Thursday, November 15, 2007

I’m Losing My voice, mind and temper

Here's what doesn't make sense. So I'm losing my voice. I start to talk and it sounds, well to be honest, it sounds ridiculous. Then people ask "what happened to your voice?" How the hell do I know? It was there one day and now it's gone. I can't explain the science behind it. Just say "oh, you're losing your voice. That's so sexy." (or something similarly flattering) and I'll be fine with that.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A pun in the arse

I just thought of this one last night and see no record of it online.

What do you call the salary of someone who captains a boat in France?

The wages of Seine.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

2 puns, one Hebrew/English

If you don't get these, don't worry about it. If you do, start worrying.

1. My car crashed into some slithy toves. So I called a portmanteau truck.

2. I am starting a new business. People come in and participate in making personalized sukkah decorations. I am calling it "Let's make Some Noy's"

get it? נוי


Monday, September 17, 2007

More sizes available I got that one out of my system, but meanwhile, I came upon a few more:

1. Chartering a wide-body

2. Adding on a wing

3. Earning a greater market share

4. Exploiting the masses

5. Becoming one with the universe

Size doesn't matter

Over the years, I have gained a bit of weight. Life goes on and, despite my urge to stay as thin as I was back in college, I have added a bit here and there. Not for lack of dieting, but mostly for complete lack of will power and a taste for all things yummy. I have, therefore, been putting together a list of euphemisms for putting on that weight which will make me feel that what I have done is more socially acceptable. So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Scoring higher on the FAT's
2. Broadening my horizons
3. Becoming more of a man
4. Filling out my forms
5. Weighing in on the matter
6. Thinking locally, acting globally
7. Jelly Roll Morton
8. Driving the roundabout
9. Seeing other sizes
10. Pushing the envelope
tied with
10. Testing the outer limits

Friday, August 31, 2007

I thought I was so brilliant. I thought I had it all figured out.

Turns out I did but the world is out to get me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

2 shabbos puns

1. I was informed by my host that there was a large bottle of vodka in the freezer, so I said "take me to your liter."

2. We were concerned that an urn had ashes of a dearly departed relative, so we asked (ready? this will be funnier to Ashkenazim)

"If we knock this over, will there be a 'mess' on the floor?"

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Last Thoughts

First, a pun.

When I went to the soda concession in Disney, the guy anticipated that I wanted my Diet Coke poured into a cup.

It was uncanny.

OK, I got that out of my system.

On the last day of our trip, we opted for a water park -- Typhoon Lagoon, to be exact. I had bought the tickets that had the water park admissions pre-paid and by gum, I intended to use that. The usual pre-events of packing and parking went smoothly and the weather called for "surface of the sun" type heat. The perfect day for a water park.

Well, once we walked from the car to the park, already sweating profusely, we realized thatonce inside, we couldn't shlep the bags of food and our clothes all over the place and, as we had already checked out of the hotel, we had no towels with us. So when I went to change in the locker room, I also rented a "large" locker (by large, they mean more expensive but similarly sized. It is a technical word.) and two towels. I jammed everything into the locker, got changed and went back to buy over-priced floppies for my feet. The camera got left behind in the locker so that it wouldn't get wet so we have few memories of the day.

The major attraction is a HUGE wave pool. You can swim up and get crushed by a wave, or stay near the back and get crushed by a wave. We also got to laze around the park in an inflatable 1-person raft and go on a family rafting trip (45 minute wait in the sun for 30 seconds in the raft). And we kept going back to the wave pool. I got scratched up after being dragged along the bottom, elbowed in the head and swamped by all the waves. It was loads of fun. The kids liked it too. Well, one liked it and one hated it. And during the day, I stood in the pool for a while feeling warmer and warmer.

Eventually, we made it to the airport, got pulled for secondary screening (AGAIN) and had flight delays for 2 hours while Newark airport looked at radar maps and worried about rain which was expected in 7 hours. A plane ride and a taxi later, we were home and have been living here ever since.

Of course, then I realized that my entire upper body had turned a pretty shade of red. The burn started burning and I haven't slept well since.

Pictures will be available when we finish assembling the online album, so we can relive this vacation all the time. Oh great.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Gone to the Movies

Today was the day we went to MGM Grand/Disney Studios. This had all the earmarks of a wonderful day. Then we got to the park.

Funny thing about the park. It doesn't have that much to do. But at least to compensate, the wait for each show (not ride, show) is excessively long. Now you have to remember -- I don't like shows so this did not hold too much promise. And when the center piece promised to be an outdoor pep rally for High School musical (outdoors...98 degrees and shade...lots of crowding around so we could see the Up With Everything teenagers glisten in the midday sun) I got even more desperate. On the plus side, the first show was cancelled. This gave us a chance to wander around looking for something to do as we missed the tart time of each show we went looking for. Eventually, we had a chance to see a number of musical productions. We traveled all that time and all those miles so I could watch versions of movies that I've seen very often at home. Makes perfect sense. I saw the Little Mermaid live (at least it only took 10 minutes), then we went on the Star Wars presentation/ride (to appease the geek in me) and the Muppet Show show (for the child in me). We also saw an extreme driving show, a Raiders of the Lost Ark stunt show, a small ride through the movies and we toured a variety of gift shops. We also bought lots of water and ice cream.

And to make the day complete, right after we got back to the hotel I was able to see the space shuttle launch from a distance. That made the entire thing worthwhile.

With no kids, MGM has some promise. With kids, I would have been better off staying home.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A few other thoughts

I've been thingking a bit more about the stay so far at the Spendigest Place on Earth and I have to say, the kids are happy, the drive is not terrible, I expected to be gouged at every turn, and our hotel is beautiful. So why am I so annoyed?

Vacations bring out the worst in people. They magnify the worst character traits, try the patience of saints, exhaust the stamina and ability to deal and make everyone come off in the worst possible way. Of course, to strangers, we're all lovely and peaches and cream, and the hosts and hostesses of Disney certainly exude a strange politeness which doesn't sit well with me, but to each others, we are all mean and short tempered.

Then they wonder why I kicked the bejesus out of that mouse.

redeeming values

Probably the most dangerous phrase ever uttered at a poolside bar:

"charge it to my room"

Two dis at Dayney

Well, I survived my first foray into the Magic Kingdom (tm, no doubt). I have a few reactions which I'd like to share.

Holy crap. What a waste of time. Long lines, mediocre rides and over priced, well, everything.

I discovered that my map missed a few areas, such as "Waiting on Line Land" and "Disappointment Village." Yes, the live and interactive Laugh Factory was neat, but the log flume (Splash Mountain) was a wait for a whole lot of nothing. I did notice that the chotchkes in the stores were stamped "Made in China-Pavillon".

We had a great view for the 3pm "Parade of things for sale" where dressed up college students from around the world got internship credit for dancing repeatedly on a 98 degree day. Apparently, if someone passes out from the heat, it costs $6.95 to resuccitate him. And there is a line.

The great American pasttime of waiting on line is honored repeatedly at Disney. There were roving representatives of the DMV there getting pionters.

The directions to and from the park refer to things don't actually mesh with what is on the street signs, and no one has told the people of Florida that a road that is called "east" or "west" should not run North/South. And saying "take route x" is useless when there are 2 directions to choose from. I suspect that a vast majority of drivers are from out of the area -- you'd think that there was more thought put into some of this. Why do I have to pount out the obvious?

We parked in Pluto 27. If that means something to you, then get a life. The children demanded scads of dolls and toys and useless stuff and now we have it all. We left one thing for the rest of the masses. Anyway, one child almost suffered heat stroke and I almost collapsed from a combination of vertigo and a blister on my toe. The two large draft beers I drank poolside when I got back to the hotel helped.

Tomorrow we either go to MGM and a water park, or back to the kingdom to finish off the Land of Stupidity.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Singing Songs about the Southland

So I'm spending a bit of time in Florida trying to get into the peninsular state of mind. The family has ended up at a lovely resort in a large 2-bedroom apartment which makes our own house look like a pile of poop. Later, I'm going to shower, then take a whirlpool bath, then shower again. Then, I may go outside, roll around in mud and do the whole thing over. Mosty because I can. I get the meanest streak in me on vacation. To get around my usual sense of guilt which comes from the knowledge that I am already paying a mortgage and utilities and taxes on one house, so what right do I hav to be paying for a hotel room somewhere else, I overcompensate by saying "screw it" to most everything. I run the water; I leave the lights on; I throw my towel on the floor. I do whatever I darn well please and eat vast amounts of whatever I want becauseI'm on vacation.

So the wife has rolled me over to the computer through the fields of dirty socks and here I am. I have to download all the pictures from the camera to the computer and relive memories that I am still trying to forget. We spent the day in Epcot center. I bought a half-yard of Bass ale and found that that made the day go so much better. I discovered the following:

1. You can't get a High School Musical shot glass. I mean, what glorifies drinking more than high school students and what celebrates high school more than drinking. It's a natural.

2. It takes a genius of a man like Walt Disney to get away with setting up food carts whcih charge six dollars for a slice of pizza. I brought my own food and felt like I beat the system.

3. All the education I gained in Epcot was lost due to the dehydration I suffered walking through the parking lot to find my rental.

4. According to my study, the only thing that Mars has in common with Norway is that both have ample supplies of T-shirts.

5. If you can get a character to break character while on the job, he'll be jailed by the Disney police.

6. The Chinese pavilion people have no sense of humor. I mean, I asked about buying a Falun Gong shirt and they started hitting me.

7. Speaking of the Chinese pavilion, do we really need to travel hours by plane, and pay for parking just to say to some Chinese college student "I'll have a number 4 with Fried Rice, hold the MSG"?

8. The cheapest souvenirs are the ones you get from other people's bags. No, honestly, I got away with just a vomit-bag from the Mission Space ride and the plastic cup which held my half-yard of beer. Of course, the kids needed to buy one of everything and then have me carry it.

9. Half the time I was categorizing women into two groups -- those about whom I felt guilty for staring, and half who should have felt guilty for having me stare at them. There is no law that says that every woman needs to wear cut off shorts and a tank top. Some people are just more presentable in other modes of extreme coverage.

10. The most common activity once you arrive is planning your exit.

Tomorrow, a horse, a horse, my magic kingdom for a horse.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Philosophical Wax

So I went to a retirement party tonight and I have to say, that is one weird experience. I'm going to take a few moments to put some stuff down in words which was floating through my head as I wandered lonely as a cup of coffee and then sat in the back to listen to the speeches.

I get the sense that the one thing that united all of us at that party was the simultaneous fantasy about what will happen at our own retirement parties. Who will be there...what will they say. As much as we are there to "celebrate" the career of the guest of honor, what we are really doing is imagining what will happen at our party. It unites us all in this sordid web of egotism and introspection. On whom have we made an impact? Who will care when we move on? What will the retirement gift be? What do you do the next morning when you wake up and life has passed you by? The sad subtext of the retirement party is that we all want to be at our own funerals and hear the communal lies and empty platitudes that others are willing to say about us so that they can get their free coffee and cake. We sit there and look at our own lives not necessarily as they are but as we think or even hope that others will see them.

So we all sat there seeing ourselves and creating these scenarios of appreciation and wishing or hoping that people will say all that neat stuff about us. And in the morning, we go back to work.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

two puns (if I can remember them)

Someone who is wearing really horrible neckwear can be accused of having the "ties that blind"


Don't let a former Miss New Jersey give you a lap dance -- she's a prime example of some hazardous waist.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just an explanation

1. all the formatting and layout was lost, and the line I inserted between posts disappeared so they all mush together

2. the pictures in the "potato" post didn't transfer. I have them and they make that post very funny. If interested, please let me know so I can say "what the hell are you talking about?"

3. these are in reverse order, so I recommend that you read them from the last entry at the bottom, and then start scrolling up.

All the olds that fit, I print

New businesses and a tasteless picture
Tuesday, 10 April 2007 9:40 P GMT-05
Well, a couple of things. First, I just saw that my blog is going to go out of business soon, so I need to find a new blogging service which will allow me to copy over my entire content to a new blog. If you know of services that allow complete migrations for free, drop me a line.
Now, on with the show.
I came up with a new business -- a personalized micro-brewery. I called it Build a Beer but I see that phrase all over the web, so I'll move on to a construction business that specializes in alcoholic drinks, Build a Bar.
Now, I made this picture. The image is supposed to be a woman snorting cocaine through a Crazy Straw. I thought it was a funny concept but I had trouble making the picture with the Paint program.Picture

The book is unrelated to the blog.
Someday, I'll collect all my blogs into a bloog, or maybe a bok or a blok or a boog...

shameless self promotion

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.
the banner I am trying to insert isn't working. Just cut and paste this into your browser and give me your money. Of course, if you want to cut and paste that code into a webpage, feel free.

Shirts and Skins
I believe that if someone buys clothing with a slogan or fancy saying on it, we have no choice but to follow what it says.
After tall, T-shirts are the fabric of society.

OK...I know that strictly speaking, the shirt is not the type of fabric but it's the best I came up with.
Did you know that if you agree to hold a conversation, you have signed a social contract?

Just a bit of Hebrew fun
והנה בא מותרין בן אדביל אבו-פרופין ממשפחת אן-סעיד. ויאמר מותרין אל נופרין אחיו ההולך אל אספרין
"רפואה שלימה!"

Who else has wondered this?
OK, so whose druthers would I want to have. If I had my druthers then...are there really druthers that I wouldn't want to have? Hasn't anyone asked about druthers in general and where one gets them?

An offer you cannot refuse, and then some
If you need to get a new pair of glasses, let me know. I have a lot of contacts at the Eye Doctors.

OK, a new idea. I am going to start a new organization. it is called the Blind Faith Association. If you want to be a member, please send me $50 (fifty US dollars). There is no membership card, and you won't know when the meetings are, or where, but trust me...we exist and your membership is appreciated.

Newsweek didn't want this...

I'm nobody special. I've wrestled with that for a long time, constantly re-imagining myself and the world so that, in some crazy way, I had a story to tell. But the truth is, I have no disease, have suffered no serious personal losses, have never mused over some inconsequential moment or had a revelation about some deep truth of life. If you must know, I started realizing this in college...well, before college when I had to write an essay for an application. Up to that point I had volunteered at a hospital, worked in summer camp and learned to juggle. So what? Then came my Freshman writing course: one guy learned about judging people when he edited porno movies as a summer job, another spoke of her uncle who persevered against some exotic condition. Even my attempts at self-awareness fell flat. I wasn't even boring enough to be interesting for being boring. Somehow my cat's life and death didn't open itself for explication or some epiphany-producing moment. And my hamster? Not a chance.

Then came the rest of college. I had my heart broken, bounced back and eventually married. I worked as a secretary, an advisor and a teacher and I had a couple of kids. Now I wake up in the morning groggy as all get-out, mobilize equally tired kids and have them ready for the bus, and then go to work. I have stopped trying to believe that my parenting will change the world. I have given up thinking that my work in a school will "touch the future." I won't achieve immortality through my work (or by living forever, thank you Woody Allen). I won't discover some cure; I won't solve the major crises of our day. I'm going to live an average life in which I play poker, watch television, read the occasional book, speak up for something I believe in and eventually, drift off to sleep and not wake up. I have learned to accept that. As Gag Halfrunt said, I'm "just zis guy, you know."

But at the same time, I am something. I'm not sure what, but I do help people sometimes, and I do know a couple of answers. After all, I was the one who found the house keys last week. In some small sense, I matter. But when I leave the house, I'm just another face in a sea of anonymity. Tens, hundreds, thousands of people, all packed into their cars and trains, all shuttling off to some where to do some thing. Each one is connected to others somehow; it is just that the exact nature of the connection is not nearly as important as we like to make it out to be. Some, in their private spaces fight aliens, or nurse foundling kittens. Some starve themselves, beat their spouses, or sculpt exquisite art in their basements. Each person has a story and no story, a past and no past. We are all bound together in both our averageness and our uniqueness.

When you see me on the street, you won't know enough to stop me and say "I really like the way you explained that math problem to that kid" or "you make a mean chicken Kiev" and I won't know to shake your hand and shout "hey! Here's the guy who ties his socks in knots to keep them from getting lost in the wash!" We'll both just keep walking, absorbed in the stresses of our mundane, little lives, never knowing that the guy we just passed won $500 in the lottery or can tie a cherry stem in to a knot with his tongue. Maybe he rescued a man from a shark, or invented a better paper clip, but who knows and who cares to check? We are all kings within our castles and commoners without.

I am not famous, and I probably won't ever be. I won't be honored for saving a life, or recognized for giving back to my community. But I do it anyway. You can't learn much from me or my life and, odds are, I can't learn much from yours. And I don't care either way. Can you really extrapolate some message from the fact that I drive a stick shift or prefer warm weather to cold? Is there really any sense in noting that I went through graduate school, love my parents, or collect pennies? I haven't adopted anyone and I don't work from home so that my wife can pursue her dream of walking across Wisconsin. My life isn't a lyric which speaks to the masses or an epigram which resonates and helps everyone be more introspective. I'm just like everyone else, just less so. Maybe someday, we'll stop looking for the deeper meanings and little bits that make us examples for each other, and start focusing on living our lives better just because.

I now have a plan
I just discovered that the Vatican does NOT have an Olympic team, or a kosher chinese restaurant. So I figure, I rent an apartment in the Vatican to establish residency there. I can start a little Chinese place (or maybe pizza) and I'd even do bar-mitzvah tutoring for all the Jewish kids who move in once their parents hear that there is a kosher Chinese place.
Then, I establish the Vatican Olymic team and become team captain. My wife will be the crew team and my kids will be the gymnastics team and I can be the softball team. We'll march in the Olympic parade (no...not carrying crosses) waving to the crowd...the girls in their long skirts, the wife, wearing a snood and I'll have tzitzis flapping in the breeze.
Of course, we won't win, but that's ok, as I don't know the Vatican National anthem.
I will now start waiting for Nike, Visa and Budweiser to call.

A Little bit of Torah

Both parshas veyeishev and parshas mikeitz present us with a strange word choice - one which, if understood in a way different from tradition, presents a startling insight into the events which unfold.

When the brothers decide to do away with Yosef, they throw him in to a "bor" - a pit which, according to the meforshim, was full of snakes and spiders and was at least 20 amot deep. This was a very literal bor, a hole in the ground. Eventually, he is taken out of the pit and sold, ending up in Egypt. Through the well known series of events, Yosef is forced into prison. The text refers to this prison repeatedly as "beit sohar" (which is translated by both Onkelos and the Targum Yonasan as "beit ha'asurim") and ultimately, Yosef rises to a position of power in this prison and his movements are not scrutinized. He is free to a limited degree.

And yet, when Yosef explains his situation to the sar hamashkim, he refers to his location as a "bor" and not as beit hasohar. In fact, in mikeitz, when he is taken to the Par'oh in order to present the interpretation of the dreams, the text concurs and indicates that he is removed from that bor, not from the prison. In both cases, the Aramaic in both the Onkelos and Yonasan is also "beit asurim" and the meforshim do not seem to deal with this change in language. In fact, most English translations (except, for example, Robert Alter's The Five Books of Moses: a Translation with Commentary) refer to the word as a prison and not a pit. Even those which acknowledge the distinction use the word "dungeon" which straddles the line between the subterranean notion and the imprisonment.

To compound this, when Yosef uses the term, he makes a strange statement. He indicates that he was stolen from the "eretz Ivrim." Not only is this inaccurate in the accusation of theft (as he was thrown in to a pit and then sold, not stolen and only in a loose sense can kidnapping be applied here) but he uses a word to describe his origins which has no real precedent. While Avram is once referred to as an ish ivri, only Yosef, after that, is called by that label up to this point in the chumash and only by the wife of Potiphar, and as an insult. Why then would he take on this defamatory name and apply it to his entire homeland in a way that the text has never done before?

Yosef, it seems, is bitter. In his own way, he is cursing his fate. While he trusts that Hashem will help him rise up out of his state, his choice of words reflects a deep anger. He does not need to overcome ‘being in jail' - as jail terms go, his role as a leader in the prison was a successful one. He needed somehow to get past whatever bad luck afflicted him and cast him in to this pit of bad fortune. His luck turned for some reason and since his being cast in to the pit, things have been going down hill. Even in his success, he is still stuck in jail. Maybe, if he can turn his luck around, starting with removal from the jail via the sar hamashkim, he can rise out of the pit which began all of this decline. The torah concurs - when he is called in front of the par'oh, he is not just being released from prison. This moment becomes a turning point at which he rises out of the pit in to which his brothers threw him. This is not a literal liberation, but a deeper, existential one.

In the same fit of despair, Yosef lashes out at his brothers. They stole him from his father, he complains, and arranged to have him end up in the land of polytheism and immorality. By saying he was stolen, he says they treated him as chattle, to be owned or lost. But he was a possession of something which he respected - as defined by his belief in Hashem, he belonged to his faith. He had been surrounded by "ivrim" - those who followed Avram over into monotheism; this status made him an alien, unaccepted, and shunned by people in Egypt, but did he buy in to that negative role? Potiphar's wife capitalized on this when she turned this statement of faith into an insult when telling of Yosef's behavior to her husband. Yosef refuses to take that sense of the word. He was stolen from a preferred position in the eyes of hashem and taken away from his world of being an ivri, and it is his linguistic innovation, a recognition that his land was one which was qualitatively different from Egypt that showed where his heart laid. Instead of taking the slander and being ashamed to be this "other" his says he was forcibly taken from that place where he would rather be - even if it means being identified with ivrim. Had he said he was sold or sent away, the force of his urge to return would not be as acute. He yearns for the eretz ivrim which has the gematria of 613! In the same way that Yosef did not see "Ivrim" as a stigma, he didn't want to see the beit hasohar as a positive experience. Yes, he was "in charge" but in charge of nothingness, still in the bor.

Yosef was in a bor, a hole, a bad situation. When he was first surrounded by snakes and scorpions, he was also without water. In the bor which was mitzrayim, he was surrounded by the wife of Potiphar, a snake in her own right - when one steals (ganov gunavti=518) from the 613 of eretz ivrim one is left with what is truly missing - hamayim (95), which is, according to Amos 8:11, synonymous with Torah. He needed help because he felt that, at his distance from his spiritual center, he could not rise up from his despair. Being the head of a jail is less fulfilling than being a mere object in Hashem's land, eretz ivrim.

Balanced, fairly
In an attempt to compensate for what my next blog will be -- a serious piece of writing with commentary about a recently read section of the Torah, I will start my day by posting 2 horrible puns. This should buy me credit so that when I write something more serious, you'll not hate me. So here I go (and I apologize that one is a bit risque).

1. What's the worst thing to say to an Eskimo man during sex?
"Are you Inuit?"

2. I had the radio on but all I got was static. The wife said "turn that off -- why are you listening to fuzz?"
So I said "It's a police station."

A keeper

Today, my wife couldn't remember the word "amnesia."

True fact.

Attention Sociology Grad Students looking for a dissertation topic
I have noticed something at work and I'm trying to make sense of it (at least until the cookies are ready).
There seem to be 2 types of thinking regarding email. The first type sees email as a brindge to pull two people together. Mail of this sort is usually followed by human follow-up ("Hey! you get that email I sent you?") Further conversations center around the content of the email and resolve issues raised by the email (and this is often cemented by a confirmation email). Email is a contunation of speech but is unrelaiable -- we always want to confirm that the other guy got it.

The second type sees email dialogue as a parallel stream of discourse and dealing with it via email removes the need to discuss that topic in real life. Conversations after email has been sent avoid the topic in the email, and emails avoid the topic spoken about live. You can carry two separate conversations -- one virtual, one not. One is between the internet avatars and the other between humans and never the twain shall meet. Strange when it happens, but it does happen.

I'd explore this more, but I think the cookies are ready.
something to think about
"it's like when you use a simile"

try it different ways.
Also, just for the record, I asked the blog-city people if they could change the commands to "blog in" and "blog out" and they said "maybe."
My genius goes unappreciated...again.

a defining moment
So I came up with this definition and I haven't found it anywhere else. I claim this word for ME!
The number of dresses a girl must own before she reaches the age of 16.

So I was feeling pretty good and I got all snooty and asked a student "I wonder what they serve in 'College Bowls'."
She looked at me and said "That's food for thought."

She wins.

Real life inspires the worst jokes
So I actually heard something which got my brain to work. I was walking down the hall and I overheard the following question, "How do you recognize a monosaccharide?"
Now you have to understand two things
1. I work in a school, so students asking that sort of thing to each other on test day are not uncommon. Had I been strolling down the mean streets of the big city, or the nice streets of a small town and heard that, then I'd have to worry.
2. When I say I 'overheard," I mean that someone said that as I walked by. There was no intent, malice or even remote interest on my part. Students talk and if I'm walking by, I hear. Please, don't hate me for having ears. Lots of people have ears.
Anyway, I heard that question, and all I could think of was "Look for a car that is tired of being sweet."
OK, it isn't my best and I'm more than happy to entertain other witty responses, but dagnabit, you weren't there!
Send in your best alternatives and when the exact same situation comes to pass again I'll be sure to think of your response.

Food for thought
The life energy forces that flow around us are the "chi".
I think it must be sad for someone who is lactose intolerant, not being able to stand all the "chi"s around us. Of course, this includes Toe Chi's. In Philadelphia, they have mapped the exact pattern that the Chi's take. (c'mon...say it again, out loud; I'll wait...)
I plan to practice wearing a Chi tie someday and see if it helps. I'll have to get used to putting it on very slowly.
I guess that restaurant Chi-chi's is a doubly energetic place. That would be a place where they provide Chi for Chew.

My life is wracked with guilt

Before I begin tonight's talk, I'd like to relate a joke I made.
The wife was discussion muscular stomachs (come on...13+ years of marriage, you need to find SOMETHING new to talk about) and I said "the only reason someone might think my stomach has any definition at all is because it looks like I ate a dictionary."
True story.
And now, back to our show.
In a show of what might be thought of as inverse ego, I am convinced that I am a bad luck charm for the New York Mets. When I watch, they lose. As a matter of fact, as has been observed this season, when I watch, the other team scores and the Mets fall apart, and I have been told to leave the room so forestall any opponent's rally. People can tell when I tune in and call to tell me to turn the tube off. In an effort to convince me of my error, I was told not to watch last night (game 7 vs. the Cardinals). I watched and there you go.
Now I know that it is incredible arrogance and hubris on my part to think that my own personal choice can affect the universe but the results speak for themselves. It might have been how I clicked the mouse while checking my mail or how I sat on my chair, but something I did turned the tide in last night's game. It might have been how I acted even after the game. Who knows. Anyway, I have to apologize to all the Mets fans. It's my fault.
But here's the thing. You are all selfish bastards.
If television and the movies have taught me anything, it is that if we sell our souls to the devil, we can get good stuff. 55,000+ people at the stadium and loads watching on television in the NY metropolitan area (plus web viewers) and the Mets have still lost? Not one of you chose to sell your soul to the devil to ensure a Mets win. I couldn't do it because my mere existence led them towards a loss but you'd think someone else would step forward and do the right thing. 55,000+ people. Nothing.
You make me sick.

A random pun
I am not feeling too good today.
My hip/side hurts.
Not my "hip side" as I have no hip side. Can a person be smacked "squarely in the hip"? Is that how he loses his cool?
Is that why Hip-o's are round? Or why a square meal must be hot?

why i think like this

someone said religion is the opiate of the masses. when i was in college, I never had a chance to try religion. I could have shot up with it if I'd wanted, I guess, or gotten a religion pipe and lit a bowl of god, but I just never did. Kids would go to these hazy, smoke filled "religion parties" and hit the opiate for hours on end. not me. I did snort some political ideology and then I got into drinking philosophy. That never left me feeling full. In fact, i usually felt at least half empty. Then a friend recommended that I drink it from rose colored glasses. I felt better after that.

A pun I'm proud of
Sunday, 27 August 2006 7:57 P GMT-05
It was pointed out to me that almost half the people have below average intelligence. So I said, "That's mean."I'm very proud of that one.For the Jews out there --I am sure Jews are human, we have opposable digits. We count "not one, not two..."

Funny People

I have come to the conclusion that I am not alone in the universe. I pride myself on being funny occasionally, but realize that my sense of humor is so unpredictable and inconsistent that many people see me simply as a necrophiliac.

No, wait. That's the wrong word.

So anyway. I sometimes make a joke or two but I rarely see a post, email or comment by someone else that makes me actually laugh out loud. Admit it -- you use LOL to signify the barest hint of a smile or to make someone feel like a dumb comment had any redeeming value. But how often do you ever actually fall off your chair onto the floor in hysteric fits of laughter. Today, I discovered that some other people make comments and jokes which really get to me. The universe may still revolve around me but there is a chance that there other people in it worth acknowledging.

That's gotta be worth something.

Bad Advice from "Them"

Ok, here's where I start to get ticked off. I mean, I'm listening to the radio and being told about the current heat wave. One hundred plus degrees they say. Help avoid blackouts they say. And then 'they' tell me to move my thermostat to 78 degrees.Now wait a minute.Not six months ago I had 'them' yelling and screaming that I had to move my thermostat down to 67 when I already had it at 78!Now they want me to go back to 78 when I listened to them and put it at 67? No way. They chose 67, and knowing them, they'll change their minds in another couple of months when the newest "study" comes out. I figure, I'll stay ahead of their whims and go back to 78 right around November. That ought to keep me in their good graces.

Things I have never seen

with apologies to the movie Dumbo and it's Jim Crows.I grew up around New York. I've been into the city often. In fact, I was there today walking around and absorbing as much as I could (UV rays, smog etc) but in all my life I have never seen the following:a jack-knifed tractor trailera dead body or even a chalk outline"minor delays" on a highwaypeople dancing on carshookers soliciting peopleSo my opinion of the city is naturally skewed.

just a quick pun

I tried to sneak online to post my thoughts in secret, but I was blogged.


I know I shouldn't be impressed with this, but I just stumbled on my master's thesis through Google Scholar. Someone, somewhere can now accidentally find my work. That's cool.

When Google releases "Google socks" I should be all set, and the world of searches may actually help me find something useful.

My Newest idea

Truthfully, all my best ideas are predicated on my winning the lottery, so I recognize the long odds, but anyway. here's what I want to do. I want to open a storefront, with a cash register, a counter, maybe an employee washroom. I figure a couple of tables and chairs for customers. But that's it. I don't really want to sell anything or provide any service. I want to pay an employee to stand behind the ocunter and not be of any help to anyone. Now I can go 2 ways with this; let me know which one works better:

1. Just do nothing and remain a riddle. People come in and ask "what can I buy" or "what do you do" and have the employee say "nothing," smile politely, and that's it.

2. Charge people who walk in for anything and everything they do while in the store, and see who pays. If someone asks "What do you sell here?" have the employee say "nothing" and then ring up the register and say "that'll be 2 dollars, please." If they sit down, when they get up to leave, he should hand them a bill. Even walking in can be charged.

Yes, I still need to work on it to refine the details, but as I don't play the lottery, I'm not feeling the time pressure so much.

A Guest Blogger Program

In order for my father to reach permanent blogger status, Congress has allowed him Guest Blogger rights which allow him to publish Blogs through me, pay some back taxes, and eventually, become a real virtual presence.

It is like channeling, but with better lighting.

Here is my father's view of the future TV universe

FOX Fall TV Lineup

The Very Biggest Loser: Reality show in which participants undertake a variety of dangerous and disgusting challenges on an island where the natives worship a local idol. Viewers vote for those who do the best and the participant with the lowest score is sacrificed to the idol in a highly charged final episode. (By voting for the best rather than the worst the viewers can deceive themselves into believing they’re not voting to kill anybody, only to save people.)

24 And Counting: Senseless violence with the audience challenged to determine the number of people killed during the season, separating the victims into those who are "good guys" and those who are evil. The "evil" group will be cataloged as those killed by the hero and those killed by other good guys. A further subdivision of the hero’s kills will include those he kills as part of his assignment and those he kills gratuitously. The audience entrant closest to the actual numbers will be killed off in the first episode of the following season.

Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown: A close-up of down-and-outers giving the viewer the opportunity to glory in the fact that he’s better off than someone. Cardboard boxes and vacant lots featured.

Judge Me: Perverts have feelings too. Sexual predators, both male and female, get a chance to show us what they do and tell us about their lives, and about how they are misunderstood by the public. Pedophiles are of special interest as are clergy, whether robed, disrobed or unrobed.

American Idle: Contestants for America’s best couch potato have the opportunity to show off their home theaters, pot bellies, undershirts, and TV dinners. If a spouse has been trained to cook and serve the potato, menus can be compared. Couch potato couples will be judged separately, competing with each other.

Sex and the Single Woman and Sex: Sex -- implicit and explicit; licit and illicit. The viewing audience is invited to submit videos of their own talents and the one judged most capable gets a chance to meet and know the cast.

The Sampsons: Cartoon Mafia family strong-arms its way into control of the city. Family includes adorable children and pets in addition to the adults. Only a minority of the children are abused or killed. Lots of fun for all ages. Ferrets are cautioned not to watch.

Found POetry
The poetry of the next generation is made up of the seemingly random mix of words in my spam email.

For example, and I'm just adding line breaks:


some cyclotomicnot may and creonnot signal be shackle it hilltop but sandia on tray ! vulnerable , footstool and herringbone some dragnet on besetting try guile

The New Mystery
I've been getting a lot of spam recently. i know that is nothing new, but I like to see ho the various spam programs try to get around all the filtering that now exists. Within the last week or so, mail has had the following phrase (name?) on it:

"rathanae phuong"

I checked -- Google gave only one hit for that name. If someone can tell me what arbitrary algorithm came up with that and what it means, I'd appreciate it.

And, as we say on my home planet, "rathanae phuong."

I have a preposition for you
So I was looking for "out" today. I had a wadded up piece of paper and wanted to throw it there, but couldn't find "out."

Finally, someone pointed to a trash can and told me to throw it "in."

"But I want to throw it out," I insisted.

"In IS out," he countered.

"But if I throw it out of my window ON to the ground, I get in trouble?"

"Yes -- remember, in is out and on is out, but a different out."

I ended up eating the paper.

My letter to Hollywood
Dear Hollywood,I wanted to make it clear to you that I am available for your future casting needs. I realize that you are busy, but I have no doubt that I can be of service. If you find, in the course of your upcoming movie casting season, that you need a slightly over weight, balding middle-aged religious Jew, I'm your man. I have been looking back at the past 70 or so years of cinema and see that there has been a serious dearth of movies focusing on the middle aged religious Jew so I figure, I'm about due. And if you want quality Jew, you think of me. I have it all...circumcision, beanie and I tend to answer a question with a question. "Why?" you ask? "Why not?" I answer. See?So please consider me for all your middle aged Jew needs. I can be reached through this webpage.And remember, Jews are just like everyone else. Just more so.Love,Dan

These are things that I have actually heard said, or had occasion to say before i realized how silly they were:

1. "Stick with consistency"

2. "He's not illiterate, he just can't read."

3. "I'm not hiding anything from you -- If I were hiding anything, you'd know it."

1. I read this column over the weekend and found it to be SO funny that I had to link it and encourage everyone I know, and those I don't know, to read it.

yes, The New Yorker.

2. I have been thinking about the word "blog." Take a concept such as "World Wide Web" and add the -ing verb form to indicate recording of something...then drop the ing and connect the final consonental sound of the concept to the initial sound of the verb.

Web...logging --> web log


Sounds easy...right? Then I wondered -- what if someone had used the same algorithm with the same categories, what else could he have come up with?

Internet Writing

net...writing --> net write


That seems accurate.

So I thought of a word/pun this morning and ran to the computer (ok, walked) and checked in on google. The word produced over 12,000 hits so I figure, I'm not all that original. But of the first 60, only one used it as the pun and the other 59 used it as a proper name, a misspelling or somesuch. I think that with a percentage that low, I should still be allowed to claim title over the word. So I am staking my claim to the word "trumor".

Trumor -- a piece of information whispered about under the surface which is, regardless of its secret and unconfirmed nature, known to be true.

Tell your friends that it's mine. Together we can change the world in my favor.

I've been trying to consider the world without the strictures of "create new entry" or "what font am I using." I've been trying to think outside the blogs while not limiting myself to a world of black and white and in my conception of the world, seeing it in vibrant color, going beyond the pale. Maybe I shouldn't be such a slave to fahsion and shouldn't be offended when people tell me that my clothes are almost too hip -- is it time to turn the other chic?

As I sat there staring at the pile of bones on my plate after dinner the other night I realized that in terms of my position in the afterlife, I should be OK as long as God isn't a chicken.

But what if, I wondered, just what if God is a cow.

No way. That would be plain stupid.

If I were rich:

I wouldn't quit my job or do it for nothing. I'd keep my job and the paycheck and let them know it. I just wouldn't do it very well.

I would wear clothing. This would not be a change, I figured I should be real clear about it.

I wouldn't move or buy a really big house or anything. But I might have another, bigger one built and glued to the top of mine.

I'd buy a helicopter and park it in front of my house. Yes, eventually I'd get tickets because I don't move it every 24 hours, but I could afford to pay them.

I'd find the guy who sticks the menus on my door and smack him (note, this is not purely contingent on my getting rich).

I'd take representatives of three competing charities in a room and place a check for $1,000 on the floor and let them fight it out.

I'd walk to the post office and ask if I can pay for all my yearly mailing needs in advance. My previous attempt at gluing spare change to the envelopes didn't work.

I'd raise my kids' allowance to 75 cents per week.

I'd pay someone else to put the holes in my socks before I wear them.

I'd buy a car that runs on liquid silver.

I'd use more minutes than I've paid for.

I'd type in all caps.

I would let my modifiers dangle all over the place.

I'd buy a TV station so that when nothing good is on, I could complain to myself.

I would memorize Moby Dick.

I would pay someone to walk around and listen to all the great stuff I say and write it down, and force others to acknowledge how great it is.

I would rent repated doses of happiness and love.

I wouldn't spend all my money in one place. I'd find 3 places.

I would buy a hat.

I wouldn't pay for songs or software or movies, but I'd know I could.

When giving my opinion, you can be sure I wouldn't stop after putting just my two cents in.

I would buy 1,000,000 screen door springs and 10,000,000 coffee stirrers and build a room in my house for them. When visitors ask "why do you have that?" I would look astonished and say "you don't??"

I would answer every question I was asked during a 2-day period with the word "twelve"

I would learn to dance, and then not dance.

I wouldn't encourage world peace because I could afford pay per view wrestling, and world peace might get rid of wrestling.

That's it for now...If I were rich, I'd have someone think of new ones for me.

We carry many different torches in our lives. Some are lit, some have the promise of being lit and some will never be lit. We hold some for others, and some for ourselves, and a few which are meant just to light the way. We hold then at varying lengths from our hearts and souls -- some near our eyes, and some lower. Carrying a torch is simply a way to remember and be on the lookout for. And when there is nothing to be seen by that torch, we realize the absence.

Sort of sad, I guess.

This is attempt number two to announce my solution to the world energy crisis. During the first attempt I experienced a massive IExplorer crash. I think someone doesn't want me sharing this with you.

I have figured it out and I'm gonna tell you all. No longer will we be held hostage by the various oil interests in the world, or subject to the whims of mother nature and her precious "wind" or "sun." Now I don't know if it was the wine, the pizza or the isomalt laden cookies but it all became clear to me.

Potatoes, and "no" you didn't think of it first.

Potatoes, you say? Well, we all know how well they power clocks,

but why stop there?

We can use the awesome power of the potato to energize cars?


nuclear power plants

or, of course, the Wall Street Journal?

The possibilities are endless.

I don't know if this has been said elsewhere -- it seems to obvious for me to be innovating it.

"The recalcitrant husband refused to grant his wife a religious divorce. He said he enjoyed playing hard to 'get'."

I thought of this one this evening.

I got pulled over by a cop on my way home. He asked me 'You been drinking?' and I said 'Yeah, it helps me get over my fear of driving.'

I wrote it, it's mine, so get yer grubby paws off it.


"I hear the electoral college is a two party school."

you know you love it (or at least will when you ask someone who is smarter than you, and he or she explains it).

I’m not psychic.
I know that it might seem that way often. I mean, heck, I practically take ideas from your brain and post them here. I anticipate your reactions and preemptively incorporate your feelings. I respond to the unspoken and present the not-yet-requested.
But, really, I'm not psychic, and I know you think I am.

First off, kudos to the wife for the best pun ever. I put it here simply so that search engines will find it and others can see what she said:
When told of Don Adams' death, her response was "Would you bereave?" If you don't get it, you suck.
Next. I've been working hard over the last bunch of years writing a book. So far, I have a couple of possible titles and cover art design. I'm even considering page numbers. When I get a plot or any content, I'll let you know. I did, however, think of a forward and I figured I'd keep you in the loupe (I know, but the U and E make it seem to much classier).
"Don't think of this book as written on recycled paper; think of it as written on reincarnated trees who found a spiritually higher purpose holding on to my words. Could I have saved the environment and written directly on the trees? Yes, but then it would have been tough for the reader to fold down the pages."
ok, I just thought this one up so I figured I'd share.

New book for religious Jewish children (if you are not a Dr. Seuss fan, or knowledgable of Orthodox Jewish laws, sorry) about a young man who wishes to cook on the sabbath and invents a substance which allows him to do so.
"Bartholemew and the Unblech"
so there

One of my favorite lines in cultural texts comes from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and yes, the recent film version sucked). In it, when describing hyperspeed one character (I shan't get in to the names) described the feeling "like being drunk." When his reluctant travel companion says something to the effect of "that doesn't sound so bad" the original speaker responds with "oh yeah? go ask a glass of water." I find it witty and apt. Not that I have ever traveled at or near the speed of light, but I don't find the feelings to be universally comforting.
I drank a bit too much yesterday and that got me thinking. About what, I don't know.
Hurricaine Katrina has battered coastal Florida and now threatens New Orleans and when I last checked, no newspaper man had used the phrase "Katrina and the Waves" to describe the effects of the storm. And I'm sick of hearing that so and so a governor wants federal disaster aid again for his population affected by the storm. Dammit, stop wasting my tax dollars and move somewhere where there are no predictable storms. Every single year, during hurricaine season, if you live in Florida, your roof is going to get torn off. Either stop building roofs or suck it up. You live in California and build a house on a cliff, it WILL be washed away by a mudslide. I'm not paying for that. You live in a trailer park in the midwest, everything you own will be sucked up by a tornado. I'm not talking about excessive and unusual natural events, but when you get a foot of snow every year, you have to accept that you are going to get a foot of snow this year also and stop whining about it. And I'm also not talking about a lack of sympathy for those people too poor to move -- you've heard the comedians lambasting the residents of Africa for complaining about poverty and telling them to move where the food is; those people often do not have feet, let alone cars. So their migration is a bit limited. But Americans who move to Florida have to take the bad with the good.
I think I pulled a bunch of muscles in my rib cage -- it hurts when I throw up.

I know I haven't had much to say in a while. Thing actually is, I've loads to say, but I have a few firm rules about this blog:
1. No politics. We both get enough of that elsewhere. I have my opinions and I don't need to type them on the computer.
2. Never feel pressured - I'm not blogging everything I feel because I want to be one of those daily bloggers. Sorry, but this is a "hobby" not a "job".
3. This isn't for consistent venting. My job gives me aggravation. My family life gives me aggravation. The price of most everything gives me aggravation. Thankfully, though, I have enough of an actual peer-support network that I don't need to run to my PC to cry about how this that or the other thing sucks. And trust me, they do. When I have a stroke of brilliance AND I remember it long enough to get to the computer and blog it, I will. I have more bad puns run through my head on a daily basis than most people have in a lifetime.
4. I don't blog when I'm drunk and that sort of limits me...

I wrote this one this morning -- I haven't applied for copyright protection, but this one is mine dammit!
I'd appreciate help tinkering with the exact wording, so give me feedback on this. Don't ask me to explain it.
"i took my car to a quantum mechanic to get repaired, now he says he can't be sure exactly where it is"

Just some puns I thought of this morning:
If Bart Simpson is sent home from school because of misbehavior, is that a case of suspended animation?
If I present Christopher Reeves' life story as my own, would that be quadraplegiarism?
What if he makes me sneeze? Am I Quadrapellergic?
If I take a vitamin for the elderly, but I can't afford the brand name, should I take generitol?

I realize, I just don't much like people.
Not an excuse, not an apology, just a fact. And people aren't working hard to be likable these days.

I have a couple of degrees in education. The first thing they tell you in education grad school is the mantra "you don't go in to education to get rich." I accepted that way back. But what pisses me off is tht they send me mail asking me to donate money to their scholarship funds. Helllloooo?? Didn't you read the BS you were shoveling? I didn't go in to this to get rich. Go hound the doctors and lawyers and every six months, send me a letter saying "you just keep on working; we know that if you had any extra money, you'd spend it on shoes and brand name adhesive bandages."

So I took my kid to a party at the local video game supercenter. I'm walking past the games, trying to kill the two hours while she is eating cake and watching other kids throw up and I wander in to the section which has the fighting games. One stands out as particularly violent and has a big warning "caution -- parental supervision -- life like violence". Life like violence, huh? That's more than enough to make me take a look. The game has a guy pounding the bejeezus out of a panda bear. Really, a panda...
This is life like?

I just checked Google (TM no doubt) for a pretty obvious pun. I found 582 instances of the term, and yet none of them as a pun, ALL of them were plain misspelling! So not only is everyone missing a pun, but a whole lotta people are idiots.
I need to write the set up, but the punch line is related to the phrase "web serfing" or something attached to that phrase.
Why do I have to be the one to point this all out?

I read this book last week, The Princess Bride. Maybe you've heard of it -- fabulous movie, fabulous book, highly recommended but enough about that. In it (at least in the movie version) the Inigo Montoya character (ably played by Mandy Patinkin of Broadway and Chicago Hope fame) muses, after killing the 6 fingered Count Rugen (who had killed Inigo's father, Domingo, when Inigo was but a boy) that he has spent his whole life pursuing revenge. Now that it is complete, he is at a loss for what to do.
That resonates with me now. I mean, I have goals and such, but I just reached another major milestone and need to find some way to reinvigorate myself vis-a-vis goals.
Yesterday, I made Turducken. I took the meat off the carcasses, made the stuffing and cooked the whole thing up for 8 hours. Last night, I had some friends over and we ate a lot of it. My little wrinkle was that instead of cornbread stuffing, I made a filling of mixed chopped beef, chopped veal and chopped bison. PETA was camped out on my lawn. It was pretty darned good. I have a bit of left overs, but the point is, I climbed that mountain.
My tastebuds and culinary curiosity having been sated, I must now look for new challenges.

Things my elder daughter told me when she was 8:

She told me as I was trying to get the last drips of juice out of the OJ container that I should "Drink outside the box"
Then she told me that I was like a magician, disappearing into thin hair.
Ha, frigging, ha
The fab five from Bravo did a makeover of a the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The episode was called "Queer Eye for the Strait Guy".
Are British couch potatoes referred to as English Channel surfers?

I was sitting in my office today and suddenly realized that i hadn't seen my rubber duckie in a while. I took a quick look and couldn't find it. Still can't. But in the meanwhile, I took an inventory of what is on my desk and in my office (and it is a little office):
a metronome
2 sets of finger puppets
crayons, and magic markers
4 commodore 64 cartridges and 4 atari 2600 cartridges
a baseball glove
silly putty
toothbrush and toothpaste from India
a chamomile tea bag
a plastic fork
a commodore computer/tv splitter switch (p/n 904778-01)
an Elvis flip book
Shakespeare trivia cards
a calulator
a newspaper freom 1724 (i think)
lots of ink cartridges
a cd case (empty)
a cd unopened (and a bunch of opened ones)
stereo headphones
a mirror
a pitch pipe
a family album (photos)
a half-frame camera
a nerf soccer ball
high lighters
a matchbook
an office supply catalog
a VHS copy of "A Dry White Season"
a hockey ball
an unopened copy of windows 95
a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the bill of rights
Myths and Facts (Guide to the Mid-East Conflict)
an uncashed check from August 2000
part of a Denver Boot
and lots of papers, disks and sundries.
My office mate has his own set of crap. But still, no duckie. :(

I feel that I have nothing interesting to say which would make this a "blahg" entry.
I didn't make that word up; a quick google search reveals 36,000 hits. You ever wonder why google searches always return even numbers? It find it amazing that any search term will return a number of pages which is always ends in a zero. What are the odds of that? I mean, shouldn't a web search for the word "jambalaya" come up with an exact number like 17,124? That means that any time I add a page to the web, 99 others have to be added at the same time with the same keyword so that search results will stay at the even 100 level. And before you tell me that google simply rounds, and the exact number is not always an even hundred, I'll say "shut up, it's a joke."

Just in case any of you thinks that this blog is my sole source of creative expression release, I will now post the pages I am most proud of. Go there if you wish, if not, hey, bottom line, whatever (with apologies to Stu Treitel):
(if on the above, html doesn't work, try htm)

I believe it is important to have goals in life. We need something to shot for, something to live towards. I encourage others to aim towards something and to use that goal to give life purpose. I have a new goal. I don't know when or how I will be able to accomplish it, but I have a goal.
I am going to make Turducken.
Crazy, I know, but this is my quest. To de-bone a series of fowl, stuff them in to each other, bake the hell out of the whole thing and eat some of it. For added fun I am considering replacing the cornbread stuffing with a mixture of ground beef and ground veal, and finding a place to put some goose and or venison in there.
Donations are being accepted to defray the costs and sponsorships in return for prootional consideration are encouraged.
I intend to prove my mastery over the animal kingdon by eating a large portion of it.
"Dr. Atkins, you will be avenged!"

It seems that The Man wants to remove my blog because I'm not an active enough blogger. Well, Mr. Man, when the muse descends, the muse descends and you can't force the juices to flow otherwise. SO back off Mr. Man, I'm not blogging today.

My aim is not to offend. If I wanted to offend you, you'd know it. I wanted to write a bit about men's attitudes towards sex, not in some prurient or lascivious way, but in a matter of fact mode -- one whic might clear a few things up. I happen to think I speak for all men; that's part of being a guy -- being so presumptuous as to claim representative voice when the claim is almost invariably wrong. So, with that in mind, I think I speak for all men when I put out the following rules and explanations about our approach to sex.
1. Men think about sex. A lot. Even when they don't realize they are doing it, or honestly think they arre thinking about something else, there is a part of the brain reserved exclusively for thinking about sex and it is going ahead with its prime purpose. A guy who is having root canal can't help but try to look down the female hygienist's shirt. It is hard wired. If enough pain is involved, that part of the brain will just wait patiently until the man passes out and then invade his dreams. When a man is embroiled in some other pursuit, that part of the brain stays just under the surface and waits for any moment when an opening appears. If a guy ever claims he isn't thinking about sex, he is wrong. At that moment, the thought is there, and it isn't leaving.
2. Men are ready to have sex almost all the time. There is, for each man, an exceptiomn to the rule, and there are external limitations. If I have my leg cut off and am passing out due to loss of blood, as much as that part of my brain is willing my privates to get engorged, it probably won't happen. Not that I don't want to, but self preservation wins out. Now for the exceptions. For some men, the urge to have sex is cured by watching sports. But as soon as the game is over, the urge returns. Some men are schedule driven and can't consider sex if it would mean being late to anything. Others can't have sex with an animal in the room. As I said - there is an exception for each man, but barring that, the guy is ready. You find some guy who is eating dinner and make a move on him, unless food is his exception, he'll push the plate on to the floor at a moment's notice. Since a guy is rarely "not in the mood" and even more rarely, unwilling or unable to get in the mood, he doesn't understand why you could ever use that as an excuse. If, as a compromise, you decide to do certain things for him which don't require that you are in any particular mood, perted that you like doing them and are in to the moment -- he needs the whole experience. If you change the channel, talk on the phone or iron clothing at the same time, the mood is ruined.
3. Men don't want to ask for sex and don't want women to ask them if the men want to have sex. A guy wants a woman to want sex, and even moreso, to have sex with him. A man wants to be wanted. A woman asking "Do you want to have sex?" or saying "We don't have to if you don't want to." sounds like a woman asking "Are you sure you really want to go for Chinese?" It means she doesn't. The rest becomes pity sex. Now don't get me wrong...pity sex is fine, but don't let the man know it was pity sex -- make him feel like you want to do it.
4. Don't confuse the male wish to have a woman interested in unprompted sex with a male wanting a woman to be pushy and aggressive about having sex. While this works for some men, some men want to be wanted, but want the woman (or, in some cases, women) to want the man to call the shots. Its is an ego thing.
5. Men don't want the woman to come up with new and innovative things to do. Just do them. If you mention that this "technique" or that "idea" might be nice to try it means you were talking about and therefore thinking about sex when the man wasn't there. The obvious exceptions are when the things you want to try would have been things which came up in conversation when you were alone or with another woman.
6. Sincerity is nice, but faked sincerity is just fine. Most men don't really care if you fake it as long as you never say you fake it and you sell it real well.
7. Don't watch porn with men in it. You can watch with women in it, and so can we. You don't have to live up to what they do, but you should make an effort to try. If you don't have the body they have, that's fine; if we don't have physically what they have before we get started, we have already failed, so we don't want you to have any basis for comparison.
8. Do read things like erotica and Penthouse letters. We'd like to think that that stuff really does happen, that often, and to us. Only you can make that happen.
We're pretty straight forward. Feed us, water us, and act like you want us, and we'll be just fine.

The wife came up with this one:
"I need to find an easy way to remember what the word 'mnemonic' means."
And I thought of this bad pun:
"The mass support in Congress for the impeachment proceedings was unpresidented."

I think it is more than coincidence that if I get stung by a bee, I break out in hives.
I don't think it is right to discuss the statistics regarding obesity using a pie chart, or numbers of alcoholics on a bar chart.
I have to check to see if I ever posted my list of top ten things you don't want to hear when knocking on the toilet stall in a public bathroom.

Hi...I've been wondering about language; it's what I do.
Don't pity me or anything, I'm an English teacher. If I don't think about language, why should anyone else. I mean, I don't safeguard it or anything, and I sure as heck break as many rules as I teach, but at least I often realize when I do. Anyway, this awareness of rules has gotten me thinking (which is, in and of itself, a bad thing). I have trouble following the "don't end a sentence with a preposition" rule, but I try, I really do. The other rule which has me confused is that of the subjunctive. Were I to understand it better, I might be able to follow it more strictly.
But then we get to split infinitives. The idea is rather simple - the "to verb" construction is analogous to adding an -ing suffix, it becomes a unified form of the verb. As such, it is improper to place a word (usually an adverb) between the "to" and the "verb" -- as improper as it would be to put a word in between the verb and its -ing suffix. Seems easy, right? Well, first off, it isn't. Then comes the fact that I'm not sure the rule is always right, then comes the backlash of 'if it is right, shouldn't we apply a similar logic to other classes of verbs?'
Woe am I.
Sometime, the verb is expressed as its own opposite. Instead of saying "I tried to miss the target" I could say "I tried to 'not hit' the target." Notice that the "not hit" construction has the intervening "not" as part of the replacement verb. I didn't want to say "Not to hit" but "actively to puruse the action of not hitting." It is hard to express the distinction, but I feel it is there. As such, the "to" introduces the verb "not hit" and doesn't follow the negation of "to hit." Think of it as another way of saying "unpeel" and I wouldn't say "not to peel," I would use the negative verb of "unpeel." Of course, as peel is a confusing janus word which means to apply or remove, it might be a bad example. Thing about to "undress." The action of "undress" is different from "not to dress." In the same way "to not participate" as a conscientious positive choice seems different from "not to participate" which is passive and doesn't reflect the same power of intent. [Side note -- this concept of a complex verb comes in to play with the preposition rule -- when the verb is made up as a phrasal, with a verb-prep. construction, putting the verb at the end of the sentence is acceptable: The sentence "I have to throw up" does NOT end with a preposition, but with a verb "throw up." Having a verb which has other words in it and which therefore defies the superficial rule has precedent.]
But let's say that by some horrible chance, I'm wrong. Well, let's not say but silently entertain the possibility. Shouldn't we then apply the anti-splitting rule on all "helper-verb" constructions? The use of "can" or "will" (and other such helpers) should flow into the verb in the same way, should each? We shouldn't say "I can quickly eat the pie" not just because pie, if it is any good, should be savored, but because the complete verb is "can eat." Why is the infinitive construction protected by this splitting rule and not other forms of the verb?
And this is why I don't sleep at night.

I've had loads of thoughts of things to write -- more about cultural imperatives relating to sociological stereotypes of age groups (we all know what an "old timer" from the 40's should look like, but what about an "old timer" from the 60's and soon the 70's -- chronological shifts require reconsidering stereotypes), I also thought about the concept of a generation gap -- mass media and technology have brought the generations together. Is this what we mean by "the end of history"? There is no historical hindsight as we are all caught up in a never ending "now" and all together. I thought I would write about words, people, music...who knows.
Instead, I'll just post an add for my own site:

I wrote this last year, but it is still all true...shhhh...don't tell anyone....The New York Times didn't want it as an anonymous submission...
I’d like to confess something to you: I’m a criminal.

Now I feel better.

Please let me explain, and while I trust your invocation of a reporter’s shield law if need be, I cannot be sure that my identity will be kept secret under judicial threat or subpoena. Therefore, I must resort to anonymity.

I am (dare I type the words?) a downloader of music.

I have, at this time, over 2000 mp3 files on my computer – some of which I ripped from purchased or even borrowed CDs, some which I copied from bands happy to establish an online presence and eager to get their music heard and many of which I downloaded over various peer to peer networks. The selections range from sound effects to classical to rock to spoken word and comedy. My hard drive is a veritable library of stolen sounds, a cultural sourcebook with its black heart of theft worn on its sleeve. I’ve never sold this music to anyone, or presented it under a false light, but I have made it available to others so that they may enjoy music.

I know. I’m bad.

I also have a music collection of some 700 cassettes, 500 vinyl LPs and 600 CDs. Most I paid for, others were gifts. I figure that I have, over my lifetime spent enough money on music to pay for a good chunk of someone’s college education. I admit, though, that instead of converting cassettes to digital, or rebuying the same album in digital format, I have found it easier to download the song. I have discovered that instead of spending the cash to buy an entire CD when all that suits my taste is one song, I can find someone else who spent the money. And in return, he can take a single song from me after I’ve bought a thirty-dollar double CD set. Neither of us gets liner notes, artwork or anything else other than the pleasure of listening to a song we like.

And you know what the real rub is? I spend most of my time listening to the radio!

I used to copy songs off the radio but I’ve found that radio playlists aren’t as deep as they used to be, and their selection of music that suits my taste isn’t as comprehensive as I would like it. Songs on out of print or rare (read “expensive”) albums, alternate takes, live versions and such don’t suit the mass market need and therefore don’t get airplay. So instead of taping from the radio I copy them from someone else’s computer.

I know that there are myriad arguments splitting all the fair-use hairs and applying copyright issues, royalties, fees, business issues and the like, but the bottom line is that sometimes, I don’t want to pay full price when I don’t want the full product. I go to the library and not the bookstore, and I even photocopy articles from magazines at the library before replacing them on the shelves! I borrow movies when friends have rented them and don’t have to return them till Thursday. Sometimes I eat food that a friend bought and cooked and sometimes I have friends over and cook for them. Do the food providers, the authors and the filmmakers have the right to complain that we are enabling each other to avoid spending full-fare? Sure. And I think that, often, those product creators suffer more monetary damage when I don’t chip in my fair share than the music artists and record companies who lose my purchase price to online song providers. I occasionally even wish that I could buy more albums so that they would be happy. But time, money and interest preclude that; the harsh fact of life is that I will continue to tape movies off of cable, copy my co-worker’s $600 software that I intend to use but once and make my music collection available to others who want to know what is out there before or even instead of plunking down their hard earned cash on the one CD that they can afford, thus missing out on the four others that they would enjoy.

I am not going to take a sanctimonious route and claim it isn’t a crime, or that it is victimless, or that it pales when compares to the other wrongs in society as yet left unmitigated. I won’t make myself a victim of an unjust system or a culture of greed, nor will I justify, rationalize or excuse my actions, and attack the wastefulness of the RIAA’s subpoena parade.

I will live my life quietly, as a criminal, unconcerned with the precedent I set, the role model I become to my children or the lesson I present to others. I will drive 70 in a 65 zone, make Xeroxes without mentioning the TM, jaywalk with impunity, and download Prince’s version of “When you were mine” instead of combing through the back of Goldmine and shelling out $40 for the vinyl 45.

Somehow, society will have to survive.

This will sound silly, no doubt, but I thought of a word and a quick check of the net shows no one using it in this way:
When you hang out in a chat room and don't say anything, I call it "cybernating".
You like it?

So after jumping through hoops and doing all the stuff one would have to do to prove one's innocence, I have still failed. More after this.
OK, we're back. I did a bunch of stuff since I last wrote -- I got a lawyer who asked me to tone down public rants, got an expert witness, a witness report and such, had two more trial dates and found that the noise ordinance, as written is actually unconstitutional. All of this adds up to a pile of beans in this town.
The judge decided that it IS constitutional, but would not explain his decision. The prosecutor decided that the expert witness was no good becasue (get this) he wasn't actually there at the concert...he also decided that my insistence that I did nothing wrong and was protected by the law was arrogance. On the plus side, NOTHING.
Eventually, my lawyer got across the idea that I was being charged under the wrong subsection of the statute, but no one really cared. I got his with a fine of $250, plus $25 court costs. Should I appeal?
Of course.
Will I? No.
Why not, you ask.
Well, to appeal, you need a transcript of the court proceedings. You start by placing a $300 non-refundable deposit and then they make the transcrip and tell you how much MORE it will actually cost. Then you have to have a lawyer submit an appeals brief and/or make oral arguments. My lawyer gave me a 50 percent chance of winning on appeal, considering how many different reasons we have to appeal (the judge's decision was actually that having a concert, regardless of decibel, was not justified by raising money for autistic children -- he completely ignored ALL the testimony, and, might I add, "the law"). But if we lose and go to the next higher court, our chances of appeal are much improved as that next level is the court which declared another town'd identical law unconstitutional.
But to start with costs which are MORE than the fine, and then impose upon a friend who took the case pro bono (Vox, not Sonny) to give up more time and energy, and lose more days from work, seems fruitless.
So last point, I go to pay the fine. Now you have to remember that one issue was always that I had no sense of the magnitude of my crime and the maximum penalty. The prosecutor had asked for the maximum of 500 dollars because, I guess, I strike the court as a serious threat, given my "arrogance" (i.e. faith in the legal system). The judge thought i was only somewhat of a threat and assessed half the fine. I went to the window to pay the fine and saw that there was a looseleaf binder which catalogued each crime and its fine. Strangely enough, it listed the statute which I supposedly broke as a $51 fine.
$51, not 250 or 500.
I have been screwed yet again by a system which prospers because of, not in spite of, its own stupidity. I had complainants who lie, a prosecutor who is a mean SOB and a judge who saw the law as a minor obstacle in the road to agreeing with the prosecutor. I've had a system quote the wrong law, the wrong statute and the wrong charges, waste my work time so it could ignore its own law.
This is why I intend to vote for the anarchists' party.

Yesterday was horrible. The judge wasn't helpful, the prosecutor was a meanie and the complainants "forgot" stuff I asked them on the stand. All the material and research I had was for naught. Basically, I'm screwed. I got a continuance when it was revealed to me that the calls for service from the police were not admissable (not what I was originally told) and I would have to subpoena them. I'm also getting a lawyer to handle the rest because if my understanding of the law is wrong and the cop's understanding of the law is wrong then I need a professional to properly mis-understand the law.

The whole thing is giving me stress beyond stress and with work giving me more than its fair share of stress, i don't need to lose sleep to this stupidity...

Sadly, I have no choice.

As far as I can tell, this is a truly original joke, at least on the internet. If you can cite it or a similar joke in publication elsewhere, please let me know!

Mrs. Smith: We had to take my husband to the orthodontist yesterday, but fortunately, we didn't need an appointment?

Mrs. Jones: Really? Why, was it an emergency?

Mrs. Smith: No, we just keep him on retainer.

It works on so many different levels.

I apologize if this offends anyone. But not that much.

They say that sharks don't get cancer. So it seems to me that if you want to feel safe, you should hang out at an oncologist's office as the odds of getting attacked by a shark there are extremely low.

Well that was a wasted morning.

I sat in court from 9:30 to 12:15 just to have the judge explain that this was 'probable cause' hearing -- is there probable cause that the offense was committed and that I committed it. One complainant spoke and told his side. He got facts wrong but so what. Then I was asked if I had any questions about what he had testified to. Not about the law, or about my side of the events or anything else. I asked a few but the judge said that many of my questions were related to the law and not his claim. So basically, he can claim anything he wants and, even if (when?) I get off the hook, he has successfully wasted more of my time. Apparently, you can claim anything you want and all the defendant can ask about is exactly what you said...

So now, I have to amass evidence, get sworn statements and figure out exactly what I want to say when I come back in for an actual trial. I don't have the energy -- they haven't claimed any damages and, if I read statute right, the penalty is 200 bucks. Should I plead nolo and let the whole damn thing go? Of course, according to the statutes, I didn't do anything wrong.

The judge kept saying that he needed to establish if there was cause that the "offense" occurred. But he didn't want to hear any argument about what constitutes an "offense" under the law. As such, when he makes a probable cause decision, he is actually making a defacto, if not de jure, statement about the incident's status as "offense." That ticks me off. Do I get a lawyer? Do I file for summary judgment? Submit briefs? I have NO idea and the court people are about as useful as any first level tech support person.

I called the local improvement district to confirm that there were other bands playing that day. I'm thinking of applying for a permit just to show that it can be done. I should find solace in the law. Instead I'm just confused, angry and scared.

So I come here to write this all down and find someone has posted a blog about Russia ON MY ACCOUNT! What the hell kind of security is that?

Anyway, here's a random thought:

what's the connection between Grimace from McDonald's and Patrick Star from SpongeBob?

my death wishes
If anything were to happen to me, god forbid, I don't want to become some anonymous statistic.

Please make sure that they name the statistic. Something trendy.

I've written this up for my family and, yes, I expect compliance. I'm putting it here for safe keeping...
Here’s the thing: I really don’t think I could stand a funeral which was too depressing. I’m not saying I want to turn my funeral into an occasion which anyone would look forward to [my aim is not to have a fun, social affair with bagels…], but I want it to memorable for what it refused to be – a downer. If you don’t have humor, then you have nothing. And when I have nothing else, and can be remembered for one thing, I want that thing to be my wish that everyone injected more humor into his or her life. So laugh it up.
Better to have bad taste than no taste.
1. I recognize the halachik need for a “plain pine box”. OK. But I want racing stripes. Two preferably, going both down the sides and down the center of the top. Black is classiest, but a dark green is acceptable. Red is just gauche.
2. Balloon animals. Everyone loves balloon animals. I don’t want a clown making them – whoever is hired to make balloon animals should be dressed appropriately. Use only black balloons (it’s a funeral for heaven’s sake!) and I don’t want those damned crowns – I want just animals.
3. Music – I’ve decided that AC/DC’s “Big Balls” may offend, so please consider “I am Woman, Hear me Roar”, “Fish Heads” or the theme to “Shaft”. If anyone flinches at this and says it is improper, tell him I say “It’s my funeral – I died for the right to make these decisions. When you die, you can call the shots.” Live music would be nice, but I’ll be reasonable and not demand it. According to my half knowledge of Judaism, until after my interment, any relative is not in availus, but simply an onain and music may not be problematic.
4. Speakers and speeches:
a. Tehillim are ok but don’t over do it.
b. I hope that Ira speaks. He MUST begin with the phrase “My brother, in his own way, was a fool.” And he has to deliver his final line in Pig-Latin.
c. Poems. Just don’t unless you can find a way to incorporate the word “superfluous” as a rhyme word. Please, no rapping.
d. No celebrity endorsements
e. Worst pun contest – worst pun wins a chance to ride in the limo.
5. Flowers and decoration – Flowers make me sneeze. Don’t have any.
6. Parting gifts – maybe t-shirts, or a pin. Slogan: I “laughed it up” at Dan’s funeral. I’d love to give out kippot and benchers with the funeral information but it would have to be a rush order, and can you ever do a really good job with a rush order? How about “Dan’s dead and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt”?
7. Pall bearers – Please try to pick people whose names rhyme, or who are all wearing glasses. If not, get three really tall guys and three really short guys and, well, let hilarity ensue.
8. Behavior – Picking up members of the opposite sex is forbidden. If I’m not getting any, no one is. Of course, the contrary argument is that if I’m getting laid to rest, the rest of you should get laid.
9. Moneys collected should be donated to Chabad USA. No joke, I just like them.
10. Obituary should read “in lieu of flowers, please send pizza.”
11. I know I have to be buried in a white shroud type thing but please turn the collar up so I look cool in heaven.
12. No beach balls bouncing around and please turn cell phones off.

So I'm still confused by the whole team loyalty thing but another facet of the argument has arisen. I was listening to some sports guy discuss the playoff baseball games and he mentioned that the two participants had an intense rivalry. I was suddenly struck by the following notion -- WHO has a rivalry? In the same sense that the team is simply an amalgam of hired guns with no necessary allegiance to the geography or populace, the rivalry can't be between players. What is the "team" that "it" is engaged in a rivalry? The fans trash talk each other, and the rivalry is between the people who live in the various areas and is manifested in the representative sports teams. But as those teams don't in any strict sense represent the people, the resolution of the rivalry must be likewise empty. The concept of the rivalry must then be a media/cultural construct to provide a sense of meaning to a game otherwise played by well paid adults on behalf of their own honor and ego.

How sad.

Well, I went to the mediation session this morning – showed up bright and early, too. Of course that didn’t help when they moved the location of the meeting without telling me so I ended up being the last one there.

The mediators explained their roles (it was 2 women and a man) as confidential and impartial 3rd parties who help resolve issues and help the parties come to an agreement. They are, they said, not interested in the facts of the event in question, nor in the specifics of the law. All they want to do is create agreement.

That was my first sign of trouble.

The “spokesman” for the complainers ( guy named Mulligan) started. “Fourscore and seven years ago,” he intoned…no, actually he described the music and the show and the event and alluded to prior “instances.” There haven’t been prior instances. There was the Dipsomaniacs show 2 years ago and we have no record of his complaining then. He talked about being able to hear “electronic feedback” [whatever that means] and that the music was offensive. His chronology misinterpreted the starting and stopping of the band for compliance and then flouting of the police requests to abate, he claims that the music blanketed the 3PM to 6PM range. He was well dressed and well spoken (but he had to leave to go to another court for another case and he isn’t a lawyer…hmm…interesting).

He conceded the fact that the judge said that if we finished within an appointed time there was nothing that could be done AND WE DID. However, he claimed that the music was louder at his house than it was in my backyard. Of course, sound waves pick up speed and all…

He does say that he wouldn’t have been offended if we’d chosen to have a clown entertain kids. How nice – someone is thinking of the children… But he was offended that when he and others showed up and were obviously not there to enjoy themselves, we didn’t shut the music down. In fact, after he took a picture of the band, he was bothered that people made fun of him.

Then Mrs. Horn (I have abandoned propriety and am naming names with impunity) told of how she had to work to “finally get” me to look at her, and how she asked me to stop the music but she forgets what else she might have said (does the phrase “This is disgusting” ring any bells?)

Finally Mr. Muller spoke. He lives farthest away and is the guy who complained two years ago. He’s also a guy who erected a spite fence to ensure that his neighbors don’t cut a single blade of his grass. He claimed the music was “tremendously loud” and made so because it was amplified through an effect created by a patio and the upward motion of the land. We don’t have a patio and out yard is fairly flat. Whatever.

After much additional verbiage on my part, I get to speak. I am quickly stopped when I try to defend myself and told that the purpose of the session is to get both sides’ stories and work out agreement for the future. All the laws and such are immaterial.

More trouble.

I conceded to a band. I conceded to outside. I did not concede to “unreasonable” volume and here’s where I start to get annoyed. Their argument boils down to “X number of complaints must mean that there is something wrong” and by not stopping the music I am an insensitive and self-centered person. So if I don’t accommodate their musical preferences or tastes because they say so, I’m bad. And if I start lining up a larger number of neighbors who will state that the music wasn’t a problem, they’ll still say that they WERE offended regardless of other people’s feelings.

Compromises were brought up – one mediator actually suggested having a band but without speakers. I tried to explain how that might not work. Another mediator thought up having all the shows inside. Ignoring the trouble it causes and the limitations it places on the band and the audience and the kids, there is still the fact that I am within my rights to have a band outside. The mediator suggested turning the speakers back at the band and the house. I guess physics wouldn’t apply and the waves wouldn’t either kill the band or bounce off the house…What about using the township amphitheater? Well, I reasoned, not only would it be an imposition on the guests and require township sponsorship, but it would change the nature of what we are doing (does the word “house concert” mean anything to you?) I stated that we had lowered the volume and changed the length and nature of the show to accommodate complaints and that I would be willing to angle the speakers differently in the future.

That’s not what they wanted. The only agreement which would have stopped them was one in which I sign away my right to have a band. Sure I could limit the band, give notice or do any number of things. But they want me to agree to no band. No way.

Be careful, said the mediator – you risk a judge saying that you can’t have a band. OK – how is that different from what I am being asked to agree to? Gee, they said, you are being insensitive – one of your neighbors is very ill! So then if I wait till he gets better, I’m golden? I stayed away from reporting the physical threats leveled at the guests and the band. I didn’t mention that the children of one complainant were seen enjoying themselves. Why must I be careful?

Bottom line is that I refuse to agree to what they want and they can take me to court. The good news is that no claim of damages was made, and it is pretty clear that they won’t be able to prove an infraction under the code. So why would they take me to court? To get a judge’s injunction, I guess. Then I’ll just get a permit and do the concert in the street out front and turn the volume up. At this point, a limited heck broke loose – one gentleman claimed that my actions were a “reckless disregard” – which I guess makes this Murder One Mr. ADA McCoy…Another reiterated that I was self centered and such. Remind me to send a thank you note to the mediators for doing such a bang up job.

Why should I be afraid, you ask – doesn’t the law protect me here? Aren’t there codes which state what is and is not permissible? Sure, but a judge could choose to ignore codes in favor of “being nice” and say that since someone complained, he has to protect that person. So what I am allowed to do may be compromised by what the judge thinks would be nice to do. Yes, he can couch this decision in the broadest definition of the terms of the codes and say it is the law, but the fact is, that would be ignoring the rest of the codes to make nice to some people. And I’m afraid that that is the route to be taken. Will the judge really care about all the logic of the codes I have assembled? I don’t think so. They will have to show that what I did was “unreasonable in time and circumstance.” If the judge wants to, he could find that. But then he’d get a boatload of complaints about every little thing as being unreasonable. Remember – we made 3 adjustments to the volume and then asked the band to end early. The complainants insisted that we turned the music UP and made no accommodations. I’ve got video tape and witnesses. They have their complaints.

In the meanwhile, we had a talk with one of the complainants after the session had turned ugly and the wife got into it in the hall with one of the complainers. She agreed that for some on her side, this became personal and was not fixable but others might react positively to a letter which detailed limitations and accommodations I was willing to make about notification, speaker placement and types of musicians. I guess we’ll try that but primarily as it will make us look reasonable in front of a judge.

I don’t want to go to court. I don’t think I’m a bad neighbor. Truth is, we might never have another band, especially now knowing how ill one neighbor is. We are happy to only have a couple of guys with guitars, and maybe a guy on hand drums. But I am not willing to sign away my rights.

So now I wait for notice from the courts.

I want to be a rock star. However, I lack any real talent. I have good ideas, though. Here's one:

Take popular songs and make them rock. Cover songs are by no stretch a new idea but why hasn't anyone taken Madonna's Material Girl and rocked it up? Any sampling of songs on a station whose name is preceded by "Hot..." is fodder for the rocking process. This should be amass movement -- it will create a new market for the pop and r+b musician and let those of us who secretly indulge in the guilty pleasure of a chartbuster listen to the song in public. But that's not why I came here today.

I want to make an album with only one song on. Many different versions of one song, each in a different musical genre and or style. Yes -- this HAS been done. As far as I know, there are at least 2 full albums of just Louie, Louie. But I've got a new gong: Jenny From the Block

c'mon, there's always room for J-Lo.

When I sing the song with my kids, we sing it as a slow dirge, almost as a gregorian chant. We do it as speed metal; we sing it as a Rockettes worthy show tune, fully syncopated. It is pure rap, it is a lullaby. And the words -- that poetry that speaks to the J-Lo in all of us, they lend themselves to such diverse interpretation, from an Elvis-esque almost C+W flavored recital to an Arlo Guthrie story song.

One album, one song, from languorous torch song to punk -- it's all in there. Coming to a store near you.


Did you ever wonder what it means to say that you root for "your" team. I mean, think about it, the tem supposedly represents you. But in what sense? The players may not be from your area. They may have been born or raised elsewhere -- their values and personal heritage may not mirror yours. They were "acquired" through trades or farm clubs which are based elsewhere -- their experience base is separate from yours, and they may yet be traded, making their representation of you fleeting and therefore insubstantial. The team doesn't fight for some value system you hold dear -- it plays a game. It has the name of a general geographical area on its uniform and that's it -- no real identification with the area or its people. And yet we root for whatever adults happen to be wearing that uniform when we tune in to watch the game, regardless of their religious beliefs, personal agendas or home address. That's weird.

I was thinking about this thing I like to call cultural imperatives the other day. If you round up a group of 30-something American males and ask them to list their top 5 movies, or songs, or tv shows, odds are, there will be substantial overlap. OK -- people raised at the same time were exposed to the same influences and make decisions based on content, that's not great news. But we (I count myself as part of the aforementioned group) like to think that some of the stuff we've seen and heard falls into a more timeless category -- classics, things that EVERY generation has to experience in order to be plugged in to the complete American culture. If we were to ask another 30-something "Have you ever seen the movie Stripes, or Fletch, or Animal House, or Caddy Shack or Blazing Saddles etc." we would be shocked by a "no" not only because this person has missed out on his peer groups sine qua nons of cultural fluency but because these are the necessaries for all ages, or so we'd like to think.

But I was having a conversation with some teen-agers yesterday and it seems that those cultural classics (the Gilligan's Islands, MASHs and such) have not become the timeless classics we thought they should be. Songs have developed into Classic Rock and there are still myriads teenagers losing their virginity to Led Zeppelin or discovering the Beatles, but to be labeled Classic television is to be relegated to some nostalgia channel. Our Classic movies are not the ones on the Classic Movie network -- those are the black and white Bogart/Bacalls, or the Henry Fonda or John Wayne World War 2 epics, nor are they the "new classics" which appear on some trendy movie show and star Helen Hunt. Our classic movies are the ones which are filler during Atlanta Braves rain-outs, or the fodder for marathons on Comedy Central on long summer weekends. When you ask a kid today if he's seen "The Jerk" he'll look at you and say "Have you seen Zoolander?" and he'll mean to make the equivalence. You shake your head and wonder if you've finally become your own father, mumbling about kids today and all that. Truth is, we DID see the classics our parents held dead -- I was raised on Singing int he Rain and recognize the genius of the Maltese Falcon. But teenagers think that anything before "Saved by the Bell" can't be any good and "Dumb and Dumber" is the dawn of cinema comedy.

I say, wait till they get old and ask their kids "Did you ever see American Pie" and their kids say "yeah, part of wasn't that good."

By the way -- 'm now officially annoyed. I wrote an entry about the follow up to my noise infractions and the mediation session I have to attend mid-october and the system crapped out on me. I didn't copy the text, so now it is lost -- all because this site had an oops.

Anyway, let me tell you a story. Back in the early 80's a band put out a song called "Who Cares." Rock radio had exactly that response and the song faded into obscurity. Fast forward a couple of years. The band is starting to make it big. It releases a new song which is a virtual copy of their own "Who Cares." It is a modest hit -- not much but much bigger than the first song. It is called "Workin for a Living." When a song comes out, sometimes it is the context of the band's popularity which determines hit potential and status.

However this can also work against a band. REM put out a song called "It's the End of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)". It is a silly little song about most everything with the intitials LB, the result of a Michael Stipe stream of dreaming concsciousness. Big hit from a big band.

Now comes the greatest hits package along with a "new song" called "Bad Day." here's the problem. Bad Day is a carbon copy of "Its the end..." BUT IT IS BETTER. Had the first not been released, this song would be a monster, but it is now hampered by its connection to the first song. I wish I could hear it without knowing "It's the end..." so I could REALLY appreciate it.

Anyway, time to "copy" text so this doesn't get deleted.

I am bubbling over with excitement and I have tell someone! I turn to you, my trusted diary -- keeper of secrets and valued friend.

I am, it seems, a BAD NEIGHBOR.

I guess some background is in order. As part of my brother's concert series (the mydiningroom concerts), I host the occasional show. We started out with the Dipsomaniacs in our back yard, then had Pat Dinizio in the living room and, in this past June, the Grip Weeds. For the Grip Weeds, I built a little platform (props out to Home Depot...). Alas, it was a rainy day and the band rock out inside. When the chance came to have another show, we jumped at it and again, hoped against hope for a nice day. Yesterday, Sept 21, was that nice day. Isabel has moved on, and the sky was bright and clear. The band came and set up and everyone was ready for a fun show with kids playing, adults eating pretzels and wonderful power pop music. The band did a short sound check (and, by the way, Kurt Reil of the Grip Weeds sat in on drums). They were loud, but that's what a rock and roll band can be. A neighbor (my wife describes her as the mean woman with the cats) came over to the fence and started telling me how disgusting this all was. We told her of the timing of the show. We didn't remind her that she has the right to GO INSIDE! She insisted on raking her leaves...Anyway, the sound check stopped and I asked the band to lower the volume a bit. I was embarrassed to do this, but I felt a need to assuage the lady. She called the cops who came after the sound check was over, so there was no noise to be had. I told the cops of my understanding of town code but said I would ask the band, again, to lower the volume even more. This is a real good group which plays happy and infectious pop and here I was treating them like a death-metal band...but comply we must. the police understood my point of view and knowledge of town ordinance and I told them I'd no doubt see them later...

Then, we broke and waited for the crowds to assemble. By 4:15, a bunch of fun loving families and friends had arrived and we decided to start the show. They started their first song at the new, lower levels, and she was on the phone to the cops. They played 2 songs, and the cops arrived. Good songs, by the way. Apparently, the mean lady and another man who lives on another block started threatening the guests with rocks and a water hose. The band and its electronic equipment didn't take kindly to that and the lawyers in the crowd started taking notes... We took a break during which we spoke to the cops again. One agile officer vaulted my back fence to defuse the neighbor who said that there was an ill person in the house. Apparently, he is unfamiliar with the restorative power of music. This time I told the remaining officer and the sergeant who showed up that the drummer was switching to brushes, not sticks, and the band was playing at a very reasonable level and in the middle of a Sunday afternoon in the summer, this is a reasonable leisure activity. They seemed to agree and sympathize and explained their obligation to follow up a phone call. I understood -- they are just doing their jobs, and well. After everything seemed to calm down I explained that we had followed the code in time and place, could not secure a permit as one is not issued for private gatherings, had not excluded anyone, and have attempted to take reasonable steps to address the concerns -- by having the band play at a fairly low level. I indicated that I understood the others' rights to sign complaints but I intended to continue to have the band play. They left after taking down the necessary info on me to streamline the complaint filing process.

Band goes back to playing. Really very nice show -- one medium set instead of 2 short ones -- we didn't want to ruffle any additional feathers. Kids dancing, adults joking with the band and soda for everyone who wanted. We even noticed kids and adults watching and enjoying the show from the offended neighbor's yard! We invited them over but they declined...and then the mean lady shooed them out. It doesn't look good to have your argument undercut by someone else's enjoyment. The offended neighbors even took a picture of the band (though we aren't sure for what purpose as we stipulate to presence of the band and volume is hard to ascertain via Polaroid). Eventually, the band finished up -- at 5:45, an hour and fifteen after beginning in earnest and 45 minutes before we expected to be finished. Right after they finished, the sergeant returned. He had, he said, ben trying to broker a deal with the neighbors -- they wouldn't file complaints if we kept it way dow. "We're done" I told him and he was overjoyed. We stopped early -- that had to make everyone happy. he said that he had even spoken to the judge in charge who didn't see our actions as being unreasonable in time and circumstance. We all decided to move on.

The band stayed for dinner (inside) and we cleaned up our yard. By 8, everything was all secure -- the kids were getting into bed and all was right with the world.

Then at nine a very contrite police officer returned with courtesy copies of complaints. (nice and alliterative the Teaneck police are). He handed me 6 separate complaints, including one from a woman whose kids were watching the show. Go figure. Apparently, during the show (my brother reports) the neighbors started rallying the troops and spreading the word that we were doing something illegal). The police officer said that by the time they filled out the complaints, the music was done, but that didn't seem to calm the neighbors down. So now I have this threat of municipal court hanging over my head. I also have Teaneck and New Jersey law, state regulation and ordinance on my side.

Then today, I looked at the complaint. It cites violation of ordinance 21:15 (b). 21:15 is noise all right, but there is only a (a) and NO (b).

If this wasn't so laughable, it would be annoying, and vice verse.

From the front line in the war against stupid people, I remain yours.


Sometimes, I don't think I'm a very good eprson. I don't exactly know what a "good person" is, but I can't see myself as any sort of example it one.

I think bad things, i say bad things and I do bad things. Doesn't that somehow make me bad? And i'm lazy, too.

I'm a music downloader. I hope the RIAA sits up and takes notice. I have downloaded music without paying for it and I've been known to listen to that music. The way I see it, I've spent thousands of dollars on music that sucks over the last bunch of years. Getting something now is just making things even.

Lets me and the RIAA reach an agreement. You stop putting out music that sucks and I'll stop downloading. Till then, piss off.

posted Sunday, 14 September 2003
I have been motivated to start a blog.

A "blog" for those of you not so computer savvy is short for "blogere" the latin cognate for "to ramble" or "to spout" using definition 3 of spout.

So I was thinking about a neat list, and I figured that this might be a good way to list it.

Top 5 things you don't want to hear after knocking on the door to see if a public restroom is occupied:

1. Come in

2. We're almost done

3. Dave's not here.

4. You got the stuff?

5. come here -- you've GOT to see this.