More words

Just a small FYI. I am simply sick of having to think when I type. I am constantly caught in error concerning "a lot" and "no one."

"A lot," I am going to let go of. I am pretty good at just avoiding the phrase all together, there are much better words that can replace it.

However, "no one" is up for a remodel. When writing, I have allowed myself to combine the words, noone, but in speaking this leads to confusion. Fortunately, I have friends who find themselves in the same proverbial (or adverbial) boat. It was recently suggested to me that a slight modification could turn the silly sounding mistake, to a usefully unique word: "nooner."

I have posted this so that in any future posts it will be clear what I am referring to should I discuss, "nooner showing up for the free sai lessons," or, "my intelligence seemed to be surpassed by nooner."

I appreciate your consideration, and do not discourage your implementation.


Why Christians should vote for Obama

I am a politically liberal person. I am a intellectually and socially liberal person. I am a aesthetically and entertainingly liberal person. With that said, it should not come as a surprise that I have chosen to vote for Barack Obama.

For the most part, the people I spend the majority of my time with have also chosen to vote for Senator Obama. However, there are still a few hold outs. (I state this to illustrate that I do actually associate with ignorant people, by choice even.)

I grow weary of political discourse, I find that it so often becomes a circular argument which ends by everyone leaving with their original views in tact and frequently refurbished. So I will leave "generic politics" out of this. I would like to state, for the record, why as a Christian I have chosen to lend my support...and why others should too.

1. Universal healthcare. Jesus calls us to take care of the poor, the weak, the downcast, the sinner. He requested that we minister to the prisoners and take care of the widows. As I recall, there was not a stipulation of "as long as it does not raise your taxes." In fact, the way I see it, He probably wants it to come out of our pocket. If this country truly was based on Christian principles (which I will contend at another time), then the church shouldn't be the only one doling out lettuce for those 'in need.'

2. End the war. These people are our enemies, they hurt us and hate us. When Jesus told us to love our enemies, he probably didn't mean for us to kill them. "Well, they don't listen to reason," "They are just hurting themselves," you might say. In response, I would like to quote this scripture:
"And if after you go to your brother he does not change his ways, bomb him."

3. Hope, change, together we can. These phrases are often harped upon as being vague, meaningless jingles tossed about by the campaign. Even if that is true - what's the harm in talking about hope? What is the real shame in a man who is looking to bring a country together for good...even if the plan doesn't seem feasible?
You want a man who is vague - try someone who promises a future in things we can't see, touch or taste. Try following a movement based solely on "faith," then tell me that you can't behind someone who offers hope for the future.

4. Experience. Jesus likes youth. He calls us to be like children, to approach the world with eyes full of potential and wonder. He encourages us to listen to our elders so that we can learn - but not to wait until we are elders ourselves to do things. From what I can tell, Obama has surrounded himself with people full of experience - and listens to their recommendations.

These are not the only reasons I am voting. I think Obama has solid policy, sound advice, a great wife, and an awesome brain in that head of his.

Now - someone tell me what about this is wrong.


Pizza, pizza, pizza

I have always been a fan of advertising. I am the guy who watches commercials and reads billboards. In many ways, I am an ideal consumer - if 4 out of 5 doctors recommend Colgate Total over the leading brand of toothpaste, I'm in.

IMO, one of the most fascinating forms of advertisement has always involved humans acting in the place of signposts. The sandwich board, the flyer-passer-outer, and, one of my all time favorites, the Little Caesars Pizza board-boy.

Searcy, my hometown, has gone through a wide variety of pizza-board boys. From the dancing guy (who made the front page of the Daily Citizen) to the potentially-unscrupulous implementation of a quadriplegic with a sign taped to his wheelchair (who spun in circles for hours upon hours).

Last week, however, I saw the spade that trumps them all...a heavy metal air guitar playing pizza-board boy, playing a guitar-shaped (factory made) sign. The radicity of this is not in the mere fact that Ilitch Holdings, Inc. decided to mass produce the "$5" sign in the shape of a guitar...the real faculty is the man behind the (cardboard) machine.

At the NE corner of Park and Perkins a wild-haired whippersnapper wields his ax with relentless domination. Though his headphones are nearly invisible in the mop of curly locks, they are inevitably pumping power chords, which surge through the boy's body and are lavished in a flurry of windmills and high-kicks. Spectators be damned, this future-thrasher has dedicated his entirety to the task at hand...rocking out.

Due to a flat tire, I had the opportunity to watch this jamfest for a non-stop 20 minutes (through the window of the tire store on the corner). Such a spectacle should be praised not only for the commitment to the job, but for the raw force behind the commitment.

If you are driving past the board-jammer on Park and Perkins, give a little honk...though he certainly won't hear you.

Rock on Pizza Boy, rock on.


Real Men of Genius

Mr. Speak Without Being Spoken To:

Sure it's the first day of classes and we are all uncomfortable and don't really know anyone, but you break all social boundaries and instigate mundane conversation with disinterested parties.
You proudly regale us with stories of how hard this teacher is and how you've already taken this class twice, so if we need help to come to you.
While society forces the rest of us to choke down our bitingly sarcastic remarks regarding your excessive passing attempts and rolling-"backpack," you don't let our fake text messaging or feigned interest in the introduction of the textbook stop you.
And if you are blatantly ignored by one person, you just keep talking and redirect your attention to the person who was enjoying listening to the first be talked to against his will.
So crack open and ice cold Bud Li...better yet, try cracking open a your book so maybe you can move on to the second semester of American history.



As a southern boy it is my duty to be a patron of Sonic. For the most part I am more than willing to fulfill this sweet tea heritage. It is widely known that Sonic has the best ice, their sweet tea (when on point) is the best around. They have a way of mixing the carbonation and syrup that beats the best soda jerk (or would, if I knew where to find a soda jerk). Sonic is convenient and reasonably priced for the quality of product.

When I go to Sonic I have a typical habit of pulling around to the stations opposite of the entrance. There are a few legitimate reasons for this but at this point it is primarily habit.

The reason I bring up America's Drive-In is this: today I went for lunch, something quick and easy was all I was looking for. As my companion and I rounded the corner to park on my prefered side, what did we encounter but a drive through.

Why on Earth would Sonic need a drive through? Essentially, Sonic is one large drive through. Is there a large enough market of people who do not like putting their car in reverse to constitute removing all the stations from an entire side of the establishment for the creation of a menu-board an a automatic sliding window? Is it really faster or more convenient?

I am considering stationing myself in the parking lot for the next few days questioning the drive through users about their choice. I will report my findings.


This room is not my own

I am sitting on a full bed with sheets of sea-foam green. A massive headboard carved out of a light wood, but stained to a much darker color, supports my head. A matching footboard runs along the base of the mattress - preventing my feet from hanging over the edge at the bottom (which I do not like them to do anyway, for fear of monsters under the bed).

On the north wall - the four seasons are displayed on Chinese wall hangings. Long and skinny pieces of parchment painted by the skilled hands of an blind, 89 year-old Chinese woman in the Hunan Provence who has been making similar paintings since she could hold a brush. The scene has changed in real life - but what her eyes see, and what her hand creates, is the village of her childhood.

Against the opposite wall sits a vanity - complete with a round mirror. The piece matches the solid wood of the bed. My grandmother sat here, with her wedding picture tucked into the frame of the mirror, and applied her lipstick before waking up my aunts and uncles for church every Sunday morning.

The room is a pail blue, not a far cry from the color of the bed sheets. The selection was made by the occupant of this house previous to my arrival, even prior to the arrival of the current owner.

The red plastic tubs stuffed with my summer clothes bring me comfort. My jeans thrown in the corner, waiting for a more permanent placement, actually elicit a smile.

With my life as transient as it is right now - it's nice to remember that home is simple where you do your laundry.


Lazy days

I do not have a job. I go to bed late, I wake up late. I watch Oprah and Yes Dear (the ultimate in afternoon syndication). My sweats are wearing thin, my hair is turning a different color. I can name that commercial in 2 notes.

I am on the final stretch of my current CBL stint. One week from today I will pack and go. Is this a new chapter? Is it a new volume?

I'm fairly confident this is still the prologue.


A list

A few things I have found out about myself, that I would normally be really aggravated or embarrassed about - but am learning to deal with:

1. I fit in in the city - but I prefer the country.

I don't know if it is my disdain for "fitting in" or if it is actual the rural appeal of farmland and green grass, but I have learned that, despite my avid love of the hustle and bustle, I truly am a country boy at heart. Nothing brings that out in me more than living in a big city.

2. Running is fun.

It's hard, it's painful and it makes me sweat (which I hate) - but damn, it's worth it. I feel healthy, toned and capable. The occasional sore muscle is now a good sign, instead of an indication of needing to back off. It clears my head.
If nothing else, running makes me feel better than all those people who don't run.

3. I like awful books.

Sure - I've read 100 Years of Solitude and Anna Karenina, but at my core I will always prefer to read Sweet Valley High and Harriet the Spy. I no longer need to read to enhance my knowledge. I need to read to escape what I already know.


The world runs on dunkin

A few times a week I get up entirely too early in order to get to the gym before work. I have never been a morning person (or a gym person for that matter) so it still takes a lot of work to get me out of bed. I have started using tricks such as guilt, empty promises of afternoon naps, music, notes to myself...but the one thing that really gets me going in the morning is Dunkin Donuts.

On my way from the gym to my office I pass 3 DDs (mind you, this is only 8 blocks). One morning, after my work-out, I decided to stop in for some Munchkins (donut holes) and a Coffee Coolatta (essentially a coffee milkshake)...like I said, I have never been a gym person.

Dunkins in the city are fast paced, high pressure places. They are a well oiled machine of coffee and donut producing fiends. It is important to know what you will order immediately upon entrance, as you are likely to be called upon even when you are 6-10 people back in the line. So, my first morning in the store, in my scattered flurry of options I blurted out, "A dozen Munchkins and a large Coffee Coolatta." (Ordering under pressure has never been my strong suit - which is why I grew up ordering Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers...without bacon or cheese.)

Another thing about the Dunkin Donuts on 6th and Market - they always remember your order.

For the past month+ I have been "ordering" a large Coffee Coolatta and a dozen Munchkins. I want to branch out, I want to cut back...

I think I am going to have to change venues.

Yes, the world runs on Dunkin. Perhaps, however, not by choice.


Copy and paste

Everyone gets so uppity about plagiarism.

I realize the difference is quoting, referencing and plagiarizing has been discussed in many academic circles. However, it continues to elude high school students who honestly thought they were just paraphrasing the article. Why can you set off 4 pages worth in block quotes, but if something remains uncited it is plagiarism?

In my profession we consider research published more than 5 years ago to be "common knowledge." Why should that not be the case for more genres?

This subject is not particularly timely or relevant, I was just thinking back to the time when I considered becoming an english teacher. I would carefully plan out my strategy for encouraging plagiarism from my students. Using the work of others is how new work is eventually created. If the original author does not want his/her work to be used - don't publish. "But then nothing would ever get published." Exactly.


My favorite days

September 24:

This day is a stand out for me. A day like no other. For many years I held "September 24" parties. Nothing special happened on this day, as far as I know. It is not my birthday (or my half birthday). I would imagine my love comes from the aesthetic appeal of the word "September" and my fondness for the number 24. Separately they are good things - together, they constitute my favorite day.

I am thoroughly jealous of anyone who has this birthday, and will likely force it to be an important day in my life somehow. (ie, demanding it as a wedding date, holding labor until this day, not pulling the plug on my dad until this day)

February 19:

This one is a bit more obvious. It is my birthday. As I have gone through life, many of the coolest people I have met have February birthdays - so I feel cosmically privileged to be predetermined for this group.

As a result of this special assignment, I have also become a bit obsessed with the number 19 (some might recall my 19th birthday party).

February 29:

This is a truly blessed day...or a completely screwed up concept - however you wish to look at it. The fact that someone along the way said "Hey, instead of making every day longer," or "Let's alter the calendar a bit" said "Every 4 years we will add a day!" is astounding to me. Even more mind-blowing is that others agreed ("Oh yes, brilliant idea!" "Here, Here!").

However, they gave the day to poor, short, slightly self-conscious February - and for that, we are thankful.


The obligatory (post) birthday post

On February 19 I turned 25. In my mind this is a stellar age. The last age-related changes (excluding politics) are made this year; I can rent a car (without the outrageous underage fees), my car insurance goes down (or would if I owned a car), and I believe I can run for a house seat (though that is political).

I am not afraid of growing older. I don't dread it. I have very few regrets from my past - and everything is looking good for the future. However, after much contemplation, I have made the decision that this will be my last birthday for approximately five years.

It is not the progression of age I am hesitant to encounter - it is all the Ned Ryersons of the world that make me not want to continue my climb towards 30.

I detest the possibility of this scene:

Ned: "So, how old arya?"
Me: "27"
Ned: [elbow jab + chin chuck] "Almost 30!"
Me: "#@!*"

Grandma: "Ned said he ran into you at Wal-Mart..."

So, in order to avoid hurting my grandmother, I will continue to be 25 until I hit 30 (possibly 31, depending on how bitter I am in 5 years).

Note: This will, in no way, effect the necessity for birthday parties or gifts. I will simply continue to have 25 candles (or another arbitrary number).


So, so, so cold

**This post is not suitable for any reader who might think I am still 12**

I love words. I honestly do. I am not a "word person" per say. I am not good at Scrabble, and crossword puzzles make me feel like an incompetent idiot. However, hearing and occasionally using great words can certainly ameliorate my affect. Words are elegant, they are recherché. An extensive vocabulary is not only impressive, it is worthy of envy.

The English language, for the most part, is capable of conveying an endless supply of feelings, meanings, ideas, actions, items...etc. The vast array of words provided are completely malleable and a bit ductile, more gaseous than solid - they can be manipulated to my whimsy and incorporated at my will.

Which brings me to this morning.

This morning when I left for the gym (545) it was 11 degrees Fahrenheit. I was wearing a t-shirt under a sweatshirt under a hoodie under a hooded overcoat. My face and neck were wrapped in a scarf. Under my pants I wore sweatpants and a pair of shorts. My feet and hands were appropriately encased in fabric.

A whole world of words at my disposal, but all I could say was, "Damn, it is cold. It is damn cold."

Ah. English.


Rime time

I would like to add to my list of sayings I abhor, "I'm a poet, and don't even know it." (Or any variation of.)

Sure it was clever in elementary school, but "up your nose with a rubber hose" was also a popular saying at one point and we got through that.

The biggest problem with the 'poet'/'know it' rhyme is the person who typically uses it is quite far from any form of a poet. Dr. Seuss is lost on these people yet they, along with Will Ferrell and the Bros, think it is hilarious to rhyme two bisyllabic words.

I am by no means a connoisseur of poetry, I wouldn't even consider myself a fan. However, I am intellectually capable of independent thought (e.g. I'm a bard, and it's not hard).

It is particularly important to end this silly rhyme as we head in to the new year. I foresee a year packed with "clever" sayings: "Don't Wait in '08," "It's Not Too Late in 2008," etc.


If I ruled the world

I have great plans for this Earth. Big ideas for the economy, clever schemes for the culture and a bit of advice for a few of the current 'world leaders.'

Fair trade and a balanced form of socialism have always had their appeal. Getting 800 bucks from the gov doesn't sound like such a bad idea (actually, it sounds like an awful idea - but I would accept it regardless). I think everyone should see Turandot and some form of Cirque du Soleil, it will just make the world a better place.

I think world leaders should count to 10 before they make big decisions.

However, these things can all be pushed aside if I can implement this one:

Everybody needs a therapist.

This world has a complete lack of understand, of itself. The general population has no idea what is going on in their own head. There is so much that could be uncovered - and likely helped - by the simple implementation of world-wide counseling.

Many people find this stigmatic. Having a therapist/shrink/psychiatrist/psychologist/counselor means they are crazy or having some to hide. Well, most people do.

Having someone who's sole purpose is to listen to you (and help you if required), with no expectation from their end (except potential payment) is the ultimate release. I don't care how much yoga or cardio you do - if you don't have a therapist you are not healthy. (And not a "friend who is really good at listening either," these people are just out to get you.)

When I rule the world (yes, "when") I will require each individual to have a therapist (and a personal stylist, but that is for a later post).

So, why not vote for me?


Youth of ages

In perusing the blogs this morning I came across this Gawker article discussing the mid-life crisis. Stein doesn't do a lot to make any points concerning the Times article the post is talking about - but it got me thinking.

I am looking forward to my mid-life crisis. It's true. And I don't think I am alone in this. I consider mid-life just that - half way through my life. Assuming my MLC hits at approximately 50 (50's the new 40), think of all the things I will have done by then. Even more so, think of all the things I can do after that. In the first 40 years you are encumbered with a number of burdens: financial dependency, lack of experience, breastfeeding. Once you have put that behind you, you can skyrocket towards your next goal. The mid-life crisis is a chance at renewal, a left-turn on the road of life.

Richard Friedman drones unendingly about the MLC being the move a narcissistic man trying to "turn back the clock." Big deal. We all try to keep that clock stalled (e.g. eating healthfully, using sunblock, botox) why not go ahead and crank it back a few years. When a man, after 30 years of marriage, suddenly decides to seek a new life is anyone really shocked? Is this really the first sign the wife has seen of his dislike of the situation. (Perhaps it is, but life is life and we can't control it.)
One of the reasons I feel free to do the things I do, take the risks I take - is I know half way through I get a retry. Painful for some, but it gets me through the day.