Saturday, August 08, 2009

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Three

Everyone complains about it, or at least about aspects of it. But only I'm giving you 1001 Ways to Tune It Up. (The World is the "It" in that sentence.)

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

Most interviews of the famous aren't worth much, and we should get rid of them all, but that may be too drastic for the world, so I've chosen two categories to lose, and rather than asking the entertainment industry to change, I'm putting it on our shoulders.

Interviews of athletes and comedians are worthless. They're worse than worthless. When was the last time you heard something from either an athlete or comedian, in an interview, that was worth hearing, let alone remembering?

Just watch them playing the game or telling the jokes. If you do that and ignore he interview part, eventually nobody will interview them and the world will be spared unscripted/unfunny jokes, and platitudes like "I just take them one game at a time." (Included in this category? Coaches, former players, sportscasters, the writers and directors and producers of funny movies.)

UPDATE: 12/3/09: I recently read an interview of a bunch of comedians in Newsweek magazine, one which is apparently available on video, and I'm going to add "Don't read interviews with comedians, either. Apparently, most funny people are only funny if they are reading funny things written for them. Or at least those funny people are only funny if they're reading things written for them.)

Prior entries:

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.
1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

My hair sometimes looks a little like that, in the morning, only more baldy. (Sweetie's Hunk of the Week, 27)

Sweetie's 27th Hunk of the Week is: John Krascigyznarlskwrisralksi.

You/Sweetie Know Him As: Jim from "The Office," and Burt from "Away We Go." AKA: The Sweetest Guy Who Ever Lived.

I Know Him As: The Guy Whose Name I Can't Spell... is it Krajhnsyskbiscki? And also as The Guy Who Gets To Say And Do Things That Women Find Charming When They Are Said And Done By Jim, But Not So Much When Done In Real Life. Take that episode of The Office where [SPOILER ALERT! ONLY THAT SHOW'S NOT SO GREAT AS IT ONCE WAS, SO ODDS ARE YOU PROBABLY ALREADY WATCHED THE EPISODE OR YOU'RE NOT GOING TO, PERIOD. STILL... spoiler alert...] Jim and Pam were going to run off and get married and then Jim sort of decides they shouldn't do that. In real life, is there any guy at all anywhere who could actually do that and not have it instantly spun around on him as something terrible? Even if it was an awful idea, wouldn't the guy have to spend the entire day insisting that they should get married and even after the fiancee has talked him out of it, even then, still say "Well, I'm not convinced," because if he even ten years later were to say "You know, you were right about not getting married that day," the woman will say: "You didn't want to marry me?" And she'll say that even if the two are married by that time.

But not to Jim. Or Burt.

Thing That Makes You Go Hmmmm... About Him: This is usually where I go look up some weird website about the Hunk, but in this case, the Hmmmm factor is the hair. Jim Krizrkrhrary is the only guy I know who actually looks good with that messy-a-little hair that all the guys in the generation just below me try to pull off, but only Jim/Burt can do it. What is it with this guy?

Reason I Tell Myself Sweetie Likes Him: I assume he's got some kind of hypnotic powers or something. How else can you explain that everything he does is charming? Sweetie thought it was charming that Burt, in Away We Go, looked at other women's breasts. She thought that was charming. That's got to be hypnosis. This guy's got powers.

Also, couldn't he have changed his name? To find these pictures, I had to google "Jim From The Office."

Actual Reason Sweetie Likes Him: "Because everyone should have a tall, goofy-looking best friend that becomes the love of their lives."

UPDATE: Sweetie pointed out to me tonight that she actually said: "Because everyone should have a tall, goofy best friend that becomes the love of their lives," and wanted me, and the world, to know that she doesn't think either Jim/Burt or me are goofy-looking. You hear that, world? Me and Jim aren't goofy looking after all.

Point I'd Like To Make About Sweetie's Actual Reason For Liking Him: Actually, that's a very beautiful sweet thing to say and I choked up a little typing it. So I'm not going to make any dumb jokes about it.

P.S.: I bet I still don't get to look at other women's chests, though!

Friday, August 07, 2009

We thought we'd get away with just replacing the mattress he tore up, but Mr F had other plans...(3 Good Things From 8/7/09)

In a day that began with a rejection letter and ended with assembling a new crib because Mr F broke the old one, I still found plenty of things to keep my spirits up. Here's 3 of those things.

1. Bratwursts for dinner.

2. My nephew Charlie asked to take home with him a little toy truck, and when I said "Sure," only to have his mom say "Maybe you don't need to take it home," Charlie said "But he said Sure, mom."

3. I assembled that crib in record time. I'm getting pretty good at that.


I threw off the covers, a thick blue comforter that looked as though it would weigh heavily on me but which in reality was light and fluffy and warm, like pancakes for sleeping. The bed itself was heavy, and solid, and tough: thick wooden posts supporting a wide, king-sized bed with a monumental headboard that stood guard proudly throughout the night while I and Sweetie slept.

In the hint of yellow-orange sunlight that was drizzling in through the windows, I could see the rustic furniture that filled out the rest of the one-room cabin. The double-sized overstuffed armchair, blond wood with a puffed-up, rumpled cushion, the chair we'd sat in last night looking at the fire dying, and planning our day in the mountains today, sat touched by the sun first, just off to the side of the wide, circular coffee table that sat low and solid and inviting, the kind of table that had wood so smooth and shiny you wanted to touch it, and the kind of table that seemed so friendly you wanted to sit down next to it cross-legged. Behind the chair, and looking over the couch-and-chair fireplace set, was the kitchen table: wide and broad and long enough for six, its vast expanse of tabletop supported by hand-carved legs calling to mind a stylized tree would only be holding dinner for two for the remainder of the week.

Or, this morning, breakfast for two.

The furniture you surround yourself with creates a mood just as much as the scenery, fresh air, or adventures. Visit Scenic Furniture to see how that works.

Eclipse: The Book Trailer

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Two...

The world could be better... and for today and the next 999 days beyond, I'll provide 1001 ways to tune it up...

Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

Why should we still be waiting in line at grocery stores? If there can be self-checkouts, why not self-checkouts that can be put on the cart or carried around? Here's what I envision: Every grocery cart is equipped with a little scanner on it. When you enter the store, you swipe your debit card through the machine. Then, as you walk through the store, you scan the items and put them into the cart -- keeping a running total of your purchases and allowing you to leave at any time, without waiting.

There could also be smaller ones for baskets if people aren't doing as much shopping. And, revenue stream: The scanners could be equipped to offer suggestions. Put bread in, and the scanner could notify you that mayo is on sale in aisle 5. Put in crackers and cheese, and it'll suggest a nice bottle of wine.

Better budgeting, better ad revenues, no cashiers and no waiting.

Prior entries:

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Or Maybe I'll Go With Cowboy Batman. (3 Good Things From 8/6/09)

With Sweetie's Dad in town for two days, it's easier than ever to keep a positive focus on life. Here's my ever-so-easy-to-come-by 3 Good Things:

1. I used Sweetie's Dad's visit as an incentive to lure Sweetie into okaying a trip for ice cream... not that much incentive was needed.

2. We took the Babies! to the park where they played amongst a giant group of other kids, including my personal favorite, Cowboy Superman: a kid in a full-on Superman costume, but with cowboy boots. I'm going to buy Mr F and Mr Bunches each one.

3. Day off from work -- on a Thursday. That's like 40 Good Things rolled into one.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

I'd sell our house but Sweetie won't let me. She says we need a place to live.

With the recession over -- Newsweek said it, so it must be true -- it's time to start thinking about real estate again. Specifically, buying or selling real estate. Don't just sit around thinking about dirt. Sit around thinking about getting a new home, or selling your old home. Or both.

Or, better yet, don't just sit there-- do something about it. If you're thinking about real estate, and thinking about selling or buying a home, then do it. Maybe you're thinking about selling arkansas real estate. Why are you just sitting around? Stop that and start doing -- get your property listed or contact a realtor or at least puta sign up. Have you seen how helpful the Internet is for stuff like this, all these websites and things to help out? It's great. It makes me want to sell our house and buy a new one, all full of tips and helpful hints and listings and references and a good map to make sure you know where your new house will be located, or to make sure buyers can find your old house.

Even in hard times, real estate remains a good investment -- not for monetary gain but for emotional impact. In the worst of times, if you own your land and own your house, you own something solid. Stocks and bonds can fade away. Companies can go out of business. But land and houses are solid and stay there.

So stop sitting and start doing: Put your house on the market today, or get shopping for that dream home of yours now.

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number One:

The world isn't broken, but that doesn't mean it can't be tuned up to work a little better. For the next 1,001 days I will offer, each day, one brilliant idea after another...

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World:

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

Nobody needs more than $200,000 per year. Period. That's all the money you need. So if you earn more than $200,000 a year, or have tons of money in the bank, give away everything over $200,000 per year. All of it.

Not some of it.

Not most of it.

All of it.

Quote of the Day, 34:

The quote is at the end, this time...

Me: (Holding up my CD of Standing on A Beach The Singles): I love The Cure. Always have. Did you like The Cure when you were young?

Sweetie: No, I wasn't full of angst as a teenager.

Me: I was. I still am. I'm angsty.

A non-angsty song from The Cure:

Okay, raise your hand if you secretly like the Cheetah Girls. (My hand is up. Yours? Come on...)

Your Wildwood vacation just got a lot easier to plan and dream about.

Wildwood, New Jersey, is the place I've written about before: Home to Morey's Piers amusement parks, which in turn are home to the Radio Disney Summer Concert Series that runs through August.

And while it's always fun to go there and easy to plan ahead, they recently redesigned the Morey's Piers website to make it easier to find out what you can do at the park, how to find Wildwood new jersey motels (with a whole special section, in fact, devoted to local resorts and eateries) and even how to get a part- or full-time job there.

And because it's easier than ever to find out about and book a trip there, you'll certainly want to, because this is the last month of that Radio Disney concert series, concerts that are FREE and which feature the top Radio Disney stars that your kids (and, let's face it, you) love (Like the Cheetah Girls), making Morey's Piers an even better place than you originally thought for your New Jersey vacation.

In between concerts, you'll be able to ride three different roller coasters (includig the "Sea Serpent") and take in Helicopter Skyrides and the Spring Shot -- a ride you'll love no matter what. And they have fun stuff like soccer tournaments to help fulfill their mission of providing a family recreation experience that you'll enjoy the whole time, and remember forever.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

So basically what I'm saying is I'm quitting my job and heading off to find my fortune as a janitor for hire. (3 Good Things From 8/5/09)

It turns out I don't mind cleaning up... which would really surprise my Mom. And Sweetie. And, well, everyone. You'll see what I mean when I relate my 3 Good Things from yesterday:

1. Sweetie was awesome enough to put leftover pizza in my lunch -- something that was powerful enough, when I realized it, to lure me into eating my lunch at 10:50 instead of 11. Okay, 10:45.

Fine. 10:35.

2. I won a hearing right at the end of the day just before heading home on a 4-day weekend. That's always an awesome way to end the week.

3. Sweetie's dad is coming to visit for a few days, so I opted to shampoo the downstairs carpet last night, and realized that I've always liked the way carpet looks when you've just cleaned it good, and there's those little rows of cleanliness marked off on the carpet. Someone should invent carpet that looks like that all the time.

They didn't have any suggestions for how to get the older kids to do the clean-up, though.

Coming up in one month: The Babies! third birthday party -- the first one that really counts, as far as they're concerned. They didn't really know much about Birthdays 1 and 2, other than they got to smear cake on themselves.

But number 3 is different. Now they know who they are and who other people are and how to get Daddy to give them more cookies even before they finish the rest of their breakfast, so this party needs to be something fun and interesting for them, too.

I was trying to figure out what to do, since we'll have our nieces and nephews and other relatives over, and I finally asked a friend who'd recently helped provide some 50th birthday party ideas for a guy at work. He steered me over to "," where they have all sorts of ideas for parties. Parties for birthdays, anniversaries, barbecues, and, most importantly, kids parties.

That's where I found the idea for a "Hide & Seek" party. suggested this as ideal for toddlers, and I have to agree. I can host the twins' party as a hide and seek party simply by getting some boxes and pre-decorating them in bright colors (like appliance boxes and TV boxes from the mall stores) and have those around the house. Then, we play a couple of different games of hide and seek: Kids hide and parents hide them, then parents hide and kids find them.

Then, they've got a new twist on musical chairs: Put each toddler in a box and close the lid. Play music and have the kids pop up when it stops, like a "Jack In The Box" and the last kid to pop up is out, until you get down to one. They also suggested a treasure hunt for party favors.

All good ideas, and all ideas that aren't expensive (important!) and ideas that won't leave a lot of mess (really important!) and ideas that won't have a bunch of kids under 12 bored and messing with my stuff out of boredom (super-important!!). Plus, it'll be fun for the grown-ups and keep the whole thing interesting.

If you're looking for your own party ideas, make sure to check out And don't forget to send the Babies! a gift, c/o ME. (I understand they like $10s and $20s.)

In context, the line is hilarious. (3 Good Things From 8/4/09)

Tuesdays lead to Wednesdays lead to four-day weekends for me this week -- providing an extra boost to the benefits I get from focusing on 3 Good Things from the day before:

1. A trip to the bookstore! There's nothing that can be done with clothes on that beats going to the bookstore, in this case to buy the book Catch 22 for The Boy as part of his summer school. But I get to read it next.

2. This song:

"Cherry Tulips" by Headlights. It was the first song in an incredible 10-song string that came up randomly on my iPod on the way home from work, all songs that I liked without having to skip a single one.

3. This line from the SpongeBob SquarePants episode Mr F and Mr Bunches and Sweetie and I watched before they went to bed. SpongeBob adopts a seahorse and tries to take it to work, only to have to hide it, resulting in him saying: Eesnaw.

I guess you had to be there. But trust me, it's funny.


My weekly reminder of what I'm writing and what I'm reading...

What I'm Writing:

The pause button lets me take a moment, as I recall my honeymoon, to explain why I chose those particular songs for my Honeymoon Mixtape. (Thinking The Lions)

Maybe getting dumped isn't all bad? It's certainly not if you're a character in a movie -- then you almost want to get dumped, don't you? (The Best of Everything.)

2012? It'll come a lot earlier thanks to Joe The Magician, whose first show went off without a hitch. Except for the part about hastening the end of the world. That's a small flaw. (AfterDark.)

Desperate for love, or sleep? In my novel Up So Floating Many Bells Down Sarah roams around her house in the middle of the night, thinking about her trip to San Diego with Peyton, her fight with Jane, and why photographs no longer seem real. (5 Pages)

School's almost back, so it's time for a landlord-tenant law pop quiz! (Family and Consumer Law: The Blog)

Zounds! I've figured out how to use midichlorians to boost my writing career. Take that, Darth Sidious! (Aaaugh!!)

It's literature's first pregnant ex-lover/sexy Valkyrie/mysterious clone/lesbian zombie love quadrangle! In the latest installment of her story, Rachel is almost shot down by a fleet of flying saucers, but is rescued by a revived Ivanka -- who's as sexy as ever. (Lesbian Zombies Are Taking Over The World!)

What I'm Reading:

Want to get published? Write good query letters -- with help from QueryShark.

The Boy is blogging? It's true -- and he's picked five movie sequels better than the originals. (Note: He's wrong about The Empire Strikes Back, and he'll be grounded for that.) (Mean True Things)

I never know how I find these sites, but I do -- which is good, because otherwise I'd never know how to get to the Electric Pony Sale. (Worst Sign Ever.)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I know, I thought it was a George Harrison original, too! (Awesome Covers Of Already Awesome Songs, 6)

I always, up until this weekend, thought George Harrison had written the song Got My Mind Set On You. Then, I find the original on a music blog, and it made my head spin.

Well, not really. It wasn't that startling. It wasn't like OhmiGod, Clark is really Superman startling. It was more like OhmiGod, the mail arrived a half-hour early startling. But, it was startling nonetheless.

So here's the original, and it is an awesome song:

"Got My Mind Set On You," James Ray:

And here's the cover, and it, too, is awesome:

"Got My Mind Set On You," George Harrison.

So that's that. Hey, what's going on out there? The mail is early again? What's going on with this world?

It's the All Mr Bunches Edition of 3 Good Things! (3 Good Things From 8/3/09)

If you live with Mr Bunches, it's not hard to come up with 3 Good Things even on a Monday...

1. Mr Bunches' laughing when, at the Splash Park, we stood near the bucket-of-water-dumping thing and watched buckets of water splash down every few seconds. Mr Bunches loves nothing more than a big splash.

2. Mr Bunches chasing after a squirrel at the Splash Park -- he saw it underneath a bench and chased it over to a tree trying to catch it... all the while making his dog-barking sounds.

3. "Ceranal." As Mr Bunches continues to practice... occasionally.. his talking, he's almost learned to pronounce cereal.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Pause Button: Why These Songs? (From The Cheesecake Truck To The End Of The Line, 7)

It occurred to me, yesterday while driving, that I was not in any way attaching the songs on the Honeymoon Mixtape to the story to which the Honeymoon Mixtape was the soundtrack. I realized that belatedly, and realized that was a mistake, to not do that, because each song on the Honeymoon Mixtape was put there for a reason. Sometimes for a good reason. Sometimes for a mediocre reason. Sometimes for a reason that needed a little explaining.

But each song was on that tape because of a Sweetie-and-Me related reason, and here I am, 6/whateverths through the tape and I haven't yet explained why any of those songs are on that tape. That's an especially big omission in light of the fact that most of the songs are not what you'd consider to be very romantic songs. I consider them romantic songs, but, then, I have a skewed sense of what's romantic. Skewed, that is, in comparison to the rest of the world. It's not skewed when you understand that romance is more than just hearts and flowers and dumb love songs that repeat trite phrases over and over, like a Hallmark card set to a slow clap.

Romance is, for me, about life, and why you choose to share your life with one particular person... and why you continue to go on sharing your life with one particular person. Romance, love, isn't frozen in time like the songs on a mixtape. It grows and shifts and changes and if you're lucky (as I am) that growing and shifting and changing is like an ivy that slowly covers the house, ultimately enveloping it in something alive and ever-changing, while leaving the structure underneath the same: older, more comfortable, but the same.

That's why I find some songs romantic that others wouldn't, and that's why I understand that romance lies not just in the words and music of a song, but also in the meaning of the song -- including when that meaning may only exist (like the My Aunt's Dog Theorem says) in the ears of the listener, or listeners, maybe. A song can start out being just a goofy little song, and end up being one of the most romantic songs you'll ever hear.

That's what happened with The Cheesecake Truck Song, and that's why The Cheesecake Truck Song led off the Honeymoon Mixtape.

Before I ever met Sweetie, I spent a summer trying to be an actor, because it occurred to me that I might like being in a play and I had nothing much else to do at the time. I landed a part in a play Brother Truckers, about a murderous pair of garbagemen. The director, during scene changes, would play snippets of songs related to trucking, or garbage. Songs like Low Rider or The Cheesecake Truck.

The song The Cheesecake Truck was, as you know, a bouncy, happy tune, and one day I asked her "What's the name of that song, the one you play while we set up for Act II?" She answered: "I don't know." She explained that she'd gotten it from her son and thought it was just a part of the song and didn't know who sang it or what it was called.

The play ran for four nights, and rehearsals lasted the bulk of the summer, so I heard that song a lot. And while I never acted in a play again... yet... I never forgot that song, and I told Sweetie about it one time, when I was telling her about the play. I didn't know what the song was called; I just called it The Cheesecake Truck Song.

About a year after Sweetie and I began dating, when we were engaged but not yet married, we celebrated our second Christmas together. Sweetie gave me a small present, one I recognized instantly as a CD, but I had no idea what CD it might be. I opened it up, and saw a double-CD of King Missile's Greatest Hits. Wondering what that was all about, I thought for a second as I began to turn it over.

Sweetie has given me some phenomenal gifts in the past. She gave me an actual set of bagpipes, working bagpipes that can actually be played, albeit played by someone who's better at bagpipes than I am, since even with a few lessons I couldn't get the hang of it and eventually (and somewhat guiltily) gave it up. Sweetie also gave me a gift certificate for time at a recording studio, back when we first started dating, when I would play guitar more. "You can make a CD," she told me, and I practiced and practiced to do just that, playing my songs over and over on my old guitar that had been with me since way back in 1993 when I first took up guitar to get an art credit in college (only to learn that guitar would not count towards the art credit.)

I never made the CD, either -- I didn't play the bagpipes and I got distracted by life and my career and the fact that I'm not very good at guitar, either, and never made the CD, but that didn't make it any less wonderful of a present.

Though I didn't immediately know it upon opening up the King Missile CD, this was the greatest gift Sweetie had gotten me yet, and still. I made the connection in a second, only a split second before I turned the package over to see what songs were on it. Sweetie and I had discovered, a while before, that there was a song called The Cheesecake Truck by some group called King Missile, and I'd checked from time-to-time at record stores and Barnes & Noble, but had never found the CD.

Now, it was in my hand on Christmas morning.

"Do you like it?" Sweetie asked me.

"I do!" I said. "Where'd you find it?" And Sweetie told me a story, then, about using the Internet-- still a relatively new thing back then, and not available on every computer and phone everywhere, as it is now. They had the Internet at her office, but only on her boss's computers, not on hers. (I had the internet, too, on my crummy computer at my crummy sole-practitioner office with my secondhand furniture and 20 files, but didn't use it much because I didn't know what it was good for, and it wasn't good for much back then.)

Sweetie had talked to her boss about my love for that song and the fact that we could never find it around here, and she had gotten permission to use her boss' computer to look up the CD. She'd then discovered which CD it was on and had been able to locate a website -- remember, this was all new and strange back then, before there was a Google or iTunes or much of anything on the Internet -- that she could order the CD through and had bought it, online (a strange experience, then, even for someone like Sweetie who was used to catalog shopping) and had it shipped to our house, where it had arrived in time for Christmas.

None of that made much sense to me. Like I said, I had the Internet on my computer and used it for almost nothing. I didn't have email or Westlaw or anything that I needed it for; my Internet subscription was based on a then-existing free service that was free because there was an ad bar across the page at all times, one that had to be moved around while you read the Internet page, which I almost never did. I'd never shopped online. I'd never really done anything online, to that point.

But that didn't matter. What mattered to me was first, that I was actually holding the CD in my hand, the long-sought CD with The Cheesecake Truck on it, able to hear, in its entirety, the song that for years had been only a snippet in my mind, some jaunty music with a guy talking over it about cheesecake delivery.

What mattered second, and more, was that I was holding that CD because of Sweetie, who had not only listened when I'd told her about the play and the song, but had watched and listened while I looked for the CD, every now and then, and had then taken that watching and listening and turned it into action: she'd gone out of her way to get me a present that in terms of sheer money, didn't cost very much and wasn't very impressive, but which was the greatest present I'd ever gotten, then and now, because Sweetie had put such thought into it.

I've gotten Sweetie what I thought were pretty good gifts during our relationship: diamond jewelry, a trip to Mexico, a cat, stuff that I think she really liked and enjoyed and wanted. But I've never matched Sweetie's talent for gift-giving. She's a pro at it. And above all the great gifts she's given me over the years stands The Cheesecake Truck Song, proof that not only is Sweetie great at giving presents but also great at listening and caring.

So when I sat down, in the week or two before our wedding, to make a mixtape to listen to as we drove from Madison to Niagara Falls to New York City and back, it was only natural that The Cheesecake Truck Song would lead off the tape.

It may not sound romantic to you, but I can't hear "And I miss everybody a lot, but I'm not really sorry because they were very delicious cheesecakes" without getting a lump in my throat.

I didn't like it so much back when I worked at McDonald's, but I do now. (3 Good Things From 8/2/09)

Want to face Monday in a good mood? Focus on 3 Good Things that happened to you the day before. Here's mine:

1. Mr F's giggling as he ate the cheese puffs out of the bag while we stood in line at Wal-Mart. We could all, I think, learn something from the happiness of a kid who needs nothing more to make his day bright than to get his Dad to open the snacks before checking out.

2. Speaking of Wal-Mart, five plants for $7.50. I love a good bargain.

3. The way the kitchen floor looks, all shiny and nice, after I mop it on Sunday nights. I like everything about mopping floors: the mop, the smell of the cleanser, the swishing back-and-forth, but especially I like the way the floor looks just after it's done.

Temp Lawyers? What will they think of next? (Hopefully, it'll involve chocolate.)

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sounds Like A Sunshine Harpsichord (Sunday's Poem 27)

Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to Rain

by Richard Brautigan

Oh, Marcia,
I want your long blonde beauty
to be taught in high school,
so kids will learn that God
lives like music in the skin
and sounds like a sunshine harpsichord.
I want high school report cards
to look like this:

Playing with Gentle Glass Things

Computer Magic

Writing Letters to Those You Love

Finding out about Fish

Marcia’s Long Blonde Beauty


So much of poetry, I think, is this: putting words together in unusual ways. That, more than rhyme and rhythm, is what separates poetry from prose. I think of writing as a spectrum -- on one end is technical writing, and on the other is the sonnet. The closer one gets to the sonnet -- the hardest type of poem to write, and the most beautiful-- the more poetic the writing is. Focusing on rhythm, focusing on rhyme, focusing on how the words look on paper, and focusing on the juxtaposition of words in unusual orders, makes writing get more poetic as it goes on.

That's what made me choose this poem today: It combines many (but not all) of the elements of a great poem. The imagery and word choice create contrasts in the mind:
so beautiful that it's starting to rain... finding out about fish... those kinds of things. Plus the way the poem sits on the page (or screen) draws emphasis into some words while de-emphasizing others.

That and it's a fun poem.

I don't get, though, how people can drink "True Blood" in real life. (3 Good Things From 8/1/09)

How long can I keep this up? Forever: There's no shortage of good things to choose my 3 Good Things from, especially on days like yesterday when...

1. Sweetie and I finally watched Miss March (her pick for the funniest movie moment ever) and it turned out to be pretty good.

2. We also -- it was kind of a movie marathon Saturday -- watched episodes 1 and 2 of True Blood and despite my knee-jerk reaction of disliking all things vampire-y, that was pretty good, too.

3. And, to make sure everyone understands that we didn't spend all day watching TV, we also took the Babies! to the Arboretum, scratching off another of the Summer to-do list items.

Moving Day Brings Lots Of Mixed Emotions, Like "Can I Eat This Pizza Now, Or Do I Have To Hug You Good-Bye First?"

With August here -- dang it, summer's 2/3 over -- it's time to start thinking about the one thing that can put a positive spin on the arrival of fall.

No, not Terrell Owens playing for the Bills, although that is a huge plus. The one thing that maybe brightens up the otherwise-gloomy prospect of September and on is that the kids go back to college, or off to college, so you might finally get some hot water and leftover pizza will actually have time to get cold in the refrigerator.

Getting the kids off to college isn't all fun and games and sausage pizza for breakfast, though-- you've still got to get their stuff packed up and shipped to wherever it is they'll be storing their dirty laundry for two months before bringing it home at Thanksgiving, and packing and shipping means finding out where to get a decent truck rental and how to get stuff from here (Home of Leftover Pizza) to there (Place where kids will only call from when they need money.)

ABF U-Pack Moving can help. They're a you pack it/they'll drive it service: They drop a trailer or moving container (A ReloCube) off where you tell them you (like, at your house) and then you load it up. ABF then picks up the Cube or trailer and drives it to where it needs to go.

It's cheaper than most truck rentals and you don't have to worry about your ability to drive a moving truck all around the country: Just pack, then wait, then unpack. Or, better yet -- have the kid do the packing and unpacking. Tell them it's a "learning experience" and when they say "learning what?" tell them: "Learning not to be younger than me. Now get packing!"

ABF U-Pack has a great rating with c sites like and, and has had no problems with the Better Business Bureau, so you don't have to worry about whether you can trust them. Just call 'em, have the kids pack, and then grab yourself some leftover pizza and turn on the game - Terrell Owens is only weeks away from his first touchdown.