My New Home
Homeowner’s Contractor Companion—a behind-the-curtain, BS-proof guide to the home improvement estimate, selection, and negotiation process - I’m a salesman for a home-improvement contractor, Kraz Construction. I’m not a project consultant. I’m not an estimator. I’m not an energy savings speciali...5 weeks ago
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Um . . . yeah, I can't tell you where this comes from. I don't know. All I can say is, I have a theory. Michael Bolton would have gone down in music history as a talented, entertaining singer had he never made a hit out of the single, "Said I loved you, but I lied."
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Because my friend wanted to start a new one, a blog that was mainly political . . . basically, it's the blog you never talk about at parties. But you want us on that blog. You need us on that blog. We'll try to keep it funny, fresh, and . . . for some reason I can't think of a third F word that really fits.
So, we'll both be contributing to it. I'm excited for a few reasons: The elections brought arguing back into fashion; I love distractions; I can free up this space to offend people in less traditional ways than religion and politics; But mostly I'm excited about yet another opportunity to collaborate with one of my favorite people. She's a gifted, sharp, wickedly talented writer and an all-around awesome human being.
I can't promise a steady font of political commentary like we're some sort of 24-7 news outlet. But when something major/controversial happens, you'll know where to turn for an unexpected and irreverent take on the news . . . or the olds. We'll keep you guessing like that.
So please, feel free to check out Satirically Correct at your leisure. Not much to look at yet, but it'll get there.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Over the 15 or so years I've been using the Internet, I've grown accustomed to seeing my favorite pages undergo changes, tweaks, and massive overhauls. But there is almost always some indication given by the Web site--some warning, some note, some acknowledgment given to draw my attention to what the change is and why it was made.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The first time I heard of Redbox, I thought it was a business model doomed to fail. DVD rental for a dollar made absolutely no sense to me. Yeah, I knew they could operate with a fraction of the work force of a Blockbuster. Yes, it removed the postal fees from the Netflix equation. And yes, they could get by carrying fewer titles than either competitor. But how could they make money?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Addison is a huge fan of disguises, and he puts complete faith in their effectiveness. Yesterday he came down in his Iron Man costume and asked if I knew who he really was.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
They went in together and bought a foreclosed mansion at auction. They outfitted the place to serve as their central campaign office--the oldest was running for president! Just as they began their first meeting, they heard a knock on the door.
"Little Pigs, Little Pigs, let me in!" roared the Big Bad Wolf.
"Umm . . . why?" asked the youngest pig who had run to the door to greet his guest.
"I'm hungry," said the BBW.
The second pig asked his big brother, "What should we do?"
The oldest pig responded without delay, "Invite him in without any preconditions!"
The youngest pig smiled, opened the door, and said, "Well then, we shall feed you!"
And they did.
The first pig built himself a house made of straw and invested the rest of his inheritance into subprime mortgage securities. He lived there quite happily until one day when the Big Bad Wolf showed up.
"Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in!" cried the wolf.
"Not by the hair of my collapsing portfolio!" answered the pig.
So the BBW huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down while also short selling the pigs' junk-bond investments. Meanwhile, the first pig ran to the house of the second pig, who had built a house out of sticks . . . and used the rest to buy a small-market NHL franchise. The second pig gladly welcomed his brother into his house of sticks, and they got dressed in hockey jerseys in preparation of that night's game.
They never reached the game, however, for the BBW showed up straightaway, yelling, "Little Pigs, Little Pigs, let me in!"
"Not by the hair of Evgeny Artyukhin (my stud Russian forward . . . Right Wing, of course)!" the second pig replied with full-throated hockey angst.
So the BBW huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down (and instigated a players' strike that effectively crippled the small markets). In a panic, the two pigs fled to their brother's brick mansion.
"Brother, brother, let us in," they cried, pounding on the tall oak double doors. "The BBW has blown down our houses and spoiled our fortunes!"
The voice of their brother rang out over the intercom. "Really? You're gonna blame the wolf? You've made foolish choices, and I will not bail you out. Get a job."
The pigs stood there in shocked disbelief. A menacing, pointy-eared shadow rose up the face of the door, paralyzing them with abject horror. The beady-eyed wolf put his arms around their porky shoulders, drool dribbling down his chin and onto their pot bellies. And right before he devoured them he whispered into their ears.
"Gotta love the open market."
Monday, November 10, 2008
No more laughs at the White House? May it never be.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Do you think it's ironic that the church wants our government to be small when it comes to our money but big when it comes to enforcing our beliefs?
Monday, November 03, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
No question, it was painful. But that's just the way the playoffs go. The horror of the last two years is comparable to playing Ninja Gaiden with no save feature. You put in an entire year of despair, longing, excitement, hoping, and World Series lust only to see it devolve right back to despair. There's no do-over. No memory card slot. You just have to go back to the beginning and start over.
But you have to think about it historically for some perspective. The 100 years of futility has been particularly barren of positivity because of the lack of any postseason appearances altogether. After 1945, they went almost 40 years before selling a single playoff ticket. Then things got relatively better, with waits of five years, nine years, five years, and four years in between October series. And in those modern iterations (1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, and 2007--the Cubs only previous entries into the Divisional playoff era) the Cubs won only one series (2003). But think of this: the Atlanta Braves made the postseason 14 consecutive times and won exactly one World Series. They were the best team of my generation, and they won 1 trophy.
So this year, the Cubs went for two in a row for the first time in a century. That, my friend, is where you need to be--every year, not just every century--to have a reasonable expectation of winning it all.
Because in the playoffs, the best team doesn't always win, and the best players are rarely the ones who come through when it matters most. Look at the White Sox when they won it all. Their biggest October home runs came from Geoff Blum and Scott Podsednik. I don't want those guys on my team.
The thing is, you don't get to choose when you do well and when you fail. Pitchers never decide to lose command. Hitters don't pick their slumps. Fielders make their errors in the subconscious and the pre-programmed firings of muscular impulse. One glitch, one tiny glitch, and any player on a baseball team can run a city's hopes into the ground. On the other, heretofore unseen shiny side of that coin, some pitchers manage to find their rhythm in big games. Some batters suddenly see the ball better in a big moment. Some fielders are fortunate enough to avoid the yips that turn their finely tuned machines into error-making machines. When that happens for your team in the playoffs, you win. You win big. You win it all.
Over the course of a long season, the averages even out. In the microcosm of a playoff series, they don't. Anything can happen. Anyone can win. Anyone can lose, be it in a 3-game sweep or a 7-game nail biter.
Certainly, though, there must be some formula, right? It can't be entirely unknowable, this magic potion called winning? Some factor or factors must surely add up to a recipe for winning in October, yes?
Yes. Generally, if you're relaxed, you play better. Generally, if you're nerves translate into tightness and apprehension, you fail. And generally, when you play in a place where panic sets in the moment anything momentous occurs, good or bad . . . well, when you play in a place like that, it's hard not to be too nervous.
Now, it used to be that Wrigley Field was that kind of place in August and September. Once you got close to the playoffs, panic would set in. Maybe that will become commonplace now. We're a long way from becoming the kind of place where winning in the playoffs is commonplace, but it's amazing what one win will do. I firmly believe that if the Cubs could have won just one game this year or the last, they would have kept winning. The nerves would have loosened. The burden would have lessened. Alfonso Soriano would have made decent contact.
But I guarantee, if they keep this team together, they are going to win a lot, and eventually . . . someday, we'll go all the way.
Now, I believe a change of opening song is in order.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
I flipped over to SNL to see Queen Latifah making a surprise appearance as the moderator of the Biden/Palin debate. Yeah, it's great, Tina Fey looks like Sarah Palin. There were a couple funny moments, but the big downfall of SNL political sketches of the past 8 years or so has been that they just recreate entire debates or speeches and insert jokes. Seriously, I think that cold open was just as long as the actual VP debate. Way too long and not nearly funny enough.
The game hasn't started yet. This is total garbage. A 9:07 start on a Saturday that featured just two games is unconscionable. Of course, this is the normal starting time for game in L.A.
And I don't know that it's a great sign that the beginning of the Cubs game is interrupting Titanic on TNT. Ugh.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
But it probably wouldn't have mattered. They got their butts kicked. And this is the point where feeling good about the possibilities of a comeback goes against your basic human need for self-preservation. It just plain hurts to be a Cub fan. There's a very small concentric circle of hell reserved for people who aren't Cub fans who make fun of Cub fans. Cub fans are already in hell.
I think that's a song in Wicked.
They just showed a shot of the broadcast booth (to whom I'm not listening). Dick Stockton, I swear it, uses the same type of hair coloring they put on dead bodies in the morgue. Ick.
Palin just (again, I'm clearly behind) got in the first real good dig of the debate, using Biden's previous anti-Obama attacks against him. Yaaay. I still think she's losing this thing.
In the debate, nobody can remember anybody's name. Sarah Palin called her opponent Joe O'Biden.
The question was just asked if the candidates support same-sex benefits to couples. Can benefits have a gender? Are the benefits sexual in nature? Odd question. Odd wording, anyway.
Derrek Lee just blocked a throw to first with his bare hand to break up a double play. It probably should have been ruled interference and a double play, but still I was glad to see it. I wasn't so glad to see the next batter, De Rosa, ground into a double play to bring justice into the equation. Ugh.
In the debate (at least the point of it I've reached) Sarah Palin has become rattled, too. Biden's pretty smooth, and he's attacking McCain, not Palin, which is a genius move. Palin seems unsettled by (and, dare I say, a bit attracted to?) Biden. Fascinating.
Zambrano just walked. He's a stud. Hopefully Soriano can catch Billingsley shaken and hit a homer off of him. I'm listening to the radio broadcast, which is a few seconds ahead of the satellite feed. I like that right now. I couldn't listen to the TBS guys. Dick Stockton is not a baseball announcer. I don't know why they've assigned him to the Cubs for the 2nd year in a row. Ugh.
So I decided to do blogging the old fashioned way. You know, when you keep an actual log of events or impressions throughout a certain course of time. Here's my first one:
Both of these things are unwatchable. The Cubs just went down in order after committing three consecutive errors, one of which was not called an error. Ugh. 5-0.
The debate is crap. They aren't answering the questions. They aren't really talking about what they're planning on doing. They're both experts on what the other person can't do. Ugh.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
Seriously? Scrubs is on almost all day every day on three channels in two languages. Kinda hard to take the rest of the ad seriously after that. They teach you (or at least they're supposed to) in the advertising business never to begin a commercial with a question that can easily be answered with a flatout "No." In this case, I don't know what other answer one could have.
Then I saw another commercial for a diabetes blood-sugar-level tester that boasted to be "almost pain free." To me, "almost pain free" is just another way of saying, "Sonofabiscuit, that hurts!" Look, if you can't in good conscience say in a commercial that a product is pain free, don't say it's close to being pain free. Say it works really well. Say it's quick and easy. Say it has lotsa cupholders. But don't say it's not quite pain free. Heck, it's a commercial. People are used to being lied to in commercials. When they hear "almost pain free," they will feel the pain and hate the sight of your product.
But this commercial took the absurdity one step further. This is the rest of the one-liner opening pitch: "It's almost pain free . . . and it talks!"
Why do I suspect that the talking blood tester says things like, "Take that, you insulin-deficient beyatch!"
Monday, August 18, 2008
I have a love/hate relationship with gymnastics and figure skating. I love what they're able to do. They're definitely in the "shut your mouth, you can't do anything like this business, okay?" category. With both those sports, you pretty much have to dedicate your entire life to that one thing and just decide you want nothing more than to be a freak of nature. Normal people, even extraordinary people, can't jump up in the air, spin around three times, and pick which edge of a metal blade they want to land on. Humans can't balance on a wooden beam, do a flip, and land on one foot without so much as a wobble. So anytime somebody enters that "nobody else in the history of time could ever do this" stratosphere in something other than, say, Dungeons & Dragons: the Animated Series trivia knowledge, you have to at least respect the accomplishment. I'm not ashamed to say that I love watching it.
I hate the commentary so much that I almost love it again. If Ed Wood's movies could be turned into sportscasting, they would get behind the microphones of a gymnastics event and the result would be pretty much exactly what we have here except Bela Lugosi would be Bela Karolyi. It is so bad it's good. If this telecast isn't produced by Christopher Guest, I'd be a little surprised.
And it's hard to know where the commentary ends and the judging begins. I mean, any sport that is determined exclusively by judges is ridiculous. You catch a touchdown, six points. They don't let the ref deduct a tenth of a point because your legs came apart or you didn't stick the landing. The Australian judge can't award anybody seven tenths of a run for not being completely vertical when rounding third base. It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous that someone's whole life can be dedicated to a competition decided by incompetents and less than arbitrary arbiters.
Maybe I'm being unfair to the judges. I don't know them. The only thing I know about gymnastics scoring is that there are five levels of deductions: Huge, not huge, not good, wow, and disastrous. But I don't understand how someone can land on their knees (prompting a "wow" and a "disastrous") on half of their vaults and still win a medal . . . in vaulting.
Part of it is that the new gymnastics scoring has turned into the new NBA All Star Game Dunk Contest. You know, it used to be that if you missed a dunk in the dunk contest, your score got cut in half and you lost all chance of winning. Now they'll let you try the same nearly impossible dunk for five minutes until you finally prove it is semi-possible. What used to be a spectacle has become a lame parade of extremely difficult mediocrity. It's the same thing in gymnastics. They fall. They step. They waver. They fail. They medal. Woo hoo. It's still difficult, but it's not pretty anymore.
Back to the love. I love the fact that the whole thing boils down to drama . . . that shockingly talented people who aren't satisfied with being the best until they're validated by people they think are idiots and awarded medals of the appropriate metal and podiums of the appropriate height can be reduced to tears by a hundredth of a point. I love the disdain, the chastising, the anguish, the incensed cries against international injustice. All sporting respect aside, it's just so darn fitting.
So, no, sports should never be judged. But I like standing in judgment over the ones that are.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I'm not green, but I loved Wicked. It was phenomenal. There was plenty to love, from the crystalline vocals and hilarious verbal and physical high jinks of the two lead witches to the witty plot playfully adapted from Gregory Maguire's book of a similarly wicked name. But among all the resounding harmonizations, glorious costumes, and spectacular satire was one detail that stood out to me for some odd reason: as the first act concluded in an explosion of spectral brilliance resembling Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album cover on Human Growth Hormone, Elphaba (aka the Wicked Witch of the West) belted out the final note in the rousing anthem, "Defying Gravity," while suspended high above the stage, and all the dizzying beams of light that filled the entire theatre suddenly contracted into a single fading circle of burning light . . . the victorious viridescent face of Elphaba. Sure, my mind has been far more occupied with the myriad misinterpretations of the so-called political undertones, but that one moment of technical detail impressed me the most. I don't know why. It was just cool.
Addison said this the other day: "I'm not going to hit you. I'm just pretending to cut your head off with my light saber."
I don't think there's a big difference between the nature of the Creationists vs. Evolutionists squabble and that of the WrestleMania IV double disqualification bout between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant in the 2nd round of the WWF championship elimination tournament.
The scoring of synchronized diving is almost completely arbitrary.
Monday, August 11, 2008
To be honest, I'm still not 100% sure what blogging is supposed to be. The genre hasn't exactly been precisely defined for me, but I get the gist. The purpose of this blog (at least the primary purpose I've attached to it) is to give myself and others the chance to waste time in a way that doesn't feel like a waste. It's meant to be a diversion that feels like the right way to go. In essence, trivia that somehow feels important . . . and fun. And that has been the model of my trivia email pursuits from the beginning. I've tried to make my readers' days just a little brighter while also making ourselves just a little brighter as well.
Anyway, I say all this to let you know that if this blog ever grows stagnant (oxymoron alert) you can always look to Trivia for a little bit of pointless knowledge and frivolous commentary. And if it winds up feeling purposeful and meaningful, well, so be it. Here's the introduction to today's question. It's a typical example of the way things used to be before conventional blogging forced trivia into its current truncated existence:
Say what you want about the air quality, but there's something in the water in Beijing. It seems that a new world record is being set with every heat of every round of every swimming event. Now, the optimistic side of me loves the fact that the American men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay team completed the most amazing comeback in the comeback world since L.L. Cool J told us not to call his comeback a comeback. I was whooping and hollering right along with those four musclebound marine mammals as they rubbed their smash-prediction-defying victory in the turned-up noses of the French.
But they beat the world record by almost four seconds. In a race that runs just over three minutes, that's a full two-percent shift. Keep in mind, the old World Record was not yet a day old. Five, count 'em, FIVE of the eight teams in the race beat the previous world record. I'm not saying the Americans are cheaters. I'm saying everyone is a bunch of cheaters. There is still no test for Human Growth Hormone.
But I'd say the stopwatch is a pretty good indicator.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
"I think Vegas is looking for a new Elvis."
Commercials to make fun of:
The ones about genital herpes. It's its own punchline, really.
Saying sorry like "soary"
Learning process at the moment:
It's a tossup between Colin trying to walk and Addison trying to ride a training-wheel-free bike.
Olympian of all time:
Mary Lou Retton, hands down. No, wait. Hands up.
Friday, August 01, 2008
There was nothing visibly special about it. Nothing to differentiate it from the half million other gallons of milk seen in my lifetime. Well, except the ones in Canada that they sell in plastic bags so you can just put them right into a pitcher . . . but I digress. There was something that made this gallon of milk special.
I had bagged all of my other groceries into their plastic bags (no, I'm not green, not with envy and not with eco-friendliness) and I stared down that thing of milk. Then I looked around the store to see if anyone was watching. I was going to do it.
You see, I've gone my whole life wondering why people don't put milk in a bag. It has long tormented society as the most inconvenient thing you can ever buy at the store. Even when you buy it at a convenience store, all convenience is neglected by this inexplicable compulsion to carry it by the tiny hand-cramping handle whilst carrying all the other groceries in bags. So milk jugs have handles. So that means you can't put them in bags? Pshaw, pshaw. And again I say pshaw. Milk jugs just might be the hardest thing in the store to carry, so it makes no sense not to bag them.
Still, as this furious rage against nonsense and injustice stormed within me, I didn't know for sure if I was doing the right thing. I slipped the jug into the plastic bag and wondered if I was making a mistake. The big question now was the question of weight. Can a plastic bag hold a gallon of milk? Will the handles tear? Will they slice through my hand? Will the bag split through the bottom?
So I picked up that bag and quickly placed it inside the next plastic bag. But even as I did so, I realized that the double bagging was unnecessary. The jug that always feels so unwieldy and cumbersome was pleasantly wieldy and cumberless. I left the grocery store knowing that as I walked away with my food, I was leaving behind a tradition that had weighed me down for far too long. I felt free. I felt like I was beginning life again. I felt like the sole beacon of wisdom in a world full of gallon-jug-carrying fools.
And now, this is me shouting it from the virtual rooftops: Put your milk in a bag! Those gallons are not special. They don't deserve to roam free in car trunks and back seats, segregated from the cans and produce and buns and cheese and dishwasher gel. They can sit there suffocating in a plastic bag like the rest of your groceries. If you want your milk to feel special, hire a milk man. Otherwise, give up the charade. The handle is for pouring, not for carrying across driveways and up stairs.
Okay. I'm prepared for the backlash. Bring it on.
Friday, July 25, 2008
And although I have absolutely nothing against the people who live there (eveyone I've met seems genuinely delightful) a feeling of uneasiness struck me about halfway through the walk as I noticed for the 342nd time how almost every landscape is so impeccably maintained. The word that came to mind was pressure. What immense pressure every resident must feel to uphold the standard of outward perfection. How their hearts must backfire with terror when a weed infiltrates their rose bushes or a brick gets dislodged from its pristinely paved settlement french curving around the patio garden. Going on vacation must induce immeasurable stress, never knowing if the neighbors are keeping too close an eye on your browning, dissheveled lawn while you and your family are trying to relax in Bermuda. That can't be fun.
It soon hit me that the unyielding pressure for perfection is not at all confined to one neighborhood or even one type of neighborhood. It's everywhere. Last Christmas I discussed the idea that a big and boisterous Christmas is perfectly wonderful despite the common theory that it represents materialism and self-promotion at its worst. And here in the middle of July I knew for certain that the holly jolly excess of Christmas is a miniscule novelty compared to the proud perennial peacock parade of everyday life. This, the daily struggle to show our just-right status (never too low, but also steering clear of too grand) is the true definition of a garish display of depravity.
It's just never enough to be God's creatures that enjoy where we live and who we are. We have to spend all our time eliminating anything that would expose us as imperfect and compiling all the stuff that renders us superficially special.
I was saddened to be a part of the problem (even though I'm especially terrible at playing the game . . . perfection does not become me) until I came across the first of the two Abercrombie ponds. I looked for a crane that is always bathing leisurely in a watery spot set far back from the walking path but still clearly visible to even my nearsighted naked eyes. I forgot about society for a second and decided to lift Colin out of his stroller to get a closer look at one of the coolest birds I've ever seen in the wild.
Carrying Colin, I gingerly stepped over the rocks that covered a big black corrugated plastic pipe connecting the twin ponds, and tried to silently step along the steep grassy bank. As I broke out my phone/camera and neared the large bird, it sensed my presence. It wasn't startled, but it was too proud to be photographed by a commoner like myself. So it reared its graceful head high, pointed its slender dagger of a beak toward the sky and unfolded its wings like two sails. The take off was far from effortless. The force exerted by each powerful wingstroke was audibly impressive as I heard the air disturbance echo off of the surrounding trees. The crane didn't go far. It glided away for just a moment and then swooped back to the lofty top of a tree overlooking the pond.
From its haughty perch, the crane looked down at me as if waiting for me to leave it alone. It wasn't afraid of me, it just preferred not to mingle with the likes of us. And then a little ray of truth connected us in a gaze of realization. This crane, a graceful picture of regal elegance, didn't have to manufacture its status. It was beautiful in its own right. It didn't need a lawn or a patio or a brick-faced house. It didn't need designer labels, cute shoes, highlights, power tools, muscle cars, or witty words. It was awesome as it was. And it felt no pressure to be anything more.
So I'll keep trying not to pretend that I'm anything better than what I am. I'm God's kid, a sinner, redeemed by His grace. Anything I add to the picture will only cheapen it.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
-- I realized what made Addison use ordinary as a derogatory word. Commercials. The next time a commercial comes on for any household product, especially a commercial that shows the split-screen performance comparison shot, pay attention to the use of the word ordinary. The voice-over person always injects abject disdain into the word. "The baking soda formula makes Dry-Skin Wonder Spray go on comfortably, unlike ORDINARY bug spray." Given the deluge of commercials that come on in between Nick Jr. shows, I shouldn't be at all surprised to discover that Addison thinks ordinary is a bad word. Makes total sense.
-- I have loved watching the Cubs play this year. No predictions. No boasting. It has just been a heck of a lot of fun.
-- Colin does not like to sit still. If he's awake, he's on the move. A phrase that has become all too common these days is, "Where's Colin?" It's fun.
-- In South Africa, Asian people are considered Black. It sounds silly, but when you hear the reasoning behind it, it starts to make sense, and then gets silly and then sad . . . and then you might wind up angry. The problem was, Asian people were victims of apartheid. But the post-apartheid compensation laws benefited only Blacks (the label African American never really caught on in South Africa). To correct the oversight that left Asians in the South African cold, the government formally recognized all the descendants of yet another continent as Black, despite overwhelming visual evidence to the contrary. Of course, they could have just, you know, changed the wording of the law. No, relabeling people was definitely the way to go.
It just goes to show how ridiculous and demeaning racial labels really are. My fictitious but nevertheless very close personal friend Wayne Kim (who is a Korean businessman in Johannesburg) used to be considered an Asian American African, but now he's just Black.
Maybe the most overlooked part of White Privilege is the general lack of labels. Sure, it used to be that in America you were set apart because you were Polish, Irish, Italian, whatever. Now white people are just white. And we aren't even that. We only break out the white designation when there are non-white people to differentiate ourselves from. I really don't know what to say about it. Just observing at this point.
-- I haven't blogged in awhile.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Wow, took me awhile to get there. I don't write songs, but I do make up songs. I just don't write them down. In my head, I'm always composing little songs about whatever the heck is going on up there. Sometimes those songs actually come out of my mouth. People I know well are aware of this as the themes of several songs revolve around their names.
Occasionally, the songs will be set to pre-existing music. For instance, "Elena Bobena (a.k.a. Ukrainian Woman)" is set to the tune of "American Woman" by The Guess Who. "Rhonda" is just a thinly veiled "Roxanne" by The Police. Still others are original music compositions, such as "My name is Heather (I am so beautiful)" and "I'm Addison," which was later parodied with the hit "I'm Colin James."
Not all of the songs are name-related, those are just the ones most likely to be sung out loud. I guess I sing them because I know they will either induce laughter or annoyance, and I find both reactions satisfying. The ones that are never sung are a little better . . . at least, they usually have more lyrics or lyrics that aren't composed for the sole purpose of rhyming with the title and/or someone's name.
The one that popped in and danced on my cortex today was an odd little country ditty called "I just ain't into beautiful things." I'm not sure what triggered the thought, but I realized that for a little while now I just haven't been enamored with beauty anymore. It made me a little sad. I don't know how I got to this point, but I haven't really been listening or looking for beauty . . . or appreciating it when I see or hear it. I'm surrounded by it. But I've just been more into funny, smart, suspenseful, encouraging . . . I guess beauty has been boring for awhile. These aren't the actual lyrics to the song, by the way. But it's the gist. I won't type the words, that would make me a songwriter. I'm just not ready to lose my strict songmakerupper-only status.
This sounds kind of dark to me now, but I don't feel like I'm in a dark place or anything. But I think it's worth making a change. I think it's worth going after beauty in nature, art, music, and whatever. Not sure why, but there must be a reason. I'll let you know when I find it.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Dear Word Guru,
What is it called when you incorrectly use a word that sounds like another word, but you use it incorrectly. Example - I could here (s/b hear) you from the other room.
I know there is a word for it but I can't remember. Dear Guru, please clear this up for me.
Signed, Forgetful in North Carolina
Eye believe the whirred your looking four is homophone. The reason ewe may knot half bin able two remember is that it has become politically incorrect to bee a homophone. Although the definition has nothing to do with orientation and everything too due with pronunciation, sum people git the wrong idea about homophones. Okay, isle stop using them starting . . . now.
The irony is, homophones are words that sound alike but are spelled differently, and, although the two words aren't technically homophones, the very thing that gets the homophone into trouble is its sonic similarity to homophobe. People don't like homophobes. People really don't like phobes of any kind. If your name is Pheobe, you have to watch out. Sure, you're fine in person, but when people see your name in an email, for just a second, they give your message that Mr. Drummond from Diff'rent Strokes "You're a bigot" look before realizing, "Oh, it's just Pheebs," and smiling again without the slightest shred of guilt for having prematurely judged you. Sucks to be you, Pheobe. Sucks to be you.
Anyway, they're homophones. And they aren't hurting anybody.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The retina is a screen. It's actually the coolest screen in the entire world, but it's a screen. The lens of our eyes project the images of the surrounding world onto our retinas, which are then mystically transformed into electric and chemical signals that travel to our brain, which then interpret the stereo images into wicked awesome 3D technicolor. (Actually, the rods and cones of the eye are more like trinitron televisions, combining receptors of three different colors to interpret every color known to man . . . hence the known to man part, although some females actually have four different colors . . . but I digress.)
Set aside the science of it, though, because it's the soul of it that really makes up my theory. I've always believed that the eyes really are the window to the soul. No, I'm not suggesting that our souls are on our retinas (in which case a detached retina would mean the end of one's natural existence). But I do think that when something projects onto my internal screen, it nestles up to my soul.
I believe that whatever we see touches our souls, and what our souls really long for is a connection.
I've said before that reading is powerful because words carry so much meaning, even the substance of existence itself. As you read this, our souls meet. Because of the power of words, the connection forged here is real insofar as the words adequately communicate the reality of who I am. Real as it is, it's an indirect connection.
When you look someone in the eye, your souls shake hands, hug, slap high fives, or just slap. The connection isn't always pleasant, but it's undeniable and direct. Look into someones eyes and, whether you love them or loathe them, you're paying them the respect of acknowledging the most enduring level of their existence. Stare too long, and you'll make their soul feel a bit awkward. Of course, if they accept you, you can get lost in that connection for a very long time.
Enter the screen theory. Be it television, projector, monitor, or quartz crystal, a screen can play a trick on our eyes, our retinas, and our souls. I believe that when we look at a screen, we experience an imitation of a true soul connection. I think that even though our minds may not make the connection, we suspect in our innermost sanctuary that where there is a screen there is a soul. It is beyond subconscious, but it happens. We look at the television, the movie, the video game, whatever . . . and we believe in the connection.
The popular (and perhaps more plausible) belief is that people identify with the characters in TV shows, movies, video games, and whatevers. But I think it's more than that. I think we connect with the screen itself and the mysterious entity through whose eyes these images are projected. I think it's true on a computer as well. Whether you're typing a term paper or furrowing through facebook, you see it on a screen. Your email shows up on a screen. Text messages, on a screen. Each screen that engages our attention, I believe, does so with the allure of a falsified soul.
If the theory is true, I think there's a subtle distinction in the fixation. I think we are drawn -- not to the characters, friends, and strangers we meet in a film, show, chat room, or email message -- we are instead captivated by the imaginary intimate friend who relays all these stories and messages directly to our souls. The computer screen is such a close friend that he can tell me what my best friends are up to or show me pictures of my nieces and nephews. My TV knows me so well, she can send her most vivid recollections of LOST castaways and Office shenanigans directly to my brain. My buddy at the movies can cinematically tell me the story of Indiana Jones, and he does all the voices and sound effects personally.
Your imaginary friend, be he Mac or PC, is telling you all about my blog.
I think that's why I get lost in this stuff. It's an easy cure for loneliness. It's also an empty cure. And it's not to say I'm lonely. I'm not. But when I sit in front of any one of these screens, whether I'm perusing meaningless information with my friend Laptop or playing sudoku with my pal Handheld, I feel on some level like I would miss them if I left. It's not so much an addiction as it is a horribly dysfunctional relationship.
Because it's not a real soul on the other end of that screen. It's an electronic void. What's more, it's an entirely one-way connection. My TV doesn't feel better knowing I'm there. I think that when souls connect and accept each other, both souls feel that and feed off of it. No matter what affection I may pour into some electronic screen, my soul will never ever feel anything resembling love emanating from the phosphorescent glow. So all of those screens leave our souls feeling cold, alone, aloof . . . and starved.
That's why reading books or even listening to the radio or music is so much better for your soul. There's no illusion that the page is a screen, or that the actual book is a person. The connection is appropriately indirect. The words are real, and they don't change with a new font or a yellowed page or a High-Definition anything. If the words and the ideas they represent are truly great, our connection with the author and the human experience they replicate is vibrant and alive and transforming and feeding . . . and wonderful.
If the words represent manufactured emotion that has no real basis in life, the void continues, but that's another story.
And if the words are from God, the connection is eternal. Okay, too many rabbit trails are springing up. I'll end the thought with this: turn off your computer, TV, cell, everything. Pick up a book, the Bible, or a pad of paper. Send real letters. Look into someones eyes. Find a real soul and snuggle up to it.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Last year, after 120 minutes of waitertainment, the announcement of the winner of American Idol was announced at 9:03 and three seconds. I remember, because our DVR recorded an extra three minutes until 9:03, when Ryan proclaimed, "The winner of American Idol Season 6 is . . . " and we missed the end. Unbelievable.
Tonight, I kid you not, he did it again. Only this time our DVR switched off right at 9:00. It is beyond detestable that a results show would spend two hours offering no results whatsoever. But here's what did happen:
Seacrest: "The winner of American Idol Season 7 is . . . David . . ." and then it ended. I am not even kidding. Granted, I didn't have to sit through the two grueling hours of seeing and hearing from all the people we're so glad are gone . . . but to not even reveal the winner in the alotted time is an absolute crime. It's an outrage. It's so outrageous, the rage has come back in. It's INrageous and OUTcredible.
And yeah, I looked up who won. But I'm ticked on principle.