Thursday, June 30, 2005

Ask Me No Questions, Tell Me No Lies

MegaMovie Theatre Chain AMC has decided to offer a no questions asked, money-back guarantee to anybody who sees Cinderella Man and doesn't like it. After spending nearly ten years of my life in the popcorn trenches for the very same company, all I can say is "HUH?"

I can remember working at the theatre during a long, successful run of the Bob Fosse film, All That Jazz. Just like clockwork, when the open-heart surgery scene began, I'd get a stampede of people demanding their money back. "It's too gross!" They'd all complain.

I can remember working at the theatre during a long, successful run of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. People got upset and offended for all sorts of things in that film, but just like clockwork, when Mr. Creosote exploded after eating too much food (Just one tiny mint? It's wafer-thin!!) I'd get a stampede of people demanding their money back, with an apology to boot. I hated that, because I wasn't sorry at all. Personally, I loved the film, and would spend a ridiculous amount of time spouting lines (A tiger? In Africa??)

I can remember working at the theatre during a long, successful run of Grease. You could set your watch for the mid-movie exodus during Beauty-School Dropout. No refunds here. Go back in and gut it out people. You paid for Frankie. You get Frankie.

When did we get to be so wimpy? See a movie, watch TV, read a book -- you can research it all you want, but in the end it's part personal preference and a whole lotta luck. What one person loves, another might not be able to stand. And hey -- if you really didn't like it, be sure to recommend it to an annoying coworker. After all, if you threw your money in the road, there is no reason why they should miss out too.

I find it a little hard to believe that the National Alliance of Theatre Owners (the other NATO) thinks that the population-at-large suddenly became discriminating with their entertainment dollars. After all, we are a country who supported no less than three Smokey and the Bandit movies, Anaconda and Anacondas, and Crossroads, a fine pile of cinematic waste starring Kim Cattrall, Dan Aykroyd and Britney Spears.

But hey, if the powers that be are truly serious about handing out refunds, I think the patron should have to answer questions. Lots and lots of questions. What's Your Name? What is Your Quest? What's Your Favorite Color? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? If they can get all of THOSE right, then we'll move on to phase two:

Submit a 500-word essay on the following topic:
Jar Jar Binks Why?

Ask Me No Questions, Tell Me No Lies

MegaMovie Theatre Chain AMC has decided to offer a no questions asked, money-back guarantee to anybody who sees Cinderella Man and doesn't like it. After spending nearly ten years of my life in the popcorn trenches for the very same company, all I can say is "HUH?"

I can remember working at the theatre during a long, successful run of the Bob Fosse film, All That Jazz. Just like clockwork, when the open-heart surgery scene began, I'd get a stampede of people demanding their money back. "It's too gross!" They'd all complain.

I can remember working at the theatre during a long, successful run of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. People got upset and offended for all sorts of things in that film, but just like clockwork, when Mr. Creosote exploded after eating too much food (Just one tiny mint? It's wafer-thin!!) I'd get a stampede of people demanding their money back, with an apology to boot. I hated that, because I wasn't sorry at all. Personally, I loved the film, and would spend a ridiculous amount of time spouting lines (A tiger? In Africa??)

I can remember working at the theatre during a long, successful run of Grease. You could set your watch for the mid-movie exodus during Beauty-School Dropout. No refunds here. Go back in and gut it out people. You paid for Frankie. You get Frankie.

When did we get to be so wimpy? See a movie, watch TV, read a book -- you can research it all you want, but in the end it's part personal preference and a whole lotta luck. What one person loves, another might not be able to stand. And hey -- if you really didn't like it, be sure to recommend it to an annoying coworker. After all, if you threw your money in the road, there is no reason why they should miss out too.

I find it a little hard to believe that the National Alliance of Theatre Owners (the other NATO) thinks that the population-at-large suddenly became discriminating with their entertainment dollars. After all, we are a country who supported no less than three Smokey and the Bandit movies, Anaconda and Anacondas, and Crossroads, a fine pile of cinematic waste starring Kim Cattrall, Dan Aykroyd and Britney Spears.

But hey, if the powers that be are truly serious about handing out refunds, I think the patron should have to answer questions. Lots and lots of questions. What's Your Name? What is Your Quest? What's Your Favorite Color? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? If they can get all of THOSE right, then we'll move on to phase two:

Submit a 500-word essay on the following topic:
Jar Jar Binks Why?

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Cultural Divide

To be able to vacation along the seashore is a special kind of wonderful. Being surrounded by the most basic elements of nature brings a sense of quiet calm missing from everyday life. From the steady crashing of the ocean surf and the endless stretches of sandy beaches to the sea grasses, cacti, and other green growing things, to the pelicans, laughing gulls and sea turtles that share both sea and sky, to the sunrises and sunsets so beautiful they take your breath away -- the moment you get there you know you're in heaven.

But then there's the getting there part....

To reach this slice of heaven, you must drive THE STRIP, which is its own special kind of hell. THE STRIP -- for those of you who may be unfamiliar -- is bursting to the seams with SHOPPING SHOPPING SHOPPING EATING EATING SHOPPING SHOPPING SHOPPING EATING EATING and EATING, with a little extra SHOPPING and EATING thrown in , just in case you missed it the first ninety-seven billion times.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina excels greatly at the concept of THE STRIP. Want to enjoy some EATING EATING EATING? Try Dirty Dicks Crab House, and when you're done, be sure to buy a souvenir I got my crabs from Dirty Dicks! T-shirt for Grandma. Need some beer, but dragging that GUT out of the car is just too much danged hard work? Your prayers have shore-nuff been answered by one of the many Brew Thru drive through beer-a-terias. Got Kids? THE STRIP has it covered with a bazillion Putt-Putt golf courses, rickety Ferris wheels and go-kart tracks. Best of all, many shopping ventures have nautical names, each complete with its very own bad pun: Ocean Annies, Birthday Suits, Life's a Beach, Beach Daze, Shore-Fit Sunwear, The Lucky Duck, etc.

Lest I forget, there is always special homage to be paid as we drive past the Outer Banks Worship Center Ark (Assembly of God, in case you wondered) in Nags Head and the Outer Banks UFO in Buxton. You can't help but get all tingly seeing these two landmarks, because you know you have just about made it to the promised land.

After years of dealing with seaside kitsch, I have become somewhat immune to the lengths tacky will go to be noticed. However, this year, a new eatery, sMacNally's caught my eye.



Looking at the name, I found it somewhat unusual. The "Mac" part of the title gave it a weird Scottish flair, which, for North Carolina, seemed a bit off. I thought maybe the "sMac" part meant it was lip-smacking good, which is entirely acceptable in good-ole-boy (or gal) talk. Later I read somewhere that this eatery was located "Smack in the middle of town" which also seemed to be a reasonable explanation.

But then -- and you KNOW there is going to be a "but then" -- BUT THEN, I found the ad print

FOOD SO GOOD, IT'LL MAKE YA WANNA SMACK YO MAMA!

I thought it was a joke until I saw the picture. And shore shooting, there he is, a lip-smacking, food-toting, godawful goofy-grinnin', overall-wearin' oyster ready to CRACK SOMEONE ACROSS THE CHOPS.



Now, I will admit that I am not from The South, and maybe I'm just not hip to Bubba-speak. I'm just a Motown-loving, Rust-Belt baby from Detroit, Michigan. But in THESE parts, if you smack yo mama, you'd better have your cousin Leroy warming up the getaway car or pray the family gun is out of ammo.

You'd think that idyllic ocean living would be all that a little oyster would ever want or need. Now I'm thinking this abusive bivalve is in need of a little tough love.

With some sauce.
And a beer.

Smack yo mama, indeed.

Cultural Divide

To be able to vacation along the seashore is a special kind of wonderful. Being surrounded by the most basic elements of nature brings a sense of quiet calm missing from everyday life. From the steady crashing of the ocean surf and the endless stretches of sandy beaches to the sea grasses, cacti, and other green growing things, to the pelicans, laughing gulls and sea turtles that share both sea and sky, to the sunrises and sunsets so beautiful they take your breath away -- the moment you get there you know you're in heaven.

But then there's the getting there part....

To reach this slice of heaven, you must drive THE STRIP, which is its own special kind of hell. THE STRIP -- for those of you who may be unfamiliar -- is bursting to the seams with SHOPPING SHOPPING SHOPPING EATING EATING SHOPPING SHOPPING SHOPPING EATING EATING and EATING, with a little extra SHOPPING and EATING thrown in , just in case you missed it the first ninety-seven billion times.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina excels greatly at the concept of THE STRIP. Want to enjoy some EATING EATING EATING? Try Dirty Dicks Crab House, and when you're done, be sure to buy a souvenir I got my crabs from Dirty Dicks! T-shirt for Grandma. Need some beer, but dragging that GUT out of the car is just too much danged hard work? Your prayers have shore-nuff been answered by one of the many Brew Thru drive through beer-a-terias. Got Kids? THE STRIP has it covered with a bazillion Putt-Putt golf courses, rickety Ferris wheels and go-kart tracks. Best of all, many shopping ventures have nautical names, each complete with its very own bad pun: Ocean Annies, Birthday Suits, Life's a Beach, Beach Daze, Shore-Fit Sunwear, The Lucky Duck, etc.

Lest I forget, there is always special homage to be paid as we drive past the Outer Banks Worship Center Ark (Assembly of God, in case you wondered) in Nags Head and the Outer Banks UFO in Buxton. You can't help but get all tingly seeing these two landmarks, because you know you have just about made it to the promised land.

After years of dealing with seaside kitsch, I have become somewhat immune to the lengths tacky will go to be noticed. However, this year, a new eatery, sMacNally's caught my eye.



Looking at the name, I found it somewhat unusual. The "Mac" part of the title gave it a weird Scottish flair, which, for North Carolina, seemed a bit off. I thought maybe the "sMac" part meant it was lip-smacking good, which is entirely acceptable in good-ole-boy (or gal) talk. Later I read somewhere that this eatery was located "Smack in the middle of town" which also seemed to be a reasonable explanation.

But then -- and you KNOW there is going to be a "but then" -- BUT THEN, I found the ad print

FOOD SO GOOD, IT'LL MAKE YA WANNA SMACK YO MAMA!

I thought it was a joke until I saw the picture. And shore shooting, there he is, a lip-smacking, food-toting, godawful goofy-grinnin', overall-wearin' oyster ready to CRACK SOMEONE ACROSS THE CHOPS.



Now, I will admit that I am not from The South, and maybe I'm just not hip to Bubba-speak. I'm just a Motown-loving, Rust-Belt baby from Detroit, Michigan. But in THESE parts, if you smack yo mama, you'd better have your cousin Leroy warming up the getaway car or pray the family gun is out of ammo.

You'd think that idyllic ocean living would be all that a little oyster would ever want or need. Now I'm thinking this abusive bivalve is in need of a little tough love.

With some sauce.
And a beer.

Smack yo mama, indeed.

Deep in the 100 Acre Woods

Pretty sad news indeed.

The wonderful thing about Tiggers
is Tiggers are wonderful things....

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Paul Winchell, a ventriloquist, inventor and children's TV show host best known for creating the lispy voice of Winnie the Pooh's animated friend Tigger, has died. He was 82.

"It's awfully hard to be b-b-brave," Piglet said,
"When you are only a very small animal."

NEW YORK (AP) -- John Fiedler, a stage actor who won fame as the voice of Piglet in Walt Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh films, died Saturday, The New York Times reported in Monday editions. He was 80.


"Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever.
Not even when I'm a hundred."
Pooh thought for a little while.
"How old shall I be then?"
"Ninety-nine."
Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said.

Deep in the 100 Acre Woods

Pretty sad news indeed.

The wonderful thing about Tiggers
is Tiggers are wonderful things....

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Paul Winchell, a ventriloquist, inventor and children's TV show host best known for creating the lispy voice of Winnie the Pooh's animated friend Tigger, has died. He was 82.

"It's awfully hard to be b-b-brave," Piglet said,
"When you are only a very small animal."

NEW YORK (AP) -- John Fiedler, a stage actor who won fame as the voice of Piglet in Walt Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh films, died Saturday, The New York Times reported in Monday editions. He was 80.


"Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever.
Not even when I'm a hundred."
Pooh thought for a little while.
"How old shall I be then?"
"Ninety-nine."
Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

I say ... And You Think:

  1. Useless:: Obsolete
  2. Radiant:: Glowing
  3. W:: Ick
  4. Unpaid:: Broke
  5. Geek:: Computer
  6. Unfaithful:: Untrue
  7. Reboot:: Start Over
  8. No!:: Bad Dog!
  9. Squad:: Mod
  10. Fetish:: Foot

I know I'm showing my age with Mod Squad, but really, was there anybody cooler than Pete, Linc and Julie? I think not. And no, I do not have a bad dog. Or a foot fetish.

Just thought I should clarify.

Mutter along HERE.

Unconscious Mutterings

I say ... And You Think:

  1. Useless:: Obsolete
  2. Radiant:: Glowing
  3. W:: Ick
  4. Unpaid:: Broke
  5. Geek:: Computer
  6. Unfaithful:: Untrue
  7. Reboot:: Start Over
  8. No!:: Bad Dog!
  9. Squad:: Mod
  10. Fetish:: Foot

I know I'm showing my age with Mod Squad, but really, was there anybody cooler than Pete, Linc and Julie? I think not. And no, I do not have a bad dog. Or a foot fetish.

Just thought I should clarify.

Mutter along HERE.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggidy Jig.

The Tuna clan has arrived back home safe and sound and sunburned. Our first order of business? Run into the house and grab flashlights so we could look at the gardens. There's nothing quite like looking like a burglar in your own front yard.

As for the rest of life, it's obvious that there are a bajillion things to do. Although the return to reality and routine is imminent, tonight the mail will remain unopened and the luggage will continue to sit, untouched, in the corner. I can't get into my email (which, despite my twitching, I've decided is a blessing), so I'm just going to putter quietly around the house in my flip-flops, still sandy from my goodbye ocean walk late yesterday afternoon.

One of the many things the ocean teaches is that eventually you'll get pushed back to shore by that last overpowering wave. I'm just not ready yet, so I'm going to spend one more night playing in the surf.

Catch you tomorrow.

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggidy Jig.

The Tuna clan has arrived back home safe and sound and sunburned. Our first order of business? Run into the house and grab flashlights so we could look at the gardens. There's nothing quite like looking like a burglar in your own front yard.

As for the rest of life, it's obvious that there are a bajillion things to do. Although the return to reality and routine is imminent, tonight the mail will remain unopened and the luggage will continue to sit, untouched, in the corner. I can't get into my email (which, despite my twitching, I've decided is a blessing), so I'm just going to putter quietly around the house in my flip-flops, still sandy from my goodbye ocean walk late yesterday afternoon.

One of the many things the ocean teaches is that eventually you'll get pushed back to shore by that last overpowering wave. I'm just not ready yet, so I'm going to spend one more night playing in the surf.

Catch you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings

I say...and you think

1. Wally:: Gator
2. Phantom:: Of the Opera
3. Slippery:: When Wet
4. Fungus:: Mold
5. Slot:: Coin
6. Type:: Kind
7. Discharge:: Let Go
8. "We need to talk" :: Uh oh
9. On the spot:: Exactly
10. Liquid:: Wet


I'm not explaining them because I'm on vacation. Unfortunately, I'll probably be singing "Wally Gator is the swinging alligator in the Swamp...." song for the next two days. Damn you, old Hannah-Barbera cartoons!!

Be sure to mutter HERE.

Unconscious Mutterings

I say...and you think

1. Wally:: Gator
2. Phantom:: Of the Opera
3. Slippery:: When Wet
4. Fungus:: Mold
5. Slot:: Coin
6. Type:: Kind
7. Discharge:: Let Go
8. "We need to talk" :: Uh oh
9. On the spot:: Exactly
10. Liquid:: Wet


I'm not explaining them because I'm on vacation. Unfortunately, I'll probably be singing "Wally Gator is the swinging alligator in the Swamp...." song for the next two days. Damn you, old Hannah-Barbera cartoons!!

Be sure to mutter HERE.

Animal Planet

So, I leave for vacation and I see all hell has broken loose. Michael Jackson acquitted. Pistons are down 0-2 in the NBA Championship series, and are mostly likely losing Game 3 at this very moment, but I cannot tell because the TV that is bigger than the state of Vermont is in the other room, and is currently commandeered by TinyTuna who has sweet-talked her very lovely (but obviously gullible) GreatUncle Tuna into watching Barbie's The Princess and the Pauper instead of sports or killing or whatever else one watches on a TV the size of a football field.

Take it from me, all Barbie movies should be mandatory headphones-only affairs.

So yes, I am in full-scale vacation mode, currently reporting from the state of Maryland, which lost all rights to the adjective "lovely" when it decided it would rather be the 7th layer of Hell. When they say, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" I'm here to tell you that is a load of baloney. It IS the heat. AND the humidity. Hokey smokes, it's hot Bullwinkle!

Speaking of Bullwinkle, after only two days, it's evident that this vacation has been sponsored by Animal Planet. Not counting road kill (which, if a person would just take a minute to stand them upright again they'd be photo-ready) we've observed the following creatures in (and out of) their natural habitat.

Strange Animal Sighting #1
Animal: Llamas
Location: Ohio Turnpike Rest Stop
Names: Unknown. Guess I'll call them "Rest" and "Stop"

Rest and Stop were being walked by their brand new owners in the Dog Walk Area. They had bought them at an Ohio Llama Auction (USOLA, no doubt) and were taking them back to their llama farm in Massachusetts...where they will have 100 other llama friends to play with. Rest and Stop were super cute and allowed us to pet them and covet their fur. Mmmmm llama....


Strange Animal Sighting #2
Animal: Entire White Deer Population
Location: Shenandoah National Park - Skyline Drive
Names: Start with A, make up 5000 names. Continue to B...

So, we decided to travel down Skyline Drive. It was late afternoon, and all the deer in the world were at the buffeteria by the side of the road. We slowed down for every single deer we saw, and took approximately 57,000 pictures in the process. Special bonus points when we saw Bambi and his mother. Cuuuuuute.... I told TinyTuna, "I can't believe how incredibly lucky we've been to see all these deer! What other animals do you suppose might live in this habitat..."


Strange Animal Sighting #3
Animal: BLACK BEAR!
Location: Shenandoah National Park - Skyline Drive, 30 seconds later
Name: HEY IT'S A BEAR!!!

No sooner do I proclaim our luck at seeing deer, I stop mid-sentence and say, "Look! Look! Look! It's a BEAR!!!" Sure enough, lumbering up a hill was a smallish black bear. He wasn't quite as photo saavy as the deer were, but still, it was a BEAR!


Strange Animal Sighting #4
Animal: Bear
Location: In front of some crappy campground outside Shenandoah National Park
Name: Yogi

Yeah. A huge Yogi Bear conveniently located right outside Yogi Bear Campground. GramTuna offered to take a picture of it the next day, but I said no, it was ok...it would live in my memories.


Strange Animal Sighting #5
Animal: Huge Green Parrot
Location: Shenandoah National Park - Dark Hollow hiking trail
Name: Not "Lionel" but something equally goofy that started with an "L"

We spent part of today hiking the Dark Hollow trail, which leads to the Dark Hollow Waterfalls. After TinyTuna spent the better part of a half-hour playing Ansel Adams at the bottom of the falls, we began to make our way back up again. We'd hike a bit and rest a bit, and hike a bit and rest a bit more. Suddenly this family of 4 (whom I quickly named "The Swiss Family Robinson") passed us like we were bumps on a log. Which, not surprisingly at that particular moment, we were. The family consisted of Mrs. Swiss Family Robinson, who was extremely pregnant, hiking in a dress, and the only member of her family wearing shoes of any kind. Then there were the two Swiss Family Robinson kids, one in shorts and one in a dress, walking up this muddy, rocky path BAREFOOT, and bringing up the rear was Mr. Swiss Family Robinson with really long hair (later braided), shorts and (of course) barefoot. He was lugging a backpack, and riding on the back of it was an enormous green parrot. We tried really hard to follow The Swiss Family Robinson so we could take a picture of the parrot. We weren't entirely successful until we finished our hike, and we caught them hanging out by their car. A parrot. In Virginia. With the Swiss Family Robinson. Who'd a thunk?

It's hard to say what adventures tomorrow may bring. In Maryland there are all sorts of unusual and potentially dangerous critters, but most of them are busy wreaking havoc in our Nation's Capitol. Meanwhile, I'm signing off for tonight, because I need to make sure I don't have any Canadian coins (AKA THAT kind of money), and I need to start practicing my Southernspeak.

Soda...soda...soda...
Y'all....y'all....y'all....
AllY'all...AllY'all...AllY'all....

Animal Planet

So, I leave for vacation and I see all hell has broken loose. Michael Jackson acquitted. Pistons are down 0-2 in the NBA Championship series, and are mostly likely losing Game 3 at this very moment, but I cannot tell because the TV that is bigger than the state of Vermont is in the other room, and is currently commandeered by TinyTuna who has sweet-talked her very lovely (but obviously gullible) GreatUncle Tuna into watching Barbie's The Princess and the Pauper instead of sports or killing or whatever else one watches on a TV the size of a football field.

Take it from me, all Barbie movies should be mandatory headphones-only affairs.

So yes, I am in full-scale vacation mode, currently reporting from the state of Maryland, which lost all rights to the adjective "lovely" when it decided it would rather be the 7th layer of Hell. When they say, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" I'm here to tell you that is a load of baloney. It IS the heat. AND the humidity. Hokey smokes, it's hot Bullwinkle!

Speaking of Bullwinkle, after only two days, it's evident that this vacation has been sponsored by Animal Planet. Not counting road kill (which, if a person would just take a minute to stand them upright again they'd be photo-ready) we've observed the following creatures in (and out of) their natural habitat.

Strange Animal Sighting #1
Animal: Llamas
Location: Ohio Turnpike Rest Stop
Names: Unknown. Guess I'll call them "Rest" and "Stop"

Rest and Stop were being walked by their brand new owners in the Dog Walk Area. They had bought them at an Ohio Llama Auction (USOLA, no doubt) and were taking them back to their llama farm in Massachusetts...where they will have 100 other llama friends to play with. Rest and Stop were super cute and allowed us to pet them and covet their fur. Mmmmm llama....


Strange Animal Sighting #2
Animal: Entire White Deer Population
Location: Shenandoah National Park - Skyline Drive
Names: Start with A, make up 5000 names. Continue to B...

So, we decided to travel down Skyline Drive. It was late afternoon, and all the deer in the world were at the buffeteria by the side of the road. We slowed down for every single deer we saw, and took approximately 57,000 pictures in the process. Special bonus points when we saw Bambi and his mother. Cuuuuuute.... I told TinyTuna, "I can't believe how incredibly lucky we've been to see all these deer! What other animals do you suppose might live in this habitat..."


Strange Animal Sighting #3
Animal: BLACK BEAR!
Location: Shenandoah National Park - Skyline Drive, 30 seconds later
Name: HEY IT'S A BEAR!!!

No sooner do I proclaim our luck at seeing deer, I stop mid-sentence and say, "Look! Look! Look! It's a BEAR!!!" Sure enough, lumbering up a hill was a smallish black bear. He wasn't quite as photo saavy as the deer were, but still, it was a BEAR!


Strange Animal Sighting #4
Animal: Bear
Location: In front of some crappy campground outside Shenandoah National Park
Name: Yogi

Yeah. A huge Yogi Bear conveniently located right outside Yogi Bear Campground. GramTuna offered to take a picture of it the next day, but I said no, it was ok...it would live in my memories.


Strange Animal Sighting #5
Animal: Huge Green Parrot
Location: Shenandoah National Park - Dark Hollow hiking trail
Name: Not "Lionel" but something equally goofy that started with an "L"

We spent part of today hiking the Dark Hollow trail, which leads to the Dark Hollow Waterfalls. After TinyTuna spent the better part of a half-hour playing Ansel Adams at the bottom of the falls, we began to make our way back up again. We'd hike a bit and rest a bit, and hike a bit and rest a bit more. Suddenly this family of 4 (whom I quickly named "The Swiss Family Robinson") passed us like we were bumps on a log. Which, not surprisingly at that particular moment, we were. The family consisted of Mrs. Swiss Family Robinson, who was extremely pregnant, hiking in a dress, and the only member of her family wearing shoes of any kind. Then there were the two Swiss Family Robinson kids, one in shorts and one in a dress, walking up this muddy, rocky path BAREFOOT, and bringing up the rear was Mr. Swiss Family Robinson with really long hair (later braided), shorts and (of course) barefoot. He was lugging a backpack, and riding on the back of it was an enormous green parrot. We tried really hard to follow The Swiss Family Robinson so we could take a picture of the parrot. We weren't entirely successful until we finished our hike, and we caught them hanging out by their car. A parrot. In Virginia. With the Swiss Family Robinson. Who'd a thunk?

It's hard to say what adventures tomorrow may bring. In Maryland there are all sorts of unusual and potentially dangerous critters, but most of them are busy wreaking havoc in our Nation's Capitol. Meanwhile, I'm signing off for tonight, because I need to make sure I don't have any Canadian coins (AKA THAT kind of money), and I need to start practicing my Southernspeak.

Soda...soda...soda...
Y'all....y'all....y'all....
AllY'all...AllY'all...AllY'all....

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Blogging for Books - Hit the Road, Tuna

b4b.jpg

For this month's Blogging for Books, write a blog entry about one of three things:
  1. A memorable trip or "mini-vacation" (with "memorable" covering everything from "best time of my life" to "unmitigated disaster");
  2. A time you did something spontaneously, in order to shake up your life;
  3. A time you metaphorically took "the road less traveled", and made an unpopular or uncommon decision.

Most people plan their trips. They sit down with maps and books and consult friends and travel agents. They are escorted from site to site on air-conditioned tour buses, and fed kibbles of facts by professionals wielding the all-important umbrella of power, able to “Tally HO” a group of 25 briskly from destination to destination. These kind of trips are devoid of all spontaneity – they are carefully scripted as if the scrapbook pages were already completed, and all that’s left to do it take some pictures and glue them in place.

No itinerary could possibly do justice to the summer of 1989. It began with a two-week vacation trip to Montreal. I traveled under the guise of competing in an International Music Competition, but assumed – due to my young age and relative lack of experience – that I would be eliminated quickly and could spend the remainder of my time seeing the sights. As Karma would have it, I kept advancing from one round to the next, and had to spend all my time learning piles of music. My vacation fortnight shrunk to one single “now or never” vacation day, and I spent my time frantically running from sight to sight, snapping pictures and praying I would remember what they were and why I took them in the first place.

Shortly after my Canadian excursion, I traveled to Austria for an intensive music program. At the end of the program, with a telephone in one hand and seven confirmed opera house auditions in the other hand, I called home and told them I was staying. I had no idea for how long. The program was over and I had run out of script. I found a fellow student who was staying on in Vienna to study piano. I begged him for a small corner of floor space in his studio apartment, and that’s where I slept for the next six weeks.

If it wasn’t an audition day, my time was filled with a whole lot of nothing. Because I was poor and had never planned to be in Europe this long, my options were limited. But when the appointed day arrived, I donned my standard issue navy blue conservative audition dress, grabbed my briefcase and Eurail pass, and set off for points unknown.

It was during one of these excursions that I found myself on the local train returning from Wiesbaden, Germany. Physically worn out from the day of travel, and mentally bankrupt following the stress of the audition, I stared, glassy-eyed at the train map as we rolled past small towns and vineyards. The train slowed, and although I was nowhere near my destination, I got off...

When you’re little, you remember little. And when I say little I really mean small or curiously insignificant things. Of course, when you’re little you also don’t remember very much either, and as you grow up, the remembrances get smaller and smaller, until they just wear away.

Some memories are hard to trust, especially if you live in my family. We have a curious habit of concocting fictitious stories, and then repeating them time and time again until they are taken for fact, as if they had been delivered to Moses himself on top of Mount Sinai.

If you asked me about certain childhood memories, you would think perhaps I had been in a coma, or had lazy synapses. My entire recollection of Kindergarten is: fury at not being taught to read, the pain – both physical and creative – of being forced to color in the same direction, and somehow managing to come home covered in paint every single day. First Grade brings memories of: talking too much in class, learning to read, and having an entire wall for my reading chart. My friends in Kindergarten and First Grade were the neighborhood kids: Big Stevie (my next-door neighbor and best friend), Little Stevie (the neighborhood hellion), and Mary-Margaret (whom nobody liked).

But when I get to second grade, my memories stop working. Here is what I remember: I lived in Germany. I went to school at an Army Base. I had to use the lower-elementary school library, which I hated. I got in a fight on the day of school pictures – though I wonder if that isn't family lore, since I can't recall a single thing about the entire incident. Messy hair for school pictures is the main witness for the prosecution.

I don’t remember any friends. I don’t remember any teachers. All I remember of our house was sleeping in the top bunk of a bunk bed, and that there was a landing as you went upstairs. I could remember some facts, like the name of the town and my street, but considering I was living in a different country, I find it surprising I don’t remember more. The entire year was like a half-erased Etch-a-Sketch: you might be able to see traces of the outline, but mostly it was nothing but a shmeary mess.

With some hesitation that I found myself standing under a weather-beaten sign marked “HOCHHEIM” trying to explain myself in rusty German to a very patient train-station employee.

I had so little to go on because my memories were so faded and old. I lived here twenty years ago. I know the name of the street, but don't know where it is. Was there a map? No? Do you know where it is? You do? Thank you...Thank you so very much...Yes...Good-bye.

With a hand-drawn map, I left the train station and started up the road towards the town. The road was up in every sense of the word: it was a long steady climb uphill past the vineyards. I looked around as I walked, hoping to see something familiar -- but when you don't remember, you can talk yourself into, or easily miss anything.

My steps became heavy and my heart sank more and more as I continued my hike. Why had I been so stupid? What was I expecting? It's not like there was going to be a historical marker saying, "GreenTuna slept here." Did I know what time the next train arrived? Would there even BE a next train? This was not good.

At the top of the hill, overlooking the vineyards and acting as a holy sentinel to the town was a small white church. I looked at it for awhile and thought that maybe, just maybe I had gone to church there. I stood a few minutes more, but my gut feelings never got any more confident than maybe yes....maybe no... so I kept walking.

The town was a typical quirky mix of quaint old German and modernistic. Architecturally speaking, it was as traditional as a puzzle picture, with chalet-type buildings sporting overflowing flower boxes. The storefronts though, betrayed the picturesque scenario, and I found myself walking past Adult Video Rental Stores, Hardware Meccas, and even a Radio Shack.

Even today, I remember strange things. I look back on high school, and can recite the birthdays of former boyfriends. I remember with whom I walked for graduation. I remember where I sat, and my class song. But to this day, I have practically no recollection of any of my classmates. And sadly, even a picture wouldn't help. My mind is a miner's sieve, and all the valuable memories slip through the holes, leaving me nothing but fool's gold.

Maybe we aren't meant to remember everything. Maybe the most precious memories are the ones that live on without benefit of photos or journals or tour books or postcards. Maybe most memories are like fireworks -- just one spectacular flash...and then nothing. But the disappointment of nothingness is instantly cured by another flash, and then another and another, until you can't remember what any of them looked like.

I looked at the street signs and then looked at my map. Now NOTHING was familiar. I was lost in a town where I used to live, looking for a home a didn't remember. I looked around and found the church on the outskirts of town. Thinking my homecoming was an unmitigated disaster due to a distinct lack of planning (and no doubt the absence of the ever-helpful Tally-HO umbrella), I started winding my way back through town.

I wound my way down several streets, guessing at the general direction for exit. I crossed a street, leaving the retail district behind. As I turned the corner to get back on track with the church, I stopped and stared. There, in what was probably once the town square, was a statue of The Virgin Mary. Flowers were placed nearby and votive candles flickered their respect in the late afternoon sun.

...We moved in the summer when it as so hot...We rode on a crowded airplane and my baby brother slept in a box...I slept on the floor...I was in Brownies and once my mother was late to pick me up and I was scared...We traveled to Spain at Easter time...We traveled to Paris and they told us, "No Gas, no Bathroom!" We spent Christmas in the Black Forest and my brother and sister lost a sled (It's still going and going and going)...Someone told my mother her children were so well behaved, and we smiled like angels while we kicked each other under the table...We moved back to America after one year...I didn't want to go...It was true...it was really true...I really lived here, and I remembered the statue...It was a flood...a flood of memories....

As I stood there, overwhelmed by the flood of memories, tears ran down my face for no other reason than because of this silly spur-of-the-moment sidetrip, I unearthed a memory that was all but forgotten. It wasn't the statue, or the town, or even the house that I eventually found. I remembered me and my family and how we all fit together in this place at that time.

And I remembered being happy.

Blogging for Books - Hit the Road, Tuna

b4b.jpg

For this month's Blogging for Books, write a blog entry about one of three things:
  1. A memorable trip or "mini-vacation" (with "memorable" covering everything from "best time of my life" to "unmitigated disaster");
  2. A time you did something spontaneously, in order to shake up your life;
  3. A time you metaphorically took "the road less traveled", and made an unpopular or uncommon decision.

Most people plan their trips. They sit down with maps and books and consult friends and travel agents. They are escorted from site to site on air-conditioned tour buses, and fed kibbles of facts by professionals wielding the all-important umbrella of power, able to “Tally HO” a group of 25 briskly from destination to destination. These kind of trips are devoid of all spontaneity – they are carefully scripted as if the scrapbook pages were already completed, and all that’s left to do it take some pictures and glue them in place.

No itinerary could possibly do justice to the summer of 1989. It began with a two-week vacation trip to Montreal. I traveled under the guise of competing in an International Music Competition, but assumed – due to my young age and relative lack of experience – that I would be eliminated quickly and could spend the remainder of my time seeing the sights. As Karma would have it, I kept advancing from one round to the next, and had to spend all my time learning piles of music. My vacation fortnight shrunk to one single “now or never” vacation day, and I spent my time frantically running from sight to sight, snapping pictures and praying I would remember what they were and why I took them in the first place.

Shortly after my Canadian excursion, I traveled to Austria for an intensive music program. At the end of the program, with a telephone in one hand and seven confirmed opera house auditions in the other hand, I called home and told them I was staying. I had no idea for how long. The program was over and I had run out of script. I found a fellow student who was staying on in Vienna to study piano. I begged him for a small corner of floor space in his studio apartment, and that’s where I slept for the next six weeks.

If it wasn’t an audition day, my time was filled with a whole lot of nothing. Because I was poor and had never planned to be in Europe this long, my options were limited. But when the appointed day arrived, I donned my standard issue navy blue conservative audition dress, grabbed my briefcase and Eurail pass, and set off for points unknown.

It was during one of these excursions that I found myself on the local train returning from Wiesbaden, Germany. Physically worn out from the day of travel, and mentally bankrupt following the stress of the audition, I stared, glassy-eyed at the train map as we rolled past small towns and vineyards. The train slowed, and although I was nowhere near my destination, I got off...

When you’re little, you remember little. And when I say little I really mean small or curiously insignificant things. Of course, when you’re little you also don’t remember very much either, and as you grow up, the remembrances get smaller and smaller, until they just wear away.

Some memories are hard to trust, especially if you live in my family. We have a curious habit of concocting fictitious stories, and then repeating them time and time again until they are taken for fact, as if they had been delivered to Moses himself on top of Mount Sinai.

If you asked me about certain childhood memories, you would think perhaps I had been in a coma, or had lazy synapses. My entire recollection of Kindergarten is: fury at not being taught to read, the pain – both physical and creative – of being forced to color in the same direction, and somehow managing to come home covered in paint every single day. First Grade brings memories of: talking too much in class, learning to read, and having an entire wall for my reading chart. My friends in Kindergarten and First Grade were the neighborhood kids: Big Stevie (my next-door neighbor and best friend), Little Stevie (the neighborhood hellion), and Mary-Margaret (whom nobody liked).

But when I get to second grade, my memories stop working. Here is what I remember: I lived in Germany. I went to school at an Army Base. I had to use the lower-elementary school library, which I hated. I got in a fight on the day of school pictures – though I wonder if that isn't family lore, since I can't recall a single thing about the entire incident. Messy hair for school pictures is the main witness for the prosecution.

I don’t remember any friends. I don’t remember any teachers. All I remember of our house was sleeping in the top bunk of a bunk bed, and that there was a landing as you went upstairs. I could remember some facts, like the name of the town and my street, but considering I was living in a different country, I find it surprising I don’t remember more. The entire year was like a half-erased Etch-a-Sketch: you might be able to see traces of the outline, but mostly it was nothing but a shmeary mess.

With some hesitation that I found myself standing under a weather-beaten sign marked “HOCHHEIM” trying to explain myself in rusty German to a very patient train-station employee.

I had so little to go on because my memories were so faded and old. I lived here twenty years ago. I know the name of the street, but don't know where it is. Was there a map? No? Do you know where it is? You do? Thank you...Thank you so very much...Yes...Good-bye.

With a hand-drawn map, I left the train station and started up the road towards the town. The road was up in every sense of the word: it was a long steady climb uphill past the vineyards. I looked around as I walked, hoping to see something familiar -- but when you don't remember, you can talk yourself into, or easily miss anything.

My steps became heavy and my heart sank more and more as I continued my hike. Why had I been so stupid? What was I expecting? It's not like there was going to be a historical marker saying, "GreenTuna slept here." Did I know what time the next train arrived? Would there even BE a next train? This was not good.

At the top of the hill, overlooking the vineyards and acting as a holy sentinel to the town was a small white church. I looked at it for awhile and thought that maybe, just maybe I had gone to church there. I stood a few minutes more, but my gut feelings never got any more confident than maybe yes....maybe no... so I kept walking.

The town was a typical quirky mix of quaint old German and modernistic. Architecturally speaking, it was as traditional as a puzzle picture, with chalet-type buildings sporting overflowing flower boxes. The storefronts though, betrayed the picturesque scenario, and I found myself walking past Adult Video Rental Stores, Hardware Meccas, and even a Radio Shack.

Even today, I remember strange things. I look back on high school, and can recite the birthdays of former boyfriends. I remember with whom I walked for graduation. I remember where I sat, and my class song. But to this day, I have practically no recollection of any of my classmates. And sadly, even a picture wouldn't help. My mind is a miner's sieve, and all the valuable memories slip through the holes, leaving me nothing but fool's gold.

Maybe we aren't meant to remember everything. Maybe the most precious memories are the ones that live on without benefit of photos or journals or tour books or postcards. Maybe most memories are like fireworks -- just one spectacular flash...and then nothing. But the disappointment of nothingness is instantly cured by another flash, and then another and another, until you can't remember what any of them looked like.

I looked at the street signs and then looked at my map. Now NOTHING was familiar. I was lost in a town where I used to live, looking for a home a didn't remember. I looked around and found the church on the outskirts of town. Thinking my homecoming was an unmitigated disaster due to a distinct lack of planning (and no doubt the absence of the ever-helpful Tally-HO umbrella), I started winding my way back through town.

I wound my way down several streets, guessing at the general direction for exit. I crossed a street, leaving the retail district behind. As I turned the corner to get back on track with the church, I stopped and stared. There, in what was probably once the town square, was a statue of The Virgin Mary. Flowers were placed nearby and votive candles flickered their respect in the late afternoon sun.

...We moved in the summer when it as so hot...We rode on a crowded airplane and my baby brother slept in a box...I slept on the floor...I was in Brownies and once my mother was late to pick me up and I was scared...We traveled to Spain at Easter time...We traveled to Paris and they told us, "No Gas, no Bathroom!" We spent Christmas in the Black Forest and my brother and sister lost a sled (It's still going and going and going)...Someone told my mother her children were so well behaved, and we smiled like angels while we kicked each other under the table...We moved back to America after one year...I didn't want to go...It was true...it was really true...I really lived here, and I remembered the statue...It was a flood...a flood of memories....

As I stood there, overwhelmed by the flood of memories, tears ran down my face for no other reason than because of this silly spur-of-the-moment sidetrip, I unearthed a memory that was all but forgotten. It wasn't the statue, or the town, or even the house that I eventually found. I remembered me and my family and how we all fit together in this place at that time.

And I remembered being happy.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday Feast

Still Friday. Still Feast. What's the special of the day?

Appetizer: Name One Thing That Made You Sad This Week
One thing that made me sad this week was that as I was sitting here trying to think of one thing that made me sad this week, I couldn't remember anything about the week at all. That's pretty sad in and of itself. The week has been full of general malaise anyway, so that will have to do.

Soup: What Was the Last Object (Not Person) You Took a Picture Of?
I KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS ONE!! I had to use up TinyTuna's cameras that she took to New York (yes, we still had a couple laying around) and I ran around the garden taking pictures of peonies and iris.

Salad: Who Do You Talk To When You Need Help Making a Decision?
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Main Course: If You Were A Weather Event, What Would You Be, and Why?
FOUL! This is a repeat question from Last Week's Main Course. Well, maybe it's a repeat answer not a repeat question. I guess I'd be an Alberta Clipper. Then I could visit my Queen-loving Canadian friends, say EH a lot and ride around in style.

Dessert: Suggest a website that you think your readers would enjoy visiting
One of my favorite pages.

Friday Feast

Still Friday. Still Feast. What's the special of the day?

Appetizer: Name One Thing That Made You Sad This Week
One thing that made me sad this week was that as I was sitting here trying to think of one thing that made me sad this week, I couldn't remember anything about the week at all. That's pretty sad in and of itself. The week has been full of general malaise anyway, so that will have to do.

Soup: What Was the Last Object (Not Person) You Took a Picture Of?
I KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS ONE!! I had to use up TinyTuna's cameras that she took to New York (yes, we still had a couple laying around) and I ran around the garden taking pictures of peonies and iris.

Salad: Who Do You Talk To When You Need Help Making a Decision?
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Main Course: If You Were A Weather Event, What Would You Be, and Why?
FOUL! This is a repeat question from Last Week's Main Course. Well, maybe it's a repeat answer not a repeat question. I guess I'd be an Alberta Clipper. Then I could visit my Queen-loving Canadian friends, say EH a lot and ride around in style.

Dessert: Suggest a website that you think your readers would enjoy visiting
One of my favorite pages.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Frankie, Baby!

On occasion, TinyTuna loves to ask about the olden days, also known as the days when GreenTuna was a little girl. Either she has a pretty convoluted sense of time, or she likes messing with me, because based on her questions, she has me placed chronologically somewhere between Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Cro-Magnons.

Did you have BUTTONS? (yes)
Did you have CURTAINS? (yes)
Did you have DOORKNOBS? (yes)
Did you have FOOD? (yes)
Did you have ELECTRICITY? (eventually)

It wasn't surprising then, when last night she had several questions for me yet again. GramTuna and I had taken TinyTuna to see a touring Broadway performance of Grease at TunaU, and there were several things she didn't understand.



When we reached the song, Stranded at the Drive-In, I had to explain what a drive in was. It seemed a little sad that she hadn't had that experience. It's such a unique piece of popular culture that has been all but lost.




If that didn't make me feel like Methuselah's babysitter, later I had to explain a rotary-dial phone. Yes indeed, put your finger in the hole, travel around the circle until your finger hits the metal stopper then let go. Voila! One number down, six more to go! Sure, it's not the most efficient way to win a telephone call-in contest, but in the olden days, we had to make do with what we had (Besides, we were too busy crafting household items out of sticks and stones).

The final stumper came at the end of the show. After the company curtain call a real piece of Americana nostalgia hit the stage and the blue-haired polyester crowd went WILD!



IT WAS FRANKIE AVALON!!!!!!!
(caps lock and bold, but never leaned over)

Yes indeed. Frankie was here to reprise his role from the movie. I guess nobody told him that Beauty School Dropout was the worst part of the film, and his five minutes of screentime was notorious as a mid-movie concession stand rush of gigantic proportions.

But that didn't stop Frankie. He made his way through the show -- dry ice and all -- and they let him have the final bow, even though he was onstage the least amount of time. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was when some one gave him a microphone. And then there was no stopping him.

It was The Frankie Avalon Show!! Frankie told jokes (one was actually funny). Frankie sang songs. Frankie sang a lot of songs. Thankfully, Frankie didn't hawk his Arthritis Remedy Cream or his Twilight Tan-Self Tanning Instant Bronzer With Applicator (I don't want to know) but I swear that was coming next.

Song after song went on and on and on. Finally TinyTuna looked at me and whispered, "What is he DOING?? I thought the show was OVER!!!" I started laughing and whispered back, "What he's doing is SINGING, and WHY he's doing it is because HE has the microphone and he knows that WE are a captive audience ... and he's not going to stop until somebody pries it out of his hand or gets the HOOK!"

Exasperated, TinyTuna sighed her extra dramticalicious sigh, and buried her head in my shoulder. All I could do was chuckle. Maybe the olden days before electricity weren't so bad after all.

Frankie, Baby!

On occasion, TinyTuna loves to ask about the olden days, also known as the days when GreenTuna was a little girl. Either she has a pretty convoluted sense of time, or she likes messing with me, because based on her questions, she has me placed chronologically somewhere between Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Cro-Magnons.

Did you have BUTTONS? (yes)
Did you have CURTAINS? (yes)
Did you have DOORKNOBS? (yes)
Did you have FOOD? (yes)
Did you have ELECTRICITY? (eventually)

It wasn't surprising then, when last night she had several questions for me yet again. GramTuna and I had taken TinyTuna to see a touring Broadway performance of Grease at TunaU, and there were several things she didn't understand.



When we reached the song, Stranded at the Drive-In, I had to explain what a drive in was. It seemed a little sad that she hadn't had that experience. It's such a unique piece of popular culture that has been all but lost.




If that didn't make me feel like Methuselah's babysitter, later I had to explain a rotary-dial phone. Yes indeed, put your finger in the hole, travel around the circle until your finger hits the metal stopper then let go. Voila! One number down, six more to go! Sure, it's not the most efficient way to win a telephone call-in contest, but in the olden days, we had to make do with what we had (Besides, we were too busy crafting household items out of sticks and stones).

The final stumper came at the end of the show. After the company curtain call a real piece of Americana nostalgia hit the stage and the blue-haired polyester crowd went WILD!



IT WAS FRANKIE AVALON!!!!!!!
(caps lock and bold, but never leaned over)

Yes indeed. Frankie was here to reprise his role from the movie. I guess nobody told him that Beauty School Dropout was the worst part of the film, and his five minutes of screentime was notorious as a mid-movie concession stand rush of gigantic proportions.

But that didn't stop Frankie. He made his way through the show -- dry ice and all -- and they let him have the final bow, even though he was onstage the least amount of time. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was when some one gave him a microphone. And then there was no stopping him.

It was The Frankie Avalon Show!! Frankie told jokes (one was actually funny). Frankie sang songs. Frankie sang a lot of songs. Thankfully, Frankie didn't hawk his Arthritis Remedy Cream or his Twilight Tan-Self Tanning Instant Bronzer With Applicator (I don't want to know) but I swear that was coming next.

Song after song went on and on and on. Finally TinyTuna looked at me and whispered, "What is he DOING?? I thought the show was OVER!!!" I started laughing and whispered back, "What he's doing is SINGING, and WHY he's doing it is because HE has the microphone and he knows that WE are a captive audience ... and he's not going to stop until somebody pries it out of his hand or gets the HOOK!"

Exasperated, TinyTuna sighed her extra dramticalicious sigh, and buried her head in my shoulder. All I could do was chuckle. Maybe the olden days before electricity weren't so bad after all.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Weekend Wordplay

I say ... and you think:
  1. Exhibit:: Art
  2. Evolution:: Monkeys
  3. Loser:: Forehead "L"
  4. Hypnotic:: Trance
  5. Unlikely:: Not Going to Happen
  6. Interrupt:: Stop
  7. Ambivalent:: Don't Care
  8. Rise and fall:: Third Reich
  9. Indian:: Princess
  10. Prophecy:: Prediction
My subconscious is very rude, because the instant I saw the word loser my right hand shot up and made an "L" on my forehead. Where does my subconscious learn these things? I'm not sure where Indian Princess came from. My best guess is that my subconscious was far too lazy to Google the correct spelling of Pocahontas. As for unlikely equaling not going to happen, that is total mom-speak. It's about the same as saying we'll see, which -- as every mother knows -- has a 99.5% failure rate.

Does your subconscious have something to say?
Unconscious Mutterings found here.


Daily Haiku -- Sunday Sermons Finish off the weekend with haiku filled with musings, messages, parables, fables... anything that seems appropriate.

If only sermons
Were like this Sunday haiku
Short and sweet. Amen!

~~ or ~~

Sunday brunch with friends
laughter, joy and compassion
weekly feed my soul

Weekend Wordplay

I say ... and you think:
  1. Exhibit:: Art
  2. Evolution:: Monkeys
  3. Loser:: Forehead "L"
  4. Hypnotic:: Trance
  5. Unlikely:: Not Going to Happen
  6. Interrupt:: Stop
  7. Ambivalent:: Don't Care
  8. Rise and fall:: Third Reich
  9. Indian:: Princess
  10. Prophecy:: Prediction
My subconscious is very rude, because the instant I saw the word loser my right hand shot up and made an "L" on my forehead. Where does my subconscious learn these things? I'm not sure where Indian Princess came from. My best guess is that my subconscious was far too lazy to Google the correct spelling of Pocahontas. As for unlikely equaling not going to happen, that is total mom-speak. It's about the same as saying we'll see, which -- as every mother knows -- has a 99.5% failure rate.

Does your subconscious have something to say?
Unconscious Mutterings found here.


Daily Haiku -- Sunday Sermons Finish off the weekend with haiku filled with musings, messages, parables, fables... anything that seems appropriate.

If only sermons
Were like this Sunday haiku
Short and sweet. Amen!

~~ or ~~

Sunday brunch with friends
laughter, joy and compassion
weekly feed my soul

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

For your consideration:

A young man and his girlfriend were walking in the grocery store. She was on his right, and his arm was around her as they shopped. Since it was a warm summer day, the young man was wearing a t-shirt with well-known slogan....


Daily Haiku -- Saturday Silliness
Only humorous and ridiculous haiku need apply
for publication on Saturdays!


"I'm with Stupid" Shirt
Arrow Points Left to...........No One!
Stupid Lost? I found.

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

For your consideration:

A young man and his girlfriend were walking in the grocery store. She was on his right, and his arm was around her as they shopped. Since it was a warm summer day, the young man was wearing a t-shirt with well-known slogan....


Daily Haiku -- Saturday Silliness
Only humorous and ridiculous haiku need apply
for publication on Saturdays!


"I'm with Stupid" Shirt
Arrow Points Left to...........No One!
Stupid Lost? I found.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday's Feast

If it's Friday, then It's Friday's Feast. What's on the menu today?

Appetizer: What comes to mind when you hear the word bizarre?
One of my favorite blogroll haunts is the Associated Press' Strange News feed. One of the best stories I've read in quite awhile was posted late last week, and bizarre is the only word to describe it. It combines all the great elements of newsworthy articles: sportsmanship, injury, a European flair, and cheese.
Contestants Break Bones Chasing Cheese
LONDON (AP) -- Contestants in a traditional British cheese rolling competition broke bones and took skin off knees and elbows Monday in their pursuit of a giant piece of cheese down a steep hill.

The competition, in which participants hurl themselves 640 feet down a hill after an eight-pound piece of cheese, has been celebrated for centuries in Gloucestershire, northwest of London.

The race is thought to originate from a heathen festival to welcome the spring. The first person to follow the cheese across the line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese and a small cash prize.

Thousands of people attended Monday's event and the local ambulance service reported three people were taken to hospital with suspected fractured limbs, while 18 were treated for bruises and abrasions.

Teenager Chris Anderson, who won one of four cheese rolling races contested Monday, was taken to hospital on a stretcher, clutching his winning slab of cheese to his chest.

"The pain was worth it," Anderson said. "This cheese is going straight in a cupboard when I get home. It's definitely not for eating."

Organizer Richard Jefferies said Monday's event ran smoothly and injuries were down on previous years.

"It's a good part of the local heritage and a tradition we would like to keep going," Jefferies said.

Soup: Using just a few words, describe your childhood.

Typical suburbia: running, jumping, climbing trees. And singing.


Salad: Name one thing you do each day that you feel improves your appearance.
After matching socks and removing the concept of bed from my head, everything else is gravy.


Main Course: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how would you rate your self-confidence?
Partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers.


Dessert: Where did you last find a bargain?
Last night. Bathing suit shopping for TinyTuna. They fit, they covered all appropriate body parts, she liked them and they were 50% off. Thank the ever-swimming Gods.




Daily Haiku -- Friday Free-For All
Here, your haiku roams free from the constraints of
subject, content, or style.

Anything that you want to write, you can write,
just as long as it'’s still a haiku!


Life in office crawls
like slugs across a pavement
salt me God, salt me

Friday's Feast

If it's Friday, then It's Friday's Feast. What's on the menu today?

Appetizer: What comes to mind when you hear the word bizarre?
One of my favorite blogroll haunts is the Associated Press' Strange News feed. One of the best stories I've read in quite awhile was posted late last week, and bizarre is the only word to describe it. It combines all the great elements of newsworthy articles: sportsmanship, injury, a European flair, and cheese.
Contestants Break Bones Chasing Cheese
LONDON (AP) -- Contestants in a traditional British cheese rolling competition broke bones and took skin off knees and elbows Monday in their pursuit of a giant piece of cheese down a steep hill.

The competition, in which participants hurl themselves 640 feet down a hill after an eight-pound piece of cheese, has been celebrated for centuries in Gloucestershire, northwest of London.

The race is thought to originate from a heathen festival to welcome the spring. The first person to follow the cheese across the line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese and a small cash prize.

Thousands of people attended Monday's event and the local ambulance service reported three people were taken to hospital with suspected fractured limbs, while 18 were treated for bruises and abrasions.

Teenager Chris Anderson, who won one of four cheese rolling races contested Monday, was taken to hospital on a stretcher, clutching his winning slab of cheese to his chest.

"The pain was worth it," Anderson said. "This cheese is going straight in a cupboard when I get home. It's definitely not for eating."

Organizer Richard Jefferies said Monday's event ran smoothly and injuries were down on previous years.

"It's a good part of the local heritage and a tradition we would like to keep going," Jefferies said.

Soup: Using just a few words, describe your childhood.

Typical suburbia: running, jumping, climbing trees. And singing.


Salad: Name one thing you do each day that you feel improves your appearance.
After matching socks and removing the concept of bed from my head, everything else is gravy.


Main Course: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how would you rate your self-confidence?
Partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers.


Dessert: Where did you last find a bargain?
Last night. Bathing suit shopping for TinyTuna. They fit, they covered all appropriate body parts, she liked them and they were 50% off. Thank the ever-swimming Gods.




Daily Haiku -- Friday Free-For All
Here, your haiku roams free from the constraints of
subject, content, or style.

Anything that you want to write, you can write,
just as long as it'’s still a haiku!


Life in office crawls
like slugs across a pavement
salt me God, salt me

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Spell Checker

Here are the words from Round 7 of the Scripps Spelling Bee, currently being broadcast LIVE on ESPN:

fustian
enthymeme
rideau
devastavit
verticil
monogoneutic
keratinophilic
tombolo
loggia
colophon
solenoglyph
rucervine
coelostat
inion
sommelier
badigeon
vorago
cheiloplasty
griffonage
ergatogyne
chevelure
semelfactive
phalacrosis
mephitis
salsuginous
bricolage
canzonettas


I've decided that I no longer want to be the bell-dinging signifier of correctly spelled words. I want to be the super-creative sentence maker. So when a contestant asks, "Can I have it in a sentence, please?" Istead of saying something like:

Fustian. "I highly doubt you will be able to spell fustian."

I would say something like

Fustian. Jeff Probst said, "The final immunity challenge was close, but after checking the tapes, I must declare that Tom was Fustian."

Other possibilities include:

Rideau. "Jacque Pierre loved to tell a joke or funny rideau."

Verticil. "If, after taking Viagra, you experience more than four hours of verticil, see your doctor immediately."

Colophon. "After a large dinner of baked beans, the sheets danced the night away to the music of the colophon."

Salsuginous. "After the Latin Dance marathon, her legs felt absolutely salsuginous.

Bricolage. "She was an enormous woman whose skimpy top did nothing to cover her overflowing bricolage."




Daily Haiku -- Thursday Thinkers
Today's Thinker: If diamonds are a girl's best friend, what is yours?

To choose one best friend
Is to pluck a single star,
changing the heavens.

Spell Checker

Here are the words from Round 7 of the Scripps Spelling Bee, currently being broadcast LIVE on ESPN:

fustian
enthymeme
rideau
devastavit
verticil
monogoneutic
keratinophilic
tombolo
loggia
colophon
solenoglyph
rucervine
coelostat
inion
sommelier
badigeon
vorago
cheiloplasty
griffonage
ergatogyne
chevelure
semelfactive
phalacrosis
mephitis
salsuginous
bricolage
canzonettas


I've decided that I no longer want to be the bell-dinging signifier of correctly spelled words. I want to be the super-creative sentence maker. So when a contestant asks, "Can I have it in a sentence, please?" Istead of saying something like:

Fustian. "I highly doubt you will be able to spell fustian."

I would say something like

Fustian. Jeff Probst said, "The final immunity challenge was close, but after checking the tapes, I must declare that Tom was Fustian."

Other possibilities include:

Rideau. "Jacque Pierre loved to tell a joke or funny rideau."

Verticil. "If, after taking Viagra, you experience more than four hours of verticil, see your doctor immediately."

Colophon. "After a large dinner of baked beans, the sheets danced the night away to the music of the colophon."

Salsuginous. "After the Latin Dance marathon, her legs felt absolutely salsuginous.

Bricolage. "She was an enormous woman whose skimpy top did nothing to cover her overflowing bricolage."




Daily Haiku -- Thursday Thinkers
Today's Thinker: If diamonds are a girl's best friend, what is yours?

To choose one best friend
Is to pluck a single star,
changing the heavens.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Words

The Scripps Smartypants Spelling Bee is underway. At best, I might be qualified to ding the bell when it's right (provided somebody tells me so), but check it out: Do YOU have what it takes to be a National Spelling Bee Contestant? This is the preliminary written test:

1. souvenir
2. occurrence
3. remediless
4. censor
5. chiropractor
6. mimicry
7. rebuttal
8. heifer
9. tenet
10. qwerty
11. amulet
12. rappelled
13. synodal
14. lido
15. sylph
16. pyrophyte
17. syncope
18. thelytokous
19. Rorschach
20. chaetophorous
21. scilicet
22. Kneippism
23. glacis
24. recamier
25. scherenschnitte

And here, I thought that qwerty was a made-up word, describing the comical look of letters embedded in one's forehead, the result of falling face-first in one's keyboard after several hours of mind-numbing, coma-enducing labor.



Daily Haiku -- Wednesday Words
Every Wednesday, the Daily Haiku will offer up a word
that you must somehow incorporate into your haiku.
Today's word is "beautiful"


The clock on the wall
bears a beautiful message
Behold! Time to go!

Words

The Scripps Smartypants Spelling Bee is underway. At best, I might be qualified to ding the bell when it's right (provided somebody tells me so), but check it out: Do YOU have what it takes to be a National Spelling Bee Contestant? This is the preliminary written test:

1. souvenir
2. occurrence
3. remediless
4. censor
5. chiropractor
6. mimicry
7. rebuttal
8. heifer
9. tenet
10. qwerty
11. amulet
12. rappelled
13. synodal
14. lido
15. sylph
16. pyrophyte
17. syncope
18. thelytokous
19. Rorschach
20. chaetophorous
21. scilicet
22. Kneippism
23. glacis
24. recamier
25. scherenschnitte

And here, I thought that qwerty was a made-up word, describing the comical look of letters embedded in one's forehead, the result of falling face-first in one's keyboard after several hours of mind-numbing, coma-enducing labor.



Daily Haiku -- Wednesday Words
Every Wednesday, the Daily Haiku will offer up a word
that you must somehow incorporate into your haiku.
Today's word is "beautiful"


The clock on the wall
bears a beautiful message
Behold! Time to go!

Hold The Phone

This morning, I was a bit bemused when I read the plight of SBC and Verizon and their failed attempt to win a state-wide TV franchise in Texas, which would allow them to become both telephone and cable television providers. Because the legislation failed (or more specifically, lawmakers did not act on the bill), SBC and Verizon have to beg or play Mother May I in each and every city in order to receive an individual franchise.

I can't speak for Texas, but here in the Mitten, choosing between SBC and Comcast is like choosing between leprosy and the plague. Dealing with both organizations over the years, it's always been pretty much an even heat as to who I hate less.

First, there is the highly apologetic but completely incompetent phone company. SBC has obviously taken some sort of touchy-feeling course in customer service, because if you ever want somebody apologizing for everything they have done or left undone or imagined they might have done, or might do in the future -- SBC is the place. They are so sympathetic and apologetic, they're nearly apopleptic. I'm surprised the corporate muzak isn't "We're So Sorry, Uncle Albert" on a permanent tape loop.

Unfortunately, their skills end at the apologizing stage, because no matter how sorry they are for all the injustices they have caused, they're going to get whatever you ask for wrong (which, I suppose, makes them very, very sorry indeed). And forget about talking to the same person twice. You'll be lucky if you get a customer rep in the same state. The odds are much better with lighting strikes and lottery wins.

Now, the Corporate Cable Nazi's take an entirely different approach. They don't believe in apologies. They don't even believe in faking it. They just lay in bed, light a cigarette and say, "Not good enough. But be sure to leave the money on the nightstand. Don't forget the 3% FCC surcharge."

Although The Corporate Cable had a local office, my bills got sent to Kentucky. In the interest of saving both time and postage, I began to drop off my bills in person to the local office. Sensing that they were unwittingly providing a HELPFUL service, the Corporate Cable Nazis first severely restricted hours of business, and then closed up the office all together. That would show me.

It's not advisable to anger The Corporate Cable Nazis. If they like you, all they'll do is rearrange all the channels, making you a slave to a small rectangular hunk of cardboard for a month (until you memorize them again and they change them again). But if they don't like you, it's nothing but QVC, PAX, Public Access Television and scrambled signals when the wind blows the wrong way.

And then they'll rearrange all the channels.

So kudos to Texas. New Jersey and California? You're next. I hope I never have to make this sort of gut-wrenching decision, because I'm thinking Krazy Larry's CablePhonEmporiumArama is starting to sound pretty good. I just hope he doesn't rearrange my channels.

Hold The Phone

This morning, I was a bit bemused when I read the plight of SBC and Verizon and their failed attempt to win a state-wide TV franchise in Texas, which would allow them to become both telephone and cable television providers. Because the legislation failed (or more specifically, lawmakers did not act on the bill), SBC and Verizon have to beg or play Mother May I in each and every city in order to receive an individual franchise.

I can't speak for Texas, but here in the Mitten, choosing between SBC and Comcast is like choosing between leprosy and the plague. Dealing with both organizations over the years, it's always been pretty much an even heat as to who I hate less.

First, there is the highly apologetic but completely incompetent phone company. SBC has obviously taken some sort of touchy-feeling course in customer service, because if you ever want somebody apologizing for everything they have done or left undone or imagined they might have done, or might do in the future -- SBC is the place. They are so sympathetic and apologetic, they're nearly apopleptic. I'm surprised the corporate muzak isn't "We're So Sorry, Uncle Albert" on a permanent tape loop.

Unfortunately, their skills end at the apologizing stage, because no matter how sorry they are for all the injustices they have caused, they're going to get whatever you ask for wrong (which, I suppose, makes them very, very sorry indeed). And forget about talking to the same person twice. You'll be lucky if you get a customer rep in the same state. The odds are much better with lighting strikes and lottery wins.

Now, the Corporate Cable Nazi's take an entirely different approach. They don't believe in apologies. They don't even believe in faking it. They just lay in bed, light a cigarette and say, "Not good enough. But be sure to leave the money on the nightstand. Don't forget the 3% FCC surcharge."

Although The Corporate Cable had a local office, my bills got sent to Kentucky. In the interest of saving both time and postage, I began to drop off my bills in person to the local office. Sensing that they were unwittingly providing a HELPFUL service, the Corporate Cable Nazis first severely restricted hours of business, and then closed up the office all together. That would show me.

It's not advisable to anger The Corporate Cable Nazis. If they like you, all they'll do is rearrange all the channels, making you a slave to a small rectangular hunk of cardboard for a month (until you memorize them again and they change them again). But if they don't like you, it's nothing but QVC, PAX, Public Access Television and scrambled signals when the wind blows the wrong way.

And then they'll rearrange all the channels.

So kudos to Texas. New Jersey and California? You're next. I hope I never have to make this sort of gut-wrenching decision, because I'm thinking Krazy Larry's CablePhonEmporiumArama is starting to sound pretty good. I just hope he doesn't rearrange my channels.