Circle Gets the Square

“You didn’t think he was cute? I totally thought he was cute.”
“That one guy from the other night? Really? You found him attractive?”
“Definitely, in kind of a non-traditional way, I guess. An angular way. I like angles.”
“Apparently. So you’re saying you like square.”
“Yes, I suppose I do like square. And you like circle, don’t you? Yeah, you’re definitely more circle.”
I leaned back in my chair a bit, looking up and to the right like I do when I’m deep in thought, then continued, “Hmm. I wonder if there’s a theory to be developed here. Maybe romantic attraction all comes down to circle versus square. I’m going to work on this a little.”
“Can’t wait.”
I brushed the potato chip crumbs off my fingers, jotted down a few quick thoughts in my ever-present notebook, and then shifted my focus to the turkey and brie sandwich sitting patiently on my plate. Later that day on my train ride home, instead of reviewing the TV Guide section of the Tribune to see what time America’s Next Top Model started, I worked to broaden my theory a bit. Choices. Circle/Square. Either/Or. Attraction/Repulsion. What did it all mean?
By the time my train arrived at my stop, I had a rough concept, but I needed more empirical evidence. Immediately upon returning to my apartment, I called Natasha to continue the study now that I had developed my hypothesis a bit further.
“Okay Nat. Remember today at lunch when we were talking about circle or square? I have a few more questions for you. I just need you to clear your mind and go with your gut reaction when I ask you these. Don’t over think it, okay?”
“I’m ready.”
“Okay, here we go: bear or wolf?”
“Wait – so what exactly am I supposed to answer? Which would win? Which I like better?”
“No, no. It’s all about attraction. Which are you more attracted to? Which would you rather date?”
“Oh, then bear, for sure.”
“Good. Sun or moon?”
“Mmm hmm. Cobra or crocodile?”
“Is this to find out if I like arms or not? Because that’s a hard cho-”
“You’re thinking too much. Just go with your gut. Which would you rather marry, cobra or crocodile?”
“Uh… crocodile, I guess.”
“Okay, now why did you say that?”
“I just think a crocodile would be a better provider. I mean, what kind of job can a cobra get with no arms or legs?”
“Nat! You’re still being too rational. Just go with your absolute first instinct. Okay, this is the last one: solid, liquid or vapor?”
“That one has three choices. Why don’t you ask me hamburger or hot dog?”
“Don’t be absurd. Just answer the question – would you rather date solid, liquid or vapor?”
“Well, liquid, I think.”
“Really? Liquid? That surprises me. I totally had you pegged as a solid. These findings are highly unexpected.”
“Yeah, I figured that one might shock you. Wait – what the hell does any of this mean, anyway? Is this some sort of psychological profile? Is this like the Myers-Briggs thing? Let me try it again.”
“I’m not really sure yet. I need to get some more data before I can really see what types of conclusions can be drawn. I’m going to need to expand my sample size.”
Which leads me to my next Weekly Opinion Poll (and yes, it has been brought to my attention that in order to call something ‘weekly,’ I really need to do it every week. Fine, so we’ll call it ‘Sporadic Opinion Poll.” Better?):
Question: Which are you more attracted to?*
1. Circle or square?
2. Wolf or bear?
3. Sun or moon?
4. Cobra or crocodile?
5. Solid, liquid or vapor?
*Go with your absolute gut reaction on these. It’s crucial to the integrity of this scientific study. If I suspect you’ve been using logic or ration or Google to decide, I will have no choice but to exclude your responses. I am a woman of science, after all.

Weekly Opinion Poll: Two Thumbs Down

From: Seamus
To: Jenny
Subject: Karaoke

Hey – are you in for karaoke tonight? We’re going at 9:00. Don’t disappoint me again!
From: Jenny
To: Seamus
Subject: Re: Karaoke

So… here’s the thing. I’ve got to work a tradeshow tonight and there’s a late night cocktail reception deal afterwards. Corporate stuff. Lots of suits. Don’t think I’ll get out in time. Sing something pretty for me.
PS – Stop yelling at me!
From: Seamus
To: Jenny
CC: Natasha
Subject: Fwd: Re: Karaoke

I don’t know why I even bother. You are tipping the scales in LFQ right now. That’s Lame Friend Quotient. Who do you think you are? You’ve let us all down.
Nat – I’m really frustrated with Jenny’s lack of participation. She doesn’t go to karaoke. She didn’t come to my Jim Jarmusch movie marathon. I’ve decided to host a film festival in her honor called “Films Jenny Hates.” I’m going to pay her $100 to sit through it. Be there.
From: Jenny
To: Seamus
CC: Natasha
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Karaoke

I think I can already name two movies you’ll put on the “Films Jenny Hates” lineup. But really, why would you do that? If I’m so lame, why do you even want to hang out with me? Maybe you’re really high on the STMWTDQ (that’s Stop Telling Me What To Do Quotient). Did you ever think of that?
PS – Let’s not fight anymore, okay?

So this is where my friendship with Seamus stands right now. He has resorted to paying me for my companionship, yet simultaneously wants to punish me during our time together. I’m starting to think we might need counseling.
He did get me thinking, though, about what movies might make the Films Jenny Hates Film Festival. Because here’s the thing – I swear that I don’t try to be contrary, but there are just certain movies that the whole world loves, and that everyone swears I will adore, but that I just despise. One prime example? It’s a Wonderful Life.
I will admit that I’ve never suffered through the entire movie, but I’ve seen at least an hour of it, and honestly, when Jimmy Stewart is running down the street screaming “Merry Christmas everyone! Merry Christmas!” at the end, it makes me want to go all Elvis and shoot out the TV while popping sleeping pills and eating a fluffernutter sandwich.
[Ironically, I adore the movie, Miracle on 34th Street. I mean, come on! How can anyone resist that adorable little Natalie Wood?]
Another hobby of Seamus’ is doing his imitation of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman because it quite literally pushes me to the brink of madness. At least once every couple months, something will remind him of this movie and he’ll immediately start staring out into space, pretending to be blind, and quoting the lines, “Got your head so caught up in the sugar business, you forgot the taste of real honey.”
“I’m too old. I’m too tired. I’m too fuckin’ blind.”
Or simply
“Hoo ha!”
So all this to say, being called out for my own lameness, and the threat of having to watch my least favorite movies made me remember that it is HIGH time for another Weekly Opinion Poll! It’s been ages since I’ve heard what you all think, so now is your chance.
Question: Which critically-acclaimed, perennial fan favorite movie makes you want to scream, “What is wrong with you people?! This movie is a colossal piece of crap!” while ripping out fistfuls of your own hair?
A. It’s a Wonderful Life
B. Scent of a Woman
C. Garden State (Must. Kill. Natalie Portman.)
D. Swimming Pool (Foolishly bought this on DVD based on positive reviews alone. $17.99 and two hours of my life I’ll never get back again.)
E. Vanilla Sky (Must. Kill. Tom Cruise.)
F. Sideways (Don’t even get me started.)
G. Other (please explain)

Weekly Opinion Poll: Sweet Nothings


Okay, really folks, this is it. I mean it. I’m not going to write about candy anymore, I promise. At least not until my arms heal from all the deep scratches I sustained while chasing my cats around for 45 minutes, trying to get them to pose wearing candy necklaces. Sometimes they’re just no fun at all.
And really, let’s face it – it’s Friday before a long weekend, half of your office is gone, you’re all somewhat bitter about having to be there anyway. So why not take a minute and let this tiny corner of the blogosphere get to know you a little better? Because just like Tom Cruise, I care about you. I care about all of you, almost as much as I care about Brooke Shields. And I’ve done the research, so stop being so damned glib, would you?
All right, so on to this week’s Weekly Opinion Poll:
Question: What kind of sweet treat launches you immediately into a nostalgic trip back to your childhood? (write-ins are welcomed)
A. Blow Pops
B. Candy buttons on the paper strip
C. Candy necklaces
D. Lik-m-Aid Fun Dip
E. Necco wafers
F. Pop Rocks
G. Razzles
H. Rock Candy
I. Wax bottles/lips
(Oh, and if you need any help remembering the name of your favorite candies, go here!)

Weekly Opinion Poll: Gluttony

I knew I shouldn’t do it, but I wanted to, and sometimes desire is reason enough. I knew I should have ordered the salad, but when I ran across the street to McDonald’s for lunch, all I could think about was how badly I wanted French fries. Then I saw their new marketing campaign, and all I could think about was how badly I wanted the new Premium Chicken Sandwich and French fries.
I placed my order and stepped aside while they lovingly slapped together my #7 Crispy, when suddenly I heard a loud “pop!” Fortunately, my years spent growing up on the mean streets of rural Wisconsin taught me exactly how to handle this type of situation. After unburying myself from the elderly woman and twin toddlers I had used as human shields, I stood up and realized that it hadn’t been gunfire, but in fact, the heating light bulb above the French fry tray had exploded.
Glass shards shattered all over the bin of freshly salted, piping hot fries.
Clearly, McDonald’s does extensive crisis management training with its employees, because within seconds, the manager appeared out of nowhere with a giant garbage bin, ordering his trainees to dump out each and every fry.
“But… those ones on the side look fine,” I thought. I mean, they were already boxed up and ready to go. “I can be real careful and eat around the stabby pieces, honest!”
The flustered cashier offered me two apple pies instead of my piping hot, glass covered fries, but somehow it just didn’t seem like much of a deal. Since I didn’t want to wait for the manager to pull out the McAbacus to figure out how to refund the fry portion of my value meal, I just took my lone Premium Chicken Sandwich and silently slumped away.
This experience made me think – what had I done to make the universe feel like I didn’t deserve those fries? I don’t eat fries all that often – I swear! I usually get the grilled chicken salad with lowfat Paul Newman dressing. I haven’t been overindulging lately, have I?
And then I remembered.
Last Saturday. 6:27pm. La Grange Park, IL
My friends Ozzie and Lily had their annual barbeque, to which I brought my annual potato salad like the good guest that my momma raised me to be. In a frustrating turn of events, three other copycat guests apparently didn’t get the memo that I am in charge of potato salad. I brought it last year, I brought it this year, I’ll bring it next year. We ended up with twelve pounds of potato salad for ten people. This is why understanding roles and responsibilities is essential to an effectively functioning society.
But anyway, aside from the opportunity to spend time with their hip-hop gangsta children, Zoë and The Deke, I was intrigued by Lily’s marketing ploy in this year’s eVite:
“Krispy Kreme bread pudding will be served.”
Now, let the record reflect that, as a general rule, I hate bread pudding. Along with rice pudding, or potato pudding, or noodle pudding, or any other pudding made from some starch that was once part of a dinner.
But Krispy Kremes? Krispy Kremes are never for dinner, unless you live in North Carolina, where doughnuts have their own level in the food pyramid, just below fruits and vegetables.
I could see this dessert had potential.
I waited all afternoon in eager anticipation of this curious treat. I forced myself to be polite and eat thirteen carrot sticks, and four cheese puffs, and two bratwursts, and half a hamburger, just to make Ozzie and Lily feel good. I didn’t want them to think I came just for dessert.
Finally, Lily slid open the patio door with her foot and carried out a tray of what would prove to be the most revolutionary dessert ever to make an appearance at a barbeque in all of Illinois. Nay, all of the Midwest.
Typically, even if I love a particular dish, I don’t usually ask people how they made it. This is partly because, based on how frequently I turn on my stove, I know this information will come in about as handy for me as the quadratic equation does. But really, the main reason I don’t ask that question is out of fear that the cook, like a certain acquaintance of mine, will launch into a fifteen minute epic step-by-step description of how to prepare the dish:
“First, I buy the chicken whole – you always have to get them whole – and I cut up the parts into quarters. If you get the ones that are pre-cut, they can sometimes be okay, but usually I just find that the whole ones taste a lot fresher. You probably should wait until they go on sale at the Pick n Save – sometimes my sister saves the coupons for me. Then, I rinse them with cold water, but not too cold, making sure to flush out the cavity really well. You can put salt and pepper in the cavity now or later, depending on how salty you like it. Jenny! Are you listening to me? Next I take about one cup of chopped celery, two teaspoons of nutmeg, a quarter stick of butter-“
“Dammit, woman! I just asked if I tasted tarragon!”

Anyway, I’m not sure if I remembered the recipe 100%, but I think this is pretty close to how Lily told me she made the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding:

  • Three dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts

  • Two cups of dark molasses
  • One 64-oz can of fruit cocktail, heavy syrup
  • Two cups of brown sugar
  • Two cups of raisins
  • Three cups corn syrup
  • One teaspoon nutmeg
  • One quarter teaspoon cinnamon
    Mix all ingredients together in a food processor until it forms a thick dough. Mold the dough into the shape of a beehive, wrap in rice paper, and place in the crook of a tree for 7 to 10 days, or long enough for the queen bee to lay her eggs and the worker bees to produce at least two cups of honey.
    Once you have collected enough honey, place the dough hive (bee larvae and all) into a 10” x 13” glass baking pan and bake at 350˚ for 25 minutes.
    Let the pudding cool, then top with cream cheese frosting and one large syringe of insulin.
    Serves 80-100.

  • I’m telling you right now people, I could only eat about two tablespoons of the pudding before I felt myself drift off into a gentle diabetic coma, but those were the two most amazing tablespoons of food ever to dance across my taste buds. You can’t know. None of you can. Except Nat, and Seamus, and about eight other of the luckiest people alive. We all know.
    So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if I have to get glass in my French fries, Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding made it all worthwhile.
    Which leads me to this week’s Weekly Opinion Poll!
    Question: What food item that will most likely kill you is your ultimate guilty pleasure food?
    A. Ice cream
    B. Pizza
    C. Deep fried cheese curds (Shout out to Wisconsin! Go Pack Go!)
    D. Potato chips
    E. French fries
    F. Whipped cream out of the can (Right, like I’m the only one?)
    G. Chocolate
    H. Red red wine
    I. Krispy Kreme bread pudding

    Weekly Opinion Poll: Heart Attack

    Well, I’ve got to let you know that after my last opinion poll, I considered calling it quits.
    Because throughout these weekly opinion polls, you know that we’ve had some ups and downs. None of you agreed that Boys of Summer was a heart-wrenchingly sad song. And sure the flip-flop haters were in the majority, but I just didn’t feel like we had any true breakthroughs.
    But with the work jargon entry, it was almost like we had reached nirvana. I have never in my life felt so understood. So connected. So part of something bigger than me. I just wanted to smile until I couldn’t hold back the laughter, and then laugh until I started to cry a little, which would then turn into hysterical sobs that eventually would turn back into laughter, but by then you wouldn’t know what to do with me so you’d just promise to call me in the morning.
    But both of us knew you never would.
    So I guess I kind of felt like, what more is there? How much closer can I really let myself get? I already feel like you’re the Billy Bob to my Angelina and I just want to wear a vial of your blood around my neck. Do you know what I mean?
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to give up just yet. I just need to not let myself compare future opinion polls to that one. Because it wouldn’t be fair to them.
    So I decided to take stock: what is it that I know about you, and what have I yet to learn? You are truly complex individuals. I know what you don’t like to eat, who you don’t like to listen to, what you hate to see people wear, what makes you cry, what makes you crazy. What’s left? Romance, of course.
    So I got to thinking – what makes you all squishy inside? On that note, I launch this week’s Weekly Opinion Poll!
    Question: What romantic movie makes your heart just melt and gives you hope that true love can exist? (and for you, of course I’ll accept write-ins)
    A. Love Story
    B. Officer and a Gentleman
    C. Somewhere in Time
    D. Sixteen Candles
    E. Casablanca
    F. West Side Story
    G. The Princess Bride
    P.S. I know I shouldn’t muddy the issue, but just yesterday I heard two more catch phrases that make me dig my fingernails into my fists: “I had an ‘A-ha’ moment,” and “But can we really deliver that Wow Factor?”

    Weekly Opinion Poll: Tower of Babel

    At what point during my career did I cease to speak English, and adopt mumbo-jumboese as my native tongue? I think it may have been somewhere between my third and fourth years in corporate America, shortly before the universal adoption of casual Fridays, but just after email became the standard mode of communication.
    Anyone who has worked in an office setting for any period of time knows exactly what I’m talking about. You swear that you won’t ever do it. You promise yourself that you’ll only use nouns as nouns and verbs as verbs, but one day, it just slips out. You’re in a meeting and in a fit of frustration you say, “Dammit, Rochelle, will you just bottom-line it for me?”

    bot.tom line (bot’əm līn), n. 1. the final figure, showing profit or loss, in a financial statement. 2. the ultimate result or consideration.
    -v. informal, to cut to the chase; to stop beating around the bush; to get to the point.

    Now, I don’t want to imply that only corporate America speaks in a foreign language. I have many friends in the non-profit sector who also have a lingo all their own. They toss around nonsensical terms like “lit drops” and “donor drives” and “philanthropy” as if the rest of the for-profit world is supposed to understand this gibberish. It’s no wonder they don’t make any money, with all that speaking in tongues and whatnot.
    But today, my gripe is not with the non-profits. It’s with me. I have crossed all lines of decency and decorum when it comes to this fine language we call American and have become that which I once despised. Why, just last week I used no less than seven catch phrases in one meeting; I may have even used a sports metaphor – I can’t be sure.
    For those of you fortunate enough to have avoided the corporate sector, let me open up a window into my world:
    Scene: Northwest Conference Room, Chicago, Summer 2005
    Employee 1: All right, thanks everyone for coming together for this meeting on such short notice. I know everyone’s swamped right now, but I just wanted to touch base with all of you on our Go-To-Market plans for the year, and start picking your brains for next year’s plan.
    Employee 2: Look, we need to go after the low-hanging fruit here. Let’s cherry pick a few of these hot ideas, run with them, and then tackle the longer-term ones later in the year.
    Employee 3: Well, let me throw a wrench into this – you know that our biggest customer is MoneyCo, and they aren’t looking for an off-the-shelf product. They want a custom job.
    Employee 1: What? When did they shift gears on us? I feel like I’m completely out of the loop here. Last I heard, MoneyCo was looking for more of a plug-and-play solution, but now you’re saying they want something totally custom? Well, if that’s the case, we’re really going to have to think outside the box to come up with a new product idea for them.
    Employee 4: I agree! To bottom-line it, we’re going to have to fast-track any concept we come up with for them and really start working smarter, not harder if we’re going to hit our deadlines!
    Employee 3: Hey, before I go back to IT with this idea, we really need to have our ducks in a row. I mean, is MoneyCo even a client we want to jump through hoops for? I heard they were being acquired by DollarTech.
    Employee 1: Steve, can you parking lot that thought so we can take that discussion off-line? I don’t want us to lose focus.
    Employee 3: Fine. I just want to make sure that Sales doesn’t throw me under the bus when MoneyCo starts complaining because we’ve got their product in a holding pattern.
    Confused? Trust me, we all were in the beginning. It’s like those German Immersion schools – you just have to throw yourself into it and hope you’ll learn through osmosis. With that, I launch into this week’s Weekly Opinion Poll!
    Question: Which corporate mumbo-jumbo catchphrase makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up every time you hear it? (write-ins are A-OK with me)
    A. Think outside the box
    B. Low-hanging fruit
    C. Out of the loop/In the loop
    D. Get some skin in the game
    E. Pick your brain

    [Note: special thanks to Natasha for sharing her corporate jibber jabber with me.]

    Weekly Opinion Poll: Underdog

    “Hey, Natasha – it’s Jen. Just wanted to see what you were up to tonight. I’m just hanging out, watching Season 3 of Six Feet Under. Give me a call. Talk to you later – bye!”
    “Hey Jen – just got your message. What up, dog? You’ll love Season 3! So what’d you do this weekend?”
    “Ohmigod – I went to see Charlie & the Chocolate Factory! It’s so totally my new favorite movie! You seriously have to see it ASAP. It was awesome. Johnny Depp was hilarious! Tim Burton did such a good job with the-”
    “Shhh! Stop! Don’t tell me about it! I want to go see it next weekend.”
    “But I was just gonna say that it was really cool because they-“
    “Jenny! I’m serious! I don’t want you to spoil it for me!”
    “Okay, Nat. You’ve seen the original movie what? Like fifteen times? I think you’re pretty familiar with the story.”
    “Well… how do I know how they changed it?”
    ”No, no. You’re right. I don’t want to spoil it. Especially that part where Veruca Salt kills Willy Wonka and enslaves the Oompa Loompas. I so did not see that coming.”
    “Dammit, Jenny! See – now because you said that, I know it didn’t happen. Just stop talking about it!”
    “Nat – killing Willy Wonka? You’ve read the book. Do you honestly think that they kill off Willy Wonka?”
    “Look – it’s Tim Burton. He’s crazy. How do I know what liberties he took with the script?”
    “Okay, whatever. I’m sorry. The movie sucked. You shouldn’t see it. Everyone dies. The chocolate river is really made of poo. Willy Wonka is a serial killer. Rosebud is a wagon. Aliens pop out of Charlie’s stomach. The cops are all in on it.”
    See, what Natasha didn’t let me explain is that the reason I loved Charlie & the Chocolate Factory so much is because it’s a great story of the little guy winning out over the rich and powerful. Charlie was poor! He only got one candy bar a year! But he found that golden ticket, by golly – he found it! And he had a good heart, too! He wasn’t greedy, or mean, or competitive. His kindness wins out in the end.
    Man, I love a good underdog tale. I love rooting for the kid everyone else thinks is a loser, the kid who has no business being here, the kid with all the odds stacked against him. My money’s on that kid!
    Which leads me to this week’s Weekly Opinion Poll!
    Question: What is your favorite “underdog” movie? (as always, write-ins happily accepted):
    A) Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (or Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory)
    B) Rudy
    C) Swingers
    D) The Bad News Bears
    E) Rocky
    F) My Bodyguard
    G) Hoosiers

    Weekly Opinion Poll: Fashion Police

    In keeping with last week’s fashion-themed poll, I wanted to talk about a serious problem that I feel has become epidemic in our nation. One of the main reasons I left the rolling hills of the Wisconsin countryside was to escape this frightening clothing trend begun by savages, but little did I know that in the bustling metropolis of Chicago, I would be exposed to this horror on a daily basis. I am, of course, referring to the wearing of flip-flops to work.
    Every day, since May 1st, I have been unwillingly exposed to the near-nude feet of commuters and colleagues, strangers and friends. I take a deep breath as I step off the elevator each morning, knowing that it is only a matter of seconds before I will hear the dreaded slap slap slap of plastic on bare heel.
    I just don’t understand when flip-flops crossed over from pre-teen beach attire to acceptable professional office wear. Where was I, and why didn’t I start a petition? I will readily admit that part of my issue is due to the fact that I have a slightly neurotic dislike of feet. I don’t like my own feet. I don’t like anyone’s feet. Sure, they serve a purpose, but so does my bladder. It doesn’t mean I’m going to put a glass bubble in my stomach so you can all witness its unrivaled capacity for urine storage.
    At what point is enough enough? When will people feel their feet are sufficiently exposed? Oh wait – I’ve got an idea! Maybe I think that the little flip-flop strap in between my toes is too restricting, so how about I just cut out some footprint shaped pieces of duct tape and slap them onto the bottom of my feet? What? These are my new shoes now. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, Jenny’s feet gotta be nude.
    And now that you mention it, sometimes shirts really bother me, too. They don’t let my body breathe enough, so I think from now on I’m just going to wear pasties to work. Something tasteful, like a nice corporate navy blue. I won’t go crazy and wear tassels, except on casual Fridays.
    But I don’t want to discriminate – you men should have these same rights. In fact, I can certainly imagine that those Dockers start to really chafe after wearing them all day, so I’m going to propose that men start wearing loincloths to work. God, everyone seems so much happier here now!
    Shortly thereafter, we will all lose the ability to speak, and monkeys will once again rule the earth.
    So let this serve as a cautionary tale to all you flip-flop wearing corporate job people. Unless you want to be called Bright Eyes by a bunch of machine-gun toting gorillas while they lead you around on a leash and force you to mate with each other, put on some damn shoes!
    And without further ado, I give you this week’s Weekly Opinion Poll:
    Question: What fashion trend do you find the most annoying (write-ins accepted)?
    A. Flip-flops to work
    B. Men wearing no socks and boat shoes
    C. Neckerchiefs
    D. Livestrong bracelets (or any knock-off variation thereof)
    E. Top ‘o the butt crack tattoo
    F. White shoes after Labor Day
    PS – I’m heading off to Washington DC for work this weekend, so I won’t see you until next Wednesday. Please be good!

    Weekly Opinion Poll: Oh, Sexy Girlfriend…

    I realized yesterday that I was so excited about all the new things I’ve been learning about you, that I completely forgot to post the results of our last two surveys. Forgive me for this egregious oversight, won’t you please? You’re a lamb!
    On the topic of which pop singer you would bring with you to a deserted island, and then subsequently devour, the overwhelming favorites were: Phil Collins and Charlotte Church. Their publicists have ignored my every request for comments.
    And now, I can share my selection: I would choose John Mayer because I would experience absolutely no remorse whatsoever over eating him. His music makes me want to stick hot forks in my ears, and it takes all my inner strength not to pluck out my own eyes whenever I see his mush-mouth face contort while he sings. In fact, I might eat him before the plane even crashed.
    Moving on to another music-related topic, but a more sensitive one, I was so excited to read all your feedback about songs that make you cry. I must also give special thanks to all the men who responded, thereby dispelling the commonly held belief that men are made of stone and ash. Now we know – you’re all squishy inside, just like us!
    Of the choices provided, the overwhelming winner was “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. In hindsight, it was almost unfair to list that song as one of the choices, because it’s so over the top sad. I must admit, however, that I was a bit shocked and disappointed that no one – not a single person – voted for my favorite, “Boys of Summer.” I just don’t get it – it’s a sad song, people! Come on!
    Week by week, I’m drawing a clearer and clearer picture of who you are, what makes you tick, what goes on inside that head of yours. So this week, it’s time to talk about sex, baby. That’s right, I said it. Don’t worry, it’s G-rated sex talk – my momma raised me right!
    Earlier this week, as I was sitting on the train after work, looking around at all the weary 9-to-5’ers on the ride home, I discovered something about myself: I find it very sexy when men loosen their ties and unbutton the top button of their shirts after a long day. But I do not find it sexy if they take the tie all the way off. There’s just something about that moderately loose, slightly askew necktie that says, “I take my job seriously, but beware – the only thing restraining the passionate beast within me is my moderately loose, slightly askew necktie.”
    So I started thinking – why do I find something so unsexy sexy? Am I a freak? Is this because I was home-schooled? Before I allow myself to dig any deeper into my inner psyche, I thought I should pose the question to the group. So please have your number two pencils ready… and BEGIN!
    Question: what is the sexiest, non-traditionally sexy item of clothing/accessory someone can wear? (write-ins accepted)
    A. Hooded sweatshirt
    B. Plaid flannel pajamas
    C. Chuck Taylor high tops
    D. Argyle socks
    E. Coveralls
    F. Baseball cap
    G. Heavy-framed eyeglasses
    H. Clunky shoes

    Weekly Opinion Poll: Crybaby

    Normally, I arrive at our favorite karaoke joint well-prepared with notebook in hand featuring a carefully thought out set list that showcases my very limited vocal range. But this Wednesday, I was just a mess. I arrived late, forgot my special mini karaoke notebook, and neglected to hit the ATM in advance. I frantically flipped through the song books, desperately hoping something would inspire me. Fortunately, it didn’t take long:
    I grabbed Natasha’s arm, and said, “Oooh, Boys of Summer! I just love that song!”
    “Cool – you should sing it!”
    My eyes widened. “NOOOOO! I can’t sing that!”
    “Why not? Too high?”
    “No – too sad. That song always makes me cry.”
    Nat paused a moment, and then got a smirk on her face as she said, “Okay, Boys of Summer makes you cry? Which part – the convertible part or the wayfarer sunglasses part?”
    “The whole thing! I mean come on – ‘I thought I knew what love was. What did I know? Those days are gone forever. I should just let them go…’ How can that not make you cry?”
    Natasha stopped chewing on her straw, shook her head, and said, “You’re a freak.”
    “Okay, ice queen. What song makes you cry?”
    Nat averted her eyes, shrugged her shoulders a little, and muttered, “No songs.”
    “Yeah, right. Give it up!”
    “Okay, fine. So maybe [unintelligible] makes me cry a little.”
    I leaned in closer, and said, “Wait – what did you say?”
    “I said that maybe, Because You Loved Me makes me cry a little.”
    “Oh, you have got to be kidding me! By Celine Dion? You were my strength when I was weak? My voice when I couldn’t speak? And you’re ripping into me for Don Henley?”
    Natasha laughed, threw a crumpled up napkin at my head, and went back to compiling her karaoke set list. This just piqued my curiosity, though. I really wanted to know what songs would make people get choked up, so I decided to expand my survey a bit. I looked around the bar and said, “All right, let’s get a guy’s opinion here. Seamus! Seamus – c’mere. Hey – name a song that makes you cry.”
    “Makes me cry? Ummm, probably Pachelbel’s Canon.”
    Nat and I just looked at each other with eyebrows raised, and I said, “Huh? Taco Bell Cannon?”
    Seamus got a disgusted look on his face, and said, “PACHelbel’s Canon. With a P. You know it – it’s always played right before weddings.”
    “How’s it go?”
    “Uh, kind of like, Hmm hmm dee dee dah dah dee dee… like that. I know you’d know it.”
    “Hmmph. Well, I said Boys of Summer.”
    “Oh yeah, that’s totally sad!”
    “See, Nat! I told you it’s sad! Why is your heart made of wire and glass shards? Why are you all, ‘I am the Tin Man. This does not compute. Highly illogical. Hello, my name is H.A.L.’”
    As if on cue, Seamus started walking back and forth behind me doing the Robot, to emphasize my point. Natasha was just about to throw another napkin at my head, when she was called up on stage to do a spot-on performance of Brandy.
    But I left karaoke with more questions than answers, which leads me to today’s Opinion Poll:
    Question: Which of the following songs makes you get a lump in your throat, causes your voice to crack, gets you teary-eyed? (Write ins will be accepted)
    A. Boys of Summer by Don Henley
    B. In My Life by The Beatles
    C. Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion
    D. Pachelbel’s Canon by… well, Pachelbel, I guess
    E. The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel
    F. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton