How and When to Get Trampled

For the first time in my life, I got up early on Black Friday to try to get a deal on a TV . . . or I thought I got up early (especially with all this talk of a recession) but when I got to Electronics Expo at 6:10 AM, the line already wrapped around the building and they were letting in fifteen people at a time, so I beat a hasty retreat; it turns out I was lucky not to be trampled to death . . . which was the fate of a Wal-Mart employee; I read this story on-line at the Daily News site, and though it was a tragic tale, there was a comic irony to the first comment on the story: a woman expressed her disgust at the futility of the death, and the ignorance of the tramplers-- because she pointed out that the best sales are NOT on Black Friday, they are AFTER Christmas . . . so if you're going to trample someone it should be during a January sale, not a Black Friday rip-off!

Is Dave Spongeworthy?

After a year of blogging, one becomes introspective . . . one wonders: are my thoughts blog-worthy . . . are my sentences special and unique . . . is my perspective worthy of valuable space on the information highway . . . or am I a self-centered egotist who could make better use of his time learning a trade such as air-conditioner repair or dog-grooming?


Perhaps it was the fog of beer, but it took an inordinately long time to solve Stacey's ridiculous riddle Wednesday night-- she just kept saying things like: I hate tea but I love coffee, I hate cats but I love dogs, I love mice and chipmunks and squirrels but I hate rats, I love love but I hate hate . . . and on and on and on until finally, finally we got it . . . will you?


Great moment in Madmen-- a TV show about 1960's advertising execs in Mew York City-- Don Draper's daughter walks into the room, her body completely inside of a plastic dry cleaning bag, and her mom says, "I hope you didn't leave my dry cleaning all over the floor-- now you march right back up there and clean it up" and the little girl leaves the room, still inside the plastic bag.


I was spacing out in line in the grocery store, cradling a box of clementines in my arm, and I guess this bothered the old woman in front of me-- though she had put her items down, she was apparently bothered by the fact that I wouldn't put mine down, the fact that I was awkwardly holding the box instead of placing it on the conveyor belt-- because she turned and said, "You can put them down now-- put them down!" and pointed to the empty spot on the conveyor belt . . . and I took one look at her and put them down.


Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my blog, and though the page accumulated 31,594 views, I only earned 15 dollars and 37 cents in ad revenue, so I won't be quitting my day job any time soon (and what would I do with my day after I had written my sentence anyway?)


Took the kids to the Museum of Modern Art (Joan Miro exhibit-- good for kids and doodlers alike) and FAO Scwartz (not the best place for a claustrophobic, but the kids had a good time on the Big piano), and it marked the end of one era-- we no longer have to bring diapers when we go anywhere, and it's nearly the end of another era: the Stick the Kids in the Backpacks and Run Really Fast to Catch the Train Era, because the snap broke (brittle from the cold?) on our fancy foreign super-sized child-backpack and so I had to carry all the weight on my shoulders, by the time we got on the subway to go back to Penn, Alex was compressing my spine (he was fast asleep and so was Ian, so they were both dead weight and now they're big enough so that when they fall asleep and lean to the side they often bang their heads against door frames and such) and so now I think I'm only 5'8" . . . so no more free ride for him-- next trip he will have to walk every step of the way . . . and judging by how Catherine's shoulders were feeling by the end of the day, Ian may have to hoof it as well.


Last week, one of my students tried to involve me in a web of lies and deceit: we have been reading and writing process analysis essays and she apparently started writing an essay with the working title "How to Survive a Post-Menopausal Mother" but gave up on it-- but she left the notes out and her mother found them (and was suitably offended at her daughter's choice of topics and tone about her mom) so the student, quick on her feet, said that"post menopausal mother" was just one humorous topic of many in a satirical essay I had given her and not her idea at all; the next day, she came in and told me that if I received an e-mail from her mom asking about this, to just go along with it and say that somehow the topic was my fault but I told her "I'm not lying to your mother-- don't get me involved in this!" but luckily it never came down to that: the crafty mom simply asked her ingrate daughter for a copy of the essay with the post-menopausal topic in it and she confessed that she had made it up . . . but what I was really impressed by was the fact that the girl thought of that excuse in the first place-- a guy would never think that quick on his feet, he'd just say, "What essay? I didn't do it."


From a student's poem about Newark, New Jersey: "285,000 people . . . 12, 400 people per square mile . . . tight like a virgin."

Electronics and Water Don't Mix

I had an appointment with a "genius" yesterday at the Apple store, a moniker found unbearably offensive, but this particular Young Einstein had enough common sense to spot an idiot-- he busted me for water damage, which is not covered under the warranty (apparently there is a sensor inside the Ipod that can tell if the player has been subjected to liquids) and what could I say . . . I didn't have a leg to stand on, because I had taken my Ipod swimming numerous times and obviously my Otterbox was not one hundred percent waterproof . . . so swimming with music was fun while it lasted, and now I have to try to fix my Ipod by myself (which should be fodder for another sentence).

Entomology 101

Two Oscar winning performances by yours truly last week in class: 1) at the start of our process analysis unit I demonstrated how to help someone get rid of the hiccups (my method is to pretend that there is a bug in the hiccupper's hair) but I guess the girl I was demonstrating on didn't realize that it was just a demonstration-- and apparently she's really frightened of insects-- so when I went to pluck the imaginary bug out of her hair, she slapped my hand and screamed . . .and all the students were very happy that she hit me 2) the next day, to illustrate a point in an essay called "Honey Harvest," I pretended that I had a bee in a cup and that I needed a volunteer to be stung in front of the class as an initiation rite (to what stupid club I can't imagine) and again, the same girl got very upset-- you'd think she would have caught on by now-- and a few other girls actually got out of their seats and ran when I turned the cup over onto the volunteer's arm (I've been doing this for years and, oddly, someone always volunteers to be stung) but then all that fluttered out was a yellow piece of paper . . . but a student gave me a good idea for next year, I'm going to get one of those joke pens that shocks you when you touch it and put that in the cup.

Mrs. Parham Rules

As we walked along the Raritan River in the park by my house, my son Alex described his day at school-- specifically the class Thanksgiving song-- and so I mentioned to him about how Lenape Indians had lived right here next to the river by our house and he said "Daddy, that's a bad word! Mrs. Parham said that you can't say that!" and I tried to explain to him that "Indian" wasn't a bad word, that it was just a misnomer, and that in some contexts, you can still say Indians (no one wants to play Cowboys and Native Americans) but he didn't seem very convinced by my argument-- he said he would check with Mrs. Parham and get back to me.

Bonus American Education Week Update!!!

Today, compliments of the East Brunswick Education Association (in conjunction with the East Brunswick Parent Teacher Association) in honor of American Education Week, we received a green band-aid dispenser pre-stocked with five (I counted them) non Band-Aid brand band-aids.


Question: how do you get your kids out of the woods after hiking in a bit too far and getting sort of lost; answer: promise them ice cream if they can lead you out.


My first investigative sentence: in order to dispel claims made by frequent commenter (Al Depantsdowno) that UFC fighting is akin to the WWF, Catherine and I went to a friend's place and watched Randy "Still Juicy at Age 45" Couture defend his belt against Brock "I look sort of like Drago from Rocky IV" Lesnar-- and I can assure you, UFC fighting is very real (we watched the snot get knocked out of a guy's nose in slow motion) and it can be exciting and I was definitely unable to turn away for a second, but there is a lot of gripping, bending, grimacing, and generally ugly rolling around on the mat-- Catherine, who had a few glasses of wine at dinner was vociferously against the whole idea of "tapping out" when you get your arm barred, and she quickly and painfully demonstrated how easy it is to bend someone's arm back (on your intrepid investigative sentence writer-- it hurts) and if boxing is "the sweet science" then UFC fighting is "the sour sociology"-- because (sorry Whit) we all know what it means if you're majoring in sociology.

More Popular Than Sex!

I'm reading Bill Tancer's Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why it Matters and the premise is this: Tancer is the general manager at Hitwise, an internet intelligence company that sifts through millions of internet searchers in an attempt to understand the world's subconscious; for example, when people search "how to" do something, it usually involves sex . . . from "how to make out" to "how to get pregnant" but the number one search in the United States is "how to tie a tie" . . . but that's not number one in Britain (school uniforms) . . . and my favorite is the sixth most searched "how to"-- it seems people really want to know how to levitate.


They say women forget the pain of childbirth, and I believe it, because once again, I forgot the pain of early morning basketball (some teachers and randoms play at the high school every Friday morning, the game starts at 6:00 AM sharp)-- I played yesterday morning and by the end of the school day I had a raging headache from dehydration and hunger, and-- due to oxygen deprivation (there were only eight of us, so it was full court four on four and two of the players are marathon runners)-- my students were shorted any kind of education . . . but in a month or so I'll do it again.


Because of this blog, I totally forgot to write a best-selling novel; now instead of a thick and valuable manuscript, I am stuck with several hundred desultory sentences-- and no matter how I rearrange them, they never form the first chapters of a best selling novel.


One of the more annoying things about having work done on your house every night until eight PM (besides the banging and sawing and the whole living in one cramped room thing-- we have to move the couch every time we want to watch TV so both of us can see around the refrigerator) is the fact that I can't choose what music to listen to-- the workers play some light rock station . . . yesterday I heard some Bryan Adams and "Burning for You"-- but it's occasionally entertaining, like when Leo was signing along to Peter Gabriel in his heavy Mexican accent: "eenyereeyes, eenyereyes, eeenyereyes, eenyereeeeyes."

Sometimes You Need to Lie to the People in White Cots

The main reason I hate going to the dentist is because I am forced to lie: for the past few months (as usual) I've forgotten to floss on a daily basis, and-- judging by past behavior-- I'm never ever ever going to remember to floss on a daily basis, but they're so earnest about flossing over there at my dentist's office that I can't stand the disappointment in their eyes, so, once again, I swore to them, that NOW, FROM HERE ON IN, I AM GOING TO FLOSS, but I know in another six months it will be the same pathetic ritual.

Reading Makes You Annoying

If you value your marriage, you won't read More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics, a Freakonomics style book with fascinating analysis of why shopping carts have increased in size, why daughters cause divorce, and why our jury system is so screwed up (and a hundred other knotty problems-- it's not as thorough as Freakonomics but it's entertaining in its breeziness) because apparently no one cares about these things, especially my wife, and while your friends and acquaintances will simply steer you away from your new found useless knowledge into other topics-- I brought up the fascinating conundrum of how shopping carts have been growing larger and larger each decade, and how no economist can pinpoint exactly why this is happening and my friend didn't even attempt to follow . . . he started talking about how some carts will tip when you jump up and lock your arms while other won't-- but your wife might tell you flat out that you're annoying (she might even tell you flat out that the only reason you read these books is for attention, because you love to know stuff other people don't know, and that's also the reason you voted for the Green Party, but that's another sentence).


An ambiguous (and poorly delivered) teaser on NBC before the Giants game last night: "Police search for a fourteen year old boy's killer . . . after the game."


This was a lame week off for me-- we didn't go anywhere because we had to supervise the construction (and we're broke and Catherine didn't have off Monday through Wednesday but I did) and it was cloudy and rainy all week, but I played soccer and watched soccer in the rain and drank plenty of beer and got our lawn to grow in nice and green where the workers filled in dirt and we took the kids to the beach on Saturday and it was foggy and misty and the sea was snotgreen and scrotum tightening and we've been living in one loud cramped room with our wee bairns so I'm going to pretend that we spent the week in Ireland.


Because Highland Park did not have a week off for fall break, I caught a glimpse of my son's secret life at school: when his class lined up after recess, Alex was last, he barely made it before Mrs. Parham made her count and brought everyone inside, but once he did get in line he wasn't afraid to yell to the front, "Move it, move it-- let's go!"


While making plans for Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale I ran across two useful phrases: 1) a rarely used but graphically descriptive term for making the beast with two backs-- "sluiced" . . . as in "I didn't think Mike had a chance with that leggy blonde he was talking to at the bar, but the next day he told me that he sluiced her in the supply closet" and 2) a great name for a nature documentary featuring lots of humping and sluicing-- "Bawdy Planet."


I'm working my way through War and Peace for the second time, ostensibly because there is a new translation by the masterful Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, but also because I was slightly miffed that none of my "friends" threw me a party the first time I finished the book, as is traditional, so I'm hoping once I finish this time this oversight will be remediated.

Special Election Bonus Sentence

My wife thinks I should be more excited about the historical significance of today's election results-- that I should reflect on the fact that African Americans have now gone from slavery to the White House-- but I guess I don't really see Barack Obama as a black guy . . . it's not like we elected Richard Pryor.


JV Paving is an poor choice for a business name, especially when the sign is on Summerhill Road, across the street from the high school's junior varsity soccer field; when you're dealing with hot asphalt, you go with the varsity paving team every time.


I am reading The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court; I am a sucker for any book that promises to unveil a secret world-- because then I will know about the secret world and you won't (unless you read the book of course, but you probably won't, because you're lazy and maybe that's not even the title of the book and maybe it's not even about the Supreme Court)-- and also because it covers a period of time when I couldn't have cared less about the news-- my twenties, when all I cared about was me . . . and what bar I was going to-- so now I'm catching up with Clarence Thomas dissents and Clinton politics and Sandra Day O'Connor's lean to the left, AND I'm also learning cool facts: the gym on the top floor of the Supreme Court Building, where the clerks and interns (and Clarence Thomas, until he hurt his knee) often play hoops, is known as the "highest court in the land."


Did anyone see Saw . . . I never saw Saw . . . I should see Saw . . . did y'all see Saw II . . . I should see Saw II too.


Good news and bad news-- the bad news is that I am giving up on Dave's Quote of the Day (despite some help from my friends-- and I thank them-- it's no longer the project I envisioned: a log of the best things that I stumbled on in my desultory reading that I could look back on ten years from now, because I didn't have the patience to keep it up and I can't type fast enough to make transcribing text enjoyable plus Patrice O'Neil said that typing is kind of gay) but the good news is that now I will put ALL of my limited intelligence into the Sentence of Dave and this will mean better, clearer, wittier, and less stupid sentences for you, my loyal audience, and if you have made it this far into this sentence then you certainly are a member of my loyal audience, because no one else in their right mind would continue reading this atrocity.

Can't Buy Me Love (Or Waterboarding)

According to most figures, the Iraq war has cost us nearly 600 billion dollars, and in the end it may ultimately cost us in the neighborhood of three trillion dollars, but if you want to know the true cost (and you aren't squeamish) then watch Standard Operating Procedure, the new Erroll Morris documentary about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.
A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.