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Miss Manners Has No Idea…

“The information you get from social media is not a substitute for academic discipline at all.” – Bill Nye

No worries – I’m not geeking out on my personal log – render unto geeker that which is his.¬† ūüôā¬† Just thought I’d point out some stuff for which Miss Manners has no clue how to help on, and they’re all caused by is being online all the time.

See if you can figure out how Miss Manners would handle these.  And as always, nothing here is meant to offend, it’s all in good fun, and if it seems mean, it might be hitting a little too close to home.  I’m just saying…

– You like a post on Facebook, and the sponsoring site starts pumping ads onto your friends’ pages, saying you like the organization.  Do you forget about it, tag your friends on the pages to keep the fun going for their friends, or search for and like pages of competitor products/groups (say the FBI and a militia page) so people never know who you are?

– A friend posts about their thousandth selfie in a given week.  Do you tell them it’s annoying and to stop acting 15 years old, ignore it, or Photoshop it into a screen shot from peopleofwalmart .com and upload it, tagging them and saying, “Guess who’s famous?” (Or, depending on the pic, submit their selfie to the site for real.  I mean, I’ve seen some unwise selfies, but I’ve also seen some INADVISABLE selfies as well…)

– Someone tweets about the sad state of education, and misspells multiple words in the tweet (you’d think that would be hard to do in only 140 characters, but check your feed…).  Do you retweet it with a hashtag for an adult education course, retweet it with a hashtag listing where they went to school, or send them a mirror marked “root cause analysis tool”.

– Is it considered rude, or funny, to tag someone in their own picture?  Repeatedly?  In the middle of the night so they are greeted in the morning with 100 new tags, all of them on their own stuff?

Have fun, kids!

– Is it considered a violation of etiquette to set someone’s email to blind copy every email they write to the email address which automatically posts to their blog?

Merry Christmas 2014

Okay, so I had hoped there’d be more time for blogging this past year, which is a great exercise for keeping the inside writer alive while drowning in the day-to-day work. Nevertheless, here is a kids’ story written as a gift to all kids out there. It attempts to be interactive with kids to give them things to do, targeted for those times when they are at a family gathering, get no say on what comes on the TV, and in general need something to keep them busy. Either that, or it gives them a chance to laugh at the cheesiness. Given the general whiny condition of the world, we could all use a little more cheese. Merry Christmas to everyone!

 

Moley Christmas-a Story

Merry Christmas 2013

Here are a couple of versions of a story for the kids.  The first one is suitable for an online viewer, like Adobe Reader, the second one for printing (print it out on both sides of the paper, flipping on the short side).  Merry Christmas everyone!

The Parade – Single pages

The Paradebookformat

Every year at Christmas I try to write a story for kids (I Want to Be an Elf), and this year there is one for the adults as well (The Balance). I also included a link to the pictures from a trip to Rome from which the photos were taken (PIX).   I hope everyone finds at least a little entertainment with these. All the best to you and yours.

I Want to Be an Elf – Color1

The Balance

PIX

As the title implies, I shot a 63 today on my return to the golf course after being absent for about two years. ¬†It isn’t something that I would necessarily stand on the roof and shout about, especially since there were a whole other 9 holes to go, but I ran out of time and only got to 63 after the first 9.

There it was…

Yep. I shot a 63 on 9 holes of golf.  That is the equivalent of bowling a 30.

When you have the golf skills I do, it is really a blessing. ¬†Think about it – if you’re really good, and you take two years off, you come back to a lot of frustration. ¬†Before taking two years off, my best round for 9 was… 48. ¬†It might seem like that’s drastic, but the pars for the course I played add up to 35. ¬†When you shoot it, a 48 seems as far away from 35 as a 63 does, so no sweat. ¬†I golf like Stewart drives – not Tony, Martha. ¬†Or you could say I golf like Stewart cooks – Tony, not Martha.

It also helps you not have any pretense. ¬†If you worry about things like eagles, you tend to get the idea that you can actually play, but if a lot of the time you double up on par, and the rest of the time you’re at double par plus a couple (I believe the term for that is a pterodactyl) it really doesn’t matter. ¬†It is very freeing – there is no stress about performance. ¬†When someone asks what your handicap is you can tell them all the clubs between the putter and the driver.

I wasn’t out for any reason other than being too busy, and at least part of the time, a couple states away. ¬†I wouldn’t have gone today, since there is so much going on, but it just happened. ¬†And with that, here are the highlights.

To begin with, for my first swing in two years, I chose a practice swing with my driver. ¬†Here’s where the groundskeeper comes in. ¬†Maybe I should have posted a warning flag or something. ¬†I cranked back, and swung with everything I had.

It might be good to note here that when you take a couple years off you should work up to it slowly. ¬†With visions of 250 yard drives my driver approached the speed of sound, then nipped the ground. ¬†The head snapped off the shaft and flew toward a tree… and a groundskeeper and his compadre. ¬†I don’t know WHY they were there in front of a scrub tree, but I do know that at least the groundskeeper’s reflexes were pretty good. ¬†The head dinged off the tree and went under his cart, narrowly missing his arm, and that led to that most hated of things, the question for which there is no answer. ¬†He shot me a look and asked, “Where are you hitting from? ¬†What are you doing?”

The first part of the question was answerable, but the second part had but one possible answer. ¬†“Sorry.” You shout, “Fore,” when a golf ball is headed toward someone, but there is nowhere to be found a mention in any rules book, or how-to text for the sport, what you shout when a driver head is headed at someone. ¬†Not my fault…

So, down a driver, I commenced to tee up with my 3 wood. I sent a ball straight – I’m talking about the violation of Physics laws involving parabolic travel of an object under the influence of gravity – into the mud of the bank of the creek. ¬†I claimed one of the Mulligans I am due for the absence (granted by there being nobody else coming up behind me – golfers, scared that it MIGHT rain? ¬†WHAT is the world coming to?) and teed another ball up.

I took my shot, and it followed EXACTLY that same path as the first one! ¬†Since I only had 50 or so balls in my bag, I obviously had to do something. ¬†So I took a drop and a penalty stroke. ¬†Apparently the two penalty strokes I’d already had – three if it were illegal to almost tag a groundskeeper – weren’t enough for the universe. ¬†So from my drop I grabbed my hybrid 3, addressed the ball (oldest golf joke in the world in 3, 2, 1 “Hello, ball!”) and swung.

The poor owner of the house next to the course will have to work a little harder in the spring, because there will be at least one rogue golfball tree that will spring up from the spot that apparently swallowed my ball. ¬†Yep, three lost balls, and not only was I not on the fairway, I was 6 in and wasn’t even halfway to the hole. Another drop, and thus began the zig zag pattern, from the out of bounds marker on one side to the fairway one over on the other, but I miraculously made it in 11.

I should now mention that there was a group of three golfers in front of me. ¬†Bless their hearts – I felt an instant kinship with them. ¬†Each of them was apparently as talented as I in the game. ¬†I’ve been where they are – you are playing for the peaceful experience, and some type-A behind you comes up and hassles you, so I’m sensitive to it,
¬†They graciously offered to let me play through, but I told them thanks but it wasn’t necessary. Each of them shanked the ball in a different way, and my fourth dimension of shanking would actually not conflict with them at all.

After they were a safe distance away, which if you’re playing with me is really kind of like figuring out where the safe radius is for a nuclear detonation, because you can’t totally predict where anything is going to land, I teed up. ¬†Wouldn’t you know it, I not only hit it perfect, but had one of those drives of a lifetime, overshooting the green by about 20 yards, using my 5 wood. ¬†Remember the nuclear detonation analogy? I almost tagged one of the other guys, even though they were already on the next hole.

After a four-putt (wish I was kidding) following a strange multi-shot pitching wedge experience, I was then able to tee up.  Feeling that my mojo had returned since the previous hole I overdrove with an underpowered club for the distance, I teed up with my 3 wood (I was really missing my driver) I prepared for glory.  The result was out of bounds to the right, the extreme right. I was hitting like Watson РEmma, not Tom Рand the zig zag approach I had found so much success with the previous two holes was apparently the subconscious plan all along.  To that was added a bit of goose for the gander as one of the guys in the party one hole ahead of me, the ones who have the similar skills, chose to hit a curveball that landed a couple feet away from me.  I think somewhere the groundskeeper was smirking.

I won’t describe each hole, mostly because the description is the same, but I did find some new ways to do things. ¬†For example, it should be difficult if not impossible to hit a worm-burner with a 9-iron, yet I not only was able to do that, but was able to send the ball 60 degrees away from where I and the head of the club were pointing. ¬†I still don’t know how. ¬†It could have been that the club head was dirty, but if I don’t wash my coffee cup, why would I wash my club? ¬†That’s just a joke, clubs should always be washed.

I managed to toing two balls off of trees using the hybrid, one of which was lost forever. Initially I thought both were lost, but after taking a drop I happened on one of the previous two lost balls, and since it was a better lie – golf is like fishing in that the location and relative believability of your lie is vital – I accelerated the golf cart to 8.8 mph and went back in time to when I had first hit it and started the stroke count at 2 from there.

It worked beautifully, because that was what was needed to fix my hybrid. BOOM! 125 yards, on a rope, right to the green…ALMOST! ¬†Nope, buried in the mud on the bank of the creek. ¬†Pitching wedge twice, throw up hands and use the putter from the rough forward, and drain a 30 yard putt once I got from the rough to the green. ¬†This is why guys throw clubs, though I have to say only guys who have pretentions of grandeur. ¬†If you know you stink on or off of ice, it really is no great shakes.

Apparently the energy from the hybrid spread through the bag, because the 8th hole is a short one, so you generally drive it with a 5 wood. ¬†I grabbed my 8 iron and promptly overdrive the hole by about 10 yards. ¬†That was after bending a shot so hard to the right that I think it actually hooked around and re-entered my bag, though, so the score didn’t reflect the brilliance.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that the 9th hole, while different, was the same in an odd way. ¬†So why would I celebrate it, even knowing ahead of time that I have no golfing skills? ¬†Because it was a healing thing. ¬†For the last two years I have switched jobs trying to make a better future happen for myself, and for my family, working smarter AND harder to try to drive this thing, trying mightily to stabilize life for the family and especially my kids, almost changing physical geography to try to change the roadmap of the future, and keeping the providing happening while also doing the hunting and gathering. ¬†You can’t sit back and have life happen, unless you are willing to have as your end result the end result that comes from just hanging out in the slipstream. ¬†I spend all day inside crunching and coding and designing and all other kinds of ‘ing’ to the point that the breaks between workdays tend to be mo

It’s the eternal conflict – do you speak your mind with the truth, or do you keep quiet and the peace?¬† Thanks to modern technology, BOTH, courtesy of this post!¬† The following is a compilation of the things I wanted to say in a variety of situations versus what I actually said the past couple of weeks, but didn’t in order to keep the peace, show tolerance, or prevent a justifiable but still incarcerable more visceral reaction to a reaction.¬†

I don’t think any of these would’ve been aimed at any of my FB friends, but if anyone reading this feels like it was, you probably had it coming from someone else.¬† (As always, in case you’ve been living in a cave, nothing I post here is meant for anything other than humor, thoughtfulness and hope, so if nothing in the following at least makes you smile or wish YOU’D said that, I’ve heard there is a discount special for stick-ectomies at the clinic downtown… Peace…) If nothing else, at least outwardly show some love because I’ve done this whole post on a typo-inducing smartphone while you inwardly wonder why with three laptops and two case-based PC’s in the house I couldn’t find anything with a keyboard to use…

Stuff I should’ve said vs. what I actually said (what I should’ve said is first, followed by what I actually said, in corresponding pairs):

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for stepping in front of me in the express lane with obviously more than 20 items.  I was just telling the kids I needed lessons in patience!

[nod, return self-important gloat while then laughing because their card wouldn’t scan and it cost them 5 minutes]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hey guys!¬† Glad you’re loading up on the creatine, powdered yak feces or whatever else you bought on clearance from GNC right there in front of those middle school boys in the locker room.¬† Kids today need to learn the chemical shortcuts are the way to get things done.

[blank stare as I considered that their early exit due to chemical weightlifting damage will in effect thin out the herd]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

How would I fix that?! Execute the purchasing agent who bought a system on the strength of a glossy ad, install Ubuntu, then absolutely ban X and Y from using anything other than a dull pencil and pad of wide-ruled paper. That’s how I’d fix it – anything less would be a band-aid!

Here, let me spend some time looking at the system for you, and I’ll see if I can help you. [remembering that asking an IT guy for free advice/work after-hours on a system that’s not his is like asking a doctor to examine that weird thing on your neck when you run into him at a party]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

So if I DON’T re-post this I’m not truly compassionate about [fill in cause – inane or justified – that somehow needs support from the Facebook community] and I’ll no longer be your FB friend?¬† Fair trade.

[just ignored the post, feeling somewhat sad at the rampant chain letter that so much of Facebook has become]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yes, I see you, and I hear you welded in straight pipes for your 4X4.¬† I’m so proud of you for figuring out a way of doubling your pollution and inferiority complex all at the same time.¬† Thanks especially for flooring it so it drowns out the conversation I’m having – just more proof that doing it loud is so much more important than doing it right.

[watched knowing the tickets he’ll get eventually for that will provide hope for a politician somewhere who otherwise was thinking they’d reached the finite end of sources of income to stripmine]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah yes, the scent of patchouli oil, applied in the same amounts as a 7th grade boy applies Axe.¬† You are fooling exactly zero people, Sparky!¬† The bloodshot eyes aren’t needed for this diagnosis!

No thanks, no fries with that. No thanks, no fries. No thanks, no cheese. No, still no fries [I do expect to get credit for civility after I answered the fries question so many times in a row without raising the volume]

~~~~~~~~~~~

To a telemarketer selling home automation and security monitoring solutions for which I’ve requested to be placed on their do not call list multiple times: “How good can your home monitoring solutions actually be if you can’t monitor a ‘do not call’ list?”

No thank you. I’ve already told two other sales guys, so could you please make sure I’m on the don’t call list?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two burgers, two fries. That’s what the screen says.¬† How is it even possible to have just one bag of fries.¬† This was the only drive-through order there was!¬† There are three other people in the restaurant! You have four kinds of sandwiches, and one kind of side – the aforementioned fries! So, for you to goof up that order required a thorough violation of the law of averages!

Excuse me. I believe there was a mix-up and the fries were left out of our order.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I can’t like that status because it wouldn’t be appropriate. However let me be the first to offer you a new thing – the Facebook Overshare.

[ignored the post after doing a gut check and confirming that I could indeed have lived the rest of my natural life without knowing that about them…or their spouse]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

While I appreciate being waved ahead at the four-way stop, given the unsure look on your face I think it’s a safe bet you’re doing it because you FORGOT who is supposed to go first at a four-way stop.

[waved and drove on]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

What a great idea that is! Swapping so many school administrators around the system like that… It gives me an idea. First I’ll get some compost that’s contaminated with salt and battery acid, then I’ll put it on the cucumber plants in my garden, gathering up the little heaps of compost every so often and putting them on different cucumber plants. That should cause some champion tomatoes to grow, right?!

[said nothing – pearls before swine and all…]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

No, Bob, your plan to thoroughly Brown-Raiderify my Colts hasn’t quite succeeded. You forgot to trade Freeney for 2 former arena football league benchwarmers and an option on Ryan Leaf should he decide to leave retirement/prison. Also, the vendors will still be selling nachos and cheese instead of tofu chunks with ketchup. Fie on you for giving me a reason to root for the Broncos! THE BRONCOS!!!

[whimpered softly, hoping none of the Broncos or Pats fans from the various fantasy football leagues I’ve talked Manning-backed smack in over the years remember my Yahoo handle…]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Huh, I wonder why the EU is having such trouble! Given the centuries of harmonious co-existence and mutual love and respect, who would think Europe could be a disharmonious place when it comes to land, resources, religious belief and political like-mindedness?!

[silently marveled that scholars of European history in an official, policy-making advisorial role are apparently at least equally as rare as scholars of US history in a similar role]

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah, that feels better! One of the benefits of technology is we can supply curmudgeon-ness to the world at large while simultaneously maintaining diplomacy! Hope you got a laugh out of this, and if you didn’t, why are you still reading this?!

Okay, just for you thick folks, one more… Well done! Though clearly labeled as humor/satire, you found a way to remain humorless and thoroughly without pretense of a clue, thus finding this in some way offensive. Congratulations, you’re officially a yutz! ūüėČ

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Never again

The day has finally come, that day when the city of Indianapolis is one number short when it counts to 20.  We are now missing 18.

My first reaction, honestly, was to simultaneously award Irsay the ‘Dan Snyder/Marge Schott Award for Extreme Boneheadedness’ and Manning the ‘Brett Favre/Edgerinn James Award for Simultaneous Career Suicide and Fan Disappointment’.¬† I was wrong.¬† I was thinking like a fan, not a pro.

Every day we each come across people who are competent enough, but who really just phone it in.¬† They do things decently, but that’s all.¬† They don’t define incompetence, they don’t raise the level of excellence, they just ‘are’.¬† Respect and propers to them – nobody likes a total slacker, and they keep pushing forward, even just by a little.

The incompetemt and lazy build their own reward.

Then you come across a rarity like #18.¬† Not content to just ‘be’, he worked his tail off, sacrificing so that what he brought to the table was not only good, it was a new definition of best.¬† He was no running back, but if there was nobody open and 7 points on the line between playing the next week and guest commenting on the next week’s game since the season was over, he’d head for the endzone.¬†

He found himself in a situation where it didn’t matter.¬† No matter his drive to succeed, no matter his work ethic, the downhill ride had started.¬† No matter how great his skill, time and decisions beyond his control were ganging up on him, and were going to throttle his ability.¬† He passed up opportunities to score financially to honor loyalty, but refused to dishonor excellence by staying around until the rest of the operation hit the skids.

I still hold Irsay responsible as a matter of honor, since he was full of the ‘Manning will retire a Colt’ talk before.¬† Don’t say one thing and do another.¬† He was not obligated to say that, but once he did he should have made it happen.¬† Ask the Rooney family what returns come from players who believe owners will do what they say!

But I get Irsay as well.¬† Most people mismanage those rarities who are most motivated by continuous and ferocious pursuit of perfection.¬† They don’t understand what it is like to not be able to shut off the thinking, the practice, the obsession of being the best you can be.¬† Give them a million dollars and they’ll use it to build a virtual practice facility so they can do virtual reality 2-minute drills.¬† Give them the word that the team won, that their efforts and sacrifice mattered and they’ll react to that as a ‘normal’ person would to that million dollars.¬† The Irsays of the world think there’s an ulterior motive, and 99% of the time they are right.¬† Not in this case.

Framing Manning as a limping old man on his way out and telling him to train his replacement is insulting to the core.¬† Telling him he’s the guy and asking that he help a new kid learn his way wouldn’t be.¬† To manage someone like him you can’t think dollars and politics, you have to think honor and respect.

I wish him well.¬† When I look at it, I believe I’d do the same.¬† I read an article on it and when I was reminded he was here for 14 years it hit me how he likely feels.¬† Last year I left an employer I’d been with for – believe it or not – 14 years.¬† The people I worked with were great – for the most part, though some of them are lucky decorum dictates I don’t divert into a tear of exactly how far from sentient human beings some people should be forcibly placed – the buildings familiar, the processes comfortable, the quirks accepted and the reputation built.¬† Leaving was the most difficult decision I’ve had to make in my adult life.

That’s how I know he’ll be okay, though, and that’s good.¬† Familiar confines are built with time.¬† If he adds a 5th MVP award I won’t be surprised, even if it comes just from the desire to show that he is still relevant.¬† I will miss the feeling of hope I always felt when the game was in the last seconds and they were behind.¬† With #18 there, a chance was always available for a win.¬† For a Colts fan (just so we’re clear, PM has been the one defining thing that keeps the hope of ‘next season’ from being like the hollow ‘this is the year’ you get when you’re a Cubs or Browns fan) knowing the credibility of any smack talk we’ve been planning out is gone is almost unbearable.

Most of all I appreciate the public service, and especially the childrens’ hospital he leaves behind here.¬† It really puts everything into perspective when a little one receives care they might not have otherwise due to the unique public relationship of a guy who plays the game he loves and his fans.¬† That goes way beyond a game.¬† What his father did for New Orleans he has done for Indy.¬† Watch out, big market teams, the really good stuff comes from mid-market cities with big hearts and a good eye for guys who fit that model.

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Some weeks leave you with more questions than answers, and this was one of those weeks…¬† Here are 5 things I was pondering at one time or other this past week.

1) Was the textbook that spent almost a week on the dining room floor from a class my child is doing so well in that she needs not read or use it, from a class where the teacher was so disgusted with the errors in it that they share more accurate information in class, or from a class she’s tanking seriously in because her efforts at remote viewing her textbook are sadly unsuccessful?

2) If I order a Cuban sandwich, and it’s served on French bread and is
also unpressed, does that entitle me to give an impromptu tirade on the dangers of Gallic colonialism and then march on city hall?

3) Why do I get the stupid calls from the shady debt consolidation shills doing robocalling on my CELL phone?¬† If I were in their business I’d try to find people who didn’t¬† pay their cell bill!

4) Why has nobody written software that takes what you type then uses a thesaurus to change it and asks if that’s what you meant before sending an e-mail?¬† Earlier today I was typing the word ‘baseline’ but instead of a b I accidentally typed a v, making ‘vaseline’, which is a proper spelling that passes spellcheck, but which dramatically changes a sentence’s intent, especially when the sentence then reads, “We can get into the vaseline next week.”¬† Glad I mostly re-read e-mails before hitting Send.¬† That would be¬† awkward…

5) Why is it that when it’s 50¬į in February we want to wear shorts, but when it’s 50¬į in July we want a parka?

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Some weeks leave you with more questions than answers, and this was one of those weeks…¬† Here are 5 things I was pondering at one time or other this past week.

1) Was the textbook that spent almost a week on the dining room floor from a class my child is doing so well in that she needs not read or use it, from a class where the teacher was so disgusted with the errors in it that they share more accurate information in class, or from a class she’s tanking seriously in because her efforts at remote viewing her textbook are sadly unsuccessful?

2) If I order a Cuban sandwich, and it’s served on French bread and is
also unpressed, does that entitle me to give an impromptu tirade on the dangers of Gallic colonialism and then march on city hall?

3) Why do I get the stupid calls from the shady debt consolidation shills doing robocalling on my CELL phone?¬† If I were in their business I’d try to find people who didn’t¬† pay their cell bill!

4) Why has nobody written software that takes what you type then uses a thesaurus to change it and asks if that’s what you meant before sending an e-mail?¬† Earlier today I was typing the word ‘baseline’ but instead of a b I accidentally typed a v, making ‘vaseline’, which is a proper spelling that passes spellcheck, but which dramatically changes a sentence’s intent, especially when the sentence then reads, “We can get into the vaseline next week.”¬† Glad I mostly re-read e-mails before hitting Send.¬† That would be¬† awkward…

5) Why is it that when it’s 50¬į in February we want to wear shorts, but when it’s 50¬į in July we want a parka?

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5 More Things I Wonder About

Some weeks leave you with more questions than answers, and this was one of those weeks…¬† Here are 5 things I was pondering at one time or other this past week.

1) Was the textbook that spent almost a week on the dining room floor from a class my child is doing so well in that she needs not read or use it, from a class where the teacher was so disgusted with the errors in it that they share more accurate information in class, or from a class she’s tanking seriously in because her efforts at remote viewing her textbook are sadly unsuccessful?

2) If I order a Cuban sandwich, and it’s served on French bread and is
also unpressed, does that entitle me to give an impromptu tirade on the dangers of Gallic colonialism and then march on city hall?

3) Why do I get the stupid calls from the shady debt consolidation shills doing robocalling on my CELL phone?¬† If I were in their business I’d try to find people who didn’t¬† pay their cell bill!

4) Why has nobody written software that takes what you type then uses a thesaurus to change it and asks if that’s what you meant before sending an e-mail?¬† Earlier today I was typing the word ‘baseline’ but instead of a b I accidentally typed a v, making ‘vaseline’, which is a proper spelling that passes spellcheck, but which dramatically changes a sentence’s intent, especially when the sentence then reads, “We can get into the vaseline next week.”¬† Glad I mostly re-read e-mails before hitting Send.¬† That would be¬† awkward…

5) Why is it that when it’s 50¬į in February we want to wear shorts, but when it’s 50¬į in July we want a parka?

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