I should really back-up my files more often, I really should.

I Learn A Lesson (That I Should Have Known)

Last Sunday I decided to free myself from the traditional constraints of breakfast (we had a dinner party Saturday night, so there were lots of leftovers) and so I ate a bowl of shrimp salad, a couple of pierogies, and a large slice of chocolate cake . . . and then I went to play soccer: needless to say, the traditional constraints of breakfast are traditions for a reason and I am back to eating a bowl of plain yogurt with grape-nuts in the morning.


I would like to commend all the people in my life that have made it into a Sentence of Dave-- because I am so self-centered, this only occurs rarely-- most of the time I'm living in my own little world, where Dave is King and his Decrees are Holy . . . so if you penetrated my consciousness deeply enough that I wrote about you, you must have done something extraordinary.

I Issue A Challenge

I am a skeptic of all things paranormal, but I'm willing to keep an open mind . . . and so by the powers invested in me as the author of this blog, I hereby challenge all ghosts, spirits, and other denizens of the spectral world: MANIFEST YOURSELF! MAKE ME BELIEVE!

A Biblical Allusion Illustrated

In Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Shylock the moneylender explains to his nemesis Antonio that entrepreneurship dates back to Biblical times and he uses Jacob's successful business ploy as an example; in short, Jacob and his uncle Laban were shepherds, and the deal they made with each other was that after the rams and ewes bred, all the "streaked" lambs would go to Jacob and all the white ones would go to Laban-- which would seem to ensure a fairly equal split of the brood-- but Jacob secretly put striped wands in front of the ewes while they were engaged in the act of copulation, and, according to Biblical biology, if you look at something striped while you are engaged in the dirty-dirty, then your offspring will be striped, and (in the Biblical story) that is exactly what happened, they were all "pied," and so Jacob was rewarded for his business acumen . . . this is a tough section of text, but apparently if you draw it, as I did above, the kids really understand and appreciate what Shylock has to say (they liked my graphic so much that they took photos of it with their cell-phones, so perhaps I should make a t-shirt).


My wife is a great cook, and I am a great eater of what she cooks . . . this is like the zen koan about the tree falling in the forest, except that food tastes better than trees.


Note to self: the two dollar margaritas at Charlie Brown's on Tuesday nights are worth exactly that.


So it seems silly to write my typical run on sentence about James Ellroy's new novel, Blood's A Rover, since his sentences run five words max, but if you feel the need to read a book that's closer to working an extra job, because of the number of plots, the number of characters, the number of betrayals, the number ambiguous motives and the number of pages, and you want to learn lots of subterfuge slang-- the "bagman" and the "cutout" and "giving snout" and you want to travel back to the sixties and meet everyone from Nixon to "the old girl" J. Edgar Hoover to "Dracula" (Howard Hughes, who likes to inject heroin into his genitals) to the members Mau Mau Front, all done Ellroy style, plus his usual host of fictional scumbags, mercenaries, peepers, private dicks, and revolutionary women, then this is the book for you-- but I still liked the non-fiction Nixonland better, during this decade, the times were so interesting that you don't need any conspiracy theories.


It's gotten cold and one of my favorite things to do when it's cold is put on baggy fleece pants and eat a shitload of food, but luckily I've discovered a new dieting technique; I call it "dieting through better posture" and essentially all you need to do is this 1) NEVER weigh yourself, it's not about what you weigh, it's about how you look 2) whenever you look in the mirror, stand up nice and tall and suck in your gut-- this makes you look ten pounds lighter, so that you can sit back and enjoy winter like any good mammal should.


So here's my idea for a great party: it's called a "YouTube Party" and everyone who comes is allowed to play one YouTube video and then everyone votes on the best-- so you really have to do some research on YouTube to find a video that's excellent but also a video that no one has ever seen-- and once this preliminary tournament is over, which should take long enough for everyone to get drunk, then the winner gets to be the director for the rest of the night and he can realize his or her own vision of a brilliant viral YouTube video using the people at the party as his "actors"-- I know this is a brilliant idea but i'm giving it away for free here at The Sentence of Dave and all I want is the credit when this becomes a national sensation . . . hopefully this party will come to fruition sooner than my "Survivor Party" idea, where every twenty minutes or so someone is voted out of the party and they have to go hang out a boring designated spot until everyone else is voted out of the party . . . that idea never seemed to catch on, but the YouTube Party is a surefire success, in fact, maybe I'll make a YouTube Video of a YouTube party so people can see how it works (but then at some unexpected point I'll hit an unsuspecting partier in the nuts with a volleyball).


Although I regard cable television as an evil time squandering monopolistic specter, I may have to get it for social reasons-- we were all having a great time in the new kitchen last Friday when it came time for the Rutgers/Pitt game, and my 56 inch HD television, which I use to watch documentaries and award winning movies and high quality television (such as Battlestar Galactica and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) on DVD, so that I have control over when I watch and don't have to be influenced by commercials (except product placement) was suddenly useless, and we all had to trek out to New Brunswick to see the game, essentially abandoning my wife (but luckily some lady friends came over who didn't care about the game, which assuaged my guilt) and more than anything it just makes me angry that I don't have more control over what I buy from the cable company . . . I would love to be able to buy a channel for a day, or even choose five extra channels beyond 2-13 but apparently everyone wants a hundred channels to scroll through despite the fact that we are all pressed for time as it is and don't read enough or play enough amateur music or spend enough time with our kids or friends or families or travel to Europe enough or cook enough healthy meals, despite all this, no one wants any control over the amount of media that pours into their house and so I'm going to get stuck with the Cartoon network and QVC and the Game Show Channel and a thousand other complete wastes of time that will invade my families consciousness and suck them into a void of pixels.


So I've been using my the patch of poison ivy on my forearm as a teaching aid (if you get the answer wrong, the threat is that I make you look at it up close, but no one has been subjected to this torture . . . I guess the method works) and it started kind of gross and bubbly, but now it has crossed the line into full suppuration-- I put my arm down on a napkin and I left a wet mark, which is beyond gross and into the repugnant neighborhood, and the pus is matting my arm hair as well, and I can't stop looking at it and in some strange way, I'm going to miss it when it's gone.


My Asus Gigabyte motherboard has some compatibility issues with my NVidia GE Force 9500 video-card, possibly because the video-card shares an IRQ line with the sound-card, and so I had to restore the Vista sytem to a previous date, lower the resolution and the refresh rate and switch the priority of background services because I was experiencing drop-outs during audio recording . . . and this, cross my fingers, has seemed to work so far; I have also placed three smooth stones from a chicken's gizzard (which I then coated with my own blood and chanted over for two straight hours) inside my DVD drive.


If you're looking for a drama about a high school teacher that's a little more intense than Welcome Back Kotter (even more intense than Head of the Class!) then check out Breaking Bad, which stars Bryan Cranston-- the bumbling amiable dad from Malcolm in the Middle, as a regretful chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer and needs to resort to cooking meth with a delinquent ex-student (Aaron Paul) to pay the bills and leave something for his family, as his wife, Anna Gunn-- from Deadwood-- is pregant and they also have a crippled son . . . and to add to the fun, Cranston's brother-in-law is a DEA agent; it sounds like a grim show and at times it is, but it's also deeply and darkly funny and there's chemistry lesson in every episode (hydrochloric acid will melt a dead body to jelly but it won't eat through a plastic container!) and so I give it nineteen Erlenmyer flasks out of twenty.


The past two days my sentences have been egregious, and so to reconcile with you, my loyal audience, I will provide a sexy picture of Farrah Fawcett for you to enjoy . . . despite the fact that she is now food for worms, and her lovely body, which was riddled with cancer when she died, has liquefied by now into a viscous jelly . . . but a very sexy viscous jelly.

10/16/2009 New Greasetruck Song!

I would like to apologize for yesterday's sentence . . . that was hardly a sentence, but today we've got extra content, besides this sentence, the house band, Greasetruck, has a new song . . . it's called "The Subjunctive" and you can hear it by clicking on the SoundClick widget over to the left . . . listen for my spectacular tambourine playing.


This is hardly a sentence.


My five year old son Alex let me in on the plan that he and his two friends concocted at school-- they are going to build robot replicas of themselves and send the robots to school in their stead; I asked him why he wanted to do this and if he didn't like kindergarten any longer, and he said, "I still like school, I just get tired in the middle of the day and want to take a nap," which-- I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree-- is exactly how I feel about teaching school.


So it was a lucky day in the ISS (in school suspension) room-- no students-- so I had an empty room to myself in which to grade papers and otherwise relax . . . in fact, I was so relaxed that I let loose with a bout of flatulence (hard to do anywhere else in the school, since you're always on display) and, of course, like in a bad movie, immediately after I let'er rip, not ten seconds later, the school police officer walked in with a girl that obviously had some major problem and had to be escorted from class and he walked right into my poison cloud and then the girl came to my desk to sign in, and I was half embarrassed and half wanting to giggle like a sophomore, but no one accused me of anything, so I'm hoping they were secretly blaming it on each other.


At bedtime, I've been reading my kids a children's version of Moby Dick (which, honestly, is hardly a bedtime story-- people die every other chapter) and Ian asked why Ahab wanted to kill the whale and Alex told him, "because the whale ate his leg off" and then Alex made a good point; he said, "Ahab really only has to cut off one of Moby Dick's fins, that would be fair, since Moby Dick only ate one of his legs."

Bonus Sports Conundrum

Can a coach receive a taunting penalty?


Does everyone cut their cornbread into tiny little cubes so there's more surface area to coat with butter, or is it just me?


In the office the other day, all the English teachers were lamenting the fact that progress reports were already due, and it felt like school had just started and no progress had been made-- and while it may be true that progress report time did come a bit early this year, it also might be true that we are all getting older, and as we get older our metabolism slows and time appears to rush by, instead of crawl along (like it did when we were children) but when I suggested this, none of the other teachers wanted to contemplate this bleak reality so we blamed it on Labor Day being so late this year.

Adventureland: A Review and Other Thematically Related Stuff

Days after visiting the funky, vintage Knoebels Amusement Park in central Pennsylvania, I watched a movie that looked as if it had been filmed there: Adventureland, starring Jesse Eisenberg (who hails from East Brunswick, his sister-- who is a senior now at the high school--- was the little girl in the Pepsi commercials who spoke like the Godfather when she was served a Coca Cola) and it wasn't as gross and funny as Superbad or as witty as Juno, but in a laid back way it was just as good a film, and the 80's music, cars, clothes, houses, amusement park, and people are as much fun to look at as the sets on Madmen . . . and so I give it twelve partially thawed boxes of corn-dogs out of a possible fourteen, but I'm still putting up a clip of the Pepsi sister because I think she's still more famous than Jesse (although he's also in Zombieland with Woody Harrelson, so I guess he's an A list star now . . . and I hear the sister gets very uncomfortable when teachers or students bring up her past as the Pepsi girl . . . and are either of them as famous as Heather O'Reilly, who is possibly the most famous East Brunswick resident?)

Girl Stuff

There has been discussion in the office of what appears manly and macho and what doesn't, perhaps we dwell on this because we're English teachers and we teach poetry so we're already a little defensive . . . and I claimed that I cannot type because typing is for girls (it's easier to say this than to admit the truth-- I'm spastic on the keyboard) and some folks took offense at this, but then we decided that Ernest Hemingway couldn't type either . . . because he was too drunk (although F. Scott Fitzgerald could put it away, yet I'm sure he could touch-type with the best of them) and now there's a juggling craze in the office because Stacey learned to juggle, and while I was accomplishing an astounding juggling feat (juggling three tennis balls off the wall while standing a good five feet away from aforementioned wall) someone remarked that I didn't look very macho doing this astounding feat-- touche-- and this reminds me (this sentence is so long, why stop now?) last week I saw a guy pull out of his driveway on a unicycle, and it made me want to get a unicycle . . . is a unicycle macho?


My son Alex's kindergarten teacher sent a note home informing us of some inappropriate behavior; apparently, Alex filled his mouth with water from the fountain, and then he spit it on another boy . . . and so Catherine and I decided to let his punishment fit the crime: he's not allowed to drink water (or any other liquid) for two weeks-- that will teach him!


While I was running in the school orchard last week, I nearly ran into a red fox on the trail-- I was close enough to see the white splotch on the end of his tail before he loped away-- but fans of this blog will remember that last fall I saw TWO foxes in the span of two days, so one fox doesn't really rate a sentence, so I'm going to revise this one: while running in the school orchard I saw THREE foxes . . . and a llama . . . and . . . and Barak Obama and Rush Limbaugh making out behind a shrub.


I would offer a review of Len Fisher's new book Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life, an engaging overview of game theory that doesn't cover much new ground if you've done some reading on this, but does provide lots of excellent anecdotal real world examples, especially in experiment,s the author himself concocted, which often involve pub life in Australia, but why should I offer a review when I don't know if you'll reciprocate and offer me anything in return . . . perhaps I'll do it just this once and test the waters, but if it's not worth it, then I'm not going to continue: I give it seven tits out of a possible nine tats.

Is a Sloth Spooky?

My favorite ride at Knoebels Amusement Park is the Haunted House, as I'm not much for roller coasters (even the kiddie coaster made me green) and my young sons love it as well . . . Ian was holding on to me for dear life, as it is very dark and spooky in there, with lots of skulls, witches, floating eyes, banging doors, creepy music, talking paintings, etcetera-- the only time the ride loses its spookiness is in the last room, which inexplicably has a tropical theme and reminds me of The Jungle Room at Graceland . . . but the ride is certainly vintage and maybe before Diego kids were scared of the jungle, as they should be . . . we're talking about a place that has fire ants, anacondas, yellow fever, and cholera (and I'm sure kids are scared of Elvis).


I'm embarrassed to say that my wrist still hurts from an incident this summer-- and if there is such a thing as divine retribution for despicable behavior than it should still hurt . . . after an evening where everyone imbibed a fair bit, and my friend Rob imbibed a bit more than a fair bit, I lost patience waiting for him to get out of the beach house, as we were on our way to see the greatest cover band in the universe, and -- having just read Born to Run and being high on the merits of barefoot running, I said to Dom and Michelle, "I'll get him!" and took off at full speed in my crocs, which was fine for a hundred yards, until I hit a muddy patch of grass in between the sidewalk and our driveway (there was a flood that morning) and my legs flew into the air ahead of my body and I flipped back onto my wrist and it really hurt, despite the beer, and I also got soaked and coated in mud, and so when I ran into the house to tell Rob to get a move-on . . . and also to change my soiled clothes . . . he happened to be coming down the steps and so, in a fit of immature rage, I punched him in the stomach (with my bad wrist) and caught him in the diaphragm, knocking the wind out of him . . . and though I apologized profusely, I still probably deserve the wrist pain for my impatience.


Petting a baby alligator at Clyde Peeling's Reptiland made me think: "That's surprisingly smooth . . . maybe I would like a pair of alligator skin pants."


Sometimes the best antidote for a mediocre pulled pork sandwich (provided by some church in Watsontown) is a really good pulled pork sandwich (provided by Ali's caterer).
A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.