Cheers theme song from one note) and he proved it Thursday night: we were having cheap beers at the local Hooters (I always wanted to write that phrase) and Stacy remarked how much she loved the new Cee Lo Green song "Fuck You" and Terry said that he had never heard it, so I sang a couple of verses (and my voice was even worse than usual, as it had been a very long day: I performed several songs in class, coached a soccer game, and then spoke to all the parents at "Back to School Night," so I was beyond gravelly) and Terry said, "That sounds like Gnarls Barkley," and for a moment my head swelled (after we explained to Terry that Cee Lo Green sang on the Gnarls Barkley hit "Crazy") and I thought that I was a very talented singer, but then Stacy pointed out that I had done a terrible job singing the song and that Terry was the one with the special talent.
Camping confession: I didn't shower during my camping trip last weekend, but it was pretty humid and despite changing underwear several times, I still felt pretty rank, and so the couple of times that I walked to the bathroom with plumbing, I pulled open the front of my pants and directed the hand dryer so it was blowing directly down them; this effectively dried my nether regions, but I was really concerned about someone walking in while I was doing this because my camping pants cinch at the ankles and I looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
I couldn't find my hatchet while we were breaking down our campsite, so I had to figure out some other way to pry the tent stakes from the ground; I decided to use one thick yellow tent stake as a lever to yank the stuck tent stake out of the ground, but when I yanked the plastic cracked and half the stake went flying and hit Ian in the face, which made him cry, but I was glad he didn't lose an eye . . . and then later that day when I was showering off all the camping grit, I decided my hair needed some conditioning, but the conditioner bottle was jammed with dried conditioner, so I squeezed and squeezed-- but to no avail-- the dried chunk would not dislodge, and so I put the conditioner on the shower floor (clogged hole pointing up) and stepped on the bottle and-- of course-- conditioner shot up in a geyser and went into my eye, temporarily blinding me, and making me feel, just for a moment, like one of those rabbits or guinea pigs that had to endure similar lab tests for months on end.
I am playing in an adult soccer league in North Brunswick this fall, and we played our first game on Wednesday night and defeated last year's champions 2-1; I've been having knee problems (my knee-cap popped out again when I took an especially hard and wild left-footed shot last week) and so I was rather gimpy, but I wrapped my knee with an Ace bandage and put a brace on it and I was able to run, albeit slowly (and this team, which was half our age, made it very clear how slow I have become) but my slow motion play helped us win . . . as I had a hand in our first goal because I slowly weaved my way through their defense and found myself with space in the penalty area but as I moved to shoot one of their players hit me from behind and I was awarded a PK, which I did NOT take, I left that to a guy named Trilok, who had a PK as intimidating as his name, it was a change-of-pace-you-think-it's-going-to-be-righty-but-it-turns-out-to-be-lefty shot that froze their keeper, and then I assisted our star player Mario for the second goal-- I chipped one over the defense into space and Mario ran onto it, took a dribble, and poked it to the right of the diving keeper, and then the game got a little ugly because last year's champions weren't used to losing and they got mouthy with the ref and received a couple of yellow cards, and I could barely walk on my knee the next day and my calf was swollen and there was quite a bit of traffic getting to North Brunswick for the game and sometimes I think to myself: this is ridiculous to still be playing a kid's sport, but it was all worthwhile, not because we won, but because after the game, when I got home, my wife said I looked "sexy" in my uniform (although I'm afraid if I run my Large uniform shirt through a dryer cycle, I won't look "sexy" any longer, I'll look like a hairy stuffed sausage . . . note to self: I am an Extra Large).
I am on a roll with correct answers . . . two weeks ago I named the country with the highest ranked education system, and Saturday night (after lambasting several men who were watching Men's Tennis . . . who watches Men's Tennis? I can see watching the women, but the men?) I went out on a limb and said that Women's Tennis was higher ranked on TV than Men's Tennis, a rare state of affairs in most professional sports-- besides figure skating and gymnastics-- and the tennis fans vehemently disagreed, but once again, I get to type the most pompous and annoying three word phrase in the English Language: I WAS RIGHT.
Sometimes-- when we have a sink full of dirty dishes-- I open the dishwasher, in order to load it up, and then start washing all the dishes in the sink by hand, because I have forgotten that there is a such a device as a dishwasher, but eventually, I'll glance over and see the open dishwasher door and remember what I set out to do: load the dirty dishes into a labor and water saving device . . . does anyone else do this?
here) and while others hazarded guesses, I confidently said the answer (and received a literal pat on the back from my colleague Kevin) because I had read Diane Ravitch's excellent book The Death and Life of the Great American School System and for one brief and wondrous, but completely ephemeral moment, I felt really smart . . . for one second I felt like all my desultory reading was worthwhile . . . but I'm pretty sure that's going to the highlight of my life, as far as correct answers go; I am afraid it will be all downhill from here on in.
Saturday morning we snaked our way along the Northeast Corridor and under the Hudson River and then North and West on the Blue Line in order to get to the Museum of Natural History to see the new exhibit "Lizards and Snakes: Alive!" and though the exhibit was well done and comprehensive, the best creature was not present in the flesh, but instead on a piece of documentary film: called the Paradise Tree Snake, and otherwise known as the Flying Snake . . . the film showed just how this wingless snake (it's much more utilitarian than Quetzalcoatl) glides; the snake launches itself from a branch, and then spreads its ribs which flattens its body into a curled glider . . . it's fun to imagine this snake landing on the head of your worst enemy . . . and then there was more snaking along train lines on the way from the Museum to the Lego Store, because of the byzantine ways of the NYC Subway System (why, on the weekends, is there no B train? wouldn't the weekends be the time when lots of people would want to get from the Museum to Rockefeller Center? so why not run the B train? or why not stop the D train at the Museum? or why not put this information on a sign? and why is it so fucking HOT down there when it was such a beautiful day?) and when we got to the Lego store there was one more serpentine treat: a giant Lego snake that wove its way in and out of the store and finally culminated in a fanciful Chinese dragon head . . . and then we wove and snaked our way through hordes of people with two boys who are now too cool to hold our hands and also too cool to hold the pole on the Subway, but we made it home alive and well and we'll do it again once we forget what a sweaty hassle it is to get around on NYC public transportation.
If you've got some time to kill and feel like "reading" a visual essay (it's a bunch of YouTube clips and pictures flimsily strung together with captions) then head over to Gheorghe: The Blog for my visual essay entitled "Yes, Even You Can Attain the New Cool."
Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts, by Australian critic Clive James, is a comprehensive guide to art, politics, and everything else worth knowing about the 20th century, and he structures the book as 110 biographical essays, ranging from Camus to Margaret Thatcher (including lots of folks I have never heard of: Paul Muratov, Virginio Rognoni Dubravka Ugresic) and he includes several figures from before the 20th century, most notably Tacitus, who has given us the tools to analyze, skewer, and debunk the ruling tyranny; I love how Tacitus (a Roman) thought the Germans perceived Roman rule: they make a desert, and they call it peace . . . and this aphorism is certainly reflective of how many people feel about our policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and, in a general sense, as James puts it, is a "harbinger of twentieth-century state terror" . . . but, on the other hand, we must not forget what the Romans have done for us . . . they did give us the aqueducts . . . and the roads . . . and the wine, oh yes, the wine . . . and medicine . . . and it's safe to walk the streets at night . . .
please stop killing albinos and selling their body parts for use in magical potions . . . I know it's hard to abort a well-planned kidnapping and I know albino body-parts fetch a good price on the open market, but if you could substitute black rhinoceros horn or Bengal tiger kidney in your recipe, instead of albino body parts, you would be doing people of no color a great favor.