Disaster du Jour

The scale of the tornado strikes across the south is breathtaking, and I know we are all deeply sympathetic to the families who have experienced terrible losses. Even for a people familiar with cyclones it is unthinkable to picture a mile-wide funnel bearing down on your town.

I’ve lived several places in the Midwest, and in each one I was given the assurance by the locals that “they call this area ‘Tornado Alley’.” I’m a coward when it comes to physical danger, but for the benefit of my New York friends and relatives I would adopt an air of brave resignation about the possibility of having to face a line of twisters.

“Yes, it is very dangerous out on the open prairie. Trouble could reach from the clouds at any moment. We wait and watch.”

This is an easy pose to adopt when, like me, you have never actually seen a tornado.

Dorothy Gale’s stoic Kansas farm family has long been the model – if a tornado comes straight for the house you stop your work long enough to get into the cellar, then come out to pick up the pieces. If you get caught above ground, ride it out in the house, but keep a window open so you can watch the scenery fly past. If it catches you on your bike, keep pedaling. We may have to call the doctor if you get a bump on the head, and we’ll all stand around squeezing our hankies until you come around, but then it will be time to finish the chores.

Nonsense, all of it.

What happened in Mississippi and Alabama is the stark reality of the mega-storm. There’s nowhere to run and not many good options. Let’s hope this is not the “new normal” for springtime weather. And as for sudden natural disasters, it’s becoming clear that no one has cornered the market. It seems like every place on the globe has it’s own special flavor of impending calamity.

We even managed to come up with an earthquake in Minnesota yesterday. To be exact, the 2.5 magnitude temblor was centered on the southwestern edge of Alexandria, near the airport, at about 2:20 am. There was no damage reported aside from the emotional distress of those who found themselves too excited about the royal wedding to go back to sleep.

An earthquake is far from a typical Minnesota experience. Paul Walsh wrote in the Star Tribune that other earthquakes have hit the state in 1975, 1981 and 1994. Adding the one in Alexandria yesterday, there have now been as many Minnesota centered earthquakes as there have been Vikings Super Bowl appearances, and all with no lasting effect.

I guess we can be grateful for that. It becomes increasingly apparent that we have nothing to complain about.

Resolved: I’ll drop the tornado martyrdom from here on out, and will try to resist any temptation to tell people from far away that Minnesota “is in an active seismic zone”. But it will require a major psychological shift to end my pitiful wailing whenever we get even a little bit of cold winter weather. Thank goodness we will always have a legitimate gripe when it comes to the Vikings.

Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

One of my dear friends is having an extravagant wedding! The groom’s family is loaded AND they are sort of obsessive-compulsive when it comes to all the rules they follow and the weird behaviors they expect from other people.

His mother is so touchy, ordinary people are not supposed to touch her unless she touches them first!

Talk about taking yourself seriously. They’ll have a full orchestra and TWO choirs!

This in a church that already has a perfectly fine pipe organ. How much music do you need to say a simple “I do”?

My friend the bride thinks it is all so wonderful, but I can’t help thinking this is excessive and embarrassingly ‘over the top’. I know it is my responsibility to ‘ooh’ and ‘aaah’ over the posh arrangements and make a fuss and validate all her tasteless choices, but I’m afraid if I do she will be able to tell I’m faking it.

But on the other hand, if I say what I think she may never speak to me again! The whole thing gives me a stomachache. Either way, I feel like our friendship is doomed!

I’m thinking I should just not show up and claim later that I made a mistake writing down the date!

Would that be so wrong?


Just a Common Her

I told “Common Her” that yes, it would be wrong to skip your friend’s wedding because you are afraid she will see through your façade. You appear to be so shallow, it is likely that she has already seen through your façade and has decided to like you anyway. Or, as you suggest, your friendship may be truly doomed. In either case, you might as well go for the perks. I hear you’ll get one free glass of champagne, possibly two, but under no circumstances will anyone get three!

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

A Donald Serves The Nation

I can’t help it!

I know the Donald doesn’t deserve any more attention, but he is SO beguiling!
The extreme look is Seussian, and his mission – absurd!
His self-congratulation as a reaction to being proven wrong could have been written up for one of the good Doctor’s bizarre clump-haired characters.

I’ve done what no one else could do!
I proved that One plus One is Two.
I forced the issue on this sum
By talking loud and playing dumb.

Whenever I was sternly told
“The answer’s ‘two’”, I’d glare and scold,
Then turn and ask them on the spot
“But what if? Just suppose it’s not!”

They’d give me something, then one more,
then count them both and like before
They’d say “That’s two, and it’s a fact.”
And that’s when I’d begin my act.

“I cannot see the thing you show!
It’s something I choose not to know.”
I’d stamp my feet and flip my hair
And claim their ‘two’ just wasn’t there.

I’d bluster some, then bloviate.
I’d act offended and irate.
They let me do it, as a famous,
celebrated ignoramus!

I spewed so much wild talk about it,
Some others soon began to doubt it!
“Suppose the answer’s cherry pie?”
“Could be!” I said! “If so, they lie!”

At last, alas the thing became
a rally built around my name.
And I became a great forsoother.
The “One Plus One Might Not Be Two-ther!”

That is, until they had to show
the documents that say it’s so.
And I received what was my due
Attention paid, by all of you.

I got my way through agitation
and supplied a grateful nation
proof at last, with wiles and art
That playing stupid can be smart.

When have you played dumb?

Another Mother Tongue

The results of last weekend’s word collecting project are in! We are not interested in enforcing “official” language rules here or criticizing people just because we can’t understand them, but there is a certain tone to the comments on Trial Baboon that sometimes begs for an explanation.

So it is in an effort to be gracious and accommodating to everyone that certain members of our online community decided to assemble a Glossary Of Accepted Terms (GOAT), both as a guide for the uninitiated and a reminder for regulars whose brain function sometimes promotes the practice of “self hiding” critical information (see the glossary). Some of these terms were imported from other places because they felt appropriate. Others were created on the spot.

After today, this collection will reside permanently attached to a link off to the right side of the main entry for easy access, should one need clarification or wish to add a new term.

Since all this work was done by readers, it qualifies as a guest blog.

A group guest blog, organized and led by Jacque and Barbara in Robbinsdale.

Babawesome – Awesome in a Baboonish way.

Baboondipity – An interesting coincidence occurring in Baboonville.

Babooner – One who participates by writing and/or lurking on Dale Connelly’s Trail Baboon Blog, formerly known as Radio Heartland’s Trial Balloon Blog.

Babooninomics – This can be summarized as, “Don’t spend what you don’t have.”

Babooniquette – A fairly gracious set of manners adopted by Babooners that is related to, but different from, traditional “netiquette” (e.g., a tendency to avoid all caps when writing…or in tim’s case, any caps at all; an understanding of how to agree to disagree by simply being nonconflictious; etc.). Babooniquette does not require that you know which spoon to use at the dinner table (or that you use any spoon at all), but it may require that you at least hum along to “You Are My Sunshine” when it is played.

Bipartispasm–Against their willful desire, politicians suddenly find themselves experiencing muscle-like brain contractions that influence cooperating and compromising for the common good.

Blogosphere – The world of bloggery, perhaps including other blogs besides TBB.

Brace (of pets) – Two animals. “We have three cats… A brace… refers to a pair of objects, so I have one and half brace of cats.” Larger numbers may be spoken of as the number of “head”, as in “I asked an old Indian in cowboy land one time how many cats he had. He squinted a bit and said, ‘Oh, maybe 30 head!’ ”

Brain Fade – The moment characterized by the question “Why did I come in here?”

Cheapatude – Extreme thrift, as in “We have resorted, in our retired cheapatude, to making our own cards with Steve’s photos and just writing inside.”

Cleaver – Especially creative in a Baboonish way (not to be confused with the ordinary “clever”).

Cliffy – The TB way of saying someone has overdone it on the explanation of the facts. Other examples welcome.

Conflictious – 1. A cross between “litigious” and “conflictual”, possibly making you a candidate for a session with BMB (See acronyms). 2. A delicious conflict.

Credit Card Camping – Camping by staying in motels or B & B’s along the route, as in “I’m no camper! We did credit card camping.”

Delurk — To fully participate by writing on the blog after a period of lurkitude, as in “Nice of you to delurk, Connie.”

E-mail Pack Rattery – Hoarding of emails, as in: “I tend toward e-mail pack rattery … I have countless personal notes from friends that I can’t throw away.”

Fei da, Ish da – The Norwegian equivalent of Oy Vey, as in “I remember my grandfather talking about the progression from uff da to fei da to ish da based on milking cows – ish da being what [barb] experienced … * (though it hovers near a fei da, definitely an ish da if you got splashed).”
* “ …[when Sugar, the visiting goat,] was standing nicely. then i got complacent and BANG! goathoof in bucket. 2 quarts of milk ruined and bucket contaminated.”

Goatswaggled – Physically outwitted by a goat. See also Fei da and Ish da.

Huh? – “I am completely at sea. Please repeat or clarify the last several posts.”

Idiotology — Aberrant political thought, as in, “I am afraid that much of current political discourse has sunken to the point where a lot of it can be described as “idiotology.”

Idiotocracy – The type of politics practiced by MB (See Acronyms).

Interwinkled – associated or connected, as in “Dale [DC] said a while back, humor is what we humans do to get a grip, and we get the grippe to naturally cleanse our innards. It’s all relative. And interwinkled.”

Jimming – a dinosaur baboon word having to do with the practice of double posting (now defunct, as the new blog disallows it).

Joke-A-Sphere — Where all the good jokes that you can’t remember have gone.

Junk Thought – Thought at the most outrageous point, at the greatest amounts of decibels. (See MB in acronyms.)

Lurkitude — Reading the blog from one step back, but not writing and participating; giggling, chortling, guffawing, and belly laughs optional.

Non-Fiction Situation – An event in which it is not prudent to alter facts, i.e. a trip to the tax accountant, where you say, “I swear this information is true.”

O-T – Off Topic.

Pizzle Rot – An exclamation of a Babooner’s frustration, as in “Oh, pizzle rot, my italics didn’t shut off.”

Prumpers, or Pah-Rumpers — Singers of “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Rannygazoo – 1. The run-around, or nonsense, as in, “I had to pass as Canadian so I could avoid all ‘rannygazoo’ with my visa status.” 2. A prank or joke; semi-archaic, from the 1940’s and PG Wodehouse novels.

Scroogitude – Behaving like Ebenezer before he experienced the Three Spirits.

Self-Hiding – The ability to hide something from yourself, as in “I’m getting to the point where I can hide my own Easter Eggs.” See also Brain fade.

Semi-Colonoscopy — The study of the correct placement of semi-colons.

Suspension of Belief and/or Suspension of Disbelief – A fudging of facts used in many situations, particularly by theater people; or re: TV, movies, etc.

Thurgery – Any surgery taking place on a Thursday.

timism – An ambiguity in which you are not sure whether there was a typo, or an intentional misspelling, as in “My favorite timism of the week is ‘Talk snout dysfunctional’…” (See Dec. 23, 2010 TBB for rich, complete discussion.)

Uff da – Norwegian for “Oy”. See also Fei da and Ish da.

Vishnuverheer – A neo-religion practiced by vacationers and post card senders.

“Whobody” Mail – that mail from people you know and like, as contrasted with “anybody” mail, the junk and bulk mail which gets largely ignored.

Whumping – Sound of a Baboon in the process of losing a conflict over finite resources.

Willywacky – as in: “Then you can position your reply, hit paste and Post Comment. If something goes willywacky you still have your comment intact.”


BMB – Billy Marty Barry
BSOR – Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty
DC – Dale Connelly
MB – Michele Bachmann
RH – Radio Heartland
TB – Trail Baboon
TBB – Trail Baboon Blog
TLGMS – The Late Great Morning Show

A Phone Alone

Pseudo-journalist Bud Buck has been following the controversial smartphone data collection story, and has apparently decided there’s a larger audience hungry for fresh details that will push them to becoming even more alarmed. He is more than willing to provide them.

Some Cellphones Stalk Users
by Bud Buck

Hot on the heels of revelations that cell phone tracking data is being collected and stored by Apple and Google and that these phones log your whereabouts even when the location feature is turned OFF, I have uncovered an instance of a smartphone that knows where its user goes and how much time he spends there, EVEN WHEN HE IS NOT CARRYING THE DEVICE!

A Bud Buck Reports Investigation has discovered that at least one careless user, Thomas Carping of Belle Plaine, routinely leaves his phone at home, but the phone still somehow knows where he is.

“Usually I take it with me,” he explains, “and I’m always going to pretty much all the same places anyway. I know it remembers. So I guess when I accidentally leave it in the pocket of yesterday’s pants it still has enough information inside to predict where I’ll be. That’s really smart … and really creepy.”

Carping claims that when he inadvertently leaves home without his phone, other telephones around him tend to ring, and that those phones ring in sequence along a route he typically follows. People he has called in the past receive phantom calls.

Carping’s friend, Luanne Locavore, confirmed his assertion.

“Tommy walks into my place and he’s not here more than five minutes before MY phone starts to ring,” she says. “I pick it up and it’s just line noise, and then a hang up. I check the log and discover the call came from HIS cell, but he says he left it at home.”

Carping believes that smart phone designers have built the devices with “the soul-sucking, meddlesome personality of an obsessed harpy.” He claims he has made no commitment to the phone and yet it seems bent on “tracking my movements and going out of its way to ruin my fun.”

I found it surprising that he could have a mobile phone plan that required no extended contract or commitment, but Carping insisted it is true. He and the phone “are good friends. We’ve done some work together, but that’s as far as it goes. I am allowed to leave the house without it, no matter what the phone thinks.”

Locavore agrees, saying the phone “obviously has other ideas. It’s almost like it’s trying to find him.”

And those ideas may include more than a simple phone call. Locavore revealed this shocking tidbit – she insisted that Carping download the tracking data from his phone and they discovered that on some days when he left the phone in his pants pocket on the closet floor, the device actually went out in search of him.

“All the tracking information is in there,” she says. “One night when he said he didn’t have it, the records show it came and sat out in the street in front of my house! Creepy! What will I do if it rings the doorbell?”

Locavore finds it troubling that the device can form such a strong attachment, and she thinks Carping should do something “before it gets out of hand.”

Her suggestion?

“Drown it in a five gallon pail.”

Both Carping and Locavore took offense at this reporter’s offhand suggestion that perhaps Carping had more to hide than he was letting on, and that his phone was being operated by another person during the times when it appears to be trying to track him down.

“He’s single and lives alone,” said Locavore. “That’s what he’s always told me.”

Carping readily agreed.

“Yup,” he said. “That’s my story.”

But can anyone ever be truly alone once they become involved with a smartphone?
Time will tell! This is Bud Buck!

Which of your appliances loves you the most?

The Tale of Zorro

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the compiling of the Baboonish Glossary over the weekend. Our diligent wordsmiths Jacque and Barbara in Robbinsdale will sift through your contributions and we will announce an official posting of the work soon.

I have been enjoying the holiday weekend and working on another writing project. I’ll get back to business tomorrow. Fortunately, there is something nice I’ve been holding in reserve for just this moment.

Today’s guest blog is by Sherrilee.

I’ve always been the penultimate dog person. Since I was born, there has hardly been a day that I haven’t had a dog in my life, beginning with Snowball, a little white fluffy thing to Princess the Wonderdog. My mother never cared much for cats, so we never had one and I never missed not having one.

So it came as a surprise that from the minute my daughter could speak, she wanted a cat. (I don’t think “cat” was her very first word, but it certainly was one of the first ten!) I spent years putting off any discussion of getting a cat, although I did try to make conciliatory remarks occasionally like “Well, perhaps next year….” and “We need to do some research first about what kind of cat would be good for us…”. After many years of this, I started to think that maybe a cat wouldn’t be too bad, but certainly never considered it seriously.

When my daughter was six, we stopped at Petsmart on a Saturday to stock up on dog food. She, as always, headed straight over to the adoption area. After loading the dog food into the cart, I went to get her and casually ran my fingers across the cat cages. A black and white “tuxedo” cat immediately jumped up and rushed over to rub against my fingers and when I stopped to look at him, he looked right into my eyes. He had deep bluish-green eyes and he stared at me intently, unlike any other cat I knew. He seemed like a nice cat, but I was in a rush, so I collected my daughter, paid for the dog food and went home.

That afternoon as I worked in my studio, every commercial that has ever featured a cat ran on TV and that night I even dreamed about the cat. When I related this phenomenon to my best friend the next day, she said “It means you’re supposed to have this cat.”


I said “I was hoping to have a less chaotic time of life before thinking about getting a cat” to which she succinctly replied “When you run out of chaos, you go looking for more… go get the damn cat.” After I got done laughing, we went and got the cat.

He came with the name Zorro, which we have never changed. He is completely in charge of the dogs, has a wonderful growly purr, doesn’t do hairballs and is very affectionate. I’ve never been sorry that we have him and I’m sure when he is gone, I’ll get another cat, although I can’t imagine any other cat as fabulous as he is.

What have you done, out of character, which has turned out well?

Rise and Define!

As we head into what is, for many, a busy holiday weekend, Jacque takes the controls for a guest blog that is both a challenge and the beginning of an ongoing project.

To allow time for careful thought and reflection, this post will remain front and center until early Monday morning. The comments you recall and the new contributions you make will eventually become a permanent feature of our baboonish space.

For sometime now I have been threatening our blog-iverse with a Trail Baboon Glossary.

Barbara in Robbinsdale and I have been putting our e-heads together to gather a joint list of terms that seem quite unique to our on-line world.

Most of you know I am trained as a social worker. One of the topics that social workers study in both undergraduate and graduate training is the behavior and development of groups and social systems. It is my expert opinion that TB qualifies as both!

There is a process that groups follow which is fairly predictable.
Stages 1 and 2 are listed below:

1) Gathering as a Group, then defining the group as an Entity – the Trail Baboon on-line community

2) Forming Emotional Connections and Bonding as an Entity — this is typically the equivalent of a couple’s honeymoon. A particular culture is formed, including a language that distinguishes the group.

Well, we certainly have formed a Trail Baboon language that distinguishes the group. And it is long past the time that we define the terms so that we can move along into our next (uncomfortable) stage of development. Should we stall out on this developmental task, all kinds of disappointments may follow. Prepare yourselves, dear Baboons, because the next stage is:

3) Emergence of Conflict within the Entity.

Oh, my. What will we, as timid, conflict-avoidant Midwestern Bloggers do with this? If we were calloused New Yorkers we would just verbally blast each other and say “Gedoverit.” But we are not. So let us get on with naming the terms and defining them so that we can move on up our developmental group ladder. Defining terms might provide a containable venue for conflict over definitions. And it certainly is better than those traditional conflictual topics: sex, politics, religion.

I don’t want to talk about any of them.

So here is the list, but I know there are many, many more. The task this weekend is to pull up the unique terms that have appeared here, then define them for an ongoing feature – A Baboonish Glossary.

Lurkitude, or “In Lurkitude”
Or is it Babooninomics?
Credit card Camping
E-mail Pack Rattery
Non-Fiction Situation
Suspension of Belief and/or
Suspension of Disbelief

Take a moment to define any or all of these terms, nominate something already said but not listed, or coin something brand new!

Postscript from Dale:

You might have a dim recollection of something said once in the comments and nothing more to go on than that. Fair enough. Unfortunately, the “search” box in the upper right corner of our front page looks at main posts only, not the voluminous and always enlightening comments.

If you would like to search for a term in the comments, this is the easiest way to do it that I know of:

Go to Google and enter “site:daleconnelly.com” in the search box, followed by the term you seek. Here’s a screen shot of what you get for “lurkitude”.

Like hunting for Easter Eggs in our soggy back yard, you will find some treasures and some other stuff. Share the things that delight you, and have a wonderful weekend!