It’s nice being able to work from home, where there are absolutely no distractions.Leave a comment
It’s nice being able to work from home, where there are absolutely no distractions.Leave a comment
Newly discovered in Sri Lanka: a giant tarantula with a leg span of eight inches. It lives in trees, it’s fast, and it’s very poisonous.
So you’re walking through the forest and stumble into a spider web. Out of the corner of your eye you see, scampering toward you through the trees, an ugly spider as big as your face. You know, something EXACTLY like one of those things in the Alien movie.
Enjoy your day. And don’t go anywhere near Sri Lanka.Leave a comment
During music practice last night, I was using a shaker and I saw something you don’t see very much: a sticker saying “Made in the USA.” So, as our bass player Paul Neher observed, we know how to make a tin tube filled with sand.
It was probably made of imported tin, and I wouldn’t doubt that the sticker itself was made in China. Cynical me.Leave a comment
I played–actually played–on my high school basketball team in ninth and tenth grades. That was in Arizona. Then we moved to California, where I attended Tulare Union, a school twice as large. I made the junior varsity team, but that’s as far as it went. Belonging to the team and seeing action are two different things.
In our daily practices, I worked and sweated and grunted just as hard as my first-string teammates. On game days, I suited up in a uniform identical to everyone else’s, except for the number and the lack of sweat-stains. I participated in the pre-game warm-up drills–free throws, fast breaks, lay-ups, etc. Just before tip-off, I added my hand to the huddle and joined in a zealous “Let’s go!”
But after that, it was, “We’ll take it from here, Steve.” If you don’t have it, you don’t have it. I didn’t have it, and didn’t know where to find it.
So I would plop into my seat at the end of the bench, cheer my teammates to victory, dream of a never-meant-to-be-game-winning-honor-and-glory-forevermore-last-second-jumpshot, and wonder what in the world I would do if the coach actually put me in the game.
“What? You want me to go out there, onto the court? But I might accidentally touch the ball and make us lose the game. Are you sure, Coach?”
Coach Gentry was an easy-going guy in his first year as a basketball coach. To defend myself, I could claim he was too inexperienced to recognize talent when he saw it. The truth is, even a rookie coach can recognize a lack of talent. And so I collected splinters, watched, rooted, hollered, and brought home a clean uniform for Mom to wash.
Cut to Creative Writing class. There, I starred for Mrs. Harbour. I sunk half-court swishers, slugged home-runs, threw touchdown bombs, drilled aces. I think she liked me.
That semester, Mrs. Harbour assigned a writing “decathlon,” you might call it, in which we had to compose various types of writing. A rhymed poem. Free verse. Haiku (the most ridiculous thing this side of Form 10-40, don’t you agree?). An essay. A short story. An interview. A news feature. And a parody.
Ah, the parody. Only a week or so remained of the basketball season, and I didn’t plan to try out for the team my senior year. Nothing to lose. So here’s what I wrote for Mrs. Harbour.
Mr. Gentry is my basketball coach; I shall not play.
He maketh me to lie down at night with aching muscles;
He wind-sprinteth me beside cool-drinking fountains.
He restoreth my thirst.
He keepeth me off the playing floor, for his team’s sake.
Yea, though we lead by 50 points, I will fear not messing up, for I still won’t play.
In practice, thy whistle and thy slave-driving, they tireth me.
Thou anointest my body with sweat;
My pores runneth over.
Surely exhaustion, anonymity, and depression shall follow me all the days of the basketball season.
And I shall dwell at the end of the bench forever.
It was just for Creative Writing class. Mr. Gentry would never see it…would he?
A couple days later, Coach Gentry stopped me between classes.
“Mrs. Harbour showed me your poem,” he said, as all color drained from my face and I envisioned running about 5000 laps. “It was funny.”
“Uh, thanks,” I said, quickly scooting away to my locker.
Had I known Coach Gentry would read that parody, would I have written it? I doubt it.
But it gets worse. Mrs. Harbour immortalized that parody at Tulare Union High School. For years afterward, she distributed mimeographed copies to her English classes as an example of a good parody. A real live literary masterpiece by someone who attended TU. A treasure from her star pupil, who at this very moment was no doubt writing The Great American Haiku. (“Can anything good come out of…yes! And I taught him everything!”)
For all I know, that frivolous parody still makes the rounds at Tulare Union. It is my only mark on that school, my legacy. If Mr. Gentry remembers me, it’s not because of my forgettable jump shot. It’s because of that one silly little poem.Leave a comment
It’s a given that pretty much anything the Obama administration does, and every word spoken, will get picked apart by FoxNews. Sometimes the reasoning is laughable. For instance, the mayor of Charlotte, who will soon become Obama’s Secretary of Transportation, issued city proclamations recognizing May 2 as both the National Day of Prayer and, for non-religious folks, as the Day of Reason.
Finding correlations to Nazis is a well-cultivated specialty of FoxNews, and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America was more than happy to oblige. “You know the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism. And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust.”
There you go–breaking news from Fox & Friends that the Obama Administration is, indeed, the Fourth Reich. When you think about it, setting aside one day as the Day of Reason is every bit as outrageous as the Holocaust. We should all be outraged.
Amanda Marcotte of Slate.com noted that without reading and writing, there would have been no Mein Kampf. And if Obama goes to an art gallery, he is honoring Hitler’s hobby of painting. I would add that we should outlaw science, since science produced the poison gas that Nazis used to kill Jews. And anyone who, like Hitler, has a mustache or is heterosexual or dates a blonde should also be suspected of being a Hitler lover. You can’t be too careful.Leave a comment
In the current “How To” issue of BusinessWeek, Bill Richardson addresses, “How to Talk to a Dictator.” He said it must be person-to-person (not by email or phone), and you must understand the dictator’s situation at the moment–his current moods, who he feels threatened by, what he desires, etc. Don’t get emotional. Use some levity. Good, practical stuff based on much experience. And I’m thinking, “Or, we can just send Dennis Rodman.”
In another article, “Walking Dead” producer Greg Nicotero tells people how to walk like a zombie. There is technique involved. He says people tend to want to drag a leg or walk with their arms extended, like Frankenstein. He says to think more like walking out of a bar at 2 am. Relax your shoulders (zombies lack muscle tone). Let your eyes wander, not focusing on anything (which shows intelligence). Keep your chin down, eyes forward.
I’m trying to think of a context in which that might prove valuable. Nothing comes to mind.Leave a comment
This is described on Youtube as the Best Worship Band Ever. A bit of facetiousness there. I can’t imagine trying this as Anchor, my church. We would get laughed right off the stage.
I’m sure this probably appealed greatly to that particular audience, wherever they are. But most places…not so much.
The comments on Youtube are hysterical. I hereby give you a selection of them:
Now I know why I remained single until age 33: because my parents had me take piano lessons instead of guitar lessons.
Two studies show that a guy is more attractive to women if he’s carrying a guitar. In a French study, a handsome guy approached 300 women (age 18-22), said “I think you’re pretty,” and asked for her phone number. In one-third of the encounters, he carried a guitar case; in another third, he carried a sports bag; and in the other third, he carried nothing. He got the phone number 31% of the time when carrying the guitar case, but only 9% with the sports bag and 14% when empty-handed.
That study was in France. In the other, from Israel, 100 single female college students received a Facebook friend request from a guy, along with the guy’s photo. In half of the requests, the photo showed him strumming a guitar. In the other half, it was just his mugshot. The guitar-photo request had 14 positive responses, while the guitar-less request had just 5 responses.
The Israeli study was duplicated, but this time the friend requests came from a woman to men. The presence of a guitar made no difference.
I really think they should try it with a guy sitting at a piano. I mean, THAT is sexy, isn’t it? Please tell me it is.1 Comment
The NRA is holding its annual convention in Houston this weekend. Mark Kelly, husband of Gabrielle Giffords, wrote an excellent–I mean, EXCELLENT–letter to NRA members, suggesting that they need new leaders.
“What most members of the NRA want from the organization and what the leadership is actually doing are not the same. The NRA used to be a great organization, and you can still get practical value out of it as a member–everything from insurance to gun safety courses. But those services are small potatoes compared to where the NRA’s leadership makes the really big money. The NRA leadership’s top priority is to make sure the corporations that make guns and ammunition continue to turn huge profits. Their top priority isn’t you, the NRA member….
“And that’s why LaPierre and the rest of the leadership of the NRA and other gun organizations are spending so much of their time wild-eyed, preaching possible government confiscations. It’s because they don’t want the membership to notice they’ve turned their backs on the very safety measures, like background checks, that the organization used to stand for–in exchange for cold hard cash….
“When LaPierre and his crew of highly paid Beltway insider staff reversed their earlier support of common-sense measures like expanded background checks, they sent a strong message that instead of standing with the 3 million of your members who supported background checks, they were working on behalf of the manufacturers’ profit margins instead. It seems to me that the time is right for a new generation of leaders within the NRA.”Leave a comment
The oldest known (but not the last) Nazi concentration camp survivor died April 21 at age 107. After refusing to renounce his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, Leopold Engleitner survived three concentration camps and forced labor between 1939 and 1945. He was released from Ravensbruck in 1943 after agreeing to work as a farm slave laborer. Later, after being ordcered to report for duty in the German army, he hid in the countryside until the war ended.Leave a comment