Saturday, January 07, 2006

You're so smart!

Common sense is not as common as you think it is.I passed through one of the many sites that I visit and I found these gems........

Overheard this on a London bus:

First Woman: "I don't know what to get Fred for his birthday."
Second Woman: "Why don't you get him a book?"
First Woman: (after a moment's thought) "Nah, he's already got a book."

The following call came in at 7:30 this morning:

Me: "Hello?"
Some Woman: "Mannie?"
Me: "Ma'am, what number are you trying to reach?"
Some Woman: "Mannie, y'all get up now, cause y'all are goin' to Sunday School, okay, sweetie?"
Me: "Ma'am, I am not your sweetie. You have a wrong number!"
Some Woman: "Okay, sweetie, see you soon!" (click)

My doctor's office gives each patient a card with the date of the next appointment. One lady came in with her card on August 23rd, and here's what happened:

Lady: "My card says to be here on the 28th at 10am, and I'm here!"
Receptionist: "But, ma'am, today is the 23rd."
Lady: "No it isn't, my card says the 28th!"
Receptionist: "I know your card says the 28th, but that's next Monday."
Lady: "No, my card says to be here on the 28th, and I'm here!"

I was working in a photo store, which specializes in restoring old photographs, when a lady brought in a old picture of a man sitting behind a cow, milking it.

Her: "Can you fix this picture for me?"
Me: "Sure. What would you like us to do?"
Her: "Can you move the cow?"
Me: "Move the cow?"
Her: "I want to know what my great-grandfather looked like. That's him."
She pointed to the feet sticking out under the cow.

Me: "I don't think we can do that."
Her: "Just move the cow over, and we'll be able to see his face."
Me: "I'm sorry. We don't have the technology to do that."
Her: (getting huffy) "Well, I guess I'll just take this somewhere else."

In my high school civics class the air conditioner didn't have the vents to direct which way the air would blow for most of the first semester, so everyone who sat in the back of the class would freeze, while the people sitting in the front were always hot. One day, somebody in the back decided to take a stand against the teacher and declare the class to be cold. He stood up and said, "Mrs. Barnes, it's cold in here. We need to turn the air off."

Since this was a class that always had to argue, someone else said "Turn it off?"

The first person, being the exceptionally bright student that he is, retorted, "Yeah, off. O - F."

Then one of our other geniuses decided to pipe up and said, "I would have laughed so hard if you had spelled that wrong."

I used to work in an art supply store. We sold artists' canvas by the yard, and you could get it in either of two widths: 36 inches or 48 inches.

Customer: "Can you please cut some canvas for me?"
Me: "Certainly, what width?"
Customer: (confused and slightly annoyed) "Scissors?"

At a goodbye lunch for an old and dear co-worker who is leaving the company due to "rightsizing," our manager spoke up and said, "This is fun. We should have lunch like this more often." Not another word was spoken. We just looked at each other like deer staring into the headlights of an approaching truck.

A friend of mine was showing me a little fold-away phone number list that he kept in his wallet. The way it worked was that the piece of paper with the telephone list is glued to two magnets the size and shape of a credit card. The paper folded up accordion-style and was secured by the two magnets sticking together.

Me: "Wow! This magnetic telephone list is cool!"
Friend: "What? That's not magnetic."
Me: "Umm...yeah, it is. See, these two things on the end are magnets, and they stick together."
Friend: "Oh, so that's why my credit cards won't work anymore!"
Me: "So, how did you think it stuck together if you didn't think they were magnets?"
Friend: "I thought it was just paper suction."

The mother of a friend went to New York City for the first time and was approached by a homeless man soliciting the sale of a bottle of exclusive moisturizer, normally retailed at $80, for only $5. She reached for her purse enthusiastically and said, "Sir, will there be tax on that?" When the man recovered from laughing, he made the sale -- tax free.

It's amazing how stupid people can be on the telephone. I used to work for a major northwestern bank in the collections department, and we would frequently get calls like this:

Caller: "Could I speak to [somebody's name]?"
Me: "I'm sorry, but that person is [on vacation, out of the office, otherwise unavailable]. Would you like to leave a message?"
Caller: (annoyed) "I'm calling long distance!"

As if calling long distance will magically make the individual magically appear in the office!

Caller: "Can I speak to Mr. [name], please?"
Me: "I'm sorry, Mr. [name] is on vacation."
Caller: "I'll hold."

Phone Sales Representative: "Ok, now I need the billing address of the card."
Customer: "But I want it shipped to my daughter at school."
Phone Sales Representative: "That's not a problem; I can ship anywhere you like, but I do need the correct billing address."
Customer: "Ok."

I pause, expecting him to supply me with the address.

Phone Sales Representative: "Sir, the billing address please?"
Customer: "Oh, were you waiting for me? I'm sorry. I send the payments to a PO Box in Maryland, I think. Do you really need that address?"
Phone Sales Representative: "No, sir, not where you send the payments, but where you receive the statements."
Customer: "A statement?" (rustle, rustle) "Yeah, here's one. It's PO Box 2386, Towson, MD."
Phone Sales Representative: "Sir, is that Towson address you just gave me where you send your payments or where you receive your statements?"
Customer: "Oh, the statements come here."
Phone Sales Representative: "And what is that address?"
Customer: "But I want it shipped to--"
Phone Sales Representative: "--your daughter at school. Right. But I still need a valid billing address."
Customer: "Young lady, if you would just tell me what you need from me, I would be happy to supply it."
Phone Sales Representative: "Where do your credit card statements come?"
Customer: "I told you. They come from Towson, MD."
Phone Sales Representative: "Not where they come from, where you receive them."
Customer: "In the mail, of course! You're not very smart, are you?"
Phone Sales Representative: "Sir, when you receive your statement from the credit card company and open it up to look at it, where are you standing?"
Customer: "In my kitchen."
Phone Sales Representative: "Your kitchen at home?"
Customer: "Of course!"
Phone Sales Representative: "Great! And what is your home address then?"
Customer: (finally supplies the address) "If you just wanted my home address, why on earth didn't you just ask for it?"
My own experiences

Walking on a beach in Mombasa at low tide with a girl
Girl:When I was a kid this beach and the water reached much further, it's a shame what pollution has done.(somber expression)
Aco:Isn't it low tide?(one eyebrow raised ala The Rock)
Girl:Oops (sheepish expression)

In a bar with a girl I observe in the distance what seems to be a very animated conversation between a couple three tables away.The girl can see my interest in the conversation.
Aco:Damn!(looking at couple)I wish I could lip read
Girl:Why?Are you deaf?

After taking a gal pal for an afternoon driving lesson in her car we pull into her drive way.
Girl:Oh My God!Someone has stolen my car!
Aco:(Almost thinking aloud) Then what the hell are we sitting in?

And to think that we are supposedly the most intelligent beings on the planet.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Pin up of the week

One magazine that I loved reading when I was back home was the insert that came with the Friday Standard, Pulse.It used to cover showbiz,fashion,clubbing,culture and other issues relevant to the youth.It was also available online till the kubaffs at Standard decided that online readers would have to buy the on-line version at a price that is even higher then membership to select.
I tried to offer someone cash so that they would scan it weekly for me and send it to me but that seemed like to much work to them, such was my devotion to it.When I was leaving the quality of writing had lowered and you can only cover the same "celebs" for so long before it gets boring.But it still made for a good read.
Seeing as I cant get hold of it I delved into the standard directories that were online and was able to get loads of pics.So I will be sharing one weekly!

Cess Mutungi

Since I am feeling lazy I will just give you the reader's digest version on her.She started presenting at Nation doing the late night show where according to me she was at her peak.Anyway she joined the game of musical chairs that is Kenya's radio industry and moved to Kiss FM after receiving an offer she couldn't refuse then due to a scandal (links provided at the end of the article) she left for Capital FM.Due to some insults she levelled at some of Kenya's MPs about their educational level she was booted from Capital.She confessed that their indeed she was at fault.If you ask me I think that she is quite a stunner, anyway you know that I like gals who are cute in the face and kinda thick in the waist.Unfortunately this gal's rep is in tatters, she is known to be very free when it comes to bedroom access.This I even heard from a friend of mine who was on the front line or should I say front bed?But I will not endorse nor refute his claims but let you gauge from here and here. I don't know how much of what is contained there is true but most rumours are based on a grain of truth so how large the grain here is, I don't know.All that aside I think that she is a great presenter and would like to hear her on air again!


I miss the sound of a cock crowing in the mornings

I miss the cawing of a murder of crowns near hastily improvised dump heaps.

I miss the sight of the matronly looking stork observing me observe her from

her perch in the acacia tree over uhuru highway.

I miss the buzz of the bees that decided that the green ncc lamp post

would make the best home.

I miss the chesty bark of the "mbwa kali" at the house near the bus stop

who seemed so tired that he should be enjoying a pension

consisting of lying in the sun instead.

I miss the disembodied caterwauling of the stray tom cats that

littered the neigbourhood when they were in heat, moaning

their lack of females wondering how to share the few they had.

I miss the drumming of the Akorino troupe as they paraded their

faith for all to hear.

I miss the sound of the cow bell on the lead bull and the

mooing of the herd of cows led by the maasai herds boy

I miss the honking of the geese and the gobbling of the turkeys

stationed on ngong road

I miss the throbbing base from F2 on a sunday afternoon as those

within sought to

undo the work done in churches that morning

I miss the twang of poorly tuned guitars over speakers one

decibel from tearing commandeered by the gung ho

preacher who prattles about salvation and judgement

I miss the cacophony of touts seeking travellers

telling all that there is only one

seat remaining in the matatu or bus.

I miss the neighbourhood watchmen's daily chit chat and

inane questions to strangers.

I miss the crackling of maize being roasted over

an open fire

I miss the cacopohonic yet synchronised chants

and songs of the street hawker enticing us to come

see and buy for one price.

I miss the patois of different people from

different places.

I miss the ping of hammers and the zing of

pneumatic drills at construction sites.

I miss the patter of rain on iron sheet roofing.

I miss the mishmash of music,laughter,conversation

and seductive whispers in the local bar.

I miss profanities uttered in different languages spewed

at selfish drivers in the traffic.

I miss the please of innocence by the kijana who is

found by the police without an i.d and the appropriate


I miss the sound of knocking at the gate when the neighbour

comes to visit.

I miss the sloshing of water in buckets and jerry cans as

homes prepare for water rationing.

I miss the piercing call of the muezzin as he reminds the faithful

of their obligations.

I miss the groan of shock absorbers and the squeaking of bearings as

cars are beaten into submission by the roads.

I miss the squeals of joy and ecstatic screams mingled with tears as

families welcome their beloved from their travels abroad.

My ears miss home.........

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Austerity and me....

I was halfway through a post about the evils of television and how extensive television watching leads to complete and utter thoughtlessness and how far television is from reality when the idiots who invented automatic Windows updates came up with their latest offering that shuts down your computer for you wether you want it or not.
So until that thought and the words return I am going to hop onto another train of thought.
When it comes to my living arrangements most of the time I tend to be austere.This I have noticed is most prevelant in the use of my living space.When I was young my family lived in small houses in places like KMA,Buru and Golfcourse.Later on when we moved to a larger house we had some relatives living with us and we were three to a room.Later on when my father passed away we moved to a house with the same amount of rooms but less area per square foot.The room that I was given was the sq that also doubled up as a store.My bed had been dismantled and re-assembling it would have been like doing a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a grassy field without the picture.As a result I made due with the floor, I think that was the beginning of my long running affair with sleeping on the ground and futons.So alongside that mattress was a bookshelves and several boxes of the junk we tend to accumulate and never use as a family; but that ends up weighing several tonnes.
Luckily at this same time I went to university.I shared a room for two that had a partition in the middle.I will not say that my room was the defintion of order, au contraire it was chaotic,but organised chaos.But what to expect of a young man living on his own out of home.But now that I look back I noticed that over time the little nic nacs we have made few cameos in my room.I did not own nor did I ever want a lampshade,the posters reduced over time,my desk had no table cloth,no rug on the floor,one hulking sound system on the shelf and my thread bare wardrobe.
At this point in time I was very disillusioned with organised religion eg christianity (I still am) and began practicing meditation and studying eastern religions.So I guess to some extent it was made evident in me not attaching much value to material things.But don't get me wrong I still did the usual things that people do when they are in university like get wasted every other day and skip class.
When we moved to another house where I was given the sq and due to my absence it was also made home for several cases of clothing,a bookshelf and boxes which I never got a chance to go through.
So the more cramped my room got in one area the more decongested it got in another area.But I have also found the traditional Kenyan sitting room so suffocating.You have to have the wall unit that takes around a quarter of the space in the room and is packed full of cutlery that is hardly used add to that the TV,video,dvd player,sound system,family pictures,in some cases a liqour cabinet and space allowing a set of encyclopedia,a bible and some reference book of sorts (ours had all the above plus two sets of encyclopedias).Add to this there is usually a 3-4 piece furniture set but believe it or not I have been to a house that had 2 four piece furniture sets in it, you could have had a seminar in that sitting room.Dont forget the pictures all over the wall ranging from the family photos taken at Ramogi or those of kittens with some sort of pithiful saying emblazoned across them.Then comes the different varieties of covers festooning the chairs ranging from plastic that has never been taken off so every movement that you make results in a squeek and the release of noxious odours isn't absorbed but merely deflected into the air to the crocheted covers that are done in colors that clash so intensely that I swear some glow in the dark and when a window is opened at night have been responsible for several plane crashes in the vicinity of Wilson Airport as the hapless pilots have mistaken them for landing lights.Then there is the myriad selection of carpets to those that are genuinely turkish to those which came to Nairobi on a bus next to a box of Turkeys.One thing that remains the same is that in most cases is that you will have to take off your shoes, a source of embarassment for may who would recycle socks so much that those socks would have a sole that you could use to walk on the streets and shoes that emitted gases that were in the methane and ammonia family tree.Then of course came the latest accesory, the chandaliers.Some of these were tasteful in appearance but some of them had so many glass pieces that they acted as ad-hoc prisms not forgetting some were so heavy that after a few months they would bring the bulb fixture crashing down.Get's me to thinking about the "he who dies with the most toys wins" mentality we had when it came to furnishing our homes then.
So I guess somehow I have ended up doing the whole 180 degrees.Of course I still love toys for boys and those I do have especially the sacred 3; TV,DVD player and sound system.
But when it comes to my room I have no bed, I sleep on an elevated air bed instead,one chair,the sacred three (see above), a pile of my school books,novels and magazines (for me a home is not a home without printed material) and nothing on my walls.With time I do intend to get a desk but let's work slowly shall we?Yes usually moving for me is a breeze and so is cleaning too.Plus I pretty much know where everything.
So people let go of all the material things that you have that are cluttering your house physically and karmicly let's go monastic..............

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Give me an ear won't ya part II

Before I get to the story at hand let me give some positive qualities about my big sis lest you think that this is character assasination.My big sis is very intelligent (straight A student all through and came here on scholarship) and very resourceful too (she can think on her feet).
Anyway so we made it to the studio,all 3 generations of us to take the pics.So we did like 2 family pics,then one of the gents,one of the ladies,then my aunt's kid took a couple of custom pics and then my big sis had her kid be done a whole lot of custom pics.
Anyway my small sis and I couldnt pick what photos to develop as we had to take my uncle to the airport to catch his flight.So my small sis had the sales lady swipe her credit card and she told my sis who was with my mum, "Do not go buckwild when choosing the photos, they are expensive."Then we left.
So one week down the line my sis opens her credit card bill and she has been billed $300!This was like a hard punch to a soft gut like Nick's because my small sis is barely making ends meet and she needed that cash with school coming up soon and my big sis knew that very well!And do you know what bulked up the bill?All the custom pics she had printed out of her kid,my aunt had left with us so she hadnt ordered anything yet.Anyway my small sis gave her a piece of her mind and my big wasn't pleased about it.
In the house when it comes to cooking everyone has their own day.So now due to the issues between them my big sis will not eat food my small sis has cooked and will instead cook separate food for her and her kid and isn't talking to her.My big sis is the kind of person with whom if you disagree she wouldn't talk to you for weeks on end and when she does it's on her terms when she feels you have paid penance.
Then my mum has just been watching this and she has vowed that she will never come back to the states.She would rather stay at home in nai and do her thing.The ironic thing is that is was my big sis who was really campaigning for my mum to come yet when she is here she is the person who talks to her least and doesnt open up to her at all!There was this time when my mum's sore throat was irritating her and you know how mathees are, they won't tell you out and out; they will grouch about it.So my big sis is sitting at the comp looking for stuff on e-bay and for a good almost four hours not talking to my mum and when she starts grouching about it (her way of calling for help) my sis is barely looking at her and just going "hmmmmm" and "mhmmmm."It took my small bro coming in from work not putting anything down and going with her direct to CVS to get her something.
Then let's talk about her kid.She's a nice gal,sweet and the prettiest thing that you ever did see.I don't know if any of you read some comment I made on Mutumia's blog about why men avoid single mothers, well my big sis is a case study for some of them and this was a comment made before I saw the full extent of the situation here.My big sis' life revolves around her kid in an unhealthy way.First of all much unlike us this kid is not disciplined in any way whatsoever, I mean I am not advocating for a full on ass whupping; but not even a pinch.We were all whupped as kids and we came out fine.Then there is nothing like moderation when it comes to this kid,this house looks like a friggin' toy store.There are toys all over the sitting room and cars cant be parked in the garage coz there are toys strewn all over.I mean for f*ck's sake I may sound harsh but there is moderation in all things.It is made worse by the fact that when we go into a store and the kid picks up a toy 80% of the time she won't be told to put it back.I mean all that cash on toys yet in this house they have been using the same cups that my mother bought when she was here in 2001.I know I sound harsh but I think that living alone with my mum as long as I did instilled alot of discipline and order in me.I actually feel guilty when I leave dishes sleeping overnight in the sink,but dont get me wrong the sufurias that have turned black always sleep so I am in no ways an extremist!Basically there is so much potential that my sis has but she is sitting on as she is overly focussed on her kid, she could get a better job with the experience she has but doesn't want to look for one until her kid goes to school.Then she makes no attempt at making friends, she only has 1 friend; I know some people aren't social but she has been here for a long time and I think especially if you have a kid you should be friends with other parents.But anyway as I always say,"to each his own."
Anyway I guess after not seeing my big sis for around 10 years people do change.I mean it is actually my aunt who plays big sis to my small sis (who has her own issues for another post) while my small bro watches the shells fly by; the poor boy hates this house so much that he leaves in the morning goes to uni and works long hours so that he can come home only to sleep.At least now he has me to confide in and bond with.I have vowed to come to this house as little as possible preferring my simple orderly life in my rustic college town but I will chip in when I can.
I know some of you are asking why haven't I said anything?First of all my big sis when she can't take it she walks away from you and won't talk to you until she sees fit to.Also this may sound selfish but I do need a place to stay before I get established when I move back down here after I am done with school.But if there is one thing that is true about me is that I love to instigate,I can never keep my mouth shut for too long.I will take it in but a time comes when I have to say my piece and trust me I have done so before irregardless of the consequences ; at times you must burn bridges and bear the consequences(easier when I have my own apt around here).Would any KBW lady or physchologist tell me why mothers and daughters have such complex relationships?Anyway I guess all this time spent in America has turned my family truly dysfunctional!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Give me an ear won't you?part I

"I'm leaving you in charge of these children...," these are the words that my mother left me with yesterday after giving me a heart to heart yesterday.Why would she tell me this and I have an elder sister in the same house to help keep my lesser siblings in check?
Well let me give you some background on where this statement was coming from before I give you my opinion.You see my elder sister came here in around 1996 joined some uni in New Jersey but decided after a while to move down here where things were easier.Anyhow after some time my aunt who is one year older then I am came over and they lived together.My sister finished her Associate degree in IT and got some jobs to keep her going, my aunt on the other hand never got to starting school as she was trying to make some cash for fees.Soon my small sis came over and now they were three.So as things went my aunt started dating this jungu dude and she got paged.My big sister never really approved of the relationship but it ended soon but she still gets along with his family (they keep the kids on some weekends) and talks to him once in a while.When my aunt was going out with this dude my sister had hooked up with some West African dude and she got paged and she had her kid some months after my aunt.For some reason which I am not privy to and have not bothered to delve into my aunt and my big sis disagreed.I know these things do happen but my aunt held no grudge and went on with her life, what my sis did in turn was kinda extreme; she looked for all the pics that she had that had my aunt in them and cut my aunt's head out of each and every one of them!It only gets worse she refused to talk to her at all until one of my mum's earlier visits and at this point it was just functional conversation.What used to happen is that when my mum would want to visit her sis (my aunt) that is, my sis would drop her at the doorstep and honk when she came later on to pick my mum.One day my mum took a second too long to come out and my sister told her,"If you aren't out immediately when I come I will leave you hear!"This affected my mum so much that she broke into tears.I know you can have a grudge with someone but to the point of not talking or setting at all I think that is a bit much especially if you are here in the states where if things get narrow you have no-one to lean on.
Anyway after a while my small bro checked in so it was the three of them.My small sis was the one who would take care of my big sis' kid who never saw daycare at all until this year.My small sis has come a long way with that kid.Also my big sis broke up with her boyfriend (inner details which I have not been made privy to) and to add insult to injury the guy stiffed her on child support by some way under-reporting his income and getting some cronies from his home land to concoct a new family on paper.As a result he pays a pittance that even I can pay.That isn't right at all but I really would like to hear what went down between them but since she refers to him as a psycho that isn't going to happen soon.
What shocked my mum when she got here was the way people live more as house mates then as a family.I only lived in this house for 3 weeks before I was off to school so I didnt get to see much amidst recovering from jet lag,apartment hunting and all the other things shags modos do when they get to cherembes.
Oh I have just remembered something that happened recently that had us in shock!I have an uncle who came to the states around a year or so after her (yes too much family in this part of the world) who's like a couple of years older then her.So anyhow he set up shop in Chicago and kept in touch with the rest once in a while.He was not good when it came to that and I too would get e-mail updates once every 3 months but when I was in Kenya I knew how life was hard knock in the states so I didnt ask him for money or anything.But his number one sin was not going out of his way to help out my big sis and small sis.Anyhow my mum had not seen him in 6 years and to remedy this my small sis decided to perform a covert operation.She invited him over for Christmas.If my big sis had known she would have gone to the extent of moving to a motel for Christmas with her kid.When he came over she made herself very scarce and remained in her sanctuary (her room) while my aunt,uncle,bro and sis bonded and hung out.On Christmas day itself she opted to go spend it at one of her few pal's houses as opposed to spending it with us.Anyway the next day my Uncle was leaving and that was when she decided to punish my small sister for her indiscretion.
To be continued.........