Monday, January 30, 2023

Resolution Abandoned!

Morning note, 2015


I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  Secretly, though, this year I did make one.

I have already failed to keep it. That’s the fate of most New Year’s resolutions.  Soon the foot traffic at the local gym will decrease.  Consumption of bacon will increase and the eating of lettuce will fall.  The world will return to the usual level of cussing and cussedness.

My New Year’s resolution was to use no exclamation points.  

Sometime in the 1980s, my brother the compiler programmer taught me that the exclamation point can also be called “bang”.  The punctuation combination (say that ten times fast) ?! can be called “interrobang”.  I find ?! to be quite useful in the modern world, as there is much that is surprisingly questionable.

The symbol ! is also used in math to denote factorial, which involves an enthusiastic increase in numerical value. 

Waffles!!!!!  Toast!!!!! Transmogrifier!!!!!
The meaning of this exclamation-point-laden written exchange
among Common Household family members
is lost in the sands of time.

The use of most punctuation has declined.  To denote the end of your sentence, you don’t need a period.  

Just send the message

Or even better send a gif

Which is pronounced with a hard g because otherwise it is peanut butter

I feel the reverse is true for the exclamation point.  The universe of words is awash in exclamation points.  Attempting to live exclamation-point-free will result in one’s written comments being misinterpreted as grumpy, conflicted, or downright hostile.  

Examples – someone posts online:  

I just got the job I wanted!

We just adopted a new pet!!  

My possible exclamation-less responses:


That’s just fabulous.

Inner reaction toward me from the original poster: You misanthrope! 

If I want to sound enthusiastic without using an exclamation point, I would have to use a lot more words, such as,

  • I am very glad you have been hired for the exciting job you were seeking as a professional paint drying watcher.  

  • That is so wonderful that you were able to adopt your new armadillo.  I applaud you for your care of animals.

I very quickly reverted to using an exclamation point in my responses.  This January has me feeling grumpy enough, without contributing to the feeling with waspish replies.


As true in 2023 as it was in 2017.
Voting for judges is important
enough to warrant an exclamation point.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Selecting a Leader?

 Throughout history, humans have devised numerous methods for choosing leaders.

We in the Common Household want to do our part to provide viable ways to choose steady leadership.  Herewith, our illustrated list of ideas on how to select a leader. 


  • Science test

This is how Older Daughter studied for her
biology test in high school.  We could require
our leader to draw protist comic-book
 characters and name the parts of a flower.  

  • Twitter poll. Choose your bird carefully.

  • Baking contest

Anyone who can make cupcakes look like
mashed potatoes with butter and gravy wins.

  • Jar-opening contest

The first one to open all these jars
becomes supreme leader.

  • Folding a fitted sheet contest

Before the fitted-sheet-folding contest
begins, participants must be brave
enough to walk through this teen's room.

  • Art contest

Contestants must turn this into

this and then into

this without losing patience.

  • Whack a big rock with swords (the Dark Crystal method)

The candidates must use these tiny hors d'oeuvres swords 
to conquer this rock.

  • That's all I got. Sigh.