Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Paper-wrapped, waxy goodness.

Have I ever told you how seriously I take crayons? Probably not. Here goes: I fucking love Binney-Smith and their glorious little sticks of waxy creativity. We're talking about Crayola God damned crayons.  We make pilgrimage to their giant-ass factory in Easton, PA at least twice a year, and it is worth every penny of admission. The original. Unequalled.

If you're an adult who does not wax (heh) nostalgic at the whiff of a freshly opened box of Crayolas, become inspired by the very names of the colors or get giddy and smile at the sight of that big honkin' green-and-yellow box (64 colors, with built-in sharpener!), then get the fuck off my sidebar, because you have no fucking soul.

Crayons retain their magic, no matter how old you are. Want to liven up a party? Throw out some butcher paper, a few coloring books and several boxes of crayons. Adults and children alike will gravitate, and eventually, you will see an 80-year-old Gramma drawing flowers next to a 4-year-old drawing robots across from the twins coloring in their "Scooby Doo" books. No one can resist the call of the crayon; it transcends age, race, and language. Crayons are an Objective Good; a universal uniter.

Want to creatively enhance a room? Do what Dino did: leave a basket of crayons on the toilet tank and let your guests know that they can gleefully deface and graffiti up your potty walls. You're providing a creative outlet AND reading material for your guests! It rocks! (My contributions are varied, but I like the ceiling piece the best.)

I'd be willing to bet that if you laid a shit-tonne of paper and crayons at a G-8 meeting, a UN Security Council meeting, or Congressional gathering, you would see more Shit Getting Done, because no one can be a crab-ass, contentious motherfucker with a fistful of crayons.

They need to be real Crayolas though. Don't cheap out and buy the weak-sauce, pale imitations like RoseArt or other generic crap. God, I hate cheap-ass, shitty crayons. They lack style and substance. Their labels are boring and their color names lack originality; they are too waxy and they leave a pale, pussified streak of color on the page. If you buy crap crayons, there's a seat reserved for you on Hell's Amtrak, and guess what? It's probably in the cigar car.

That's right, I said it: you'll smoke a turd in Hell for buying cut-rate crayons.

Go out and buy s box for yourself today. Grab some good paper, as well, and maybe a coloring book. Indulge yourself in the sheer potential that an unopened box of crayons and a fresh pad of paper contain.

Then go out and buy a couple of boxes of the good shit for Donors Choose, your local church or even your local food bank.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Christmas in August.

For the first week of Fall '10, my campus gave to me:

One scowling RA.
Two sobbing mothers..
Three jammed parking lots.
Four cases of alcohol poisoning.
Five ambo runs!.
Six thongs found on or around the quad.
Seven jocks a'hazing.
Eight passed-out sorority sisters.
Nine pissed-off maintenance dudes.
Ten confiscated handles of vodka.
Eleven referrals to alcohol counseling.
Twelve puking frosh.

Ah, college! Where the flower of higher education blooms eternal!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waxing poetic on a Wednesday

Dustbury calls my attention to this article, which bemoans the "sidelining" of poetry. One of Second Terrace's paragraphs called to me: 

          "This is distressing, because – I think – poetry is the threading of meaning, and thus a little bit of poetry is necessary to the work of belief. And if you think that there is no work to belief, then you will never be able to read a poem."

All of this gives me an excuse to post one of my favorite poems, by Marianne Moore. It pretty much sums up my feelings on poetry, which has been eulogized at least once per generation. I particularly like the line about "imaginary gardens with real toads in them," because poetry is the imaginary garden, and the toads are the critics and poets who take themselves entirely  too seriously.


I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
      all this fiddle.
   Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
      discovers in
   it after all, a place for the genuine.
      Hands that can grasp, eyes
      that can dilate, hair that can rise
         if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
      they are
   useful. When they become so derivative as to become
   the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
      do not admire what
      we cannot understand: the bat
         holding on upside down or in quest of something to 

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
      wolf under
   a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse
      that feels a flea, the base-
   ball fan, the statistician--
      nor is it valid
         to discriminate against "business documents and

school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One must make
      a distinction
   however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
      result is not poetry,
   nor till the poets among us can be
     "literalists of
      the imagination"--above
         insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, "imaginary gardens with real toads in them,"
      shall we have
   it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
   the raw material of poetry in
      all its rawness and
      that which is on the other hand
         genuine, you are interested in poetry.

"Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?"

There's always a lot of debate over who was the best Bond. This debate reignites every few years, as a long-in-the tooth actor bows out of the role and the search for a new man to embody suave, brutal sophistication begins. My list is as follows:
  1. Sean Connery
  2. George Lazenby
  3. Pierce Brosnan
  4. Daniel Craig
  5. Roger Moore
  6. Timothy Dalton

Who was the best Bond ever? is a no-brainer: Sean Connery, who turns 80 today.

(I would do naughty things to this man, were I unmarried. Yes, even now.)

Best Bond flick? It's a toss-up between "Thunderball," or "Diamonds are Forever." (Though I liked "Never Say Never Again...")

Give me your own fave Bonds in the comments!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Dustbury offers a post on the top two historical markers. I counter with this one:

More on Sir Jeffrey Hudson HERE.

Move-in day!

  • Housekeeping cleans the public areas of the school. They clean the hallways, common bathrooms and lounge rooms, classroom buildings and administrative offices**. They are not around to straighten your rooms or make your beds. (**They do not clean faculty offices, ever.) If you seriously imply that Queenie B., Head of Dorm Housekeeping, ought to do your laundry, she will flatten you ,and no one will see a thing.
  • No one really goes in to your dorm room except you and those you invite in. The exceptions to this are: your RA may do a Health & Safety inspection if they think you're up to something, maintenance may enter (after giving 24 hours' worth of notice) or if Security gets a hot tip on illicit material or activity. Yes, the Safety officers will make fun of your porn collection and give you the side-eye when you pass the entry booths.
  • You will never, ever see a Prof in the dorms unless he or she is on the Judicial committee, and playing witness as they move someone's crap out after they've been summarily ejected. This rarely happens. we do not want to see you in your natural environment, just as you do not want to see us uncaffeinated.
  • You will never, ever see an Administrator n the dorms, unless the Apocalypse is nigh.Any pictures you may have seen were publicity photos, taken during the high summer season, when no one was present in the dorms at all, and Housekeepers in Tyvek had been through to air out and disinfect the premises.
  • Yes, the dorms smell funny. It's a combination of age, body funk, weed smoke, alcohol fumes, old make-up, perfume, dirty jock straps, aerosolized hormones and desperation. You will get used to it. Open a window and buy a shitload of Glade plug-ins.
  • This is not Baby's First Apartment. Look at all the shit you brought. Now send half of it home. You will not spend nearly as much time in your room as you might think; you will not have to cook for yourself. You need clothes, personal grooming items and linens -- that's about it.
  • If you bring a Margaritaville Machine or a blender, you're asking for room inspections. Ditto for any paraphernalia that is taller than you or has a bowl that can comfortably seat a toddler.
Make friends, be responsible and for God's sake, go to class.

Friday, August 20, 2010


This man -- this eloquent, well-spoken man -- has composed a masterpiece.

Epic in sweep, Homeric in invective.

I have tears in my eyes.

Bravo, sir.

(It's NSFW at all.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


It strikes me that "fun" is not quite the "fu-" word I associate with faculty meetings.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Start training them for productive college experiences early.

Have you seen this? CUPONK!

You get a deck of cards, several ping-pong balls and a cup. The object of the game is to bounce or ricochet the ping-pong ball into the cup. It's marketed to kids as a skill game.

It's basically non-alcoholic beer pong. (Though I admit that the zombie cup --with brain-eating groans! -- is cool.)

How you play depends on which league you adhere to, and which set of rules you espouse. the object remains universal: get upgefucked, schnell!

Start 'em early enough, and you'll create an Olympian-class pool of talent for Beerfest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In Limbo.

We've reached that awkward stage of summer. Several of of their friends have started back to school this week; the public schools start back next week. SnarkGirl and OctoBoy start back on the 8th and 9th of September, respectively. As for their friends -- those who have not started back are on last-minute vacations and trips -- or frantically completing summer camps, summer reading assignments or projects, thus play dates are few and far between. Everyone is trying to squeeze the last few precious moments of fun out of a rapidly dwindling summer.

As for our house, school supplies have been bought, uniforms have been tried on and we are sloooowly readjusting bedtimes and wake-up times to make the back-to-school transition a wee bit smoother.

Plus, the kids are bored as all fuck, and as a result have resorted to endless squabbling and whining. Pinching, thwacking, pranks and invasions of personal space -- along with other annoyances ranging from minor irritations to apocalyptic pranks --  are being perpetrated hither and yon.

For me, the semester starts next week. Ugh.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No, we're not discussing a mythological Greek hero.

(Otherwise titled: "Alas, Testicleese, you must repent! Your end is in sight!")

There comes a time in most mens' lives -- after sober, judicious contemplation and self-reflection -- that they start wearing baggy shorts-style bathing suits over the ball-hugging, obscenity-charge-walking Speedo.

I say most, because I have a family member who will not back away from the spandex. Despite cajoling, pointed commentary, ridicule and outright pleas for our sanity, he clings to his banana hammock. Worse, it's a grape-smuggler that is at least thirty years old -- thus it is worn to sheer material in places you don't want to think about. We're talking pineapple basket here!

I may have to gouge out my own eyes. The good news is it's working wonders for my diet, as I can't eat anything resembling a cucumber, pickle, summer squash or bratwurst. The idea of gherkins or apricots makes me retch. The sight of chicken or turkey skin makes my skin crawl.

You get the idea.

Seriously -- if the entire watching world can tell if you're a turtle-neck or a crew-neck kind of guy, it's time to wear Jams or board shorts.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's been a brief, endless journey.

We've come a long way from this:

to this.

Happy third birthday, Wee Ginger Beastie!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A most welcome romantic surprise.

Friday afternoon, I hopped a train into the city to meet the husband for what I thought was a quick dinner with friends. We were limited in our dinner choices because we had to catch the last train out to our town, which left by 10:45.I admit I was less than enthusiastic, as I had spent Thursday curled in to a ball, felled by a massive migraine.

I got of the train at Market east and met the Husband, who led me on a leisurely walk to Old City. We ended up stopping "for a breather" at the doorway of one Terme di Aroma spa...where it turns out that he had made arrangements for me to get a ninety-minute massage while he wandered off to grab a drink or three for himself. Oh, yes. It was heaven.

After being pummeled, rubbed and otherwise pampered for an hour and a half, Husband showed up and we walked again. "We have time before dinner. Let's get a drink!" I looked at him skeptically: "Dude. I am so relaxed right now that if you put a drink in me, I'd fall asleep." "Well, let's just stop in here."

It took me a minute to realize that we were, in fact, not in a bar, but in the Penn View Hotel. In fact, I was so relaxed and generally trusting that I didn't realize something was up until he hit the "UP" elevator button. "Huh? Is the bar upstairs...wait. This is a hotel! Did you get us a room?" He answered with a very broad grin.
There was champagne and a cheese plate waiting for us, and the room was fabulous. There was a marble jacuzzi tub the size of a wading pool!

After a snack and a nap, we wandered through the streets of Old City, looking at the galleries and boutiques that were open late for First Friday. Drinks at Sassafras and dinner and salsa dancing at Cuba Libre....

It was a fabulous night.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Epic weekend.

So epic, it deserves two posts. I'll hit on Saturday first!

Saturday afternoon, OctoBoy, Snark Girl and I loaded up the Imperial Battle Cruiser with bathing suits and extra clothes and headed out to Casa de Gregarious Loner for an afternoon of tubing on the creek, eating tasty food, drinking beer and generally being sociable.

I brought along two Key Lime pies, and I have to tell you -- I felt my contributions were inadequate, as the Loner grills up a mean repast. Holy cow, the amount and variety of food was immense, and if he does not cough up the secret ingredient to his pasta salad, I may have to break in and steal it.

OctoBoy fell in love with the environs immediately -- between a huge stand of bamboo (fit for lurking in, hitting things with and creating weapons with) a creek with freshwater clams, slimy stuff galore and a good, sturdy current, OctoBoy was all for ditching his suit, donning a loincloth of leaves and going "Lord of the Flies" immediately. GL capped this off by taking him out into the bamboo, unsheathing a machete ("it means 'sharp knife little boys are not allowed to use' ") and procuring him a large spear to take home. (Bitey is doomed.)

SnarkGirl was more enamored of the cows which observed from the high bank of the creek (though they shocked her at first), and the tiger face paint and balloon animal that the Princess proffered. Plus, there was jewelry to gawk at. SnarkGirl loves her some silver-wrapped jewelry.

Their house was beautiful and obviously well-loved. It was nice to put faces to the names I'd been e-mailing, blogging and  facebooking with for nigh on two years. It was also nice to relax in the company of friends.

All in all, a fabulous time was had by all, and I certainly hope to do it again!

Friday, August 6, 2010

August 6, 1945

At 8:15 AM (Hiroshima time), Tom Feerebee, in the plane "Enola Gay," dropped a gravity/fission bomb -- "Little Boy" -- over Hiroshima, Japan. Forty-five seconds after being released, it detonated 600 meters above the city. More than 98,000 people died; the city burned for six hours.

“Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.”

-- Viktor Frankel

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Middle Eastern Chicken Stew

Shit you'll need:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut in to 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup each of craisins and dried apricots
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp each cumin, ginger and cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
How to put it together:
  1. Heat up oil in a skillet, brown the chicken and eggplant on all sides
  2. Place the chicken and eggplant on the bottom of a slow-cooker
  3. Layer onions, carrots and dried fruits over the top.
  4. Combine the rest and pour over the top.
  5. Slow-cook for 5 hours
  6. Serve over rice!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blood and brimstone raining from the heavens.

So, at the ripe old age of 16, Justin Bieber -- questionably coiffed and under-talented male(?) pop tart -- is writing  his autobiography. HarperCollins is publishing it; it's sure to be a gripping page-turner, full of high adventure, sex, drugs, auto-tuning and groupie-groping.

Wait. What the fuck? Dude is SIX-fucking-teen. Have his balls even dropped yet? The sheer narcissistic arrogance of such a whiny little spitfuck presuming that, at his tender age, he's had enough experience at ANYTHING to merit a formally published autobiography is mind-boggling.

The people at HarperCollins must think the book-buying public has lost its collective mind. Who is going to buy (let alone read) such a tome? Wait...I am sure that legions of brain-dead, immature fan girls and bois, brainwashed into thinking that Bieber is talented, interesting and otherwise worthy of being immortalized in print will line up on release day. If they can't buy it with their own money, I'm sure they will get mommy or daddy -- willing to cough up a few shekels for the illusion of peace in the house and a superficial relationship with their kids and/or reality --will throw money at it, hoping that it will create the illusion of giving a shit.

What kind of presumptuous, self-absorbed, self-impressed idiot would write his memoirs before he'd really accomplished anything?


Carry on, then.

Hamster hijinks

My SIL willingly let her three kids (2 girls and a boy) acquire rodents and bring them in to her house. Oh, the drama! Now my three kids are begging for rodents, uttering the usual promises that no one intends to keep:

"I'll take care of them!"
"You won't have to do anything!"
"You won't even notice they're in the house!"
"It will teach us responsibility!"

Yeah, right. No rodents in my house, no way! (Though SnarkGirl has been forced to come up with a novel argument: "A Guinea pig! It's not a rodent! It's a peeeg! They eat 'em in South America!" Her father remains unimpressed and unswayed.)

Now, the SIL was well-meaning; she did intend the hamsters to be a responsibility-building endeavor. To that end, she made them pay for the hamsters and all equipment themselves. Thus, they had to save and combine) their money between the three of them. (They were abetted by their Nana, who helped purchase hamter habitats on Craigslist.)

They ended up with three hamsters. The first made his desperate bid for freedom by going over the wall, only to become a hors de'oeuvre for their black lab. Kee-runch! Drama, shouting and tears ensued. Dog is now persona non grata, though he seems less than distressed by this, judging from the large doggy grin.

The second, clad in the holy armor of the plastic hamster exercise ball, made a headlong bid for freedom down 15 hardwood steps, only to crash in to the wall at the bottom of the stairs. He survived (though he was knocked cold for a good five minutes). While he survived his escape attempt, we suspect he is now 'tarded. The lab was enthusiastic about this, because he loves those crunchy-on-the-outside, savoury-and-chewy-in-the-middle treats.

The remaining hamster now cowers in his plastic-domed hideout, venturing out only for food and water. He's developed quite the twitch.

My offer to set up a Death Clock for the wee critter has been rebuffed, but I suspect his life will be forfeit sooner, rather than later.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blog recc!

LawDog's brother, Chris ex machina, has a blog! Frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!