Thursday, October 29, 2009

field trip

The problem - one of the many problems - of Julie being out of town is that I don't really have someone to laugh about things with. Let's say what I mean: laugh about other people. At. At other people.
Anyone can read this, so I'll try to code this as abstractly as I can.
Certain people come on field trips and are no help whatsoever. Don't listen, wander off, space out, and then drag their kids off to do special little excursions. But enough about me... (badum! Why is it so hard to resist the easy joke? Again, because Julie isn't here. Really, she guides me in ways she doesn't even realize.)
No. It was someone else. But I'm guessing by the behavior on the field trip this person wouldn't really know I was writing about him or her because he or she isn't strong in the attention-paying department. His or her attention is several payments behind and about to be foreclosed on. (The metaphor does extend, after all, to attention deficit.)
Anyway. Grr. Julie, you know what I mean, right? Grrr.
It was a Madge field trip, so it was fifth graders and I wasn't so much a shepherd as a goatherd. And part-time monkey wrestler.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Report to London

Today's report is not as elaborate.
It's been rainy. But Coco no longer wants to wear his boots because they're too heavy. Can't blame him. Turns out I didn't need to rush with the kazoos because the choir teacher was out today and his assistant took over.
Coco was irritable all afternoon while Madge took advantage of the iPod that Julie had forgotten to take along, so there was much awkward, non-blissful silence.
Trying to think of some haha moment that happened today but I can't really think of any right now. Madge enjoyed the New Yorker cover, as she always does when it is trying to be funny and Coco enjoyed his after-school Oreos.
I think I just realized one of the sources of his irritability. Oops.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I know, I know, a pun. But, c'mon, it's not bad as puns go which makes it forgivable. If not, write me a letter of complaint and I'll refund your money.
Anyway, I finally remembered to get a kazoo, which Madge needs for chorus. Yikes, right? Having two kids, I got two kazoos. (And you people thought I'd never learn.) Why not three, you might ask, knowing full well that for most intents and purposes (barring a few NC-17 ones) I'm still a child as well? Ha-HAA! I had the opportunity to impress the wee ones with some wax paper over a comb. Old-school. They really were impressed, too.
Now I need to buy more combs.

As to the pun, well. Unlike the laws of thermodynamics, I rarely let matters rest and looked up the word "casuistry." Sure enough, it's pronounced kaj-OO-eh-stree. Still not satisfied, I even looked up what it means. Now here's the thing (pay attention, you might learn something):
It involved applying *general* ethical principles to *particular* cases of conscience or conduct.
But - ah-HAA! (that's two times in one post) - the word "casuist" has its origin 1600-1610, the word "casuistic" 1650-60, and the word "casuistry" 1715-25.
Odd, huh, how the word that focuses on applying general concepts to particular cases originates with the individual who does so and only abstracts a general concept more than a hundred years later. Dumb ol' word.
Oh, it also refers to "oversubtle, fallacious, or disingenuous reasoning." I have no idea what that means and can't be bothered to look it up.

Library Background

Yep, the kids have graduated from the laser background on the school pictures.
Julie's out of town, so the posts will be a bit more detailed. Good for everyone except my fingers.
On Monday, I successfully got a white button shirt and a striped clip-on tie for Coco, just as he wished. This morning, the shirt was a bit big, but his old one was way too small, so we rolled up the sleeves and clipped on the tie and were good to go. Or so I thought until he walked around for a bit and realized how uncomfortable it was to actually wear these clothes. So we dumped them and looked or something else and something else and something else and finally chose a red shirt.
This red shirt is meaningless to most of you, but Julie knows this is the exact red shirt we had to buy for the last set of pictures. It's red and has no logos or insignia, but because those are hard to find, it, too, is too big. Or rather was, as now the sleeves merely approach his elbows - rather than cover them - and we were good to go.
So there's still hope for the white shirt and tie.
And Madge (yesterday) merely tortured me by asking "which shirt?" and then not liking my response. I've learned enough to not change my response and stick to my admittedly low-caliber guns, but at least I wasn't accused of changing my mind just to please her.
Please put in your requests for copies of the pictures now.
For a a wallet-sized picture, send in, oh, I don't know, $59.95 for each child.

darn that iPod

Julie's out of town and my stupid iPod launched me into a feeling-sorry-for-myself cycle just because it chose to play Patsy Cline.
Now I need to work through my maudlin "Daddy's Other Mood" playlist. Feel free to suggest songs. This one is on it.
Stupid iPod. Sniff.


Why have I never seen this movie?

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Love Rowan Atkinson

Even if you say you don't - and, honestly, you may *say* but deep down you do; it's like *saying* you don't like the Beatles: the homo sapiens DNA does not permit this to be true or the organism will self-destruct - where was I? Oh. Even if you say you don't, you'll have to admit that this is strangely informative, or, as the people across the great spittoon might say: spot on.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My big sister, the star

My sister sent in a message that will be projected onto the Brandenburg Gate on Oct. 22, but she won't be able to see it live because she's out of town.
Her message is, "Congratulations, you are going to be a star for a night!"
A bit Andy Warhol-ish, but she's just being modest. She's always a star.
If anyone's around, please go, take a picture, upload it, and see what happens.
Here are the details:

Dear Participant,

thank you for submitting your personal three-part phrase to the Festival
of Lights.
*Congratulations, you are going to be a star for a night! *

On October 22, 2009 between 7 pm and midnight, we are going to project
your message onto the Brandenburg Gate and make it /your/ landmark. Your
"triads" and your name will light up the gate together with 60 other
phrases from all over the world.

Don't forget that you might have to wait a bit to see your message on
the Brandenburg Gate: the 60 phrases will repeat roughly every 30
minutes that night. If you wait long enough, you'll get to see your
message projected a number of times.
If you can't make it to the Brandenburg Gate in person, we invite you to
watch your message being projected by accessing the webcam *live on the
Internet *at

All the best from the */be /Berlin* team.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Coco Day

Coco had to stay home today because of overly digested stuff zipping out of his body wherever it could. Graphic enough?
On the way to picking up Madge (and a friend of Coco's and two friends of Madge's - I'm turning into the rat catcher of Brooklyn) Coco said, "My butt buns are sticky."
Excellent. But: what other buns does he think he has?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bud Powell

Just watch those hands dance.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Madge Monday

Madge's friend was over for pizza last night and the girls (including Julie) got to talking about books. They pointed out how hard it was to read Tuck Everlasting in class because it is hard to keep from crying at certain points and nobody really wants to cry in class in fifth grade over a book.
Julie asked Madge if she ever cried over a book and Madge said No, she didn't, but she almost did over this one story.
And then she started telling about (the classic really, the kind that made me weep as a kid) about an animal sacrificing its life to save the child friend/owner. And while she told about this book that didn't make her cry while she read it, she ended up crying while speaking. Aww.
But this, in turn, made her and her friend and Julie laugh, so poor Madge was a wreck: red-faced, laughing and crying at the same time.
And this was when I very confusedly entered the conversation.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

take your time with this

It's a learning experience.
And remember to "Shake it when you P."
(For all y'all who wants your funk uncut.)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

ooh, almost forgot

today's birthday poem.
The poet is Turkish, Ayten Mutlu, and the lines might have lost something in translation. - You know what? I take that back. They might have even gained something in translation, if only several billion potential readers.

The Hierarchy of Concepts

When the Abstract Concepts sit down to eat,
The Passions argue about veggies and meat,
While Intellect grumbles,
"Pipe down, sit on your a posterioris,
and tell each other meaningless stories.
I want to reach beyond all your vainglories
and hang out with the two a prioris."
But Intellect notes
Space drifting,
tapping his feet,
and nodding his head to an unheard beat,
And Time sitting proudly in a corner seat.

Yikes, that was hard. Feel free to guess the source line in the comments.

just like ...

I know it's childish, but I also think I'm not the only one. Whenever this song comes up in a cafe or some other pretentious setting, I can't help changing the lyrics, for example:

She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman

But she farts like a man.

I'm sure you have other things she does like a man.
Feel free to share in the comments.

Monday, October 05, 2009

lost verse

Flann O'Brien's Birthday today. Odd coincidence because I recently picked up his Best of Myles and love it.
The poem I found online is already funny, so I'll only try to add a verse rather than cast it in a different light.

Well, Mexico was lots of fun
out here on the Yucatan.
But when Montezuma's wrath's begun,
A pint of plain is your only man.

Madge Monday

This morning Madge was playing a computer game. When the levels changed she said, "Look it's you." The guy on the screen didn't resemble me at all. He was balding. I said, "Really?" and she answered, "Yeah, it says super dad."
Of course I raised her allowance right away.

On a different note (you'll get the pun later):
Messing around the internet and noticed that today is the 40th anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus. When we still lived in Minnesota, we had a membership to CostCo. This was when the complete 15-DVD set was issued and I bought it there, thinking, "A three-year-old can handle this. Well, maybe not any three-year-old, but MY three-year-old can handle this."
After explaining that, No, he's not a naked piano player, he's a naked organist, which is much funnier, and that, Yes, it is funny to see people and animals fall from great heights, we came to this sketch and I had to toss in the towel. Maybe we can watch the sketches now that she's ten.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

different birthday confluence

Roy Blount jr.'s birthday is today, too. He's a writing hero of mine, if you didn't know yet. Basically, he's too funny for words but he gives them a go anyway.
And it appears he gets to share his birthday with an older comedian - Buster Keaton. I share a birthday with Steve Martin. For some reason, I find this, uh, well, I find it.
In a book of Roy Blount's I am rereading he has a review of Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes. I really love the honesty and gumption of the review, especially this paragraph:

An item about a nationality called Turds approaches risible flatness, but why "Turdsmania" for the country's name? Turdsey, perhaps. Turdwana. There is something to be said for this sentence from "Poodles...Good Eating!": "The dog-eating experience began in Arkansas, August, 1959, when Earl Tauntree, looking for something to do said, 'Let's cook the dog.'" But "experience" is not quite the word, the town in Arkansas should be given, there ought to be a comma after do, and "Tauntree" is not a funny name.

Dang. Happy Birthday, Roy!

birthday poem

Hugh McCrae is (was) an Australian writer I hadn't hear of until now. Sorry, Hugh. And Happy Birthday!

Following the Trail of Crumbs

Finding a recently emptied cookie jar
I didn't wander all too far
and discovered
She was all of five months past three
and had a face covered with chocolate and glee.
But when I inquired
about what transpired
She looked on me with sadder eyes than Death,
And answered,
I confeth."

pee-eth: gueth the source in the comments

Friday, October 02, 2009

another birthday poem

This one, hoo boy. It doesn't seem there are any Oct. 3 poet birthdays, which seems odd. Ginsburg's Howl was deemed non-offensively legitimate on this day, but I'll save him for another day.
You know whose birthday it is, though? Ernest Evans. Oh, yeah, you say, him.

Leonardo Works On His Model's Features

Now, you are mighty fine,
We all agree.
Yes, your jaw is sublime,
but there's a flaw.
I need a look that says you're looking just at me.
Then let's just see what Papa Leo can do for you.

Now you turn to the left
when I say gee.
You turn to the right
when I saw haw.
Now come on, one little smile, just for me.
Boogety, boogety, boogety, boogety, shoo.

So there. Happy birthday, Ernie. (Or, as you guys might know him, Happy Birthday, Chubby Checker)

ps. know the song? leave a comment

Oh darn

I just found an Untermeyer line I sort of like, but only because I think it's funny out of context since I'm ruining his enjambment. Or, rather, because his enjambment is crummy - oh, yeah, I said it - and I'm taking advantage of it. So, happy belated birthday, Louis.

The Wife Who Only Feigns Sleep While the Husband Fetches a Drink for the Offspring

Here in this moonlit room, I watch you slip
and crack your head on the cold hardwood floor.
I try not to stir, but chew on my lip
and wait to laugh until you're out the door.

ps. want the source? leave a comment

new tricks

I was thinking of doing something new this month, inspired by a "contest" I participated in online.
Take a line from a poem and make a new poem out of it. Brief, don't worry. I won't stretch your limited patience.
I figured I'd do it with poets whose birthday it happens to be, but I was thwarted right away. Yesterday was the birthday of one Blanche Oelrichs, who wrote under the pseudonym Michael Strange, and one Louis Untermeyer. And none of the lines of theirs that I could find online spoke to me in the way I hoped.
So I tried again today, which happens to be the birthday of Wallace Stevens. Happy Birthday, Wally. Here goes:

On Observing Teens Needle the Portly Security Guard at the Library

Oh! How cruel, how cruel,
those teens who've got nothing to do after school.
But I do vaguely recall the day
when getting a rise out of strangers was considered play.
And now I wish I'd had a video recorder.
Oh! The blessed rage for order.

ps. If you want to now which of the lines isn't from me and/or where I got it, let me know in the comments. If I had prizes to give away, I'd make it a contest. But I don't, so I won't.

heh, heh

Gotta love Simon Pegg.
And you gotta love this sketch. So simple, so obvious, and yet we didn't think of it, did we?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Have I shared this before?

If so, it only proves how much I like it.


A happy confluence of root meanings seems to form "gravity." Well, maybe not happy happy.
But it seems that the Old English and Old High German word for "to dig" and the Latin word for "heavy" made it possible for us to say that "the grave is grave."
Or to say that astronauts find levity in zero gravity.