanted the number for British Gas.

Someone’s hamster was sick.

One thoughtful soul wanted the non-emergency police number, presumably so they wouldn’t have to bother 999.

Someone wanted a takeaway place prosecuted because his food was 45 minutes late.

One tweet was from what seems to be a German police force and I don’t know any German, so when I was offered a translation of course I took it. It says, according to the translation program, “Yesterday #NoNotruf, today #DaFürDich. Tomorrow then there is also a.”

That strikes me as a genuine emergency. Of course, I worked as in publishing before I retired, not in emergency services. My definition of an emergency may not be much use in the real world.

*

This may or may not be related, but the World Health Organization reports that Britons drink almost twice the global average. People in Britain who are over fifteen drank 12.3 liters of pure alcohol—or its equivalent, since I doubt anyone’s chugging pure alcohol. I think that’s per year but for all I know it’s per hour. The worldwide average is 6.4 liters. I’d give you a link, but everything I find online is from earlier years and the article was in the Western Morning News, which has pretty much disappeared from the web lately.

Of course any worldwide average includes Muslim-majority countries, where I wouldn’t expect to find a huge number of drinkers. That would lower the global average. On the other hand, I’m hopeless with numbers. Maybe even after you allow for a significant number of nondrinkers in the sample, being over the average means you’re drunk on your ass.

I can testify that people around here drink pretty heavily. And after they drink, a lot of them sing. Some of them fight. A few of them dial 999.

The joys of spam

You know what’s wrong with the world today? Spam doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

I first checked my spam comments folder because I’d read that legitimate comments sometimes get dumped there, and I found a few and dug them out. But I went back because the true spam comments were wonderful.

Take this one:

“I think about the some hobbits, its a close tie concerning Sam in addition to Pippin upon who changes one of the most.”

Sure. I think about that all the time. I don’t know what I mean by it either.

It rambles on about hobbits a bit longer before it says, with no transition, “This would be a great spot to send out free coupons and discounts, or if you’re just looking to promote your kids disco hall business, you can set up a basic advertisement without any charge.”

My kids? Oh my gawd, do I have kids? Where are they? What school are they in? And when did they go into this disco business? Are they old enough to go into business?

I’ve been a really irresponsible parent, haven’t I?

To make up for it, should I tell them disco’s pretty much over and they should try some other business instead?

Screamingly irrelevant photo: wall pennywort, which has no interest in disco–or business

After disco balls, or halls, or whatever that’s supposed to be, suddenly the comment starts talking about acidic blood blocks, then Hokaido and a Japanese right-hander (no, don’t’ ask me; I’m an innocent bystander here, even if I am an irresponsible parent) Then we’re back to hobbits, briefly, before we’re sitting on a beach making money for doing nothing and starting a business and rectifying complaints and, I think, wearing bright pink lipstick. It ends by saying, “tone down your eye makeup” (always good advice, except when it isn’t; are my kids listening?). The last words are, “visit my site.”

Now here’s what’s fascinating: Somebody—some human mind with set of fingers attached—put this together. What I want to know is how you make this stuff up.

A second comment went from keeping weeds away from the foundation to HR resources (the R in HR stands for resources, so that’s human resources resources) to antivirus software to oil heaters—which may use oil to heat air or heat the oil itself for some other purpose, like throwing off castle walls onto the heads of tourists to remind them what it was like way back when—to turning off your phone. It ended by trying to sell cheap jerseys. Presumably to me, but maybe through me to you. I couldn’t tell.

Is there a template for this stuff? Mention five hot Google search topics, then try to sell something unrelated?

Does it ever work?

A third comment said, “That is why there are different approaches too evalouate and assess the neerd for this therapy in men. love bracelet from cartier.”

A fourth read, “Thanks, Dixie Chick! Michael is indeed innocent. Not only that but he has been coerced by the court and IRS to commit perjury, crimes and frauds ON THEIR BEHALF! But at every turn he has said ‘NO!’ Watch for my next article. Mike is a true hero. hermes kelly 32 handbags imitation for women.”

Who the hell is Michael? Is the rest of the world watching some soap opera that I don’t know about? Does he neerd therapy? Would a bracelet or an imitation handbag help, and if so how? And is it really handbag or just an imitation of a handbag?

In a grocery store in Minneapolis once, I bought something labeled “imitation noodles.” It was kind of dismaying, but I cooked them and we ate them and couldn’t tell them from real noodles. I never did figure out what the difference was.

In case it’s relevant, it was an Asian grocery store and I put the strangeness of it down to translation problems. I’m not sure I’d have forked out money for imitation food that hadn’t been translated.

But back to the comment: Assuming I actually wanted to watch for the writer’s next article, how would I find it since the link is to a site that sells handbags? Or imitation handbags, which is to say bags that are passing themselves off as handbags but may in fact be footbags. Or feedbags. The internet’s a dangerous place and someone’s always trying to pass stuff off as other, more expensive stuff.

Furthermore, why am I being addressed as a Dixie Chick? I don’t sing as well as they do and I’m from New York. Or Minnesota, depending on how you want to count these things, but either way I’m a northerner.

And you start with that chick stuff with me at your peril.

Another comment (at this point we’ll stop counting; I’m not good with heights) asked if I made this website myself, so I’m going to confess: I didn’t. I found it at the back of the refrigerator. I’m not sure who brought it into the house or how long it had been there, but I hate to see stuff go to waste so I used it.

A lot of the comments start with some form of praise. Hell, we’ll almost all read on if someone tells us how clever we are. One of them said, “I thought this post was once great.”

Geez. How are the mighty fallen.

Okay, I had to google that quote because I realized I hadn’t a clue what it’s about or where it’s from. Turns out it’s from the bible and not exactly relevant. It has to do with falling in battle, although I suppose that’s one way of becoming no-longer-great. Kind of an extreme one, and not the one I’d choose, assuming I get a choice, but highly effective.

A final comment (I’ll stop after this; I promise) says, “I see your website needs some unique content. Writing manually is time consuming, but there is solution for this hard task.”

I know. I found that at the back of my refrigerator too. I just open the jar, scrape off the mold, and blog without having to write a word of my own. Or think a single troublesome thought.

Want to bet this is how the spam comments get written?

O brave new world…

(I didn’t need to google that. It is relevant.)

How to buy peace of mind in Britain

Ever feel like you need peace of mind? Well, now you can buy some. The high-end British department store Selfridges (please note: no apostrophe) held a workshop teaching people to relax and reconnect.

Reconnect with what? Themselves, of course. Because they lost themselves somehow. Or their phones lost their signal and when that happens what’s left of the self? And so they turned to a department store to fix the problem. Because stores have stuff. And if you don’t count your self as stuff, maybe you should. Think how much simpler your life would be. So having lost their selves, these people also lost their signals and couldn’t look for the self-stuff they needed on the internet. That forced them back to an older, simpler time.

A vaguely related photo: If this doesn’t bring you peace of mind–or at least remind you what it is–well, I’ve done my best.

Listen, don’t expect me to sort out your every confusion. I’m just some idiot you found on the internet. What do I know? These are highly stressed people. I’m feeling a little stressed here myself, trying to make sense of the latest trends in the culture. I’m guessing these folks have outsourced large chunks of their lives and that creates a kind of disconnect with the world and its physical reality. They’ve probably outsourced their cleaning to cleaning people. Their food comes either pre-cooked or intravenously, so someone else is doing the preparation although they never get to see them and don’t know their names. They barely remember that there’s a someone out there who does this. They think food drops off the trees in this form.

Some of them are so far down that road that they’ve outsourced the effect of gravity on their bodies. They step on a scale and don’t register at all because they have people to do that for them.

People working on zero-hours contracts for multi-national corporations.

What’s a zero-hours contract? That’s a contract that binds the employee to employer while the employer owes zilch to the employee—not even a set number of hours’ work each week. Not even the title of employee, because presto lawyer-o, they’re told they’re self-employed.

The employee (or non-employee) is available when the company needs someone. When it doesn’t, they disappear from the planet and don’t need to eat or pay rent or raise kids, so it’s okay that they’re not getting paid. And it’s all for the greater good, because look how many jobs this creates.

Not jobs you can live on, necessarily, but still jobs. It’s good when people have jobs. We all know that.

(In case you’ve noticed, yes, I do mix the plural with the singular. It’s the simplest way to get around the he/she problem that crops up in English sentences when you’re talking about a person who could, for all you know, belong to either sex. Or, in these interesting times, to neither or both. I’m not mocking, just struggling to get my head around it.)

Anyway, I may be misrepresenting the people who took the class. I wasn’t there and I didn’t meet them. Maybe they were just your average media-obsessed types who are stretched thin trying to maintain what they consider the essentials of a middle-class life, which always lie just a little out of reach, no matter how high their incomes are.

Or, may the god of potato peelings help us all, maybe it’s not about a middle-class life but a middle-class lifestyle. Have I mentioned recently how much I hate the word lifestyle?

There’s a funny thing about the middle-class life. Everyone who isn’t either a gazillionaire or broke defines it as the life they’re living—or trying to live. So if their almost-in-reach middle-class life(style) is someone else’s definition of rich, we shouldn’t be surprised, right?

But I’m off the topic again. Sorry. When I start having too much fun, that’s when I have to worry. What I was trying to say is that of course paying a high-end department store to reconnect you with yourself is part of a middle class life(style). So what we need to focus on is how these stressed-out folks reconnected with themselves.

They peeled potatoes.

Potato peeling as meditation. Hence the god of potato peelings, who doesn’t get a lot of respect these days and is very pleased to be honored once again, however briefly.

The Guardian, which seems to have sent a reporter to the event (several papers covered the story; for all I know, nobody but reporters signed up; or maybe they all used the same story, which they bought from an agency that outsourced it to a freelancer who disappears off the planet when they’re not needed). Let’s start over. The Guardian writes that the event was held in a “conceptual farmhouse” in the store and that participants rang a cow bell to get in. Then they took their shoes off. Anyone who wanted to could stretch out on a straw bed for a nap. The paper didn’t say how many straw beds were available, but it did say that, in keeping with the rustic theme, participants could buy £20 incense sticks (that’s £20 for one, I think—to get to the plural I just used, I assume you’d have to fork out an additional £20) or a £1,000 wooden bowl.

That’s not an exact quote. The snarkiness is mine; the information is theirs.

“It’s about a simple enjoyment and awareness of daily life,” Selfridges’ Creative Director Linda Hewson said.

Yes, that is your grandmother you’re hearing—or depending on your age, it could be your great- or great-great-grandmother. She’s laughing so hard she can’t get a sensible word out.

How to make clotted cream: a link

Last Friday’s post about lost battleships led–probably inevitably–to a discussion about clotted cream. Maybe you had to be there, but it made a certain kind of sense. The point is that those of you who don’t live in Britain and therefore don’t have easy access to a supply of clotted cream. need to know that Jean at Delightful Repast has a recipe on her blog. It looks simple enough. If you try it, let me know how it is.

How to get arrested in New York, 1964 edition

This has nothing to do the joys and absurdities of British culture. But Kris asked, “Would ‘please?’ be enough to get you to relate your court experiences?” [I dropped a passing comment about them in this post. It may not be worth going back to, but the blogging rule book says you have to link back to your own stuff because otherwise the world will end ten minutes sooner than it would otherwise. And it’ll all be your fault. Enjoy your extra ten minutes, folks.)

So go on, then, Kris, twist my arm. The tone’s different than what I usually write, but I was looking for an excuse and this is as good as anything else I’ll find.

Our story, children, begins in the United States—that’s a largish country on the North American continent, sandwiched between Canada and Mexico, although Mexico doesn’t go from edge to edge so it acts more like half a slice of bread than a whole one—and it takes place at a time when the civil rights movement had swept from the American South into the North, where it was taking on the less obvious forms of segregation.

Or maybe we should make that less obvious to whites, since if you lived on the wrong side of those invisible lines they’d have been obvious enough.

Screamingly irrelevant (and late) photo: Rhubarb, just coming up. I took this in February–early in the month if I remember right. After living in Minnesota, I can’t believe what we get away with here. If rhubarb comes, can spring be far behind?

I was both white and seventeen, and I was aware of the invisible lines but—well, let’s say I was aware of them in the way a white seventeen-year-old might be and leave it there, because it’s too complicated to get into where it’s not the point. The point is that, with a friend or two from high school and in a teenage sort of way, I’d been involved in the civil rights movement for some years.

It was 1964 and New York was about to host the World’s Fair, so various civil rights organizations had planned demonstrations. The U.S. called itself the leader of the free world, and racism, segregation and the unaddressed legacy of slavery were a source of national shame. Probably not for everyone, but other countries weren’t impressed. It made sense to say publicly, in front of an international audience, “Address this.”

One of the movement’s most powerful tactics had been passive resistance—sitting down, sitting it, refusing to get up when arrested, and generally being peacefully disruptive. So at a meeting before the opening day’s demonstrations, those of us who planned to go were asked if we planned to get arrested and we divided into three groups: yes, no, and maybe.

I joined the maybes, knowing that I meant yes but wasn’t ready to say it yet. I’m not sure why that was. Something about being seventeen at the time means that I’m now left with a lot of blank spots where my motivations lay. It could have been that as simple as not wanting to talk to my parents about it beforehand, but I’m genuinely not sure. I may not have known at the time.

Long story short, I got arrested when a few people who’d been more certain of their commitment blocked traffic into the fair and were carried into a police wagon—what was called a paddy wagon at the time. I’m not sure if they’re still called that. I watched the arrests, then I climbed onto the hood of the van to keep it from leaving. It was as unplanned an act as it was unsurprising.

A couple of cops hauled me down and I should have gone limp but forgot. I heard someone on the sidelines say, “Is she okay?” and took it to mean, Why isn’t she going limp? but mid-arrest seemed kind of late to collapse, so I climbed into the van instead of being carried.

Great moments in civil disobedience.

I appeared in court that afternoon and when my name was called my mother appeared. I have no idea who called her or how they found her number. Maybe we’d all given contact numbers before the demonstration. At the time, I was young enough that my mother appearing seemed natural. I was released on bail, feeling both relieved and reduced at being handed over to her.

My parents were activists—they were working as union organizers when they met—and they were proud of what I’d done, although I don’t remember either of them saying so. Maybe it didn’t need saying or maybe they said it and it seemed so obvious that I didn’t register the moment. I was seventeen. Seventeen-year-olds can be heartless that way.

Fast forward. I got a notice to appear in court and found that my case had been merged with the cases of fifteen or twenty other demonstrators. One by one we were called to the front of the court and the charges read out.

The case was adjourned.

I got another notice to appear. By now it was summer and I’d graduated high school.

Same routine. I thought a few more people had been added, but I wouldn’t swear to it. The bailiff stood below the judge’s throne, facing us, and read name after name, including one woman Sandy Something, who had a string of charges that were threaded through the list instead of being gathered in one place, so that he called her over and over. With each new name, the courtroom had to wait while the person worked their way past the everyone sitting between them and the aisle and then came forward to join our small mob. It seemed to go on for hours.

As he got further into the list, the bailiff began a quiet monologue that the judge couldn’t hear.

“And Sandy Something,” he said. “Don’t forget Sandy Something.”

We couldn’t laugh. We were facing the judge and had to stand there like nothing was going on.

New name. Someone else stood and came forward to join our group.

“And Sandy Something, Let’s not forget Sandy Something.”

Finally we were all assembled. The prosecutor talked. Our lawyers talked. The judge talked. It was all going to be postponed again. The lawyers and all the arresting officers were trying to find a date they could all manage.

“I’m so glad it’s Friday,” the bailiff said. “I don’t know what I’d do if it wasn’t Friday.”

We couldn’t laugh.

The lawyers and arresting officers tried a different date. Somebody different would be on vacation. Another date. Someone else would be gone.

No one asked us if we’d be on vacation. No one asked the bailiff either. He kept talking, although by now, in the interest of keeping a straight face, I’d tuned out the words. I couldn’t afford to know. The whole thing was bizarre. Here was this guy, chatting away to us, while this whole formal dance went on around us.

Another date, another conflicting vacation.

The judge stood up.

“You figure it out,” he said. “I’m leaving.”

And the law, in all its black robes and majesty, huffed out of the courtroom, leaving a moment of stunned silence behind.

As I remember it, they didn’t take much time finding a date after that and we all went home.

That was my last court appearance. The lawyers worked out a deal. The people who’d blocked the doors on subway trains leading to the World’s Fair pleaded guilty to an out-of-date law, interfering with a steam engine, and were fined $5, which even then wasn’t an oppressive amount of money. For the rest of us, charges were dropped.

Which is why, when I’m asked if I was ever convicted of a crime, I get to say no.

I’m not sure what that tells us about the legal system in the U.S. My best guess is that it’s only in New York that a bailiff would carry on that monologue and a judge would huff out of his own courtroom, It’s one of many ways that I miss New York. But in fairness, I haven’t made a full survey.

Apologies

If you got a notice that I’d posted “British Understatement” and then found it didn’t exist, that’s because I meant to schedule it for January 20 but forgot to set the date, so it posted immediately. I’ve taken it down for now but it will be back. Really. In the meantime, welcome to a glimpse of my real life.

A breaking-my-own-rules reminder

In spite of all my principles, I’ve entered Notes in the UK Blog Awards contest (you’ll find an explanation here), and I’ve been reminded to remind you that the voting closes on December 19, at 10 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time. The company running the contest swears it’s excited about this. Or not just excited, super excited.

Do we believe them? Oh, yes we do. Every inflated word.

But I’m not above wanting to win, so you can vote for Notes in one or both of two categories, and those categories may or may not be appropriate for it. Let’s not lose too much sleep over that. I’ve never fit neatly into pre-existing categories and I’m not likely to start now.

Should you bother? I haven’t a clue. Self-promotion has never been one of my gifts. You may have figured that out by now. On the other hand, I’m not above promoting Notes, both for its own sake and for the illusion it gives me that I’m promoting my books, current and future.

Would winning help promote it or them? I have no idea.

Do I want to ask any more rhetorical questions that I can’t answer? No, I don’t think so. I’ll end here.

What people really want to know about Britain: part 6ish

How do I know what the world wants to know about Britain? By taking a quick dip into the search questions that bring people to Notes.

Does that constitute a biased sample? Absolutely. I only see search questions related to topics I write about. So yes, this is completely unscientific. Will that stop me? Absolutely not.

Repeat topics

Tutting: In my latest batch of questions, I found three about English tutting. Now, if you’ve never been tutted, you don’t live in England. Tutting is the way the unwritten rules are enforced. You butt in at the head of the line? Someone tuts you and your soul quietly withers. It’s not a subtle thing, but compared to what an American would do—“Hey, buddy, the rest of us have standing been on line here for, like, half an hour. How about you get to the back?”—it seems that way. It works best if you’ve been brought up to dread it, but even we barbarians know when we’ve been tutted and we don’t like it.

Lawyers’ wigs: I found the usual scattering of questions about lawyers’ wigs, most of them involving the word silly, including the one that wanted to know if barristers feel silly wearing them. After the first twenty or thirty years, I’m guessing they get used to it.

One writer managed to avoid the adjective and asked where lawyers in the U.K. get their wigs. Now that’s a new take on the subject. They get them at the Lawyers’ Wig Store, of course. Which has a separate entrance marked Courtroom Drama Wig Store. Customers meet in the middle and buy the same wigs but they can’t talk to anyone who came in the opposite door on pain of banishment.

No one ever asks if actors feel silly wearing those wigs.

Brussels sprouts: Now that Thanksgiving is past and the Christmas trees have been delivered to the stores, I’m getting questions about why we (we here being the British, so this is the British looking for information about the British) eat sprouts at Christmas.

Isn’t it strange that someone born and raised in this country is turning—or is directed—to me for an answer? It’s enough to make an anti-immigrant campaigner’s blood run cold. It’s enough, in fact, to make me want to answer, even though my first impulse was not to bother, since I’ve written about it in the past.

For the sake of variety, let’s do multiple choice this year: a) Brussels sprouts cast out intestinal demons that would otherwise trouble a person throughout the coming year. That’s why every British mother insists that her children eat at least one. b) They commemorate the fourteenth disciple, whose name has been lost to history but who was very short, even at a time when humans were closer to my height than to what we now think is standard. He was, in fact, so short they called him Sprout. Beansprouts weren’t known in the West until the 1960s, when the hippies discovered them and decided they’d solve all the world’s problems (you can see how well that’s worked). That was far too late and too fringy for a traditional Christmas dinner, so brussels sprouts it had to be. c) How many other vegetables are ready to pick in December? You eat what you can, then it becomes a tradition. And after that, you make up obscure reasons for it. d) All of the above.

The correct answer is d).

I should note that Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday in the U.K., but Black Friday, the shopping day after Thanksgiving, has been imported, so a non-holiday ends up being a reference point anyway. Anti-immigrant campaigners should be having fits about this but don’t seem to be worried. There’s no understanding some people.

Why the British dislike Americans: I’ve come to think of this as the American Paranoia Corner. Some people at least ask whether the British dislike Americans, but others leap over that step and go directly to why.

So why do they? Because we think everyone hates us, that’s why. It’s not an attractive quality.

Related to this, in an opposites-attract sort of way, is “americans love living in britain.” (Google searches don’t use caps.) Someone else asked, “do americans like visiting britain.” (Google doesn’t use question marks either.) Yes. All Americans, without exception, love living in Britain and like visiting it. We’ll tear each other to pieces about everything else, but we agree on those two things.

Driving: Someone was looking for photos of narrow Cornish roads and someone else typed in a statement, “emmits can’t drive cornwall,” which is true and would still be true if it included the word in. My favorite, though, was cut short, because it was turning into an essay. It reads, “Official length and width of a passing place on single track lane in cor…”

I love this, because it so misunderstands the nature of Cornish single-track roads, which rarely have official passing places. What our narrowest (as well as some of our wider) roads have is wavery sides, as if the edges had been drawn by a drunk or a kid just getting used to crayons, and these make the width vary between narrow and narrower. In the narrow places, you can pass. In the narrower ones, you can’t. If there’s a field gate, you can pull over to let someone pass. If it’s not too muddy, you can get back on the road again.

I have seen passing places consciously carved out from the fields that border the road, but they’re rare and if anyone’s measured them it’s news to me. I’m guessing they were made by farmers for their own convenience.

New and interesting

Music: Somehow a question about Edith Piaf and Les Barker found its way to me, although their names appear here only once, buried deep inside a post about the differences in musical notation in Britain and in the U.S. I’d guess that the poor soul who typed that search was looking for the lyrics to a parody Les Barker wrote of the Piaf song “Je ne regretted rien.” Barker’s version was “Non, no courgettes,” and if you type that into Google you’ll find discussions of male and female courgette flowers and how to grow zucchini, which is American (and Italian) for courgette. Which is British and French for zucchini.

Don’t you learn a lot here? And isn’t it important stuff?

I didn’t go very deep into the list the great googlemaster offered me, but I couldn’t find either my post or the lyrics. Or a recording. Which is a shame, because the song deserves more visibility. Unfortunately, the lyrics aren’t mine to publish, so you won’t find them here, and as a public service I refrain from recording my singing.

You’re welcome.

Notes from the U.K.: Someone asked, “who writes notesfromtheuk.” I might as well confess: Fast Eddie, the cat, dictates it to me, mostly on Wednesdays so I can post it on Friday morning. I can pass it off as my own because he can’t read and wouldn’t bother to if he could.

Thanks, Eddie. You’re a great cat.

Baffling

Two searches are looking for–well, it’s probably better if I get out of the way and quote them. The first reads, “driving throug narrow land writte on note back.” The second corrects that to “driving though narrow land written on note back.”

Narrow land written on note back. Is this the start of a fantasy novel? Is it bad typing? Whatever it means, it’s haunting, but I doubt the searcher found what she or he was looking for. I feel bad when that happens.

Breaking my own rules

Notes doesn’t do blog awards. It says so somewhere in this sprawling mess, and for the most part I mean it.

However.

R. Rieder nominated me for the UK Blog Awards 2017 in the Lifestyle category, saying, “Brilliant description(s) of living in and around civility. And to think we gave that all up to eat turkey one day a year…”

Well, who could duck a nomination like that? I went ahead and filled out a form to enter the contest, and it’s now open for votes.

Should you vote for me? Oh, what the hell, why not? You can do it by using this link between now and 8 a.m. (that’s probably Greenwich Mean Time) on December 19. I ended up entering in two categories because the form allowed me to. And because I’ve never understood what a lifestyle is. Whether Notes belongs in either is anyone’s guess, but you can vote for Notes in one or both. Or you can not bother. It’s fine with me.

Win, lose, or get tossed out for not taking it seriously, I promise not to think this means much. So I’m not twisting any arms here.

R. Rieder, thanks for one of the funniest nominations I’ve read.