I laugh in the face of danger

Phobia Friday™ – Let the Games Begin 1

Happy April Fool’s Day. It’s a good day to stay in bed if you have pharsaphobia – the fear of pranks.
The practical jokers will be out in force, especially as it’s a workday, and a Friday!
Here are some examples. You’ve been warned.

april fool pranks



photos: fangpants.com, rantlifestyle, popularmechanics, imgur

Phobia Friday™ – “It’s a Practice Lightsaber”

swat team

My first college, Farmingdale State in Long Island, had a little scare this week, and was in lockdown. Apparently, a student called police to report seeing another student with a weapon. Turns out it was a lightsaber.
Maybe the caller suffers from photophobia. Or he’s just more of a Trekkie.



photo and story: newsday.com

Silly Sign Sunday™ – Something for Everyone in Vegas

dog sign

Had a great time in Las Vegas this week. We stayed at the Flamingo, which has flamingos, pelicans, geese, ducks, parrots, etc. on the grounds.
But I missed my dog. Turns out I could have brought him (for $75 extra PER NIGHT).
It’s just as well I didn’t. He has terrible luck at the slot machines, and he doesn’t know when to walk away.


Silly Sign Sunday™ – Taking DIY Too Far

homemade license plate

Homemade items are all the rage now on sites like Etsy. And they can be a charming alternative to mass-produced goods.
But there are some things that should not get the homemade touch. Near the top of that list are license plates. States tend to frown on that kind of thing. As a woman not far from me in the Buffalo area found out this week when she was pulled over for sporting this beauty on the back of her car.
Although, if you like to make license plates, prison may be just the place for you.


story: usnews.com

Phobia Friday™ – Wardrobe Emergency

girl and deputy

Most people have some discomfort with being nude, some even to the point of gymnophobia. But would you resort to calling 911? That’s what one South Carolina girl did when she couldn’t get her pants on. Although she is only two years old.
The girl’s grandfather was home but did not know about the call until Sheriff’s deputy Martha Lohnes showed up. Then the girl, Aaliyah, came running out with half a pant leg on. Deputy Lohnes not only helped Aaliyah finish putting on her pants, but she tied her shoes too, and received a hug for her service.
So, next time you have trouble getting your pants on, perhaps from more eating than exercise during the winter months, help is just a phone call away.



photo and story source: breaking911.com

Silly Sign Sunday™ – What’s in YOUR Garage? 1

We got our garage door repaired this weekend. Mark from Chadwick Bay Garage Door did a great job for a very reasonable price, but it’s still just a plain door.
Maybe we should have gone for one of these upgrades.

garage door decals


photo: usnow.org

Phobia Friday™ – Waiting for the Bloody Mail

blood on mail

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor, apparently, bleeding keeps mail carriers from their appointed rounds.
Not too far from me in Olean, New York, postal customers found a little something extra on their letters and packages: the mailman’s blood. The mail carrier had cut himself on a damaged side view mirror but wanted to finish his route.
I don’t know if any of the residents on that route have hemophobia, but many were a little freaked out. Some wore hospital gloves to open their mail. One guy even scrubbed his mailbox with bleach.
As for me, I admire the mail carrier’s dedication. At my house, the mail doesn’t arrive until after 5:00 pm. But it is blood-free.


photo: Kelsey Boudin/Olean Times Herald

Silly Sign Sunday™ – Don’t Fall for It, Guys. It’s a Trap.

Valentines gift display

When you work at Walmart and you’re single.
Mess with other people’s Valentine’s Day. Set up the display and step back to see who gets suckered in by your gift suggestion.
If only you could be there at the gift giving to watch the fireworks.


Phobia Friday™ – When Your Car Is Not Exactly Where You Left It

cars fall through ice

This weekend my area hosts the annual Ice Festival on Chautauqua Lake. I hope the people who attend are smarter about where to park than some of the drivers at last weekend’s Winterfest on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin.
It seems that good parking spaces were hard to come by. So, some people decided to park on the surface of the lake. The ice should hold. Right?
A little pagophobia (fear of ice or frost) would have been a healthy thing here.



Photo: Daniel Gaitan via Twitter

Silly Sign Sunday™ – L is for Losers?

roman numerals on sign

Can I ask the sports fans out there a math question?
Many people have trouble with roman numerals (as with these geniuses from the class of 2015). But the NFL persists in using them for the Super Bowls, even when they get complicated like last year’s XLIX.
Now that the number can finally be expressed with a simple “L” why suddenly switch to regular numbers?
Just wondering.



Phobia Friday™ – Heads Up

Korean hot air balloons

Ma, he’s littering on my side of the room.
But he started it.
Sound familiar?
It’s not two kids squabbling this time. It’s North and South Korea.
According to the tribune.com, when North Korea conducted its fourth underground nuclear test in early January, South Korea responded by sending balloons carrying propaganda across the border.
Within a week, the North responded by floating balloons into the South filled with used toilet paper, cigarette butts, and propaganda messages. They were fitted with a timer and small explosive device designed to drop the unpleasant payload in South Korean territory.
Trash falling from the sky. That’s enough to give anyone a trash phobia.
What’s next? A burning bag of dog poop at the border crossing?



Photo: NY Daily News / Getty Images

Phobia Friday™ – A Rude Awakening


Many times I’ve had a dog or cat on my chest in bed. But how would you like to wake up with this creature on top of you, caressing your face? That’s what happened to a 99-year-old Miami woman this week.
Even if you don’t have agrizoophobia, the fear of wild animals, you might need a change of underwear after that.
The woman called her son-in-law, who rushed over and trapped the animal. It turned out to be a kinkajou, a member of the raccoon family that looks more like a monkey. The handsome guy is named Banana and is actually someone’s pet that escaped.



Photo: South Dade Animal Hospital

Phobia Friday™ – Up Periscope

snow-covered car

With a big snowstorm about to hit the east coast, make sure you have a good snow brush in your car. And use it.
Not like this 80-year-old Canadian man who was pulled over and ticketed this week for not clearing the snow off his windshield.
If you have ergophobia (fear of work) maybe you shouldn’t live in the snow belt. Or else, get yourself some really powerful windshield wipers.


photo courtesy Ontario Provincial Police


Silly Sign Sunday™ – We Can Help You Lurn

Tudoring sign

As the spring semester begins this week, I let new students know that free tutoring is available to help them get through their college classes.
We have an excellent tutor on my satellite campus, a professor with a master’s degree. I wonder what qualifications the telephone pole “Tudor” has.


Thanks to Pene Hutton for sending me the photo.

Phobia Friday™ – Control Click THIS

child on phone

My mother and my mother-in-law are each embarking on the same project this week: learning how to use a smart phone. When I signed my mom up for an iphone class at the Apple store, I told her to be sure and mention that she used to work for the phone company, so they would give her a front seat.
I give them credit for being willing to learn. Technology has changed enormously in their lifetime. Some older people have technophobia, and want nothing to do with computers, tablets, and smart phones. It’s just too much to take in.
Meanwhile, last week my 22-year-old niece was marveling at an old typewriter she found in her grandparents’ basement. I had to show her what the different buttons and levers do, which was a nice change.
I wonder what weird new technology I’ll have to deal with in my old age.



Phobia Friday™ – Be Somebody

Dummies books

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” – Lily Tomlin

It’s time to make those New Year’s resolutions. As long as you don’t have tropophobia – fear of change.
I plan to write more consistently this year: at least 500 words per day, 5 days a week. And achieve at least 8,000 steps per day with my new Fitbit. And I’m using the Duolingo app to learn Gaelic (Irish).
So, Athbhliain faoi shéan is faoi mhaise!


Bossier Press


Phobia Friday™ – Christougenniatiko Dentrophobia

Tis the season . . . for Christmas Trees. Unless you have Christougenniatiko dentrophobia.
If so, you’re safe at our house. We haven’t put a tree up in years. Between the dog and the cat and always visiting family for Christmas, it wasn’t worth the bother anymore.
When we did have a tree, I had to secure it to the ceiling. Otherwise, the cats would climb it, and . . . timber!
Kind of like in this video compilation.





Silly Sign Sunday™ – Take This Job and . . .

safe combo on sign

Some people don’t know how to leave a job gracefully.
Contrast that with the other counselor I work with, Laurel, who is leaving at the end of the semester. She’s making sure she leaves us in good shape, and is even coming back to help out for a few days in January. A class act.


photo: guzer.com

Phobia Friday™ – Maybe It’s Time for a Mac

Fear of Win8

I don’t have cyberphobia; I’m quite comfortable with computers.
But lately I’ve developed a bad case of defenestraphobia, the fear of windows. Specifically Windows 8.1. Our computer has been running very slowly and I haven’t been able to fix it. Until today.
The cure? An upgrade to Windows 10. Kind of like drinking arsenic to treat an allergy to almonds.
We’ll see if it works (I wrote this on my ipad).




Phobia Friday™ – Say it Louder 1


I think I’m developing allodoxaphobia – the fear of opinions.
There are just so many being thrown around now, especially on Facebook.
And they come on so strong. If I plan to vote for a different presidential candidate than you, I’m not simply misinformed. I must be an evil idiot.
Can’t argue with that.




photo: pixabay (public domain)

Silly Sign Sunday™ – Happy Birthday (TO ME – in caps underlined)

As today is my birthday, I thought I would look at some birthday cake fails.
It seems like extreme literal mindedness must be part of the screening process for hiring bakery workers.
My family went with cupcakes, so we were safe.


birthday cakes


photos: ohitrunsbackwards, humorbucket, cakewrecks


Phobia Friday™ – Don’t Get Crumbs in the Bed

I like this hamster’s style. Staying in bed today and eating leftovers sounds a lot more appealing than fighting the Black Friday shopping crowds.
Unless, of course, you have a “crumbs in the bed” phobia.
Not me. When my wife is away, the dog and I eat Doritos in bed.
Pass me the gravy from the nightstand.





video: mikesanman19

Phobia Friday™ – Icky Highway Encounter

How startled do you get when someone touches your feet? How about at 60 miles per hour when your feet are hanging out the car window? That’s what happened to this unsuspecting passenger on a San Diego freeway.
Even if you don’t have petaphelaphobia, the fear of people touching your feet, you might let out a scream.




video: Zim Killgore

Phobia Friday™ – Getting Blown Away

windy cartoon

wind gusts chart

It’s been a bit windy in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area, with huge waves crashing onto roads along Lake Erie.
I have a dislike of wind that borders on anemophobia (or ancraophobia). Yesterday would have been a great day to stay in bed under the covers. At least I work indoors. And not at a lighthouse.




photo: wgrz.com
cartoon: copyright Megan Hills, www.mycartoonthing.com

Silly Sign Sunday™ – Don’t Pray on an Empty Stomach

church sign

Today is All Saints Day.
While we’re all familiar with the biggies like St. Francis and St. Theresa, there are many more saints most of us have never heard of.
But I don’t know about this one. Maybe the patron saint of Italian grandmothers? Mangia!



photo: ITalkWithMyHands


Phobia Friday™ – Truly Monstrous Costumes

A warning to those with tetraphobia: The little monsters will be out in force this weekend and may even show up at your door. We get well over 100 trick-or-treaters each year and we love it. The costumes are generally more cute than scary, like the ones below.
But sometimes a homemade costume misses the mark on cute or scary. Not sure what the guys in the bottom photos were going for. What might be scariest is what’s inside their heads.


Halloween costumes


photos: costume-works.com, Rick Washere, coolest-homemade-costumes.com, gagbay.com, bootbredredhead.com, thechive.com

Phobia Friday™ – Mets Go Back to the Future

Mets win

Assuming you don’t have spoilerphobia, you can get an early peek at who wins the World Series this year. Just keep your eye on the Mets website. It seems to have the ability to see the future.
On Wednesday afternoon, before game 4 of the NLCS even started, the website declared the Mets to be the National League champions and advertised NL champions merchandise for sale.
They contradicted the Back to the Future II prediction – and they were right!



photos: foxsports.com; Universal Studios

Phobia Friday™ – Totally, Totes

Totes McGoats

Niagara Falls, the setting for my novel in progress, is in the national news this week. For, of all things, the new recycling mascot: Totes McGoats.
Totes has become an overnight media star since donning his $60 mask.
He’s a little scary looking, even if you don’t have capraphobia (fear of goats). But he’s certainly getting the word out about using those recycling bins. For those of us who don’t just eat our trash.



photo: wben.com

Phobia Friday™ – Butter-fingered tourist versus glass bridge

glass walkway

People with acrophobia probably wouldn’t venture onto one of the glass-bottomed bridges gaining popularity in China. But even the brave souls who tried it were screaming in terror this week when they heard a loud crack and felt the bridge shake.
Apparently, someone dropped a mug or thermos on the glass walkway suspended 3,500 feet up at Yuntai Mountain. One of the glass panels developed cracks and the attraction is now closed for repairs.
Bridges made of glass. What’s next? Ladders made of Styrofoam?



photo: lidonghaishuohezainihaowodehai/Weibo (via Twitter)

Phobia Friday™ – Wiping Up the Competition

Dolphins toilet paper

The New York Jets landed in London today in preparation for their game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
Among the essential supplies they brought were 350 rolls of good old American toilet paper. Apparently, the toilet paper in England is too thin.
“Some may say that’s a little over the top or whatnot, but it didn’t really cost that much, so why not?” Aaron Degerness, Jets senior manager of team operations, told the New York Times.
The fear of running out of toilet paper is called acartohygieiophobia. Not having the right toilet paper? There are no words.
But, if avoiding sore butts helps the Jets beat the Dolphins on Sunday, then it will be well worth those extra baggage fees.



Photo by @PageQSports

Silly Sign Sunday™ – Are You Still Here? 1

adult child at home sticker

I encounter lots of college students in their twenties. And I see very few of them getting married or planning to. I’m not sure why.
This weekend at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Pope Francis lamented this trend with a bit of humor, recounting exchanges he has had back home in Argentina.
In Buenos Aires, he said, many women tell him, “My son is 30 or 34 years old and my son isn’t getting married, What do I do?” And he responds, “Don’t iron his shirts anymore.” (New York Times)


image: mcf-intersection.com

Phobia Friday™ – The End of the World, or Maybe Not

Have you made any plans for next week? Some think you shouldn’t have bothered.
The lunatic fringe is predicting the end of the world – again – because of the large blood moon this Sunday night. The full moon will look bigger because it will be in the closest part of its orbit. And it will coincide with a lunar eclipse, giving it a red tint.
If you don’t suffer from doomsday phobia (apocalyptophobia), then just go out and enjoy the show. You won’t get another chance until 2033.
Here’s a brief clip from NASA to explain what you’ll see:




Silly Sign Sunday™ – Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

be different shirts

I enjoy my job working with college freshmen and sophomores. They are figuring out who they are and where they want to go in life.
In addition to my counseling duties, I teach a couple of courses: one on college orientation and one on life skills. While a large part of that involves teaching students about norms and expectations in higher education, I try not to hammer home a typical college liberal agenda, as is done in so many college orientations around the country.
(For example, our presenter on sexual health did not even mention abstinence as an option until a student brought it up.)
College should be a chance for students to figure out what they think, not be told what to think.


photo: reddit.com

Phobia Friday™ – Do It Yourself Dentistry 1

girl fixing teeth

I’m going to the dentist today, one of my least favorite activities by far. Like many people, I have some dentophobia.
Fortunately, I have good health insurance and don’t have to resort to a DIY approach like 14-year-old Shalom DeSota. Orthodontists are issuing warnings to people not to follow her youtube instructions on how she straightened her front teeth herself by using rubber bands. Ouch!
Today Show story