Friday, June 12, 2009

(Hunk of the Week, 19)

Sweetie's Hunk of the Week is Jason Patric.

You/Sweetie Know Him As: The original good-guy vampire who was, despite being an undead soulless creature, actually kind of sweet and handsome. (Hmm... is there a trend in Sweetie's Hunks?)

I know him as: As the vampire from The Lost Boys, also. Let's face it: that's the only movie Jason Patric ever made, as far as anyone is concerned. And that was made, like, 100 years ago. It might as well have been one of those stereogram shows on a Magic Lantern in the 1880s.

Thing That Makes You Go Hmmm about him: Mostly this: Is he still alive? Let's check... I'll just google Is Jason Patric Still Alive?... and, it's a link to a Lost Boys DVD. Proving my point about how we know him, but not proving that he's actually still alive. The only other results on that page are a CNN interview transcript in which I bet he talked about The Lost Boys, and some more DVD results. But no proof he's alive.

The Reason I Tell Myself Sweetie Likes Him: Because she's into dead guys? I really don't know. I don't even really remember him. When I thought about him, I pictured him 50 years older or whatever and figured he'd be old and balding.

Actual Reason Sweetie Likes Him: "He has beautiful eyes."

Point I'd Like To Make About Sweetie's Reason For Liking Him: Look, there's still no actual proof he's alive, so let's not jump to conclusions about what his eyes look like these days.

Here's a bonus picture... EW magazine asked that question in 1981! (When he was still alive!)

I'm trying to get the message out to warn humanity.

What's the single greatest problem facing humanity today? If you said "finding good, low-priced used Mazda Parts," well, I have to tell you that you're wrong.

Sure, finding good cheap auto parts online WAS a problem, but it's not any longer, because if you just go to quality auto,(or, as the net puts it, you can find and order parts for your car or truck online and save tons of money. Which can be handy, in a couple of ways. Or a three-ful of ways:

First, it can be handy if you're a fixer-upper kind of guy: you know what parts you need and you know how to put them in, so why pay premium prices? Getting them online is cheaper and cheaper is better.

Second, if you use a mechanic, you can order the parts yourself and avoid a hefty markup on them: Again, cheaper = better.

Third, if you get your auto parts online, you'll not only get the right part cheaper, but you'll have a working car for when the Earth must face the ACTUAL greatest problem facing humanity:

Giant Rainbow-Colored Man-Eating Radioactive Space Kitten.

(No, I don't know how a car will help you. But it can't hurt.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Plus, "Escalate" isn't really the right word in the first place. (First Thoughts)

The other day, Mr F and I were watching Jeopardy! while playing "Circles" -- that's his game where he runs circles around something. In this case, he was running circles around Frankencouch, and I joined him while we watched Jeopardy!.

As the two of us ran circles around Frankencouch, Alex Trebek introduced a category called "Uppers and Downers" and one of the questions was something like "Shoppers encounter this to move from one level of a mall to another." The answer was escalator, but that got me thinking, and what I thought (as we ran in circles, furiously) is this:

Isn't it only an escalator when you use it to go up?

Coming down, it should really be a de-escalator.

Plus, James Bond shouldn't drink so much.

Two things bug me about spy movies.

First: WHY ON EARTH would a spy need to excel at everything and draw attention to himself? When James Bond goes and dances a tango and then plays that video game against the host and has EVERYONE in the room looking at him, doesn't that blow his mission?

Second: CELL PHONES DON'T WORK THAT WAY, Jason Bourne. In the movies, spies need to make a call and not be traced, so they walk up a mall kiosk and buy a prepaid cell phone, tear it open, and start calling. Have you ever actually SEEN someone use these, though? Not only does it take roughly three hours for the bored college kid to ring up your order, and not only do you have to use a machete to open that package, but then you have to put in the battery, charge the phone, program the little card, and probably log online to start up your account.

The Boy got himself a prepaid cell phone and it was TWO DAYS before he could use it, and then he's always going to get new cards to "re-up" his minutes.

What I never understood is this: Why don't the spies just use something like international calling cards to make calls? That's an idea I got from looking at, where they have roughly 1 zillion different calling cards, prepaid included, and ways to get calling codes and refills.

So they've got to call thirty-three different countries in two hours. They don't need to make a risky trip to the mall and try to figure out that weird foreign currency -- and then walk around in PUBLIC talking about their mission -- they just need to have, say, an international prepaid calling card on them, one they can use to make those calls currency-free from a safe phone in a hostel lobby on a side street in Germany. There's even 007 Card!

See? I should be working in Hollywood. My movies would be realistic like that and would make more sense.

Of course, they'd still have car crashes and aliens.

I blame the schools for this. And maybe the Rotary Club. (Commutation 13)

Today, just before I got to the parking garage, I got behind a car that had this bumper sticker:

Evolution is a theory.
Kind of like gravity.

That's a dumb bumper sticker. I believe in evolution; I'm not some flat-earther who's offended by the idea that there were fish that became humans. But that bumper sticker shows why "scientists" have made a huge error in deciding to just make things up: people no longer understand science.

In real science -- sans quotation marks, a theory is something that has not yet been proven. It's a hypothesis-- an idea you have that you hope to prove through experimentation.

Evolution is a theory because it hasn't been proven. While Darwin's finches are a compelling case for evolution, they are a compelling circumstantial case -- meaning more than one inference is available from the facts.

That's what "circumstantial" evidence is -- you can draw more than one conclusion from it. If you hear a gun shot and run into the room and I'm standing there, and there's a body on the floor and a gun laying nearby, the circumstances could lead you to conclude that I shot that guy and then dropped the gun. But they could also allow you to conclude that I, like you, heard the shot and ran in, and that guy had shot himself. Or some third party shot him.

See? Not conclusive.

So evolution is a theory because it hasn't been proven.

Gravity is not a theory. Gravity has been proven, over and over, because we don't drift off into space. (As Dirk Gently said, They even leave it on on the weekends.)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Quote of the Day, 28:

"I could see you as a Leo."
-- Sweetie, to me.

We were giving the Babies! a bath last night and talking about people's names and nicknames, and when I mentioned that I couldn't see one of the partners at my office with a different name, Sweetie said "That's because you only know him by his name." Her contention was that people don't seem to fit other names because I already know them by the name they have -- so in my mind it doesn't feel right to say that a "Tim" would be a good "Roger" because I already know "Tim" as "Tim."

I said that was wrong, and that I could see other people having other names. I told Sweetie she would have made a good "Jennifer" or "Stephanie," for one thing. Then I asked her what names she thought might fit me, and she said the Quote of the Day.

To which I responded: "Like Leonardo... like DiCaprio?"

She immediately said: "No, not him." (A little too quickly, for my taste) and then said "Just Leo."

"Like Uncle Leo?" I asked. She said, no, not him either.

Then she said I'd be a good John or Tom, and I kind of liked Tom and said I could see myself being a Tom. But by then, I'd kind of warmed up to the name Leo, and I ultimately went to bed wishing my mom had named me Leo.

But, just to be clear: I wanted Leo like Leonardo. You know, the good Leo.

Sweetie was wise to take away my credit cards.

Sometimes I think I enjoy planning and dreaming about vacations as much as I enjoy actually taking vacations. Okay, that's not true. But I do enjoy planning vacations and thinking about the vacations I might take and the places I might stay, like the klamath falls resorts I could go visit.

Have you SEEN the places you could stay around there? Check this out:
And this:

and this:Those are all views of the "Running Y Ranch," a full-service resort I found today. It's in what's called "Southern Oregon's Cascade Mountain" range, just across the border from California. But I don't care. It could be in the "Sea of Tranquility" range just across the border from the moon and I'd want to go there. (Although in that case, I'd also want a spacesuit.)

Here's a big selling point: 300 days of sunshine a year. Three hundred! With scenery like that, and even more to do, like golf, riding, spas, bird watching... and even an "adventure outfitters." I don't know what that is, but the Ranch's website has it as a category with a picture of a white-water rafting group on it, so it looks cool.

And there's an unlimited golf package they offer, which sounds great... but since I'd be taking Sweetie I'd probably opt for the "Par and Pamper" package, giving me a round of golf and Sweetie a 60-minute spa treatment while the kids go riding. Except for the Babies!, of course. They'd have to go with Sweetie.

Clicking around the Running Y's site is almost like being on vacation. I can almost feel that sunshine now. So if you go to that link and book it yourself, don't hog everything up on me -- save at least one good room.

The Sea Of Love (From The Cheesecake Truck To The End Of The Line, 5)

Just before I got married to Sweetie, I made a mixtape to take on our honeymoon road trip to New York. The other day, I found that tape and decided to tell the story of our honeymoon through the songs on that tape. This is part 5. Click here for the table of contents.

Sea Of Love - The Honeydrippers

We set off on the second leg of the journey that morning, early, heading up the Ohio turnpike towards Niagara Falls.

I don't think Sweetie had been out of the state much before. I knew for sure that she had gone to California to visit her dad, not long before. That had been when we'd been in the early part of our relationship, and constituted the second time, or maybe the third, that I knew for sure that Sweetie had been out of state. Looking back, I think it was the third, because these are the ones I know of before we got married: She went on a trip to either New York or Washington when she was little, with her mom and dad. And she went with me to West Virginia to visit her mom and her brother and sisters. And she'd gone to Oakland to visit her dad, flying alone because we were still fairly new in our relationship and because I'd been in law school and was too poor to just fly out to Oakland for a few days, even if once there I'd be staying free.

That seemed to me, as we drove along that second day of our honeymoon, to be a fairly limited set of trips for Sweetie, although I wasn't all that better traveled. But I had not just a slightly-more-extensive set of travels on my part; I had the fact that I am, for some reason, the expert on things.

I don't know how I became an expert on things -- all things -- but I am. I've always been an expert on things, a role that just seems to cling to me the way lint clings to clothing. All my life, and more so as time goes on, people turn to me and expect me to know the answers to things, regardless of what those things are.

This happened to me before I was a lawyer. It happens more often now that I am a lawyer, but it happened plenty before that, too, even during that period of time when I was doing nothing more challenging, or intellectual, with my life than serving as a kind of security guard who guarded nothing but who read a lot: people expect me to know things, and to be able to do things.

That may be in part because I expect those things, and may be in part because I'm a guy, and guys, in general, are expected to know things or do things. And it may be in part because I do know a lot of things ,and can do a lot of things, although the things I know and can do are not, in general, helpful things or necessary things. I'm remarkably short on the knowledge of how to do things that are helpful or necessary, but that doesn't stop people from assuming that I'm the authority that I project myself as being.

Our honeymoon was no less an occasion for Sweetie to assume that I knew what I was doing and would be able to get us where we needed to go. We set out that morning from that terrible neighborhood in Cleveland and began driving, with the map in the car and a vague knowledge of the direction that we needed to travel in order to get to the next stop, a hotel near the airport in Buffalo, New York.

I've always wondered, every time I had to drive somewhere farther away than the grocery store, whether it would be possible to drive to a destination in America without using a map or directions of any kind. That is, I know it's possible; what I wonder, really, is how well that would work. I sometimes think: Could I just put my family in a car and decide to drive to, say, Miami and not have a map or directions, just head south and begin following the road signs?

That's how I picture pioneers doing it, after all: they headed west, or south, or (for some reason) north, without much in the way of maps or roads or signs or Mapquest. How could there have been maps, I think, when the continent hadn't been explored yet, beyond Lewis & Clark and de Soto? I think that and I look at maps of the United States and wonder at how they got where they were going. People heading from Boston to San Francisco in a covered wagon, moving that entire distance at a walking pace, for months and months and months, and their target was so tiny -- a city is really a miniscule dot on a giant continent, when you look at it that way, and how could they have found it? Head west until they found the ocean, then head north or south and hope they ran into the city?

Things had to have gotten easier once there were roads; at least then you would know that someone else had gone the way you had, had driven the direction you were going. The fact that there was a road, paved, with lines and such painted on it, meant that you were headed somewhere. If not the way you wanted to be headed, then at least the way someone else had wanted to be headed.

Then, once the Interstates came along, things seemed, instinctively, even easier -- those roads cut right through everything, straight, direct, with signs telling you what's coming up ahead. That's when I began to think it might be possible to just get in a car and drive to where you wanted to go, without mapquesting it or getting the AAA to draw you a "triptych" (something I've never liked. I find them confusing-- the directions change at random, so that on one page, the top is "north" but on the next page, the top is "west" and then "south," depending on how the road curves. I can't follow a triptych at all; it messes with my internal compass, which is already none-too-accurate.)

Then, once I imagined that it could be done, that one could simply get in a car and decide to head for Los Angeles or Phoenix or Rhode Island, I wanted to do that; I wanted to try a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants vacation.

That, in fact, is one of my dreams, one of the selfish things I'll do when I win the lottery/write a bestseller/somehow luck into money without ever working hard: I will load my family into a car (it'll probably be a new car) and we'll drive: just set off driving, say, west, and head for a new city every so often, finding a hotel as we go and seeing what there is to be seen. We'll do that until we're done traveling around America, and then we'll head around the world. It'll be like You Shall Know Our Velocity crossed with National Lampoon's Vacation. Only with a better soundtrack, because I'll have all 9000+ songs on my iPod (and finally a chance to listen to them all the way through.)

We kind of had some maps with us on the honeymoon; my Dad -- a Triple-A member-- had gotten us a triptych, and I had a road map of the United States that had major roads and such, and I had a vague idea of what to do, which was head kind of north east. Our car did not have a compass, so I was navigating the old-fashioned way, the way hummingbirds do when they come from Mexico back to the United States: using the sun to kind of judge my position and direction.

"How long until we get there?" asked Sweetie, imbuing me with authority and knowledge I didn't have, at all; I hadn't had any clue, really, how long any of this would take us. I had a rough idea how long it was from Wisconsin to Cleveland, because I'd driven that once before, when I'd gone along with my Mom and Dad and my then-ten-year-old sister on a trip to Maine, my role on the trip at the outset being "company for my sister Katie," who had only much-older brothers in our family and nobody to take a vacation with, and my role at the end being "company for my sister Katie while my parents refused to speak to each other," that Maine trip being at the very end of their marriage, and possibly one of the triggers that ended the marriage.

While we'd driven from Wisconsin to Cleveland on that trip, and driven from Cleveland to Wisconsin on the way back, I didn't have a very good idea how long it was, really, because it had been almost ten years before, and also because the tedium and tension of that trip had made it seem much, much longer than it really was. In my mind, each leg of that trip took several months.

"Not too long," I told Sweetie, hoping that "not too long" was vague enough to be correct no matter what, while not being so vague that I wouldn't continue to be the authority on things. As a newly-minted family man, I had to be right and in charge of things.

The Ohio Turnpike didn't get any more interesting until we left Ohio and crossed into Pennsylvania, a leg of the trip that always surprises me. There are facts and then there are things I think I know, and the location of Pennsylvania, as well as the cities that are located in Pennsylvania, manages to have separate answers in each of those categories.

It is a fact that Pennsylvania sits between Ohio and New York, and just above Maryland. It's also a fact that Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are both located in Pennsylvania. I know those things; intellectually, I know them to be true.

But those facts have nothing to do with things I think I know, and what I think I know is the location and geography of Pennsylvania, because in my mind, Pennsylvania sits north of New York -- where I also imagine Massachusetts sits, a stack of states: New York, then Pennsylvania, then Massachusetts, so that if you drove due north you'd go through them in that order. And, in my mind, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia exist in some other Pennsylvania, or maybe a state that has no name. Just saying that: "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"... seems wrong, somehow, like saying "San Francisco, Florida." Or "Peanut Butter and Motor Oil." A while back, when it was pointed out in a news article that Senator Arlen Specter, from Pennsylvania, was a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I thought "Why?" Later in the article, it noted that the team is from his state and I had to think for a moment before realizing, "Oh, yeah, it is."

Entering Pennsylvania was weird, then, not just because I didn't realize (even with all the looking at the map and the triptych I'd done) that it was in our path, but also because scenery reappeared, or at least a simulacrum of scenery: there were trees and hills, the basic ingredients of scenery. The road went up for a while, then down for a while. It curved between lanes of pine trees and other trees. It rose gradually, and dropped gradually. Little houses now dotted hillsides scenically, instead of squatting, dirty and unloved, in the middle of cornfields or flat grassy land. There was green, replacing the yellow-and-brown-and-gray of industrial Ohio and farmy Indiana. The pavement became more pale in contrast to the blue sky and the green leaves and the slightly-less green roadside grass.

License plates, too, changed, and I've always wondered about that. We drove through Illinois, surrounded by Illinois plates. Almost immediately upon entering into Indiana, the Illinois plates disappeared and were replaced by Indiana plates. The same thing happened in Ohio, and now in Pennsylvania, too: Gone were the boring "Ohio: The Heart of It All" Plates and in their place were goldish-orange, with blue, Pennsylvania plates reminding us that were were in "The Keystone State."

Sweetie and I listened to the tape as we drove, mostly -- the Honeymoon tape, over and over-- and practiced singing along with "If I Had $1,000,000" by Barenaked Ladies, each singing one part of that song. I'd sing "If I had a million dollars and Sweetie would sing I'd build a treefort in our yard." Sometimes we changed it up, put in something else to listen to. Sometimes we just turned the radio off and talked while we drove.

Sweetie got sleepy for a while, but wouldn't rest. She's never been one to sleep in a car, especially when I'm driving. She has to keep watch, to make sure that seatbelts stay on and I stay on my side of the road and don't forget that I'm driving or get us lost (again) and she worries about those and a hundred other things while we're driving. She sat in the seat and struggled with her drowsiness, road hypnosis, and worries, juggling them all.

At one point, she was almost asleep and, as we drove by an exit sign telling us there was an exit in a mile, I asked if she needed me to stop so she could use the bathroom or anything.

"No," she said. "I'm okay."

A few more signs flashed by and I read them, too.

"Are you sure?" I asked her.

"Yeah. I'll be okay."

Another sign, and I looked over at Sweetie.

"Because I can stop," I said. The exit was approaching.

"No, don't worry," Sweetie said,and so I drove by the exit and kept going towards New York. "It's not like we're on a turnpike or anything," she told me.

"That's exactly what we're on," I said to her.

"What?" she said, and looked fully awake now. "We are?"

"That's what the last three signs were saying before the exit."

"How far is the next exit?" she asked.

I said "Not very far," even though I knew it was, in fact, pretty far -- nearly an hour, I thought.

We made it to the next exit and then kept going. The drive, in fact, wasn't all that long, as it turns out. If you went straight through, you could get from Cleveland to Buffalo in about three hours, another fact that surprised me. Cities always seem, in my mind, to be far apart. They seem to be far apart. They should be hours and hours away from each other. It shouldn't be, I think, possible to go from one major city to another major city in less than half a day.

California has it right. Every place in California, every major place, is a half-day or more away from every other place. When we would go there on vacation in a few years, with the kids, we would drive from Oakland north to visit my sister, traveling six hours one way to do that. We would then drive down to Los Angeles, traveling twelve hours to do that. Once in Los Angeles, we'd find out that San Diego was another half-day away. That's how you run a state, or set of cities: Each of them exists independently of the other.

Out East, and in the Northeast, that concept doesn't apply. People commute between states, which seems insane to me. How can you live in one state and work in another, commuting to a different state? I know that state borders are more-or-less arbitrary, but it seems that they should matter, or else why have them? If there's no real boundary between Connecticut and New York, why is there an imaginary boundary?

Having cities like Buffalo and Cleveland be three hours apart seemed wrong because of that, but for us, it wasn't three hours. It was more of a six hour trip, although it seemed even longer because we were still tired from the day before, and because I hadn't, in fact, slept at all the night before. Sweetie was a little better but I hadn't let her sleep, either. So we took frequent stops and stretched our legs and stopped for breakfast and then lunch and dilly-dallied along our route to Buffalo.

The fact that we were heading to Buffalo, too, was a surprise, although I think Sweetie suspected I'd planned it that way. It turned out that our second stop on the Honeymoon, Niagara Falls, was located in Buffalo, New York -- home of my favorite football team, the Buffalo Bills. So I was doubly excited as we neared the city, or triply-excited: I was married, on my Honeymoon, about to see Niagara Falls, and also going to be in the city where all my football heroes played. I expected that we'd run into them around every corner -- that I'd check into the hotel and turn around and see Jim Kelly and Doug Flutie and Peerless Price and others, all just hanging around. (In my imagination, they also wore their jerseys, making it easy to identify them.)

That's what I expect whenever we go anywhere that famous people live. I assumed, the time we'd gone to Green Bay for a long weekend, that I'd probably bump into Brett Favre every few minutes. (I hadn't.) When we would go to Hollywood in a few years, I'd anticipate sitting at stoplights next to Harrison Ford or Sean Connery, walking along the streets next to Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan. (We didn't.) And when we were heading to Buffalo, I expected that I'd probably, at some point, have to say "Hey, Doug Flutie, it's been fun talking to you but I'm on my Honeymoon, so I'd better get back to my table."

(I didn't know where that conversation would take place. Just that it would.)

Also, I was a little nervous that we were heading for another disaster -- that the hotel would be as bad, or worse, than the Cleveland one was, that we'd be in some kind of Buffalo war zone at a hotel that was held together with masking tape and gumption. So I dawdled on the way there, for that reason, too, and when we first saw Buffalo, I thought Oh, crap, I was right.

Buffalo is ugly. Sorry, Buffalo, but you are: At first glance, it's nothing special. People living in cities, listen to this: Someone from your city should really go out and drive into the city from all possible approach routes, and look to see whether it's really ugly or not. I'm amazed that the approach to cities is so often so terrible. Drive into Madison from the East and you're greeted by smoke stacks and half-torn-down buildings and, about a half-mile from the Wisconsin Capital, a grungy section on the main road to downtown that features boarded up buildings and an adult bookstore.

Drive into Milwaukee and it's worse: It's factories and slaughterhouses and old apartments and the overpowering smell of yeast from the breweries.

Buffalo had that feel to it: Worn down and industrial and grimy and dead and looking like the whole thing was a bad neighborhood. We saw the city coming up and we both got kind of quiet, remembering the Cleveland experience all too well and all too recently.

"Maybe it'll be okay," I told Sweetie. Our half-day of semi-scenic driving and discussions about how eagles could, from a mile up, tell whether the thing they were swooping down to capture was a rabbit or a rock (Sweetie said they would swoop down and then back up and think, "Aw, I got a rock," a saying that we laughed about repeatedly on the trip) was behind us, and in front of us was the second ugly, kind-of-scary looking city we'd hit.

"I'm sure it'll be okay," I told Sweetie, and followed the sign that said Airport.

Now I just need a way to get to Miami.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

I am an expert in things that are the moral equivalent of other things (Ad It Up, 3)

First off, when I first looked at this:

My immediate reaction was to turn back a page and see if I missed the first part of the ad.

But there was no first part of the ad. Am I wrong in thinking that the above ad seems to be a continuation from an earlier page? Like there was a page ahead of this one, a page which would have included an example of something takes, shall we say "Nuts" that aren't "Grape?"

As I said, though, there was no earlier ad to which this one referred. Just this ad, which, as a second point, seems to me to be about two years behind the times. That whole "Man" craze when all the ads were talking about how manly men do this and manly men do that (a craze that was just as stupid, but more short-lived, than things being X-treme) has come and gone, or I assumed it had, but apparently not, because I am still forced to see the above ad in the Sports Illustrated I stole from The Boy.

(I shouldn't say I "stole" it, because it's not stealing if he wasn't going to read it, right? The issue had been sitting around on Sweetie's desk for about three days, untouched, and I decided that if The Boy wasn't going to read it, I could, so I took it.)(It's bad form, I think, to read someone else's magazine before they do. It's bad form, too, to watch someone's TV show or read their newspaper before they do. I know it doesn't actually change the content when someone watches a show I've recorded and then I watch the show I've recorded, but it seems different, and so does reading a magazine after someone else has read it.)

So thirdly, about this ad, it really caught my eye for two reasons: (1) It's very purply. (2) "Grape Nuts" are now manly cereal? I thought "Grape Nuts" were a granola type of cereal eaten by earnest guys whose hair has gone gray and who have a ponytail that's too long and too gray to be artsy and ends up just being nerdsy. Like George Carlin without the attitude or sometimes-funny jokes.

Like this guy. I know he doesn't have a ponytail, but he does eat cattails, and that's the moral equivalent of a ponytail:

So now I'm confused. If I eat "Grape Nuts," and I one step away from revving my GTO's engine at a stoplight on Highway 100... or one step away from moving to a cabin in Montana and eating things that even deer don't think are food?

Ad It Up! is my ongoing look at ads that I like, or dislike -- and a very subtle promotion itself for my own program of selling ads in my upcoming book.

Click here to find out how to advertise in my next best seller.

Click here to read a funny story about the things I think while I'm driving.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Congratulations, Middle! And why are there no poems about GIRLS graduating? (Sunday's Poem 20)


by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master;
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run--
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Middle is graduating from high school today -- with honors, and with a partial scholarship to the UW-Oshkosh next year, a school she chose over the others that accepted her (including Michigan State.) So despite the fact that she doesn't read my blog (it's, and I quote, "boring,") and despite the fact that she doesn't read poetry (and I quote: "Why would I?") I have decided to try to inspire her with a poem that could send her forth into the world with stirring words and rhymes.

Only there's no poems aimed at girls, so
If was the best I could do.

The picture is Middle's Self-Portrait from last year.

I'm pretty sure my deodorant worked.

About five years ago, I was stuck in traffic on the way back from a court hearing. I had to get into the office and work the rest of a hot August day, and I was sitting in the car in my shirt and tie and sport coat and waiting for the traffic jam to let up, not moving...

... and the air conditioner died.

It was awful, relatively speaking. I know: I didn't lose a limb or live in Rwanda or anything, but relatively speaking, it sucked. With no AC and no movement to even create a breeze, I sat there sweating and then had to spend the rest of the day in the office hoping that I didn't stink and itching from dried sweat.

Then I took the car in to get it fixed and had to pay an arm and a leg for that, too -- which might have been worse than the sweating. "Parts are hard to get for this car," the mechanic told me.

He didn't know, and I didn't know then, about how to get an air conditioning compressor off the Internet, from -- an online source for all the AC parts you'll need. Click & order and save a bundle (especially if you're one of those smartsies that can put it in yourself.)

If I'd known about it, I'd have saved myself a lot of trouble. And money. And sweat.