Sunday, December 30, 2007

Chennai, Day 2 and Start of Day 3

In which the blogger learns to appreciate a vegetarian diet

When we woke up at Anu and Benji's, a great breakfast spread awaited us, so we tucked in and ate up before heading to Yelagiri, a resort area northwest of Chennai. The almost-three-hour trip held some challenges (directions, a slightly flat tire), but we made it there by noon and spent some time walking around a beautiful mountaintop lake. Then we rented a paddle boat and relied on Naren and Navin's young legs to paddle us around the lake. A nice vegetarian lunch filled us up for our return trip.

When we got home, we enjoyed a quick dinner and then I spent some time looking over the pictures I've taken. Then my head hit the pillow and I was off to sleep!

This morning (it's a little after 9:00 a.m. on 12/31/07 here) I'm at The Banyan Centre, a facility that provides a variety of counselling, medical and support services to women in Chennai. St. Luke's and Broadway have both supported The Banyan financially -- one of my jobs is to collect information to report back to Indy all the good stuff that's happening here. But my first task today will be to work with The Banyan's Fund Raising Team to see how they might step up their efforts to support their operating budget. I brought some fundraising stuff with me, but I may end up sending more stuff over once I get home!

Off to enjoy this great day! Coming soon: New Year's Eve in Chennai, driving in Chennai (not me -- don't worry!) and other tourtisty tidbits!

Quick Pics, Days 1 & 2

Rather than trying to embed pics into my Chennai blog posts, I'm going to try and upload a few pics and captions each day. Here goes...

My hosts: Naren, Scott, Renu, and Navin

Shown here at the lakeside resort at Yelagiri




This is what it's like to drive in Chennai, relying more on

the power of will and the honk of your horn than on turn signals

to get from Point A to Point B.



A neat sculpture at the St. Thomas Mount

Our hosts in Vellore:

Anu (Renu's sister), Benji, and their dog Kat

Chennai Day 1

In which the blogger is kicked out of a park

After Scott and Renu picked me up at the airport very early on Saturday morning (India time), we made it back to their apartment and I received my oritentation. Lightswitch here, fan switch here (score!), water heater switch here (double score!), etc.

To help mitigate the effects of jet lag, I stayed awake, and we hopped right into a morning routine with breakfast, etc., and I got to meet Naren and Navin, Scott and Renu's awesome sons (16 and 14, respectively). We took a look at some touristy things to do and decided we'd do some things in Chennai in the morning and then head up to visit Renu's sister, Anu, and her husband, Benji.

Our first stop was The Theosophical Society in Chennai, a 250-acre park with all kinds of cool stuff in it. Only problem was that the actual Society was having its annual international convention and the park was closed to the public. So, we got asked to leave several times before actually being physically escorted out of the park by a pleasant, yet firm, security guy. We'll head back there before I leave -- the convention lasts until Wednesday, so we'll have a few days to visit again and see what's reported to be the World's Biggest Banyan Tree, among other things.

Our next stop was the St. Thomas Mount, the place where the Apostle Thomas came and preached to the people of India -- right here in Chennai! There's a small church on the site, as well as a relic (part of a bone) of St. Thomas himself. Very cool stuff -- solemn site and all that -- also a nice gift shop. (Crosses for everyone!)

Then we headed back to Scott and Renu's flat for lunch and a nap (well, I took a nap, at least) and then we headed up to Vellore to visit Anu and Benji. Had a very nice dinner with them and then we popped "No Reservations" (with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart) into the DVD player. I got about halfway through before the day caught up with me and I headed to bed around 10.

So far, a delightful trip full of delightful people and wonderful sights! I'll upload some pics in a little bit.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Made it to Chennai safely

...and so did my bags! SCORE!

Thanks to everyone for all your support along the way -- the text messages and phone calls while I was still in the US made it bearable!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone -- keep checking back here to the blog over the next couple days for updates and (hopefully) pictures and (if I can figure it out) videos of my trip!

Talk to you soon -- peace out!

DOH!

Made it safely to Doha, Qatar -- airport code DOH -- and everything seems on track for a smooth trip to Chennai. Only problem is that I arrive at 3:40 a.m.! Not a nice thing to do to my hosts...so I'll take my time through Customs and Immigration and probably hang out a bit in the lounge before calling them to let them know I've made it.

The flight was uneventful -- I had the William Shatner Nightmare at 20,000 Feet seat. Luckily, no gremlins. Julie will be glad to know I watched The Transformers movie -- finally. Other than that, nothing to report.

Now, I'm off to Chennai -- will post more later. Only have a few seconds of internet time left here in Doha!

Love to all -- I'll be in touch!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

And now...

...I just saw that Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated. Am I sure I even want to go to India this week?

Quick Update

OK, I'm confirmed on a flight from Indy to Dulles at 2:15, arriving at 4:00. I got bored with the dry, germy air at the airport, so I've left and am at the office right now.

I still don't know exactly what's going to happen with the long leg of my flight, as Qatar Airways won't answer the phone and hasn't returned the message I left last night. "Five-Star Airline," my five-star butt. (It's true -- my butt has received a rating of five stars from the International Butt Rating Society for the last eleven years.)

Anyway.

So now I'm on the phone (have been for 40 minutes) trying to figure out how to get from Indy to Chennai without paying for a fare change. Qatar Airways says it's United's responsibility, but United says Qatar Airways owns the ticket. I am about to melt down.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You be Simon, I'll be Garfunkel ... no, wait

Homeward bound ... I wish I was NOT homeward bound ...

Friends, I am not on my way to Chennai. I am at home. This displeases me.

The good folks at United Airlines are very safety-oriented. To the extent that my flight (which was a United Flight, not a USAir flight -- thanks a lot for that wasted half-hour in line, CheapoAir.com) has still not left. I have missed my connection in Doha, and so I could stay on the plane tonight and be in Dulles limbo overnight, or I could come home, sleep in my own bed and wake up tomorrow and start all over again.

I chose the latter.

So I'm at home, which is great because I can update the blog, but which sucks, because I have to go back early tomorrow morning and, assuming I make it to Dulles, figure out a way to get the good folks at Qatar Airways to honor my ticket and get me to Chennai a.s.a.p.

Say a prayer for safe and speedy travels...and for my journey which has just gone from a 24-hour trip to about a 40-hour trip, assuming everything goes right. (Jeez.)

Chennai Updates

For the latest on my Chennai adventure (and it looks like just Chennai -- my hosts have an action-packed trip planned for me, and a trip to the Taj may not be in the cards, after all -- this time), click "The Latest from Chennai" over in my Greatest Hits sidebar between Dec. 26 and Jan. 6.

I'll be leaving for the airport this afternoon and arriving in Chennai about 24 hours later.

Three things to know:
  1. Chennai is ten and a half hours ahead of Indianapolis. So, don't expect any immediate e-mail replies unless you're e-mailing in the middle of the night, America time.

  2. I expect to have internet access at least three or four days during my 11-day trip. I'll do my best to keep the ol' blog updated.

  3. I'm so excited about this trip, it's ridiculous. Please keep me and everyone else on my flights in your prayers and stay tuned...

Kwanzaa Starts Today

My love of public-school choir performances is documented here and here (in the comments). Therefore, what better way to celebrate the first day of Kwanzaa than with this moving performance by the Seminole High Mixed Chorus:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Do me a favor?

While I'm gone, will you please check these PowerBall numbers for the Wednesday, December 26, drawering? If I win jillions of dollars -- or, you know, even if it's just $32 million -- call my mom; she's got the emergency contact number for me in Chennai.

Here are my numbers for 12/26/07:

01 - 02 - 13 - 28 - 43 - PB=34
29 - 32 - 33 - 41 - 52 - PB=23
20 - 35 - 36 - 38 - 42 - PB=39
18 - 22 - 31 - 40 - 53 - PB=40
04 - 14 - 26 - 44 - 55 - PB=26

Free Rice! (.com)

The good folks over at FreeRice.com want to help feed the world and improve your vocabulary at the same time. Click on over and try it out...all you have to do is pick the correct definition of the word they give you and they'll donate some rice to the UN's World Food Programme.

While you're there, see how far you can get, level-wise. When you get a few in a row correct, you go up a level; but when you miss one, you go down a level. It's rumored that no one has made it to Level 50, but I can't imagine that...if I can make it to Level 48 (and my SAT Verbal score was way lower than my SAT Math score), I would think there would be easily someone who could make it to Level 50.



A-no huh-way.

Monday, December 24, 2007

To the Subcontinent!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Or whatever.

But as for me, I'm off to India on Wednesday for a fun-filled almost-two-week trip to Chennai (and probably Delhi/Agra to see the Taj Mahal and maybe Kerala to see -- and get a hug from -- Amma).

Posting here may be a little light for the next couple weeks...I'll try to post (and upload some pics) while I'm there, but I'm not sure how it'll work out.

In the meantime, blessings of Christmas peace, New Year's joy, Kwanzaa faith, and all that jazz.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Priorities: Credit Card Nation

If American participation in the war in Iraq continues at the current pace (or greater), by the end of fiscal year 2009, the US will have spent more than $800 billion on the war.

Why is that number important? Because it's roughly the amount of credit card debt Americans have right now. (And defaults are soaring higher and higher.)

The budgeted amount for the war in FY2008 is $155.5 billion. That money has clearly come from somewhere, so presumably programs are doing without or we're going into deeper debt for the war. Either way, the world hasn't come to an end (yet).

So what if the US federal government decided to allocate $150 billion a year for the first six years after the end of the Iraq war to pay off Americans' credit card debt? Wouldn't that stimulate the economy and set off a frenzy of home-building, job-creating, tax-paying, stuff-buying and all manner of other good-for-America things?

Am I brilliant, or is this the dumbest idea ever? Or, possibly, am I just staggering from looking at the credit card statement with my airfare to India on it? And how likely am I to get arrested for defacing the flag with a VISA logo?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Do NOT Mess With Santa

Things That Enrage And/Or Irritate Me When Used In Commercials

  • Whispering
  • Keyboard typing noise
  • Mouse click noise
  • Animals that speak (I'm looking at you and you and you, even though that last one doesn't talk -- but I find its other, ahem, anthropomorphized features disturbing)
  • Chewing noise
  • The words "fixins," "toppings," and "moist"
  • Basically anything put out by Hardee's (a burger and cheesesteak on one sandwich? come on)
  • The 1-800-SAFE-AUTO theme song
  • The "Get debt-free with CCC" theme song
  • The words "itch," "odor," and "frequent, sudden urge"
  • Fudgems (bonus irritant: the fact that that is Brighton from "The Nanny" as the pizza delivery guy -- can't Hollywood do better by him?)
  • Pepto Bismol choreography

Friday, December 21, 2007

Argonne, take me away (from jet lag)

I was telling a friend at Broadway today about my trip to India and she hipped me to the Argonne anti-jet-lag diet, this unique approach to adjusting more quickly to your destination time zone.

Basically, four days before you travel, you start alternating between FEAST days (eating big meals -- high-protein at breakfast and lunch, high-carbohydrate at dinner) and FAST days (eating light meals -- light salads, soups, fruits and juices).

Then you break the fast on the fourth day when it's breakfast time at the destination and stay awake and active (doing work in your seat, walking the aisles, chatting with the flight attendants) until you get there. And you drink a ton of water the whole time, because (a) we're all pretty much underhydrated all the time anyway, and (b) it gets even worse on a plane.

I'm not quite sure why I'm so excited about this, but I really, really am. I guess it appeals to my inner control freak, which I normally keep so well hidden. (Shut up.) The other thing it does is give me hope that I'm not going to be puking and heaving and aching and otherwise hating life like I have the last two times I flew (to Liberia and to Colorado).

So, starting Sunday, I'm feasting and fasting and hydrating like a mofo. I can tell I'm really excited about this trip, because this seriously REALLY excites me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This is what it sounds like ... when doves cry sharks roar.

You: "What?!"
Me: "I honestly don't know."

But even though I -- and you, probably -- have never seen Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, I think we can all pretty much figure out the entire plot (as well as why the movie premiered in theaters only in Kuwait -- I mean, like, no offense Kuwait, but, come on -- and went straight to video in the rest of the world) from this handy, one-minute-and-four-second clip:

Why isn't real life like this?

I got the iPod for Christmas earlier this week...now all I need is a Canon PowerShot and a videographer to follow me around when I dance and sing and encourage others to do the same.



Anyway, Merry Christmas from Davey Dance Blog.

Really big shooooo

Performing Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven (in a manner of speaking), ladies and gentlemen...The Beatnix!



Found it on BWE.tv.

Seriously? I would have guessed fewer.

12
Click it to get your score.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Swing Dance Deathmatch!

"In a world on the brink of war, you either march to one tune or dance to another."



Winners get one of Robert Sean Leonard's shoes from "Swing Kids."

Losers? Hang their heads in shame and are escorted out immediately. NEXT!

Why go to Europe...

...when Europe can come to you, in the form of a cellist's dream: "The Final Countdown"?

Blog it!

The star of this video, E. A. Hanks, is the daughter of little-known talkie star Tom Hanks. She is also an editor (blogger) of the Living section at HuffingtonPost.com.



"Lunch lunchy blog blog linky blog viral!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

For me, more than for you

My India itinerary:

First the airing of the grievances, and then the feats of strength.

"I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna hear about it."

It's a Festivus miracle!

The world's first Festivus pole lot opened in Milwaukee a little over a week ago:


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Does anyone really fit in?

You have, of course, deduced by now that I am different, dear reader. Special. Unique. Just plain weird. I'd be glad to enumerate for you the ways, but there's not enough room on the internets. And I've pretty much gotten used to being the odd man out, often literally.

But by the hammer of Thor! Can a dude catch a break?

This is supposed to be the time of year when there'll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and carolling out in the snow -- you know, fun stuff. But for the last couple weeks, there's been weird stuff going on at work (strange conversations, tough budget decisions, etc.), weird stuff going on with friends (health issues, job issues, relationship issues, etc.), weird stuff going on with family (health issues mostly -- and all of it can be addressed, thank God), and very few marshmallows for toasting.

And through it all, I just feel like I'm hanging out there on my own.

I kind of wonder if my alone life has simply become a lonely life as a symptom of the holiday season. But I don't really think having a girlfriend/wife/lover/partner/whatever you kids are calling them these days would make all that much of a difference. So I don't think it has all that much to do with my singleness.

And I wonder if it has to do with my paradoxical self-image, which sends all manner of messages to others -- at times gregarious and confident, at others paralyzed by doubt and self-criticism. Has that gotten in the way of work and friendships and family and whatever?

In a very real way, I think the time in my life that I was happiest was my first trip to West Africa, 5,000 miles away from friends, family, work, and home. When I was in Ghana, I was physically odd -- a white face among a sea of black faces. Everything was foreign to me; I had no expectation of fitting in. Maybe that's why I'm so looking forward to my trip to India in a couple weeks -- to find that opportunity again where I don't fit in so that my not-fitting-in-ness doesn't trouble and vex me so much?

Sad, yes. But what is the saddest?



So, what's the saddest:

1) That someone constructed, and is selling, a table made specifically for beer pong.

2) That the tables come in two sizes, and the BIGGER size is the "portable" one.

3) That they wrote a song about the Pong-A-Long to the tune of "O Christmas Tree"/"O Tannenbaum".

4) That I wouldn't mind ironically wearing a "THIS IS...BEER PONG!" t-shirt.

In honor of the good old days...

Ike Turner passed away yesterday. Now, say what you and Angela Bassett and the rest of us will about Ike's ways, we must admit that this performance is a Rock and Roll Moment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This is not a lie.

Someone using Google found his or her way to my blog with the following search phrase:

"hot Asian action" tallest zebras

Click the pic to embiggen visual proof that you people are crazy...not once but 3 times:

Giant Mutant Spider Terrorizes Space Shuttle, Loses Interest



Maybe spider-proof your camera lenses, NASA-TV.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pray for Josh

You may know that I've been helping out with the Freewheelin' Bike Co-op, a Broadway UMC project housed at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. The program teaches neighborhood youth how to maintain and repair bicycles, and after they've worked in the bike shop a certain number of hours, they earn a bike (along with a free helmet and bike lock). The program also includes rides with the neighborhood kids.

One of the many blessings that have found their way to Freewheelin' is Josh Weir, an Olympic hopeful whom many have called "the next Major Taylor." Josh is out in California this week, riding to compete to enter the Olympics talent pool, which I understand is the next step toward becoming America's Next Top Olympic Cyclist. If he does well this week, he gets to go to the Olympic trials...and then if he does well, he gets to go to Beijing.

So keep Josh and his bike in your prayers this week!

It's good in the 'hood

Holy crap. Why am I just now learning about Church's Fried Chicken? And the biscuits -- my God, the biscuits!

"Steve, are you with me?"

This awesome link comes courtesy of my broham, JJ.

It's fun to watch others faint. This dude Steve Beatty, a staffer with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, went on a ridealong in an F-18, to hilarious results.

Click here or click the pic to experience the very real limitations of nausea-preventing ginger-based chewing gum. (Just kidding -- there's no puking, but you do get to see him pass out at least three times.)

And yes, I'm fully aware I'd probably pass out, too, if I was in a fighter jet pulling 7.5 Gs.

The point is that there does not exist such a tape featuring me passing out in a fighter jet pulling 7.5 Gs...it just so happens that Steve Beatty is not so fortunate.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

"That's-a how much I got-a: three hundred."

The video below won second place in YouTube's Project: Direct Challenge. Its gritty depiction of suburban corruption, coming-of-age, and neighborhood hijinks combine to create a witty short about Maria's trials and tribulations, along with some hilarious, blink-and-you'll-miss-them bits with Nonna, Joe, and Hozay.

The story picks up with Nonna complaining to Maria about the neighbor's dog pooping in their yard and encouraging her to "handle it" (in the very final, Mafia sense). The beauty of this film is that the open ending leaves the resolution up to you, and it's easy to imagine about twelve different outcomes after the cut to credits. I, for one, choose to believe that Flash comes out on top in the end.

Enjoy:

Programs that are part of ABCFamily's "25 Days of Christmas" that could sound naughty but are (probably) actually nice

  • Holiday in Handcuffs
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Home Alone 4
  • Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
  • Once Upon A Christmas
  • Twice Upon A Christmas
  • Sons of Mistletoe
  • A Holiday to Remember
  • Dr. Seuss on the Loose
  • Eloise at the Plaza
  • Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
  • Ice Princess
  • A Very Brady Christmas

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Untitled Blog Post (No. 384)

What a difference a title makes

Motus had a performance last night at IDADA's First Friday at the Harrison Center. It was a really cool piece with four dancers. The set was two wintry trees -- painted white, no leaves, just branches -- and a large clear plastic tarp. In the second half of the performance, three of the dancers got under the plastic tarp while the fourth poured a viscous blue fluid over their outstretched, almost beseeching, tarp-covered hands. The blue goo ran down over the tarp and the last three minutes of the piece was with the tarp raised vertically, the lights cut, and the performers shining flashlights on the trickling goo. It was really cool, and way cooler than I can describe here.

But! What this entry is about is not the dance piece, but rather my experience. By the end of the piece, I had assigned all manner of meaning to the three dancers and the somehow-differentiated fourth -- to the extent that the message that I took away from the piece was the somewhat bleak "God is a human construct, and faith is an illusion."

Well!

Between the first time I watched the show and the second, I learned that the piece is actually titled "Trees In Winter." So, I guess maybe I read a little too much into it.

And when I saw the piece for the second time, knowing then that the title was "Trees In Winter," I experienced it completely differently. The choreography and everything -- except for the random chaos of the trickling goo -- was completely identical. But my experience of the piece was different because I knew its title.

The same thing happened with someone I met between performances. I was sitting at our information table with Carol, another board member, when some friends of hers arrived. She introduced me to Beth and Noel, and we shook hands and traded pleasantries. After they sat down, Carol informed me that Beth is her boss, and all of a sudden I viewed our exchange in a completely different light. We had talked about their work, and I got a little worried that I'd said something dumb not knowing Carol and Beth's relationship...

Anyway, now I'm all up into what it means that things change when I know what they're called. What do you think of that?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Karaoke-Dokey

Someone donated a LeadSinger karaoke sytem (just a microphone you plug into your entertainment center but it comes pre-loaded with songs and you can add extra cartridges and they also donated 4 cartridges, so there's a total of 300 songs) to St. Luke's, and I was assigned to play with it and figure out if we can use it for our Stephen Ministry Christmas party in a couple weeks.

O.

M.

G.

This thing is awesome.

While I live in the Stone Age and therefore don't have a TV with the red, yellow, and white A/V connector thingies, I do have an LCD projector thingie so I've plugged it into that and it has speakers, too, so I am having my own little karaoke party with wall-sized karaoke graphics in the condo right now.

The (sometimes) cool thing about the LeadSinger is that after you sing, it rates you and tells you how well you did. I've been all around, from 4 to 94 on a scale of 1 to 100. But I just now got a 100 on Jewel's "Foolish Games." (I know.)

Anyway.

If I play my cards right, I can be the keeper of this magical device and we can party like it's "1999" (even though that's not one of the songs that they have on the cartridges).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

IDK, my BFF Jill?

If you are prone to seizures, do not click here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Me gusta el video tipográfico.

This is a good song, and I dig the video, too. Use it to practice your español.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Go Elf Yourself

The nice folks at Office Max have created Elf Yourself, a fun site for turning yourself into one of Santa's jolly helpers. Click here to view me at the North Pole.



UPDATE: Check out my brother, sister-in-law and niece elves here.

Et voila!

I present to you...

Easy Cheezy Chicken Broccoleezy

I wonder if it'll be any good.

Actually, I wonder if it might physically kill me.

Friends, at this very moment, I am experimenting in the kitchen. Pray for me.

My current adventure involves a frozen chicken breast, two or three Easy Mac packets (which are easily at least a year old), some frozen broccoli that was in the freezer when I moved in, and some Special Scott Sauce (a dazzling combination of Wishbone Italian dressing and Tapatío hot sauce).

I shall call it Easy Cheezy Chicken Broccoleezy, and I will let you know how it turns out. I may also introduce biscuits into the dish, from the frozen biscuits aisle.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I would totally be on watch this program

This is from www.realitytvlinks.com:

Have a score to settle? Bring it to Dance Justice!

A new show where disputes are settled by a winner-takes-all dance-off! We are looking for different situations; best friend dented your car and won't pay you back, your boyfriend or girlfriend ditched you after you bought them expensive concert tickets and they never paid you back etc, or maybe you have an old score to settle.

You will each be trained by a professional dance instructor/ choreographer, and then you will come on the show and have a dance off in front of a judge to prove your case.
I want to know when this show begins airing. And I kind of wish I had some sort of score to settle.

Very determined turtle takes no crap

Sunday, December 02, 2007

"It Never Hurts To Help!"

Eek! the Cat was a cartoon series that ran in the early 90s on Fox Saturday mornings. It followed the adventures of an impossibly optimistic cat (not coincidentally named Eek).

In the clip below, a Jaws parody called "PAWS," Eek's girlfriend Annabelle feeds her fish, Bruce, too much fish food, and he goes on a murderous rampage in the neighborhood.



I kind of think Jaws would have been better if, instead of compressed air, the finale centered on cans of whipped cream.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

What are the chances, exactly...

...that someone Googled the following phrase and ended up at my blog, completely unrelated to my numerous "random zebra" posts:
"all i'm saying is that this specific brand of zebra-differentiation just makes me laugh."
I'm pretty convinced that I didn't Google that, because you know how uptight I am about capitalization.

But why would anyone else search for that phrase?

Other interesting Google hits from the last month or so:
  • can you drown cockroaches
  • shooting ranges atlanta
  • i for one welcome our new nintendo overlords.
  • opposite of giraffe
And my favorite, from Yahoo:
  • zombie joyce brothers

Lost In Dance-lation

I am home right now -- it is 8:06pm on a Saturday, and I am watching my non-cable TV. My options are Idol Rewind, some lamer-than-lame CBS Movie of the Week starring Tom Selleck, or the NBC Radio City Music Hall 75th Anniversary Christmas Spectacular, or whatever it's called.

Guess which I have chosen.

If you guessed the lesser of three broadcast evils The Peacock, you're correct. NBCRCMH75ACS, it is!

Right now The World-Famous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes are doing a "12 Days of Christmas" number, and I'm realizing that I bet The Rockettes are pretty cool to see in person, and I imagine in the New York dance world, The Rockettes are pretty cool to be a member of. But I just don't think you get the same effect over TV. Like, the sound was slightly unsynched, and tap dancing makes a lot less sense when the clicks and clacks don't match up.

Not to mention the fact that I just found this video online and now feel betrayed that The Rockettes didn't even work up a new number for the NBCRCMH75ACS:





For you see that video was added to YouTube on 11/30/06, meaning it was shot before then, meaning the 'kettes have been tapping their hearts out to partridges and pear trees with the same choreography for at least a year.

As the man once put it so well, "Bah, humbug!"

A new game from Parkour Brothers

Parkour is an emerging urban activity in which participants run, jump, bounce and otherwise hurl themselves around the city, careening off buildings, sliding on rails, gliding over fences, etc. It's all about getting from Point A to Point B as quickly and efficiently as possible and was featured in the latest Bond flick, Casino Royale.

Here's what happens when you combine Parkour and the timeless game of Tag:



The origins of parkour lie deep in escape psychophysiology -- the psychology and physics of our flight mechanism, which I think is why I find it strangely appealing.

The notion of "What would I do if...?" is one that passes through my mind a lot, and I often wonder what I would do if bad guys were after me. While the answer is currently quite clear ("I would curl up in the fetal position and whimper a little."), I do envision a future where I'd be able to take off and make a good go of it if ever confronted by, say, zombies or werewolves.

Or, you know, Republicans.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Hauntening: When Poltergeists Fail To Rehearse

I do more before 9am...

...aw, who am I kidding?

Just because I had one 7:00am meeting, that doesn't mean I'm some fierce Army warrior. What it DOES mean is that I'm going to crash in a few hours.

BUT! Things are going pretty super, my friends.

The occasion for my laying my corrupt soul bare a couple days ago was a telephone audition for the new CBS gameshow, "Do You Trust Me?" The interview went well -- a nice half-hour conversation with a delightful person named Lacey (or Lacy or Lacie or Lacee) and I'll find out soon if they're going to pick me.

Also, we had a terrific Miracle visit last night (US: "We'd like to ask you to consider a gift of $X." THEM: "Well, yeah. At LEAST that much!"), and got some good news in a follow-up Miracle contact, too.

And my 7:00am meeting was with a contact from the Broadway neighborhood -- the big boss at one of our corporate neighbors, who, in the span of 45 minutes, impressed me as a cool, humble, strong, caring leader...one of the good guys. It comes as no surprise that the 7:00am meeting wasn't my idea, and my body didn't quite know what to do at 5:45 when I told it to wake up, but it was great to have the meeting and start building the relationship.

And it's FRIDAY! Woohoo! God is good, all the time -- and especially on Friday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Scratching the Quidd Itch

Normally, this brand of nerdery would turn me off, but I am strangely attracted to Muggle Quidditch:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

World's Fastest Clapper

But why is he so creepy?

It's like Grandma Semester always said: "Good personality and fast clapping are mutually exclusive."

You (have really, in no way, at all) Asked For It!

I can't really go into details about why I am making this post. Just accept it, dear reader, and love me anonymously and unconditionally, the way you always have.

There are some things I need to get off my chest:

  • When I was 7 years old, I stole a key chain from a gift shop at Busch Gardens. When my mom found out, she made me take it back to the specific gift shop it came from and apologize.


  • When I was 8 years old, I said the word "damn" while playing with my Fisher-Price Adventure People. My big brother turned me in. I did not swear again until I was 17 years old, alone, in the privacy of my car. Nowadays, I swear like an angry, drunken sailor, except when I am at work, where I swear like a quiet, sober sailor.


  • On a dare, I stole a poinsettia from a restaurant in Chicago in December 2001. It is possible that I was the originator of the dare.


  • While on the way to my first mission trip in West Africa, I may have ended up at a strip club in Rome.


  • I once inherited a cat from a roommate who moved away and when I had to give her up when I myself moved to Canada, I took her to the Humane Society but told friends that another friend with a big happy cat family had adopted her. This is a fib that I have maintained -- with pretty elaborate untruths, including updates on the cat's liver disease -- for over four years...until literally right now. (But I totally kept track online and she was adopted in two days!)


  • And in that vein, when the third of my three office goldfish died within six months, rather than admitting I couldn't keep goldfish alive, I told friends that I had released him in my friend's backyard pond.


  • The United Methodist Church, my religious denomination and also my employer, is strictly opposed to gambling, characterizing it as "a menace to personal character and social morality," and yet I play the lottery frequently and aggressively.


  • At the age of 24, I began working at a university career center with no experience or relevant education at all. It will come as no surprise that I excelled as an interview coach.


  • I have had 19 different mailing addresses in 15 years.


  • Things I have in common with Carrie Underwood include blond hair, being the youngest child, and polythelia.


  • I lived with my parents for a year and a half in my early 30s.


  • My terribly immature behavior led to a lifetime ban from the boardgame Sorry.


I'm not sure it would be wise for me to talk about why this list is appearing here, but I may have news for you in the future. Please forgive me if any of the above specifically affected you! And if you can think of anything else I need to get off my chest, feel free to submit ideas in the Comments!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Perhaps you should close it and open it

Post #365 -- A year's worth, if I had been doing one a day

Sadly for all of us, I did not do one a day, so it took 13 months for me to do 365 posts. But this one's a good one -- a new game called Angular Momentum, which you can play by clicking below:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

BUY THIS NOW: Asian Pears

I'm starting a new weekly feature, an endorsement/recommendation article which I was going to call "Me Likey" but considering the first item I'm recommending, that doesn't seem like a good idea. I reserve the editorial discretion to change the title of the feature in the future.

Anywho.

Whilst shopping at Ye Olde Costcoe Trading Post and General Store this afternoon, I ran into my friends Lilia and Jim -- friends of my slumlord friend Jenny. As we talked about a bunch of stuff, Lilia noted the Bartlett Pears in my cart and suggested that I try Asian Pears instead. Jim's eyes lit up as he and Lilia described the pear-like taste, the watermelon-like texture and the apple-like appearance. Enough so, that I decided to look past the price difference ($5.99 for 12 Bartlett Pears vs. $7.49 for 8 Asian Pears) and go the Asian Pear route.

It was only then that Lilia mentioned, "Oh, you have to actually peel them. You can't eat the skin." To which I almost responded with a hearty kick to the solar plexus, because come on. But I decided to overlook that shady sales technique and purchase the Asian Pears anyway.

Well!

I am here to tell you that even despite the additional effort required in the peeling process, Asian Pears are where it's at. They really do look like apples! And have the texture of watermelon! And taste like pears!

They're simply ... awesome.

Wait -- wait, what?

In this clip from 80's hit "Kids Incorporated," Stacey Ferguson (later "Fergie" -- the meth-mouthed hip-hop princess, not the weight-watching flip-flop duchess) sings a Lionel Richie song to a clown.



I don't know -- you tell me.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Irony, Thy Name Is Banner Ads

Jeff Rubin, over at www.jeffrubinjeffrubin.com, has developed some fake banner ads, one of which I displayed at the top of my blog for a day or two.

Check 'em out:





Friday, November 23, 2007

Next time you're at the checkout stand and you hear the beep...

...think of all the fun YOU could have on Supermarket Sweep!



So apparently the dude part of the winning team posted this to his YouTube account, for all the world to see. He also included some behind-the-scenes secrets, such as:

  • As contestants, prior to the taping of your episode, they let you walk through the supermarket for 10 minutes, so you can get an idea of what things cost. That's one of the reasons you never saw people really looking closely at the prices of things while they were shopping. You had to have a game plan (and I did!)

  • The studio audience isn't nearly as big as they want you to believe. There are mirrors on both sides of the stage. With the exception of the contestants, the audience that is there are paid extras, which is why most of them are only slightly enthusiastic. They tape the inros of several episodes at once, so that once the game play begins, there is no audience. The rest of the game is done in an otherwise silent studio! So all of that extra clapping is added later. The store really was as big as a real grocery store (so to see it put together on a soundstage was pretty amazing). The food was expired, though. And some of them (like the meat) were, as you would expect, props.

  • The winners go home with a check in the amount of their sweep, but the 2nd and 3rd place contestants only got a sweatshirt! So it really was all or nothing, in terms of winning.

  • I am thisclose to starting a write-in campaign for some network to bring back The Sweep. I'll keep you posted.

    As we embrace the Christmas (Story) season...

    Here is a coded message for you to enjoy:

    01000010011001010010000001110011011101010111001001100101
    0010000001110100011011110010000001100100011100100110100
    1011011100110101100100000011110010110111101110101011100100
    01000000100111101110110011000010110110001110100011010010
    110111001100101

    Should you require an online decoder pin, click here.


    Blatantly stolen from Kevin Corrigan

    Viva la lip dub?

    Maybe no viva la vlog, but have you seen the Lip Dub?

    This new internet phenomenon involves one or more people lip-synching to a song in a new and/or innovative way.

    For example, the original lip dub, seen below (and, not coincidentally, featuring Jake and Amir and the other cool kids at Connected Ventures), features a group of people at their office after work, hastily throwing together a newly-imagined music video for Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta."



    But it doesn't always have to be that complicated. Sometimes all it takes is a wind machine, a giraffe, some animated stars and a friend with a cactus:



    Or, in this case, all you need is a Billy Joel song and some sophisticated video-editing software:


    Thursday, November 22, 2007

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    If you watch no other video on this blog, watch this one -- it's only 52 seconds long.

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    Viva la vlog?

    You tell me...is there enough "there" there?



    Again, the choices are:

    (a) Nerdy Indianapolis resident commenting on Indianapolis current events and culture,

    (b) Hip, yet churchy, church hipster commenting of faith and post-millennial life, or

    (c) Hooker with a heart of gold sharing life-transforming stories of hope and inspiration.

    Leave your comments here and help me decide!

    And PS -- If this becomes a permanent feature, I will fix the lighting issue. Hair and make-up, I make no promises -- but lighting I can manage.

    And PPS -- Does the left side of my mouth not move like that, ever? Why has no one told me this?

    HAVE YOU SEEN THIS: Minisode Network

    Wow. Just, wow.

    Now, on MySpace, you can find the Minisode Network, which takes full episodes of some of your favorite shows (Silver Spoons, Diff'rent Strokes, Facts of Life, TJ Hooker) and condenses them to five-minute, bite-sized portions. Yum!

    For example, you can watch "Angels in Springtime," a fantastic example of televisory awesomeness, which features arguably the best trio of Angels that Charlie ever gathered (Chris, Kelly and Sabrina), a pretty awesome wheelchair chase, AND a bit part played by Beulah Balbricker from the Porky's franchise. Dig:



    So, check out the Minisode Network today!

    King Juan Carlos: “¿Porqué no te callas?”

    ¡Esto es muy awesome!

    So, last week Venezuelan President Hugo ("OOOO go, gurrrl") Chavez was going off on the former prime minister of Spain, at which point King Juan Carlos lost his cool and, in no uncertain terms, told him to shut his wordhole asked him to please be quiet.

    Well!

    Now, around a half million people around the world have downloaded King JC's words as their ringtone.

    This is hilarious.

    So you can have an angry Spaniard scream, "¿Porqué no te callas?" to announce all your incoming calls.

    Es simplemente...awesome.

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    The beat of a different drummer

    My friend Mike is going to Tokyo in January. I kind of think this is what it's like at the airport, once you've made it from the plane to baggage claim:



    Or that's the Tokyo Marathon.

    You know, one or the other.

    Saturday, November 17, 2007

    Missed Opportunities

    When I was growing up, there were many things I wanted to be: veterinarian, attorney, physician, etc.

    At no point in my adolescence did anyone mention that it was appropriate to consider the career choice of Disco Chicken:



    I mean, I guess there's still time, but it really seems like something you study for and do I want to go back to Disco Chicken School at age 34?

    And, as with Rappin' G-Hog, any resemblance between Disco Chicken's dancing and my own is purely coincidental.

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    "Reconsider yourself before you wreck yourself."

    For my milestone 350th post, I present to you the phenomenon that is Daxflame.

    This is a young man (think "teenage French-Canadian Jeff Goldblum with a mild-to-moderate behavior disorder") who posts lots of videos that get mad views.

    For example, this video was posted two days ago and it has already been viewed 133,636 times:



    I don't know how this kid got so popular, but if you click over to see some of his other videos, you can learn about his life, including his noble quest to woo the fair Annie to be his girlfriend.

    Let us all pause to say a prayer for Annie.

    "Go, G-Hog! Go, G-Hog! Go! Go! Go, G-Hog!"

    The people of Pennsylvania have got some explaining to do.

    Why is it that I am just now learning about G-Hog, the rappin' rodent who's wild about careers in healthcare?



    G-Hog has just assumed his rightful place as my favorite g-hog, narrowly defeating Punxsatawney Phil.

    Any resemblance between G-Hog's dancing and my own is purely coincidental, although I am, in fact, "homies with Pennsylvania's guvnah."

    Bridge Over Troubled...Bridge

    Anti-Bush Sign Has Bridge World In An Uproar

    Upon winning the Venice Cup at last month's world bridge championships in Shanghai, the US women's team (almost half of whom, interestingly, are named Jill) held up an impromptu protest sign that said, "We did not vote for Bush."

    The bridge world has been rocked to its core ever since.

    Because apparently, there's corporate sponsorships involved with high-level bridge. Who knew? And it just took one little sign written on the back of a menu to potentially screw things up for the rest of the admittedly small in number, yet mighty in spirit, American female professional bridge community.

    Informally, the women have been accused over e-mail of both treason and sedition (which I had to look up), and the president of the US Bridge Federation has formally proposed that the women be barred from competition for one year, be on probation for a year after that, do 200 hours of community service which furthers the interest of bridge, and offer an apology drafted by the federation's lawyer. Jeepers!

    Debbie Rosenberg, apparently the one actually holding the sign, said, "I earn my living from bridge, and a substantial part of that from being hired to compete in high-level competitions. So being barred would directly affect much of my ability to earn a living.”

    [Which kind of made me wonder where the insubstantial part of Debbie's bridge-based income comes from. Bilking seniors at the retirement home? Pick-up bridge for milk money on the playground after school? The notorious bridge parlors of Cleveland's Lakeshore Heights?]

    Anyway.

    What I would like you to do is go see this write-up of the story, and tell me what you think is weird about the cards in the picture. (If you said "UNSOLVED HOMICIDE," you're on the right track.)

    Ahora, yo quiero un XBOX 360.

    Y yo compraré cualquier cosa que esta mujer vieja está vendiendo:

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Pull Shapes

    (v.) To dance, usu. enthusiastically, with limbs akimbo

    Last year this UK girl group wrote and sang a song about how much they like to dance. Dig it:

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    My Future Me Looks Strikingly Like My Past Me. Alien Me, Not So Much.

    Svedka Vodka (voted the number one vodka of 2033) wants to help you see what you'll look like in 26 years at their clever marketing site. You can use their site to create a funny picture of yourself, using an existing picture of yourself and a sophisticated survey.

    Strangely, when I asked them what I might look like in 2033, this was one of the options, even though any of my friends from college will tell you this is pretty much what I looked like in 1991...


    So I tried again, answering the survey somewhat differently, and here's what I got. I am a hot alien in 2033:


    Click on over to see how you might look in 2033.

    Finding My Voice: The Blogger Wallows a Bit, in Three Parts

    Part the First: Pride, in which our hero makes his professional singing debut

    On Saturday, our Cole Porter adventure came to poltergiest-free fruition. I managed not to throw up and only forgot a few words to one of my songs.

    Carolyn and I sang five Cole Porter songs after the Cole Porter dinner party, and the Ghost of Cole Porter (who, earlier in the day, was threatening me with tummy troubles) was nowhere to be found. It turns out that, for my first-ever paid singing gig, I was not at all worried about singing; rather, for the pre-singing dinner, I was seated next to our hostess, so I was so busy being terrified about using the right fork and not spilling my water glass that I didn't have time to be worried about the singing.

    We had a terrific time (well, I did at least -- I assume the others did, too) and after Carolyn and I sang, Carolyn and her husband sang a song, and then all ten of us gathered 'round the piano for a singalong of massive proportions.

    It was awesome and scary and fun to be on stage -- and I found it hard to believe, let alone accept, the compliments that the dinner party guests and our hosts gave. I've done public speaking all my life, but until Sunday, October 28, I had never sung solo in front of people before. (That's when I sang "Home," the finale from "The Wiz" at the Stephen Ministry retreat.) Now, I've done it twice in two weeks, and I'm afraid I may have caught the bug. Are voice lessons in my future?


    Part the Second: Frenzy, in which our hero participates in a ridiculous annual exercise

    One of my life goals is to write and publish a novel, so I am participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) right now. You may have noticed the NaNoWriMo button over in the left-hand column.

    The goal is to write 50,000 words toward your novel in the month of November. (That works out to like a 175-page book.) I am a touch behind where I should be, but I've spewed out almost 18,000 words so far. (I should be at 20,000 or so -- 1,667 a day.)

    Depending on how things go, I may post some excerpts here...we'll see. In the meantime, please pray for focus and energy and plot and character and all that stuff.


    Part the Third: Self-pityawareness, in which our hero wonders why the things he says often go unheard

    Lately, in almost all aspects of my life -- and especially this evening -- I've been feeling like what I say is either unheard or un-listened-to by the people I'm with. Like, I'm either not fast enough or not interesting enough or not accurate enough or not experienced enough or not [BLANK] enough.

    In cases such as this, it is not in my nature to raise my voice. Rather, when unheard or misunderstood, I tend more toward closing down and stewing than speaking louder or more emphatically. But I'm not sure that's what serves me or others.


    If only I could put that into words.

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    As a little brother...

    ...I find this video hilarious:



    The little boy's accent, his willful insertion of his finger into Charlie's mouth, and his subsequent utter! amazement! that Charlie would bite him (again) make this a monument to awesomeness.

    But the punchline comes 41 seconds in. Charlie's snorting laugh is the Best. Thing. Ever.

    R.I.P. Olive, Bess, Nate, Nibbler, and the rest...

    Early Saturday morning, a fire broke out at the Indianapolis Zoo, and many of the Zoo's ambassador animals died. Others remain under observation for health concerns.

    According to the Indianapolis Star, three turtles (named Olive, Bess, and Nate) and a snake named Nibbler died from smoke inhalation, as did several unidentified Zoo residents: two birds, an armadillo, two rodents and several hissing cockroaches. Those names will be released once the victims' families have been notified.

    All zebras seem to be present and accounted for, and one of them, selected at random, will represent the other zoo animals at the upcoming memorial service.

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Jake and Amir (.com)

    I've added a new link under the PG-13 section on the left-hand side: Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld work at College Humor and have their own website chock full o' short-video-based comedy gold.

    Most of their videos are based on the "big brother/little brother" or "alpha male/beta male" premise that Jake is cool and Amir is annoying.

    This video, however, is a little more even-keel in its portrayal of the guys as they sit at their not-quite-partners partner desk at the office. It's just one of many videos on their site ... so click on over after you watch this:

    Dentists Gone Wild

    As Tony Aiello and the CBS2 HD newscrew were heading out to cover all the major happenings in Westchester, the news found them.

    Right in front of them, a dentist lost his ever-loving mind and flew into a road rage episode that allegedly involved bad words, spitting, and physically assaulting a woman whose father died the night before.

    You can click here or click the pic for link to the two-minute news video.

    Three things about this story are noteworthy:

    1. In this age of instant information, there are cameras literally everywhere. From cities conducting their own surveillance via traffic-light cams and all manner of other public-safety efforts, to people with cell-phone cameras at the ready at all times, you're pretty much not gonna get away with [BLANK] Rage these days.
    2. But I bet you're more likely to get away with it if you don't do it in front of a news crew and then get all up in the cameraman's grill.
    3. I'm not sure why -- to add credibility? maybe? -- but reporter Aiello saw fit to interview an expert for his story. The expert he inexplicably chose? Dr. Joyce Brothers, and I am not kidding:

    I must tell you, the years have not been kind to Dr. Joyce. She would do well to consider a clause in her expert-witness contract that specifies no close-ups. To wit:


    Despite her scary look, I agree with Zombie Joyce Brothers: "[The dentist] is using the physical altercation to deal with his stress. I wouldn't like to be a patient of his..."

    Woman: "Ben-Gay" Other Contestants: *agreeing nods*

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Jack Bauer in the age of AOL, circa 1994

    I got (circadian) rhythm / Who could ask for anything more?

    I freakin' could ask for something more.

    'Twould seem my nights and days are shot all to hell. Rather than sleeping like a normal person, here I am, wide awake at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. I didn't even know there was a 3:00 in the morning.

    This has happened for the last three or four nights -- clearly, there's something going on...

    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    About the Scout Shout-Out

    You may have noticed that I have added a link and logo in the left-hand column for the National Eagle Scout Association. It is true that I am an Eagle Scout, and it is also true that I had disavowed the Scouts for a while because I think their policies against homosexuals and atheists are pretty dumb.

    In 2004, I asked the Scouts to remove me from their mailing list until they changed their policies. But recently, I've talked to a number of people who were absolutely flabbergasted that I wasn't actively promoting my Eagle Scout status on my resume or whatever. So after lots of research and soul-search, I decided to join the National Eagle Scout Association for a trial period to see what happens. I support what NESA is about: using my efforts and influence toward forming the kind of young men America needs for leadership. I also happen to believe in using my efforts and influence toward forming the kind of young women America needs for leadership -- and for that matter, doing what I can to form the kind of young people the world needs for leadership.

    Anyway.

    The more I've thought about it, the more I feel that there's something else to be done. Change things from within, as it were. Therefore, in addition to joining NESA, I've also joined Scouting for All, an organization that advocates for Scouting that is inclusive and open to all, regardless of spiritual belief, gender, and sexual orientation.

    I'm not sure I have the time or energy right now to become an in-the-trenches advocate -- for either side -- but I know two things for sure:
    1. My Scouting experience was good for me, and I'm proud of what I accomplished, even if the Scouts did let me down by embracing idiotic policies that would prohibit some of my friends from serving, and
    2. I believe that the Scout Law ("A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.") can apply to everyone -- including gay and atheist Scouts and Scouters.
    It's kind of like with the United Methodist Church's policies. I think the Church is great overall, but lots of its policies suck. Same thing with the Scouts -- great organization that does a lot of good, but its policies suck.

    So, bear with me while I figure out what it all means.

    Flight Patterns

    Pretty cool video -- click here or click the pic.
    To see a bunch of videos about this topic, click here.

    Short Fat Toddler ("Oh.")

    From a link from a link from a link link link:

    Mr. Shain: I need to get this prescription filled.

    Pharmacist: Alright, what’s the date of birth for the patient?

    Mr. Shain: October 30, 2004.

    Pharmacist: So he’s got a birthday just around the corner.

    Mr. Shain: Uh-huh, guess so.

    Pharmacist: I’m sorry, there seems to be a mistake on this Rx. The weight is listed as 50 pounds.

    Mr. Shain: No, that’s correct, we just weighed him.

    Pharmacist: No, he couldn’t possibly weigh that much.

    Mr. Shain: What? Why? He’s really fit. Dr. Biles said he’s the perfect size.

    Pharmacist: Well, how tall is he?

    Mr. Shain: How tall? I have no idea. Maybe a foot 'n a half? Why?

    Pharmacist: So you’re telling me your three year old son is only 18 inches tall, weighs 50 pounds, and your pediatrician thinks he’s fine? Do you realize the average three year old is twice as tall and half the weight of your son?

    Mr. Shain: My dog.

    Pharmacist: What?

    Mr. Shain: My dog. The average weight of a three year old is half the weight of my dog. Did you notice that the Rx was written by a vet?

    Pharmacist: Oh.

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    "Because when someone gives you a wedgie ... [dramatic pause] ... it hurts."

    Hey, Why the Long Face?

    Former Marine with no political experience Greg Ballard defeated two-term incumbent Bart Peterson in yesterday's election for Indianapolis Mayor.

    When reached for comment late last night at the Indianapolis Zoo Plains Pavilion, zookeeper Dewey Schmidt said, "You know, I knew there wasn't really a chance that one of our zebras would end up in the Mayor's Office, but a guy's gotta dream."

    While the zebra write-in vote was higher than ever before, analysts cite what they're calling "The Random Zebra Effect" as the primary driver behind the defeat of Indy's hopes for its first-ever ungulate mayor.

    "Rather than picking one zebra and writing in his or her name, voters selected various zebras at random to write in, thereby ensuring that no single zebra won a plurality and, ultimately, canceling each other out," said Dr. Fritz Miller, director of the Institute for Urban Policy and Zebra Studies at IUPUI.

    But supporters are taking the defeat in stride. Schmidt vows that he and his friends will be better organized and do more to get out the vote next time.

    "We're in it for the long haul, and we're ready to show our stripes. And, no that is not a zebra joke. I'm serious. No, really."

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Viola Dreams

    I played the viola for about eight years -- from 6th grade to my freshman year at IU. I've been thinking a lot about that lately, and I'm considering pulling the instrument out of mothballs and starting up lessons again. There's a violin program at Broadway for young kids, and I'm wondering if Corinne, the teacher, would take me on as a student; after 15 years of not playing, I'm probably back at a fourth or fifth grade level, so I'd fit right in.

    In the meantime, here's Vieuxtemps's "Capriccio for Viola" interpreted by Giovanni Pasini. I think it'll be my "target piece" -- the one I want to master.