Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanksgiving (at hyperspeed) - Part 1

Sorry for the paucity of posts. I'm especially sorry to you, Charlie. I know how much you depend on these posts to satiate your voracious editing/proof reading appetite. I have been stalling because I was working on a Thanksgiving movie and wanted that to be my next post. But I've been having a hard time finding the time to work on it. So I decided to post it in segments. Here's part one. It may be a little boring, but when it's done, it will be a full documentation of every second of our Thanksgiving 2007 activities. So it's more for our posterity and less for your enjoyment. Unless you are our posterity. Then it's both for you and for your enjoyment. Kind of like cake. And if you are our posterity and you're thinking of putting us in a nursing home, may I remind you of the brazilians of dollars we have hidden in a secret bank account of which you will never see a penny if you put us in a home. And so, without further ado, Part 1 of Thanksgiving at hyperspeed.

3 Helens agree.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's Christmas...It's Christmas Time!

Since November 1st Alice has been in full Christmas swing. Actually, I succeeded in retarding her joyful oscillations for a few days, but she eventually broke free of my humbugish restraints. She has been begging to put up decorations since the beginning of the month and the Christmas music started shortly after that. On Sunday we finally pulled out the box of decorations and spruced up our little apartment with holiday cheer. (I wonder if the term 'spruce up' comes from using spruce tree branches in decorating for Christmas. I'll look that up on an etymology website and get back to you.) Mostly we put up some garland and a few strategically placed Christmas bows (even the glass head that wears my hats when I'm not got a bow tie). And the buttery smooth strains of Robert Goulet's Christmas float dreamily on the breeze (created by the ceiling fan). I have even pulled out our pirated copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas to delight and depress us sometime later this week. And of course, Alice is learning a few Christmas carols on the harp. You can't get much more angelic than Alice playing Christmas music on the harp! Snickerdoodles were dutifully baked and a pumpkin pie air freshener is busily wafting its sweet fragrance right along side Goulet's melodies on that artificial breeze. Our apartment is a veritable cornucopia of Christmas Cheer!

Only one thing is bugging me. It seems like there was something else we were supposed to do. Some other holiday coming up BEFORE Christmas or something. But for the life of me I can't remember what it is. Oh well. Happy Christmas!

[Etymology of 'spruce up': This phrase originated in the 1500's when Spruce was a synonym for Prussian (the Spruce tree was abundant in Prussia and so got the name 'Spruce'). There was an especially popular jerkin made from Prussian (or Spruce) leather that was thought to look very smart. Thus, 'to spruce' came to mean 'to make neat, smart looking, or trim'. The addition of 'up' on the end occurred later. So unfortunately, 'sprucing up' has nothing to do with Christmas, but jerkins are almost as fun.

jer·kin /ˈdʒɜrkɪn/ [jur-kin]
a close-fitting jacket or short coat, usually sleeveless, as one of leather worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.

That reminds me of a Demetri Martin joke which I have embedded below for your convenience.]

6 Helens agree.

Monday, November 19, 2007

You're as likely to get hit by an asteroid.

With the holiday season travel predicted to be at record highs, many of you may be planning on traveling by air. If you are not afraid of flying yourself, you may end up sitting next to a pale, hand-wringing, heart-palpitating traveler who is. According to one study, approximately one in every three Americans is either fearful or anxious about flying. You might want to reassure your frightened neighbor that, statistically, dying in a plane crash is less likely than some other methods of kicking the bucket. Of course, we have all heard the statistics about driving being much more dangerous than flying. But if we flew as often as we drive, I wonder if those statistics would invert.

However, I did find one statistic very interesting comparing airplane mortalities to another unlikely demise. Did you know that you are as statistically likely to die in a fiery plane crash as you are to be hit by an asteroid? That's right, if we are looking at pure numbers, your tombstone could just as likely read 'Killed by a giant chunk of space rock' as it could 'Perished in a flaming tangle of 747 after snakes hijacked his plane'. How could this be? Only a few dozen people at most have ever died from meteors while 100 people on average die in plane crashes every year. Well, if we assume that the rate of plane crash victims will continue at this pace for the next 10 million years, that gives a total of 1 billion dead. An asteroid-turned-meteor big enough to cause the catastrophic deaths of 1 billion people is predicted to happen about once every 10 million years. So, the number of dead at the end of the 10 million years is the same, thus the likelihood is equivalent.

So, when you find yourself sitting next to a cold sweating, white-knuckled passenger this holiday season, you can comfort them by saying 'At least you'll be with your family when the asteroid hits and obliterates this half of the globe'.

2 Helens agree.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I've lost all will to blog.

Taralyn tagged me. I don't even know what the heck that means. And she forgot to say 'No tag backs' so at first I decided to tag her back and avoid this whole mess. Then I remembered that I hadn't posted anything in over a week. Partly because I've been busy, partly because there has been a dearth of both humorous and exaggeratable episodes in my life. I realized that if I didn't post something soon, I would be in danger of losing my only meaningful connection to other people's lifeless computers. So, in the absence of anything interesting to write about, I'll tell you seven things about myself.

1. The great dramatists of this century could learn a thing or two from me. Like how to roll their Rs to give emphasis and punctuation to a soliloquy. I am also a certified expert in how to wear tights so they neither pinch the boys nor ride the back range.

2. It's hard for me to find the right thing to say in a room full of mice. Also, I would never shake hands with a gardener. Also, my eyes are always cold. Also, my mother's uncle was a good man.

3. I once ate an entire bag of Doritos in one half of a sitting (I finished half way through my sitting spell). Not a big family size bag, a little individual serving size bag. But after I was done, I wished I had one of the big family size bags because I was still hungry. [Remember, Snack Strong because the Japanese are preparing for a Snacking Invasion, replete with painful SnackTactics, as evidenced by the genuine Doritos package to the right.]

4. I like to let my toenails grow out long. And I mean frito lay long. Alice, in her ever charming way of transmogrifying words, disgustedly calls them my 'talians. I always tell her that Italians are usually much hairier and better lovers than my toenails have proved to be in the past. Alice always retorts with 'That's debatable'. I'm never sure if the point of debate is the hirsute Italian stereotype or my toenails' clean-shaven prowess.

5. I have an addictive personality. That does not mean people become addicted to my personality and must have regular contact with me 'just to feel normal anymore'. It means that I become easily addicted to things. Past addictions include TV, MarioKart 64, Halo, poker (yes I know gambling is a sin, and I've since repented and never returned), surfing for surfboards online (genius integration of both kinds of surf in one phrase), downloading audiobooks, blogging, and my continuing and all-time favorite addiction, Alice. This week's secondary addiction is Volvos. Used Volvo 7 passenger wagons with the third row seat that faces backwards, to be more exact. So in conclusion, don't ever offer me heroine unless you're my mortal enemy out to destroy me. (Little does my mortal enemy know I'm about to commence a regimented program to slowly build up my tolerance to heroine over the next seven years. Wish me luck.)

[Charlie so graciously pointed out that I 'mispelled' heroin. I would thank him and correct the error if that were in fact the case. However, I was speaking about the mythical woman variety of the homonym, and not the beloved mind altering substance of crooner Lou Reed. I just can't say 'no' to buxom women central to their time period, thus the necessity to build up a tolerance. Thanks anyway, Charlie.]

6. I used to harbor great disdain for pop culture (i.e. popular music, fashion, and, of course, POGS), just so I could feel superior. I'm not proud of my one time snobbishness and I believe I have overcome this character flaw, although I still find most radio music nauseating. I've learned to like what I like, no matter how many other people like it. Sometimes even the Lone Wolf will walk alongside the sheep on his journey to the distant mountains. Dang it! There I go again feeling superior.

7. I've always wanted to undergo a painful operation of some kind without anesthesia, and then subsequently have my memory of the event wiped by either drugs or hypnosis. I've also wondered what it would be like to come down with lockjaw. Come to think of it, I've also always wanted to have a large boil somewhere easily accessible but not embarrassing, like my knee. Do these things point to a masochistic streak? I don't think so. I'm typically very wimpy. Just medically curious.

Bonus Fact: I once, by gentle persuasion and love unfeigned, convinced a shy Subway sandwich artist to place live gold fish on my veggie delight sandwich, after having her stab them with the mayonnaise knife to try and curtail some of the flipping and flopping. I then proceeded to eat half of said sandwich in front of the gawking customers and subordinate restaurateurs. I hope God doesn't use goldfish as character witnesses on judgment day.

That's it folks. All you ever wanted to know about me, and a whole lot you didn't. This post was not as cathartic as I had anticipated. In fact, it was down right depressing. I think I will take solace in a half gallon of double chocolate chunk ice cream and a box of Kleenex with Aloe when I get home. I am not completely heartless, therefore I will not perpetuate the pain and suffering by tagging anyone else.

11 Helens agree.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oh my Vishnu!

Someone Else: "Did you hear about the reincarnation of Vishnu?"

Me: "Gesundheit."

The Same Someone Else: "Don't be a jerk."


If you keep abreast of international news, you likely have heard that the reincarnated Vishnu will have her extraneous appendages amputated soon. Some might view this as an excellent opportunity for modern medical science to give a young girl a chance at life she would not have had at nearly any other time in the history of civilization. I for one am worried that this might be a portent of larger evils. Namely, the complete disregard for mortalized deities and the handi-capabilities they are born with. We are so wholly obsessed with 'fixing' the half mortals that grace our earth with their presence that they are likely to stop showing up at all. If Buddha were living in America today, he would probably be a contestant on 'The Biggest Loser' and treated for hypothyroidism. In one brief moment the religion of 360M people would have been wiped out in order to increase Tuesday night ratings for ABNBCBS. If Ganesha were born in our day, he would probably be stuck in a sideshow act or probed and prodded by scientists until his early demise allowed his skeleton to be bought by an insane pop star. I am worried that if we are not careful, the Gods will grow thirsty.


After removing tongue from cheek, I am glad that this family has decided to give this young girl a chance to live. How terrible would it be for a religious tradition to prevent one of God's children from living a healthy, happy life. I am glad that the true gospel celebrates all life and esteems every living soul as infinitely valuable.

But this article reminded me of something else I once read about conjoined twins. Even if conjoined twins are healthy and can remain so while joined, pressure is often put on them to be surgically separated. Pressure by doctors, family, friends, society. They are all well-intentioned, I am sure, and the thinking goes that the conjoined twins will be happier if they are separated and able to live 'normal' lives. However, this is usually not the case. Conjoined twins often suffer from severe depression after separation and feel like a part of themselves was taken away or died. They miss the intense, deep connection they shared with their twin. They are not usually happier with their 'normal' lives. Should we as society pressure people into living 'normal' lives? And who can really judge who will be happier living within society's norms? Maybe conjoined twins actually lead happier and more fulfilling lives than us loners could ever dream of. And yet, I dearly hope my own children do not have to 'suffer' through any trial like that. I guess our own perceptions of what is best are deeply rooted in a place not easily reached by logic.

7 Helens agree.